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Tottenham vs Cardiff: A must-win for the hosts

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Tottenham take on Cardiff at White Hart Lane on Sunday with pressure on the hosts to gain three points.

With a six-point gap between Spurs in fifth and Liverpool in fourth, the North Londoners have a chance to close the deficit as the Reds travel to face a tricky fixture against Southampton on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood’s men were beaten 1-0 away to Norwich in their last domestic fixture, and now face an uphill struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The next month promises to make or break Tottenham’s season, with games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Southampton and a six-pointer against Liverpool to come.

Cardiff sit precariously in 19th place before the weekend’s fixtures, and have a lot of work to do if they are to avoid a return to The Championship at the first time of asking.

Vincent Tan’s sacking of Malky Mackay and appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been heavily scrutinised, with the Welsh club in a worse position now than when the Scot was dismissed.

The Bluebirds have only won one of their last six games in all competitions, and were dumped out of the FA Cup by Wigan. Last time out Cardiff were unceremoniously thrashed by Hull, who won the game 4-0 in Wales.

Injury wise only long-term absentees Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches and Gary Medel will be unavailable, but the hosts may shuffle their pack after facing Dnipro in the Europa League on Thursday night.

In the reverse fixture in Wales earlier this season, a last-ditch Paulinho strike gave Spurs a snatch-and-grab victory.

The visitors will be led by former Spurs man Steven Caulker, and will more than likely look to soak up pressure and hit the hosts on the counter attack.

Tottenham have been better away from White Hart Lane than on home soil, and have struggled at times this season to break down opposition that play defensively.

As such Sherwood’s team selection will be critical, while the first goal could go a long way to deciding the eventual winner.

Spurs will be billed as favourites to win the game after looking at odds being offered by bookmakers, but expect the home fans to get a bit nervous if an opening goal hasn’t been score before the interval.

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