The start of the season has been overwhelmingly positive for Ange Postecoglou and Tottenham Hotspur, and the immediate future looks even more promising with matches against Bournemouth, Fulham (in the League Cup), Burnley, and Sheffield United next on the list for the new manager.
While a thorough win over Manchester United felt like the club’s most uplifting performance in over a year, Spurs still have some cleaning up to do. Both matches this season have seen the opponent ahead on xG, but this weekend should allow that trend to be reversed as Tottenham heads into this lighter stretch.
Of course, Bournemouth was not the easiest fixture last season, with the away team stealing a late 2-3 win both times. At the Vitality it was Rodrigo Bentancur who grabbed the late winner, though five different players ended up scoring against the Cherries across the two matches.
Even if James Maddison has to sit out Saturday, Postecoglou’s squad should be in good shape to take all three points. With all of the struggles the past 12 months, no fixture ever seemed like a straightforward opportunity, so heading on the road and controlling the match would be another big sign that this club is now different.
Bournemouth (t-14th, 1pt) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (t-4th, 4pts)
Date: Saturday, August 26
Time: 7:30 am ET, 12:30 pm UK
Location: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
TV: USA Network (USA), TNT Sports 1 (UK)
Bournemouth began the season with a draw against West Ham and came up short against Liverpool on Saturday. It will take new manager Andoni Iraola some time to see much tangible progress, but there are some encouraging signs from the first two weeks, including an early goal at Anfield thanks to an active press.
While Iraola might want his squad to control the ball a bit more, the revitalized Tottenham midfield is going to be a tough matchup for the home side. The Cherries will get some help in this department, however, with the addition of favorite American Tyler Adams, though he is unlikely to be a factor this weekend.
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180 minutes is not nearly enough time to cause panic, but it would be nice for Spurs to get some production of their attackers. Heung-Min Son has been lively, but it still remains to be seen if he able to excel on the left under Postecoglou. The same could be said for Dejan Kulusevski, who seen plenty of the ball, but lacks the pace that a prototypical winger might have.
The biggest attention falls on Richarlison, however. The ask is not to fully replace Harry Kane, but many thought (hoped?) that Richarlison might actually be a better fit in this system than the outgoing Kane. Two matches in, that has yet to prove true, and the Brazilian will both have to do a better job getting on the ball and also finishing his chances in order for this to be a positive situation. With a favorable run of fixtures starting this weekend, Richarlison is going to have to take advantage or risk losing his place long-term.