Welcome to Tottenham Hotspur, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm!

Tottenham have completed the signing of Welsh left back Ben Davies and Dutch keeper Michel Vorm from Swansea in a deal rumoured to be worth around £15 million with Gylfi Sigurdsson going the other way to Swansea for £10 million in virtually a swap deal for Davies. A deal that suits Tottenham, and I’m sure Swansea will benefit from too. Sigurdsson is a fantastic player and being the key man in Swansea’s midfield will definitely make him show his undoubted quality but he doesn’t fit in at Spurs, with too many players in his position, and he’s too good for our bench, so a move is best, but Tottenham get in return a player who will fill our left back slot for years to come, in a position we desperately needed to fill and a keeper that can be a like-for-like back up to Hugo Lloris. We’re signing Davies not only for his previous performances, but also for what those performances have shown he can do in the future. It’s filled a weakness that’s been quickly spotted by Pochettino and his coaching staff. We’ve been waiting quite a while for our first piece of business in the transfer window, but it’s apparent that Pochettino believes in the squad we have and only wants to tinker in key areas, something we expected after last summer’s spending and the 7 signings we made that haven’t all clicked into place just yet, but that’s what Pochettino was hired to do. Make those players into what we believed they would be when they were first signed. Now, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm have been added to the ranks and I think it’s a good news for Tottenham.

Ben Davies is 21 and already has two full Premier League seasons to his name with Swansea, also having 7 games in the Europa League with appearances against Napoli on the résumé, so he’s a very experienced player for someone so young. He made 85 appearances for Swansea in all competitions with a League Cup trophy to his name. He came through the ranks at the Welsh club, getting the chance to play because of an injury to first choice left back Neil Taylor, and he grabbed it with both hands and within a season was definite first choice after a great season under Michael Laudrup. The second season Swansea struggled because of Europa League commitments, but the experience of trying to juggle both will surely only help Ben Davies now that he’s at Spurs. Davies’ performances have earned him a place in the Welsh national squad, too, having 10 appearances to his name and of course that will only increase with time. It’s been a pretty amazing 2 seasons for Ben Davies, and now securing this deal to Tottenham is the next step and hopefully, it’ll be even more successful than his Swansea time, in trophies and performances.

At 21 years of age, Davies is a raw talent, he will learn with experience, but the fact he has only made 2 defensive errors in two full Premier League seasons, compared to Danny Rose’s 3 defensive errors last season alone shows what a cool head is on Ben’s shoulders. Davies is a very competent left back, he does his job well, isn’t rash, doesn’t make many mistakes and is composed on the ball with an 84% passing accuracy last season. Consistency is his game, he’s a 7/10 or more week-in-week-out, composed, technically and tactically astute, finding his left winger and his strikers, or his central midfielders who can do more damage than him in the opposition half.

But offensively, Davies created 31 chances last season from the left back slot, that’s compared with Aaron Lennon last season who created just 4 more chances from a much more advanced role at right wing, so you can see he is able to provide good chances for our more attacking players. Obviously there are a lot of things he needs to learn, but he will be nurtured by Pochettino, who has seen the potential in him through signing him it seems. Signing Davies solves a problem that we’ve had since Benoit Assou-Ekotto got injured and never returned to the level that he once had, we’ve tried Jan Vertonghen there, Danny Rose has had a season at left back after a successful season at Sunderland, but he’s failed to nail down his place with Davies seemingly replacing him now. At 21 years old Ben Davies can become our left back for many years to come, and hopefully he can be even more successful than our last Welsh left back, Gareth Bale.

Michel Vorm’s signing was rumoured to be worth £3.5 million – £5 million, another Swansea player. The goalkeeper is 30 years old has vast experience in the Premier League for Swansea and has a decent amount of appearances for his native country Holland, as well as in the World Cup this summer, even if it was only for 5 minutes. At a cut price deal, this is without a doubt a good signing, as a back up to our number 1 without question Hugo Lloris. A strange transfer in many ways, as Michel could easily be number one for another team in the Premier League, but he has chosen Tottenham and wants to fight, playing in cup competitions and if, God forbid, Hugo Lloris sustains an injury. He’s a much more like-for-like swap for Hugo, quick off his line, very assured on the ball, and very agile in the save and around his area, which gives me much more confidence with him in goal, with the high line we play than with Brad Friedel, a model professional, and for sure still a top goalkeeper even at his ripe old age of 43, but he doesn’t fill me with confidence when Hugo doesn’t feature, and now we can allow Friedel to become more of a coach and use his vast experience to help Hugo, Vorm and the younger ‘keepers develop even further. With Lloris, Vorm and Friedel, we without a doubt have one of the top set of keepers in the League.

The signing of Ben Davies and Michel Vorm kicks off this summer’ business for Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Mauricio Pochettino to create a team ready to compete. I think the signing of Davies and Vorm shows the direction we are taking in this window, signing players who have experience in the Premier League and in Europe, so they can fit straight in without the period of getting used to the League like last season, but now we can link this Premier League experience with quality who have now had a season in the Premier League and know what to expect. It’s going to be an interesting transfer window, but we’ve kicked off our Summer signing plugging a big hole and signing a good back up keeper. Now let’s get the rest of our business sorted early, so more can bed in and we can hit the ground running for the new season. COYS!!

What do you think of our new signings? Comment below!

Welcome to Spurs, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm!

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Tottenham Hotspur players at the 2014 Brazil World Cup – Review.

After a disappointing club season for Tottenham, the World Cup has certainly taken that off the minds of the fans, as well as the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino and the positive direction the club is seemingly taking. This World Cup has been superb, the best that I can remember, twists, turns and everything in-between, goals, mistakes, saves, assists. Everything; really sublime. For Tottenham Hotspur players representing the club on the biggest stage in sport, it was a mixed bag. 7 players of varying ability travelled to Brazil, none going all the way to the final, but there were some good performances which is positive, but there were also some incredibly disappointing displays. Here, I will review the performances of our seven representatives…

Paulinho – Brazil – Semi Finals. – Paulinho made 6 appearances for Brazil in the World Cup out of their 7 games, once from the bench. He failed to score or assist a goal in those games. Any way you try to sugar coat it, Paulinho had a very poor World Cup with Brazil. He was unable to make an impact in an uninspiring Brazilian team, who despite making the semi finals, have been dubbed the worst Brazilian team in memory. Sluggish, tired and average is the way Paulinho looked, after a disappointing season for Tottenham he didn’t improve and if anything got worse. He needs a break after 2 years of constant football, and hopefully he can come back in a fairly refreshed way. But, the worry is that his confidence will yet again be knocked by this poor Brazilian display, especially in the now infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany. I still have confidence that Paulinho can find form in a Tottenham shirt, after quite a few glimpses of his quality. It’s in there, I hope.

Paulinho rating – 4.5/10.

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Nabil Bentaleb – Algeria – Round of 16. - Bentaleb appeared in all of Algeria’s group games, but a slight injury deprived him of a game in the round of 16 against Germany, but in those three games against Belgium, Russia and South Korea he started and played 90 minutes, and played very well for a 19 year old, looking really competent in the midfield. After starting the last season in the reserves, he got his chance in the second half of the season and became an ever present, really impressing most of the fan base, and at just 19 years old I believe he has an extremely promising future both at Tottenham and with Algeria. Algeria created history at he World Cup in Brazil, and Nabil Bentaleb will always be remembered for his participation. I truly believe a star has been born at this World Cup. Lots of hard work, a good pre season and I think Bentaleb can continue to be a big part of our season and first team. Hopefully Pochettino can hone in on his potential and develop him further.

Bentaleb rating – 6.5/10.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Cameroon – Group Stage. - Assou-Ekotto played twice for Cameroon in their 3 games, and it was a tournament to forget for both Cameroon and Benoit. No assists and no goals contributed from Assou-Ekotto. Assou played a solid game in the first fixture against Mexico, losing narrowly 1-0, but losing 4-0 to Croatia in the next game was terrible and Assou-Ekotto performed equally as bad, and to top it off at the end being involved in head butting his team mate, which then succumbed him to the bench in the final loss against Brazil. Benoit in my view was guilty of poor positioning, being mentally fragile and acting like he was too good for his team, when they needed big performances most. It’s difficult to see how Benoit Assou-Ekotto can return to Tottenham and not be transfer listed.

Assou-Ekotto rating – 3/10.

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Hugo Lloris – France – Quarter Finals. - Hugo Lloris started and captained all of France’s 5 games in this World Cup, getting 3 clean sheets in a decent campaign for the French national side. Throughout the games Lloris played really well, not tested too much, but when he was he was up to anything thrown at him. It was the usual Hugo Lloris we see week-in-week-out at the Lane, commanding in the box, a sublime shot stopper, quick off of his line and a leader on the pitch. Sadly Germany were an obstacle too far for a young French side, but in my eyes they are now the favourites to win Euro 2016 in France. A new 5 year contract at the end of the World Cup for Hugo was another cracking decision! Lloris is World Class and without a doubt one of the best goalkeepers in World Football.

Lloris rating – 8/10.

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Mousa Dembele – Belgium – Quarter Finals. - Mousa Dembele only made 2 appearances for Belgium in their 5 World Cup games not being able to score or assist. In the 2 games he didn’t show his best form, some saying that’s down to long term injuries still bugging the player. I’m sure Dembele would have wanted more from his World Cup, as would the Belgian fans. In the 90 minutes he played against South Korea, I think he put in a decent performance, showing glimpses of his ability on the ball to glide past players and get the play moving, but he didn’t set the World alight. Hopefully a short break can help Dembele return to the form that we know he’s capable of, because he hasn’t reached that for quite a while.

Dembele rating – 4/10.

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Nacer Chadli – Belgium – Quarter Finals. - Nacer Chadli’s World Cup was similar to Mousa Dembele’s. Chadli featured in 4 of Belgium’s five World Cup games, but only started once, again failing to score or assist. In the 3 other appearances were very late substitute displays, to give Belgium hight and a target up front. In the time Nacer did play, he wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either. He made some good runs, found some good passes, but was unable to impact on the game as I’m sure he would have liked to. The criticism of Chadli is harsh in some cases, as I think he always gives his all for the team, doing the job he’s instructed to do, but I think it’s when he’s given the licence to attack he shows his best form, and in this World Cup he wasn’t given that opportunity, but that was probably down to the fact better players were ahead of him in the pecking order. Disappointing overall, but not given a massive chance.

