AFC Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur preview: Cherries enter last-chance saloon as Tottenham roll into town
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After five years in the top flight, AFC Bournemouth's Premier League status remains in huge jeopardy with just five games of an unprecedented season left to play, as Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Vitality Stadium on Thursday evening.

The Cherries are approaching the point of no return after Watford pulled four points clear of the drop zone against the near-doomed Norwich City on Tuesday night, and whilst West Ham United missed the opportunity to all-but guarantee safety in their home loss to Burnley on Wednesday, a rapid change in fortunes is still required.

Taking something from the visit of the North Londoners then is a must for Bournemouth, with boss Eddie Howe keenly aware that even a point may not be enough come July 26.

They visitors meanwhile are still looking for consistency under the guise of Jose Mourinho, who remain in the picture for a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot next term, four points off the top six but with a game in hand.  

  • Crumbs of hope?

The hosts would have been encouraged by their showing at Old Trafford last weekend in netting twice against an-again rampant Manchester United goal machine, however the final result still carried an ‘L’  – Bournemouth’s fifth league defeat on the bounce.

Whilst at home their record has read a little rosier this term, Howe’s men have still only picked up 13 points at Dean Court this campaign, a statistic which as left the Cherries in their current plight.

Without the spoils of former goal-getter-in-chief Callum Wilson, the return to the fold of David Brooks has yet to bare fruit either and with games and indeed hope of survival dwindling, Bournemouth are in dire need of a rescue remedy.

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  • Off-colour Lilywhites

The visitors however, may not be the worst opposition to face in their current incarnation. Still caught in at a crossroads between attack and defence under the cautious Portuguese steward, Spurs limped to a 1-0 win against Everton last time out and away from home are even less sure-footed.

Spurs have just one win on the road since the ushering in of the Mourinho era – a 3-2 victory against Aston Villa back in February – and even before his arrival, have kept just one solitary clean sheet all term away from the capital, having also conceded at least twice on no less than 11 occasions.

Though talisman Harry Kane is now fully fit after injury, the England front-man is yet to regain his touch in front of goal, whilst a lack of creativity in midfield has left the Spurs attack rather subdued since the restart.

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  • Last time out

Though goals have been at a premium for both sides, when the duo met back in November five goals were shared at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as both Dele Alli and Harry Wilson grabbed braces.

After Spurs had taken a commanding three-goal lead through Alli and a rare Moussa Sissoko strike, the Cherries winger then pulled a goal back before doubling his tally with the final kick of the game in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

This will be the tenth time the sides have met in the Premier League, with Bournemouth's only victory coming in the same fixture last season in the penultimate game of the season, when Nathan Ake scored a 90th-minute winner.

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  • Team News

Eddie Howe is still unsure whether the defensive quartet of Jack Simpson, Chris Mepham, Steve Cook and Simon Francis will be available for the visit of Spurs.

Striker Callum Wilson however, is available after serving a two-game suspension.

The visitors are without Eric Dier who begins his four-game ban, whilst Dele Alli could miss out again with the same hamstring complaint kept him out of the Everton win. Japhet Tanganga and Juan Foyth are both definitely out however. 

  • Predicted XIs: 

AFC Bournemouth: Ramsdale; Smith, Kelly, Ake, Rico; Brooks, Billing, Lewis Cook, Stanislas; King, Callum Wilson.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Lucas, Lo Celso, Son, Kane.

 

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