As Tottenham prepare for a trip to the Riverside Stadium to take on Middlesbrough after more than five years, here are some of the top three things that they should have in mind before the game.
- Absence of Harry Kane
One of the biggest absentees from the Tottenham team sheet would be Harry Kane, who is set to miss the best part of two months with a ligament injury. The forward may have scored only two goals in his five games so far, but he has just shown signs of coming to form. Kane was a slow starter last season but he ended up with 25 league goals. He will have to go to extraordinary lengths in order to match those figures this time around, as he could miss around 10 league games.
Any team would miss a goalscorer, but the absence is made pronounced by the fact that his replacement Vincent Janssen has been looking out of sorts and is yet to score for Spurs.
- Danger of Taking Opposition Lightly
There is a great danger of Tottenham misjudging and taking the opposition lightly. Yes, newly promoted Middlesbrough have struggled upon their return to the Premier League and have taken just one victory so far this campaign. However, they have scored in both their opening home league games so far and are more likely to do the same on Saturday. There is no greater disadvantage to a team than expecting the opposition to offer no threat.
Mauricio Pochettino will be aware of experienced campaigners like Alvaro Negredo and Stuani. The latter has been the player in form by scoring two goals in five games.
A game against 13th placed Middlesbrough is not going to be easy especially with the opponents having failed to score only once in the league this season.