Chadli rating – 3.5/10.

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Jan Vertonghen – Belgium – Quarter Finals. - Jan Vertonghen featured in all of Belgium’s five games starting 4 and coming on as an early substitute in the other. Jan was the scorer of the only Tottenham World Cup goal, but didn’t get an assist. In my view, Vertonghen was the best Tottenham performer of the World Cup, and certainly put in the performance of the World Cup for Spurs against the USA, where he was absolutely sublime at left back. He showed composure in defence, but also was very handy when in attack, putting a lot of great crosses into the box all tournament and of course getting the winning goal against South Korea. After a difficult season for Jan at Spurs, he put that to the darkest and deepest place in his mind and performed to the level we know he can, which fills me with a lot of excitement for how he can play when he returns to Tottenham for the new season, under a manager that can motivate him. The World Cup will enrich Vertonghen’s game with experience and hopefully give him the motivation and confidence for the new season. A good World Cup display from Jan!

Vertonghen rating – 8.5/10.

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What a World Cup it was. Unfortunately, no Spurs player got the pleasure of playing in the final, or winning the remarkable trophy, but I’m sure the experience of Brazil will stay with them forever. It’s a sad thing that it has finished, but I’m so happy that I got to witness the greatest show on earth in a country that lives and breathes football. Germany were deserved winners in the end, but nearly every team contributed in some way to the excitement of the tournament. From a Tottenham aspect, I hope the experience of being involved in the biggest footballing occasion there is will push them on to better themselves at club level, especially 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb. The new season can’t come soon enough. New manager, new season, new era. Let the adventure begin. COYS!

Tottenham at the World Cup – ratings:
1st) Vertonghen 8.5.
2nd) Lloris 8.
3rd) Bentaleb 6.5.
4th) Paulinho 4.5.
5th) Dembele 4.
6th) Chadli 3.5.
7th) Assou-Ekotto 3.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

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The Ins and Outs at Tottenham in the Summer Transfer Window 2014.

The season is over, we’ve got a new manager and the World Cup is about to start. Time to relax, right? Far from it. The transfer window is fast approaching, with the window officially opening on July 1st, but all throughout June deals will be rumoured, proposed & some will be done all ready for pre-season. It’s a long window in the summer. July 1st until August 31st, so plenty of time for Tottenham Hotspur to get their squad sorted all ready for a massive Premier League season for the club. In this article I’ll be discussing the ins, outs & what I think the club has to do during what will be a busy summer for Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini & Mauricio Pochettino.

Firstly, I believe that during this summer window it’s crucial that we keep the core of the squad we have. That includes most of the 7 new signings and our longer serving players, this is because I have a lot of faith in the individuals we have and think the road to success is making the current squad click, not change it all up and starting again. Before last season, I was extremely excited with the signings and the structure of the squad we had, with a lot of depth, experience and young flair, but it didn’t work out as we wanted, the team failed to gel and in the end it cost Andre Villas-Boas his job. But, after having this first season in the Premier League, they are much more experienced and have learnt a lot, ready for them to hopefully, make the impact that we first hoped they would, especially with the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino who has a long history of getting the best out of his players. But, there are definite weaknesses in the squad that we have to address as to push on next season.

INS.
As I said; I don’t want an overhaul of the club and another 7-8 signings, we have extremely strong foundations of a World Class squad, but, in specific places we have to be aware of getting new players to possibly replace some fringe players & some that could unfortunately be sold to raise funds.

Centre Back - We currently have 4 senior centre backs, 5 if you include the promising Zeki Fryers, but Michael Dawson is now 30 and did not have a good season in my view, along with Younes Kaboul is the wrong side of 25 and is extremely unpredictable in both performances and injuries, so I think adding one could really be good for the team & add a bit of youth to the position.

There are a lot of options for centre back, but my favourite would be Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, who had a very good season for the Saints and has the connection with Mauricio Pochettino who brought him into the Premier League. A partnership between Lovren and Vertonghen would be great, wouldn’t it? Lovren is just 24 years old, the same age as Vlad Chiriches, so he also has a big future. In terms of price, I think he’d be worth around £12 million – £15 million, a reasonable price for a player of his age and level after Southampton paid £8 million for his services. I’d also be very happy if we could bring Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld to the Lane, the 25 year old ex-Ajax defender knows Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen well & we have been heavily linked, both last summer & this year, after he has expressed his disappointment with his game time in Madrid. I think he’d be a stellar option at the back, with his ability to bring the ball out of defence and with his pace. He can also play at right back, so has versatility too.

Other options could include free agent Joleon Lescott, who would be a much less exciting signing, but he has Premier League experience and it’s always a bonus that he would be free, although I’m sure his wages would be quite high. Another, would be Ezequiel Garay, but he would be a much more difficult signing because of the interest he already has from Champions League clubs, but he’s a 27 year old with incredible pedigree, but unlikely I think. Some would suggest Steven Caulker, but personally, I do not think he is at our level and is only being suggested because he’s a product of our academy, plus, I don’t think he’d be willing to play second fiddle again.

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Left Back – Probably the most important position that we strengthen this summer. Danny Rose had a torrid season and although he is only 23 years old, it’s difficult to believe that he will improve to the level that we need him to. So, I believe we should turn to either Swansea City’s Ben Davies, who is just 21 years old & now has 2 years of Premier League experience, performing extremely well & showing incredible promise, & I believe he’d be a brilliant addition, but difficult to obtain because of his personal connection to Swansea City, but it’s certainly someone we should enquire about, I’d speculate that his worth would be around £10million – £15 million.; the other is Ricardo Rodriguez of Wolfsburg, a 21 year old Swiss left back who has been incredible in the Bundesliga, but has a lot of admirers around Europe, so if we could get in early and show strong interest you never know what could happen, he’s an incredible player with a lot of potential, his value would be higher than Davies’, and I’d say the investment would be around £15 million – £20 million.

Other options could be Ajax’s Daley Blind, who is a 24 year old Dutch left back/midfielder who currently plays for Ajax, and his versatility and quality could be a really good addition to the club, but, is again, unlikely because of admirers from clubs in the Champions League. Finally, one other player who maybe, just maybe be possible is Luke Shaw, who although looking highly unlikely, his connection with Mauricio Pochettino could sway the deal in some way, at just 18 years old it would be a fantastic addition but he would be extremely expensive, with Manchester United rumoured to be offering £27 million for his services. As you can see, there are definitely players out there that could fill a gap in our team, & they are young players too who could grow under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino.

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Left Midfield – We do have quite a few options on the left, Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen & Andros Townsend can all play there, but we lack someone who is an out-and-out left winger who can bring pace and a crossing ability to the team. Eriksen and Sigurdsson both prefer central positions, with Townsend growing into a right midfielder, this leaves Nacer Chadli, who at times last season also looked more comfortable in the centre or the right, but I think over time on the left is where he’ll play. There is a gap. This gap can be filled by quite a few really talented players who I’d like to see at the Lane.

My first & realistic choice would be 24 year old Dnipro & Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, who has consistently been linked with a move to Tottenham and has a confirmed buy out clause for foreign clubs such as ourselves of £12 million, which in this market is an absolute bargain for a player who has a high pedigree of talent. Konoplyanka is known for his pace and ability to score a goal, as we saw when we faced Dnipro in last season’s Europa League, he was Dnipro’s outstanding player both home and away, giving our full-backs a torrid time. Of course, there are other options if this deal were to go pear-shaped or Liverpool decide to move for his services, & one of the options could be another Southampton player, Jay Rodriguez who was transformed by our new Head Coach into a goal scoring left forward last season, bagging 17 goals. Jay is 24 years of age, so has plenty of time ahead of him to improve, but the thing that obviously holds back this deal is his injury, in which he will be out until October because of a torn ACL. Surely this would put the deal into jeopardy, as paying big money for a player that’s return is unpredictable is something Daniel Levy normally wouldn’t do, although maybe this injury could force Southampton to sell at a lower price, I’d say he’d be worth around £10 million.

Other players that could tempt Baldini or Pochettino’s fancy could be Mauricio’s former captain at Southampton, Adam Lallana, who has been heavily tipped with a move away from the Saints, & of course speculation is rife that his relationship with Pochettino could sway Lallana’s decision to leave Southampton for Tottenham, instead of Liverpool. The 26 year old midfielder can play on the left, the right and through the middle and is rumoured to have an asking price of £20 million and rising, possibly close to £30 million depending on his performance for England at the World Cup. Last summer, we were heavily linked with Brazil winger Bernard, who eventually moved to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine for for £21.5 million, but recent quotes suggest it’s not exactly his dream to play in Ukraine and would be interested in a move to the Premier League, possibly sparking our interest.

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Striker – In January, we agreed to sell Jermain Defoe to Toronto, and he left the club in March, so we decided not to buy a replacement at the time, and stuck with Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane. Now, with rumours and speculation of the sales of Emmanuel Adebayor possibly to Monaco, & Roberto Soldado a possibility to leave for Atletico Madrid, it seems we’re going to be in the hunt for a new striker once again. Personally, I’d like to keep hold of both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, but if we want to sign a new striker funds may need to be amassed, and that could mean their sales, or one of their sales.

My number one target for the striker position is Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, the 25 year old Ivorian scored 25 goals last season in all competitions for the Swans, cementing himself as one of the best signings of last summer, & I believe he could be the striker we’ve been missing for a long time, with his link up play being exceptional and having that clinical touch which is now proven in the Premier League after being outstanding in Holland. A right handful for any defender and can grow at just 25 years of age, it’s said Bony has an expensive price tag on his head, though, with some reports saying only £25 million would prise him away from the Welsh club. Another option, although seemingly unlikely has to be Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who has had a good season with Everton on loan, it could be time someone took him off Chelsea’s hands and he can have a permanent club who love him very much. At just 21 years of age, Lukaku has a massive future ahead of him, being Belgium’s number 1 striker and scoring 35 goals in 2 Premier League seasons, proving his suitability to the Premier League, the question is, after proving himself, do Chelsea want to let him go? It seems after the expected signing of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku could be up for grabs, & I reckon we could, just could have a shot for around £20 million.

