Jan Vertonghen: Why The Best Is Still To Come

FeaturedJan Vertonghen: Why The Best Is Still To Come

Jan Vertonghen quickly became a fan favourite upon his arrival from Ajax in 2012, with his composed defending, adventurous forward-play and a knack of scoring goals earning him a place in the PFA Team of the Season.

Despite his special debut year for Spurs, the Belgian’s form dipped in the second season. Two separate Malleolar injuries and a knee injury meant he only featured in 23 League games, and when he was fit, he had no consistent partner (partly down to injuries, partly down to AVB’s rotational centre back method). A rapidly declining Younes Kaboul, an ageing Michael Dawson and extravagant new signing Vlad Chiriches all played alongside Vertonghen during the 2013-14 season, and this inconsistency affected Jan’s game.

Dawson was no longer as mobile as he once was, Chiriches was error-prone and Kaboul, after a year out with injury, looked to be way past his best. Vertonghen had to contain his adventurous style in order to prioritise covering his partner in defence, who always seemed to have a mistake in him no matter who it was. The marauding forward runs, both on and off the ball were cut from his game, and he no longer stepped into midfield to help create chances as often as he did in his previous season. Jan’s ball playing abilities were going to waste.

The following Summer not only saw new manager, Mauricio Pochettino arrive, but also saw the club go out and sign another central defender. Federico Fazio signed from Sevilla having just captained his side to the Europa League trophy. As a tall, strong, no-nonsense defender coming off the back of a good individual season, Fazio seemed to fit the bill as Jan’s partner. A sturdy, solid and reliable lynchpin to enhance Vertonghen’s creativity and inventiveness.

Despite this, newly appointed club captain, Younes Kaboul started the season as Pochettino’s first choice centre back, and Fazio didn’t get a Premier League start until October against Man City, where he got sent off for a foul on Aguero. Fazio picked up another red in the Europa League, but managed to find himself on the team-sheet more regularly due to Kaboul’s poor form. Things picked up from here, as Vertonghen and Fazio formed a consistent partnership.

The pair’s first 12 Premier League games saw an improvement in Spurs’ form, with eight wins, two draws and two defeats (one of which was to Chelsea). Vertonghen spoke in interviews about the benefits of having Federico as a consistent partner, claiming that “He [Fazio] is a beast in the air and I’m less strong in the air than him, but we compensate for each other in that way.” aswell as praising Fazio’s English, noting how it made for good communication between the two.

However, Fazio’s flaws became evermore apparent as the season played through, and it became clear that he wasn’t going to be in Pochettino’s plans for next year. This saw the club go out and bring in another central defender, the talented Toby Alderweireld. His arrival was exciting for Spurs fans, and as Jan’s compatriot and former Ajax teammate, it will have certainly been good news for Vertonghen too.

The pair had the potential to become the strongest partnership in the league, and by the end of the season, it certainly looked like they’d achieved this. Despite missing two months through injury, Vertonghen still managed 29 League appearances alongside Toby, keeping nine clean sheets in that time, whilst Alderweireld helped the side keep a further four clean sheets in the nine games Vertonghen missed.

The Belgian duo just seemed to click. Both of them were extremely competent, physically adept defenders, with an abundance of quality on the ball and a large amount of chemistry. Almost always on the same wavelength, they helped Spurs achieve a record 3rd place finish in 2015-16, and Jan was arguably back to his best.

For all the good Alderweireld brought with him though, there was one minor downfall to his arrival. Vertonghen’s partner, for the first time in his career was now just as good as, if not better than him. This largely wasn’t an issue, but there were a couple of occasions where it seemed as though Jan was allowing himself to become complacent. For one of the first times in his Premier League career, he had the freedom to play his natural game without the need to constantly be ready to cover his partners mistakes.

There are few things in football rarer than an Alderweireld error, and Vertonghen knew this. It lead to him switching off at times and losing concentration on occasion. Vertonghen’s general play may have now been at its best, but he was now also more prone to an error than ever before. Having Toby alongside him meant that not many of these errors lead to goals, but Tottenham were punished for his complacency a couple of times.

These times include Leicester away, when he inexplicably allowed Riyad Mahrez to cut onto his left foot inside Tottenham’s area, as the Algerian subsequently bent one into the far corner, and Palace away, when his poor clearance found Joel Ward out wide, as he prodded thee resulting cross into his own net. These moments weren’t common at all, but it was still worrying to see them creep into his game.

The following season saw Jan and Toby’s partnership reach another level. Now undoubtedly the best defensive partnership in the league, the two managed to help Spurs to another record points tally, allowing them to finish second, keeping a resounding 17 clean sheets along the way and conceding just 26 goals all season. This defensive record is even more impressive when considering the fact that Alderweireld and Vertonghen both picked up injuries at separate times, meaning Tottenham went around two months of the season without their strongest defensive pairing.

In fact, Alderweireld’s knee injury in October was quite possibly a blessing in disguise. Although this saw him miss almost two months of action, it allowed Vertonghen time in the side without his ever-consistent defensive partner. Jan had to step up. Already one off the senior players in the squad, and vice-captain of the club, Vertonghen displayed further leadership by shrugging off any potential complacency and taking on the responsibility of playing alongside a rather shaky looking Dier who seemed to be unfamiliar in defence after a season at holding midfield.

These games threw Jan into a situation where he could no longer switch off due to the quality of his other centre back, and he didn’t. Spurs maintained their promising defensive record through this period, and Vertonghen proved that he is a more than capable centre back, and isn’t carried by Toby at all.

Another factor in Jan’s improvement was the decision made by Pochettino to switch to a back three. Playing on the left of the three, he suddenly found himself in an even more expansive system than before. He operated almost as a midfielder in possession, keeping possession inside the opposition half and pushing forward when possible. The system almost added another layer of composure to his game, allowing him space and time on the ball, aswell as giving him extra cover in defence. Vertonghen seemed almost tailor-made for this role.

Now, following an impressive opening day clean sheet at St James’ Park, Vertonghen faces potentially the biggest season of his career. At 30 years old, he will be desperate to add trophies to his time at Spurs, and as vice-captain, will likely do all he can to make that happen. In a system that relies on confident, relaxed, ball-playing defenders, Vertonghen ticks all the boxes to continue to thrive in the system, and alongside like-minded defenders like Alderweireld and potentially Davinson Sanchez, Spurs’ defence shows no sign of weakening.

Now more reliable when fit, Vertonghen will be hoping to stay injury free this season as he’s had his fair share of problems recently. If he does manage this however, Spurs fans should expect a great season from the Belgian. One that could quite possibly be his best ever.

Follow the author on Twitter.

The Evolution of Son Heung-Min

FeaturedThe Evolution of Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min has just enjoyed his best individual season to date, scoring 21 times in all competitions (his best ever tally), and picking up two Premier League Player of the Month awards (and plenty more handshakes) along the way.

Despite a fairly unremarkable first year in English football, the South Korean really hit form in his second, becoming a key part of Tottenham’s attack and finishing the season as their third highest goalscorer. His skill, drive and versatility made him a tough player to handle, with his direct style troubling defenders throughout the season and his ability to produce spectacular goals from anywhere making him a danger all over the pitch.

Sonny, as he is now known as by teammates, left FC Seoul’s youth academy at just 16 to join Bundesliga side Hamburger SC back in 2008. After spending some time developing in their youth academy, Son spent the 2009-10 season in the reserve side, where he made six appearances, scoring in his third against Hertha Berlin’s reserves. His performances earned him a promotion to the first team, and things looked very promising as he scored 9 in pre-season and signed his first professional contract on his 18th birthday, however he would miss the start of the season after picking up a foot injury.

After two months out, Son returned to the side, scoring in his first game back against FC Cologne. This made him Hamburg’s youngest ever Bundesliga scorer, also earning him an improved contract which would keep him at the club until 2014. Due to numerous injuries at the club, keeping players such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Eric Choupo-Moting and Mladen Petric out of action, Son enjoyed a run in the side, and scored a brace against Hannover 96 just a few weeks later. This meant Son ended his first professional season with three goals in 14 appearances, and his contribution had earned him many plaudits, including comparisons to compatriot Cha Bum-Kun, who scored 98 Bundesliga goals in 308 appearances.

The following season saw a bright start for Sonny, scoring two in his first three games. However it was in his third appearance that he picked up an ankle injury and was set to miss six weeks of action. Despite this initial projection, he returned just three weeks later and went on to play 27 games over the course of the 2011-12 season, scoring five times.

It wasn’t until the 2012-13 season that Sonny truly showed what he was capable of however. The loss of strikers Mladen Petric and Paolo Guerrero in the Summer transfer window saw manager Thorsten Frink put his faith in Heung-Min Son to partner Artjoms Rudņevs up front in a 4-4-2. Son repaid the faith shown in him by his manager by notching 12 goals in 33 games, including 4 goals in his two appearances against Borussia Dortmund.

Son’s movement and pace became a major factor in the side’s playing style, as he linked up with Rudņevs, a centre forward more in the mould of a target man, to create a strike force that other sides struggled to deal with. It was partly due to Son’s form that Hamburg finished 7th after finishing 15th the previous season.

On the 13th of June 2013, Bayer Leverkusen confirmed the signing of Son Heung-Min for a club record of €10 million. It didn’t take long for the South Korean to settle in either, as he scored on his debut against Freiburg, after scoring three in his first three friendly appearances in pre-season. Son’s role at Leverkusen was less clear than at Hamburg. At Hamburg Sonny was mainly used as a supporting striker (mainly in a 4-4-2), however, under Sami Hyypiä at Leverkusen, he was switched between the main striker in a 4-3-3, or a wide forward, often from the left.

Son’s ability to use both feet equally well meant he looked comfortable on the left wing, as he could take on his man down the wing almost aswell as he cut inside, making him unpredictable. This new wide role also meant he had more opportunities to shoot from distance, which was already one of his strengths. He finished his first season at his new club with 12 goals in all competitions, including a hat trick in a 5-3 win over his former club, Hamburg and another goal against Dortmund, as the club finished in 4th place.

The 2013-14 season saw the arrival of Roger Schmidt following Hyypiä’s sacking. Schmidt had a distinctive style, focusing heavily on quick attacking movement and high pressing. Leverkusen’s style was compared to the gegenpressing of Borussia Dortmund, and Heung-Min Son played a big role in this. He had now fully established himself as a wide forward, and despite players like Hakan Calhanoglu and Karim Bellarabi joining the club in the Summer, Sonny maintained his place on the left of a front three.

Sonny flourished in this system, scoring 11 league goals and five Champions League goals. The hard-working nature of Son allowed him to easily adapt to the high press, and the team’s aim to attack and shoot as quickly as possible once they’ve won the ball also matched the style of the wide attacker. With 17 goals and 5 assists, Sonny had just enjoyed his best season yet, finishing as the club’s joint top scorer for the season as they ended up in 4th once more.

Despite only playing under him for a season before his £22 million mover to Spurs, it can be argued that Roger Schmidt had the most influence on Sonny’s style upon his arrival in North London. The pacey, relentless style of Son Heung-Min meant he had all the attributes to become a key player in a Pochettino side, and a season under Schmidt undoubtedly went some way towards preparing him for his next challenge. Although it might have taken him a year or so to adjust to the physical nature of the Premier League, he has certainly found his feet in the league now, and Spurs fans will be hoping he can continue this form for years to come.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for son heung-min vs Swansea

Farewell White Hart Lane

FeaturedFarewell White Hart Lane

We knew it was coming all season. With every visit to the Lane, the new stadium rapidly grew faster and faster next door. It hadn’t dawned upon me for so long just how difficult it would be to wave goodbye to this place once and for all. A place which many of us call our home; our real home. A place where we grew up watching the team and players we passionately adore. A place where we were given memories to cherish for a lifetime.

A place that very soon will cease to exist.

As I sit typing this, I’m dreading the arrival of the 14th. I prefer to refer to tomorrow by the date instead of simply saying ‘tomorrow’ because it helps me believe it’s a little further away than how agonisingly close it actually is. Sitting by the clock and knowing that in under 48 hours’ time, the construction workers will move into our home and start knocking it down – it’s a soul crushing feeling.

The good news out of this, I guess, is that we’re only moving next door and not miles away from where our original roots are. And as much as I say that to cheer me up, nothing will ever be more of a ‘home’ to me than White Hart Lane has been – at least not for a very, very long time.

I still remember the sheer excitement of visiting the Lane for the first time – jumping out of bed at quarter past seven on a Saturday morning, putting on the famous Lilywhite colours and rushing to my parents’ bedroom to wake my dad up; only for him to remind me that we had eight hours left before the game. That dampened the mood down just a little bit!

The tingling feeling of walking through the turnstiles in the South Stand, shoving my way through a crowd of Spurs fans with a firm grip on my dad’s hand just in case I got lost in the concourse, before finally running up the stairs leading into the stands and embracing the beautiful turf for the first time in my life – an indescribable moment.

I must have spent at least ten minutes in complete awe of my new surroundings. The pre-match atmosphere took a while to soak completely in. This place certainly felt a lot like home straight away. A cry of ‘Come on you Spurs!’ was echoed from all corners of the ground as the game kicked off.

And since then, I was hooked right in.

As a relatively younger supporter, it feels extremely tough to even contemplate the idea of White Hart Lane being completely destroyed in the coming weeks and months; therefore I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating it must feel for supporters who have been regularly visiting for decades.

As much as I’m dreading that final goodbye, the future does bring a lot of excitement in itself. The new stadium will hold more than 60,000 fans under one roof and 17,000 in a single stand. The fact that it will also be built on top of our current home helps a lot in making me feel that White Hart Lane will always be there with us in spirit – rather than having it completely torn down just to build a bunch of flats over it.

Whether Spurs are playing down at the Lane, Wembley or anywhere else in the country, we will follow them wherever they go. We did so then, we do it today and we’ll do it tomorrow.

Long live Tottenham Hotspur.

Long live White Hart Lane.

img_1749

White Hart Lane: Memories

FeaturedWhite Hart Lane: Memories

White Hart Lane – the world famous home of Tottenham Hotspur. Undoubtedly one of the most famous grounds in, not only Britain, but in the world. Over the years, many fans have seen the ‘glory of the cups at White Hart Lane’, from the UEFA Cup in 1984, to more recently the League Cup in 2008.

Not only has White Hart Lane seen some of the best trophies in football, but also some of the most talented and gifted players; Jimmy Greaves, David Ginola, Paul Gascoigne and Gareth Bale, just to name a few.

Spurs have always been known to play an exciting brand of football. Face paced, brilliant passing and solid at the back is the bare minimum the fans at the Lane demand, and have been demanding since Spurs made in their home back in 1899.

With fans this passionate, players that good and coaches such as Bill Nicholson to match, success was always inevitable at the Lane. Here are some of the most memorable moments in our famous old White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic – 22/11/2009

A game that had absolutely everything. Jermain Defoe scoring five goals, a David Bentley free kick, a Peter Crouch header and even an Aaron Lennon goal!

Records were broken while new ones were set by Tottenham. The only other team to score nine goals in one match was Manchester United. Defoe set his own records that night as well. On a night where Defoe could do no wrong, he slotted five, yes five goals past Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland. In doing so, he became only the third player to score five gaols in a game after Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.

White Hart Lane had never seen a score line so gigantic in the Premier League. However, Tottenham’s biggest win came against Crewe in an FA Cup tie, with the final score ending 13-2.

The absolute stomping of Wigan came in a very significant season for the Lilywhites purely because of their qualification into the Champions League. This was the first time that Spurs had qualified for footballs greatest club competition. Many, many more long lasting memories came from this Champions League campaign.

A perfect attacking display, an almost perfect defensive display, could the fans at the Lane have asked for much more?  A memorable game for any fans that got the pleasure to watch it live, or even on Match of The Day hours later.

Image result for tottenham 9-1 wigan

Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Arsenal – 22/01/2008

Scoring five goals against any team is special, but against Arsenal the feeling is amplified 10 fold. The tie was not just any game against the North London neighbours, there was a place in the 2008 League Cup Final up for grabs. As any Spurs fan will know, all the weeks surrounding this fixture are just full of nerves. Not excited, not looking forward to it — just scared.

To put two or more past your arch rival is brilliant, but to slot five past their defence is unbelievable. Tottenham were 2-0 up by the half time break and goals from Keane, Lennon and Malbranque sealed one of the most famous victories at White Hart Lane. Under the flood lights in North London, its fair to say this game could not have been more special.

An overall perfect performance from the Lilywhites, one that will be long lived in both the history books and in the minds of all Spurs players and fans.

Image result for tottenham 5-1 arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 Chelsea – 01/01/2015

When Chelsea visited ‘three point Lane’ on New Years Day 2015, Pochettino’s Lilywhites took apart Mourinho’s Blues on a very memorable night in north London.

Chelsea came into the game cruising at the top of the Premier League table, but goals from Harry Kane (x2), Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli topped off an incredible night for all Spurs fans.

It’s not everyday we get to see Chelsea on the back end of conceding five and getting outplayed as much as they did on the night, but to be the team to thrash them and Mourinho the way that we did was something that will always be remembered and cherishing.

Image result for tottenham 5-3 chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Manchester United – 10/04/2016

This one was special. A first win over Man United at the Lane since 1996. The United team bus may have been half-an-hour late, but Spurs made the wait worth it. Spurs fans went into the game knowing a win was needed to keep the pressure on Leicester City at the top of the league – but not many could have expected such an incredible performance.

Three superb goals in six minutes in a fantastic second half from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela saw the Lilywhites claim their first win over Manchester United at the Lane in 20 odd years. The best thing about it? It could have been more.

For the first time in two decades, Spurs took Manchester United apart at the Lane and it will always be a game that Spurs fans will have fond memories of.

Image result for tottenham 3-0 man united

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Inter Milan – 02/11/2010

To some, if not all Spurs fans, this was definitely the biggest and most special game played at White Hart Lane. European nights at Tottenham were special, they had an added edge about them. As a fan, you knew if you had the luck to get a ticket, you were going to be treated by the boys in Lilywhite.

As the teams lined up for kick off, I’m positive you could hear the fans singing “Oh When The Spurs Go Marching In!” from the other side of London. The Lane was literally rocking, it was a truly special display from not only the players on the pitch but the loyal fans in the stands. Honestly, one of the best atmospheres the country has ever seen.

A team filled with stars like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafa Van Der Vaart always treated the White Hart Lane faithful and they certainly did not slack on this European night. Inter Milan, one of world footballs greatest (and holders of the Champions League) turned over by a 21 year old boy from Wales. Who would’ve thought?

