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

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the Premier League meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City.

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to continue their ascent up the Premier League table when they welcome a winless Cardiff City side to Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Lilywhites have won back-to-back matches in the top flight to climb into fourth place, but they suffered a setback in midweek when losing to Barcelona in the Champions League.


Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino watches on during the Champions League group game between Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur on September 18, 2018© Reuters

While there is no shame in losing to Spanish champions Barcelona, especially when coming close to snatching a point from Wednesday night's fixture at one stage, Mauricio Pochettino knows that his side's hopes of progression in the Champions League are already left hanging by a thread.

The Lilywhites recovered from an early setback against Barca to make it 2-1 within seven minutes of the second half, only for Lionel Messi to show exactly why he is considered the greatest player to have ever played the sport.

The eventual 4-2 loss was a tough one to take for Pochettino, who admitted that he was disappointed to see his side trail within 92 seconds at Wembley, but was ultimately pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his players to make a game of it.

With all due respect to this weekend's opponents Cardiff, Spurs will expect to have far more possession and a lot more joy across the field compared to Wednesday night in this final Premier League outing before the penultimate international break of the year.

Tottenham will not be too disheartened by their midweek setback, then, even if it does leave them with a huge mountain to climb in Europe following last month's 2-1 loss to Inter Milan.

Pochettino's men somehow threw away all three points in Italy by conceding two goals in the final five minutes, making it three losses on the spin at that point. Since then, though, they have won three matches in all competitions and lost just once - that two-goal defeat to Barca.

Two of those victories have come away to Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town in the league, and now after a three-week absence the Lilywhites are back at Wembley in the top flight.

Tottenham's only other league matches at their temporary home have provided a mixed return, having beaten Fulham and lost Liverpool. With their new ground still seemingly a couple of months away from completion, now is the time to turn Wembley back into a fortress.

Scoring goals certainly has not been an issue to the Londoners in the Premier League, as they have netted in 32 of their last 33 outings - the exception being a 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion in May - and with Harry Kane back in form that run looks certain to continue on Saturday.

Recent form in Premier League: WWLLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWWL


Cardiff City

Sol Bamba celebrates his shock opener during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Cardiff's 2-1 defeat to Burnley last weekend was the most crushing of Neil Warnock's two-year reign in South Wales, with the Bluebirds coming out second best in a match that was billed 'must-win' before a ball had been kicked.

The Bluebirds actually produced arguably their best display yet against the Clarets and scored an impressive goal through Josh Murphy to temporarily level things up, but some poor defending cost them a share of the spoils.

That made it four defeats in a row in the Premier League and five in all competitions, having also been dumped out of the EFL Cup by Norwich City in August, while their winless streak stands at eight matches since the start of the season - their joint-worst run since 1964.

Warnock, who celebrates his two-year anniversary in South Wales this week, could be forgiven for blaming the fixture list for his side's slow start to their second ever Premier League campaign, seeing his side face Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in quick succession.

All three of those matches ended in defeat, although the first two did provide the veteran boss with some positives. Then came the crushing loss to Burnley, and now the big question is exactly when will the Welsh outfit pick up their first three points?

With Tottenham and Liverpool up next on their travels, there is even more importance on the home matches against Fulham, Leicester City and Brighton over the next five weeks.

The good news for Cardiff, and indeed fellow winless sides Huddersfield and Newcastle, is that they are still within three points of safety at this early stage, despite what has been a terrible start.

City conceded 12 goals in those three matches with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City and have the joint-worst defensive record in the top flight, while up the other end only Huddersfield have netted fewer than their four goals to date.

Warnock admitted after the loss to Burnley that he is "not sure" what more he can do for his side to start picking up points. If the Bluebirds are to avoid being cut adrift before the transfer window reopens in January, then they need to find some sort of solution to their problems soon.

Recent form in the Premier League: DDLLLL
Recent form (all competitions): DLLLLL


Team News

Dele Alli in action for Tottenham Hotspur on September 2, 2018© Reuters

Tottenham will be without a number of first-team players for this weekend's match, as Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier are all nursing injury problems.

A lack of squad depth cost the Lilywhites against Barcelona in midweek, with no game-changing replacements to come on for their tired regulars, and Pochettino will therefore have to go largely with the same XI that started that midweek European match.

Danny Rose and Eric Dier will both be considered for recalls, potentially giving Ben Davies and Victor Wanyama a breather, and Pochettino now has skipper Hugo Lloris back from a month-long layoff.

There are fewer concerns over the fitness of Kane now compared to a couple of weeks ago, meanwhile, with the Englishman scoring four times in his last three outings to take his tally in Tottenham colours to 146 goals in 222 matches.

In terms of the visitors, Warnock would ideally look to pad out his midfield with an extra man for the trip to London, but Aron Gunnarsson remains absent until after the international break.

Junior Hoilett's return does give the 69-year-old an alternative option out wide, however, but Murphy performed well on his return from injury against Burnley and Victor Camarasa has also impressed since arriving on loan in the summer.

An unchanged starting lineup is therefore a possibility, meaning another chance for Kenneth Zohore to prove himself up top, just ahead of the versatile Callum Paterson, who won more aerial duals against Burnley than any other Premier League player in a single match since 2003-04.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Rose, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Trippier; Winks, Dier; Moura, Lamela, Son; Kane

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Cunningham, Bamba, Morrison, Manga; Murphy, Ralls, Arter, Camarasa; Paterson; Zohore


Head To Head

Cardiff have failed to win any of the last seven meetings between these two sides, losing five of those since a 1-0 triumph in the FA Cup 41 years ago.

The Bluebirds' last away victory in this fixture came in an old Division One clash in 1954, failing to win in eight attempts since then.

The most recent encounter took place at White Hart Lane in March 2014, when Spurs claimed a narrow 1-0 win through Roberto Soldado's first-half goal.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Cardiff City

A lack of cutting edge and an inability to defend has cost City so far, and their task does not get any easier this weekend with this trip to Wembley Stadium. Tottenham had picked up three victories on the spin prior to their midweek loss at the hands of Barcelona, and it is no surprise that they are overwhelming favourites to get back to winning ways against 19th-placed Cardiff on Saturday.


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Who will win Saturday's Premier League meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City?

Tottenham Hotspur
Draw
Cardiff City
Tottenham Hotspur
92.6%
Draw
4.4%
Cardiff City
2.9%
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli celebrates with Harry Kane and Eric Dier after scoring in their Premier League clash with Newcastle United on August 11, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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