OPPONENTS Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 15th December 2019
PREVIEW Hopefully, Tottenham should be restored to almost full strength of the visit to Molineux on Sunday.  After the pale performance in Munich, we are after league points that will try to steal a march on Chelsea, who dropped points on Saturday. 

Wolves have been playing well since moving up to the top flight, with manager Nuno Espírito Santo having made some shrewd signings and employed some sharp tactics.  Their win against us at Wembley was well deserved and they exploited the weaknesses in our team at that time with hard work and some very good passing.

With a late equaliser depriving them of a win at Brighton last time out in the Premier League, Wolves are on an eleven match unbeaten run since losing 2-5 to Chelsea at home.   Most recently, hey have beaten West Ham United London, Aston Villa and Bournemouth, while drawing with Sheffield United.  Perhaps their most impressive result was a 2-0 away win at Manchester City.

With Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio, they have a good shot stopper, but he is questionable when it comes to his handling.  The defence contains the marauding right back Matt Doherty, who is often linked to other PL clubs  In the absence of Willy Boly, the central defensive partnership is Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett.  Bennett is slow to turn, so a nippy player up against him could gain the benefit of that, with Coady looking a good player on the ball, but sometimes loses his positioning in the defence, allowing opposition strikers space.  Belgian Dendoncker has played in the back four, but is normally employed in midfield, while Max Kilman is a youngster who has been thrown into the defence too.

The Midlands side's strength is in midfield and attack.  Maybe Mourinho will know about Moutinho and devise a plan to stop him running the game if he plays.  Ageing legs don't help him get around as he used to, but he has a great range of passing and with willing forwards to make runs, he will more often than not pick them out.  Jonny is one of them, as a wide midfielder who likes ot get on the end of things, as does Diego Jota, as his midweek hat-trick showed.  Raul Jimenez is a poacher, but can also run at defences to score, so he will be a danger man in the Wolves attack, while Adama Traore is a powerfully built runner with the ball, although his decision making is a little questionable at times.  Former AC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone joined in the summer and is a promising young forward, who is finding his Premier League feet now.  That is not forgetting Ruben Neves, who is a dead ball expert, both assisting and scoring.

The main issue Wolverhampton have is that once through about 15 players, they are down to a large number of young players in the squad.  Recent benches and the game against Besiktas in midweek featured a lot of players who don't have many appearances between them.

Spurs are looking good going forward and Mourinho will have been working on tightening up the back line and the defensive midfield unit, although it didn't seem to work in Germany.  Wolves have home advantage and will be looking to snuff out the danger sin the Spurs side, but with so many, it is interesting to see how they intend to do it.  While the three points would be most welcome, Spurs will have to take the game to the home team with a bit of crisp passing, good tempo and a desire to take the chances that are created.  Wolves will have something to say about that and I expect them to raise their game and  deny Spurs and keep their unbeaten run going, especially as they seem to be the Premier League draw specialists.

PREDICTION Wolverhampton Wanderers    2        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Spurs travel to the Black Country without Ben Davies (ankle), Hugo Lloris (elbow), Michel Vorm (calf), Erik Lamela (hamstring) and Tanguy Ndombele (groin).  Having played a mixed team in Munich, Jose Mourinho will revert to a tried and tested XI with some of the players who stayed at home coming back into the side.

First team players will be returned ot the side after being rested against Besiktas in midweek.


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TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 14:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers  1 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (2)

Traore  66m 15s



Moura  07m 26s
Vertonghen  90+0m 12s

Crowd :   31,674 Weather :  Started
Referee :  Stuart Attwell (Nuneaton) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Dan Rowbotham; Mr. Darren Cann
Fourth Official :  Simon Hooper  
Video Assistant Referee :  David Coote Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Stephen Child
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Jack Harris stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 minutes.
Moutinho (foul on Son)  60 
Jonny  (foul on Moura)  65
Saiss  (foul on Moura)  75
Dendoncker  (foul on Kane)  86


Sanchez  (foul on Jota)  64
Alderweireld  (foul on Traore)  69
Dier  (foul on Traore)  77
Kane  (foul on Traore)  83


Wolverhampton Wanderers : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

27  Romain SAISS     
  Conor COADY
39  Leander DENDONCKER     
  JONNY Otto     

  8  Ruben NEVES
  Joao MOUTINHO     
  Diego JOTA
  2  Matt DOHERTY

37  Adama TRAORE 

  9  Raul JIMENEZ

Unused subs: 
21  John RUDDY
  Pedro NETO
  Patrick CUTRONE

  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

24  Serge AURIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ     
  4  Toby ALDERWEIRELD     

15  Eric DIER     
7  Moussa SISSOKO

27  Lucas MOURA    (23  Christian ERIKSEN  89)
20  DELE Alli  (  8  Harry WINKS  90+2)
  7  Heung-Min SON  (21  Juan FOYTH  90+2)

10  Harry KANE  (c)     

Unused subs: 
18  Giovani LO CELSO
29  Oliver SKIPP

Manager :  Nuno Espirito Santo Manager :  Jose Mourinho
Sponsor :   ManBet Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

A win in a game where Wolves pressed forward incessantly showed that Spurs are putting some steel back into their performances and a last gasp winner is a trait we have also not seen for a while, so Vertonghen's added time goal was welcomed on a lot of levels as Spurs eked out a 2-1 win at Molineux.  The rain made the game a bit of a lottery and it was lucky nobody was sent off, as the tackles went sliding in, but Tottenham kept their cool in the freezing downpour to take three valuable points back to London.

