Match Review, Tottenham vs Liverpool.

Match: Sunday 31st August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool.

Liverpool GoalScorers: Sterling 8′, Gerrard (pen) 49′ & Moreno 60′.

Not what we wanted, at all. If we were going to lose, we wanted it to be with dignity, to show fight, ambition against a brilliant footballing side who have incredible fire-power, but we didn’t, we seemed off the pace, we didn’t show anywhere near the sort of fluidity and pace as we did against QPR. Pushing, pressing and creating chances is exactly what we wanted from the team but it seemed the mere sight of a top team forced the players to drop deeper, make stupid irrational decisions and play with fear instead of freedom. I don’t think we can blame Pochettino for that; I’m sure he set the team out to push forward and take the initiative, but the players didn’t do it as they seem set in their ways to always act as the underdogs instead of taking momentum into the game and playing good football. It’s very disappointing and being serious, the players might need psychological help to get over what seems to be a mental block of playing with freedom against big teams. Very early days for Pochettino and his staff, but a lot of work to be done. I believe we will improve and I believe Pochettino will be a massive success at Tottenham, but he needs time and he needs support, from Daniel Levy, the players, and the fans. Mauricio has already labeled it a project – and we are only at the start, so keep faith and let’s hope for a better result next time out.

The goals conceded were sloppy, individual mistakes, which is something we are used to from last season. The penalty simply wasn’t a penalty – and should have been a booking for diving for Joe Allen, who funnily enough would have then been sent off for his second bookable offence, but it wasn’t Tottenham’s day and we have to move on, not dwell on what is a very disappointing result that seems to take everyone straight back down to earth. Liverpool played very well – what we saw from them was the result of a project paying off – giving time to a very talented and tactically astute manager and after a full season in charge, a phenomenal second and then what could be an even better third season if they continue to play like they did against us. Their front 3/4 was untouchable, Sturridge, Balotelli and Sterling moved, and ran all over our back 4, they played with fluidity and an understanding, which is what our front 4 lacked, but I’m sure will improve as the season goes on. Liverpool are at a stage that we have to strive for – players playing as one, fighting as one and winning as one. Despite how poor we were, Liverpool were delightful (absolutely sickeningly so) to watch.

The players didn’t perform in this game, there was no stand out player and certainly no Tottenham man of the match. Every single player has to improve from this display and that starts against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light after the international break. It’s also a big deadline day, where I’m sure we’ll see a few outs, and hopefully 1 or 2 players come in. Younes Kaboul captained the side, and he did not lead by example, which is what you want from a captain. He may bark orders but when you’re making so many mistakes and forcing so many groans out of the fans’ and possibly his team-mate’s mouths, something isn’t right. He’s not been the same since a massive injury and it breaks my heart that that is the case, but the sooner Federico Fazio comes in to replace him alongside Jan Vertonghen the better, as Jan is seemingly trying to second guess the liability that is now Kaboul. It is harsh for me to single out Kaboul, as he certainly wasn’t the only one – Danny Rose didn’t have a good game, neither did Christian Eriksen or Andros Townsend. There is a lot of room for improvement and we’ve got time on the training pitch with the international break to put right some wrongs.

It is hard to take, but we have to move on from it. A difficult game against a superior opposition, as much as it pains me to say it, it is the truth. Now we have a break, before returning to action against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday 13th September. Let’s hope we can get a win. Follow my twitter for all the updates throughout deadline day and the international break here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!

My player ratings for the team that faced Liverpool at the Lane:
Lloris – 6
Dier – 7.5
Kaboul – 3.5
Vertonghen – 5
Rose – 4
Bentaleb – 6
Capoue – 5.5
Lamela – 6
Eriksen – 5
Chadli – 6
Adebayor – 6.

Townsend – 2
Dembele – 5
Davies – 6.

Pochettino’s post match interview:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Liverpool.

Match date & time: Sunday 31st August 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1.

Our third home game in a row has arrived and it’s our biggest and toughest game of the season so far, Liverpool Football Club travel down South to do battle with the team in form in the Premier League. Top of the League, playing some scrumptious football & most importantly getting good results. We are very high on confidence and I’m sure we’ll go into the game fired up and ready to seize revenge on Liverpool who have made us suffer in recent games. A very tough test against a very good team is on the horizon and I’m excited; it’s going to be a cracker. Goals are expected – along with swashbuckling counter attacking football, with plenty of pace, skill & strength on display from both teams who like to play football in a proper way – entertaining the fans.

In the last games, Liverpool traveled to the Etihad and received a 3-1 drubbing from the Premier League Champions Manchester City, a lacklustre performance from a team who has high hopes this season of challenging for the title. In the first game of the season, at Anfield Liverpool scraped past Southampton not very convincingly against a Southampton team that’s been taken to shreds in the transfer market, although now building back up fairly strongly. So we haven’t seen the best of Liverpool so far this season, but I’m sure we’ll be in for a stern test at the Lane. Tottenham have won all 4 games during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign; albeit 2 of the victories came against AEL Limassol, we have still been very impressive and haven’t looked like losing really at many points in the 4 games. It’s been a good start and now we have to show we can fight with the big teams again, especially at White Hart Lane.

The team news for Liverpool shows they have quite a defensive problem, with Glen Johnson (thigh), Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Martin Skrtel (knock) all doubts for the game. The good news for Liverpool is that two new signings are in line to make the squad, and possibly their debuts at the Lane: Mario Balloteli who joined from AC Milan this week is in the squad, along with Adam Lallana, who has recovered from a knee injury and is in line to make the 18.