Although he didn’t get on the score sheet, Gareth Bale was the true match winner for Tottenham. Two assists, brilliant assists at that, cemented his place as one of the worlds top players. It would be hard to fault Bale’s performance, especially after it put Spurs in pole position to finish first in the group.

It’s a shame White Hart Lane didn’t see many more Champions League nights after this special display – they were truly a spectacle to behold.

Image result for tottenham 3-1 inter milan

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal – 30/04/2017

The last ever North London derby at White Hart Lane – pretty big right? It was set up to be a brilliant game right from the word go; not one seat left unattended, Tottenham in great form and Arsenal going through a rough patch.

Although the Lane may have been missing a corner, the atmosphere certainly didn’t make it feel like that. The place was rocking from even before the match. It was probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever seen. Every single stand at White Hart Lane was deafening.

Every single chant. Every single minute. The proper atmosphere the fixture deserved. We all knew that a win would finally put an end to ‘St Totteringhams day’ and it looks like the players knew that as well. It was special from the 1st to 90th minute. Deservedly, Spurs came out with the 2 – 0 win over Arsenal. Tottenham looked well drilled, determined, physically and mentally prepared for the match. The same can’t be said for the noisy neighbours down the road!

It didn’t even stop at the refs final whistle. Fans stayed in the stands chanting on Poch and his team. “We’ve got Alli, Dele Alli” reverberated around the streets of Tottenham; pure jubilation. It’s fair to say the last North London Derby at White Hart Lane was everything the fans were hoping for.

White Hart Lane has been special this year. Nothing like any fan has ever seen. 2 – 0 wins over; Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal sum up what the Lane’s been like this season, a fortress. The season this great stadium, with so much history and passion built into its foundations, has deserved for so many years.

It’s sad to be leaving the Lane, so many great memories have been made there. Even weddings have been held at White Hart Lane, now that’s dedication. Although we all may love White Hart Lane, we also know that it’s the right thing to be moving onto bigger and hopefully better things.

Although we’re moving to Wembley next season, we’ll soon be back to our roots at White Hart Lane with one of the best stadiums in the world. World class facilities accompanied with world class players.

The future looks bright, very bright.

Image result for tottenham 2-0 arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: Match Preview

This is it, the final North London Derby at White Hart Lane as we know it. No promotion needed, no incentivisation needed, everyone and anyone knows what this means to both sets of supporters, managers and players. Not that the Spurs players will need any extra motivation, with the title race still firmly on, but if Tottenham do beat Arsenal, it will confirm the Lilywhites’ finish above their noisy neighbours for the first time since 1995.

Tale of the Tape:

Tottenham are in exceptional league form at the moment, having won eight Premier League matches in a row, a new club record. The most recent of those coming away at Selhurst Park in midweek, with Christian Eriksen’s late strike being enough for the three points. Tottenham are also unbeaten in all 16 home league matches this season, winning 14. Only Leicester and Liverpool have taken points from White Hart Lane this term.

Arsenal have ridden the storm well since their 3-0 defeat away at Palace, winning three on the spin since that result, including a win at Wembley over Manchester City, which means the FA Cup final will be contested between Spurs’ two London rivals. Most recently, Arsenal triumphed over Leicester with a late deflected own goal from Robert Huth.

In recent years the Derby has been very evenly contested, but by no means cagey, which could be said for other English derbies, also played this week. Anyway – four of the last six matches between the clubs have been draws, with Spurs winning one and Arsenal winning one.

Team News:

Danny Rose will likely not be ready to play, but he is probably ten days or two weeks from a return to first team action. Michel Vorm is still unavailable, and Harry Winks and Erik Lamela will not play again this season with long term hip and ankle injuries keeping them out of action.

Shkordan Mustafi, Santi Cazorla, David Ospina and Lucaz Perez are all out injured with thigh, back, ankle and another thigh injury for Perez. Arséne Wenger believes key centre back Laurent Koscielny has a 60% chance of featuring in the derby.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI: 

Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Walker, Dembele, Wanyama, Davies; Eriksen, Dele; Kane

Predicted Arsenal XI:

Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Gabriel; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Monreal; Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Arsenal

The final ever North London Derby that will ever be played at our famous old ground – we won’t want to lose this at any cost. The fans will be right on top of the players from the first minute until the last. The players will need no reminding of just how much this one means for every single Tottenham Hotspur fan and will be determined to get over the line with all three points.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham vs arsenal 2017

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedChelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

This is quite possibly Tottenham Hotspur’s biggest game not only this season, but since the last time these two teams met at Wembley. Spurs are arriving at Wembley after two very comfortable victories against Premier League opposition – two 4-0 wins against Watford and Bournemouth. Mauricio Pochettino and his men have now won eight games in a row – a streak which stretches back to the 26th of February.

Tale of The Tape: 

Since two dreadful defeats against Liverpool and KAA Gent (Europa League) at the beginning of February, Spurs have kept marching on. Tottenham have now won 9/10 games since the 1-0 loss to Gent, including two FA Cup draws against Fulham and Millwall.

Spurs are certainly going into the game with the better run of form as Chelsea have surprisingly lost two out of the last four Premier League games, dropping points against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge and Manchester United at Old Trafford.

These two teams have already met twice in the League this campaign, sharing the six points equally. Back in November, Chelsea came out on top – edging Tottenham to a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Victor Moses and Pedro either half of the break. Spurs returned against Chelsea in January however, with a brilliant display against the League leaders. PFA Young Player Of The Year nominee, Dele Alli headed the two Tottenham goals past a helpless Thibaut Courtois, once again either side of half-time.

Team News:

Both Erik Lamela and Harry winks are still being assessed after their injuries have been confirmed to keep them out for the rest of the season. Michel Vorm has also been confirmed as ruled out for the match as he is advancing with rehabilitation. Full-back Danny Rose is still sidelined due to his knee injury but has been progressing with outdoor work and is expected to resume full training next week ahead of the games against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

Harry Kane completed 79 minutes against Bournemouth on the weekend after working hard to return to full match fitness. The talisman was subbed off for Victor Wanyama who is also returning from a lower back injury he sustained in the 2-0 win over Burnley.

Chelsea head into the Semi-Final with only one major injury doubt – Thibaut Courtois, after he injured his ankle during a suspected commercial video shoot for the NBA. Wing-back, Marcos Alonso missed the clash against Manchester United due to illness but is expected to be fully fit for the game on Saturday. Antonio Conte has no other significant injury concerns before the match.

 

Predicted Chelsea XI:

Begovic; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Moses, Pedro, Hazard, Costa

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Alli, Eriksen, Kane

Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Although Chelsea may not be on the best form of their campaign, they are still a huge force at both ends of the pitch, with players such as Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante. The match could be a huge momentum swing in the way of either team as Spurs continue to push Chelsea in the Premier League. This is a game where two teams in great form, playing great football, with great managers are going to give everything they have got to come out on top. You can guarantee it will not be an easy game for any player on the hallowed turf of Wembley.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for spurs 2-0 chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Bournemouth: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 4-0 Bournemouth: Match Review

Tottenham took apart Bournemouth in the lunchtime kick off and extended the gap between themselves and the fighters for the top four and Champions League football next season, as well as more importantly closing the distance between themselves and the league leaders Chelsea to four points, before the West Londoners take on Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Harry Kane returned to start for the first time since his injury vs Millwall in the FA Cup and Kyle Walker was back in for Kieran Trippier after his customary MOTM performance vs Watford, other than that it was same team that dismantled the Hornets last Saturday.

Spurs eased themselves in to the match in typical fashion, retaining the ball well in deep midfield with Eriksen, Dier and Dembélé  all picking out Walker and Dele frequently, but they were unable to find Kane and Son in the 18 yard box to create any clear cut chances in the first 15 minutes.

Then in the 16th minute, after a controversial decision from referee Michael Oliver to award a corner to Spurs, which ultimately proved to be correct, Eriksen swung in the corner which was flicked on at the near post by Alderweireld before Mousa Dembélé controlled well off his thigh before flashing a half volley past Arter Boruc from close range, his first goal of the season.

Three minutes later, Jack Wilshere gave the ball away in his own half, it ricocheted off Dier in to Kane with his back to goal, what followed was a sumptuous flick around the corner which Hueng-Min Son latched on to, an inch perfect touch past Cook, blistering pace to get past him an a firm, low finish under the keeper made it 2-0 after only 20 minutes.

Heung-Min Son celebrates his 19th goal of the season
Early in the second half Dele Alli chipped a ball in to Kane with his back to goal, who used a fine bit of strength and agility to move himself away from Francis, before smacking the ball in to the bottom right corner with his left foot from 12 yards, which essentially sealed the points.

Then, a sad and upsetting moment for all inside White Hart Lane, Harry Kane broke away and looked to curl the ball in to the far corner, Jack Wilshere managed to block the shot and Kane accidentally caught Wilshere’s ankle, which meant Wilshere was unable to continue and had to leave with the ankle injury he is so synonymous with. Shame. I was gutted. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke, wishing him a really speedy recovery… ish.

Spurs controlled the game until late on, and despite a late strike from ex-spur Charlie Daniels which Hugo caught comfortably, Spurs managed to grab one more in the 92nd minute. A cross from Eriksen found Janssen, who’s initial left footed shot was going wide, was blocked back in to his path, and he placed a right footed drive in to the back of the net for his first goal from open play in the Premier League, much to the relief of the crowd, the manager and I’m sure, himself.

Yet another excellent home performance from Spurs resulting in yet another very convincing victory, which will fill them with confidence, especially if Man United can take something off Chelsea tomorrow.

Player Ratings:

Hugo Lloris: 6.5/10

Kyle Walker: 7.5/10

Toby Alderweireld: 7/10

Jan Vertonghen: 7.5/10

Ben Davies: 7/10

Eric Dier: 7.5/10

Mousa Dembele: 8.5/10

Christian Eriksen: 8/10

Hueng-Min Son: 8/10

Dele Alli: 7.5/10

Harry Kane: 8/10

Subs:

Victor Wanyama: 6.5/10

Vincent Janssen: 7/10

Moussa Sissoko: 2/10 (IT’S SISSOKO)

MOTM: Mousa Dembélé

The sort of commanding midfield domination we’re accustomed to seeing nowadays from our Belgian midfield general, capped off with a goal, which is what we need to see more of from him with all of his ability. Looked to be a goalscoring threat as well as a creator and box to box midfielder. Fantastic performance yet again.

Looking Ahead:

The big one. Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup Semi Final. Saturday 22nd April. Kick off 17:15.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham hotspur 4-0 bournemouth dembele

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Match Preview

Tottenham Hotspur arrive into this game in a very good run of form with six league wins on the trot. Bournemouth will attempt to test Mauricio Pochettino’s sides home form which has been immense this season – with only Liverpool and Leicester City managing to leave White Hart Lane with a point apiece, Spurs have won their last 11 league games at the Lane. A record they will be hoping to keep in what looks likely (yet to be confirmed) the final season the Lilywhites will spend at their famous old ground.

Tale of The Tape: 

Upon being eliminated from the Europa League, Spurs have marched into a great run of form which has seen them climb up to and consolidate second place, whilst qualifying for the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

On the other hand, Bournemouth are winless in their last three outings – Eddie Howe’s side have drawn two of their last three games, but arrive into this fixture on the back end of a 3-1 loss to Chelsea at the Vitality Stadium.

In the previous meeting between the two sides at White Hart Lane last season, Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs raced into a two goal within quarter of an hour, before Christian Eriksen netted a third in the beginning of the second half to guide Spurs into a 3-0 win over the Cherries. However, the two sides cancelled each other out earlier in the season as Bournemouth held Spurs to a 0-0 draw.

Team News:

Erik Lamela and Harry Winks continue to be assessed, but remain out for the remainder of this season. However, Pochettino revealed that Danny Rose will begin ‘outdoor work’ next week on his road to full fitness. After missing two games with a back problem, Victor Wanyama trained as usual with the team this week and is available for selection again.

After coming off from the bench last weekend in the win against Watford, Harry Kane is likely to be called back into the starting XI. A big boost for Spurs ahead of their pursuit to end this season strongly in both the league and go all the way in the cup.

Callum Wilson and Andrew Surman remain long-term casualties for the Cherries. Jack Wilshere is expected to remain in midfield after starting in last Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Dele, Son; Kane

Predicted Bournemouth XI:

Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Fraser, Arter, Wilshere; Pugh, Afobe, King

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Bournemouth

Whilst Bournemouth are going through a slight dip in form and Spurs ever so hungry to keep chasing Chelsea in their pursuit of the league title – on paper (key words: on paper!) this only looks to be ending in one way; another big home win for Pochettino’s side. With Kane back in the side, and Dele Alli, Eriksen and Son on top of their game; Spurs will be looking to put Bournemouth to the sword and complete another fine win at the Lane.

Come on you Spurs!!!

Image result for dele vs watford 4-0

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Middlesbrough: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 1-0 Middlesbrough: Match Review

Spurs managed to capitalise on the earlier results with a 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough this evening, putting some breathing space between them and Arsenal and Liverpool, and staying within nine points of league-leaders Chelsea.

Lloris regained his place in the side after missing out against Sunderland through illness, and Ben Davies came in for the injured Danny Rose in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Pochettino stuck with the 4-2-3-1 which failed to break down Sunderland in midweek.

Despite the first chance falling to Boro just four minutes in when Negredo saw his headed effort sail over Lloris’ bar, Spurs enjoyed the brighter of the opening exchanges. Son saw his low effort well saved by Valdes, moments before Davies’ low cross narrowly evaded Kane

Alli, Eriksen and most notably Son were all combining well to trouble Boro’s back line, and their movement and interplay was very effective throughout the first half, but it was often the final ball or finish that was letting the visitors off the hook during the first half.

Alderweireld and Kane both went close with headers midway through the first half, with the former clipping the post via an Eriksen corner whilst Kane headed over after being picked out well by Son. Kane then thought he’d given Spurs the lead just before half time when he converted Son’s low cross, but the official correctly spotted that he was offside.

Tottenham experienced a slightly slower start to the second half, but were still dominating possession. Eriksen troubled Valdes 50 minutes in with a first time shot that the Spaniard parried away after a good run by Son, but it wasn’t until the 58th minute that the home side took the lead.

Son made yet another dangerous run into the area, and his footwork was too quick for Bernado, as the South Korean was brought down as he shifted the ball onto his right foot. There were no prizes for guessing who was going to take it upon themselves to convert the subsequent penalty. Despite missing his last one against Southampton, Kane dispatched his spot-kick cooly and confidently to put the hosts in front.

Harry Kane celebrates breaking the deadlock and firing the Lilywhites ahead.
Spurs couldn’t manage to build on this lead, with Son going closest when his left footed strike hit the outside of the post, and this almost came back to haunt them. First Negredo’s acrobatic attempt flew just wide of Tottenham’s goal, and then a big chance fell to an unmarked De Roon in injury time, but he couldn’t catch his volley cleanly and his shot ended up too wide of the target to trouble Lloris.

Despite not being at their very best, Spurs just about managed to take all three valuable points from the match to pull away from Liverpool and Arsenal who both fell to defeats earlier in the day.

Player Ratings:

Hugo Lloris – 6/10

Kyle Walker – 6/10

Eric Dier – 7/10

Toby Alderweireld – 7/10

Ben Davies – 7/10

Victor Wanyama – 8/10

Moussa Dembele – 7/10

Dele Alli – 7/10

Christian Eriksen – 6/10

Heung-Min Son – 8/10

Harry Kane – 7/10

Man of The Match:

Heung-Min Son made the difference in the Spurs side today, attacking most prominently from the left. His ability to run at the opposition made him a hard player to handle, and this eventually won the penalty for the goal. On top of this, the winger was a constant threat with his shooting, and made a couple of good chances with his crossing.

Looking Ahead:

Liverpool away in the Premier League. Saturday 11th February. Kick Off at 17:30.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Middlesbrough: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Middlesbrough: Match Preview

After a difficult game against Sunderland on Tuesday, Spurs will be wanting to get their shooting boots on and try to dispatch of 15th place ‘Boro comfortably. Tottenham are returning to White Hart Lane in the Premier League after two draws against Sunderland and Manchester City.

Tale of the Tape:

Since the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Tottenham have been on a fantastic run of 10 games unbeaten which has seen the Lilywhite’s rising to second position in the Premier League table. Although Spurs failed to score against the Black Cats, it is clear that if Dele Alli and his peers are on form, it can be very hard to stop this Tottenham team.

Middlesbrough – in a vast contrast with Spurs, the newcomers to the Premier League have only gained nine points from their last 10 Premier League games. After 23 match days, Aitor Karanka’s team have found themselves only four places above the relegation zone and they know how crucial a result at White Hart Lane could be to their survival.

Of the last 10 meetings between these two clubs, Tottenham have come out victorious six times while Boro have only won once against the North Londoners. The last meeting did not prove as easy for Mauricio Pochettino’s team as many thought.

A sublime individual performance from Heung-Min Son saw Spurs win 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium. This fixture has created some great matches recently, most notably the 3-3 draw in 2005 where Mido had to rescue Spurs in the 83rd minute.

Team News:

Tottenham will be missing full-back Danny Rose due to suspected ligament damage suffered in the draw at Sunderland. The 26 year old is feared to be out for up to four weeks which could see him miss the trip to Anfield next week. Jan Vertonghen is still ruled out with an ankle injury but is progressing well.

Hugo Lloris is expected to return to the starting 11 after his illness which saw him left out of the match day squad for the midweek trip to Sunderland.

Kieran Trippier and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou both will miss this one also after their recent injuries suffered against Wycombe Wanderers last weekend.

Erik Lamela continues to miss out despite being back at Hotspur Way – continuing his road to fitness again. Pochettino insists that the Argentine made it clear to him that he wants to stay at Tottenham Hotspur; dismissing the reports of him seeking a move in the summer.

Aitor Karanka will be missing the opportunity of picking either Callum Chambers or Captain George Friend who are both ruled out of the fixture due to injury. However, defender Daniel Ayala is returning from suspension and could feature.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele; Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane

Predicted Middlesbrough XI:

Valdes, Barragan, Gibson, Bernardo, Fabio; De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Traore,Negredo, Stuani

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Middlesbrough

After three tough games for Mauricio Pochettino and his team, it is vital that Spurs regain their composure and get the result that could see them potentially move within six points of leaders Chelsea. If Spurs fail to win it could spell the end of the title race as the Blues have the chance to extend the increasingly daunting gap to 12 points. The Spurs team need to focus on their performance alone and do everything they can to get the all-important three points and leave the White Hart Lane happy once again.