Other options up front include 20 year old Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, who plays at Standard Liege, with comparisons between himself at Lukaku, & a reported £8 million fee wanted from Standard Liege, he could be a striker that could grow eventually into our first striker, & is someone I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to taking an ever so slight gamble on, plus he has a definite resale price, which is right up Daniel Levy’s street. Another player who has been constantly linked with Tottenham over the years is Loic Remy, the 27 year old QPR striker had a very good season with Newcastle on loan and I know some would be very happy to see the Frenchman who’s going to the World Cup this summer, grace the Lane next season. I am unsure on Remy, but if we could get a deal at around £8 million, I wouldn’t have many qualms.

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There is a lot of talent up for grabs, & without a doubt Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Mauricio Pochettino will be searching throughout the market for the players to improve the Tottenham squad, so if you’re reading Franco, have a little look at the players I’ve mentioned, eh?

OUTS.
In every transfer window, especially for a big club like Tottenham, players need to be let go. The reasons are differ but the fact is it’s ruthless, because you have to make difficult decisions for the best of the whole squad, which may mean getting rid of fan favourites, good quality players & those that could have a big future. In other cases, it’s the fact the players just aren’t good enough, or don’t fit into the way you want your squad to look. In this transfer window, I hope that we won’t be too ruthless, & I hope we keep what I have already said is the core of a World Class squad, but there are some players that can be let go, to help the team improve, not in depth, but in quality.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – I think time is up on Benny’s adventure with Tottenham. He’s had great years at the club, but now, he’s not at the level we need him to be, to be our number 1 left back, or even a back up at the age of 30. I’m sure a Premier League club would be willing to buy him permanently, and for £5 million or so I would say goodbye and thank you without hesitation.

Danny Rose – It’s been a difficult season for Danny Rose, after a good loan move with Sunderland he’s found it difficult to adapt to the level we would have wanted him at. A new left back is in order, & some may say, getting rid of Assou-Ekotto and Danny Rose leaves us dry, but I believe Zeki Fryers could well be a very good back up for a new left back at the age of 21, and with Mauricio Pochettino’s emphasis on youth he could well turn to Zeki Fryers. I’m sure Rose would have a host of buyers, at a Premier League level, and I’d let go happily for around £6 million – £8 million.

Jake Livermore – It’s more of when than if with Jake Livermore leaving Tottenham. He’s had a great year at Hull City and deserves to play regular first team football, and it’s a simple fact that he won’t get that at Tottenham. Hull City could well buy him after his loan spell there, & he has said he would be more than willing to make his move to the KC Stadium a permanent one. Reports suggest Tottenham will ask for around £8 million for the 24 year olds services.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – I say this with a heavy heart. I like Sigurdsson a lot and believe he has tremendous ability, technique and mental attitude, but it hasn’t really clicked at Tottenham, as he hasn’t been given a sustained place in the starting line up in his favoured central role. It could be possible that we loan Sigurdsson, to se how he does playing regular football at a Premier League team, but at 24, I think Tottenham could look for a permanent sale, and I’m definite he’d have a host of teams interested in his signature. I like Gylfi a lot, but it is a choice between him, Holtby & Chadli on who goes and I think I’d prefer Sigurdsson to go than the previous two.

Roberto Soldado – I’m undecided on this one. Part of me says, get rid, get the funds and buy a striker that seems to suit us better, but another side of me thinks that we should keep him, as with all our new 7 signings, & let him have another season in the Premier League to prove himself. Although, he is 29 and I can’t see him improving too much. I’d put Soldado down as a possibility of leaving, with Atletico rumoured to be interested in his services, and I’d probably let him go at the £15 million – £18 million mark.

Other players I’d let go include Jonathan Obika, Iago Falque, Ryan Mason & Grant Hall after their loan spells last season – read about our loan player’s last season HERE. Players that I don’t want to leave who you may think aren’t good enough, or it’s time to get rid include Kyle Naughton, who I think being on the bench is fine as a good back up to Walker and at left back, Michael Dawson, our captain who I think deserves more respect from our fan base, and I’m sure he’d be happy to stay and sit on the bench too, playing in the cup games; Aaron Lennon who I believe still has something to offer Tottenham, and again, is a good back up player for the squad & Lewis Holtby who I think deserves a season with Tottenham to prove his worth to the fans and the new manager.

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It’s simply crucial that Tottenham hang on to their best players this summer. It is paramount to any sort of success that the club want to get this coming season and it will make Mauricio Pochettino’s job ever so easier.

Hugo Lloris – Our best player. World Class and my player of the year last season. It’s so important that Mauricio gets Hugo on side in his project and pushes on with him as an integral part of the squad and dressing room. We have to do everything to keep hold of Lloris, as in my opinion he is our only irreplaceable player and earns the team at least 10 points a season, he’s that good. Thankfully, it seems Lloris is happy to stay and doesn’t want a move back to France, so that holds us in good stead ahead of this summer. Part of me doesn’t want him to do well in the World Cup, just so the interest dies down! I truly believe Hugo will stay.

Jan Vertonghen – Thankfully, Jan has confirmed that he will ‘definitely’ be staying at Tottenham, which is fantastic news for the club. Jan is a leader & a wonderfully gifted player who brings so much to the team. He didn’t have a good season last season, but I truly believe without injuries he’ll further improve, & he can become a crucial part of the team once more. Get him a new contract.

Christian Eriksen – Along with Vertonghen, Eriksen has confirmed he doesn’t want to leave Tottenham after just 1 season, which is excellent news for us, although I never doubted that he would leave as he’s not the type from my eyes to just give up at the first hurdle. Obviously, Eriksen is going to only improve next season and I can’t wait to see him in Pochettino’s team. Hopefully, we will build the team around him for years to come.

Erik Lamela – An injury hit season for our record signing. At just 22 years of age, Lamela has a massive future at White Hart Lane and it’s of paramount importance that we don’t let him go after one disrupted season. Under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino I really believe Lamela could be one of our most important players next season on the right hand side. It’s important Lamela has a good pre-season and goes into next season fit and raring to go.

Others who are going to be crucial that I really want the club to keep are most of our summer signings last season, including Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue & Nacer Chadli. I believe all have big roles to play at the club.

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Conclusions.
It’s going to be busy, unpredictable and extremely exciting. It always is with Tottenham in transfer windows, but I hope we can get our business done swiftly and have an undisrupted pre-season in which Pochettino can implement his ideas on the team and we can start the season ready with a team that compete with the top. It will always be the aim to get top four, but, this season, all I want is for the team to play with dignity, passion & good football, & if they could win something that would be fantastic.

What are your thoughts? Who should we sign, who should we sell and who should we keep? Leave a comment below, subscribe and follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

Welcome to Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino!

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that our new Head Coach will be 42 year old Mauricio Pochettino on a 5 year deal after he resigned from his post as First team manager at Southampton. He is joined by assistant coach Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino as First team coach and Toni Jiménez as goalkeeper coach, who all worked with him closely at Southampton & Espanyol.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s Career.

Mauricio Pochettino is a 42 year old manager, who was born in Murphy, Argentina. He is a former centre back who has played for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, before moving to Espanyol in Spain, before joining Bordeaux in France, Paris Saint Germain in France again, & then returning to Espanyol. His career spanned from 1988 until 2006, in that time he played 578 times, scoring 29 times. He also played 20 times for Argentina scoring 2 goals.

Mauricio Pochettino started his managerial journey in 2009, when he was appointed Espanyol manager, the club were at the bottom of La Liga when he took charge in January, but under his guidance managed to escape relegation by a long way, finishing 10th. Mauricio then guided a young and inexperienced Espanyol side to 11th in 2010, but then secures a wonderful season in 2011, when he took Espanyol to 8th just one place outside a place in Europe, which with the team he had there, is remarkable. He spent another full season in 2012, but couldn’t replicate the same sort of season, but as others improved their teams ahead of his, Espanyol’s team continued to be using youth players, the club finished 14th, only 5 points off the relegation spots.

Espanyol then had horrible financial problems, forcing the club to sell their best players & these off the field problems were directly effecting the results on the pitch, & Pochettino’s efforts weren’t enough to stop a land slide in results & saw his team at the bottom of La Liga, and then, the club and Pochettino decided to terminate his contract by mutual consent with enormous regret and disapproval among the fans. During his time at Espanyol, Pochettino had to sell all his star players that were developed through his youth system, including Dani Osvaldo, Jose Callejon and Victor Ruiz. The club didn’t replace these stars due to financial problems, and could only use youth, much older players with short contracts & loan signings. Pochettino brought through 20 youth players to the Espanyol first team in his time there, a spectacular amount. Pochettino managed 161 games for Espanyol, winning 52 games, drawing 38 and losing 70 times. This looks poor, of course, but in the circumstances he was under his time there has to be seen as a success, on his part, but the club above him failed in their duty.

After leaving Espanyol in Late November, Pochettino landed a big Premier League job in late January with Southampton. Saint’s Chairman Nicola Cortese saw the potential in Mauricio, who replaced the highly popular Nigel Adkins who got Southampton into the Premier League, but the club were only 3 points off of the relegation places and Mauricio Pochettino was brought in with a history of making teams a regular in the top devision & threatening the European places. He did exactly that in his first season, securing 14th place, and recording wins over Chelsea and Manchester City. He impressed with his high tempo football, with an emphasis on attacking football, building from the back and getting the best out of his individual players, while creating an ethos that the team didn’t need to be afraid of the big clubs, inspiring the victories at St Mary’s to Chelsea and Manchester City. In that time, Pochettino visited White Hart Lane and lost 1-0 due to Gareth Bale’s late goal. I thought that day Southampton were outstanding, they restricted us and frustrated us and Gareth Bale really was the only difference between the sides.

In what turned out to be his last season at Southampton, Pochettino had his best season. They started the season wonderfully, and the football Southampton were playing was delightful to watch and at the time many of our fans were jealous of the football Pochettino was bringing to St Mary’s. During the first half they were there to be shot at, playing with no fear with a core of young, talented Englishman throughout the side, which were promoted through the youth system, such as Lallana, Chambers and Shaw as well as Rodriguez and Lambert. Southampton were 4th in November, but dropped off that pace after a run of playing very difficult games. But, the Southampton team were consistent in playing extremely attractive football and getting good results which in the end guided them to their best ever Premier League finish, 8th.