The players to watch for Liverpool speak for themselves; in midfield the creative spark is sourced from Phillipe Coutinho, who has such quick feet and an eye for a pass, he can slot in the striker with ease and find that killer ball, as well as taking responsibility and taking a shot on, he’s very dangerous and a handful – so we’ll need our midfielders and defenders in top condition to deal with his threat. Upfront, both Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balloteli are big goal threats – they are quick, powerful and clinical in front of goal and you’ll be lucky to catch one of them on an off day, let alone two. Both players are known to be wriggly and slimy, dropping off, moving to the flanks and getting in behind the defence, they’re a massive handful and once again, we’ll have to have our concentration levels in tip top condition. In defence is where Liverpool’s weakness lies; they are not as organised as they should be, and not as tight as they should be, it is a big weakness which they’ve tried to work on and improve but what’s evident from both the Southampton and Manchester City game is that the opposition will get chances – and we need to be on hand to take them, clinically.

The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are all back after being rested in midweek, while Vlad Chiriches returns after a back problem. New signing Federico Fazio is also in contention after signing in midweek, but Roberto Soldado is a doubt with a neck/back problem, and Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains injured. A near enough full squad to choose from for Mauricio Pochettino, and it’s one hell of a strong one. It must be a very nice problem to have for the Boss.

After an incredible performance against QPR at the Lane last weekend, there aren’t many changes, if any, that I’d make to the team. Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli all seem to have worked very, very well behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Nabil Bentaleb and Etienne Capoue have shown they have quite a connection in the middle of the park, and in defence Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen were incredibly solid and comfortable, with Danny Rose and Eric Dier put in stellar work in the full-back positions. Any changes to the team would either have to be enforced, showing something better in training, or a change in emphasis for a sterner more attacking test in Liverpool. But, if the team that beat QPR performs to that level once again, harassing, pressing and upsetting the opposition, winning the ball back and counter attacking at pace, I truly believe we’ll be able to see off the threat from Liverpool, but for sure, it will be very difficult. We’ve got to find a balance between sitting back and defending and full blown attack, and I trust Pochettino to do this, as his research into the opposition is what gives us the edge I think.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

- The Reds’ 5-0 win at White Hart Lane in December last season ended a run of five consecutive Premier League home wins for Spurs against Liverpool.

- Liverpool won six points against Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League last season with an aggregate score of 9-0.

- Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester City last Monday was their first away from home in the Premier League in 2014 (W7 D2 L1).

- Tottenham have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1).

- Eric Dier is the first defender in Premier League history to score in his first two appearances.

- Etienne Capoue has made more passes (196) than any other Premier League player this season.

- Liverpool have scored 60 Premier League goals in 2014, seven more than any other side.

- After assisting only one goal in his first 10 PL appearances for Tottenham, Erik Lamela assisted two goals in the space of seven first half minutes vs QPR last weekend.

- Daniel Sturridge has only scored in two of his last eight Premier League games.

- Liverpool have not lost back to back games in the Premier League since December 2013.

A huge game! It’s going to be exciting, nerve-racking and everything in-between. The game is televised in the UK, live on Sky Sports 1, with kick off at 1:30pm! You can follow all the action, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more at my twitter account here: @AddictedToSpurs. Looking forward to it! Let’s keep this winning run going. COYS!!

My predicted team to face Liverpool at White Hart Lane:
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli

Mauricio Pochettino speaks ahead of Tottenham vs Liverpool:

Match Review, Tottenham vs AEL Limassol. (2nd Leg)

Match: Thursday 28th August 2014.

Competition: Europa League play-off second leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-0 AEL Limassol. (5-1 win on aggregate)

Tottenham GoalScorers: Kane 45′, Paulinho 49′ & Townsend (pen) 66′.

Tottenham Hotspur are through to the Europa League group stages after a fairly stress free two legged tie against AEL Limassol. We controlled the second leg from start to finish, on the ball very calm, although not put under much pressure from the Cypriot side. We were very professional and got the job done, scoring 3 goals and getting a clean sheet; that is very pleasing and now we must hope our good form continues under stiffer opposition in the Premier League on Sunday, Liverpool. Focusing on this game, we didn’t play incredibly well, but we continued to create chances, pass the ball relatively well, find the net and keep very tight at the back.

In the first half, we dominated, and early in the game we earned a penalty after good work from Paulinho who found Kyle Naughton on the right flank, who when in the box poked the ball before the goalkeeper and was taken out as the referee awarded a penalty, but the ‘keeper came off worse and a head injury forced him off; the replacement ‘keeper Pulpo came on and had to face a penalty from Harry Kane, and he came off better, saving the penalty after a poor spot-kick from Kane. After his penalty miss, Harry Kane didn’t let his head drop and continued to probe, probe and probe, and after sloppy play from Limassol, the ball fell to Paulinho who slid the ball through to Kane and he slotted the ball home in emphatic fashion. 1-0, and now the tie was surely past the Cypriot champions.

In the second half, we continued to press well, Sandro especially breaking up play and starting attacks very well from central midfield. Vlad Chiriches performed his trademark dribble from the back in the 48th minute, but lost the ball, only to win the ball back into the path of Paulinho who dropped his shoulder and finished the ball low into the corner to make it 2-0 and to get his first goal of the season. Comfortable on the ball, we continued to control the pace of the game and create chances, with the most of them falling to Harry Kane who was unable to get his second or third of the game, which will be disappointing for him. We continued to put Limassol under pressure and Kyle Naughton, who found himself in the box chipped the ball which hit a hand and another penalty was awarded, somewhat harshly but Andros Townsend stepped up and guided the kick into the bottom right hand corner, 3-0 at the 66th minute and the game dwindled from that moment on. A comfortable win.

There were quite a few stand out performers; but my man of the match was Sandro, he was very impressive in the centre of the park. His tackling was crisp and his passing simple; exactly what you need from a defensive midfielder, especially next to the more advanced Mousa Dembele and Paulinho who were also very impressive in this game. In defence, Vlad Chiriches did very well on his return from injury, he broke up play and passed the ball well; and got the assist to top it off. There are rumours of Vlad leaving, but I’m very keen on keeping him in the squad, he’s a very good squad player and could possibly become more than that in the future too. Upfront, Harry Kane did very well, swift turns, decent link up play and a solid work rate – but he’ll be disappointed with his finishing, which he does have to improve on, being only 21 though he will only continue to improve.