Boro’s last win came on the 17th of December against fellow relegation candidates Swansea City, and on the home run that Spurs are in, it is hard to say that Karanka’s men will get the result they also desperately need.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for son vs middlesbrough

Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

FeaturedSunderland 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

Pochettino’s men today had a real opportunity to make ground on the league leaders and push two points in front of fellow North Londoners Arsenal, on a day where they dropped all three points losing 2-1 to Watford at the Emirates.

Even pre-match, the tides were turning against Tottenham with Captain and first team goalkeeper Hugo Lloris not travelling with the team due to illness. Even so, a strong side was fielding, where Pochettino deciding to return to a four at the back formation with Kevin Wimmer dropping to the bench and match winner at the weekend, Heung-Min Son returning to the squad.

It was clear that something was missing and that quality from players such as Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen was lacking. In a game of not many chances, the biggest talking point of the first half was definitely the appalling challenge from Jack Rodwell on Moussa Dembele which should of seen him with marching orders down the tunnel.

The biggest chance of the first half arguably fell to a man in red & white as Fabio Borini had a shot on the edge of the box which kindly fell into the area of back up goalie, Michel Vorm.

Chances were few and far between in this tie for reasons not easy to see for many fans alike. On a day that was already looking against Spurs, matters got worse as on the 38’ minute Danny Rose limped off with an expected ankle injury. Overall uneventful and quite frankly boring first half.

No changes were made by either manager at half time but the game was certainly in need of rejuvenation. This game wouldn’t see any changes made until the 72’ and 73’ minutes respectively.

Spurs looked most dangerous from crosses flying into the box from either sides but even then the joy was short lived. Heung-Min Son and Kyle Walker were the main two wide threats but did not manage to conjure up anything that resulted on an attempt on target.

Shots and pressure on Vito Mannone’s goal were so scarce that holding midfielder Victor Wanyama decided to try a couple of very ambitious long shots which ultimately came to nothing,

Right up until Lee Mason blew the final whistle, Tottenham looked lacklustre and not up for the challenge ahead.

On a day where every other top four team, Arsenal, Chelsea & Liverpool dropped vital points, it is easy to say that Pochettino’s men missed an opportunity to open up the title race and for once in the season apply real pressure to the league leaders. Although Spurs move up to second, the performance was nowhere near good enough.

Player Ratings:

Michel Vorm – 5/10

Kyle Walker – 6/10

Eric Dier – 5/10

Toby Alderweireld – 5.5/10

Danny Rose (38’) – 7/10

Victor Wanyama – 6.5/10

Moussa Dembele – 7/10

Dele Alli – 5/10

Christian Eriksen – 6/10

Heung-Min Son – 6/10

Harry Kane – 5/10

Man On The Match:

A tough decision in a tough game to watch. Moussa Dembele although not spectacular was certainly the best player in a golden journey, especially in the first half. It was thee sort of day where fans were screaming for the Belgian to go all the way, all alone. The box to box midfielders talents were on full display today as he breezed past some Sunderland players as if they weren’t there. Notable mention goes to Dembele’s midfield partner who put in another solid shift today.

Looking Ahead:

Middlesborough at home in the Premier League. Saturday 4th February. Kick Off at 17:30.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Danny Rose: I remember the stick I got after one bad season

FeaturedDanny Rose: I remember the stick I got after one bad season

Danny Rose’s Spurs career has come on leaps and bounds, but the English international is now one of Pochettino’s best players.

After a very underwhelming 2013/14 season, many Spurs fans slated him and accused him of not being worthy enough of wearing the Lilywhite top. Fast forward three seasons and Danny Rose is now undoubtedly one of the first names on the team sheet and is an integral player in Pochettino’s new system.

In an exclusive interview with Evening Standard, Danny Rose recalled the worst season he had in his 10 years as a Spurs player. “I remember I got a lot of stick from Tottenham fans a few years ago when I had a bad season but they need to realise that left-back wasn’t my position. It was only my second year playing at left-back.”

“The stick I received was very unfair and I was very unhappy after that season (2013/14). This is the first time I have had a manager who has taken time to show me what I need to do better. That is why I have come on in leaps and bounds.”

Danny Rose continued, “I have done lots of drills, had one-to-one meetings with the manager, looked at video clips from training and games. I might sit in his office for anything from half-an-hour to two hours, discussing football.”

Under Pochettino’s guidance, Danny Rose has placed himself amongst one of the best left-back’s in world football today – nevermind in England. It is crucial that Danny Rose stays fit for the entire season as he is indisputably one of the most important players under the new 3-4-2-1 system that has changed Spurs’ early bad form around.

Image result for danny rose 2017

 

Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedSunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Following a thrilling FA Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers, Tottenham return to Premier League action in a midweek match under the lights at the Stadium of Light. Spurs will be looking to return to winning ways in the league following a hard fought (and not entirely deserved) 2-2 draw at The Etihad Stadium.

Tale of the Tape:

Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven league matches, six of which they’ve won, as well as collecting eight victories out of nine in all competitions since the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford way back on the 11th of December. Having scored 21 league goals in their last seven matches, Spurs are prolific in front of goal at the moment and will look to maintain that against the Black Cats.

Sunderland – in contrast haven’t collected a league victory since the 17th of December against Watford at home and are really struggling right now.  The only real glimmer of hope for the Sunderland fans was a strong performance to grind out a 2-2 draw vs Liverpool at the start of the month, they haven’t picked up a league point since.

In the last six meetings between the teams Spurs have won five and there has been one draw between the teams, 2-2 back in September 2014 at the Stadium of Light. The most recent meeting between the two was back in September when Spurs won 1-0 thanks to a Harry Kane tap-in. The last time the two sides met in the North East, Spurs picked up a late 1-0 victory thanks to a beautifully worked Ryan Mason goal. Off track from the preview but it has delighted everybody in the Spurs family that Ryan has been discharged from hospital and is likely to make a full recovery.

Team News:

Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have all made miraculous, full recoveries from the ‘injuries’ that kept them out of the Wycombe match. However, Georges Kevin N’Koudou and Kieran Trippier are unavailable following knocks they picked up vs Wycombe. Erik Lamela remains out, but is back in England and working on his recovery at Hotspur Way. Jan Vertonghen is also ‘a few weeks’ away from returning.

Sunderland have numerous injury problems at the minute. Papy Djilobodji is out (suspended) as well as Lynden Gooch, Jordan Pickford, Steven Pienaar, Javi Manquillo, Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchoff, Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe all either out or a doubt for the game. Dame N’Dong and Lamine Koné have returned from AFCON and most likely will be fit to play.

Predicted Sunderland XI:

Mannone, Jones, Koné, O’Shea, Love; Januzaj, Rodwell, Larsson, Denayer, Honeyman; Defoe

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Wimmer; Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Alli, Kane

Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

In a vital week for Spurs, today is a must-win game if Tottenham are to provide pressure to Chelsea who play Liverpool and Arsenal in their next two games. With the gap between the Lilywhites and the Blues being as big as it currently is, it is crucial to win today in order to attempt closing the gap at the top whilst consolidating a place in the top four. Sunderland are in the relegation zone and are in danger of going down, so they will want to get a result to try and rekindle their hopes of keeping their Premier League status, but if Spurs turn up, this game is likely to result in three points for Pochettino’s men.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham 1-0 sunderland kane

Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Wycombe Wanderers: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 4-3 Wycombe Wanderers: Match Review

A gem that started off with a lovely gesture from the Tottenham players as they trained wearing ‘Get Well Soon Ryan’ shirts referring to the ex-Spur Ryan Mason after his shock injury last week would prove a tough, unpredictable cup tie.

Coming into this match undoubted favourites, many Spurs supporters were hoping for a calm 2 or 3 nil finish but that was certainly not the case! After a great comeback against Manchester City, Mauricio Pochettino decided to make nine changes to the team, some forced and some tactical.

Many had thought that the game of the weekend had already been played earlier in the day – after Wolves shocked Liverpool to a 2-1 defeat – but this tie proved to be a very good rival. It was clear from the offset that Wycombe weren’t here to play around. The crossbar came to Tottenham’s rescue in the first minute of the game as a header from striker, Paul Hayes.

The pressure kept on piling up on Spurs as Wycombe came with intent to progress in the FA Cup. It only took 23’ minutes for Wycombe’s number nine, Paul Hayes to rocket in a left footed volley from a poorly cleared corner. Strangely, it was the League two side who was piling on the attacks in the first half, which resulted in yet another shock goal for the visitors in the form of a penalty.

The first 45’ minutes was one for the Spurs players to get behind them and definitely forget about as they receiving the half time team talk from Pochettino and the back room staff.

One substitution was made during half time – Vincent Janssen on for Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. A switch that would prove fruitful for the Lillywhites’s. On the 60’ minute, Tottenham were put right back into the game as Heung-Min Son’s deflected shot found its way into the back of the net. More substitutions were made straight after as Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele were introduced on the 61’ minute.

Only a mere four minutes stood between Spurs’ first and second goal. After Vincent Janssen was fouled inside the box by Aaron Pierre the Dutchman calmly slotted the resulting penalty past Chelsea loanee, Jamal Blackman.

Image result for spurs 4-3 wycombe
Vincent Janssen drew Spurs level with a penalty.
By this point, the Tottenham faithful were looking for the winner but this tie was far from over. The willingness to press and push the Spurs back line accompanied with luck in the form of a Kieran Trippier injury saw Wycombe take the lead once again on the 84th minute. It looked set in stone, the headlines of ‘Premier League giants knocked out by Wycombe Wonderers’ were already being written but there was still life left in this game.

One man had to come to Tottenham’s rescue again. Dele Alli. In the dying minutes of the game, Alli wriggled himself past the Wanderers defence and with the composure he had, side footed the ball into the net for the sixth goal of the game.

Wycombe fans were distraught but still had high hopes of the replay back at Adams Park. However  Heung-Min Son had other ideas. In true Tottenham fashion, the South Korean left it to the last second of the game to play a lovely one, two with Janssen in the box and then smash the ball into the box for the winner.

The stands erupted as every Tottenham fan inside the stadium were brought to their feet by this true FA Cup magic. Not only were the fans in a state of jubilation but the players were too as celebrations could be seen on the White Hart Lane pitch.

After a very eventful game for players and fans alike, Tottenham found themselves on the right side of a 4-3 result and with a place in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup as the quest for silverware is still alive.

Character has certainly been a main theme in the last two Spurs games. Definitely not the worst time to be a Tottenham supporter.

Player Ratings:

Michel Vorm – 6/10

Cameron Carter-Vickers – 6/10

Kevin Wimmer – 5/10

Kieran Trippier – 7/10

Harry Winks – 8/10

Eric Dier – 6.5/10

Moussa Sissoko – 7/10

Ben Davies – 6.5/10

Josh Onomah – 6/10

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou – 7.5/10

Heung-Min Son – 9/10

Substitutes:

Vincent Janssen – 8/10

Dele Alli – 8.5/10

Mousa Dembele – 7.5/10

Man of The Match:

The matchwinner – Heung Min-Son. On a day where many Spurs players put in poor performances, the South Korean was Spurs’ hero of the day. Whilst we’ve seen him perform a lot better, he won the tie and sealed our place in the next round which more than makes up for a couple of disappointing shots that went high and over the bar during the game. Special mentions to Harry Winks and Vincent Janssen also for putting in a good shift.

Looking Ahead:

Sunderland away in the Premier League. Tuesday 31st January. Kick off at 19:45.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for spurs 4-3 wycombe son

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

FeaturedManchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

Spurs went into this game as favourites after playing some scintillating football over the last few weeks – the thrashing of Tony Pulis’ West Brom last weekend and outclassing Antonio Conte’s Chelsea a fortnight ago. City on the other hand were looking a depleted side coming into the game; losing 4-0 at Everton last Sunday and enduring a very inconsistent season.

Liverpool and Manchester United dropped points earlier in the day, giving Spurs some breathing space as well as the opportunity to pull further ahead and consolidate a place in the top four. But that task was always going to be much easier said than done, especially against a wounded Pep Guardiola side looking to answer their critics.

City came rapid out of the blocks and asked early questions to the Spurs defence and Hugo Lloris. Pablo Zabaleta had an early chance where he found himself in unfamiliar territory right in front of goal, but the presence of Toby Alderweireld put the right-back off and Spurs escaped early City pressure.

Not too long after, Raheem Sterling found himself through on goal, but dragged the ball slightly wide and Danny Rose forced him to delay his shot on goal which Spurs eventually mopped up. Spurs looked surprised at City’s early pressure, but somehow managed to hold out for a 0-0 scoreline at half time. Remarkable.

City however began the second half just as they did the first. Their persistence eventually paid off as Sane put City ahead. Hugo Lloris had an absolute ‘mare as he tried to come out and deal with Kevin De Bruyne’s pass, but found himself in no man’s land when he missed the header which presented Sane with the glorious opportunity to tuck the ball away into an empty Spurs net.

City continued coming forward and soon doubled their lead in the 54th minute. The ball was whipped into the area, which Hugo caught in his hands but then lost grip of the ball and it fell perfectly into Kevin De Bruyne’s feet – the Belgian made no mistake and put City 2-0 ahead. Jubilation for Pep and majority of the spectators  at the Etihad, not so much for Pochettino and Spurs.

It was an uphill task for Pochettino’s men from this point on and the win looked all but secured for City. Wrong.

Four minutes after City doubled their lead, Kyle Walker delightfully crossed the ball into the box which Dele Alli headed in. Spurs were back into the game after looking like they were on the brink of losing. A lifeline for the Lilywhites.

Spurs sat back after and invited the City attack forward. They continued to threaten by having a few shots at Lloris’ goal, winning a few corners and really looking to seal the game by scoring another goal. However, Eriksen moved the ball forward for Spurs, something that wasn’t done enough during the game, and managed to find Kane with a pass which the striker then flicked towards the direction of Heung-Min Son – the Korean made absolutely no mistake with his finish, finding the bottom corner of Bravo’s net. Two shots on target, two goals. Spurs somehow have pegged City back after looking like they were on the verge of defeat.

Image result for man city 2-2 spurs
Heung-Min Son was the hero of the day for Spurs.

Gabriel Jesus then was sent on by Pep Guardiola in an attempt to revive their lead. The Brazilian looked lively on his Premier League debut and immediately got involved with a cross right across the face of goal which failed to pick out a City player.

Shortly after, the debutant seemed like he had won the game, but was given offside (correctly much to the frustration of Manchester City, but it was a sigh of relief for the Spurs players who done well to weather the storm and see the game out in the end in order to gain a point on Liverpool who lost earlier in the day and stay in second place (for now, at least).

Spurs remain unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions – winning seven and drawing once. We’ve certainly had worse days.

Player Ratings:

Hugo Lloris – 6.5/10

Eric Dier – 7/10

Toby Alderweireld – 8/10

Kevin Wimmer – 6/10

Kyle Walker – 8/10

Victor Wanyama – 9/10

Mousa Dembele – 8.5/10

Danny Rose – 8.5/10

Christian Eriksen – 7.5/10

Dele Alli – 7.5/10

Harry Kane – 7/10

Substitutes:

Heung-Min Son – 8/10

Harry WInks – 8/10

Moussa Sissoko – 7.5/10

Man of The Match:

Victor Wanyama. It could have been much worse without him today. He’s been amazing since he arrived from Southampton during the summer and today was a stand out performance from him. If he continues playing like that, give the man all the spaghetti in the world and keep him here forever. Steal at 11M. Class.

Looking Ahead:

Wycombe Wanderers at home in the Emirates FA Cup. Saturday 28th January. Kick off at 15:00.

tumblr_ok59qzuqoq1u8kxcgo1_1280

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedManchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Tottenham Hotspur travel to Manchester City on the back of an impressive winning run that is sure to be put the test against Guardiola’s superstars. Although their recent form has been inconsistent (much like their entire season, thus far), nothing should be taken for granted when coming up against a City team with the likes of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero looking to put things right – especially away from home.

Tale of The Tape: 

Pochettino’s Spurs travel to Manchester on Saturday with the ideal tempo as the Lilywhites have won their last six games, seven in all competitions, which has seen them now move up to second in the league – slightly ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal, yet there’s some distance between second and first in the table.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City on the other hand are slowly starting to slip down the table. After their 4-0 loss on Merseyside last weekend, Pep Guardiola surprisingly seems to have thrown in the towel in regards to the Premier League title race. Should Spurs win on Saturday evening, it will add further complications for the already depleted City side.

Spurs have won the last three league meetings against City – scoring eight goals and only conceding twice in the process. An unusual (yet pleasant!) surprise considering the impressive record that City held over Spurs before that.

Team News:

After his unfortunate injury against WBA last weekend, Jan Vertonghen misses out for the first time this season. Pochettino revealed that the injury isn’t as bad as initially feared and that the Belgian is expected to miss only six weeks.

Erik Lamela however is still sidelined. Pochettino spoke of his concerns regarding Lamela’s injury admitting that he has grown frustrated, as well as Lamela has himself. The Argentine has been out of action since the end of October and it is unclear when he will be back with the first team again.

Gabriel Jesus was announced a City player during the week and has been given the green light to join up with his new teammates after his £27m move from Palmeiras. He could start on the bench.

Fernandinho misses out for City following his red card against Burnley a fortnight ago – ruling him out of this fixture as a part of a three game ban.

Predicted Manchester City XI: 

Bravo; Sagna, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy; Zabaleta, Toure; Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling; Aguero

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Wimmer; Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Rose; Alli, Eriksen; Kane

Prediction: Manchester City 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Hopefully Spurs can take advantage of City’s recent form and utilise this opportunity to make a big statement in the title race. A win at Manchester City would push City further out of the title picture, whilst highlighting ourselves as serious contenders for a first league title in five decades. It won’t be easy, but here’s hoping.

COME ON YOU SPURS! 

Image result for tottenham 4-0 west brom

Three at the back: Spurs’ Recipe For Success

FeaturedThree at the back: Spurs’ Recipe For Success

So, the recent Premier League ‘trend’ has been the use of formations with a back three. Although we’ve seen teams use a back three/five before in recent times (QPR under Redknapp, Sunderland under Allardyce and Southampton under Koeman), there hasn’t been much evidence of the set up being effective offensively. Some teams have been able to use it to become more solid defensively, but other than adding an extra defender, teams have struggled to draw many other benefits from it in the Premier League. Louis Van Gaal quickly resorted to a back four after a rocky start to life with United with a three-man back line, and Brendan Rodgers’ flirtations with the idea for Liverpool resulted in little success.

However, since Antonio Conte made the switch to a 3-4-3 back in September, his Chelsea side have been a revelation. His tactical amendment brought 13 straight wins, and suddenly it looked like a back three could be the basis for a successful Premier League formation. Then, in November, Pochettino sprung the tactical surprise of a back three away at the Emirates. With Alderweireld out at the time, a back three of Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen sufficed, and managed to take away a 1-1 draw in a match where Spurs were arguably the better side. Since then, the formation has been used in numerous Premier League games, and to great success so far.

