Saturday’s Premier League action kicks off at the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur face each other.
Despite securing top-flight survival, last season ended sorrowly for the Cherries, with four consecutive league defeats towards the end of 2022/23 spelling the end of Gary O’Neil’s tenure.
His successor, Andoni Iraola, has overseen €127 million worth of summer signings in a desperate bid to orchestrate a more sustainable campaign.
But based on the Spaniard’s two-game winless start in the Premier League, our Bournemouth season predictions could be somewhat exaggerated.
Since Bournemouth started both those matches as underdogs, it’s no wonder they’re still in pursuit of their first league triumph since a 4-1 demolition of last season’s relegation boys Leeds United in April.
Tottenham’s visit to the Vitality Stadium hardly plays into Iraola’s hands as the visitors touch down in Dorset seeking a continuation of their decent start to the new domestic campaign.
It looks like Spurs have got used to life without Harry Kane rather well, showing they can pack a punch even without the Englishman’s helping hand.
Following a 2-2 draw at Brentford on the opening weekend, new manager Ange Postecoglou enjoyed a first taste of winning in the Premier League last week.
Manchester United fell victim to the Australian’s maiden success on English soil as an unanswered second-half brace fired Tottenham to a morale-boosting 2-0 victory in London.
Iraola’s defensive strategy worked wonders for his previous club, Rayo Vallecano, but registering clean sheets in the Premier League has proved more daunting than he anticipated.
Bournemouth’s porous backline has now capitulated in ten of their 11 home league outings in 2023 (W3, D3, L5), though if it’s any consolation, they only conceded multiple goals on four occasions.
Against this backdrop, the Cherries have proved well aware of Tottenham’s attacking threat at the Vitality Stadium, recording three shutouts in their last five home league duels.
Although their defence has shown many flaws over the years, Bournemouth can find courage in scoring multiple goals in both last season’s meetings with Spurs (W1, L1).
Beating Man United has got Postecoglou on the brink of becoming the fourth Tottenham manager in the past decade to amass 7+ points in his opening three Premier League matches in the dugout.
Spurs should approach this encounter with cautious optimism, considering they had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in this corresponding fixture last term.
That’s not to mention they lost the reverse clash by that exact scoreline, though that loss forms a minor part of an otherwise dominant H2H record in the Premier League (W8, D2, L2).
No matter what the odds suggest, this won’t be a walk in the park for Tottenham by any stretch of the imagination, especially bringing their travel sickness into the equation.
Except for a 4-1 thumping of Leeds in the 2022/23 season finale, Spurs have gone winless in their remaining eight away league outings since the beginning of February (D3, L5).
This game will come too soon for long-term absentees Marcus Tavernier, Alex Scott and Ryan Fredericks, with the same going for Bournemouth’s newest acquisition, Tyler Adams.
Tottenham will be without Ryan Sessegnon, Bryan Gil and Rodrigo Bentancur for this trip, but there’s a chance Tanguy Ndombele could be summoned.
Bournemouth potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Neto; Max Aarons, Marcos Senesi, Illya Zabarnyi, Milos Kerkez; Philip Billing, Joe Rothwell; Antonie Semenyo, Dango Ouattara, Jaidon Anthony; Dominic Solanke.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario; Destiny Udogie, Micky van de Ven, Christian Romero, Emerson Royal; Yves Bissouma, Oliver Skipp; Heung-min Son, James Maddison, Dejan Kulusevski; Richarlison.
We Say: Bournemouth 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
We may have underestimated Kane-less Spurs in our Tottenham season preview, but if they’re to prove they can finish above eighth, this is a game they cannot afford to lose.
Anything other than a win against Iraola’s ‘work in progress’ Bournemouth side would confirm our suspicions about Spurs’ limitations.
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