A very professional win, and through to the Europa League group stages. Now we look forward to the Premier League; Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Sunday 31st August. A massive game. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced AEL Limassol:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 7.5
Kaboul – 7
Chiriches – 8.5
Davies – 8.5
Sandro – 9 – Man of the Match.
Dembele – 7.5
Paulinho – 8.5
Lennon – 7
Townsend – 7
Kane – 8.

Veljkovic – N/A
Holtby – N/A.

Match highlights from our 3-0 win over AEL Limassol:

Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs AEL Limassol. (2nd leg)

Match date & time: Thursday 28th August 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League play-off second leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV4.

1st leg result: Limassol 1-2 Tottenham.

Tottenham’s place in the Europa League group stages is one hurdle away, a 2nd leg fixture against Limassol at the Lane after we were victorious with a 2-1 win away from home last week. We know after the first game that Limassol are no push overs, & do pose a threat – probably more so than we anticipated, but with two away goals to our name, and the form we’ve shown at the start of this season, it seems as though we should breeze through to the Europa League group stages, but you can never know and the players need to be ready to finish the game off, most preferably early on in the game to give us some real comfort. Hopefully, we can score a few goals and put in a good performance for the home faithful, which always insights confidence into the players and the fans ahead of a big game against Liverpool on Sunday.

AEL Limassol have some good players, but their top player for me is Sardinero, who scored their goal and showed that he is a very lively striker, who has ability to finish off chances. Lima da Silva is another player who is a threat for AEL, he’s quick and skilful in midfield and holds the spark for the Cypriot side. Sardinero and da Silva are the players I’m sure we’ll be looking to contain. Limassol don’t have any injury concerns coming into the game, so are looking fresh and I’m sure they’ll be looking to cause an upset! Although they have a couple of decent players, I’m sure we’ll have enough to see them off, even if we put out a weakened side to play the Cypriot champions. At Home is where Limassol are threatening, so if we can get past them there, we should be able to finish them off at White Hart Lane.

The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, with Roberto Soldado (neck/back) also out. Michel Vorm, who is under a special fitness programme, isn’t registered for the game along with newest signing Federico Fazio. The good news is that after a back injury, Vlad Chiriches is fit to return to the squad and hopefully he can get some minutes after missing the pre-season fixtures, to get back to full fitness; if he can perform as he did at times last season, he could be an important player for us this season. Paulinho and Andros Townsend, who were left out of the squad to face QPR at the weekend are also expected to return to the 18 man squad.

With Roberto Soldado out with an injury, and Emmanuel Adebayor expected to be rested, Harry Kane looks to have an opportunity to play the lone striker role. Hopefully he can continue to perform well and score a few goals; he can be an important player this season, from the bench and in the cup competitions especially. He can be the one to provide the goals in this game, as he did in the first leg getting the winner for us. I think ahead of a big game at White Hart Lane against Liverpool in the Premier League and with a 2-1 win already in the bag from the first leg, a ‘weakened’ team will be put out, even though with the strong squad we have, we don’t really have a ‘weak’ team, which holds us in good stead for the season ahead. Players like Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby, Paulinho and Vlad Chiriches have good opportunities to show what they can do; to the fans and to Mauricio Pochettino. All squad competition is good competition and I always like to see players given a chance in games like these, & possibly the inclusion of some young players too, such as Milos Veljkovic.

Looking forward to the game! Important to get off to a good start, and finish off the tie early. Let’s make it an easy game, not a tense one, eh Spurs? The game is live on ITV4, and you can also follow updates on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including photos, videos and more. Let’s get to the group stages! COYS!!

My predicted team to face AEL Limassol at the Lane:
Naughton – Chiriches – Veljkovic – Davies
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Holtby – Townsend

Mauricio Pochettino press conference pre Limassol:

Match Review, Tottenham vs QPR.

Match: Sunday 24th August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 QPR.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Chadli 12′, Dier 30′, Chadli 37′ & Adebayor 65′.

What a win! An incredible team performance and three points that takes us to the top of the table, for now, anyway. For the first time we got a glimpse of the incredible potential that our team has, offensively and defensively. We worked as a team, pushed as a team, attacked as a team and won as a team. The first time in a very long while that I have been completely and utterly pleased with a Tottenham performance. I couldn’t fault it. Queens Park Rangers were not good, they didn’t put us under enough pressure and their team were all over the place defensively and didn’t look threatening at all offensively, but, we were brilliant to take advantage, you can only beat in front of you, right? Every player on the pitch played their part in the victory and this is so very pleasing, it’s been long overdue.

In the first half, it was important to get an early goal and we did exactly that through Nacer Chadli, Emmanuel Adebayor finding the ball which Chadli took down very well on the chest and the poked the ball past Robert Green, 12 minutes in and it forced QPR to change their tactics and attack more, which left more and more spaces for us to create more and more chances. Every time QPR got the ball we had a player snapping at their heels, harrying them and putting pressure on them. 8 times out of 10 we won the ball back and created an attack. That’s something that Pochettino has brought instantly into the way we play, and it’s brilliant to see. Lamela, Capoue, Bentaleb, Adebayor, Eriksen, Chadli… Everyone pressed high and worked so hard to get the ball if we lost it, which in reality was very rare with possession 57% to 43% in our favour. In the 30th minute, we won a corner which Erik Lamela stood up to take, he then whipped a fantastic ball into the near post where none other than home debutant Eric Dier was there to flick the ball into the net past Robert Green, again. 7 minutes later, a fantastic 48 touch move from back to front found Erik Lamela in space to run, he darted into the box and picked out a delightful little ball into the path of Nacer Chadli who powered a header into the left side of the net, giving us a commanding 3-0 lead going into the break. Lamela with 2 assists, Chadli with 2 goals.