The formation has a very similar structure to Chelsea’s, with only minor differences. Guardiola noted this by claiming that “Mauricio and his positional game is quite similar to Chelsea but they have some different movements.” Chelsea’s 3-4-3 includes an attacking trio of one striker (Costa) and two wingers (Hazard, Pedro and occasionally Willian). Tottenham’s 3-4-2-1 on the other hand doesn’t include wingers up with the striker, but instead offers two attacking midfielders in behind him. Eriksen and Alli have often filled these roles, supporting Kane from both central and ‘half-space’ positions. This leaves space out wide for the wing-backs, Rose and Walker to attack, and this provides Tottenham’s greatest threat from the wings. 

three-at-the-back
Spurs’ average formation in the first half vs. WBA – courtesy of the BBC.
As the BBC’s depiction of Tottenham’s average formation in the first half against West Brom suggests, Alli and Eriksen take up central positions close to Kane, whilst Rose and Walker operate almost as natural wingers, pushing as far up the pitch as possible.

The back three itself has worked very well so far. The versatility of Dier and Vertonghen allows them to cover the wide areas when needed, which was the one worry in the formations debut against Arsenal, when Ozil started to find space in behind the advanced Walker, and Dier wasn’t covering. This problem has since been addressed, and Dier looks a lot more comfortable than he initially did in this role. Vertonghen, the left sided centre back is also thriving in a back three, using his expertise as a left back to cover for Rose, and his footballing ability to step into midfield to create an overload when needed (as all three centre backs are capable of doing). In the centre, Alderweireld controls the defence and covers well on either side when Vertonghen or Dier push forward. On the ball, he uses accurate long range passing to pick out either Walker or Rose whenever he can.

Defensive organisation has been a big factor of Spurs’ season, having conceded just five times from open play and just 14 times overall, their best at this stage of any top flight season. A big part of this also comes from keeper and captain, Hugo Lloris, whose communication with his defence has been superb this season, aswell as his role as a sweeper-keeper, completing 100% of his twelve ‘keeper sweepings’ so far this season, the best ratio of any keeper in the league. This is a great attribute to possess, giving the back three comfort in playing a high line.

Image result for hugo lloris vs wba 4-0
Hugo Lloris is enjoying another good season between the sticks for Spurs.
In front of the defence sit the powerful partnership of Wanyama and Dembele. Their roles in the formation are to break up play in midfield and to protect the defence. Whilst both being combative, Wanyama is often the one tasked with sitting back whilst Dembele presses and harries opponents in various areas, although these roles can interchange if Wanyama is better placed to close down an opposing player. On top of this, Dembele also performs the role of a ball-carrier when the ball is won back, Dembele makes himself available to receive it and drive forward if the opportunity presents itself. The recent pattern in matches suggests a tiring Dembele will be replaced by the calmness and composure of Harry Winks to see results through.

The wing-backs perform arguably the hardest task in the system. Not only do they require a great deal of pace and stamina to cover their entire flank all game, but they also need to be suitably skilled in both defence and attack. With seven assists, two goals and 55 chances created between them this season, the duo have certainly been effective in their wing back roles.

Image result for rose and walker celebration vs burnley
Spurs’ fullbacks have arguably been the most important players in the new system.
One big difference between their roles, and the roles of Chelsea’s wing backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso is their attacking extent. Chelsea’s pairing act as support for Pedro and Hazard, taking up a wide midfield position until an overlap is on or a winger drifts inside leaving space to attack. They are the secondary threat. Spurs’ wing backs are very much the primary threat, looking to play on opposition full backs whenever they can, and break forward into attack at every opportunity.

An example of this attacking freedom is Tottenham’s second goal in their 4-0 win over West Brom. Rose picked the ball up on the left, drove inside with the ball eventually finding its way to Walker via Eriksen, carried on his cross-field run, picked the ball back up from Walker just inside the right corner of the box where he laid it off to Eriksen, whose deflected shot found the back of the net. The confidence and adventurous nature of Rose here reflects the large amount of faith and confidence Mauricio Pochettino has in his full backs.

The two attacking midfielders offer creativity from a more central position. It was Son and Eriksen against Arsenal, but more recently Alli has taken Son’s place. They aim to drift between the midfield and attack, finding space between the lines to occupy. Eriksen, usually on the right of the two, will take positions to link up play and create chances, whilst Alli focuses on breaking the forward line to finish chances aswell as creating them. This makes them very difficult to pick up, partly explaining the pair’s recent flurry of goals and assists. They combined twice against Chelsea in the aforementioned fashion. Eriksen found space on the right, and put in two great crossed to find Alli who cleverly found space at the far post twice, to finish off two well executed moves.

Image result for alli vs watford
Dele Alli has been in impressive form this season and is another player crucial in Pochettino’s new system.
As well as creating chances, the two also assist with the pressing, often using Kane’s triggers to close down opposition defenders and pick up spare men. This is also something that Walker and Rose will assist with if they are forward, in order to overload the opposition.

Kane’s role as a lone striker may seem simple, just it requires a lot of versatility and skill. Acting as an all-round, complete striker, Kane will be tasked with a number of duties in a match, fulfilling the role of a target man and poacher primarily, holding and play and getting on the end of chances, aswell as dropping deeper to link play, and acting as the team’s press trigger for closing down. Kane thrives off of the variety of service he receives, and the system creates a number of different types of chances, coming from either the creative guile of the attacking midfielders behind him, or the dangerous deliveries from the wing backs on either flank.

Overall, the formation has allowed Spurs to gain more control in matches, as they always have at least three players behind the ball at all times as a safety net for losing possession. The attacking trio, along with the wing backs and occasionally Dembele or Wanyama all pressing the opposition allows Spurs to close down in numbers, making life extremely difficult for the opposition at times. Aswell as outnumbering opponents in attack, the three central defenders working well together have formed a difficult barrier to break down, and as shown against Chelsea, can be just as effective as a compact defensive unit, as they are when covering the pitch to give options on the ball. This has meant Spurs have looked a more dominant and secure in this variation of the 3-4-3 / 3-4-2-1 / 3-2-5, and it’ll be interesting to see if they persist with this tactic while Vertonghen is out injured.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham 4-0 west brom

Mauricio Pochettino: I could stay at Tottenham for 20 years

FeaturedMauricio Pochettino: I could stay at Tottenham for 20 years

Pochettino arrived from Southampton to Tottenham two-and-a-half years ago and has enjoyed a successful tenure so far at White Hart Lane – turning Spurs’ fortunes around from being labelled by many pundits as ‘weak’ and ‘unprepared’, to emerging as one of the best, fiercest and most fittest sides in the Premier League.

The 44-year-old has been quoted in The Express saying, “It’s true, my staff and I are very happy here (in England). It was fantastic after a good and not so good experience as a coach in Spain. We’ve fit in fantastically since day one in England.”

Pochettino continued: “It’s true that I arrived (to England) four years ago, but maybe we could be here for 20 years. Why not? I’m not a person thinking 10 years ahead. I try to focus on today and try to work for tomorrow to be better.”

“With the philosophy, I’ve spent four years in England and it would be fantastic for me to spend some more time.”

Pochettino has already had several links linking him with other jobs in football after his much admired work at Spurs – PSG, Manchester United and Real Madrid, just to name a few clubs, were said to be closely monitoring the former Espanyol manager.

However, Pochettino has claimed that his entire focus is on Spurs.

“We are ambitious and play to win every game here. If we go back a season or two from what we were, that would be 1000 miles (backwards). Football is about faith, belief and working hard.”

Since Pochettino took charge, Tottenham Hotspur have found themselves in an upward spiral that they’ll look to continue this season. In the Argentine’s first season in north London, the Lilywhites finished fifth which was then built on with a third placed finish last season.

“In two-and-a-half years, we have met our expectations. Not to push and move the club quick – sometimes this is not possible. But it relates to excitement around the club; the new stadium and the team we are building.”

“Today it feels like we are the best team in the world. That is very good. The aim is to keep feeling that.”

Image result for mauricio pochettino tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino: Everyone is happy to be a part of our Spurs family

FeaturedMauricio Pochettino: Everyone is happy to be a part of our Spurs family

Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that Spurs are a happy family when answering a question about the possibility of big money distracting the Tottenham squad – referring to the recent transfer rumours linking Dele Alli and Harry Kane to China.

“I think we have a good atmosphere around the club – everyone is together and happy to be a part of our Spurs family,” the Spurs boss stated. “Our supporters are amazing and I think this is a very positive mix for the club – between the fans, players and staff.”

The Argentine continued: “I think it is amazing day-by-day how we feel, how we are on the training ground. The important thing is to win (trophies) in the end and to fight for the club.”

Tottenham Hotspur are currently enjoying their best run of the season as they have now won seven games in a row – six of which have come in the Premier League, resulting in Pochettino’s side moving up to second in the league standings.

Image result for tottenham team celebration 2016/17

Hugo Lloris: Lack of ‘big star’ gives Spurs an advantage in the title race

FeaturedHugo Lloris: Lack of ‘big star’ gives Spurs an advantage in the title race

Hugo Lloris has insisted that the lack of a ‘big star’ at Spurs keeps all the players firmly grounded and gives them an advantage heading into another potential race for the title.

Tottenham Hotspur currently sit second in the table after the latest weekend of Premier League fixtures – completing their sixth straight league victory following the 4-0 thrashing of West Brom at White Hart Lane.

The captain said: “One thing I really like about Tottenham is that there is not really a big star.”

“We are all working together for the team, we respect the team and we all realise that the club is higher than any player in the team. It is working well at the moment so we need to carry on (with this mentality).”

The French captain continued, “We feel confident in our style of play, but in football things can change very quickly if you don’t have the right behaviour and attitude. We have to continue working hard as we always have.”

“We are showing a lot more maturity than last season. We are still improving and we feel we are moving in the right direction, thanks to the manager and his staff who put us in the best conditions. The players deserve credit too because we are all involved and work in the way the gaffer wants.”

Spurs will be hoping to complete their fourth successive win over Manchester City on Saturday evening as they continue to push for their first league title for over five decades. The Lilywhites will look to take advantage of Manchester City’s recent slump in form and take all three points in what could be a massive title statement from Pochettino’s side.

tumblr_ojcurjw54u1tsxrrpo1_500

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 West Bromwich Albion: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 4-0 West Bromwich Albion: Match Review

Tottenham Hotspur ran out emphatic winners today beating West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane was back amongst the goals as he netted a hat-trick only a week after his girlfriend gave birth to their first child – clinching his second hat-trick in the Premier League.

Right from the off, Spurs started the game well and looked dominant in the early intervals. Ben Foster was tested a couple of times early on by Spurs’ number 10, but the keeper pulled off a few good stops which inevitably had the Spurs fans thinking, ‘it’s not going to be another one of those days, is it?’

 

No, it definitely wasn’t going to be one of those days. The Lilywhites broke the deadlock in the 11th minute when Christian Eriksen delightfully picked out Harry Kane with a pass and the striker made no mistake with the finish despite missing a great chance earlier on. An early goal was needed to take a little pressure off – especially considering our recent record against the Baggies.

Spurs looked rampant and hungry for even more goals and they got the much needed second goal through an own goal in the 26th minute. Man of the moment Dele Alli laid a pass off to Christian Eriksen who shot at goal, but it took two deflections off West Brom players before it ended up at the back of the visitors’ net for the second time of the afternoon.

Five minutes afterwards, it looked like Spurs had added a third goal to their tally but the goal was ruled out for offside. The move consisted of a delightful give-and-go between Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli which ended with Alli finishing the move off. Unfortunate to be offside.

West Brom were way off the pace in the first period and it was soon clear that Toby Pulis shared a few stern words with them at half time. The second half began with the Baggies offering more offensively, but couldn’t manage to trouble Hugo Lloris nor the Spurs defence too much.

Spurs soon started to pick up the pace again and revived the dominatation which they left off in the first half as Kane added a third for the Lillywhites in the 76th minute. After he seemingly lost the ball, Kyle Walker won the ball back off West Brom’s McCauley and put a cross in for Kane which the Englishman finished off brilliantly.

Image result for harry kane hat trick vs west brom
Harry Kane was very much back amongst the goals today.

It wasn’t done and dusted just yet though for Pochettino’s men. Harry Kane completed a well deserved hat-trick in the 81st minute when Dele Alli elegantly lifted the ball in the air and beyond a few West Brom defenders which gave Kane a chance to complete his hat-trick; and as he so often does these days, Harry Kane cleverly found the back of the net.

The three points move Spurs up to second in the league – a point ahead of Liverpool who play Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow. Today could prove to be a big day in Spurs’ season.

Player Ratings: 

Between The Sticks – 

Hugo Lloris: 7/10.

A very quiet afternoon between the goalposts for the French captain today. Not really called upon into action, nor did he have to make any spectacular saves that he usually does, but another clean sheet.

Defence – 

Jan Vertonghen: 7.5/10.

An excellent game for Jan until he picked up an ankle injury which initially looked bad. Pochettino said after the game that we will soon find out more about his injury following scans in the next couple of days.

Toby Alderweireld: 8/10.

Another faultless performance from the Belgian. Rarely ever puts a foot wrong and he done no wrong yet again today. A normal day in the office for Toby.

Eric Dier: 7.5/10.

A good game for Eric as he joined Jan and Toby again to play three at the back in Pochettino’s new preferred system. It looks set to be Dier’s new role in the upcoming months.

Midfield – 

Kyle Walker: 9/10.

Exceptional. An outstanding performance from Walker as he continued his impressive form as a wing-back – long may his form continue.

Victor Wanyama: 8/10.

The Kenyan put in a good shift yet again today and is proving to the Spurs fans once more just why Pochettino brought him to White Hart Lane. Clever business for only £11m. A steal.

Mousa Dembele: 8/10.

Dembele has experienced a steady start to this season, but today was most definitely  one of his better days. Looked like the Dembele of last season – gliding past players like a ghost. Good performance.

Danny Rose: 9/10.

Nothing new to see here, just Danny Rose being Danny Rose. Another great performance from Danny in his new wing-back position although he drifted more into the centre and into the right at parts during the game. Danny plays where he wants.

Attack – 

Christian Eriksen: 8.5/10.

Back to his best. Controlled the game well today and looked like the Christian Eriksen that we wish to see every single week. Consistency from him is required if we’re to push for the title again.

Dele Alli: 8.5/10.

Despite not continuing his league scoring form, it would be unfair to say he wasn’t at his best today. Made chances for others around him, including a marvellous assist to Kane for his hat-trick.

Harry Kane: 9/10.

Amazing. That’s all. Despite missing eight weeks through injury, he’s now only one goal behind Diego Costa today in the race for the Golden Boot and looks well on track to beating his last season goal tally. Goalscoring machine.

Substitutes – 

Ben Davies: 7.5/10.

Came in for the injured Jan Vertonghen in the second half and played his role at the back for our clean sheet. Might we see him play as part of the three at the back whilst Vertonghen is out? It seems likely.

Harry Winks: 7.5/10.

Another good run out for Winks as he replaced Dembele in the second half. Passed the ball well and helped Spurs get further up the pitch when possible.

Heung-Min Son: N/A.

Replaced Kane in the final few minutes of the game. Barely had a chance to get make a mark in the game.

Man of The Match: 

Harry Kane. Although the two fullbacks could have a good argument too. Without Kane’s goals today we wouldn’t have won so comfortably, though. The best of the bunch.

Looking Ahead: 

Manchester City away in the Premier League. Saturday 21st January. Kick off at 17:30.

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Bromwich Albion: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs West Bromwich Albion: Match Preview

Fresh off the back of an eventually comfortable win vs Aston Villa in the FA Cup, Spurs will look to hit the ground running back in Premier League action following an iconic White Hart Lane victory vs Chelsea. West Brom will arrive full of confidence, having had a strong first half of the season, they will be looking to strengthen their hopes of a European spot.

Tale of the Tape:

Spurs have won all their last five in the league, and six in all competitions. Having been in excellent form following a disappointing defeat at Old Trafford, Spurs will look to continue this excellent vain of form with a win vs The Baggies. Having scored seven in his last four league matches, and scoring in two of his last three Dele Alli might be a good bet to score at some point on Saturday.

West Brom have been strong in the league in their last six, although on the surface it may seem otherwise, having only won three; however, they were defensively resolute in 1-0 losses away at Arsenal and Chelsea and only 2-0 at Old Trafford which certainly flattered the home team. So, Spurs will absolutely have their work cut out tomorrow if they want to earn a victory.

In the last 6 meetings between the sides there have been four draws, one Spurs win and one West Brom win, but Spurs haven’t beaten WBA at home in the league since 2012, and the Lilywhites will look to break that record and secure three hard earned points vs Tony Pulis’ well organised team.

Team News:

Mauricio Pochettino can pick from a fully fit squad bar Erik Lamela who returned from Rome this week following treatment on a hip injury, he will continue his recovery over the next week to ten days and hopefully be available for selection soon.

Jonny Evans is ineligible through injury, the Northern Irish centre-half will be a big miss for West Brom as he has been at the heart of an effective defence this term. Compatriot Chris Brunt will face a late fitness test to determine if he will be available for the clash in North London.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Alli; Kane

Predicted West Bromwich Albion XI:

Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Nyom; Yacob, Fletcher; Morrison, Chadli, Phillips, Rondon

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Follow the author on Twitter

Image result for vertonghen vs west brom

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa: Match Review

The third round of the FA Cup is normally a very exciting time in the football calendar with many David versus Goliath games occurring. However, the big dog, Tottenham Hotspur, comfortably breezed into the next round after beating Aston Villa 2-0 at White Hart Lane.

Right from the outset, it was clear to see that Steve Bruce’s side had set up to frustrate this weakened Tottenham side. On most attacks from Spurs, attackers Vincent Janssen, Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son found themselves coming up against six Villa defenders.

The first half was really a tale of two well rehearsed teams who barely made a mistake between them. Neither goalkeeper had many saves to make and even then both keepers looked confident when any danger came towards them.

A very compact and well drilled Villa side seemed a very worthy opponent of this Spurs side, attacks in the first half were hard to come by but in the 71’ minute that all changed. After a period of sustained pressure from the North Londoners, a very well placed N’Koudou ball was expertly headed into the back of the net by a very unlikely source – Ben Davies.

Ben Davies celebrates with teammates after giving Spurs the lead.

After the first goal, the whole complexion of the game changed, as the Championship side were forced to push out more and try and put the Lillywhites under more pressure. Chances in on goal became more frequent for Tottenham as it looked like a second goal was inevitable. And eventually, on the 80’ minute, Heung-Min Son calmly slotted the ball past Johnstone in the Villa net.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have now extended their winning run to six since that loss to Manchester United. Spirits should be sky high after this run of results, as Tottenham look forward to their third home game in a row to West Brom.

