It has been a lively week under new manager Jose Mourinho, with Tottenham Hotspur earning its first away victory in the Premier League in almost a year and then clinching its third straight Champions League Round of 16 appearance. While the level of competition has not necessarily been the toughest, it seems like no opponent has been an easy win in 2019, making each successful outing feel important.
Saturday’s contest with Bournemouth fits into this category. The Cherries have finished in the middle of the table over the past few seasons and enter the contest 11th, a point behind Spurs. Given Mourinho’s history, it is a bit surprising that his first two matches at the helm have yielded 11 total goals scored with relatively open play. Certainly he will want to shore up the defense against Bournemouth, which probably starts in midfield.
An early substitution of Eric Dier on Tuesday validated that the manager’s original formation was not quite working. It will be interesting to see what that means going forward — the defensive midfield positions remain the side’s biggest question mark, although a healthy Tanguy Ndombele would help alleviate some woes. Meanwhile, Dier’s replacement, Christian Eriksen, put in a good shift against Olympiacos, potentially giving him new life.
The middle of the Premier League table continues to be a huge mess, but Spurs finally have a little bit of upward momentum. Against a Bournemouth side that has lost its last two and have just two wins in its past seven, this is another chance to slowly climb back toward fourth place.
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