Tottenham managed to come back from behind to beat Brighton on Boxing Day and managed to close the gap to the top four to only three. They would have been worried about their position following their defeat to Chelsea, but the recent results went their way and it is now looking more promising for them. Jose Mourinho will realise the task ahead of him following the first few weeks in charge, but the season is far from done and a good festive period could see Spurs get into the top four. The trip to Norwich City on Boxing Day offers another opportunity to get three points.
The other results were problematic for Norwich City on Boxing Day as they lost to Aston Villa. They are now bottom of the table and seven points from safety with half of the matches having been played. Daniel Farke is well liked by the supporters, but he is struggling to lead the team to the required results. The board may see this as a long term strategy and not be thinking of getting rid of the German. However, it could be that they look to make a managerial change in the coming weeks if results don’t improve.
The first few weeks of the Jose Mourinho reign has shown improvement in results for Tottenham. However, the performances have remained underwhelming and it would be too soon to suggest that they are ready to compete at the very top of the division. They struggled for long periods against Brighton, but the managed to come back from behind to win. Their central midfield remains a huge area of concern, as nobody has managed to nail down a position since the managerial change. There may be an opportunity for Tanguy Ndombele, due to injuries and suspensions. The Frenchman is out of favour with the manager, but supporters are hopeful that he can offer a solution.
Dele Alli has now been involved in eight goals under Jose Mourinho, which is more than any other player.
Emi Buendia has now created 55 chances for Norwich City. This is over double the amount than any other player has managed in the team.
The Argentine has gone under the radar for Norwich, with Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell receiving the plaudits for their attacking contributions. Buendia could be the best player in the current squad with his impressive creative stats noted above. He is creating plenty of chances in a struggling Norwich team and there will be other Premier League clubs taking note of his consistency at the top level. Despite the team’s defeat to Aston Villa, the Argentine attempted two shots, made five key passes and completed three dribbles in an excellent attacking display. He has emerged as the best player in the team and his performances will be key in deciding the club’s fate this season. Tottenham have shown themselves to be vulnerable at the back in recent weeks. Norwich will need to be aggressive if they are to get a result on Saturday. They have performed well against the big teams and Buendia will be key to their hopes.
The biggest positive to emerge during the first few weeks of Mourinho’s spell in charge has been the return to form for Dele Alli. The midfielder has been getting back to his best and shown consistency in the final third that he had been lacking. The Portuguese coach has always been effective at getting the best out of his number tens. Alli is the latest to see his form improve with the help of Mourinho. The recent suspension received by Son has increased the importance of Alli over the Christmas period as he is one of the few to carry a big goal threat. The England international now has six goals and three assists in the Premier League. This is expected to be significantly higher by the end of the season if he maintains his current form. A place in the European Championships squad is looking more and more likely every passing week.
Norwich don’t have any new injury concerns for this weekend. Ben Godfrey has been confirmed as missing until February, while Timm Klose and Josip Drmic are long term absentees.
Tottenham don’t have many injury worries, outside of long term problems with Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies. However, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks join Son Heung-Min with suspensions following both picking up fifth yellow cards against Brighton.
The pressure is now on Norwich to pick up a result to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the table. The recent improvement in Watford has increased the pressure on the East Anglian team. Tottenham are far from unbeatable and if the home side are aggressive, they could cause them real problems. They need to target the central areas, as Spurs are weak there. That said, Christmas can be a good time to build momentum and Spurs should have the quality to make it two wins from two on Saturday.
Norwich City 1-2 Tottenham