Player ratings:

Between The Sticks –

Michel Vorm: 7/10.

A pretty standard performance was put in by the Dutchman today as not many shots came his way throughout the 90 minutes.

Defence –

Cameron Carter-Vickers: 8/10.

With this being CCV’s second only start in a Tottenham shirt, he definitely impressed many faces as he calmly dealt with any pressure on the right side of the defence, winning headers and battles all game long.

Toby Alderweireld: 8/10.

Solid performances have become standard for the Belgian defender as he has truly come into his own whilst playing and dominating this back line of three central defenders. Alderweireld was substituted for Kevin N’Koudou in the 71st minute.

Kevin Wimmer: 7/10.

Wimmer was the most attacking defender as he always looked to find the right passing option to start another Tottenham attack.

Midfield –

Kieran Trippier: 9/10.

Another start and another MOTM performance from the newly found attacking wing back in this three at the back formation. Crosses were always expected and delivered perfectly from Trippier from the right of midfield.

Eric Dier: 6/10.

Although Dier did not necessarily have a bad game, he was not a stand out performer as he carried out he duties well while also managing the rest of the team.

Harry Winks: 8/10.

The young Englishman has found his feet in this Tottenham side, establishing himself as a very driven and hardworking ball playing midfielder who was well paired alongside Eric Dier.

Ben Davies: 7/10.

Davies got his first goal in a Lillywhite shirt today, after netting a difficult yet very well placed chance 20 minutes from full time.

Attack –

Moussa Sissoko: 8/10.

A very willing runner with technical talent is hard to find these days but Sissoko showed off these two attributes as he assisted Son for the second goal of the day. Sissoko was substituted for Josh Onomah in the 85th minute.

Vincent Janssen: 5/10.

Once again, Janssen is proving to us why he is not challenging Harry Kane to a starting position as his lack of mobility was once again very apparent in the game. However, Janssen showed off his fierce presence as he held up possession for most of the 60th minutes he was in the game.

Heung-Min Son: 7/10.

Another goal to add to the Korean’s ever growing tally allowed Tottenham to seal off the game against Aston Villa.

Substitutes –

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou: 8/10.

Many supporters wanted GKN to start today but he was only limited to half an hour of football. However, he delivered in them very few minutes, tormenting former Spur, Alan Hutton with his raw pace.

Dele Alli: 7/10.

Today showed how crucial Dele is to the setup of this Spurs side as the shape of the team was changed and almost pivoted around the youngster as soon as he stepped foot on the pitch.

Josh Onomah: N/A.

Onomah only managed to grab 5 minutes of football as he was substituted on for Sissoko on the 85th minute.

Man Of The Match:

Kieran Trippier is awarded the MOTM award for his second game in a row after a very impressive attacking performance was put in by him. Crosses are one of Trippier’s strong points and he exploited this from the right side of the field against Jordan Amavi and from the corner kicks that were awarded to Spurs.

Looking Ahead:

West Bromwich Albion at home in the Premier League. Saturday 14th January. Kick off at 12:30.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa: Match Preview

Fresh from the big London derby win against league leaders Chelsea in midweek, Tottenham Hotspur host Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon at White Hart Lane. The cup game comes at a near-perfect time for Spurs as it gives Pochettino the opportunity to give some of his key players an extended recovery time from their recent win on Wednesday night.

Tale of The Tape: 

The confidence and momentum for Spurs is gradually building up as Pochettino’s side picked up their fifth win on the trot whilst inflicting a first loss for Chelsea in thirteen league games – stalling the league leaders in their pursuit for the league title, whilst presenting themselves and other teams around them with much needed hope in the race for the title.

Aston Villa on the other hand have recently been inconsistent in their last set of fixtures having only won two of their last five games in the Championship.

Spurs have beaten Villa six times in the FA Cup – in four of those occasions, the Lilywhites went on to win the final at Wembley.

Team News:

Erik Lamela has traveled to Rome to continue his recovery from injury and Pochettino revealed in his press conference on Friday that the Argentine should be ready in ‘the next few weeks to join the group.’ Other than that, Pochettino has a fully fit squad to choose from.

Mile Jedinak has overcome illness and should return in midfield for Steve Bruce’s side. There could also be an Aston Villa debut in goal for loan signing Sam Johnstone, who has joined from Manchester United.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI: 

Vorm; Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies; Winks, Wanyama; Son, Eriksen, N’Koudou; Janssen

Predicted Aston Villa XI: 

Johnstone; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Gardner, Westwood, Adomah, Grealish; Bacuna, McCormack

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Aston Villa

Image result for vorm tottenham 2016

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedChelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Still sore from the disappointment of their premature and half-hearted exit from the Champions League in Monaco on Tuesday night, Spurs head to on fire London rivals Chelsea for their third league London derby in a row in what promises to be a competitive, feisty clash if last season’s fixture is anything to go by. Coupled with the charisma of Pochettino and Conte, this could be a cracker.

Tale of the Tape:

Following their defeat to Arsenal on the 24th of September, Chelsea have played six league games. Six games. Six wins. Seventeen goals scored. Zero goals conceded. So I make Spurs strong favourites for this one. All jokes aside, the blues are in scintillating form and are looking like the team to beat in the Premier League this season.

Dismal Champions League campaign to one side for a moment, Spurs have showed some signs of revival. A last gasp win against West Ham was enough to keep Tottenham four points behind the league leaders, Chelsea. As much as the Champions League exit may seem like the end of the world, we must remember we’re only four points behind the pace setters and there are another 78 points up for grabs.

Last time out Chelsea ended Tottenham’s dreams of their first league title since 1961, despite Spurs being 2-0 up at half time, Chelsea fought back and Eden Hazard’s late strike was enough to get the point for the Blues, and clinch Leicester the title. *shudders* Spurs haven’t won at the bridge for 26 years, and this year seems as unlikely as any. But we must not forget what an amazing side we are on our day.

Team News:

Spurs are still without Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies and Erik Lamela, Danny Rose is suspended too. Moussa Sissoko returns from suspension and is eligible.

Chelsea are without John Obi Mikel, Kurt Zouma, Marco Van Ginkel, and John Terry. Diego Costa will look to thrive in the derby atmosphere.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI: Lloris; Walker, Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen; Wanyama; Dembele, Alli; Eriksen, Son; Kane.

Prediction: Chelsea 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for chelsea vs tottenham

 

AS Monaco vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedAS Monaco vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Tottenham Hotspur travel to Monaco on Tuesday night knowing that their hopes for making the Champions League knockout stages are very much in their own hands. A win is essential for the Lilywhites in France if they are to remain with a chance of making it through to the next stage of the Champions League despite an underwhelming run of results so far in Europe.

Tale of The Tape:

Spurs picked up their first win in almost two months on Saturday evening in a dramatic London derby with West Ham United. Two late goals from Harry Kane saw Tottenham snatch a win from the jaws of defeat as they overturned a 2-1 to win the game 3-2. That win was really important heading into this crucial week for Spurs with games against Monaco and another London derby, this time with Chelsea, on the horizon for Pochettino’s side.

Monaco on the other hand enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win away from home against Lorient in Ligue 1. Radamel Falcao seems to be regaining the form that has seen him be amongst one of the most feared strikers in the world a few seasons ago. Monaco are flying in the French league – above current champions Paris Saint Germain and two points separate themselves and leaders Nice at the top of the table.

Team News:

Tottenham Hotspur have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this crucial game. Alderweireld, Lamela and Davies remain sidelined. Pochettino admitted in the pre-match press conference that a few players will need to be assessed before the game in fear of a burnout – especially with Spurs having to travel to Stamford Bridge only four days later.

The big news for Monaco fans is that Joao Moutinho will return to their matchday squad after returning to first team training in recent days. It is unclear if he will be chucked straight back into a team that is performing well at the moment in the league and in Europe, but it was confirmed by the manager that Moutinho will be in the squad for Tuesday night’s game. Other than that, Monaco have no new injury concerns.

Predicted AS Monaco XI: 

Subasic, Jamerson, Mendy, Sidibe, Glik, Fabinho, Lemar, Silva, Traore, Germain, Falcao

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane

Prediction: AS Monaco 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Image result for kane vs west ham 2016

Mauricio Pochettino: Harry Kane is one of the world’s best strikers

FeaturedMauricio Pochettino: Harry Kane is one of the world’s best strikers

Mauricio Pochettino has told BBC Sport that he believes Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world.

Harry Kane returned for Spurs just before the international break against Arsenal in the North London Derby at the Emirates and helped his side maintain their unbeaten start in the Premier League with a penalty in a 1-1 draw. Yesterday, Kane scored two goals in three minutes at the end of the game to change, what looked to be a painful loss for Spurs at home to West Ham, into a dramatic win which sent White Hart Lane into raptures – sealing Spurs’ first win in almost two months.

“Harry Kane is always very important, he is our main striker,” said Pochettino. “You miss that type of player when he does not play for 10 or 11 games. He is one of the best strikers in the world.”

Harry Kane now has five goals in seven Premier League games, four more than he had after the same amount of games he played last season where he went on to win the Golden Boot. Harry Kane’s importance to Tottenham has been conveyed in the last two games as he scored three goals in just over 150 minutes of football in order to help Spurs stay in touch at the top of the table.

Image result for tottenham 3-2 west ham

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 West Ham United: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 3-2 West Ham United: Match Review

Tottenham Hotspur earn a dramatic three points in their last ever Premier League game against West Ham at White Hart Lane. These three points once again propel Spurs within touching distance of the top four, only one point off rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

It was far from the best performance of the season, but the composure the players sometimes lacked was made up entirely from passion. Players like Harry Winks and Harry Kane relished in such a moment. Within the first 25 minutes of the game, Tottenham saw themselves down 1 – 0 after Michail Antonio headed it in after the ball dropped to Winston Reid in the box.

The Lillywhites were not down and out however, after a superb Janssen effort was saved from Randolph, youngster Harry Winks was there hovering in the box to tap it home and level it up.

Harry Winks celebrates his first goal for Spurs as he made it 1-1.

This game was not short of surprises and that is exactly what we got after Mike Dean awarded a penalty to West Ham due to Janssen bringing down Reid in the box. Manuel Lanzini stepped up to take the penalty and calmly slotted in past Hugo Lloris to once again take the Hammers in front.

The Tottenham team was once again deflated. For the next 20 minutes of the game, West Ham looked the side more likely to nick another goal. Simone Zaza had a golden opportunity to make it 3 – 1 after some dazzling play from Payet but hit it straight at Lloris who was standing tall in the Tottenham goal.

Then on, the game lacked intensity with West Ham trying to protect what they had and Tottenham pushing to get an equaliser. Substitutions were made by both managers, with Mauricio Pochettino bringing on Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli in the later stages of the game. These substitutions were crucial in Tottenham’s comeback, especially Son on the left hand side of the field. Spurs looked defeated and the game was all but over until Harry Kane was able to latch onto a stray ball in the penalty box after some great play from non other than Son to make it 2 – 2 in the 89th minute of the game.

After the initial 90 minutes were played, the fourth official held up the board and showed that 6 minutes were rightfully going to be added on. A mixture of injuries to West Ham players and some debatable time wasting tactics from the Hammers may have been their own downfall. The crowd was roaring and there was for the first time in the game a sense of belief that Tottenham could go on to win this game.

Heung-Min Son once again took the game by the scruff of its neck after making a darting run into the West Ham box which resulted in West Ham substitute, Havard Nordtveit, sliding in and giving away a penalty in the 90th minute. Tottenham’s main man, Harry Kane stepped up to take the penalty and like many before smashed it to the keepers right, giving Randolph no chance to save it.

Image result for tottenham 3-2 west ham
To The Rescue: Harry Kane puts Spurs into the lead for the first time on the night to snatch all three points.

Pure jubilation rang round White Hart Lane with fans singing to their hearts content. For the first time in the match the supporters had something to sing and shout about. After 6 minutes of added time was played, Mike Dean reached for his whistle and for the last time in the game blew it. A huge sigh of relief went up all around the ground, with Tottenham fans everyone asking one another, how did we win that?

Tottenham now have their first win in 7 games and also extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games in the Premier League.

Player ratings:

Between The Sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 6/10.

Although the keeper did not make too many individual errors yesterday, conceding two goals is something that Spurs do not do often and its almost certain that Lloris will not want it to happen again.

Defence –

Kyle Walker: 7/10.

Darting forward runs was once again key to Walkers game, although his defensive duties may have not been up to par.

Eric Dier: 6/10.

Slotting back into defence did not prove problematic to the English international, as he kept calm in possession and carried out his defensive duties well.

Jan Vertonghen: 7/10.

Much like Dier, possession football was key to Vertonghen’s game, playing many good balls forward and regularly trying to get Tottenham on the front foot.

Danny Rose: 7/10.

Once again. forwards runs were the biggest part of Rose’s game, he also tried to link midfield to attack, providing width throughout the game.

Midfield –

Victor Wanyama: 7/10.

Playing alongside Dembele has seemed relatively comfortable, as Wanyama carried out all tasks that were asked of him.

Mousa Dembele: 6/10.

Taken off for Dele Alli summed up Dembele’s game – still very good in midfield, just not the best we’ve seen him play.

Harry Winks: 8/10.

The youngsters first start for Tottenham in the Premier League proved a great one, scoring one and setting attacks up all game.

Christian Eriksen: 4/10.

Once again a very poor performance from Eriksen as he has once again looked off the pace for Tottenham.

Forwards –

Vincent Janssen: 5/10.

Vincent has found it hard to settle in and this was apparent once again as he didn’t have many chances throughout the game and gave away a penalty to West Ham which fortunately for him didn’t prove costly in the end..

Harry Kane: 9/10.

Kane has once again proved he is a big game player, scoring two late goals two get his team out of jail and push them closer to the top four once again.

Substitutes:

Kieran Trippier: 5/10.

Came on for Kyle Walker when he seemingly picked up a knock and got forward in the closing stages of the game – attempting to put crosses into the box.

Dele Alli: 6/10.

Not the best performance, after regularly losing possession to the West Ham defence.

Heung Min Son: 8/10.

Son changed the whole game after he came on and was one of the main reasons why Spurs came back into the game.

Man of The Match:

MOTM has to go to Harry Kane after he once again bailed out Tottenham after a once again very lackluster performance. Although Kane may have not got the support he wanted, he kept on pushing and finally reaped the rewards with his two goals late on.

Looking Ahead:

AS Monaco away in the Champions League. Tuesday 22nd November. Kick off at 19:45.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United: Match Preview

Premier League football returns to White Hart Lane after a three week absence as Tottenham take on London rivals West Ham United at 17:30. A gripping atmosphere likely as Spurs look to build on a solid away point at Arsenal, while West Ham look to continue their recovery following their dismal start to the season.

Tale of The Tape: 

Spurs are without a win in their last seven in all competitions; however they did show signs of recovery with a solid, competitive performance at The Emirates last time out, especially following such an awful performance at Wembley vs Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

West Ham have won three of their last five, including a league cup win over Chelsea and an impressive 1-0 victory away at Crystal Palace. Although they stuttered in the last two league matches, The Hammers are providing some more of the good performances that became synonymous with them last term.

In the last six league meetings, Spurs have won just two, with West Ham claiming three and being one stalemate between the sides. In the last game, West Ham won 1-0 thanks to a Michail Antonio header which prevented Spurs from going top of the league. Although, in November 2015 at The Lane, it was a different story; Tottenham tore apart West Ham, with two goals from the recently returned Harry Kane.

Team News: 

Toby Alderweireld remains out with the ‘minor knock’ he suffered over a month ago. ‘Minor’. Ben Davies and Erik Lamela are unfit, and Dele All will be touch and go until kick off. Other than those four, Mauricio Pochettino has a fully fit squad to pick from.

West Ham will be missing Sam Byram, Reece Oxford, Andy Carroll, Gokhan Tore and Arthur Masuaku. Diafra Sakho, Fernandes, Winston Reid and James Collins all returned to first team training this week and are likely to be fit for the match at White Hart Lane.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Dier, Vertonghen, Wimmer; Walker, Dembele, Wanyama, Rose; Eriksen, Son; Kane.

Predicted West Ham United XI: 

Adrian; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Antonio, Fernandes, Obiang, Cresswell; Lanzini, Ayew, Payet.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 West Ham United

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham 4-1 west ham

 

 

 

Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedArsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

A stuttering Spurs head in to the biggest league match of the season against a rampant Arsenal side. Pochettino’s men will look to upset the odds and use this fixture as the ultimate springboard to get their league season back on track whilst claiming North London bragging rights. But, no matter how desolate we may feel now, remember – this is the North London Derby. Anything can happen.

Tale of The Tape:

Tottenham are without a league win in three matches and haven’t won in all competitions since the 2-0 victory over Manchester City on the 2nd of October. Following only one goal in their last three league games, Harry Kane’s likely presence on the bench will be a welcome sight to many Spurs fans, as last season’s top scorer is the best hope of solving Spurs’ goal-scoring problems.

Arsenal are in supreme form at the moment – unbeaten in 15 matches in all competitions and have won seven of their last eight in the league. Following up on an inspired comeback from 2-0 down in Bulgaria to win 3-2, thanks to a magical Mesut Ӧzil goal.

In the last six league meetings between the sides, Tottenham have won once, drawn three times, and Arsenal have been victorious twice. Spurs are unbeaten in the last four however, but have not won at The Emirates Stadium since 2010. Spurs have in fact only recorded two away league wins against Arsenal in the Premier League era.

Team News:

The biggest news in this one is that Harry Kane will 100% be in the Spurs squad. Mauricio Pochettino initially said ‘it will be tough’ to start him, but in Friday’s Spurs TV interview he stated that there was ‘no risk’. The Boss has also speculated over whether Harry Winks will receive his first Premier League start at Arsenal, emulating Ryan Mason in the process. Ben Davies and Erik Lamela are out, as is Moussa Sissoko who is serving a suspension.

Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs and Santi Cazorla will all face late fitness tests, and summer signing Granit Xhaka may be left out as a result of his poor disciplinary record. Other than that, no huge injury concerns for Arsenal.

Predicted Arsenal XI:

Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Elneny; Iwbi, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Winks, Wanyama; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Janssen/Kane

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Follow the author on Twitter. 

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

FeaturedWest Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

Tottenham Hotspur earn a draw at The Hawthorns with a dramatic late equaliser from Dele Alli. Despite extending their unbeaten streak, they drop down to 3rd in the table, a point behind both Manchester City and Arsenal.

