MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 11:58:54

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Boxing Day clash between in-form Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Tottenham Hotspur host Bournemouth at Wembley on Boxing Day knowing that victory could lift them up to second should other results go their way.

The gap to champions Manchester City is now only two points for the title hopefuls, although they take on a Bournemouth side sitting in the top half of the table.


Tottenham

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on December 23, 2018© Reuters

By the time Tottenham get underway on Boxing Day it will have been more than a week since Mauricio Pochettino's name was intensely linked with the vacant Manchester United job following Jose Mourinho's sacking.

Rather than distracting Pochettino and his side, though, it only appears to have spurred them on to greater heights.

Since the Argentine became the alleged number one target, Tottenham have recorded only their second-ever win at the Emirates to claim North London bragging rights at Arsenal's expense and reach the semi-finals of the EFL Cup in the process, and then hit six away to Everton in the Premier League.

Spurs boast a formidable record against the Toffees, but few would have seen such an emphatic victory coming as Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and co ran riot at Goodison Park to the extent that it could have even been more than 6-2 in the end.

The Pochettino talk has now been replaced by a discussion of whether his side can challenge for the title this season, with Manchester City's defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday meaning that there is now only a two-point gap to the champions for Spurs.

Liverpool are still six points clear of the Londoners, but Tottenham are very much in the conversation and, at the very least, have now given themselves daylight to Chelsea and Arsenal, who sit five points back in fourth and fifth respectively.

Spurs have now won 11 of their last 13 league games and have registered 26 top-flight victories in 2018. Wins over Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers in back-to-back home games this week would mean that they record their second-highest number of top-flight triumphs during a calendar year in their history, behind only their tally of 31 in 1960.

Many of their current statistics stack up against their glory years under Bill Nicholson - which in itself is a mark of the quality of this team - but without the silverware to back it up there will always be question marks over the current crop.

Spurs should be coming towards the end of their time at Wembley now, where they have won their last five games across all competitions and have conceded only six Premier League goals all season - the second-lowest home tally in the division.

Whether the new stadium is adorned with more regular trophies than its predecessor remains to be seen, but Spurs have set themselves up nicely for glory so far this term and silverware may just be enough to fend off interest in their own prized possession of Pochettino.

Recent form: WLWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW


Bournemouth

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe applauds after their defeat at the hands of Wolves on December 15, 2018© Reuters

Following on from the reports that Pochettino could be lured by United are suggestions that Eddie Howe may be on Tottenham's wishlist to replace him, and it is easy to see why.

Wednesday will mark the halfway point of the season, and Bournemouth go into it sitting eighth in the Premier League table, just three points behind Manchester United and 14 clear of the relegation zone.

At the same stage of last term Bournemouth were 10 points and eight places worse off, sitting only a point clear of the bottom three and bracing themselves for a battle against the drop ahead of the second half of the season.

The possibility of a first ever European campaign may be crossing Bournemouth minds before relegation right now, although their recent patch of form fired a reminder that things can change very quickly in the Premier League.

Having won nine and lost just two of their opening 13 matches across all competitions this season, the Cherries suddenly endured a spell of seven defeats in eight, with their only victory in that time coming at home to struggling Huddersfield Town.

Howe's side did return to winning ways with a David Brooks-inspired 2-0 triumph against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and could record back-to-back victories for the first time since October, although they face a difficult end to the year with trips to Tottenham and a seemingly rejuvenated Manchester United.

Bournemouth have lost their last four away games in all competitions and could equal the club record of four successive away defeats in the Premier League too, having failed to pick up a single point on the road since October.

However, they have already won three away games this season and another triumph on Wednesday would see them match last season's tally of four before the turn of the year.

It is a prospect that seems unlikely considering Bournemouth have lost their last nine games against the established top six, and you have to go back to 2009 - when the Cherries were still in the fourth tier - for their last away win on Boxing Day.

Statistics like that serve as a reminder of just how far the club has come in the past decade, though, and there are no signs of 2019 slowing that progress down.

Recent Premier League form: LLWLLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWLLLW


Team News

Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli celebrates scoring against Arsenal in their EFL Cup quarter-final on December 19, 2018© Reuters

Dele Alli is a doubt for this match after being taken off at half time of the rout at Goodison due to concerns over a hamstring injury.

Moussa Sissoko also picked up a knock in that match and has been used heavily during this busy stage of the season, so Pochettino could opt to give him a rest.

There could be some rotation in order to keep his side fresh, but Pochettino will not want to make too many changes from the side which hit six past Everton, so Kane and Son should start up front again, with the latter not joining up with his country at the Asian Games until next month.

Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama all remain sidelined for the hosts, while Christian Eriksen's condition will be monitored after starting two games in a matter of days last week.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, are expected to welcome Ryan Fraser back into their starting lineup after he was restricted to a substitute appearance last weekend due to a minor calf injury.

Howe has no new injury concerns, although Lewis Cook, Adam Smith and Dan Gosling are longer-term absentees.

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Lucas, Winks, Eriksen, Lamela; Son, Kane

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Lerma, Surman, Fraser; Wilson, King


Head To Head

Tottenham are unbeaten in their six previous league meetings with Bournemouth, all of which have come since the Cherries' promotion to the top flight in 2015.

Spurs have won five of those games, scoring 17 goals and conceding just twice in the process, while they have won all three of their home matches without conceding a single goal.

Bournemouth's only ever victory over Spurs came in their first ever meeting in 1957 when they ran out 3-1 winners in an FA Cup fifth round tie.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Tottenham 3-1 Bournemouth

Spurs are flying at the moment and a team like Bournemouth seem perfectly suited for them in this form. It is hard to see past a home win in this match as Spurs march on towards a title challenge.


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Who will win the Boxing Day clash between Tottenham and Bournemouth?

Spurs
Draw
Bournemouth
Spurs
95.1%
Draw
3.3%
Bournemouth
1.6%
Harry Kane celebrates scoring for Tottenham Hotspur against Everton on December 23, 2018.
Read Next:
How Spurs could line up against Bournemouth
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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