Bournemouth’s run of three consecutive victories can be attributed to a minor tactical tweak that has seen Eddie Howe’s team focus on distributing primarily into the flanks.
Max Gradel’s return from injury and Josh King’s upturn in form (he runs the channels very well) has given them a new cutting edge, and this could hurt Tottenham if the home side continues to situate their full-backs high up the pitch.
Spurs use inverted wingers to overload the centre of the pitch with bodies, relying on high-positioned full-backs to provide width (Eric Dier drops back to become part of a wide back three to help cover Danny Rose and Kyle Walker).
This has occasionally left them vulnerable to the counter-attack, and the away side on Sunday will certainly be looking to this area as a route to goal.
Bournemouth’s passing statistics across their three consecutive league wins highlight the extent to which they are distributing almost exclusively into the flanks in search of Gradel, Matt Ritchie and King.
The key player, then, is Andrew Surman – Bournemouth’s midfield orchestrator whose cross-field passes (85.4% pass accuracy) must be stamped out by Tottenham’s high-pressing system to prevent the counter-attack from building quickly and effectively into the wings.
His head-to-head battle with Mousa Dembele, who hangs back when Spurs are pressing for a goal, could be crucial.
Tottenham vs Bournemouth LIVE ANALYSIS with Stats Zone
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.