It was a bright start from the north London side, keeping the vast majority of possession within the opening 10 minutes. Tottenham’s first chance came from the left-hand side of the penalty box, with Erik Lamela fizzing a cross past the far post. Vincent Janssen made his presence known early on, too. He held up the ball magnificently in the final third, laying the ball off to midfield runners on multiple occasions within the opening 20 minutes.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men continued to pressurise the West Brom back-line, with chances from both Eriksen and Alderweireld failing to find the target. It became evident that despite the mass amount of possession, Tottenham would have to come up with something special to break the deadlock. If anyone was to do so it looked to be young Englishman, Dele Alli. He’d been Tottenham’s brightest spark following the opening 30 minutes, and came excruciatingly close with two opportunities shortly before half time. One of which saved by West Brom keeper, Ben Foster, and the other drifting narrowly past the far post.

Foster had the last laugh on the 1st half, denying Tottenham the opening goal of the match on multiple occasions. Despite chances from Matt Phillips and James McClean late on in the 1st half, Tottenham dominated throughout, amassing over 70% possession. It was evident that Tony Pulis’ side were both organised and very well-structured; for Spurs to take anything from The Hawthorns they had to be more clinical.

It was a turbulent opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half for Spurs. Arguably Tottenham’s best performer this season, Toby Alderweireld, went down injured following a West Brom free-kick. He was able to get back onto his feet, before subsequently being taken off on a stretcher. It was downhill from there for Spurs, it seemed. The 65th minute saw the introduction of Mousa Dembele, who Pochettino hoped may inspire his side to push for the goal that would put them ahead.

In the following 15 minutes, Tottenham’s pressure continued to build. Star man Heung-Min Son was introduced late on but failed to break through the West Brom back-line. With only 10 minutes to go, West Brom went on search for the goal that could steal all three points. They pressed Spurs back into their own half, and were awarded two corners in quick succession. Following a venomous strike from McClean, Hugo Lloris performed a moment of magic to keep it out. However, it wasn’t enough. Former Spur, Nacer Chadli latched onto the rebound and fired home for his new club.

Determined to get something out of the game, Tottenham once more piled pressure onto the home side. Chances from Ben Davies and Vincent Janssen came close, but a superb piece of individual skill from Son allowed for some space inside of the box. Eriksen laid the ball across the box for Dele Alli to strike, and he did in brilliant Dele Alli fashion. A deft touch from the outside of his boot saw the ball drift into the corner of the net, bringing Spurs level.

Tottenham pressed for the winner, but it was all but too late. One last chance fell to Christian Eriksen with a free-kick, but Ben Foster proved too hard to beat in what amounted to the last kick of the game. It finished 1-1, with Spurs dropping down to third place. However, they extend their unbeaten streak to eight consecutive Premier League games.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 7/10.

It was a somewhat quiet performance from Lloris, but he was there when called upon. Couldn’t have done that much more to stop Chadli’s goal.

Defence –

Kyle Walker: 7/10.

Probably the best of the Tottenham back-four today. Read the game well and used his pace effectively.

Toby Alderweireld: 7/10.

Once again an assured defensive showing from Toby, awfully unfortunate to pick up an injury.

Jan Vertonghen: 6/10.

Mostly solid throughout, however, seemed to lose focus during the final minutes.

Ben Davies: 7/10.

Played relatively well and offered options going forward, too. Unlucky not to score.

Midfield – 

Victor Wanyama: 7/10.

Reliable from Victor, as seems to be the case most weeks now. Didn’t do all that much wrong today.

Moussa Sissoko: 5/10.

Thought Moussa was a little off pace today. Offered options off the ball but lacked creativity in the final third.

Christian Eriksen: 6/10

Certainly not as impressive as he has been in previous weeks, in this deeper role. Struggled to find the pockets of space needed to thrive.

Dele Alli: 7/10

Delighted for Dele having picked up the equaliser, but should’ve been more clinical early on. Unlucky not to score more.

Erik Lamela: 5/10

Similar to Sissoko, Lamela failed to offer much on the ball. Tottenham’s wide players weren’t able to offer as much as Pochettino may had hoped.

Attack – 

Vincent Janssen. 6/10

Showed real authority within the 1st half with his hold-up play, however, he failed to make an impact late on. Showing signs of promise, but needs a goal.

Substitutes:

Eric Dier: N/A.

Mousa Dembele: 6/10.

Looked assured in possession as always and looked to play the ball forward, hopefully fully fit for the game vs Leverkusen.

Heung-Min Son: 6/10.

Offered energy after coming on and had a big part to play in the equaliser, should be ready to face his former club on Tuesday.

Man of the Match: 

It was a lacklustre performance from the boys today. Dominated possession throughout and created plenty of chances, but simply weren’t clinical enough. I’d have to say that the Man of the Match was Dele Alli, however. He was Tottenham’s biggest threat going forward, and scored the equaliser to earn a crucial point.

Looking Ahead:

Bayern Leverkusen away in the Champions League. Tuesday 18th October. Kick off at 19:45.

Follow the author on Twitter.

tumblr_of3k342o2t1u9ikt0o1_1280

 

West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedWest Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

A bold, daring ‘Audere Est Facere’ feeling Tottenham head to the midlands on Saturday to face a stumbling West Brom side who are desperately in need of 3 points to appease the fans, who are questioning the ever-surviving Tony Pulis. Seems easy enough? This is Tottenham Hotspur, remember. 

Tale of the Tape

The last six between the sides have been evenly matched, with both sides winning one a piece, as well as four draws. It would be fair to say Albion have been somewhat a bogey side for Spurs, as well as Craig Dawson’s late equaliser at The Lane last year forming a penultimate nail in our title challenges coffin.

 Spurs are in simply sensational form at the moment, having won our last four in the league, remaining now as the only side in the Premier League yet to be beaten, after we ended Manchester City’s winning streak with a scintillating White Hart Lane performance last time out. Spurs have only lost one game all season in all competitions.

West Brom on the other hand have been nowhere near their exceptionally organised and disciplined best so far this term. Having only won two of their first seven, one of which was against a West Ham side surely bound for relegation, the Albion fans are dissatisfied with Pulis’ lack of expansive and exciting football. The same can absolutely not be said for Tottenham.

Team News:

Tottenham Hotspur will assess Mousa Dembele before kick-off, other than that there are no new injury concerns for Tottenham. Harry Kane is set to return to training next week following his ankle ligament injury, but Mauricio Pochettino is reluctant to place a time frame on the Spurs marksman’s return.

West Brom have a fully fit squad at the moment, and Nacer Chadli will be relishing the opportunity to get one over on his old teammates from White Hart Lane.

Predicted West Bromwich Albion XI: 

Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Yacob, Fletcher, Phillips, Chadli, McClean; Rondon

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI: 

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama, Dier, Eriksen, Dele, Lamela, Son

Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Follow the author on Twitter.


How Christian Eriksen’s role against Manchester City benefited the team

FeaturedHow Christian Eriksen’s role against Manchester City benefited the team

Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical decisions allowed Spurs to outperform an on form Manchester City side. With City winning all of their league games previous to the clash, Pep Guardiola’s side looked as if they would storm the title race this year. However, The Sky Blues were stopped in their tracks by the North London team. Spurs played City at their own game. A high intensity game, quick intricate passes and a forceful press from Tottenham strangled City out of the first 45 minutes as well as giving them a 2-0 lead. A solid defensive performance in the second half meant that City could not find their way back into the game no matter how hard they tried.

Tottenham started the game with their typical 4-2-3-1 formation. Dele Alli and Victor Wanyama took up the double pivot in the absence of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele, while Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Mousa Sissoko formed the attacking three behind the on-form Heung-Min Son. However, as the game progressed Spurs changed to a 4-1-4-1 formation which saw an interesting development in Christian Eriksen’s role during the game.

Eriksen is a vital player to Spurs. The Dane acts as the metronome for the team, he controls the rhythm and tempo of the game. As seen in the past, Tottenham are a completely different team without the playmaker or when he dips in form. Eriksen’s favoured position to play is behind the striker in the number 10 role, however as Dele Alli thrives in that hole behind the striker Eriksen has been forced out onto the left wing. While this hasn’t massively affected Eriksen’s game overall came he still has more control from central positions. If anything Eriksen’s position on the left hinders the team slightly when he drifts into the center of the pitch and stays there too long. This creates a more narrow midfield and sometimes leaves the team unbalanced.

Against City, Eriksen took up a role which we have never seen him play in before. Alli continued to play higher up the pitch behind Son, even though he originally started alongside Wanyama, and Lamela and Sissoko occupied the left and right wing respectively. Eriksen on the other hand took up a Luka Modric-esque role, controlling the game from deep and doing so without restricting his  creativity. With both Alli and Eriksen playing in central roles Spurs got the best out of both players. The move also helped Spurs implement their high press as by playing Lamela and Sissoko out wide it put pressure on City’s full backs, who were intent on playing out from the back, as the two players stayed out wide, unlike Eriksen who often drifts in.

With Spurs playing with a false nine and four attacking midfielders they had an extra man allowing them to press in groups of twos or threes, forcing City’s defence into numerous mistakes that the Lilywhites would capitalise on.

On top of this Eriksen’s partnership with Wanyama throughout the game allowed the Tottenham to break onto City quickly. With Wanyama providing a flawless performance in breaking up Guardiola’s team’s attacks, Eriksen would quickly pick up the second ball and recycle it back out to an attacking midfielder and consequently start a new attack on the back of City’s. Eriksen has come under criticism for his lack of defensive abilities. While Eriksen doesn’t put in numerous tackles every game he does win second balls as well as intercepting play and gaining back possession through pressing opponents and this is just as important, if not more, for Tottenham’s style of play.

With Pochettino hinting in his post match comments that Tottenham may only play with one defensive midfielder in the future, will we see Eriksen in this role more often? With Mousa Dembele still to return to the squad it is difficult to tell, but I would not be surprised to see Eriksen progress into this deeper role.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for christian eriksen 2016/17

 

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City: Match Review

Tottenham Hotspur ended Manchester City’s winning run of form in the Premier League this season, whilst continuing our unbeaten run of form in the league and climbed back up above Liverpool into second position – one point off first place in the league standings.

Spurs started the game fantastically well and heaped the pressure onto City’s defence in the opening exchanges of the game. Son came close in the opening minute to opening the scoring, but scuffed his shot into the side netting.

The breakthrough for Spurs came just before the 10th minute mark when Danny Rose, who came back from the injury he picked up on international duty for England, crossed the ball into the box from the left hand side which evaded Heung-Min Son, but it hit Aleksander Kolarov and the ball found its way into the back of Claudio Bravo’s net. White Hart Lane was sent into raptures.

Spurs celebrate the opening goal of the game.

 

Spurs continued to pile on the pressure onto the City defence which looked incredibly shaky and vulnearable – particularly their goalkeeper who looked nervous with each touch of the ball he had. City looked dangerous on the break, but otherwise Spurs made in difficult for them to play their usual football.

After a period of pressure on the City goal, Spurs got their second goal of the game five minutes before half time. The man of the moment Heung-Min Son turned and sent a delightful pass into the path of Dele Alli who timed his run perfectly to ensure he was onside and he made no mistake with the finish by sweeping the ball into the left side of Bravo’s net. White Hart Lane erupted with jubilation for the second time.

ctxj9ahweaacfkj
Dele Alli wheels away after putting Spurs two goals to the good.

The second half begun similar to the first half. Spurs picked up from where they left off and searched for a third goal instead of trying to defend what they had and soak up City’s pressure. The search for the third goal continued as Victor Wanyama bursted through the middle and got a shot through on goal which Bravo had to get fingertips to in order to stop his team from going three goals down.

The pressure slowly died down from Spurs as City grew more and more into the game. Our backline stood firm and showed why it is currently the best in the league having only conceded three goals – none from open play. Guardiola brought on Iheancho to try to bring City back into the game, but Spurs never looked in any serious trouble in the opening parts of the second half.

Spurs then were awarded a penalty – a chance to add a third to the scoreline and put City out of the game. Son initially wanted to take the penalty, but Erik Lamela took the ball off Son and placed it on the spot. He stepped up and watched on as Bravo saved his spot kick. It has to be said, a really poor effort from Lamela as the penalty lacked any sort of conviction and looked predictable as to where the Argentine wanted to go.

As the game grew closer to the 90th minute, City pilled on late pressure on Hugo Lloris’ goal. Aguero was sent through on goal via an excellent through ball and saw his shot awkwardly saved by the legs of Lloris and onto the crossbar which was eventually headed away by Danny Rose.

City looked more and more dangerous in the closing stages of the game, but Tottenham showed their quality by soaking up all the late pressure and seeing the game out to ensure a 2-0 win. This win means that Spurs will now go into the international break sat second in the league and the only team left unbeaten this Premier League campaign.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 8/10.

A relatively quiet first half for the Spurs captain between the posts, but he was called into action multiple times in the second half and showed his class.

Defence –

Kyle Walker: 8/10.

Another solid showing from our right-back.

Toby Alderweireld: 8.5/10.

Water is wet, grass is green and Toby Alderweireld doesn’t put a foot wrong. Another (unsurprisingly) stand-out performance from Toby.

Jan Vertonghen: 8/10.

Two great back-to-back performances from Jan. A solid game today.

Danny Rose: 8/10.

Great comeback game for our left-back and was influential in our first goal.

Midfield – 

Victor Wanyama: 8.5/10.

A sublime performance from the Kenyan who, despite picking up a yellow card, put in a great shift today and perhaps unlucky not to score.

Dele Alli: 8/10.

That’s more like the Alli of last season! A good performance from the young Englishman and has a superb goal to show for it.

Attack – 

Moussa Sissoko: 7.5/10.

Got into a few good positions today and caused City’s backline plenty of problems. Good performance.

Christian Eriksen: 8/10.

A fantastic performance from the Dane today and dictated the midfield for large parts of the game.

Erik Lamela: 7/10.

Not the best of games. Gave the ball away a few times, and of course, missed a penalty to seal the game. Seen him do much better.

Heung-Min Son: 8.5/10.

Not a goal today for the South Korean, but another fantastic performance. Set up the second goal for Dele Alli.

Substitutes:

Eric Dier: 7.5/10.

Helped see the game out when City started piling on the pressure. A good comeback appearance for Eric.

Georges Kevin-N’Koudou: 7.5/10.

Came on towards the end of the game and did his job.

Vincent Janssen: 7.5/10.

A good few minutes from the Dutchman after coming on in the dying moments of the game. Held of a few defenders and helped Spurs keep the ball in the final third of the pitch.

Man of The Match: 

There could have been quite a few shouts for MOTM today as it was an all round great team performance, but I will opt for Wanyama. Put in a very good shift today in Dembele’s absence and helped in keeping City’s attackers relatively quiet.

Looking Ahead:

West Bromwhich Albion away in the Premier League. Saturday 15th October. Kick off at 15:00.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City: Match Preview

Lilywhite meets Sky Blue in a top of the table clash that could end up having profound implications for the destination of the Premier League title, even at such an early stage. Pep Guardiola’s City have looked unstoppable at times, winning every league game so far, but Spurs are undefeated and lie in second: something will have to give at White Hart Lane. The league’s most prolific attack visits the league’s most stubborn defence.

Tale of the Tape:

History tells us that this is a near-impossible fixture to predict. There has only been one draw between the pair since 2004. City have won 8 of the last 11 meetings, but since Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Tottenham the record stands at two wins apiece, including a glorious Lilywhite double last season.

City’s recent league form is unblemished, but they did concede thrice in a draw at Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday. Spurs impressively defeated CSKA 1-0 in Moscow, with another goal from the on-fire Heung-Min Son, to get their European hopes back on track.

City have a four-point buffer which ensures that they will remain top whatever the outcome tomorrow, whilst Spurs know that anything less than a win will leave them susceptible to the plethora of chasing teams behind them.

Team News:

The hosts remain without Harry Kane, suffering from an ankle ligament injury sustained against Sunderland; the timescale on his return remains unclear. Pochettino will have to make late decisions on Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko, who all missed the Russia trip but did return to training at various points in the week.

The sensational Kevin de Bruyne could be a big miss for the visitors after picking up a minor hamstring injury last weekend, as fellow attacking midfielder Nolito also serves the last match of his domestic suspension. Fabian Delph and captain Vincent Kompany remain sidelined.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama, Dembele, Son, Eriksen, Alli, Janssen

Predicted Manchester City XI:

Bravo, Sagna, Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov, Gundogan, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Silva, Sterling, Aguero

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Manchester City

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for heung min son vs cska

CSKA Moscow 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

FeaturedCSKA Moscow 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

A recent swarm of injuries left Tottenham without five big players for their Champions League tie away at CSKA Moscow, as Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Kane all found themselves sidelined for the fixture. This meant that Wanyama, Janssen and Davies all kept their place in the side, aswell as a return to the first XI for Erik Lamela, and a deeper role for Dele Alli. Kieran Trippier also gained his second start of the season, as Pochettino seemingly rested Walker.

CSKA Moscow fielded their on-form, giant of a striker Lacina Traore, who faced Spurs last season in the Europa League whilst at Monaco. It was clear very early on how much of an awkward customer he was going to be for Alderweireld and Vertonghen as CSKA looked to feed him a variety of balls for him to deal with, and play off of the knockdowns and lay-offs.

Spurs saw plenty of the ball in the opening 25 minutes, dominating possession and controlling the match, but failing to make chances. The slow pitch didn’t allow for the quick, intricate passes that Spurs often use to create opportunities, and this meant that attacks would often stagnate and forced to start again. Moscow may have only had 32% possession, but they looked dangerous when they did win it. They won the ball off of Spurs’ midfield two or three times early on, and looked to break quickly when they did. The led to a couple of crossing opportunities that didn’t lead to much, but warned Tottenham of the potential threat they faced.

Toby Alderweireld battles in possession.

Tottenham’s first real chance came half an hour in, when Christian Eriksen fizzed an accurate ball through to Alli, who failed to control the ball as it skidded up off the surface inside the area. Had he done so, he’d have found himself 1-on-1 with the CSKA ‘keeper, Igor Akinfeev. Minutes later and CSKA Moscow had their first big chance, as Vertonghen’s headed clearance fell to Tosic on the edge of the area, who took a touch before attempting to find the top corner with his dangerous left foot, but his shot was fired just off target.

Dele Alli then came extremely close to giving Spurs the lead on 35 minutes when Wernbloom’s tackle on Eriksen fell to him just outside the area, where he promptly shifted the ball from left to right and cracked a stunning strike which had Akinfeev beaten as it smacked the crossbar and went out for a goalkick. Spurs then went close twice more before half time, firstly when Trippier’s floated cross found an unmarked Alderweireld, who couldn’t generate enough power on the header to trouble Akinfeev, and then a couple of minutes later when Christian Eriksen’s cross was met by Alli at the back post, but his close-range header looped over.

