Tottenham Hotspur’s opponents this season have exhibited the most success against Spurs when they park the bus against them. However, ahead of Saturdays league match between Bournemouth and Spurs, one Bournemouth player says he expect Eddie Howe’s team to go straight at Tottenham at home, and anticipates an “end to end” match.
Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels is a graduate of Tottenham’s youth academy and even made Spurs’ reserve team but never made his debut for the club. He was sold to Leyton Orient in 2009, where he went on to make 117 appearances for the Os, before joining the Cherries in 2012.
Now a fixture at left back for Howe, Daniels told Bournemouth’s official website that he expects the Cherries to play fast and direct against Tottenham.
“We want to play a high tempo and a fast-attacking game, but I know Spurs will want to do that as well. Hopefully we don’t cancel each other out. It could be a bit end to end.
“I was there [Spurs] for a good number of years when I was young and I still have a lot of friends there who are on the staff. I have a whole load of family and friends that are Spurs fans too, so they’re going to come down and enjoy the game. It’ll be a special occasion for them.
“Personally, it’s about doing a job and not only for me but for the team. We want to win and break their duck.”
This is, shall we say, a risky strategy against Tottenham, a team that will relentlessly press opponents all across the field and thrives when given space to run at defenses. If you think back to the games where Spurs have struggled to get points on the board this season and last – Exhibit A being last weekend at West Brom – they often came in matches against well-structured defenses who put lots of men behind the ball, forcing Spurs to have to tediously work to get opportunities.
However, that’s not Eddie Howe’s style. Under Howe, Bournemouth have tried to play high-tempo, attacking football with a high press, and he’s set the Cherries up to try and win, not just to try and “not lose.” They are a dangerous side, and this approach has worked for them, especially against lower-table opposition; witness last weekend’s 6-1 shellacking of Hull City. They’ll obviously be hoping for a similar performance against Spurs, especially with Toby Alderweireld out of the match.
Bournemouth doesn’t press across the pitch in the same way that Spurs do, but they’re the kind of team that won’t completely abandon the midfield, and they’ll exploit any mistakes that Spurs make while under pressure. If they can force Victor Wanyama (assuming he plays, which is a logical assumption) into making some of the bad passes like we saw from him against Bayer Leverkusen, Bournemouth may have a chance to peg Spurs back on a fast counter through Jordan Ibe and Callum Wilson.
Spurs’ defense is solid enough that even without Alderweireld they should be able to handle whatever Bournemouth throws at them, but the match against the Cherries could be an opportunity to see if Spurs learned anything from the second half battering they took against Bayer on Tuesday.