The battle for the Champions League places is heating up as we approach the run-in. This weekend will see Wolves travel to face Tottenham, with both teams battling for the top four. If the Manchester City ban is upheld, it could mean that 5th place is enough to qualify for next season’s competition. Neither team are currently in the top five, but a victory this weekend would send a huge statement to the rest of the contenders.
This is a big test for Jose Mourinho, as he needs to find a balanced tactical set-up to ensure his team can continue to compete and win matches. They will need to go through at least another month without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Despite the manager’s attempt to lower expectations, he will know that that they can’t give up on the season. They still have a realistic chance of success in three different competitions. Wolves will pose a threat to them, but they are returning from a Europa League game in Spain. This is an opportunity for Spurs to get a morale-boosting win.
Wolves have enjoyed another positive season and there is opportunity for success. Although they remain in touching distance of the top four, they may switch their focus to the Europa League. They have reached the last 16 of the competition and there aren’t many teams to be scared of left. Inter Milan, Manchester United and Sevilla have proven European pedigree, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have a great chance of going deep into the competition. That said, they will be confident of getting something this weekend, as Tottenham are low on confidence.
Tottenham have only kept three clean sheets in 22 matches since José Mourinho took over.
Wolves are unbeaten in London since their return to the Premier League. They have played eight matches during that time.
This is going to be a big period for all fit Tottenham attackers, as they have an opportunity to secure a regular role under Jose Mourinho. Steven Bergwijn has arrived at the club and been put straight into a difficult situation. The Dutchman will be relied on to fire the team to a good end to the season. The early indications were good, as he scored a great debut goal to help the team to a surprise victory over Manchester City. Since then, he has been industrious and there have been encouraging signs, but it is clear that he is adapting to a new league. During the match against Chelsea, Bergwijn did okay considering the overall performance. He completed two of his three attempted dribbles and made two key passes. Incredibly, he completed 91.3% of his passes, which shows how comfortable he is in possession. During the match, he lost the ball only nine times. For a comparison, Lucas Moura lost possession 22 times. This is another chance for Bergwijn to impress and prove why he can be a big part of Mourinho’s long term plans.
Raul Jimenez was given a much needed rest during the week, although he did have to travel to Spain and sit on the bench in case the tie did come back to life. Diogo Jota has been taking the headlines in recent weeks, but the Mexican international remains the talisman of this Wolves team. His contribution of 12 goals and six assists in the Premier League underlines his quality in the final third. Since his arrival in England, there have been few strikers that have performed better than him. Mourinho would love to have the 28-year-old leading the line for his team on Sunday. Due to Tottenham’s attacking issues, there is potential for Jimenez to be the difference. Last weekend, it was a solid performance against Norwich, as he attempted four shots and made one key pass. The Wolves forward managed to get on the scoresheet during the match. Tottenham have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and Jimenez will be the player they fear most.
Tottenham won’t have any players back this weekend, but Harry Kane is making good progress in his recovery. Erik Lamela continues to recover from his knock, which will restrict him to bench role.
Jonny is expected to be missing for the visitors. However, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez will be back following their rest in the week.
Taking the last two Tottenham performances into consideration, it is difficult to get behind them, even in a home match. They need to show more attacking intent if they are to beat Wolves. The visitors have kept three successive clean sheets in the Premier League, including shutting out Manchester United and Leicester City. Both of those teams have better attacks that Spurs at this current moment. Nuno’s side might be fatigued, but they should get something on Sunday.
Tottenham 0-1 Wolves