Tottenham v Cardiff preview: Five players sidelined as Spurs face injury struggle
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Last Updated: 06/10/18 1:36pm
Tottenham will have five first-team players unavailable when they take on Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday, with an ever-growing injury list.
It was confirmed on Friday that Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) will be out for around six weeks, joining Christian Eriksen (abdominal), Mousa Dembele (thigh), Dele Alli (hamstring) and Serge Aurier (thigh) on the sidelines.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino says the outside perception is Saturday should be an easy game for Spurs, but his players must play at the same level as they did against Barcelona in the Champions League.
"The most difficult game is the game that everyone believes, outside of the team, that you must win," Pochettino said. "For us it's so important to be motivated at the same level. If not we're going to struggle."
Cardiff, who are still looking for their first win of the season, were beaten 2-1 at home by Burnley last weekend but manager Neil Warnock remains in good spirits ahead of a tough trip to Tottenham.
"I don't know how we didn't win last week, but that is life in the Premier League, you've just got to get on with it," Warnock said.
"It was a positive performance other than the result and I thought once again the fans were superb. I'm sure we'll be filling our allocation at Wembley, because they have been pretty amazing away from home as well."
Junior Hoilett has recovered from illness to take his place in the Cardiff squad. He missed Sunday's 2-1 home defeat to Burnley with a virus but has trained fully this week.
Aron Gunnarsson (knee) remains out, but Bluebirds boss Warnock is hopeful the Iceland midfielder might be available for the visit of Fulham after the international break.
Some good news for Tottenham is the return of Michel Vorm to training, and he could be included in the squad on Saturday.
This will be the third Premier League meeting between Spurs and Cardiff, with Spurs winning both matches 1-0 during the 2013-14 season.
Cardiff are winless in seven matches against Spurs in all competitions (W0 D2 L5), scoring just once in those matches, a Paul Went goal in a 2-1 league defeat in January 1978.
Spurs have won their last seven home matches in all competitions against Cardiff, scoring 19 goals and conceding just five.
This will be Cardiff's first game at Wembley Stadium since the 2012 League Cup final against Liverpool - the Bluebirds lost on penalties following a 2-2 draw.
Tottenham are unbeaten in 37 Premier League games against promoted sides (W34 D3) since losing vs QPR in April 2012. The run is the second longest of its kind in the Premier League, after Chelsea's record of 63 between May 2001 and September 2011.
Spurs lost their last home league game against Liverpool - they've not lost back-to-back Premier League home games since May 2015, vs Aston Villa and Man City at White Hart Lane.
Cardiff are winless in their seven Premier League games so far this season - only twice in their history have they failed to win any of their first eight games to a league campaign (1964-65 in the second tier and 1989-90 in the third division).
Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored against 26 of the 27 different sides he's faced in the Premier League. The only side he's yet to find the net against are Cardiff - he played just 16 minutes against them across two games in the 2013-14 campaign.
The result against Barcelona would've shaken Tottenham. I've played in games before where you think you're alright and then you get a pasting. I remember years ago we played in the Super Cup at AC Milan. The Arsenal side I played in, we were a good team. We were decent and we got absolutely ripped to shreds. It really knocks your confidence.
Don't get me wrong, I know Cardiff aren't Barcelona but a result like that can come along and put you back in your place. This is now a hard game for Spurs because the Barca defeat will have affected them. Even if they win this game by a big margin people will still say they can't do it against the big boys. I do think they'll win this game but Cardiff will make it hard for them.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)