It is important that Tottenham return to winning ways, if they are to get their season back on track. They face a difficult trip to Wolves to face a team that they have struggled against in the recent past. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team have won two of the last three Premier League meetings between the two sides. Although Spurs managed to win in this fixture last season, the home side were the better team and Jose Mourinho will be acutely aware of the challenges posed on Sunday.
It is a frustrating season for Wolves under Nuno, as the Portuguese coach is having to rebuild the team following the departures of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty. The head injury suffered by Raul Jimenez has made the task a lot more difficult and their attacking issues have come to surface in recent weeks. Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence are slowly adapting to the Premier League, but it is asking a lot for them to replace the Mexican. They did well in their previous home match to beat Chelsea. A similar performance this weekend is needed.
Tottenham have now slipped down to 6th in the table and discussion of a title challenge seems a distant memory. They have taken one point from their previous three matches. Mourinho will know that he needs to wrestle back the narrative and get back to winning ways. This is a tricky match up for them, as Spurs have shown a weakness when dominating possession. Wolves will be happy to sit off them, which means there will be pressure on Spurs to break them down. Despite their obvious strengths on the counter attack, they need to be a lot more effective in matches like these to secure themselves in the top four.
Since promotion, Wolves have been praised for their organisation in defence, but they are on a run of seven Premier League matches without a clean sheet.
Serge Aurier has given away four penalties since his arrival at Tottenham. Only David Luiz (5) has conceded more in the Premier League during this period.
The Portuguese attacker has started to make an impact on the Premier League and he looks set to take advantage in the absence of Raul Jimenez. Wolves have a well known recruitment policy of signing players liked to Jorge Mendes. Although it can limit the potential pool of players, it allows the club to sign players that might be beyond their grasp without those connections. Neto certainly fits into that category, as he looks to have huge potential and that is supported by his recent debut for Portugal. This season, he has contributed four goals and two assists, averaging a goal contribution every 185.2 minutes. Tottenham have been relatively good at the back this season and they will be confident in shutting out Wolves. In Neto, the home side have a player that can be unpredictable and that makes him dangerous.
This feels like a fixture more suited to Harry Kane than Son Heung-min, as Wolves will set up deep and won’t allow space on the counter attack. However, there will be opportunities for Tottenham shots in around the box as Wolves will look to reduce space and get into blocking positions. Kane is good enough in the final third to find space and get into dangerous shooting positions. He also has a point to prove after missing big chances in the two recent defeats against Liverpool and Leicester City. Kane is one goal away from hitting ten goals and ten assists in under 15 Premier League goals. It underlines the dual threat that he poses opposition defences and the reason why he is always one to watch out for.
Leander Dendoncker is a doubt for the weekend, as he recovers from a recent knock. Jonny and Raul Jimenez remain longer term absentees. Fabio Silva could be recalled following his first Premier League goal against Burnley.
Japhet Tanganga will return at the beginning of 2021. Giovani Lo Celso is a doubt, while Erik Lamela is inching closer to a return.
It is difficult to see Tottenham failing to win another fixture, based on their good form this season. They have made progress under Jose Mourinho, but it is crucial that they manage to win this match to relieve any pressure that has built up. Wolves are always a tricky team to face, but they are inconsistent and their performance against Burnley was another reminder of the difficulties they face without Raul Jimenez. It will be a tight game, but the visitors should have the attacking quality to nick it.
Wolves 0-1 Tottenham