The game was won, in principle, but we still had a second half to play and a clean sheet and goal difference are important things. Every little helps. We continued to play like we did in the first half, pressing high, creating opportunities, but QPR improved, they changed to a 4-4-2 formation and it worked in their favour. Although they still never looked like threatening our clean sheet, except for earning a few corners, we were comfortable and QPR looked as if they were just playing for pride as they knew the game was gone, and so did their fans who were in all honesty, lifeless after what was a barbaric first half for them. I’m sure they’re thankful they didn’t have a big journey home after. The ball was sticking to our feet, we were keeping it and using it in areas which matter, something we haven’t seen for too long, ironically, since Harry Redknapp was in charge. We need to be a little sharper in the final third, but these are very, very early days in the Pochettino era and we can only improve with more training sessions and games. In the 65th minute, Nacer Chadli played a delightful ball down the left hand side to a rampaging Danny Rose, who slightly undercooked his cross but luck was on our side and the ball scurried through to Emmanuel Adebayor, who in the box, on his right foot, was not going to miss. He struck the net and we struck a 4-0 scoreline. Delight. We continued to push for a fifth goal, but the damage was done and then, we topped it off with getting a well deserved clean sheet, testament to the performances of our back line and midfield.

Our whole team was brilliant in this game, we worked together and as one, which is something we haven’t done in a long, long time. To pick out a couple of good performers is a very difficult task, but, I aim to please so I will try. Eric Jeremy Edgar Dier, £4 million from Sporting Lisbon; a nothing transfer, one for the future and certainly not headline stuff, but his start to the season has been nothing short of sensational, not just his goals that as a defender are just a bonus, but it’s his composure on the ball, sharpness of thought, tenacity in the tackle and a magnificently simple way of playing football that is delightful and old fashioned. His potential is incredible, but we mustn’t get carried away; he is still only 20 years old but these performances show he plays far beyond his years. Experience will only make him better and that is exciting, centre back, right back, he’s got what it takes, that’s for sure. Danny Rose at left back along with Eric Dier was brilliant, defensively he was switched on and always made the right decision, in the tackle, on the ball and in attack, I was very, very impressed with his performance and the addition of Ben Davies has spurred him on to up his game and that is very pleasing. Another defender to mention, even though we scored four goals, is Jan Vertonghen; in a three word review I’d like to state that: He is back. That’s really all I need to say. World Class. In front of the defence, Etienne Capoue was phenomenal, he worked for the team, did all the dirty work and then was composed enough to find a more offensive player who can find the key pass. All pre-season Etienne was brilliant and he’s carried that form into the season, rediscovering the form of early in last season. Nacer Chadli got 2 goals and was a key part in our 4th goal too playing a great pass through to Danny Rose, it was his best ever performance in a Spurs shirt and he’s caused a lot of people to eat their words, hopefully now he can kick on and score 10+ goals this season, showing why we bought him. Erik Lamela was another fantastic performer, he didn’t stop running for 90 minutes; if he lost the ball he immediately won it back, and when on the ball he was always a threat, a few times not quite getting it right but again he will only improve as the season goes on, 2 assists is always good and hopefully he can, the same as all the team, push on and deliver week-in-week-out.

Just a fantastic win all round. Four goals, a clean sheet and top of the Premier League table, even if it is just temporary! It’s very early days but we’ve been starved of excitement and joy for quite a while so excuse me while I gloat and shout from the rooftops that we won a game comfortably as a team and I didn’t feel worried at any point! Next up is our second leg Europa League play-off fixture against AEL Limassol at the Lane on Thursday 28th August. Then we return to Premier League action at White Hart Lane again, this time, against Liverpool on Sunday 31st August. Exciting. Remember to follow me on twitter for all the updates.. Here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced QPR at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 10 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 8.5
Vertonghen – 9
Rose – 9
Capoue – 9
Bentaleb – 8.5
Lamela – 9
Eriksen – 8.2
Chadli – 9
Adebayor – 8.5.

Dembele – 8
Kane – 8
Soldado – 6.

Pochettino post match reaction:

Match highlights:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs QPR.

Match date & time: Sunday 24th August 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

Our first home game of the season has arrived; and it’s another difficult London derby opponent in Queens Park Rangers. Harry Redknapp, former Tottenham boss and now manager of QPR, returns to White Hart Lane for the first time since he was sacked in 2012, a very weird sacking which I’m sure even people now are disappointed with or utterly confused by considering the job he had done. But, that’s in the past and Tottenham Hotspur has moved on. 2 head coaches later, we have Mauricio Pochettino in charge and everything is looking very positive. Returning to White Hart Lane for Mauricio Pochettino’s first competitive home game, against Harry Redknapp’s team, the atmosphere should be very good and the match intriguing against a difficult opponent who have good players in their side.

In recent years, we haven’t faced QPR many times, only playing them four times the 2000s, and that’s not until after 2011. In those four games, we’ve won both our home games, but lost and drew our two away games. So thankfully this games falls at home. Last time we faced QPR, we drew 0-0 at Loftus Road against Redknapp’s side; a disappointing result after we had a lot of chances under AVB. In our last fixture against them at the Lane, we faced Mark Hughes’ side and we came away 2-1 winners, an Alejandro Faurlin own goal and Jermain Defoe strike got us the win but it was very hard fought. QPR come into this game after a defeat to Hull City in the first game of the season, 1-0 and very disappointing but slightly unlucky with the amount of chances they had to draw level or even win the game, so they come into this game desperate to get something from the game and they will fight very hard for points, as all the teams from lower down in the division do when they come to White Hart Lane; make it as difficult as possible for us to control the game. We have to take our chances when they come and contain QPR from counter attacks and from set pieces which I think they will be threatening this season.