The match had started like a steam train, with both sides restored to reasonably full strength and Spurs sporting an unusual navy blue shirts and shorts, with white socks combination.  Looking like Southend, it would have been a worry if we had played like that, but both sides had early opportunities.  Kane and Moura both failed to control the ball and Jota had a run brought to an end by an Aurier tackle.

A Son shot from the left was beaten away by Patricio to the outside of the area, where Dier won the ball in the air and knocked it right to Lucas Moura.  Making a diagonal run into the right corner of the box, he struck a rising shot that flew past the keeper at his near post to give Tottenham the lead.  It was a cracking shot and Lucas does like scoring at Molineux.

While Wolves looked to get at Spurs, when the attacks broke up, Tottenham looked dangerous on the break, with Dele taking the ball on to force Patricio to block a shot from a tight angle.   Wolves' only real threat in the first 20 minutes was when the home side played the ball around and Jimenez glances a header that went wide, this coming after Traore tried a shot that Gazzaniga took comfortably.  Jimenez should have done better after Wolves worked the ball down their left wing and as the ball came across the striker sliced a shot wide when he should have done better.

Diego Jota was causing problems when he was running at the Tottenham defence and when he took on Davinson Sanchez, his shot was blocked as he broke into the area and the pressure was building on the Tottenham goal.  With corners and lots of possession, there were few worrying moments, but when Patricio had to hurry to keep a back-pass in play, his clearance came to Spurs and was played diagonally to Dele and the dinked pass over the defence to Dier allowed him to shoot first time.  It was desperately unlucky to come out off the base of the upright with the goalkeeper beaten.  A goal then to make it 2-0 would have been a little hard on Wolves, but would have set Spurs up nicely.  Aurier was alert at the back post to head it out for a corner after Traore had beaten Vertonghen to put a cross in, but that was about it for the first half.

When the second half started, it did so as quickly as the first, Doherty ran into the area and had his shot saved, with Moura failing to take Dele's pass in and losing the chance to have a shot.  Jimenez was tackled in the area, Spurs broke with Vertonghen and then Jota drove forward but the Spurs shirts were back in force.  It was end to end stuff, with Wolves perhaps having the best of the possession as the rain teemed down.  Kane went down under pressure from a defender and it looked like a shove, but Attwell waved play on.  It was a back to the walls defensive effort to keep Wolves out as they pressed forward, but again, Moura ran up the field on the right and squared to Dele, who shifted it to his right foot and then bent a shot just wide from the 18 yard line. 

With an hour gone the game all kicked off, with three quick yellow cards and the Wolves players were in the referee's face all the time.  When Moura had the ball taken off him on the halfway line, it was played forward to Jimenez, with it coming off his leg and onto his hand.  He squared it to Traore to his right, who moved forward a short distance before firing a shot past Gazzaniga from a yard outside the box.  It looked like a clear handball, as his arm was away from his body, but the VAR allowed it and the goal was awarded.

Toby wiped out Traore to earn a booking, but a flag giving Son offside drew Son's attention away from going in on goal and then VAR looked at a possible penalty for Spurs when Kane was downed in the area, but again, the ruling went Wolves' way.  The driving rain weren't helping the flow of the game, but Son ran away with the ball before using Dele and Sissoko, but when the ball was played in, it went straight to Patricio.  For all the pressure, Tottenham still looked dangerous with the ball coming out of the defence.  Moura was once more hacked down by Saiss and the referee showed a yellow card, before VAR confirmed that a red card review was rejected.  It was all very confusing.  Dier was then booked when he took out Traore without looking like getting the ball, but the wet conditions made it a long slide with his feet low.

Kane had a couple of chances, with a header from Moura's shot, but it was straight into the keeper's hands and then he tried a shot that he got all wrong and it went way into the stand.  Traore then had a chance with a header, but couldn't convert it, but when Kane brought down Traore and got a yellow card, when the free-kick came in, Moutinho flicked a header that Gazzaniga saved very well and Jota got to the loose ball, but fired wide.  Dele almost got in behind Dendoncker, but the defender just got a toe to the ball to take it away from the Spurs midfielder.  Every tackle was wanted as a decision in their favour by the home crowd, but they weren't getting them and when Traore went over in the Tottenham box when challenged by Jan Vertonghen, it was no penalty and Wolves played on, until they lost it and Dendoncker pushed Kane over to stop any progress the Spurs captain may have made.