You may say that Pochettino underachieved with a good squad at Southampton, but I disagree. He built Southampton into a good squad, adding Dejan Lovren & Victor Wanyama who played vital parts in the Saints’ season, along with the new youth prospects Callum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse. Also, Pochettino brought out the best in Adam Lallana who was absolutely incredible and earned an England World Cup call up through Pochettino’s influence, as well as Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez who scored a remarkable 17 goals and his game was really well suited to Pochettino’s system. Pochettino’s strength is getting the absolute best from what he has at his disposal.

The Future under Pochettino.

Mauricio Pochettino has signed a long term, 5 year deal at the club, and prides himself on seeing out projects with clubs, he said that the project that he had with Southampton had come to an end, and so now he is looking to start a new journey, and I think we are fortunate to be the club in which he sees a future with. 5 years is a long time in football. A long, long time in football. It’s paramount that we give Pochettino the time to integrate his type of football into the Tottenham squad and bring in his own players to create ‘Pochettino’s Tottenham’.

We can’t predict what the future will hold. Nobody can. But we can show hope, belief and expectation in what we want and think it will be like. Under Pochettino I expect the future to be bright. Brighter than it has been since Harry Redknapp took us to the Champions League quarter finals. The project we had with AVB prospered in the first season of his 3 year deal, but, was halted with poor football and bad decisions. What we could get, is the project we ever so wanted under Andre Villas-Boas. To get the team playing attractive, yet effective football.

Mauricio Pochettino’s style of play includes high pressurising, lots of possession & effective swash buckling counter attacking football. That, in itself, is the way Tottenham strive to play. We lacked discipline in defence last season, and Pochettino, as well as being effective offensively, makes his teams strong and hard to break down in defence. Tottenham’s current squad suits Pochettino’s style. One of the many reasons I believe Daniel Levy decided to opt with Pochettino, to see his investment on the young, talented players he brought in fit into his system and get the players playing to the best of their abilities.

It’s difficult to say whether Pochettino will see out his contract. A lot of things can happen which are unforeseeable & the history would suggest Daniel Levy is not too patient with managers and giving them time to implement their ideas, but also the fans, not being willing to see out long term projects because of impatience and extremely high expectations, which some would say are completely unrealistic. What we have to do as fans is unite behind the new Head Coach and support the team through the thick and the thin.

My opinion.

I am extremely happy with this appointment. I think Pochettino suits our club and I believe that he will prove those who don’t believe he is the person to take the club forward wrong in due course, but he could use a good start! Having a person with ambition, passion and classiness take over at the club is lovely to have. His ability to get the best out of the team he manages is exciting, and I can’t wait to see how he adapts to Tottenham and how the players perform under his leadership. Having his Assistants come with him is a big bonus for us, he can build something as a group and I believe strongly, that after waiting so long for things to ‘click’, we could have our wishes come true under Mauricio Pochettino.

We are going on another adventure. We will learn to love Pochettino, just like the Southampton fans did after meeting his appointment with disdain. I am extremely excited to see what the future holds under Mauricio Pochettino. Wishing him all the best of luck, and of course, COYS!!

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Loan Watch – Season Review 2013/14.

Tottenham Hotspur are known for utilising the loan system to give game time to young players and fringe players. This season has been no different, and now it’s time to evaluate how well the players have done in their loan spells for several different clubs in few different countries, and see what the future holds for them, whether it is at Spurs or away from Spurs, permanently, or on another loan deal.

Ryan Fredericks – Championship – Millwall. – The 21 year old right back made the move to Millwall in January, brought in to help the Lions avoid the drop. He started really well with a goal on his debut, but unfortunately Ryan dropped out of the Millwall team and didn’t play as much as he may have wanted, but was praised by manager Ian Holloway for his fight and quality during his time at Millwall. He played 18 times, scoring 1 goal, and I think we can say that this was a relatively successful loan spell, in which Fredericks gained vital League experience. Ryan has a future at Tottenham, he showed that with a brilliant performance against Anzhi in the Europa League prior to being loaned out, and he has shown a lot of quality and shown that he has a good attitude to the game. I’m looking forward to Ryan returning to Spurs, and possibly giving Kyle Walker competition next season.

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Jon Obika – Championship – Brighton & Charlton. The 23 year old striker firstly made the move to Brighton in January, in which he didn’t start a League game and only made 5 appearances from the bench, he didn’t score a League goal for the Seagulls. He started his only game for Brighton in the FA Cup and that is where his only goal came, against Port Vale. He made 8 appearances overall in his time down South, but he became something of a scapegoat at Brighton and after watching him play, it was fair. He was dreadful. He was then sent back to Tottenham in mid March, and then straight away sent out to Charlton, he didn’t score a goal during his time and 12 appearances, but 9 were from the bench. The player doesn’t have a future at Spurs, he is too old and doesn’t have the quality. A sale in the Summer is the best we can hope for.

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Alex Pritchard – League 1 – Swindon Town. Pritchard was on a youth loan deal at Swindon, and he recently turned 21 and so had to return to Tottenham early, but in his time at Swindon he had a very impressive season, being nominated for Young Player of the Year in the Football League and Young Player of the Year in League 1, he didn’t win, but it was a great achievement to be nominated. In 36 appearances, only 3 were from the bench and he became a key player for Swindon who eventually missed out on the play offs and finished 8th, but Alex Pritchard provided 8 goals and getting 11 assists, which I class as a real success and can see a real future at Tottenham for him, but first I’d give him one more season on loan, hopefully at a Championship club or a Premier League club.

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Shaquile Coulthirst – League 1 & League 2 – Leyton Orient & Torquay United. Our 20 year old striker had a very short stint at Leyton Orient in League 1, in which he only made 2 sub appearances after joining early on in January, he scored on his debut but then returned to Spurs after his one-month loan deal run out. Coulthirst was then loaned out to Torquay United in League 2 late on in March, in which he played 6 times for the Yellows in a short spell to try and help them stay in the Football League, unfortunately Shaq wasn’t able to help them stay up, but he scored 2 goals in those appearances. Unluckily, Coulthirst was injured in his final appearance for Torquay, and has now had surgery to his ankle and has a summer of rehabilitation ahead of him. Hopefully he comes back stronger, I believe Coulthirst has the right attitude to the game, and after another loan to a team in the Championship, a bit like Alex Pritchard, I think he could have a future at Tottenham.

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Lewis Holtby – Premier League – Fulham. Our 23 year old attacking midfielder joined Fulham in January after playing a fairly important role in the first half of our season, but Sherwood was not keen on Lewis. An opportunity for Lewis to get Premier League experience and come back next season stronger and better for it. I think we can say it was a successful loan spell, despite ending in relegation for Fulham, Lewis performed admirably in a dreadful team and was a fan favourite instantly due to his passion and commitment. He played 13 times for the Whites getting 1 goal and 3 assists, which by Fulham’s standards is pretty decent! I judge Lewis’ loan spell as a success and believe he can become a big player for Tottenham still.

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Jake Livermore – Premier League – Hull City. Jake is now 24 & his loan to Hull as been a complete success for the England international. Jake has been on the fringes of the Tottenham side for quite a long while now, plugging holes in our first team, but has never had a run in a Premier League team, until his loan to Hull. He has been a regular for the Tigers, playing 41 games, becoming a key player and learning next to Tom Huddlestone. He’s scored 3 goals and assisted 4, a good tally for a holding midfielder. Jake has expressed his desire to complete a permanent move to Hull City, and with the quality we have in his position, I don’t think whoever is our new manager will make Jakey stay. He deserves first team football, and he’ll get that at Hull.

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Iago Falque – La Liga – Rayo Vallecano. Now 24, this loan for Iago was extremely important, either to prove himself to a Tottenham, or the more likely option of him playing to be bought by another club. What this loan has done for him is to propel himself into the limelight at Rayo, and get him a permanent transfer to La Liga after playing a key part in their campaign. You may ask, why can’t he make it at Tottenham? I think the reason is that he is set on first team football, regularly, to improve himself and better his career. He wouldn’t start at Tottenham. Iago scored 3 goals and got 2 assists for Rayo in 31 appearances, becoming a regular for them.

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Ryan Mason – League 1 – Swindon. Ryan has had an injury stricken season with Swindon, having an ankle injury which needed surgery, he was playing very well for Swindon along with Pritchard & Grant Hall, he played 18 times, which is still a respectable amount, starting 13 times. Ryan is 22, and is not at a Premier League level, so I do not know what the future holds. Mason needs to concentrate on getting fit in the summer and coming back stronger to either push for another loan move, or a permanent transfer. Mason scored 5 goals and got 1 assist for Swindon in his 18 appearances.

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Cristian Ceballos – Primeira Liga – FC Arouca. Ceballos is 21, we signed him from Barcelona in 2011 and had extremely high hopes for his future, of course the media tipping him as the next Lionel Messi! This season, Ceballos was in Portugal, & although I haven’t seen him play, the stats suggest he hasn’t hit it off as he would have wanted. Next season, I think a loan to a more prestigious club would be much better for him, testing him at a higher level. Cristian has played 19 times but only scored 1 goal, with Arouca finishing 12th in the Primeira Liga out of 16 teams. I would like to give Ceballos another chance to prove himself next season, on loan, hopefully at an English club.

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Tom Carroll – Championship – QPR. It’s been an on-and-off season for Tom Carroll. At 21, you could say he still has massive potential to become a wonderful player, but then you compare him to where Christian Eriksen & Erik Lamela are at the same age and it takes the shine off of his potential. At QPR, Carroll wasn’t best liked by the Ranger’s fans, but still played a lot of games. Although, he struggled with the physicality and intensity of the Championship, & I’d argue it wasn’t the best move for him, & Tottenham should have pushed for a Premier League loan move, or potentially abroad, to a club like Ajax. Carroll has a massive season ahead of him now, in which he can show he has a massive future, or it all goes a bit pear shaped for the young lad. I think Carroll will get another loan move, & I hope it is to a Premier League club this time, to test himself more. Carroll made 26 appearances and helped QPR reach the Premier League, not managing a goal, but getting 4 assists.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Championship – QPR. Now 30 years of age, a loan for Benoit is exactly what he would have wanted. I’m sure he’d like to be settled at a club and playing consistent football, but this is the hand he was dealt. His performances with Tottenham were no less than appalling, after injury, he hasn’t recovered and returned to the level he was at during our Champions League years. At QPR, I watched Assou-Ekotto a fair bit, & analysed how the QPR fans saw him, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. When a player is struggling to handle the Championship at the age of 30, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is not Tottenham level. Long balls, mistakes, a lack of pace and wayward crossing. He’s not better than Danny Rose, and that’s not a compliment to Danny Rose. I don’t think he has a future with Tottenham, & it’s best he moves on. He played 31 times for QPR, not scoring a goal, but getting 2 assists.