The team news for QPR is that everybody in their squad is fit and ready; no-one on the treatment tables. Although, new signing Eduardo Vargas is ineligible as he hasn’t yet received international clearance. New signings Leroy Fer and Mauricio Isla could both make their QPR debuts, however after signing earlier in the week. The real threat from QPR comes from their pacey attacking line. Upfront, Loic Remy is a real threat with his pace to get in-behind the defence and also his ability to poach goals inside the box. He’s the player that we have to keep quiet, but there’s a reason we’ve been linked to him all summer, and there’s a reason Liverpool tried to sign him, it’s because he’s a striker that could play in a top Premier League team. As well as Remy, Mauricio Isla could be a real threat down the flanks for QPR after joining from Juventus, and Junior Hoilett is another that with his pace could get at our fullbacks if we aren’t careful and our wingers don’t help out.

The Team News for Tottenham is very positive; after playing in midweek, our World Cup stars Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli are back in the squad and ready for the game, while the players that didn’t travel to Cyprus, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Aaron Lennon, Etienne Capoue and Christian Eriksen, are all back and in the squad to face QPR. The only disappointing news is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Vlad Chiriches (back) remain sidelined, while Kyle Naughton is suspended, which leaves quite a gap at right back, but I’d expect Eric Dier to fill that hole.

Erik Lamela changed the game in our favour on Thursday night against AEL Limassol with 2 assists, and now for this game he has his chance to start his first Premier League game at White Hart Lane since signing last summer. That’s quite astounding the fact he hasn’t already done that before, but that’s what terrible injuries and probable mismanagement can do. He is like a new signing this year, I truly believe that, and I think he can be that creative, special spark we need this season to push on and be successful. This is his time to prove himself and every Spurs fan wants him to succeed and fulfil his undoubted potential. Under the right guidance, from Mauricio Pochettino, he can do that this season. It’d be brilliant to see him get his first Premier League goal against QPR to kick start him. At right back, with Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton not available, I think it will be Eric Dier who fills the gap. His debut was incredible, both his performance and then his match winning goal, at just 20 years of age his potential is mouthwatering and I think he can play a lot of games this season, even if we do sign another centre back. At the back, I think Danny Rose will retain his place at left back despite pressure from Ben Davies, because Davies did play in midweek, with Jan Vertonghen coming in at centre back alongside Younes Kaboul. Upfront, despite his goal in midweek, I think Roberto Soldado will remain benched with Emmanuel Adebayor retaining his place up top. Although, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Roberto Soldado start ahead of the big Togolese man.

Match facts & stats provided by Opta:

- Tottenham have won four of their last six Barclays Premier League games against QPR, with one of those wins masterminded by current Rangers boss Harry Redknapp.

- In their last Premier League campaign (2012-13), QPR took fewer points from London derbies than any other side (nine in 10 games).

- QPR have won just four of their last 40 Premier League games.

- Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games.

- Joey Barton has created more goalscoring chances than any other Premier League player this season (6).

- Tottenham, along with Stoke, were one of only two teams not to pick up a booking on the opening weekend.

- Tottenham have won each of their last four Premier League home games, scoring 14 goals in the process.

- The Lilywhites have won all but two of their Premier League home games in 2014 (losing to Manchester City and Arsenal).

- In 102 Premier League London derbies at home, Spurs have only won one more (38) than they have drawn (37).

- Rio Ferdinand has not conceded a foul in any of his last 27 Premier League appearances.

I’m very much looking forward to getting back to White Hart Lane! It’s a tough game, one that we could easily slip up on, but I have faith we can get three points against an old friend. I’ll be at the Lane, so my coverage on @AddictedToSpurs will be limited! But I’ll be sure to provide a stream for you all as the game is not televised. Let’s get 3 points.. COYS!!

My predicted team to face QPR at the Lane:
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Capoue
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen

QPR boss Harry Redknapp’s pre match press conference:

Match Preview, AEL Limassol vs Tottenham. (1st leg)

Match date & time: Thursday 21st August 2014. 5pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League – play-off stage.

Venue: Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca, Cyprus.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

The Europa League has come back round the corner. Last season, we made the round of 16 before meeting our match in Benfica. This season, our aim as it was last season is to win the competition, but it will be very difficult. It starts here, in the play-off round to enter the group stages. We had to get through this last year, facing Dinamo Tblisli and we got through the game with ease, and now we’ll be hoping to breeze past AEL Limassol in similar fashion. We should be taking this competition seriously, because, as Pochettino has said, it gives us another chance to secure Champions League. Even if that chance is slim, difficult and even more unrealistic than getting top 4, it’s a chance and given a good draw and luck goes our way, who knows; we have the squad to do well, that is for sure.

AEL Limassol were champions of the Cypriot division 1 in the 2013/14 season, winning 19, drawing 5 and losing just 2. This got them into the Champions League third qualifying round, where they met a strong Zenit St. Petersburg side, managed by our former head coach Andre Villas Boas. In the first leg, at home, they beat AVB’s side 1-0, a massive win for their club and City, but in the second leg away from home they couldn’t finish the job as Zenit ran away 3-0 victors. This should show us that this could be a really tough test that if we underestimate them, we could get stung by an obviously ‘plucky’ AEL Limassol team who will no doubt be pumped up for the game.

The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Younes Kaboul, Michel Vorm and Etienne Capoue have been left in London for the first leg, while Vlad Chiriches (back) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) are still suffering from their injuries. Good news is that Jan Vertonghen, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are back in contention for the game after returning from the World Cup, so we’re hoping that they get a run out and then be ready for the game against QPR in the Premier League on Sunday after missing the West Ham game. Youngsters Milos Veljkovic and Luke McGee (GK) have also traveled with the squad along with Tom Carroll. It’s a very strong squad and we’ll be looking to take a strong lead into the second leg at White Hart Lane, but if we slip up, we will still be confident of breezing past them at the Lane into the group stages.

