With no more cup distractions, Tottenham will now be focusing all of their efforts on trying to make up the gap to the top of the Premier League, beginning at home to in-form Bournemouth on Sunday.
It was quite obvious from his team selections that manager Mauricio Pochettino saw the Europa League as little more than an unnecessary distraction as Spurs were well beaten 5-1 on aggregate by a far superior Borussia Dortmund. However, there are few sides better than them domestically at present as they continue to fight for the title, a tilt which got itself back on track with a routine win away to bottom club Aston Villa last weekend.
Two quick goals either side of half-time were enough to settle that encounter, both of which came about through superb combination play between Dele Alli and Harry Kane. That is a very positive sign for the future as much it is for the present in terms of both club and country, and there are few players in the English top-flight performing better than Kane at present. His all-round game has developed immeasureably this season, with the confidence having flowed ever since he hit a hat-trick in October’s reverse fixture.
If it had not been already, Bournemouth’s Premier League status for next season was all but confirmed with an incident-packed win over Swansea City in their previous game. It was a typically open affair which saw Max Gradel manage to score his first goal since arriving at the club from St. Etienne last summer. After an injury-disrupted campaign he is beginning to show the quality that he possesses, and so will be a massive threat to Spurs in this one.
As the months have gone by, it has been clear to see the progress that the Cherries have made in taking the step-up from the Championship with a number of players with no top-level experience. The top half may even now be in their sights, especially if they can maintain the clinical edge in front of goal that the have developed of late. Tottenham will look to get on the front foot as they always do at White Hart Lane, but the visitors will be a huge threat on the break.
The hosts are likely to be without Ben Davies, and will assess Eric Dier after he sustained a knock to the face against Dortmund on Thursday.
Bournemouth could go with an unchanged line-up as Junior Stanislas is still out with a hamstring problem and Harry Arter is a major doubt.
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