The Tale of the Tape:
The coronavirus break was a chance for teams like AFC Bournemouth to take a moment of serious reflection on how this season has gone for them. It was a chance for Eddie Howe to talk to his players and remind them of the seriousness of the task ahead of them.
As it stands, it looks like his players have had no reaction to this, they have been nothing but poor since the Premier League got going and, although Howe says he “sees a lot of hurt”, his team have shown no reaction to results that proves this. The 4-1 loss to Newcastle was the absolute pinnacle of poor displays from his side, it was a game they had to win, yet never looked like taking a point on the day.
Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side have also not put in many glowing performances, although their hard fought win last time out against Everton should’ve given them some confidence. Mourinho has been embroiled in a disagreement with rivals Arsenal over their posts on social media in recent days. I said before the Everton game that it could prove to be a distraction, yet they got through that fixture and will need to get through this one too to keep the pace with the Europa League places.
Gimme the Deets:
Teams: AFC Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur
Date: Thursday 9th July 2020
KO Time: 18:00 GMT
Stadium: Dean Court
Managers: Eddie Howe & Jose Mourinho
Referee: Paul Tierney
Where can I watch: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Ultra HD, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky One, Pick TV (UK), Sky Sport Austria, Sky Sport HD 1 (DE)
For AFC Bournemouth, things are looking a shade brighter for their meeting with Tottenham Hotspur, as Callum Wilson looks like he is ready to make a return. Chris Mepham has had an injection in his knee to ensure his fitness and avoid surgery, whilst Steve Cook is also on for a possible return. He was out of the Manchester United game with a hamstring problem
On Tottenham’s side of things, the big news is that Dele Alli remains sidelined with his own hamstring problem. Eric Dier is suspended for this game, but other than that, there are no changes to Tottenham player’s availability.
Are AFC Bournemouth Already Down?
As I said at the start, AFC Bournemouth haven’t even shown a wiggle of a sign that they are fighting against relegation thus far. I was debating the other day with a good colleague of mine, who happens to be a Cherries fan, about whether they can salvage their season and he still shows the hope of a man with a bullet in his stomach.
Despite my assertions that there is no way they are going to get any more points this season, the good colleague was convinced they could even win a couple more games to escape the drop. “We play up against the big teams!” was his bullish response, and to be fair they did beat Spurs in this fixture last season, albeit for the first time in their history as AFC Bournemouth, so perhaps they can spring another upset. They did well to get 2 against United and could’ve scored 4 without offsides and hitting the post after all.
Underdogs in Europa League Race?
Tottenham Hotspur are currently sitting in 10th place in the Premier League. This is not the place that anyone thought Mourinho would lead Tottenham Hotspur to this season, but they still have ample chances to make up the places. They can probably forget about making the Champions League places for now, as the 7-point gap could be too large to bridge with four or five games left.
However, for now the race for Europa League is still well on. Despite Arsenal’s petty shots fired at Spurs, a win here that they will most likely secure will put Mourinho’s men above them in the league. Following that, comes the crunch game where the two North London rivals face off with one another. That could prove crucial for both side’s chances of making Europe, as Sheffield United secured a massive win over Wolves yesterday, despite one brave observer predicting the opposite.