Eriksen replaced Moura and it was he who first  in the free-kick that won a corner that he crossed for Jan Vertonghen to stoop and head downwards past Patricio's dive to his right as he ran away from goal towards the penalty spot.  It was a great run to meet the ball and to get the ball down so that it skidded past the keeper and in to hand Spurs a late lead.    Super Jan popped up with a crucial goal !  He had an unchallenged run on the ball from the far post and actually ran towards Moutinho, who put in a half-hearted effort to get to the ball and Jan's header went past five defenders and the goalkeeper to din it's way into the keeper's right hand bottom corner of the Wolves net. 

With added time running out, Wolves tried to pull an equaliser out of the hat, but the only chance fell to Jota, who blazed it wide.  The final whistle brought boos for Spurs from the home crowd, but I am not sure why, as their side were as guilty as Tottenham in picking up four yellow cards each, but perhaps they just thought it was not fair that they were beaten.  It was a dogged performance by Spurs, who had to defend stoically, but there was always the threat that Tottenham could get a goal when they were up the other end, VAR or no VAR.

You could say it was an inspired substitution by Mourinho that turned the match Tottenham's way in the last minute, but how often have we seen corners not reach the far post, so we will have to congratulate Christian Eriksen's delivery, but Jose for putting him there to do so.  Jan's fine run to meet it and turn it into a goal should not be overlooked as it was a good piece of anticipation by the Belgian for his first goal of the season.

All in all, a good, if wet, day out and the home crowd soon skulked away as the Spurs fans were left singing in the rain !

Trevor Whiston

Match facts

Dele Alli's 200th Spurs appearance.

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How the players did
Paulo Gazzaniga Made a fine stop to Saiss' header at the death and had little chance with Traore's goal, but produced some valuable stops in difficult conditions for goalkeepers.
Serge Aurier Another more solid performance by Serge.  Not as attacking as he has been, but looked to stop Wolves getting into dangerous positions.
Toby Alderweireld Another very good match, with some strong blocks and challenges.  In tandem with Sanchez, they ar elooking better as a pair.
Davinson Sanchez Solid game and coped well with the Wolves forwards.
Jan Vertonghen Headed  late winner, but stuck to his task at the back under pressure and trying conditions.
Eric Dier Stuck to his task and nearly scored in the first half.
Moussa Sissoko Not as offensive as he has been and didn't look to play the ball forward as much, but set up Son's shot that led to Moura's strike.
Heung-Min Son Fired in the shot that lead to the first goal and put in a good shift always looking to break on Wolves.
Lucas Moura Smashed a rocket of a first goal and chased well, leading breakaways with his pace.  Should be utilised more often in that role.
Dele Alli A nuisance to the Wolves defence when Spurs attacked.  Did a good amount of work off the ball with little reward.  Nice touch to set up Dier to hit the post.
Harry Kane Worked tirelessly and could have been on the right end of a couple of penalties shouts on another day.
Christian Eriksen Instant impact with two good deliveries into the box.  If he is going to get on the pitch, this is what we need from Eriksen.
Harry Winks Little opportunity to get involved, but brought on to preserve lead.
Juan Foyth Little opportunity to get involved, but brought on to preserve lead.
Alfie Whiteman Unused.
Oliver Skipp Unused.
Ryan Sessegnon Unused.
Giovani Lo Celso Unused.


What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Liverpool 2 Watford 0 Saturday
Burnley 1 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Sheffield United 2 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Norwich City 1 Saturday
Southampton 0 West Ham United London 1 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Everton 1 Sunday
Arsenal 1 Manchester City 3 Sunday
Crystal Palace 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Monday



League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 17 16 1 0 42 14 49 +28
2 Leicester City 17 12 3 2 41 11 39 +30
3 Manchester City 17 11 2 4 47 19 35 +28
4 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 17 9 2 7 31 25 29 +6
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17 7 5 5 32 24 26 +8
6 Manchester United 17 6 7 4 23 19 25 +5
7 Sheffield United 17 6 7 4 21 16 25 +5
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 5 9 3 24 21 24 +3
9 Crystal Palace 17 6 5 6 15 19 23 -4
10 Woolwich Wanderers 17 5 7 5 24 27 22 -3
11 Newcastle United 17 6 4 7 17 24 22 -7
12 Burnley 17 6 3 8 22 29 21 -7
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 17 5 5 7 21 25 20 -4
14 Bournemouth 17 5 4 8 19 24 19 -5
15 West Ham United London 17 5 4 8 22 29 19 -7
16 Everton 17 5 3 9 20 29 18 -9
17 Aston Villa 17 4 3 10 21 28 15 -7
18 Southampton 17 4 3 10 18 36 15 -18
19 Norwich City 17 3 3 11 18 35 12 -17
20 Watford 17 1 6 10 9 32 9 -23

Position before match :  7th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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