It’s important that our World Cup players get minutes, and I’m specifically looking forward to seeing Jan Vertonghen return to the field after an impressive World Cup display. He has the talent, after a disappointing 2013/14 season, to become our key defender and really take this season by storm as he did in his 2012/13 debut season, when he made the Premier League team of the year, it’s key that he regains that form as we will rely on him this season. Three players returning from the World Cup Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli have a lot to prove this season, but I do believe they have the quality to show why we bought them in the first place, especially Mousa Dembele who I think has incredible ability, but he needs to find form and fitness again and come back with the form he had in his first season and in his Fulham days, this starts against AEL Limassol. Lewis Holtby is another I think is important for the game, he can provide the spark along with Erik Lamela in the absence of Christian Eriksen, with Harry Kane providing goals without Emmanuel Adebayor present.

We’ve got a tough game on our hands, with what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere and a dodgy pitch. We have to be professional, as always, and look to get a good result to bring back to North London. The game isn’t televised in the UK but I’m sure a stream will become available. Make sure to follow my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs for match & goal updates, photos and videos for the game. COYS!!

My predicted team to face AEL Limassol in Larnaca:
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Davies
Paulinho – Carroll
Townsend – Holtby – Chadli

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, West Ham vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 16th August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

Result: West Ham 0-1 Tottenham.

Tottenham GoalScorer: Eric Dier 93′.

Sending off West Ham: James Collins 63′.

Sending off Tottenham: Kyle Naughton 29′.

We’ve got our first win on the board and did it in typical Tottenham fashion. Keeping you on the edge of your seat 24/7 and giving you absolutely no inkling into what is going to happen. In Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge, to get the win is the main thing, how we played is not what we need to focus on. With this win so much pressure has been lifted off Pochettino’s shoulders, off our shoulders and the player’s shoulders. 1 game, 1 win. That’s all that is important.

In the first half, we started well, put some good passes together and looked slightly threatening, but quite jittery at the back. West Ham were doing well to cull our attacks, and offensively themselves, they did well to put us under pressure. They then bombarded us for 10 odd minutes, corners, free kicks and everything inbetween and got their reward with a penalty, Kyle Naughton handling the ball in the area and then receiving a red card, which was very harsh. A penalty? Yes. A red card? Not a chance. Mark Noble stepped up, famous for his clinical nature from penalties, but dragged it wide to all of Tottenham’s relief. We dragged ourselves through to half time. They had chances, went close, but it was 0-0 at the break and we were grateful for that.

In the second half, we were better. On the ball, much more sharp and organised after a talking to from Mauricio Pochettino. The introduction of Andros Townsend and Lewis Holtby gave us much more impetus and attacking threat, in particularly Andros Townsend who was providing crosses and shots that were testing the West Ham defence. We worked the ball much more in the final third but were still restricted to longer range shots. Frustrating. The momentum turned in our favour and with that, on the 63rd minute, James Collins of West Ham got his second booming of the day and was sent down the tunnel. 10 vs 10. 30 minutes to go. It was in our hands to win. We continued to push. In particular with Townsend and now Harry Kane. We continued to push, but West Ham were still getting chances. In the 88th minute they had a big chance, Hugo Lloris spectacularly stopping Stewart Downing’s effort. As good as a goal from Hugo. Then, after our endeavour, we finally broke the deadlock. In the 93rd minute Harry Kane released Eric Dier, who broke the offside trap, rounded the goalkeeper and finished with ease to give Tottenham victory. Fantastic. IMG_1110.JPG
Eric Dier, on his Premier League debut, in a London derby, played a very, very good game. Defensively he was solid, on the ball he was composed and then at the end he scored the winning goal. He worked so hard for the team, filled in at right back when we needed it, at centre back and then up front! Man of the match without doubt. Hugo Lloris was also fantastic; he’s World Class and he showed again why he wins us at least 10-15 points a season, maybe even more. As a collective the performance wasn’t amazing, we can admit that. West Ham probably deserved more from the game but football is a cruel game and after a red card that shouldn’t have been, maybe Karma was on our side. A brilliant three points to kick-start our season.

What a three points! A last minute winner against West Ham is always really nice, especially on the first day of the season and Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge. It’s important we push on after this win and now try to improve ourselves in the way we play, defensively and offensively. Next up, Europa League play-off action as we travel to Cyprus to face AEL Limassol at the Antonis Stadium on Thursday 21st August. We return to Premier League action against QPR, our first Home game of the season on Sunday 24th August. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all… COYS!!

Player ratings for the team that faced West Ham at Upton Park:
Lloris: 8.5.
Naughton – 3.
Dier – 9 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 4.
Rose – 6.
Capoue – 5.
Bentaleb – 7.
Lennon – 5.
Eriksen – 6.5
Lamela – 5.
Adebayor – 5.

Townsend – 8.
Holtby – 6.
Kane – 7.

Mauricio Pochettino post match press conference:

Mauricio Pochettino post match reaction:

Eric Dier post match reaction:

Match Preview, West Ham vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 16th August 2014. Kick off at 3pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

The Premier League season is upon us. A new manager for a new season and it feels as if a new era is coming to White Hart Lane, hopefully, full of success. The summer has been very exciting. A brilliant World Cup, loads of transfer rumours and deals being completed. It’s made the wait for the Premier League to return much quicker. That’s for sure. Last season, we were left disappointed and frustrated by a 6th place finish with a lot of change; managerially and with the players. Now it’s a bit more settled, we’ve made a few additions and had a few players go out, but we’ve a balanced and healthy squad. Now, we have to push on and be much more successful not just with League position and trophies, but with the way we play. We need to show flair, excitement and play the old fashioned ‘Tottenham way’. Mauricio Pochettino can bring us what we have been yearning for since Harry Redknapp left us, as well as success in the League. This all starts at Upton Park.

