Tottenham come through a difficult run of fixtures to face Norwich City at home with three points needed to keep them in touching distance of the top four. Two of their rivals, Chelsea and Arsenal, will be facing each other this week, which could give Spurs an opportunity to close the gap on the former. For the visitors, they will be buoyed by their weekend victory over Bournemouth and they will be hoping that they can follow that up with another positive result. These two sides played out a 2-2 draw last month. Jose Mourinho can’t accept a similar result on Wednesday.
This month is proving to be a problematic one for Tottenham. The injury to Harry Kane has left Mourinho with limited options. Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura are all playing in advanced roles, but none are natural strikers and it has shown. They have now failed to score in each of their last three Premier League matches. Supporters would hope that a striker is signed in the transfer window to provide support, but time is running out for the club to do a deal. Despite their attacking woes, they are coming up against a poor Norwich defence. They should have enough firepower to get the three points against the Canaries.
Although Norwich managed to pick up a crucial victory at the weekend against relegation rivals Bournemouth, they remain six points adrift of safety. The margin for error is so small, but there will be calmness within the camp. There is a belief that the club are growing in the correct manner, with an organic feel to their recent rise. There remains a lot of talent within the squad, with Daniel Farke remaining popular among supporters. Their current position is a bleak one, but they still have a chance and they will relish the opportunity to face a struggling Tottenham team. On another day, they would have won the reverse fixture, with Teemu Pukki having a goal disallowed for a marginal offside. They have nothing to fear on Wednesday.
- Tottenham have failed to score in three successive Premier League matches for the first time since November 2013.
- Since the beginning of last season, no player has scored more goals in English football than Teemu Pukki. The Finland international has found the back of the net on 39 occasions.
This is going to be a crucial period for Tottenham, as they need to add goals to their front line. The absence of Harry Kane has been a clear issue for Spurs, as goals have dried up since the injury. Prior to this, Dele Ali had been one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League. It looked like Jose Mourinho had managed to get the best out of the attacking midfielder. He will be the player that the manager will look to for impact in the final third. His movement and end product means that he can thrive as a striker if he is given the right service. There is the extra motivation for Alli to perform, as he has been out of the England squad. The European Championships are on the horizon and he will want to break back into Gareth Southgate’s plans. His current return of six goals and three assists in the Premier League is respectable, but he will be hoping to significantly improve that this weekend. The match against Norwich offers a good opportunity to return to scoring ways.
It was always going to be difficult for Norwich to stay in the Premier League. However, there have been a handful of players that have stood up and impressed in a yellow shirt. Emi Buendia looks like he belongs at this level and a number of top European clubs will be closely following his form over the rest of the season. If Norwich get relegated, he will be one of the first targeted by rival clubs. There are few more creative players in the league, as he has contributed seven assists and averages 3 key passes per game. Considering he is playing for the bottom placed team, this is highly impressive. Further to his creativity, he is hard-working, as displayed by his average of 3.2 ball recoveries per game. Tottenham are vulnerable at the back and the Argentine has the ability to impact the game on Wednesday.
Danny Rose, Tanguy Ndombele and Ben Davies are all in contention to return this month, but this fixture may come too soon. Hugo Lloris will be back in February. Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko are long term injury concerns.
Ben Godfrey will be suspended following the red card that he picked up at the weekend. Timm Klose is the only injury concern for the visitors.
This is a huge game for Tottenham and there is no other option but to win. If they drop points, it would be another big blow to their Champions League hopes. At the time of writing, it seems unlikely that they will earn a top four finish, but the inconsistency of rival teams means that they can’t give up hope. They will face a determined Norwich City side, who have just picked up their fourth league win of the season. It is a game they should win, but it isn’t one they can take for granted. They should have just enough at home. That said, it won’t be a comfortable ride.
Tottenham 2-1 Norwich City