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Grant Hall – League 1 – Swindon. Our 22 year old centre back was a regular for Swindon last season, but was struck by injury in early January, and then didn’t feature until late April, before he was injured again and returned to Spurs for treatment. Hall is a very decent player from what I’ve seen, but I don’t know what the future holds for him. I think Hall will get another loan next season, maybe even back to Swindon, & then we can see what happens when he has a solid, injury free season. Hall played 36 times for Swindon last season, with no goals or assists.

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All in all, I think the loan system really helps Tottenham and their young/fringe players. We can utilise other club’s abilities to grow youth and play players that wouldn’t get game time at Tottenham. Next season, I expect another large amount of young players to go out on loan, but hopefully, we can get rid of some deadwood this summer and trim the squad. Let’s see what happens! COYS!!

Follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs

Tottenham Hotspur Season Review – 2013/14.

20140515-200108.jpgIt’s been a topsy-turvy season at White Hart Lane, a season with expectation, hope and excitement at the start, having a middle of uncertainty, anger and disillusionment, ending with relief, hope and an ounce of positivity. We’ve been through it all, every emotion from elation to despair, and everything in between. Two managers, 7 new players and yet another transition season, with another one to come next season.

August – September.
Such promise. 7 new signings for a total of £110 million, but also selling Gareth Bale for a World Record £85 million, therefore from other sales such as Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker and Steven Caulker. It was out for the English men, and in with the European talent, with Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli (in price order). Mistakes were made in the way we brought these players in, that I say without a doubt, but I do not think we made a mistake on the personnel we brought in, except for arguably Roberto Soldado in hinds sight. In August, we started the season in fine form, beating Crystal Palace, Swansea and beating off Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League qualifying. We didn’t concede in August, scoring 10 goals in 4 games. Not bad at all, although we did scrape past Palace and Swansea.

In September, we started the month conceding our first goal, against Arsenal in a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates. The excuse was that we were in incredible uncertainty, and the sale of Gareth Bale was confirmed the same day, straight after the defeat. That was a really bad day. Really bad. The saying on the season ‘bounce back’ was then introduced and we did exactly that, beating Norwich convincing at the Lane, Christian Eriksen making his introduction brilliantly, and then beating Tromsø 3-0 in the Europa League and then one of the games of the season, beating Cardiff 1-0 away from home, Paulinho with a late back-heeled goal. After that, we beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park in the Capital One Cup. Then we drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Lane with a very good performance. Things looked very up, AVB had us well drilled and the club was together pulling in a good direction. We sat 3rd in the table. Respectable, eh? Our best player in the first two months, would be Gylfi Sigurdsson, he was playing really well with 2 goals at the time against Chelsea and Norwich.

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October – November.
It all went a bit sour in October, a long journey to Anzhi, but a good victory, winning 2-0, but we returned to arguably the worst result of the season, a 3-0 defeat in a London Derby to West Ham United, we were dreadful, a lack of commitment and having no idea what to do in attacking positions, and West Ham punished our nonsensical defending. A tough one to take, the toughest. We did it again, we bounced back, we showed what seemed to be ‘character’ to quote Tim Sherwood and beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park, Robert Soldado with his first goal from open play, and we all thought he’d kick on from there and expected the team to do the same. Another long journey to Sheriff followed, getting the win again 2-0 and then returning to the Lane, we beat Hull City 1-0, a Soldado penalty clinching it. It all went sour for Andre Villas Boas after that. He criticised the fans, right or wrong, the media didn’t need to hear it, and neither did the fans who were already writhing in anger at the performance against Hull. Only a few days later, we faced Hull again, and scraped through again, on penalties in the Capital One Cup. A very difficult month, and after all that we still sat 4th in the Premier League table, and still in all the competitions.

In November, it really turned bad. We didn’t manage a League win and failed to score a League goal, although winning games in the Europa League against Sheriff 2-1, record signing Erik Lamela’s first goal for the club and beating Tromsø in Norway 2-0. In the League, we drew 0-0 with Everton, a hard fought game but arguably a good result against a resurgent Roberto Martinez team. No complaints. Then, after a game against Sheriff in the Europa League, we lost to Newcastle at home 1-0, in one of the most frustrating games of the season, nothing would go in. Nothing. We were left frustrated and the fans’ pressure built on Andre Villas Boas. The next game didn’t help the pressure on AVB, an absolute rout through Manchester City at the Etihad. Of course, the Champions this season, but for where we wanted to be, and by that margin, it was embarrassing and despite a large amount of fans backing AVB to get out of this slump, there was serious media pressure and reported pressure from the board. All in all, pressure. We ended November with a Europa League win at Tromsø, but it didn’t help heal the scars from a dreary two months. Tottenham finished November in 9th, which is, no sugar coating, terrible. Although, still, we remained in all competitions, unbeaten. Our best player in that time would in my opinion, be Andros Townsend, he was electrifying, but not lethal. The best of a bad bunch.

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December – January.
December was without a doubt the busiest and most full of change month of the season. We started the month well, really well. A draw with Manchester United, but scoring 2 goals after not scoring in the League in November was a positive, as well as the team spirit shown. After that, we won two on the bounce away for home, but both, we scraped past relegation candidates Fulham through Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, then past Sunderland, through an own goal and Paulinho. Our final victory under Andre Villas Boas then was upon us, a 4-1 victory over Anzhi with Soldado grabbing a hat-trick, and then the darkest day of the season so far. A 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Lane. Humiliating. A lack of presence, fight and quality led to a terrible day, and one that saw Daniel Levy lose patience in the Portuguese manager and fire him that next day. Right or wrong, the decision ended our season. I truly believe that. The club then appointed Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand in charge and in the first game lost in the Capital One Cup to West Ham in the Lane 2-1, after returning Emmanuel Adebayor to the team and him scoring. We then had a ‘decent’ end to the Christmas period, with Tim Sherwood being confirmed as Spurs Head Coach on an 18 month contract, we beat Pochettino’s Southampton at St Mary’s through a resurgent Emmanuel Adebayor performance, but then drew to West Brom at the Lane on Boxing Day, a big disappointment, but we then performed to the highest level of the season, beating Stoke City 3-0 with free flowing football that had been missing for too long under AVB. We finally beat someone comfortably. We finished the month in 7th.

In January, we started the month in fine fashion, we went to Old Trafford and got the result in wonderful style, Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen on the scoresheet. That’s my favourite victory of the season, an amazing win despite Manchester United’s problems this season, we have not lost to them in 4 games and beat them on their own turf twice in a row! It was back to reality after that, we lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup 2-0 at the Emirates, and now it was Sherwood’s turn to feel the pressure of the fans, his honest press conferences splitting his opinion and his tactical approach of 4-4-2 against top sides split them even further. We then beat Crystal Palace, with Jermain Defoe’s last goal for the club after the announcement of his move to Toronto, a very emotional moment and then went into beat Swansea convincingly 3-1 at the Liberty stadium, Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his great form with a brace. We finished the first month of 2014 with a heavy defeat to Manchester City, in unfortunate circumstances, a goal disallowed, wrongly, and then a wrongly awarded penalty and red card against Danny Rose. Of course, we wouldn’t go onto have an effect the game, losing 5-1, with another heavy defeat to City, but you could feel a sense of what could have been without some horrifying decisions. Plus, Etienne Capoue got his first goal for the club! At the end of January, we sat in 5th place, just three points off Liverpool in 4th. There was a little bit of hope here. Our best player during this time, was most definitely Emmanuel Adebayor, brilliant.

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February – March.
It was a mixed bag of results in February, but we continued to be there or there abouts for Champions League football and some fans still had hope! We started the month of February with a draw at the KC Stadium to Hull City, it was an incredibly hard fought match but we couldn’t seem to break them down, although Paulinho scored a great goal to get us a point. Then, as it seemed to be the case many times this season, good results came in twos. We beat Everton at White Hart Lane 1-0, taking 4 points from them this season, somehow, through a sweetly taken goal from Emmanuel Adebayor. Then, we went up to St James’ Park to complete our most convincing win of the season so far, a 4-0 win, Emmanuel Adebayor getting another brace as well as goals from Paulinho and a fine strike from Nacer Chadli, his first Premier League goal for the club. Then, a low, as we lost to Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine in the first leg of the round of 32, and then we followed it up by being beaten by Norwich at Carrow Road 1-0, a terrible defeat with some extremely disappointed performances. The loss to Dnipro was then cancelled out, after a great 3-1 win at the Lane, Adebayor with 2 and a Christian Eriksen free-kick. A good end to a mixed month. Into the round of 16 of the Europa League.

I think March was the moment we realised that Tim Sherwood wasn’t the man to take us forward. Only 2 wins out of 7 and 4 defeats conceding 16 goals and only scoring 6. We started with a win, against Cardiff City, a 1-0 win, Roberto Soldado getting only his second goal from open play in the Premier League, but it certainly wasn’t free flowing football, we scraped past them as we had many times under AVB and under Sherwood. Then, we lost heavily to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after going in level at the break after a great performance in all fairness, the team capitulated after a Jan Vertonghen mistake. A tough result to take like many this season, and Sherwood then criticised the players, which was highly supported and scrutinised at the same time. Then, we lost two on the bounce, both extremely tarnishing to the club, a 3-1 defeat to an incredible Benfica team at the Lane, but then another loss to Arsenal, quite unluckily even though we dominated the game. Then we performed really well at the Estadio Da Luz, a 2-2 draw, but we were extremely unlucky not to go through, a Nacer Chadli brace and a Harry Kane double of assists! Our next game was against Southampton, with a lot of the support extremely disheartened supporters not expecting anything from the rest of the season except for disappointment. The Southampton game was great, though, after going down 2-0 to a highly talented Southampton team, we fought back valiantly and showed the ‘gut’ that Sherwood had been willing for. That ‘gut’ and determination deserted Tottenham as we took on Liverpool, however, a 4-0 defeat, and the less said about that day the better. We sat 8 points off of 4th on 56 points after March. Our best player in that time being Christian Eriksen, for sure!