Our recent history against West Ham is not something I like to recall too often; normally it’s just shoved down my throat and I’m forced with the realisation that we actually lost three times to them. Farcical. A 3-0 loss under Andre Villas-Boas, and then a 2-1 and 2-0 loss under Tim Sherwood. Now, we hope for a different fate under Mauricio Pochettino. A difficult first game for him but one we can win. It’s important we ‘shake the curse’ of West Ham before it actually becomes a curse. West Ham have bought some good players this summer, and I think are stronger than last season with squad depth, but we are going to have to wait and see how their new signings adapt to the Premier League, and they’ll be thrown in the deep end with a massive London derby that means a hell of a lot to both club’s fans. Kouyate, Zarate and Enner Valencia are good players that add a bit of core strength to the squad.

The team news for West Ham coming into the game is that Andy Carroll (ankle), Carl Jenkinson (hamstring) and Ravel Morrison (match fitness) won’t feature for West Ham, with late decisions on how ready new arrival Enner Valencia and after coming back from injury, Guy Demel. Another new signing Aaron Cresswell is a slight doubt after being replaced through injury in a pre-season game against Sampdoria, but is expected to be fine. I think the problem West Ham have is upfront, with Andy Carroll injured long term, and Enner Valencia a doubt to start the game at least, they’d be left with Carlton Cole and Mauro Zarate, and that’s not exactly frightening if we’re defensively solid. Although now I’ve said that, expect them to score three hat-tricks each. One player who I think could be really important for West Ham is Kouyate, strong in the middle of the park and fairly comfortable on the ball, he’s a good player who will add solidity to their team and squad. Offensively, I believe if Valencia is passed fit to play, he’s a real threat in front of goal, as we saw in the World Cup, so we’d need to be ready for that.

The team news for Tottenham is that our World Cup players are in contention to play at Upton Park. Hugo Lloris and Nabil Bentaleb are available to the squad, while Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli are doubts but could still make the squad. Other doubts include Vlad Chiriches (back), Michael Dawson (ankle) and Kyle Walker (pelvis). Michel Vorm (match fitness) won’t feature after Pochettino revealed he’s on a ‘special plan’ after arriving late to the squad. Quite a few concerns there, but if we can get 3 of 4 of the doubts fit then we will go to Upton Park with a really strong squad.

Erik Lamela. An injury blighted first season. A fantastic pre-season. Now it’s time for him to push on and show his worth. He has undoubted talent, his ability on the ball, to find the final pass and to score the crucial goal. He’s got that in him and I’m predicting him to show it against West Ham, it’s very important that he does. Another player who will be very important against West Ham is Christian Eriksen; he had an incredible first season but now he can push on even further, with a, fingers crossed, injury free season with the experience of having a Premier League season under his belt. Eriksen is phenomenal, there’s no two ways about it. A big decision for Pochettino is who to start up-front; with three good options, Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado, there are arguments for all three to start, but only one can, and I’d make it Emmanuel Adebayor. The most experienced of the three and our top scorer last season, for me it’s his position to lose and if he does fall off he’ll have Kane and Soldado scrapping for his place, which is good competition. In defence, assuming Jan Vertonghen doesn’t make the game, I’d stick with Younes Kaboul and give a debut to Eric Dier, who was so impressive in the game against Schalke, both centre backs played well together and if they can build that understanding more in training and in a game scenario, it can be very good for the team.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

- West Ham United won both clashes with Tottenham Hotspur last season in the Barclays Premier League.

- Spurs have won just four of their last 16 opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League (D4 L8).

- In fact, the Hammers beat Spurs three times in all competitions last seasons, winning the Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

- These two sides faced each other on the opening day of the 1999/2000 season. Harry Redknapp’s West Ham won 1-0 at Upton Park.

- This game will be Sam Allardyce’s 400th as a Premier League manager.

- West Ham posted the worst shooting accuracy in the 2013-14 Premier League, hitting the target with just 37% of their attempts on goal.

- West Ham signing Enner Valencia scored three goals from five shots on target at the 2014 World Cup.

- Tottenham won 10 Premier League away games in 2013-14, only one team (Arsenal, 11) had recorded more (four other teams won 10).

- West Ham’s last three Premier League goals have come against London sides.

- Tottenham scored only nine goals in 10 Premier League London derbies in 2013-14.

It’s a massive game. A difficult one and a testing one for Mauricio Pochettino. We have to play a positive game, find holes in the West Ham team and just all-in-all play our football. I’m really looking forward to it all kicking off. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be sure to provide a stream, as well as goal updates, videos and photos all on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, so follow me there! I’ll be doing all the previews and reviews this season. Let’s have a fantastic one. Starting at Upton Park. COYS!!

My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
Naughton – Kaboul – Dier – Rose
Capoue – Holtby
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen (free roles)

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Ham press conference:

Tottenham Hotspur 2014/15 Season Preview.

The new season is upon us. We’ve had an action packed summer, with the World Cup, pre-season tours and transfer rumours/deals. So it’s made the wait for the new season to start a little more bearable. We’ve got a new Head Coach for the new season, and hopefully it’s the start of a new, successful era under Mauricio Pochettino. In this article I’m going to share my general expectations for the season in the Premier League, FA & League Cup, as well as the Europa League. Also, I’ll be looking at the players I think will be key to success this season, player awards and my season conclusions:

Premier League:
For many years our goal in the Premier League has been the same; break into the top four and secure Champions League football. And this season, the hope and urge that we will, continues to burn brightly in the hearts of Tottenham fans. Having those glory glory nights back at White Hart Lane, and then eventually the new stadium. It’s a dream. This season, with Pochettino being appointed, I think most fans for this season just want improvement, in the style of football we play, and the results we get. If we can get both of those things then I think the season will have been a success and a stepping stone to better things. Daniel Levy seems to, according to Mauricio Pochettino himself, not set any targets for this season and that for me is such a sigh of relief. We need to give Pochettino time to make this squad his own and this takes at least a season. What I want is to enjoy watching Tottenham again, with free flowing, fast paced football on the agenda and always being a threat to the big teams on the pitch, not just rolling over and letting them trounce us. Despite what anyone will say, it is a season of transition for Tottenham and us fans need to be patient and stay fully behind the team and the manager.