Spurs had a staggering 70% possession in the first half, but they were having trouble converting this possession into chances. At half time, Poch swapped Son and Lamela’s wings in order to try and improve this. This did have some impact, as Lamela seemed to be getting involved more frequently from the left, and Son continued to threaten on the right, but Spurs were still failing to give Akinfeev a great deal to do. However, the introduction of Georges-Kevin Nkoudou on the 67thminute did manage to make a difference. Nkoudou beat two men as soon as he got the ball and won a corner which put us on the front foot. His pace and trickery put us on the front foot from the minute he came on.

As a result the Nkoudou substitution, Lamela found himself playing more centrally to fill in for Janssen who went off for the Frenchman. This change turned out to be a clever one from Pochettino, as within minutes Lamela collected Alderweireld’s forward pass in a central position and threaded through Son Heung-Min who exploited the space left in-behind by Lamela and managed to squeeze his finish past Akinfeev to break the deadlock, and score his fifth goal in five appearances this season.

Son Heung-Min is enjoying his best period of form since joining the club.

Spurs did well after this to kill the game off, partly due to the composure and maturity of Harry Winks, who came on to replace Dele Alli and kept and controlled the game with some calm, sensible passing in the last ten minutes. Eremenko did manage to threaten Hugo Lloris’ goal once towards the end, when he cut inside and hit a swerving shot that Lloris managed to collect, but apart from that, Tottenham were able to see the game out fairly comfortably.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 8/10.

Distributed well, dealt with a couple of dangerous shots and crosses and kept a clean sheet.

Defence –

Kieran Trippier: 6/10.

Got forward well and threatened with one or two crosses, but did get beat a couple of times when defending

Ben Davies: 7/10.

Solid down the left, made a vital block and overlapped on occasions. Slightly over-cautious with his passing however.

Toby Alderweireld: 9/10.

Played a good pass into Lamela for the goal and dealt with the threat of Traore extremely well.

Jan Vertonghen: 8/10.

Comfortable on the ball, made some good tackles and helped to nullify the threat of Traore relatively well.

Midfield – 

Victor Wanyama: 6/10.

Was booked very early on which hindered his defensive work. Clumsy on the ball at times aswell.

Dele Alli: 8/10.

Got forward well and was a threat for most of the match. Unlucky not to score in the first half.

Attack – 

Erik Lamela: 7/10.

Set up Son for his goal and aimed created a few chances in the second half after a quiet first.

Christian Eriksen: 6/10.

Pressed well and worked hard, but a quiet game for his standards. Hit two longshots way off target in the first half.

Heung-Min Son: 8/10.

Threatened all match from both the left and right, and maintained his impressive run of form with a well-deserved goal.

Vincent Janssen: 6/10.

Worked hard and linked play well, but his suspect run-making may suggest he’s low on confidence.

Substitutes:

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou: 9/10.

Done all he possibly could when he came on. Beat players, kept the ball and worked hard to retrieve it.

Harry Winks: 9/10.

Playing ahead of his years. Yet to be fazed in a Spurs shirt. Composure personified.

Man of the Match:

Could have easily have gone to Son, but Alderweireld played a big part in this win. Defended expertly against Lacina Traore to stop CSKA scoring, threatened with his range of passing to play a part in giving Spurs the lead and made himself ever-available to maintain possession at all times.

Looking Ahead:

Manchester City at home in the Premier League. Sunday 2nd October. Kick off at 14:15.

Follow the author on Twitter.

CSKA Moscow vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedCSKA Moscow vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

After losing at home to AS Monaco in gameweek one of the Champions League, Spurs will be hoping to pick up their first European points of the season in Russia against CSKA Moscow. Both teams are unbeaten in their leagues this season, and sit second on their respective tables.

Tale of The Tape:

Spurs continued their impressive league form with a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday, a result which placed them in second, four points behind league-leaders Manchester City. This marked three straight Premier League wins for Spurs – with their only loss of the season coming in their first Champions League game.

CSKA Moscow have been enjoying an unbeaten run of their own in the Russian Premier League this season, and are currently unbeaten in their first eight matches. Despite being unbeaten, their three draws mean they sit behind rivals Spartak Moscow, who also have a game in hand on CSKA. CSKA will be coming into this match off of the back of a 1-1 home draw to Krasnodar.

Tottenham are currently bottom of Group E after their 2-1 loss to Monaco in the first group game, whilst CSKA Moscow came from two down away to Bayer Leverkusen to earn themselves a draw which leaves them in joint second after their first match.

Team News:

Dembele and Dier were believed to be close to full fitness at the weekend after their injury-scares, but neither played a part and are expected to be assessed before the match against Moscow. Danny Rose is also expected to be assessed before the match following his hamstring injury. However, Spurs will be without Harry Kane, who will still be out with an ankle injury.

CSKA have a relatively clean bill of health, and no current suspensions meaning Leonid Slutsky should have his full squad at his disposal against Spurs.

Predicted CSKA Moscow XI:

Akinfeev, Fernandez, Berezuski, Ignashevich, Shchennikov, Wernbloom, Dzagoev, Ianov, Eremenko, Tosic, Traore

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Alli, Son, Lamela, Eriksen, Janssen

Prediction: CSKA Moscow 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Follow the author on Twitter.

ctlfhtpxgaatngv

 

Jan Vertonghen full of praise for Carter-Vickers

FeaturedJan Vertonghen full of praise for Carter-Vickers

Tottenham Hotspur and Belgian international Jan Vertonghen has recently heaped praise on young Spurs centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers and labelled him as a ‘beast’.

So far this season, Cameron Cart-Vickers has taken the place of Kevin Wimmer on Spurs’ bench for Premier League games despite how well Kevin Wimmer performed last season during Jan Vertonghen’s injury which kept him absent from the starting XI for two months.

“Cameron Carter-Vickers is still young but he is an absolute beast, he is a real defender,” Vertonghen explained. “He is strong one-on-one, in the air, he is not afraid and he can play from the back. That is the style the gaffer wants to see from him.”

“He is a very good player and he has time to grow into our team, to play games like he did against Gillingham,” the Belgian continued. “He will be there when we need him. It is good to see him making progress. In the last few months, he has really stepped up. Before, he was just a young guy who trained with us but now he has picked up his level.”

Carter-Vickers made his senior debut in the EFL Cup during the week against Gillingham and helped Spurs to a clean sheet and a rampant 5-0 scoreline against their League 1 opponents. the 18-year-old will surely be knocking on the door again for more opportunities to develop himself with more game time in the cup competitions in the coming weeks and months, and if needed, feature in league games too.

Image result for carter-vickers 2016

 

Seven New Contract Signings in a Month Shows Trust Throughout The Club

FeaturedSeven New Contract Signings in a Month Shows Trust Throughout The Club

With fullbacks Kyle Walker and Danny Rose being the latest two players to sign contract extensions, the past month has seen seven players commit their futures to Tottenham. In the same week as Walker and Rose signed new contracts, Harry Winks, Tom Carroll and Dele Alli also signed, with Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen committing at the beginning of the month.

The new contracts not only show that the players are excited about where the club is heading and want to be a part of it but it also shows commitment from chairman Daniel Levy. In the past Spurs have never had a massive payroll and this has been a problem when trying to get players to commit their future to the club. Yet the timing between contracts suggest that there hasn’t been this problem and so Daniel Levy must be offering a considerably good pay rise, while it still wont rival the bigger clubs. Yet the fact that the players are still signing just shows that they aren’t as money driven and want to focus on the game and the success of the club.

To add to this Pochettino recently revealed in an interview that the club have brought in a new system when it comes to offering player’s new contracts. The policy requires players to ask for an extension rather than the club having to convince them. In order for this policy to stand Daniel Levy would have had to agree to it. The fact that he has shows the trust the chairman has in not only the manager but, the players. It is obvious that the policy was suggested by Pochettino and the fact that Levy has agreed to it shows the faith he has in the manager. As it requires the players to come forward and request the new contracts, Levy is giving them a lot of control in deciding theirs and the clubs future.

The Argentine also commented that in order to build a strong base and work up from there you must have players who want to stay and be part of a bigger picture. This proves even more relevant for Pochettino as in order for his philosophy to succeed he must have the players who are willing to work hard for him and buy into his gruesome training sessions and tough pressing style. The fact that so many players have asked for a contract is a positive reflection on the manager and shows the trust that runs throughout the club. The players believe that they have a future here with him.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for mauricio pochettino

Middlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

FeaturedMiddlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Review

Following a 5-0 riot over Gillingham mid-week, Spurs faced a trip up north to Middlesbrough and looked to chase early leaders Manchester City. Due to Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier’s previous substitutions due to ‘injury’, this it was thought at first to only be cramp, was found out to be something little more than cramp. So in came Eriksen and Davies to replace the two midfielders, as well as Vincent Janssen for the injured Harry Kane. Kane, who missed his first Premier League game for the first time in 71 games, was subject to a massive blow to Spurs coming into this game, being ruled out for what is thought to be 6-8 weeks.

Spurs got off to a flying start, seeing some good passing down the right-hand side, Vincent Janssen with some brilliant hold-up play and laying the ball off to Heung-Min Son who fired home past Valdes, in the 7th minute. The perfect start to a game you would think we would have struggled to score in, with Kane missing. But not soon after the first went in, there was a second. Heung-Min Son again, with a sublime finish past an onlooking Victor Valdes. The Korean has now netted four goals in his last four games, making him almost undroppable for the upcoming Champions League game against CSKA Moscow.

Heung Min-Son (right) has enjoyed a great start to the season.

The Boro defence, quick frankly, were awful throughout the first-half and the first half scoreline ,2-0, was a reflection of that. However, Pochettino and his men going into the half feeling like they should have been 4-0 up, having a touch penalty shout go against them, as well as Dele Alli missing a clear chance on goal, as he blazed his shot over Valdes’ bar. However, 2-0 at the break and Karanka was sure to tell his team they are still in this game, the next goal would be a vital indicator as to how the end of the game may pan out.

And that goal came as Ben Gibson headed home a Stewart Downing cross on the hour mark. The Riverside Stadium was then rocking from that point onwards as Boro cranked up the pressure, especially after Adama Traoré was introduced to the game midway through the second half. Adama, causing the Spurs defence some serious problems with his brute strength and blistering pace, only to be let down by his final product.

Bad touches, misplaced passes, and overhit crosses all contributed to a lackluster day in the final third for Boro. Spurs, however, were able to hold on and see out the game as they take all three points back to London.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 7/10.

Made some solid saves when faced with an effort on target, was quick off of his line to sweep up and problems we had in-behind.

Defence –

Kyle Walker: 7/10.

Superb going forward, running up and down the touchline endlessly. Was also solid when he needed to stay back in the final 10 minutes.

Toby Alderweireld: 7/10.

As always, a flawless performance from the Belgian, proving why he is one of, if not the, best defenders in the league.

Jan Vertonghen: 7/10.

Vertonghen and Alderweireld as always, the trusty partnership. Back in the centre of defence this week and kept Negredo quite.

Ben Davies: 6/10.

Doesn’t offer as much going forward as the missing Danny Rose, but was solid on the ball. Had a bit of trouble when Adama came on however, due to his lack of pace.

Midfield – 

Victor Wanyama: 8/10.

Outstanding today. A reliable outlet to allow the fullbacks to wonder forward, as well as breaking up play.

Dele Alli: 6/10.

Playing deeper today, although he went further forward during the match. Missed an absolute sitter to fire us three ahead but should have won us a penalty, on the other hand.

Attack –

Moussa Sissoko: 5/10.

Not the best of games, especially after his performance against Sunderland. Lacked the composure in the final third by misplacing passes, and holding onto the ball too long etc.

Christian Eriksen: 7/10.

Not one of his extraordinary games, but ran the game well in the first half. Slowley drifted out of the game in the second-half, as Boro saw more of the ball.

Heung-Min Son: 9/10.

The Korean is on fire. Four in his last four and some sublime finishes. Tortured the right-back again, and is cementing a place in the starting eleven.

Vincent Janssen: 7/10.

Not a Premier League goal to his name this season yet, but the Dutchman worked his socks off for the side. Constantly hassling the Boro defence and defending from the front. Great hold-up play and assist for Son’s first as well.

Substitutes:

Erik Lamela: 6/10.

Didn’t have the best of games but was also unable to get onto the ball, however. When he did he seemed sloppy and careless, losing the ball one time and almost costing us, similar to the Monaco game.

Harry Winks: 6/10.

The pressure was on Winks as he came on during an important phase on his league debut, done fairly well as he got onto the ball and slowed the tempo down of the game.

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou: 6/10.

Came on late in the game so really didn’t have time to make an impact. Especially as Boro pressed on for an equaliser.

Man of The Match:

Can only be one man, surely? Another brilliant game from Heung Min-Son who scored two goals today to seal the three points. Always looked a threat on the ball and done well towards the end of the game to win us throw ins and keep the ball in Middlesbrough’s half of the pitch when the home side were chasing an equaliser.

Looking Ahead:

CSKA Moscow away in the Champions League. Tuesday 27th September. Kick off at 19:45.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Middlesbrough vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

FeaturedMiddlesbrough vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Tottenham look to continue their recent excellent form with a trip to the North East to take on a slow, yet steady starting Middlesbrough. Two great friends Aitor Karanka and Mauricio Pochettino face each other for the first time in the Premier League in a match with a distinctly tropical feel, no matter the conditions on the River Tees.

Tale of the Tape:

Spurs have won 3 of their last 6 matches vs Boro, with 2 draws and one loss, the most recent being a 4-0 victory at White Hart Lane, with Keane, Pavluyuchenko and Lennon grabbing a brace. Spurs fans will remember Dimitar Berbatov’s 20 yard scissor kick volley in a 3-2 win at the Riverside back in April 2007.

Middlesbrough began the season in solid fashion, with draws against Stoke and West Brom coming either side of an impressive victory against Sunderland away from home. However, they’ve since lost their last 2, the most recent being a disappointing performance against Everton at Goodison Park, in which they lost 3-1.

Tottenham will look to feed off the assured 5-0 win against Gillingham in midweek, and look to leapfrog Everton in to 2nd spot and begin to hunt down Pep’s impressive Manchester City side. Spurs can feel confident having won their last 2 in the league, whilst remaining unbeaten still.

Team News:

Tottenham will be without the injured Harry Kane for the next 6-8 weeks supposedly with tweaked ankle ligaments. But, every cloud and all tha- apparently there’s no silver lining to this one. At least Mousa Dembele is back. Eric Dier and Danny Rose will be touch and go up to kick off but will most likely be fit.

Jordan Rhodes and Cristhian Stuani are back for Boro, following mid-term injuries. Grant Leadbitter and Fabio remain out with a Hernia and a knee injury respectively.

Predicted Middlesbrough XI:

Valdes, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, De Roon, Forshaw, Traore, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI: 

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Lamela, Eriksen, Son, Janssen

Prediction: Middlesbrough 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for tottenham 5-0 gillingham

 

Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Gillingham: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 5-0 Gillingham: Match Review

Following the 1-0 victory to Sunderland on the weekend, Mauricio Pochettino made 11 changes to his Spurs side to face Gillingham. In came youth prospects Harry Winks, Josh Onomah and Cameron Carter-Vickers, with Marcus Edwards and Anton Walkes featuring on the bench. Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela returned to the starting line-up having not started against Sunderland, and Vincent Janssen got his first start since Tottenham’s 1-0 win vs Crystal Palace.

Spurs began the game well, playing quick, exciting football. Both Eriksen and Carter-Vickers came close within the opening 15 minutes and Gillingham were on the back foot from the get-go. Harry Winks impressed early on, seemingly controlling the tempo of the game from the midfield. It was a Tottenham side filled with youth and energy, and within the opening quarter of an hour were in complete control of the game.

Vincent Janssen looked eager to impress, yet despite putting wide a clear-cut chance his first Tottenham goal seemed imminent. Following various chances from both Eriksen and Lamela it seemed an inevitability that Spurs would go onto score, and after 31 minutes they did just that.

Christian Eriksen fired home from long distance with a stunning strike that left substitute goalkeeper Stuart Nelson scrambling for the ball, a goal very well deserved. It was a first half dominated by an overly impressive Tottenham side, from which they looked to build on in the 2nd half.

Christian Eriksen breaks the deadlock with a mouthwatering strike.
Pochettino opted for the same outfit that had been so dominant during the first half, and it took a mere three minutes before Eriksen found his way in on goal to slot home his second of the game. It didn’t stop there though. In search for a third a late run from Kieran Trippier saw him brought down in the box. Penalty given.

Janssen’s performance was commendable to say the least, and it was only right that he’d step up for the penalty. It was an assured finish into the bottom left-hand corner, a very well-deserved first goal for the Dutchman and a third for the Lilywhites.

cs540msuiaagusz
Vincent Janssen celebrates his first goal for the club.
On the 60th minute mark Pochettino called upon Georges-Kevin N’Koudou in what would be his Tottenham debut, replacing captain, Christian Eriksen.

Shortly after the deadline day signing’s introduction, Spurs youth product Josh Onomah slotted home his first ever goal for Tottenham, and a much deserved one at that! Spurs were in complete and utter control, and at 4-0 weren’t likely to stop there. Shortly after play restarted, Tottenham found themselves on the attack once more. A neatly placed pass through to Erik Lamela saw him add to the score-line, and having assisted three of the four goals prior, made a fitting contribution to an emphatic night at White Hart Lane. 5-0.

cs56sajvmae1l5a
Joshua Onomah celebrates his first goal for the club.
Over the course of the remainder of the game, full debuts were given to both young Marcus Edwards and Anton Walkes in place of Vincent Janssen and Ben Davies. Edwards came very close to scoring late on but was denied by a magnificent save from Stuart Nelson, who otherwise had a night to forget. It finished 5-0 to Tottenham in what was a superb victory over their League One opposition, deservedly earning their place in the next round of the EFL Cup.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Michel Vorm: 7/10.

It was a quiet night for Vorm in goal, being tested very little by the Gillingham front-line.

Defence –

Kieran Trippier: 7/10.

Got up the pitch very well at times, earning the penalty that lead to the third goal. Good return back to first team football for Trippier.

Cameron Carter-Vickers: 8/10.

Impressive debut from Carter-Vickers. Looked assured and comfortable on the ball throughout and played very well.

Kevin Wimmer: 7/10.

First game back in the first team this season for Wimmer. Confident on the ball and played well.

Ben Davies: 7/10.

Following his previous performances, Davies did well. Got forward regularly to offer support but could’ve been more effective.

