Tottenham host Bournemouth at Wembley on Boxing Day as in demand manager Mauricio Pochettino looks to guide his Spurs side to another win in the Premier League.
Much talk around the north London outfit over the last week has surrounded Pochettino’s future at the club after Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho, with the Argentine reportedly high on the list of potential replacements at Old Trafford.
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Pochettino will be keen to turn attentions back to matters on the pitch, however, as Tottenham face a busy festive period in which a successful run could be vital to their long-term hopes of securing a top four place.
A showdown with Eddie Howe’s battling Bournemouth side should provide a real Boxing Day test for Spurs.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 26 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||Wembley Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports PL (Gillette Soccer Special: Live Scores)|
Tottenham were boosted by the return to fitness of centre back Davinson Sanchez in Sunday's match against Everton, after the Colombian missed their previous nine games with a hamstring injury.
However, Eric Dier is continuing his rehabilitation with appendicitis whilst Serge Aurier is still recovering from a groin injury.
Jan Vertonghen is continuing to build towards a comeback from his thigh problem while midfield duo Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama miss out as long-term absentees with ankle and knee issues respectively.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has a less extensive injury list to contend with, but three absentees remain for the Cherries. Midfielder Dan Gosling is still nursing a knee problem, while right back Adam Smith is still recovering from cartilage damage.
Lewis Cook remains a long-term absentee for Bournemouth, as the midfielder continues his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament rupture.
|Tottenham||Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen; Lamela; Lucas, Kane.|
|Bournemouth||Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Lerma, Surman, Fraser; King, Wilson.|
Head to Head Record
The two sides have met just seven times previously, with Tottenham enjoying a vastly superior record of success against Bournemouth, winning five of their meetings. Spurs won 4-1 when the two sides last met at the Vitality Stadium in March last season.
The Cherries last avoided defeat to Tottenham when they claimed a point in a 0-0 draw against the north Londoners at home in October 2016.
The last and only time Bournemouth were able to beat Spurs was in an FA Cup clash in February 1957, in which the Cherries won 3-1.
Tottenham have enjoyed a fine run of recent form. A hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Barcelona at the Camp Nou secured Spurs’ progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Pochettino’s side followed up that success with a last-gasp win at home to a battling Burnley side before sealing revenge over north London rivals Arsenal with a 2-0 win at the Emirates in the Carabao Cup. The Gunners had previously beaten Spurs 4-2 in the Premier League.
Spurs followed up their derby success with a storming 6-2 win away at Everton in the Premier League on Sunday, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane among the goals at Goodison Park.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, have seen their fine early season form stutter somewhat of late. Eddie Howe’s side have been one of the surprise packages of the Premier League campaign so far, but a 4-0 defeat at home to Liverpool brought the Cherries to a grinding halt.
A 2-0 loss away to Wolves followed a week later before Howe’s men were eliminated from the Carabao Cup at the quarter final stage courtesy of a 1-0 defeat away to Chelsea.
However, the Cherries have steadied the ship once more since then and returned to winning ways with a reassuring 2-0 success at home to Brighton just before Christmas.
Here's a look at how both sides have fared in their previous five outings:
|Everton 2-6 Tottenham (23/12)||Bournemouth 2-0 Brighton (22/12)|
|Arsenal 0-2 Tottenham (19/12)||Chelsea 1-0 Bournemouth (19/12)|
|Tottenham 1-0 Burnley (15/12)||Wolves 2-0 Bournemouth (15/12)|
|Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham (11/12)||Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool (8/12)|
|Leicester 0-2 Tottenham (8/12)||Bournemouth 2-1 Huddersfield (4/12)|
Bournemouth have surpassed expectations and defied the means of their humble investment levels with hard work and a strong early season run which has seen them climb to eighth in the table this term.
However, Howe’s side have displayed weaknesses against the top sides in recent defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea, and Tottenham should possess the necessary quality to overcome the Cherries and push on with their top four bid on Boxing Day.