Fair result or not, Wednesday’s draw against Sporting makes it a 3-2-3 record for Tottenham Hotspur in October after a much brighter start to the season. Again, the club remains in good position in both competitions, but the wins need to start coming back soon if that is going to remain the case.
A trip to Bournemouth provides a straightforward opportunity to claim three points. The Cherries sit tied for 12th in the table but have just one win in their last six matches and have lost their three contests against big six opposition by a combined scoreline of 16-0. This has created a league-worst xGD (-12.3) that is nearly double that of the next lowest club (-6.8).
Spurs had stretches against Newcastle and Sporting that were positive, but a complete 90 minutes of play has been hard to find. The level of effort definitely needs to improve, but it should not require substantial upheaval to take down Bournemouth. Nothing has come easily, however, so Tottenham must do whatever is necessary to get back in the win column.
Bournemouth (t-12th, 13pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (3rd, 23pts)
Date: Saturday, October 29
Time: 10:00 am ET, 3:00 pm UK
Location: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, England
TV: Peacock Premium (USA)
Bournemouth is back in the Premier League after a two-year hiatus and it has been a bit of a struggle so far. Scoring under a goal per match while surrendering the most goals in the entire league is not a great recipe for success, yet the Cherries have avoided complete disaster by eking out some lower-event wins and draws.
That strategy could work against Tottenham this weekend, especially on the south coast. Spurs struggle away from home and also when tasked with maintaining possession and working their way through 10 men behind the ball, which is nearly guaranteed to be the situation this weekend.
Antonio Conte apparently saw enough of the 3-5-2 after a pair of defeats and went back to a 3-4-3 in the midweek, electing to start Lucas Moura on the right side of the front three. While opting to have another central midfielder in the formation would not have guaranteed better results, it is hard to justify giving Lucas more starts after failing to do much of anything.
While trying to keep in mind the state of the match, things certainly looked different when Bryan Gil came on the pitch on Sporting. The wild youngster was chasing down everything as always and brought some needed liveliness into a side that desperately required a change. The near come-from-behind victory was not due to him alone, but his addition was certainly a positive.
Is Conte brave enough to start Gil this weekend? History suggests no, but this could be the right time to do it. Bournemouth is likely to sit back and should not require a lot of defending from wherever Gil would play, and rotation is important with a vital match against Marseille on Tuesday and a showdown against Liverpool on Sunday. Spurs are not functioning well, so might as well try something new!