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Preview: Cardiff City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Cardiff City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the Premier League meeting between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur.
By , Senior Reporter | 5mo

Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to quickly respond from their fifth Premier League defeat of the season when they make the trip to Cardiff City on New Year's Day.

The Lilywhites fell to a shock 3-1 loss at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday and most now pick themselves up for the last of their festive fixtures.

Cardiff City

At the same time that Tottenham were throwing away a one-goal lead to lose against Wolves, Cardiff were plugging away at the King Power Stadium and came away with their first away win of the campaign.

After a long wait that had seen the Bluebirds go six games on their travels without so much as picking up a point, they have now held Crystal Palace and defeated Leicester City in back-to-back matches.

A positive week for Cardiff positions them three points clear of the dropzone ahead of a big month that will see the Welsh outfit face two of their immediate relegation rivals.

After welcoming Tottenham to South Wales on Tuesday and facing Gillingham in the FA Cup third round four days later, Neil Warnock must then prepare his side for games against Huddersfield Town (20th) and Newcastle United (15th).

City will be on a high on the back of their first top-flight away win since April 2014, which was secured through a fine late strike from Victor Camarasa, though credit must also be reserved for Neil Etheridge for his third penalty save of the season.

Camarasa's strike means that Cardiff have now netted 11 of their past 13 Premier League goals in the second half of matches. Of the 19 goals scored overall by Warnock's men, meanwhile, 13 have come on home soil.

It is at the Cardiff City Stadium where Cardiff have been at their best this term, beating Brighton & Hove Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton in successive matches recently, though that positive run came to a grinding halt last week when thrashed by Manchester United.

Warnock will be confident of avoiding a repeat of the 5-1 loss at the hands of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's rejuvenated side, though Cardiff's record against the division's established top six - both this term and in their only previous Prem campaign - suggests that a point would be considered a major positive.

Recent form in Premier League: LWLLDW

Tottenham Hotspur

With a quarter of their match with Wolves to go, Tottenham were a goal to the good and seemingly cruising towards a win that would take them to within three points of the Premier League summit.

Harry Kane's 157th goal in Spurs colours put the hosts in control, but Mauricio Pochettino's surprise decision to sit back and protect the narrow lead would come back to haunt him and his side, as Wolves scored three times in 15 minutes at the end of the match to claim all three points.

Pochettino insisted after the match that his players "are not machines" as they felt the effects of what has been a gruelling month, with their first home loss in seven matches enough to derail the Lilywhites' title bid just as it had started to gather momentum.

Tottenham still find themselves third in the table and well positioned to achieve their minimum target of a top-four finish, and with half of the season to play Pochettino's side are also still in the hunt for silverware on three other fronts.

After suffering a first defeat to a newly-promoted side at the 28th attempt, Pochettino will now be desperate to get back to winning ways in order to keep some pressure on Liverpool, who saw off Arsenal shortly after Tottenham's loss to Wolves to widen the gap at the top.

Spurs have Man United to come next month in the league and a double-header against Chelsea in the EFL Cup semi-finals, so it is key that the momentum recently built up - when winning 12 out of 14 games - returns at the start of what could be a year of many highs.

For that to happen, the Lilywhites must hit back in the Welsh capital on Tuesday to dismiss suggestions that, once again, they are unable to handle the pressure that comes with challenging at the top end of the table.

Back-to-back defeats at the hands of newly-promoted clubs, however, and the bubble will well and truly have burst, giving further fuel to those who continue to label Pochettino's men as 'bottlers'.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWWL

Team News

Warnock heavily rotated his side for the trip to Leicester by making five changes, including midfield returns for Aron Gunnarsson and Harry Arter.

With a week off approaching, assuming Warnock fields a weakened side in the FA Cup trip to Gillingham, the veteran manager may well go with a near-identical starting lineup against Spurs.

Kenneth Zohore is still struggling with a thigh injury, meaning that Callum Paterson will continue to be deployed up top, though Bobby Reid may come in for one of Junior Hoilett or Josh Murphy in the wide areas.

Elsewhere, Joe Bennett will be pushing for a recall at left-back in place of Greg Cunningham after sitting out the full 90 at the King Power Stadium.

In terms of the visitors, Pochettino is likely to continue with his rotation policy at full-back, so Kyle Walker-Peters - or Serge Aurier, fitness depending - and Danny Rose can expect to start.

Dele Alli lasted 70 minutes before being replaced by Lucas Moura on his return to the side against Wolves, and Pochettino must decide whether to start with the Englishman in Cardiff or bring him off the bench.

With Eric Dier still not back in training and Victor Wanyama nursing a knee injury, Tottenham's midfield options are limited until the January transfer window opens, leaving Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko as the obvious picks.

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Camarasa, Arter, Gunnarsson; Murphy, Paterson, Reid

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen; Son, Kane, Lucas

Head To Head

This will be the fourth Premier League meeting between Cardiff and Tottenham, with Spurs winning each of the previous three encounters 1-0.

Dier scored the only goal of the game early on in October as the Lilywhites maintained that recent record of slender victories in this fixture.

Cardiff are winless in eight matches against Tottenham in all competitions, losing six of those and scoring just once - a Paul Went goal in a 2-1 league defeat in January 1978.

We say: Cardiff City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham had been in superb form prior to the Wolves match, making the 3-1 loss at Wembley all the more surprising. Cardiff have remained out of the relegation zone for a number of weeks now, meanwhile, and will be on a high after ending their away-day hoodoo in their final outing of 2018. Taking points off the top six is not something City are accustomed to, however, and this will likely be too big of an ask.

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