This weekend, Tottenham faces a rare trip south to play Bournemouth, hoping to return to winning ways in the Premier League after two disappointing defeats.
Consecutive losses to Manchester United and Newcastle saw Spurs drop six points, well and truly slipping into the chasing pack behind league leaders behind Manchester City and Arsenal.
Whilst losing away to United is nothing to be outwardly ashamed of, the manner of the defeat was tough – we were outclassed and looked a shadow of what we have come to expect under Antonio Conte.
As for Newcastle, a pair of Lloris errors ultimately cost Tottenham the game. Whilst the overall performance was no doubt sub-par, it was the Frenchman’s erratic behaviour, poor distribution, and questionable keeping at the heart of Spurs’ downfall.
Moreover, a disappointing Champions League game which saw VAR rule out a more than questionable last-minute winner from Kane, has only further disappointed Tottenham, so we must return to form this Saturday and claim an important, morale-boosting three points.
Despite being relegation favourites at the start of the season, Bournemouth enters this one in 14th, and until last weekend were one of the league’s in-form sides.
Since a humbling 9-0 defeat to Liverpool, which saw then-manager and former Spurs man Scott Parker axed, the Cherries went the following six games undefeated.
Victories over Nottingham Forest and Leicester and draws to Wolves, Newcastle, Brentford, and Fulham saw Bournemouth temporarily punch above their weight; however, back-to-back defeats against Southampton and West Ham have seen Gary O’Neil’s side crash back down to earth.
Now, with two losses on the bounce, like Spurs, this weekend’s hosts will be looking to return to winning ways, as three points would go a long way to both side’s respective end-of-season goals.
With neither Richarlison nor Kulusevski expected to return to the side, after Wednesday’s game, Conte will likely revert to the now familiar 3-5-2, with a midfield three of Bentancur, Bissouma, and Hojbjerg.
Spurs fans will be hoping the same pairing of Ivan Perisic and Matt Doherty retain their places this weekend. Despite being the home side, Bournemouth, will likely deploy a low-block, pressure-absorbant approach.
Including Saturday, with just four league games until the World Cup break, it’s imperative Spurs can return to form and pick up some much-needed points, as with Chelsea and Man United. Even Newcastle is growing into form; the race for the top four race will no doubt be tight come May.
Ultimately, this should be a winnable game for Tottenham. Although there are no inherently easy games in the Premier League, a trip to a newly promoted side should be a routine three points for a side with Champions League aspirations.