Tottenham - Norwich City Preview: Dembele in line for debut as Villas-Boas seeks maiden win
The Portuguese boss is still in search of a first Spurs victory as the north London side welcome their former player and coach Chris Hughton and his Canaries side
By Ewan Roberts
Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto
Lennon, Sigurdsson, Bale
Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Garrido
Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington
Younes Kaboul faces up to four months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a knee injury sustained at the end of last season, so William Gallas and Jan Vertonghen are likely to continue their partnership in defence.
New signing Mousa Dembele could start in place of Jake Livermore in central midfield, while Scott Parker (Achilles) is still a couple of weeks away from a return to training. Giovani dos Santos (calf) remains unavailable.
Emmanuel Adebayor looks set to make his first start for Tottenham since returning to the club, and Gylfi Sigurdsson may be selected ahead of Rafael van der Vaart, with the Dutchman flirting with a return to Hamburg.
Chris Hughton rested a number of key players for the Canaries’ clash with Scunthorpe United in the League Cup on Tuesday night, while Elliot Ward (ankle), Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Elliot Bennett (knee) are all doubts.
Wes Hoolahan could be handed his first start in the league this season behind Grant Holt, though a spot on the bench will have to suffice for new signing Mark Bunn.
Sebastien Bassong should start in central defence for Norwich, marking an almost immediate return to the club he left just weeks ago. Leon Barnett is likely partner the Cameroonian, with Michael Turner on the bench.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Gareth Bale hasn’t scored in the league for Tottenham since January, though bagged two goals against Norwich last season.
- Tottenham have hit the woodwork three times so far this season, more often than any other side.
- The match against Norwich will be Andre Villas-Boas’ third in charge of Spurs. His third game in charge of Chelsea was also a visit from Norwich, which resulted in a 3-1 win for the Portuguese manager.
- Jermain Defoe (pictured, right) has had more shots on goal (13) and more shots on target (5) than any other player in the league.
- Six of the last eight encounters between Spurs and Norwich have resulted in an away win.
- Norwich have fielded more players (19) in the league this season than any other team.
- Canaries boss Chris Hughton spent 28 years at White Hart Lane as a player and coach.
- Norwich’s 2-1 win against Tottenham last season was their first victory over the north London outfit since 1993.
- Since beating Tottenham in April, Norwich have won just one league match and conceded 20 goals in seven games.
- Norwich won five away games last season, but never by more than a one-goal margin.
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Top 3 Predictions
Tottenham 0-8 Norwich City
- 20.86 %
Tottenham 2-0 Norwich City
- 14.62 %
Tottenham 3-1 Norwich City
- 11.4 %
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Feb 2014||Norwich City 1 - Tottenham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||14 Sep 2013||Tottenham 2 - Norwich City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Jan 2013||Norwich City 1 - Tottenham 1|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||31 Oct 2012||Norwich City 2 - Tottenham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||1 Sep 2012||Tottenham 1 - Norwich City 1|
|19 Apr 2014||Tottenham 3 - Fulham 1||EPL|
|12 Apr 2014||West Bromwich Albion 3 - Tottenham 3||EPL|
|7 Apr 2014||Tottenham 5 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|30 Mar 2014||Liverpool 4 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
|23 Mar 2014||Tottenham 3 - Southampton 2||EPL|
Dembele has never been on the losing side against Norwich, creating a goal at Carrow Road last season and bossing the midfield in Fulham’s 5-0 demolition of the Canaries on the opening day of the season. The Belgian attempted 73 passes with 96% accuracy.
Spurs’ likely centreback pairing of Gallas and Vertonghen struggled to contain Romelu Lukaku last week, and Holt presents a similar problem. His physical presence, aerial threat and directness could unnerve the Spurs backline.