Bournemouth v Tottenham
Thursday July 9, 17:00
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Relegation looms large for Cherries
The Cherries are running out of time and games to make sure they're in this division next year. It's quite an achievement these days to score two goals at Old Trafford but it's not much use when you concede five.
That was their fifth defeat in a row and that was their ninth goal they conceded in just two games so not hard to see where their problems lie. It was also their seventh loss in eight games and their 20th of the campaign.
A loss here with the likes of Watford and West Ham picking up points and they may find the task in front of them become unbearable.
At least they have Callum Wilson back after suspension and he and Joshua King will be charged with creating some of that old magic between them here. But it's really in defence that the problems lie and there's no quick fix for that.
Only one talking point...
In years to come no-one will remember that a Michael Keane own goal split the sides in a pretty uneventful match on a Monday night at White Hart Lane. But what we probably will remember is that we 'almost' had a repeat of that famous incident between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer from a decade and a half ago.
On the half-time whistle of Monday's match against Everton, Hugo Lloris rushed after Heung-Min Son and had to be held back by team-mates. To say it was 'almost' a repeat is admittedly going a bit far because Son never really looked too fussed about getting physical with his skipper. Still, for such a normally mild-mannered man, Son has actually been sent off twice this season (one rescinded) and got into a 'scrap' with his team-mate.
Inevitably, Jose Mourinho called it 'beautiful' and the consensus was that it's because players care. It may be but it may also be an insight into a side that lacks direction and discipline in equal measure. After all, they may have won this one but it was less than a week ago they were going down 3-1 at Sheffield United.
Giovani Lo Celso has been excellent the past few games and how they wish they'd had him available all season. Harry Kane carries on trying to get back to full fitness at last.
We can't justify Spurs' price
Spurs are 1.75/7 to win the game and I can't be having that. Yes, they're 21 points better off, won 3-2 at home earlier on in the season against Eddie Howe's side and have a good record against Bournemouth, winning seven of their last nine against them. We've already gone through the Cherries' remarkably poor recent form and made the point that their season-long form isn't much better.
But still. I'm far from convinced by this Spurs side that's all of a sudden gone a bit too creative in the heart of midfield and carries on looking pretty vulnerable at the back. Sheffield, hardly a side who score freely, got three past them and just before the break, so did RB Leipzig.
Without over-thinking things too much, it's too short a price on a flaky side against one who absolutely must get something from this game and at least has a few weapons in attack of its own. The hosts' best chance may well be that this goes into a shootout with plenty of goals and that a game like that works out for them. Let's hope so.
Stats point to goals
Overs are priced up at 1.84/5 and you can see why - 75 % of Spurs away matches this season (Opta) have had at least three goals and for the Cherries' home games, the number is still high at 62.5%. Add to the equation that six of the last nine between these two have gone over 2.5 goals and you can see why that looks like a good price, especially when remembering that the last two games for the hosts ended 1-4 and 2-5.
It's 2.26/5 on unders but it's not easy to make a case for that outcome, so we won't.
Kane and Son will surely play here from the start but they're not exactly available at great prices to score with the former 5/6 and the latter 13/10. Lucas Moura is slightly more acceptable at 21/10 but he's not a certain starter.
If you're going to play this market, your best strategy might be to back both Joshua King (3/1) and Callum Wilson (21/10) to score. The smart money is on Bournemouth getting at least one goal and between them, they've scored 13 of the Cherries' 32 goals this season. Split stakes and hope one of them can grab one to be certain of being in profit.