Getting in the top 4 is very difficult this season. A lot of the top teams in the top 4, and just outside it have strengthened a lot while keeping a stable core of their team. It’s very hard to see where we fit in to that elite group, so in all honesty I think it would either take one team having a season like Manchester United last season, or Tottenham having a miracle season. Both are difficult to see. For this season, I’d be content with 5th, which is an improvement on last season’s 6th place finish. But, I’d want us to compete further in the cups, and if the draws are kind, go on and win one. I am confident we will be competing for the top 4 spaces, we have a good squad with a great manager who is known for getting the best out of his players, and I think back to last season when we got these players and people believed it was a squad that could compete. If we can get the players back to the level they were when they arrived, who knows what could happen.

Prediction: 5th place.

FA Cup and Capital One Cup:
To win one of these competitions you need two things; a good team, and loads of luck. It’s all about the draw you get. Whether against a big team or little, at home or away and praying you don’t get the game just before a big Premier League game. It’s difficult to see Tottenham being fully focused on winning one of these trophies, even though I’d sacrifice any top 4 space offered to me for a glory day at Wembley. We have a lot of focus on the Premier League, where ultimately your season is judged on, plus the commitments of the Europa League, which now offers the winner Champions League football, so I think the priority of these Cups is down the pecking order, although I would still love to go for one. It’s always nice playing teams away from the Premier League, striving to get into the next round. Something very special about it, but if I had to chose a trophy to focus on it wouldn’t be the FA Cup or Capital One Cup, it would be the Europa League.

Prediction – FA Cup: 4th Round.

Prediction – Capital One Cup: Quarter Finals.

Europa League:
This competition always splits opinion. Some say all it does is distract from the Premier League, offering up games on the far side of the earth until the teams from the Champions League come in and knock you out, others say it’s a real opportunity for European Glory, something that Tottenham should always strive towards having won the competition twice. We have to learn to deal with playing in the Europa League, in my opinion, if we ever want to compete in the Champions League and Premier League simultaneously, which is the long term goal. Last season we made the round of 16, Benfica getting the better of us, but this season I want us to do better. Show Champions League credentials by taking it by storm. Starting with AEL Limassol in Cyprus. There’s nothing better than a European Glory night at White Hart Lane. If that means the Europa League then I’m all for it. Mauricio Pochettino has said in the past he doesn’t like the Europa League, but has recently admitted that the option for the winners getting Champions League at the end makes the competition more appealing, so I do sincerely hope we take it seriously.

Prediction: Quarter Finals, but I’d love to think we’d go all the way.

Key Players for the 2014/15 season:
We have a lot of great players who will definitely be very important for our 2014/15 campaign, but there are a bunch that stick out as being extra special and the players I’m predicting to have a big season:

Christian Eriksen – Our player of the season for the 2013/14, expectations are high for his performances but I think he will just continue to improve and improve. At only 22 he still has a lot to learn, but he’s on the right path to be considered a World Class player, even if people would argue he’s at that level right now. It’s a pleasure to have him at Tottenham and I’m predicting him to have another massive season, getting into double figures for goals scored and assists made.

Erik Lamela – A difficult season last campaign, but he looked reinvigorated in pre-season, and after a long term injury, he’s back and looking sharp. He has undoubted quality, can play in any position across the three behind the striker. Left wing, central attacking midfield and right wing. He is creative, skilful and in my head is a traditional Tottenham player. As Bill Nicholson once said, “Finding, making and using space is a distinction of all great players” that is what I think Lamela can do for us this season.

Emmanuel Adebayor – Our top scorer last season, playing just half a season under Tim Sherwood. He’s our main man up front and we need him to be on form this season. If he can continue his form that he showed last season we don’t need a new striker as I think he can be classed as a top class striker. Hold up play, link up play and the finish on the end of it. I’m predicting Emmanuel to have a really good season and I think he’s a dark horse for Premier League top scorer, if he can stay fit and on form.

Jan Vertonghen – Jan didn’t have the best of seasons last year, inconsistent, injuries and didn’t repeat the quality he showed when he first joined the club. Now though, with a new season on the horizon and a new challenge, I think Jan will play a major role in any success we have this season from centre back. He can focus on being our main centre back, as we have a lot of back up at left back now, so I think he’ll show his quality once again that once got him mentioned as our new Ledley King. I hope he can rediscover that.

Other players that will be key are of course Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker, they bring great quality to the team. There could be a few surprise packages, too; if Roberto Soldado can find his form in front of goal he could be the difference for us, if Emmanuel Adebayor goes off to the African Cup of Nations and Lewis Holtby, who was on loan at Fulham last season; I think he can break into the first team this season and Etienne Capoue, who had a great pre-season is another that I think can become a really big player; composed on the ball and solid in his defensive duty. Others include a few younger players, Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend and Harry Kane could all be really important players for us this season.

Player awards predictions:

Player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Young player of the season – Erik Lamela.

Top scorer – Emmanuel Adebayor.

Most assists – Christian Eriksen.

I’m excited. I always am for a new season. Surely we will have a better season than the last. I’m hoping for progression, but also to enjoy watching Tottenham again. One or two decent Cup runs and 5th in the League. That is what I think ‘success’ would look like for Tottenham. A season full of excitement, thrills and as little spills as possible. I believe in the quality of the squad. We have a lot of depth and good players, so despite it being a sort of transition period, I think Spurs can make this season memorable.

It all kicks off on Saturday, 16th August at 3pm. West Ham await at Upton Park. Let’s get this one out of the way with three points and then push on. Let the madness commence… COYS!!

What are your hopes and aspirations for the new season? Comment below!