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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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