Tottenham face Wolves on Sunday afternoon and Steve Rawlings fancies them to start fast and assume command after a sorry result against Leeds last week...
“I expect Mason’s men to be up for the fight on Sunday and for them to come out of the blocks fast so Tottenham/Tottenham at around 6/4 looks the way to go here.”
Tottenham v Wolves
Sunday May 16 14:05
Live on Sky Sports
Sorry Spurs look to finish with a flourish
Despite losing their opening game, at home to Everton, Spurs started the 2020/21 season incredibly well.
Under Jose Mourinho, they went on an unbeaten run that stretched from September all the way up until just before Christmas and when they beat Manchester City 2-0 at home to win their fourth game in-a-row, and their sixth in eight matches, on November 21, they climbed to the top of the Premier League.
Having remained at the summit for almost a month, before losing back-to-back games against Liverpool and Leicester, Mourinho's men were matched at a low of 5.69/2 to win the league on December 16. They were also matched at just 1.434/9 to finish inside the top-four and as low as 1.061/18 to finish inside the top-six but here we are with just three games to go and the prospect of European football at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season look bleak.
Participation in next year's Champions League looks an impossibility and they can be backed at around 5/2 on the exchange to finish inside the top-six to qualify for the Europa League.
The decision to sack Mourinho in the week leading up to the Carabao Cup final (which they lost 1-0 to Manchester City) looked like a financially considered judgement given his head-to-head record against Pep Guardiola and Spurs haven't really improved under interim boss, Ryan Mason.
Although only losing to a late Americ Laporte goal in the Carabao Cup final, Spurs never looked like taking the trophy home and after back-to-back Premier League home wins under Mason, against a largely out-of-form Southampton side and the bottom club, Sheffield United, they were tamely beaten by Leeds last weekend.
Mason bemoaned their luck after the game, quite rightly pointing out their misfortune to have Harry Kane's goal ruled off for an almost undeterminably narrow offside margin when the score stood at one apiece, but Leeds were very much the worthy winners and Spurs keeper, Hugo Lloris, made a string of saves to restrict the margin of defeat to 3-1.
The Next Tottenham Manager market is wide-open and Harry Kane's future at the club is in serious doubt. They look like a club in disarray and it's a miserable end to a campaign that started so brilliantly but this is a great chance to restore some pride after last week.
Nuno's Wolves are missing Jimenez's goals
At first glance, Wolves look to have found a bit of form as the season draws to a close but it's not very convincing form.
Wolves have won three of their last five Premier League games but they've been against two relegated sides and a team down to ten men for much of the second half.
A pair of hard-fought 1-0 wins against Fulham and Sheffield United, thanks to goals in the 90th minute and on the hour mark, are nothing to write home about and they were 1-0 down and being outplayed by Brighton at home until Lewis Dunk made the rash decision to haul back Fabio Silva when clean through in the 53rd minute. A move that saw him see red and that changed the game completely.
With the Seagulls down to ten men, Wolves substitute, Adama Traore, hauled them back in the game with an equaliser in the 76th minute before 21-year-old, Morgan Gibbs-White, pinched the points in the 90th minute.
Wolves manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, spoke after the win against Brighton about how he needs to build and improve his youngsters as they look to the future but the biggest issue they've had this season has been the loss of their Mexican striking sensation, Raul Jimenez, who scored 17 Premier League goals last season and 13 the season before.
Wolves are finding goals hard to come by without Jimenez and he's a huge loss.
Spurs can start fast at home again
Given Wolves have won both of their last two away games against Spurs and that away teams have a better success rate (40%) than home teams (37%) in this strangest of fan-less Premier League seasons, Wolves at around the 6/1 mark commands respect but I'm not convinced. Their recent results flatter them somewhat.
As poor as this season has turned out to be for Spurs, they're still a solid team at home and if they avoid defeat on Sunday, they'll edge ahead of West Ham to sit second in the Premier League Home table, with only the champions, Manchester City, ahead of them.
They've been in front at the break in nine of their 17 home games so far this season and they're playing against one of the leagues slowest starters on Sunday.
Wolves have led in only four of their 17 Premier League games and they've been either losing 1-0 (6) or drawing 0-0 (7) in each of the other 13. Nuno typically tries to keep things tight early on and build after the break but I'm not sure they'll keep this Spurs side out until half time if they play like they should do after last weekend's lacklustre display at Leeds.
I expect Mason's men to be up for the fight on Sunday and for them to come out of the blocks fast so Tottenham/Tottenham at around 6/4 looks the way to go here.
I'm not going to leave it at that though. Spurs have lost a whopping 20 points from winning positions so far this season so if they do start fast, there's no guarantee they'll finish the job off and there are a couple of Opta stats that need bearing in mind.
Under Santo, 87 of Wolves' 133 Premier League goals have been scored in the second half (65.4%) and since they returned to the Premier League in 2018-19, only Manchester United have won more points from losing positions than Wolves (51). Small savers on Tottenham/Draw and Tottenham/Wolves at juicy prices look well worth including in the staking plan.
Staked: 58.75 pts
Returned: 62.97 pts
P/L: +4.22 pts