Both a shell of their former-selves, the clash at the Vitality is crucial for Bournemouth and Tottenham


Both far from where they want and need to be, this has been a campaign to forget for the two sides.

A campaign that started brimming with optimism has all but dissipated for both Bournemouth and Tottenham.

Each one of Spurs’ southwardly travels this season have proven chastening. In October, Spurs were beaten to a pulp in a 3-0 defeat at Brighton, effectively signalling the end of Maurico Pochettino’s five-year tenure.

The turn of a new decade and a new manager wouldn’t help Spurs fortunes either, with Jose Mourinho watching his side be unsuccessful at at St Mary’s on New Years Day. The 1-0 defeat would also come at a price as Harry Kane’s hamstring tear would put him on the sidelines until Project Restart.

Burnley’s victory at West Ham meant Spurs are currently tenth, 11 points away from Leicester City, who occupy the last Champions League spot (proving Manchester City’s Court of Arbitration appeal is granted).

The Vitality Stadium has grown to become something of an ironic title for Eddie Howe’s men. This season, the Cherries have somewhat plaeuted, both in performance and results. Four points adrift of 17th-place Watford, Bournemouth’s Premier League legacy looks in real danger of never being fulfilled.

Injuries, key set-backs and the budding feeling that Howe’s team has gone stale, have all contributed to a horrific recent run which has seen them accrue just one point out of a possible 24.

“For me it means everything to stay in the Premier League. It consumes me,” said Howe speaking on Wednesday. “I know what it means to the people in the club and the supporters. I will fight until the very end to try and stay here. I see a lot of hurt in the dressing room. I see players who really do care.”

There are vast similarities within the two teams past and present fortunes. Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs played with an intensity that only very few could rival. Bournemouth were one of the handful of teams that could compete anywhere close. It wasn’t too long ago that the pair habitually topped charts such as distance ran, tackles made and passes made per defensive action (PPDA).

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League : News Photo

Photo: Getty Images

Yet in recent windows, there has been a failure in the recruitment department to provide ample competition to a settled squad. The side-effect of this is complacency.

With two teams long punching above their weight while still experiencing sustained success, it had meant an ageing squad was allowed to corrode at its very core, with no new additions able to revitalise the wilt.

Both are stuttering towards the end of the campaign and both will be hit with big financial implications if they do not push higher up the table.

Relegation for Bournemouth would be disastrous, particularly with 88 percent of the club’s turnover stemming from Premier League television rights. Meanwhile, no Champions League football for Spurs is likely to have a substantial affect on money made available to Jose Mourinho for the upcoming transfer window.

Dele Alli remains sidelined with a hamstring issue while Eric Dier was handed a four-match ban after jumping into the crowd to confront a supporter in March. Japhet Tanganga and Juan Foyth are also ruled out.

Bournemouth defensive quartet Jack Stacey (calf), Chris Mepham (knee), Charlie Daniels (knee) and Simon Francis (knee), are all out, with Francis’ captaincy successor Steve Cook facing a late fitness test for a thigh injury.

On Thursday, two teams, shells of their former-selves, will meet. Bournemouth and Spurs are currently struggling in different ways, but an end-of season flourish is required at both. Not only for their league position this season, but also each respective club’s long-term health.

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About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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