MX23RW : Sunday, April 21 06:49:41| >> :600:104843421:104843421:
Dec 26, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
SpursTottenham Hotspur
NorwichNorwich City
Kane (26' pen., 42'), Carroll (80')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur will attempt to strengthen their grip on fourth place in the Premier League table when they welcome Norwich City to White Hart Lane on Boxing Day.

Spurs moved into the top four courtesy of Manchester United's slip-up at home to Norwich City last time out, and the Canaries will enter the match full of confidence as they attempt to put more ground between themselves and the relegation zone.


Mauricio Pochettino the manager of Spurs looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group J match between Tottenham Hotspur and AS Monaco at White Hart Lane on December 10, 2015© Getty Images

Tottenham's strong form this term, coupled with the unpredictability of the Premier League season, has led to many tipping them to launch an outside title challenge, but at the very least, push hard for the top four. Fourth is a position that they currently occupy following a confident 2-0 win over Southampton last time out, but the capital side did lose their last league match at home - a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on December 13.

There are no longer straightforward games in England's top flight and Spurs will be wary of this match ahead of what is a tough run of games. They will travel to impressive Watford before the end of the year, before facing Everton and league leaders Leicester City in back-to-back matches. A strong run over the festive period could see Spurs cement their spot in the top four, but Man United and indeed Crystal Palace are breathing down their necks in the table.

Mauricio Pochettino took a bit of time to make his mark at the club after arriving from Southampton, but there now seems to be a clear plan. Defensively, they have been impressive this season, with no team conceding fewer goals at this stage of the campaign. They have also managed 28 down the other end and nine of those have come from Harry Kane, who has recovered from a slow start to the campaign to hit the goal trail in recent weeks.

The likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele have also all been key for Spurs this season, in addition to Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at the back. There is still a sense of naivety about the team, however, with only Newcastle (12) dropping more points from winning positions than Spurs (11) in this season's Premier League. That said, the capital side have only lost one of their last 16 top-flight games - recording seven wins in the process.

Tottenham have found it tough against Norwich in recent seasons, however, only winning one of the last five meetings between the two teams and losing twice in the process. Both sides won their respective home matches when they met in the 2013-14 season, including a 2-0 victory for Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Recent form: DWDDLW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDWLW


Lewis Grabban of Norwich City (7) celebrates with Jonathan Howson (8) as he scores their first and equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on November 29, 2015© Getty Images

A poor run of form entering last weekend's clash at Man United had left the Canaries in the relegation zone, but a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford allowed Alex Neil's side to move clear of the bottom three and into 16th. They are just two points clear of the drop zone after 17 matches, but they will approach this match in London with far more confidence than they might have had off the back of a bad result last weekend.

Cameron Jerome and Alexander Tettey scored the goals at Old Trafford as the newly-promoted team recorded just their fourth league win of the season. It has been a difficult campaign to date and they were in free-fall throughout the month of October - losing all four of their matches, before recovering with a 1-0 win at home to Swansea City. They then went another four games without a win, before recording all the points last weekend.

Defeat in this match would not be the end of the world, but they have a massive game on December 28, with Aston Villa making the trip to Carrow Road. Neil's side then host Southampton and a poor run over the festive period would more than likely drop them into the relegation zone.

The omens are not exactly great for Norwich, who have never won a Premier League match on Boxing Day - losing four of their previous five. Anything from 17th and above would be considered a good season on their return to the top flight, but somewhat surprisingly, scoring goals this term has not been too much of a problem. They have managed 20 goals in 17 games, which is just two fewer than Manchester United.

"Tottenham have a settled squad. If they can keep everybody fit, they'll be at the top end of the league. Spurs have a good manager who has them well organised but anybody can beat anybody on their day," said Neil at his pre-match press conference. It will be tough for the visitors, but victory at Old Trafford showed that they are capable of picking up surprise wins away from home.

Recent form: WLDLDW

Team News

Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur (20) celebrates with Kyle Walker (2) as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on November 2, 2015© Getty Images

Spurs will once again be able to call upon Ryan Mason following an ankle problem and Pochettino's squad is looking in good shape at this stage of the season. There are not expected to be too many - if any - changes from the win at Southampton, with Dembele, Dier and Alli continuing as a midfield three.

Nacer Chadli, Tom Carroll and Son Heung-Min all came off the bench against the Saints and the latter is the player most pushing for a spot in the XI at the expense of Argentine Eric Lamela.

Norwich, meanwhile, will still be without long-term absentee Matt Jarvis, but Neil has no fresh injury concerns.

Andre Wisdom will be assessed nearer the game according to Neil, but there are not expected to be too many changes from the Man United match. That would mean another start between the sticks for Declan Rudd ahead of John Ruddy.

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele, Alli; Eriksen, Kane, Lamela

Team B possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; O'Neil, Tettey; Redmond, Hoolahan, Brady; Jerome

Head To Head

In total, these two teams have met in a competitive match on 57 occasions. Spurs have won 26 of those games, Norwich 17, while the further 14 have ended with the spoils being shared.

It is a fixture that dates back to the 1936-37 season, when both teams recorded away wins during the season. More recently, Norwich have had the better of it - losing just one of their last five against Spurs and recording a 1-0 win when the pair last met in February 2014.

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We say: Tottenham 2-0 Norwich

Norwich will be buoyed by their result last weekend, but it is difficult to tip the Canaries to make it back-to-back wins. It might be a tight and cagey match for long spells, but Spurs should have enough to emerge with all three points.

Kane has eight goals in his last eight games in the league and we are tipping the striker to net once again in a 2-0 Spurs win.

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Who will win the Boxing Day match between Spurs and Norwich?

Alex Neil manager of Norwich City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Norwich City at St James' Park on October 18, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
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Neil doubtful over Jarvis, Wisdom fitness

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