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April – May.
I’d say we had our best month of the season in April, unbeaten, scoring twelve goals in 4 games and only conceding 4. Our great month started with our biggest win of the season, a 5-1 victory over Sunderland, Adebayor once again getting a brace, with Christian Eriksen running the show along with a Gylfi Sigurdsson goal too. Then, we went to West Brom and conceded 3 goals, but we came back in the second half despite Adebayor missing a penalty, an own goal, a Harry Kane goal and finishing off the comeback with a Christian Eriksen late equaliser. Fulham came next, another 3 goals, but this time we only conceded once. Paulinho, Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul got on the scoresheet as Christian Eriksen ran the show once again and cemented his place as a contender for player of the season, as well as an incredible performance from Hugo Lloris, who saved a penalty and made three or four incredible saves at least. World Class. The rumours on Sherwood’s future was as intense as ever coming into May, but the team ended April on a high after going to Stoke and dragging out a result. We were on track to equal our highest ever points tally in the Premier League.

In May, we only had two games and one of them was utterly horrible. West Ham. Again. This time, on their own turf. A 2-0 defeat and a Younes Kaboul red card. We weren’t terrible, a little unlucky with a few individual mistakes but a loss to West Ham is just unforgivable, and unfortunately it’s been unforgivable three times this season. But, we finished the season on a high, which was definitely needed. Tim Sherwood’s last game as Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach, a 3-0 win, some wonderful football and the youth being introduced. A wonderful way to end a difficult season. Paulinho, an own goal by Baker and then an Adebayor penalty. We finished the season in 6th place, with 69 points, securing a Europa League place for next season. Tim Sherwood sacked and now a manager search commences. My player of the two months was Christian Eriksen. Incredible.

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My player ratings for the 2013/14 season:

Hugo Lloris – 9 – My player of the season. He has been incredible for us, saving us on numerous occasions. I don’t know where we’d be without him in the team, but we wouldn’t be in the Europa League, that’s for sure! He brings a cool, professional head even when chaos strikes on the pitch. He finds a way to keep his consistency no matter how the team is playing, who the team is playing and who the team is being managed by. Truly World Class and a pleasure to have in the team. He managed 17 clean sheets this season from 46 appearances.

Christian Eriksen – 8.5 - My outfield player of the season. At just 22 Eriksen has been a revelation, and has been praised as the ‘best of a bad bunch’ by many in the press. Although I disagree, I believe that he has been a shining light in a dreary season, with the way that he plays, conducts himself and speaks all becoming increasingly important to the club and without a doubt, the team should be built around Eriksen next season, whoever the manager is. There is so much more to come from such a brilliant, but young player. Eriksen has 10 goals and 10 assists, our top provider this season in 30 appearances.

Emmanuel Adebayor – 8 - Adebayor only played half a season, but still was one of our best performers this season. He scored so many vital goals to carry us through Tim Sherwood’s reign, and he almost made Sherwood look good, just as Gareth Bale seemed to bail out Andre Villas Boas. There were some lacklustre showings from the big Togolese striker, but overall, I think Adebayor has shown AVB was wrong to keep him in the dark, despite Adebayor being in the wrong through standing up to Villas-Boas. Emmanuel Adebayor scored 14 goals this season and getting 4 assists, he ended the season as our top goalscorer.

Brad Friedel – 7 - Judging Brad through the games he played, he has earned a 7/10. His performances in the Europa League were top class, he showed his professionalism throughout the season, not complaining, instead hailing the manager and the team, boosting moral and acting as a calm head. At 42, he has a decision to make regarding his future, and if he does decide to retire, I would love Brad to stay at the club and become a coach. He’s that sort of person. Friedel played 9 times and kept 3 clean sheets. Respectable.

Kyle Walker – 7.5 - Many will feel I have ‘overrated’ Walker here. But I would like to remind you all that Kyle was absolutely magnificent before injury toyed with his season. Without a doubt he was our best defender, showing a maturity that was lacking last season, but also a work ethic like I have never seen from him before. He was concentrated and driven to succeed and I am gutted that his injury has kept him out of a World Cup that he deserved to go to more than any other English right back. Walker made 35 appearances this season, scoring once and assisting 3 times.

Kyle Naughton – 5 - Average. He is no Kyle Walker, but what Naughton has been this season is reliable. Not many clubs have a player that will sit there and be willing to fill in whenever possible. Needed a lot this season, he was exposed a lot as a left back that he wasn’t and his lack of pace and bad decision making cost him many times. But overall I don’t think Naughton did too badly, and would like to thank him for his efforts. He showed that he cared. Naughton played 31 times for Spurs this season as a stop gap, and assisted goals twice.

Michael Dawson – 6 – Harshly treated for the majority of this season, including by myself. Dawson has shown his fight and determination on a numerous amount of occasions this season, although he has been exposed way too often as slow and very one dimensional. He’s my captain though, and his desire and passion for the club do not go unnoticed in my eyes. Dawson played 38 times this season.

Younes Kaboul – 5.5 – A difficult season for Younes. The injuries in his career have affected him a hell of a lot and he is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has captained us this season, and played some really good games, for example against Newcastle and against Southampton. I would like to think Kaboul will stay and have a full pre-season behind him to prove his worth to the fans, but whether or not the club feel too much of a risk of having him here we can only wait and see. Younes played 18 times this season, scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Vlad Chiriches – 7 - One of the seven new signings arriving this season, and he’s been one of the best in my view. At just 23 he has a lot to learn and he can be very nervy at times, making him prone to mistakes, but he has also had incredible games this season and is showing why we decided to sign the Romanian and ditch Steven Caulker. Vlad can only improve next season, the captain of Romania and definitely one that can push to start every game next season. Vlad played 23 times this season, scoring 1 goal.

Jan Vertonghen – 6 - A strange season for Jan. He has been accused by fans of having a bad attitude, bad body language and not showing enough passion for the team, as well as taking a big step down from the level of performance that he was last season. We all know what Vertonghen is capable of, and despite these rumours of Jan wanting out, we should try to keep him at all costs, because he is a wonderful talent. I believe he will stay. I hope he will stay. Hopefully we can see an improvement in performs from Jan next season, possibly when we have a new manager in charge! Vertonghen had an injury stricken but played 31 games, scoring 1 goal.

Zeki Fryers – 6 - A breakthrough season for young Zeki Fryers, firstly at left back, but then later in the season being used as a centre back, and I think we found the perfect position for Zeki. At left back he lacked agility and an end product, but at centre back he is composed and strong. I’d like to see more of the 21 year old there next season. Zeki played 16 times, getting 1 assist in that time.

Danny Rose – 4 - Danny, at only 23, has a lot to learn. This was his first season as our number 1 left back, but he was exposed nearly every game for defensive insecurity, a poor end product and a lack of skill on the ball. Although Danny had 3-4 good games, he isn’t at the level that Spurs need. Whether that will come in time, I don’t know, but right now, we need better. Danny made 31 appearances this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 2 assists.

Aaron Lennon – 6 - Inconsistent would be the word to describe Lennon’s season. He has been on fire at times, beating players getting dangerous balls into the box, and he has been the opposite, unimaginative, ineffective and simply poor. Aaron is still 27, so I’d definitely keep him for next season, but I hope Lamela steps up and earns his spot ahead of our long serving winger. Aaron played 34 games this season, scoring just 1 goal and getting only 3 assists.

Andros Townsend – 7 - What a start to the season Andros had. Coming back from his loan spell at QPR he was electrifying, he had the confidence to take people on, take shots and break with pace. This earned him an England call up, and he made the impact of a lifetime, scoring on his debut. Unfortunately, injury played havoc with his second half of the season and his form dipped. And now injury has ruled him out of a World Cup he was destined to go to. Hopefully Andros improves massively next season and we can see him shine again. He played 34 games scoring twice, but getting no assists.

Erik Lamela – N/A- Our record signing, but we didn’t get anywhere near a season out of him. Mismanagement, injuries and poor ability to adapt have messed the Argentine’s season and World Cup hopes right up. Such promise, but such disappointment to see our Gareth Bale replacement not start a game at White Hart Lane this season in the Premier League. He did have 2-3 good performances but needed a sustained fun in the team, and due to a fractured vertebra, he didn’t get that. He will return though and I hope he will be better than ever! He played 17 times for Spurs, but only had 3 starts in the Premier League. He scored 1 goal and got 3 assists.

Paulinho – 7 – I think Paulinho has had a very good first season at the club. It has been blighted by some terrible, invisible performances but all in all I think he’s done well, especially in the goal scoring department. Playing higher up the pitch he is a joy to watch has immense skill, but playing in a deeper role next to a similar player, such as Mousa Dembele, Paulinho didn’t have the strength and grit to make tackles. That’s why his best performance came alongside Sandro, or next to Dembele when we were bossing the game. Hopefully he’ll push on next season and prove himself to more and more fans. He played 37 times for us this season and scored 8 goals with 2 assists, a good first season tally.

Sandro – 6 - Injury has struck Sandro’s season once again. This time muscular niggles that have kept him out of the team and stopped him from having, just like Lamela, a sustained run in the team. There have been some difficult matches for Sandro, not playing well or in good form, but I think mostly he has when he has started. He’s a crucial player for the team and I can’t wait to see him in a Spurs shirt next season. Sandro played 25 games and scored 1 goal.

Mousa Dembele – 6 - It’s like a broken record, but Mousa is another player who’s season has been seriously harmed by injuries. He looked as if he had been playing with injuries all season and that meant his form wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted it to be. He has a World Cup now so I hope he gains a lot of confidence from that and comes back to Spurs a better player. Mousa did despite injury play 42 games this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist.

Nabil Bentaleb – 7 - Nabil has had a great season. Promoted through the youth system at just 19 he has put in some stellar displays in the midfield role, as well as some poor performances, which are expected at just 19 years of age. His connection with Sherwood made it difficult at times, with fans pilling pressure on the young mans shoulders, but he dealt with it really well. Nabil played 21 times, getting 1 assist.

Etienne Capoue – N/A - Etienne started the season in outstanding form, our best player against Crystal Palace and Swansea, but he was hit by injury, another player, and after that never found the level he is capable of. He missed 50% of the season through, higher than any other player, so I really can’t give him a fair rating. It will be interesting to see whether Capoue is kept by the new manager, or moved on. Etienne played 18 times scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Lewis Holtby – 6.5 - Only half a season with Spurs before being shipped out to Fulham, but during that time he made it difficult to make a decision between Eriksen and Holtby, and I think he played well at times during his time at Spurs and was unlucky, but probably for the best of his development that he was sent out on loan. I hope to see him back in a Spurs shirt next season, pushing for a place. Lewis took part in 22 games for Spurs this season, scoring 3 goals and getting 5 assists.

