Two top-four challengers seeking to right the wrongs of midweek do battle in North London on Sunday as Tottenham Hotspur take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
The hosts fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to Southampton last time out, while Bruno Lage’s side could not get the better of 10-man Arsenal as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat.
Antonio Conte’s fiery touchline exchange did not appear to galvanise his troops during the visit of Southampton, as the Italian cut a much more dejected figure once the final whistle blew and the Saints dashed over to the away crowd to celebrate with their supporters.
Spurs had twice gone ahead through Jan Bednarek’s own goal and Son Heung-min’s effort but made the fatal mistake of allowing James Ward-Prowse too much time on the ball, with the England international’s crosses meeting the heads of Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams in a memorable Saints win.
Conte admitted that Spurs were “too emotional” after his own outburst on the night, as the Lilywhites failed to take advantage of Manchester United’s slip-up and remain seventh in the table – four points behind West Ham United with three games in hand.
Tottenham have made a bit of a habit of winning one then losing one in recent weeks – which bodes well for this encounter if the pattern continues – but not since the days of Nuno Espirito Santo in September have Spurs lost three on the bounce in the Premier League.
Spurs did at least keep up their hot goalscoring streak against Southampton – now finding the back of the net at least twice in their last six home games in the Premier League – but a resolute Wolves defence may very well have the answer to that potent attack.
In a game that was overshadowed by one of the most bizarre red cards that the Premier League has ever seen, Bruno Lage made his frustrations known at the full-time whistle as Arsenal’s 10 men held on to a 1-0 to boost their top-four hopes at the expense of Wolves’.
Gabriel Magalhaes poked home into an empty net following a corner in the first half – although Lage was adamant that Jose Sa was the victim of a foul by Alexandre Lacazette – and Wolves could not find a leveller after Gabriel Martinelli received two yellow cards in the same passage of play.
As admirable as their defensive resilience has been in recent times, Wolves’ lack of ruthlessness in the final third cost them dear once more, and this weekend’s visitors to the capital remain in eighth spot – two points behind Spurs having played a game more.
Back-to-back 1-0 home defeats is hardly what the doctor ordered for Wolves as they try to keep their fleeting top-four hopes alive, but Lage’s men travel to North London having won each of their last three Premier League away games and will endeavour to take a leaf out of Southampton’s book here.
A penalty from now-Everton playmaker Dele Alli propelled Spurs to a 1-0 win at Molineux earlier in the season after the Lilywhites won 2-0 at home last term, but they needed penalties to see off the Molineux side in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form:
Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions):
We say: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
The possible introduction of Chiquinho and return of Hwang ought to give Wolves that extra attacking injection needed to make this game count, as Spurs’ defensive frailties are there to be exposed.
Neither manager will be content with a point, although at least one of these two sides will suffer another setback in their bid for Champions League football, and we think this one has a draw written all over it.