By Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
AFC Bournemouth fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, which sees the Cherries sit in 19th place after only one win so far this season.
The south-coast team held their own in the first half, with a missed chance for Junior Stanislas and a stunning save from Spurs’ Hugo Lloris keeping the score locked at 0-0 heading into the interval. However, Bournemouth’s hard work was undone at the start of the second half when Christian Eriksen drilled home a low effort, to ensure Eddie Howe’s men left the capital empty-handed.
Howe made two changes from his side’s last fixture against Leicester City, with Jermain Defoe and Marc Pugh both dropping to the bench, while Steve Cook and Dan Gosling were named in the starting line-up.
Spurs started off the first half brightly, as they comfortably retained possession and caused danger down the Wembley touchlines. The Cherries proved to be more than a match for Mauricio Pochettino’s side at points, although Steve Cook had to defend well to prevent Eriksen latching onto an inviting through ball.
Dele Alli hooked over an effort from the Dane, before Junior Stanislas carved out the away side’s first real chance of the game. The winger unleashed a shot towards goal which looked to be heading into the net, before it struck Davinson Sanchez and deflected behind for a corner. The Cherries’ players call for handball were waved away by referee Robert Madley.
Bournemouth then came even closer to opening the scoring, as Eric Dier inadvertently sent a delivery from a corner towards his own goal. Hugo Lloris had to be at his athletic best to plunge low and push the deflection away.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been in scintillating form this season, and met Christian Eriksen’s curled delivery around the Bournemouth back-line. In a rare lapse of clinical finishing Kane unleashed a scuffed half-volley towards goal, but Asmir Begovic parried the shot away.
Eddie Howe’s men held off the home side until the half-time whistle, and quietened the crowd inside Wembley.
However just two minutes into the second half the stadium was bouncing, as Tottenham opened the scoring. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son combined excellently, and laid off to Eriksen who broke into the penalty area. The tricky playmaker evaded the sliding challenge of Simon Francis and stroked the ball hard and low across Begovic into the bottom corner.
The opener breathed new life into the Tottenham players, who began to pose more danger for the Cherries’ five defenders. Harry Kane nodded the ball into the net after a pinpoint Kieran Trippier delivery, although the effort was ruled out for offside.
The home side began to move the ball quicker, and the extra incisiveness should have resulted in yet another goal for Harry Kane this season.
Kane had two close-range attempts at goal but Begovic spread himself quickly and decisively, producing a superb double-save to keep Bournemouth in the game.
Eddie Howe introduced former-Spurs man Jermain Defoe, as well as the bright Jordan Ibe for the final quarter of the game. The two substitutes almost made an instant impact after Ibe reversed a fantastic pass to Defoe, who struck hard and low towards goal. The effort was saved by Lloris once again, who threw out a trailing foot at his near post to preserve all three points for the North-London side.
As the game reached its final stages, Spurs began to flood forward to finish the game off. Begovic was called into action twice in the final 15 minutes to deny both Eriksen and Nkoudou; the latter with a sliding challenge outside of the penalty area, although the referee deemed it to be a foul and showed the Bosnian a yellow card.
Spurs held on for the victory, which sends them into third place and keeps them in the hunt for the title. The Cherries, however, look ahead to their game against Stoke next Saturday with mounting worries that a relegation dogfight is a real prospect this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth)
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane
Subs: Vorm, Nkoudou, Sissoko, Llorente, Foyth, Aurier, Walker-Peters
Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Ake, Daniels, L. Cook, Surman, Stanislas, Gosling, King
Subs: Boruc, Pugh, Arter, Afobe, Defoe, Mousset, Ibe
Referee: Robert Madley