Nacer Chadli – 6 - Chadli hasn’t set the world alight. Far from it. He has shown glimpses of why he is so highly rated in Holland and in Belgium, but as of yet hasn’t shown it to the Spurs faithful. Some very good performances, especially his 2 goals against Benfica, and his stunner against Newcastle, but he needs to improve. He played central midfield and behind the striker later on in the season which didn’t help, though. Although he played well behind the striker, in central midfield I don’t think it suits him. Nacer played 35 times, scoring 5 goals and contributing 4 assists.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6.5 - Gylfi’s start to the season was sublime, he had a goal scoring instinct and scored some wonderful goals as well as goals where he had to be in the right place at the right time. I think Gylfi is a great player, technically, mentally and physically. He lacks a lot of pace, which let’s him down, but he has such a great shot and a great footballing mind. It’s unfortunate Sigurdsson is forced out onto the left hand side so often. He’d be a real threat in the central position. There are things wrong with his game and there has been this season. Still, he’s only 24. Gylfi played 35 games this season, scoring 6 goals and getting 3 assists. Not too bad.

Harry Kane – 7.5 - I can only judge on the games that they have played, and Harry Kane has had a superb end to the season, as well as good performances against Hull City in the League Cup and Cardiff away earlier this season. Brought in by Sherwood to the starting 11 he has repaid the faith with goals, a hard work ethic and some real good performances. Harry has played 19 games this season for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and getting 2 assists.

Jermain Defoe – 6 - Defoe was outstanding in the Europa League for us this season, there’s no denying it. He scored goal after goal and played really well, but his Premier League performances, of which there were very few, were poor. Jermain was sent off to Toronto and we will miss a true Spurs legend, but I don’t think we’ll miss the player. Defoe played 22 games for Spurs this season, with 11 of those from the bench. Scoring 10 goals and getting 3 assists.

Roberto Soldado – 5 - Hard. Disappointing. Underwhelming. All words we’d use to describe Roberto Soldado’s first season at the club, and possibly his last. I want Soldado to succeed as much as the next but judging on this season he has been terrible in front of goal. It’s a mystery. He has lost his goalscoring touch through a flight from Spain to England and I don’t know why. Everything he touches he seems to miss. Although, his link up play and play with the ball is top notch, something he never really had in Spain. I’d call it weird other than anything. We’ll see what happens to him this summer. Roberto played 37 times for us this season, scoring 11 goals and getting 5 assists.

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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Hugo Lloris.

Young player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Goal of the season – Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Hull City. (League Cup).

Assist of the season – Eriksen vs Norwich to Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Individual performance of the season – Hugo Lloris vs Fulham.

Win of the season – Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham.

Signing of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Most disappointing player of the season – Roberto Soldado.

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Ups, downs and upside downs. All in all it’s been an eventful season, for sure! Expectation outweighed reality, and now as fans we have to rally again, support the team, the players and the whole club to try and do our bit to help the side on the pitch. And that starts by supporting our new manager, whoever it may be. I’m looking forward to a great World Cup, a brilliant pre-season, an uncertain Transfer Window and a new season of excitement! Thank you for reading, tweeting and debating with me on twitter and on the website. It’s been a pleasure and I can’t wait to do it all over again next season! Leave your comments down below, subscribe and follow my twitter account if you don’t already – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you and COYS!

All the goals from the 2013/14 season:

Season Review video:

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match: Sunday 11th May 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Paulinho 14′, Baker OG 35′ and Adebayor (pen) 38′.

The season comes to a close in fantastic style. We know it’s not been a season to rejoice about, but it’s extremely nice to finish it on a high and now put it behind us and move on, becoming stronger next season and fighting even harder than ever before to finish where we want to be. This win means that we finish 6th, with 69 points ahead of Manchester United and securing our place in the Europa League for next season. I’m already looking forward to next season!

In the first half, we were electrifying. Aston Villa couldn’t deal with the quality we had running through the team and to top off our dominance, we got our first goal in the first 15 minutes of a Premier League game, through Paulinho, who got his 8th goal of the season after Gylfi Sigurdsson slid through a pass and Harry Kane knocked it on for the Brazilian, who then saw his shot saved but on the rebound slotted home to make it 1-0. We continued our dominance after the goal, with Villa looking like they were on the beach already. We passed the ball well and found pockets of space continuously and then in the 35th minute we doubled our lead, Danny Rose smashing the ball across the goal and it inadvertently hit Aston Villa’s Nathan Baker and diverted into the goal for 2-0, and now we were cruising. Only 2 minutes later, a Sandro shot was sent flying through a group of players and then hit Gabby Agbonlahor’s arm in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up and finished expertly into the roof of the net. Game. Set. Match. The second half was like a training session, there weren’t many chances, but we controlled the game and played some good stuff, and getting some youngsters on the pitch to top it all off. Veljkovic, Pritchard and Bentaleb all made it out and played well after coming on.

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For me, man of the match goes to Paulinho. He played with freedom, intelligence and also got his goal. He has been given a lot of stick this season, unfairly in my eyes, and today he showed why we have to keep hold of him and build with him in the team next season. The main reason we saw Paulinho at his best is the inclusion of Sandro in the team alongside him, they both have a connection, they know when one is staying back and the other going forward and they both cover for each other. Sandro gave the midfield some much needed stability and strength. One reason we’ve had such a disappointing season is that we haven’t had Sandro, Paulinho and Dembele fit together enough or at all. They are the core that drive this team on, and we haven’t had that. Next season I want those three together more often, under Sherwood or not. Along with Sandro and Paulinho, I think Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches played very well today, they are players I am really looking forward to seeing in the shirt next season.

It’s been a difficult season but we must put it behind us and push on into the new season! Thank you all for sticking with the team and reading my posts, on the web, on twitter, on Instagram and vine! It’s been a pleasure and I wish you all a great summer and get ready for the 2014/15 season! We’ll be here though, with transfer news, our season review, loan watch review, kit launch and managerial stories and announcements! Join me there at @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that beat Aston Villa:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 7
Dawson – 8
Chiriches – 8
Rose – 6
Sigurdsson – 7
Paulinho – 9 – Man of the Match.
Sandro – 8
Eriksen – 8
Kane – 7
Adebayor – 8.

Subs:
Veljkovic – 7
Bentaleb – 6
Pritchard – N/A.

Match highlights from our 3-0 win:

Tim Sherwood’s post match thoughts:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Sunday 11th May 2014. Kick off at 3pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK.

Well here we are! The last game of the season. I can’t really tell whether it’s flown by or if it’s dragged, but what it has been is frustrating and disappointing, with a lot of change and a lot of failure. But also I think we’ve had sparks of brilliance, hope and glimpses of a great future. It’s time to put the bad things behind us and focus on moving into next season with a clear vision and a team hungry to succeed. Aston Villa at the Lane, a chance for the players and Sherwood to give us a nice send off into the summer, hopefully we see some goals, good football and a nice three points! We are fighting for something, the Europa League and to finish above Manchester United, we need a point to guarantee we finish 6th and gain European football next season.

Last time out, we lost to West Ham 2-0 at Upton Park, a dark day. We played with 10 men for a long time after Younes Kaboul was sent off, and after they scored very quickly after the sending off it was inevitable that we would lose. I don’t think we were terrible. With 11 men I think we would have won the game, but it was a difficult day with frustrations running high between the fans and throughout the club. But, we move on, as always, and look to just finish the season on a high. Our recent form against Aston Villa is exemplary, we have won 4 in a row and are 11 games unbeaten, since 2008, 8 wins and 3 draws. It’s a great record we have against them and having won 4 in a row, not conceding a goal in that time, I think we will make it 5 in a row this Sunday. Last time we faced them was earlier this season, at Villa Park, a 2-0 win with Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado scoring in a very good win with a lot of positives back then. A lot has changed since then, but I still think we will come out on top again, just like we did last time we faced them at the Lane, Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon scoring in a 2-0 win.

Aston Villa are safe from relegation, so they can class that as a success, but I think the fans will be disappointed that they didn’t push on this season after avoiding relegation last season as well. Villa are a big club and should be much higher up in the table, and now they need to push on next season for a top half finish. Of course it’s been difficult being without their best player, Christian Benteke, through injury for a lot of the season, but they have good players and are under achieving at the moment in my opinion. They sit 15th, with 38 points and are safe, so maybe we can take advantage of them being on their holidays, so to speak.

The team news for Aston Villa is Christian Benteke (knee), Jores Okore (knee) and Libor Kozak (broken leg) are ruled out, with Marc Albrighton (groin) and Gabby Agbonlahor (knee) are doubts for the game. The main threat for Villa is Andreas Weimann, the forward is full of energy and is a good finisher, he has 6 goals this season and recently got a brace against Hull City which consolidated Villa’s place in the Premier League, Weimann is a very competent footballer and at 22 has a big future. Another big player for Aston Villa is Fabian Delph, the central midfielder has had a great season and is a very talented footballer, he is a workhorse but also has a lot of skill and talent, he’s still 24 and has 4 goals this season and 2 assists.

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The team news for Tottenham Hotspur is that Erik Lamela (back), Andros Townsend (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin), Nacer Chadli (hip), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (suspension) are all out of the game against Aston Villa, with Jan Vertonghen (ankle) a doubt but Etienne Capoue will be returning from injury and is in contention to play.

Our outfield player of the season, Christian Eriksen. He’s been absolutely outstanding this season and he’s key to us winning this game, once again. He’s got 10 goals and 10 assists this season and I don’t think anyone doubts that he will be adding to that tally against Villa. Everything good offensive usually comes from the Dane, and I think he’ll be the star of the show once again against Aston Villa. With Younes Kaboul ruled out, I think Vlad Chiriches will play in his place alongside Captain Michael Dawson, at full back, I wouldn’t mind seeing young Ryan Fredericks play at right back in Kyle Walker’s absence and Zeki Fryers play at left back ahead of Danny Rose, I think those full backs give us pace but also both have big futures and I’d like to see that used by Sherwood, even if it would probably mean he’s lambasted by the fans, how much worse can it get! Youth has to be given a chance and he’s been great for that. Sherwood spoke in his press conference (below) about playing a team who want to win and want to play for Tottenham in the Europa League next season. It’s going to be very interesting to see who he believes those players are.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta.

