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Bournemouth-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Is there really a Wembley curse?
That will be the question hanging over Tottenham Hotspur when they host Bournemouth at the national stadium on Saturday.
Tottenham's season-long move to Wembley was never likely to go perfectly, but fears that the cavernous arena may prove to be their undoing are looking increasingly real every week.
Spurs (4-2-1) have played three league games at their temporary home so far this season, suffering a loss to rivals Chelsea before playing out disappointing draws with Burnley and Swansea City. And even manager Mauricio Pochettino was willing to accept that there might genuinely be a problem following that most recent home disappointment against the Swans.
"Maybe you are right and Wembley is a problem," the manager said. "We need to move on. I don't think about whether we are playing at Wembley or White Hart Lane, the most important thing is to win."
Saturday's visit of Bournemouth will give Tottenham another chance to get that Wembley monkey off their back and build on a strong start to the campaign - albeit one based on maximum points from four matches away from home.
Despite their Wembley weakness, Spurs are third in the league going into the weekend, with only the Manchester clubs ahead of them in the Premier League table.
The remarkable Harry Kane is the inspiration behind Tottenham's lofty league position, with the England striker's six Premier League goals in September firing his team up the table. However, opposition midfielder Harry Arter says there is much more for his Bournemouth side (1-1-5) to worry about in the Spurs' XI than just Kane.
"I don't think you can focus on one Tottenham player," Arter said. "Harry Kane is in great form at the minute but he has got 10 players behind him feeding him the ball.
"We have had some good games against Tottenham since we have been in the Premier League. We got a result against them at home last year and performed really well. We know how we can stop them, we just have to make sure we are all at it."
Arter may refer to Bournemouth's goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium last season as inspiration for this game, but a glance at the other recent results between the two gives less reason for optimism. In their four matches against Spurs since returning to the top-flight, the Cherries have drawn the once and lost the other three, with a combined score over those fixtures of 12-1 in Tottenham's favour.
That will be a concerning stat for Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, whose side have looked leaky at the back this season in conceding 11 goals in seven matches to-date.
Injuries haven't helped Bournemouth's cause, with goalkeeper Adam Federici and centre-back Tyrone Mings both unavailable for the weekend's game. Callum Wilson, Joshua King, Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith all face late fitness tests.
Tottenham fans were greeted with some good news this week as long-term absentees Erik Lamela and Danny Rose both returned to full training. However, both remain some way off a first-team return, while Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama are doubts for this weekend as they continue to work their way back from ankle and knee injuries respectively.
Updated October 12, 2017