Midfield –

Harry Winks: 8/10.

Fantastic performance from the youngster. Controlled the midfield early on and found pockets of space within the middle of the park. Assertive.

Tom Carroll: 7/10.

First game back in the starting line-up for Carroll this season and did rather well. Could’ve done more in possession but not a bad performance.

Attack –

Erik Lamela: 9/10.

Fantastic overall performance from Lamela – three assists and a goal in a single match is beyond impressive by anyone’s standards.

Christian Eriksen: 9/10.

It was a standout performance from Eriksen today, dictated attacking play throughout and got two goals for himself. Superb.

Josh Onomah: 8/10.

Without a doubt his best game in a Tottenham shirt. Showed real quality in the final third and kept great composure to score his goal.

Vincent Janssen: 8/10.

Showed his strength and desire in abundance. Despite missing a few chances early on he scored from the penalty spot to get his first goal for the club.

Substitutes:

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou: 6/10.

Looked lively after coming on and showed glimpses of what he has to offer.

Marcus Edwards: 6/10.

Tried to get involved as much as possible and unlucky not to score late on, exciting stuff from the 17 year old.

Anton Walkes: 6/10.

Didn’t get to see all that much of him but looked versatile and assured, promising signs.

Man of The Match:

Christian Eriksen controlled the match and was the driving force in Tottenham’s attack. Both goals indicated a real sign of intent by Tottenham’s most experienced outfield player and in my opinion deserves the Man of the Match award.

Looking Ahead:

Middlesbrough away in the Premier League. Saturday 24th September. Kick off at 15:00. 

Follow the author on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Gillingham: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Gillingham: Match Preview

Tottenham Hotspur get their EFL Cup journey underway this season as Gillingham make the trip to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night. Spurs won their last league game against Sunderland at home where Harry Kane scored in a 1-0 win to the Lilywhites which moved them up to third in the Premier League table. Meanwhile Gillingham sit thirteenth in League One coming off the back of a late 2-1 loss at Port Vale and a run of four games without a win.

Tale of The Tape: 

Spurs got knocked out in the third round of the EFL Cup, then known as the Capital One Cup, last season at the hands of north London rivals Arsenal. Getting knocked out that early in the cup is unacceptable & tomorrow night gives Spurs the chance to get a potentially memorable cup run underway. Tottenham did however reach the final of the Capital One Cup two seasons ago which ended in a 2-0 loss against Chelsea.

Gillingham will be looking to cause an upset on Wednesday night and illustrate the old footballing saying; ‘the magic of the cup.’ In order to prevent any potential upsets, Spurs will have to be wary of this from the first minute and not take anything for granted against their League One opponents.

Tottenham Hotspur and Gillingham have only met in a competitive game once in the past which dates all the way back to 1982. The likes of Gary Mabbutt, Steve Perryman, Micky Hazard and Glenn Hoddle all featured in a game that ended 4-2 in favour of the Lilywhites.

Team News:

Tottenham will be without their main striker, Harry Kane, who picked up an ankle injury in the win over Sunderland. Mauricio Pochettino earlier confirmed that Kane injured his ankle ligaments which is more than likely to keep him out for several weeks. Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele also picked up minor knocks and will be assessed tomorrow to see whether or not they could be part of the eighteen man squad.

Gillingham have no injury news ahead of the game.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Vorm, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies, Winks, Wanyma, Onomah, Sissoko, Lamela, Janssen

Predicted Gillingham XI:

Bond, Pask, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Konchesky, Osaoabe, Wright, Byrne, Dack, Wagstaff, McDonald

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Gillingham

Image result for tottenham 1-0 sunderland

Harry Kane’s injury gives Vincent Janssen a chance to step up

FeaturedHarry Kane’s injury gives Vincent Janssen a chance to step up

Harry Kane picked up an ankle injury yesterday against Sunderland in Spurs’ 1-0 win over the Black Cats which moved the Lilywhites up to third in the Premier League. Kane, who left White Hart Lane yesterday wearing a protective boot and on crutches, is now set to be sidelined for several weeks.

Since making his mark at the beginning of the 2014/15 season with his consistent performances in the Europa League, and then the Premier League, Kane went on to feature for England for two summers in a row – first for the U19s and then in the Euros the following season.

If Kane picked up this injury at any point last season, most Spurs fans would have been panicking twice as much as they are now. With new signing Vincent Janssen still awaiting for a consistent run in the team, Harry Kane’s injury could just prove to be the breakthrough that the Dutchman has been craving for – although it unfortunately comes at the expense of Spurs’ number 10.

Despite the fact that Vincent Janssen is yet to score in a competitive game for Spurs, he has impressed on multiple occasions when called upon; his strength on the ball and his hold up play being his most notable attributes thus far. It has to be admitted that he is more of a goal poacher than a goal scorer that can always make a chance out of nothing and find the net – his goals at AZ last season prove that. Give him the service and he’ll score.

Vincent Janssen has so far only started one Premier League game against Crystal Palace, but has usually found himself sitting on the bench and featuring in the second half of most games. In the upcoming weeks, Vincent Janssen will certainly be hopeful of filling in the void left by Harry Kane.

Janssen is likely to start against Gillingham in the third round of the EFL Cup at White Hart Lane. Let’s hope he can score his first goal in Spurs colours on Wednesday night and kick on from there.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League - White Hart Lane

 

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sunderland: Match Review

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sunderland: Match Review

Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to the team that started against Monaco midweek, which led to a rather surprising line up. Vertonghen was moved to left back and Dier dropped back into the centre of defense alongside Alderweireld. Dembele came in following the completion of his six-match domestic ban alongside Wanyama to form a new midfield partnership, and Sissoko made his first start for the club on the right wing, whilst Son occupied the left.

Spurs started brightly, with Vertonghen and Son both putting in dangerous crosses from the left early on, the latter of which Kane very nearly connected with. Sissoko also came close early on, flashing a shot just wide of goal after finding himself just inside the area. Son, who was enjoying a very lively start, beat his man with a step over before putting another good ball in with his left, which Kane diverted goalwards and forced Pickford into a very smart stop. There were also efforts from distance from Dembele and Wanyama which Pickford had to deal with early on, which he did pretty comfortably.

Spurs maintained their fast start and continued to threaten Sunderland’s goal. Pickford denied Kane once again after he fashioned a shot from an angle after a Sissoko cutback, and Alderweireld planted a header on target from the resulting corner which was also met by the gloves of the young ‘keeper. Son then blazed a shot over the bar minutes later, and then Dier took a free kick which also sailed high of Pickford’s goal.

After a dominant opening 20 minutes, Sunderland had their first chance after a long ball from Pickford was chased by Defoe, who’s persistence was rewarded with a close-range chance from an angle that Lloris got down to deal with. Spurs reacted to this with three attempts in quick succession when Son’s effort hit Kane, fell to Sissoko whose powerful volley was blocked brilliantly before the ball fell to Wanyama who volleyed wide.

There was a quiet fifteen minutes after this, but Son sparked Spurs back into life before half time with a good effort from the edge of the area that went wide off the post following a good run. Son then put in a sequence of dangerous corners, with the first flashing right across goal before deflecting off of Djilobodji at the back post. The next fell to Dembele on the edge of the area, whose right footed shot was deflected over for another corner. This corner was met by Sissoko at the near post as his attempt was blocked for yet another corner which Sunderland managed to clear.

Sunderland then went unbelievably close to taking the lead with a minute before half time when some sloppy defending allowed Januzaj to cut a ball back to Pienaar who had the majority of the goal to aim at from less than 10 yards out, but Walker got back excellently to block the former Spur’s effort on the line. Spurs finished the half with 72% possession and 19 attempts on goal to Sunderland’s three, but they could have easily have gone in behind if now for some expert defending by Kyle Walker.

Spurs enjoyed a similarly dominant start to the second half, with Son Heung-Min continuing to give the last minute inclusion, Jason Denayer a torrid time. Denayer was struggling to deal with Son’s direct dribbling and quick feet, and the majority of our attacks were coming down our left. However we then came close with an attack down our right, as full debutante Moussa Sissoke floated in a deep cross that Pickford had to claw away from Alli who was challenging at the far post. Moments later and Dembele slips a clever ball through to Son who fired a powerful left footed strike into the side netting. Son continued to be a threat, drilling a teasing ball across goal after completely skinning Denayer once more with some clever close control at pace just inside the area. Denayer picked up a booking for a foul on Son just a minute later.

It wasn’t until just under the hour mark for Spurs to get their long overdue first goal, as Kyle Walker’s deep cross is knocked down by Dele Alli for Kane to pounce on and finish well, punishing Djilobodji for failing to deal with the knockdown.

Harry Kane giving Spurs a deserved lead.

Sunderland had a chance soon after this, as the newly-brought-on Duncan Watmore found some space down the left and flashed in a cross that missed everyone. Kone then had a chance from a corner just after this, but he put his header well over.

Alli found a bit of space through the centre a while later and ran at Sunderland’s defence before hitting a shot goalwards which may have been going just wide, but Pickford still got a hand to. A chance fell to Eric Dier from the resulting corner, but he dragged the shot wide of the goal. Shortly after this Dembele, Dier and Kane were all brought off because of injuries. Although Dembele’s and Dier’s appear to be precautionary, it is possible that Kane’s could be serious as he required a stretcher to go off. Kane’s injury came as he won the ball back off of Djilibodji which eventually resulted in a chance for Lamela that he curled agonisingly wide, shortly after a shot of his was deflected wide from a very similar position in the box.

Sunderland went down to 10 men on 90 minutes, as Januzaj picked up his second yellow for a poor challenge on Ben Davies. Jansen had a chance to wrap things up within the six minutes of injury time after Lamela fed him the ball from a counter attack, but his effort was powered wildly over the bar. Spurs managed to see out the match and claimed a well-deserved three points although the scoreline doesn’t do Spurs’ dominance much justice at all.

Player Ratings:

Between the sticks –

Hugo Lloris: 7/10.

Was very rarely called upon, but did well to block Defoe’s chance. Distribution was hit and miss however.

Defence –

Kyle Walker: 8/10.

A great performance by Kyle, playing a big part in Kane’s goal, and doing exceptionally well to deny Pienaar on the line.

Jan Vertonghen: 7/10.

Had a solid game at left back, and supported Son well down the left at times too.

Eric Dier: 6/10.

Looked comfortable on the ball on his return the centre of defence, but his error almost cost us a clean sheet just before half time

Toby Alderweireld: 8/10.

Classy and consistent. As always.

Midfield – 

Victor Wanyama: 7/10.

Did well to deal with Sunderland’s physicality. Threatened the goal on a couple of occasions aswell

Moussa Dembele: 8/10.

Played as if he’d never been away, although his early exit may show that he’s not quite match fit yet.

Attack – 

Moussa Sissoko: 7/10.

Showed what he’s all about on his full debut. A strong, physical approach on the wing, and got into some good positions.

Dele Alli: 7/10.

A quiet game by Alli’s standards. Linked well with Son on occasions and did manage to set up Kane’s goal.

Heung-Min Son: 9/10.

Possibly his best performance in a Spurs shirt. Quick, skilful and dangerous. Looking like the player we thought we’d signed a year ago.

Harry Kane: 8/10.

Worked hard and got in enough good positions to earn himself another goal. Let’s hope the injury isn’t too serious.

Substitutes:

Erik Lamela: 6/10.

Tried to inject creativity but his passing was off. Missed a couple of chances also.

Vincent Janssen: 6/10.

Only a short run out, but should have done a lot better with his chance.

Ben Davies: 4/10.

Looked nervous and never really caught up with the pace of the match. Put us under unnecessary pressure.

Man of The Match:

Heung-Min Son was exceptional today. Dominated his full back with speed and trickery, and offered a dangerous end product. Looked threatening whether he went down the line or cut inside. Was by far the standout player today.

Looking Ahead:

Gillingham at home in the League Cup. Wednesday 21st September. Kick off at 20:00.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland: Match Preview

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to bounce back from their midweek disappointment in the Champions League against David Moyes’ Sunderland on Sunday afternoon. Spurs lost the opening fixture of their Champions League campaign against Monaco in front of a record breaking crowd at Wembley Stadium. Sunderland also lost on Monday night against a revived Everton side as Romelu Lukaku notched a hat-trick to drown the Black Cats.

Tale of The Tape:

Spurs beat Sunderland home and away last season in the Premier League. We picked up our first win of last season at The Stadium of Light where Ryan Mason’s second half goal was enough to win us the three points away from home. At White Hart Lane, we emphatically overcame Sunderland 4-1 despite the early worry when Patrick van Aanholt put Sunderland 1-0 up in North London. Goals from Christian Eriksen (2), Mousa Dembele and a penalty from Harry Kane gave Spurs all three points on the day.

Sunderland have only won three games away from home last season – something that Spurs will look to take full advantage of on Sunday afternoon. Despite late season heroics from Defoe and co, Sunderland managed to leak goals at the back all season on their travels as they conceded 42 goals. Spurs however conceded 38 goals throughout the whole of last season – a joint record shared with Manchester United.

Tottenham will definitely look to test Sunderland’s defence as the Black Cats have conceded eight goals in their last four league games – Spurs are yet to concede a goal from open play in the league this season.

Teams News:

Spurs remain without Danny Rose as Pochettino revealed in his pre-match press conference that the left back is recovering well, but still not quite fit enough to be available for selection yet. On the bright side, Mousa Dembele is back from his six game suspension that he picked up from the back end of last season and was a second half substitute in midweek – he is likely to start on Sunday.

Sunderland have quite a few injuries on their books. Jones, Borini, Mannone and Anichebe remain sidelined for the Black Cats and are still quite a way off full fitness. Sunderland are likely to play with a similar team to the one that featured against Everton on Monday night with former Spurs man Jermain Defoe leading their line.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Harry Kane

Predicted Sunderland XI:

Jordan Pickford, Javier Manquillo, Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji, Patrick van Aanholt, Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell, Adnan Januzaj, Jermain Defoe, Steven Pienaar

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Sunderland

Image result for harry kane vs sunderland

 

 

 

Pochettino: I’d have subbed off every Tottenham player if I could

FeaturedPochettino: I’d have subbed off every Tottenham player if I could

Following Tottenham’s 1-2 loss at the hands of AS Monaco, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino believes his Tottenham side lacked the hunger to win the game, claiming that he would’ve subbed them all off if he could.

First-half goals from Bernardo Silva and substitute Thomas Lemar left the North London side with a lot of work to do. However shortly before half-time Toby Alderweireld scored a glancing header from a corner, giving Tottenham an incentive during the second-half. Spurs came close to an equalizer late on with chances for both Dele Alli and Harry Kane, but unfortunately failed to score that all-important second goal.

“It was a game that we started well. Then we conceded a goal, and you cannot concede at this level – the Champions League or the Premier League – when you play for Tottenham.” said Pochettino.

“It is difficult to accept. The second goal was the same. When you concede like this you can speak about many things but 2-0 down was very difficult. We created. I think we were better than Monaco. But to win you need to show more and create more.”

It was Tottenham’s first Champions League fixture at Wembley in what was a historic day for the club, setting their new record home attendance of 85,011. It also happened to be the largest attendance in the Champions League for a British side, something all Spurs fans should be immensely proud of.

Pochettino heavily denied claims that playing at Wembley made things difficult for Spurs, stating: “That’s too good an excuse. We need to work, to show more hunger. We need to show a different image. We fought a lot last season to be here and your feeling is ‘Why not do more?’ If this was basketball, I would have taken them all off.”

Tottenham face a CSKA Moscow side who held Bayern Leverkusen to a 2-2 draw in their next Champions League fixture. It’ll be played at the brand new Arena CSKA on September 27th, one to look forward to.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for Tottenham vs Monaco 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur vs AS Monaco: Match Preview

FeaturedTottenham Hotspur vs AS Monaco: Match Preview

Here is the most anticipated Spurs game for a very long time, the return of the UEFA Champions League for Tottenham Hotspur. In front of a capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium, The Lilywhites take on French 3rd placers Monaco. In what is sure to be an atmospheric night at the National Stadium, Spurs will look to get off to a flyer in their first Champions League campaign for five years.

Tale of The Tape:

Spurs have begun the season well, remaining unbeaten, taking eight points from the available twelve.  A convincing and authoritative performance against Stoke on Saturday will give Spurs lots of confidence as they enter this game.

Monaco sit 1st in Ligue 1 and will be buoyant after a strong 4-1 victory away from home against Lille at the weekend. They must by no means be underestimated and they have a lot of capable individual players able to cause a serious offensive threat and will feel able to beat Tottenham after their convincing 3-1 aggregate victory over Villareal in the Qualification Round.

Tottenham took on a misfiring Monaco side last year in the Europa League Group Stages. A 1-1 draw away from home in which Spurs were the dominant force was followed up by a 4-1 victory for the Spurs at The Lane in which Erik Lamela scored a hat-trick and Tom Carroll (Yes, Tom Carroll) scored his first goal for the club.

Team News:

Hugo Lloris will be eligible for Spurs as will Mousa Dembélé (YES!). Danny Rose is a doubt for the game following his slight hamstring issue whilst on international duty.

Daniel Subasic and Benjamin Mendy are doubts for the match due to thigh injuries. Thomas Lemar has returned to training but it is unclear whether or not he will feature. Radamel Falcao is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench, with Valere Germain set to lead the line for Monaco.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:

Lloris Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies Dier, Dembele; Son, Dele, Eriksen Kane

Predicted AS Monaco XI:

Subasic, Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, Mendy, Traore, Bakayogo, Fabinho, Silva, Moutinho; Germain

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 AS Monaco

Follow the author on Twitter.

Image result for stoke city 0-4 spurs

Eric Dier: I want to grow with the club at the same pace

FeaturedEric Dier: I want to grow with the club at the same pace

It was confirmed earlier on in the day that Eric Dier had signed a new deal at Tottenham Hotspur which would keep him at the club until 2021.

The young English international has experienced quite the journey in the last few years of his life. From being a loanee at Everton in 2009, to spending the large majority of his early days as a professional footballer in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon, to signing for Spurs in 2014 before becoming a regular starter for both his club and country.

In an interview with the clubs official website, Dier said, “I’m really looking forward to the future and that’s what makes it so easy to want to stay here – the fantastic manager we have, the great club, the fans, all the infrastructure we have, the new stadium being built – it’s all really exciting and I want to grow with the club at the same pace.”

“It’s a pleasure to come here every day and I enjoy seeing everyone, it’s like playing football with your mates,” he continued. “There is a fantastic feeling around the Club. Obviously, when you play that many games for a club and share good moments like we have over the last two years, you create a very tight connection to the Club.”