- Against no Barclays Premier League side has Emmanuel Adebayor scored more Barclays Premier League goals than he has against Aston Villa (six).

- The Villans are without a win in 10 league games against Spurs, drawing three, losing seven and scoring just five times.

- Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

- Tottenham Hotspur have won on the final day of the season in each of the last three Premier League campaigns – all of which have been played at White Hart Lane.

- Should Spurs win this match, they’ll equal their highest number of wins in a single Premier League season (21 in 2009-10 and 2012-13).

- Spurs have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against bottom-six teams.

- Spurs are the only side to not score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

- Only one team in Premier League history (Crystal Palace in 1994-95) have gone through an entire season without scoring in the opening 15 minutes.

- Aston Villa have had Over 2.5 goals in their last 10 away matches against top-six teams.

- 21 of Spurs’ 37 Premier League games this season have been played on a Sunday – no side have ever played 22 in a single season on a Sunday.

- Aston Villa have currently won 497 points away from home in the Premier League. If they win this match, they’ll be the fifth side in Premier League history to have won 500 away points.

- Spurs have won their last four home matches against bottom-six teams.

- Tottenham have seen more players net a Premier League goal for them than any other side this season (18).

- In contrast, Villa have seen the smallest spread of players score a Premier League goal for them this season (10).

The last game of the season is always a special occasion, and I’m looking forward to it massively. The game is live on Sky Sports 3, but I’ll be giving you live match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos, vines and much more! Give me a follow – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you all for reading my match previews this season, I will be back next season, it’s been a pleasure! Please leave a comment down below telling me what you like and how you think I could improve for next season! Lots of love, and COYS!

My predicted/preferred team to face Aston Villa at the Lane:
4-4-2
Lloris
Fredericks – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Lennon – Bentaleb – Sigurdsson – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre Aston Villa press conference:

Match Preview, West Ham United vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 3rd May 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

TV: Live on BT Sport in the UK.

A fierce London derby, a massive encounter between two teams extremely full of hate for each other, lots of passion, adrenaline and ferocity running through the veins of the fans, players and everybody connected with each club. It’s a match that means so much, not so much in terms of League position, but in terms of pride. And for Tottenham, on Saturday at Upton Park, it’s a chance to restore the pride taken off us in the last two encounters. A must win game for Spurs, losing is simply not an option.

Our recent form has been at a high level, we have found some consistency in our results and in our performances. Ever since the 4-0 drubbing at Anfield, our form has picked up and we are playing some great football, with players starting to stand up and be counted. In April, we did not lose a game, and only dropped points in one game against West Brom at the Hawthorns, drawing 3-3. That’s 3 wins out of 4 games, and I’d say I’m very happy with that. Now we need to continue in the same fashion as we did in April, with 2 games left against West Ham and Aston Villa. Winnable games, as were the games in April, so hopefully we show the same resolve and desire we did last month and finish the season on a high! Our recent form against West Ham is non-existent. I try to block the last two results out of my mind, mostly because of how ashamed I am of them. Last time in the League, we lost 3-0 at White Hart Lane, arguably the worst result of the season, and that’s from quite a long list of bad results. We were dreadful, but we have the chance to make things slightly better with a win at Upton Park. We blew the opportunity for some pride in Sherwood’s first game as Head Coach at the Lane in the Capital One Cup, losing 2-1, even after going 1-0 up.

West Ham have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster this season, struggling to put together a good run of results, apart from a brilliant run in February, which has looked to be the month that has kept them up, I think they’ve been rather dreadful. It looks as though West Ham are now safe from relegation, they sit 14th with 37 points, they need another win or a draw to be completely sure of survival, though, and we’re here to try to drag them back into trouble and cause their 5th successive loss in the Premier League.

The team news for West Ham is that striker Marco Borriello has been ruled out through a hamstring injury, but other than that the Hammers have a full squad to pick from. The players that West Ham rely on most are, first of all, Andy Carroll, the big money record signing. Carroll is a target man, who feeds off crosses and long balls in which to get his fellow team mates into the game; he’s incredibly important to West Ham, and when he’s on form he’s a definite handful. Another important player for West Ham is Mo Diame, the big midfielder gets West Ham moving, he’s quick, powerful and can kick start attacks, he can float onto the wing or play as the deep lying powerhouse. Finally, Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis on the wings are relied upon to provide the ammunition to Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, and so stopping them on the wing is the key to stopping West Ham get chances.

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Now to the team news for Tottenham Hotspur, the injuries are still there, as they have been all season. This time out, it’s Erik Lamela (back), Kyle Walker (groin), Andros Townsend (ankle) and Mousa Dembele (ankle) who have been ruled out of the trip to Upton Park, with Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue both doubts through match fitness, with the game possibly coming a ‘bit too soon’ for them, even after training for a full week, according to Sherwood.

Michael Dawson was arguably man of the match against Stoke City, he dealt with Peter Crouch’s height and hold up play expertly, and now he’s going to face a very similar proposition in Andy Carroll. Carroll is the sort of striker that Michael Dawson loves to face, competing in the air and not very quick to get in behind him like the Aguero and Suarez type of player. A game against West Ham suits Dawson down to the ground, a game with passion and rivalry, mixed with the ‘route 1′ approach that Michael relishes facing. The partnership with Younes Kaboul against Stoke was exceptional, it seems as though both players have an understanding with each other, and I think Kaboul looks much more comfortable with the experience of Dawson alongside him. Aim of the game on Saturday is to get the ball to Christian Eriksen, get him involved in the game where it matters and try to effect the game in the final third. Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen are so important to the team in terms of creating chances and pushing the team forward, so we need them to be on form and getting in the right areas, for Aaron it’s the position to get the ball into Adebayor and Harry Kane, and for Eriksen it’s the position to feed Lennon, Kane and Adebayor with whipped in crosses and intricate passes. In the centre of midfield, I really do hope we see Sandro come into the team to play alongside Paulinho, Sandro has the bite to play in these kind of high intensity derby games, whereas Nacer Chadli, who has started the last few games, is much more technical. The partnership between Paulinho and Sandro could be one that really flourishes.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

- 10 of West Ham’s last 16 home games have had at least 3 goals.

- 8 of West Ham’s last 12 home matches against top-half teams have had at least 4 goals.

- Spurs have won 12 of their last 19 trips to bottom-half teams.

- Spurs have drawn the first half in 10 of their last 17 away matches against bottom-half teams.

- Andy Carroll has scored in both previous meetings with Tottenham as a West Ham player, but has ended up on the losing side both times.

- Tottenham have won nine and lost just two of their last 13 Barclays Premier League meetings with the Hammers (D2).

- West Ham have had over 2.5 goals in their last eight home matches against top-six teams.

Big game for so many reasons. A London derby, and one that we can’t afford to drop any points in. You can get in depth updates on the game from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including goal updates, videos, pictures, vines and much more! Get following! COYS!!

My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
4-4-2
Lloris
Naughton – Dawson – Kaboul – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Adebayor – Kane.

Tim Sherwood speaks to the press prior to our game against West Ham:

Match Review, Stoke City vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 26th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Britannia Stadium.

Result: Stoke City 0-1 Tottenham.

Goalscorer for Spurs: Danny Rose 33′.

Delighted with the three points. We move just 3 points behind Everton in 5th and 6 points clear of Manchester United in 7th, and we are only 4 points off the top four and Arsenal, which I find quite funny, even if they do have a game in hand. The football we played wasn’t pretty, but we hung on and got the result, which is what you have to do at places like Stoke, a place which has taken points off Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Now only 2 games left and I’d love to win both for a great finish to the season.

In the first half, I thought we played some nice football, but we lacked cutting edge and were wasteful with the ball, despite finding spaces in the right areas we were too slow at releasing the ball to the wingers or finding the killer pass to the strikers, and when we did find the wingers the crossing wasn’t hitting the right areas. Breaking the Stoke defence down was something we found difficult throughout the game, but we did find the killer touch on one occasion, Aaron Lennon flicked the ball towards Emmanuel Adebayor wide on the right hand side, who controlled the ball well and poked it past the Stoke defender Marc Muniesa and showed a good turn of pace and then delivered a delightful ball into the danger area for Danny Rose who jumped highest to nod home in the 33rd minute to make it 1-0, his first Premier League goal of the season. The second half was very difficult for us, early on the Potters were awarded a red card for Ryan Shawcross for a late tackle on Danny Rose, his second yellow card, and it was deserved. You’d think that this would help us take the game away from Stoke, but it meant that the home side sat back and made it even more difficult for us to break them down again, despite still having some space in the midfield. We held on in the end for a good three points.

20140426-181247.jpg
The defensive back 5, including Hugo Lloris played very well. For me, Michael Dawson was man of the match, he returned to the side after a hamstring injury and he played superbly, making crucial tackles and winning headers all game, a great decision from Tim Sherwood to re-include the skipper in the starting 11 ahead of Vlad Chiriches and Zeki Fryers. Alongside Dawson, Younes Kaboul was very solid, the same as Dawson he made some great tackles and looked much more comfortable with an experienced head next to him, he looked much more free to run with the ball and take it out from defence and I think that was his best performance since his return from injury. The full backs Kyle Naughton and the goal scorer Danny Rose also played great games, and hopefully they can continue this form in the last two games of the season. In midfield I though Paulinho played well, but other than him I thought we were very sloppy, even Christian Eriksen wasn’t on form. Upfront, Harry Kane had his first bad game in a Spurs shirt and Emmanuel Adebayor continued his average form of late.

You can’t complain with 3 points! We are 6 points from our record points tally in the Premier League, 72 points, so 2 wins is the aim! Our next game is against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday 3rd May. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Stoke at the Britannia:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 7.5
Dawson – 9 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 8.5
Rose – 8
Lennon – 5.5
Paulinho – 7
Chadli – 6
Eriksen – 6.5
Kane – 6
Adebayor – 6

Subs:
Townsend – 6
Sigurdsson – 6
Fryers – 6.

Match highlights from our 1-0 win over Stoke:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1rjb8r_epl-stoke-city-0-1-tottenham-all-goals-highlights-hd_sport

Tim Sherwood talks to the press after the Stoke victory: