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Bournemouth enjoyed their best ever Premier League finish last season under Eddie Howe who guided the minnows to register a place in the top half of the league table. The Cherries, however, have failed to replicate the same this term so far and are currently placed 19th in the league table with 4 points after completion of 7 games.
Following a goalless draw at Dean Court prior to the international break, Bournemouth are set to resume their season with a tricky away fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Spurs are the favourites to win the tie, but the visitors will be desperate to spoil their party and snatch at least a point from the outing in order to revive their messed up campaign.
Howe will be sweating over the injuries of Ryan Fraser and Joshua King as both of them are doubtful for the clash with hamstring injuries. Custodian Adam Federici is already ruled out following his knee surgery whereas Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith – two of Bournemouth’s left-backs are unavailable with their respective lower back and muscle injuries. Forward Callum Wilson is still out following his ACL injury but he is closing in on returning to first-team training.
The young English gaffer has not experimented much with his formation and is expected to stick to his 4-4-1-1 formation with Jermain Defoe as the lone striker up front. Joshua King will be operating from behind if he is declared fit ahead of their trip to Wembley.
The former Chelsea custodian should keep his place in the starting lineup and will be hoping for back to back cleansheets after Bournemouth’s previous outing ended in a scoreless draw against Leicester City. However, he will face a strong test against a rejuvenated Spurs side with Harry Kane up front along with the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son, who are also scoring goals and creating enough threats to the opposition.
Smith has been a regular starter for the Cherries in the right-back slot and should feature against the North London heavyweights on Saturday afternoon. He is good going forward but will need to concentrate more on his defensive duties against a free-scoring Spurs side.
The 32-year-old veteran Englishman should continue in a central defensive role. He will encounter a tough test against Harry Kane, who is currently one of the best strikers in world football.
The 22-year-old former Chelsea centre-back has had a few nervy outings so far but is hailed as a top talent and Howe, known for promoting youth, will rely on the young Dutchman alongside Francis.
Daniels scored a sensational goal in their 2-1 defeat against Manchester City and has been a constant threat with his overlapping runs down the left flank. However, Saturday’s game will be a different assessment for the Englishman as his defensive skills will be tested frequently by Spurs’ lethal attack.
The former England youth international is expected to start on the right flank and must contribute more in Bournemouth’s attack that has been pretty innocuous so far this campaign.
The 31-year-old Englishman is expected to start in midfield with a view to keep things calm in the middle of the park. He must not allow Spurs to dominate and dictate the show, and should try to hold possession as much as possible.
Arter might be preferred over youngster Lewis Cook due to his combativeness and work ethics in midfield. The Republic of Ireland international has had a few inspiring outings and is expected to return to the starting line-up against Spurs this weekend.
Ibe has mostly made substitute appearances for the Cherries and changed their game against Brighton & Hove Albion after coming on as a second-half substitute. Bournemouth were down by a goal but the former Liverpool winger registered two assists and staged a late comeback for his side who finally secured their first win of the new Premier League campaign. Ibe might be preferred over Marc Pugh due to his dribbling, holding ability, pace and crossing skills.
With Josh King doubtful for this clash, expect Afobe to be handed a start alongside Jermain Defoe. The former Arsenal man needs to prove himself and will be itching to perform well if given an opportunity. Joshua King is someone who is hard to replace and Afobe must do well to convince Howe.
The 35-year-old English international forward enjoyed a high-scoring campaign with Sunderland last term and was acquired by Bournemouth this summer on a Bosman transfer. But the veteran marksman has failed to replicate the same so far for his new employers but should be handed a start against his former team.