Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sheffield United. (1st Leg)

Match date and time: Wednesday 21st January 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Semi Final. 1st Leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Our biggest two games of the season so far await, with an opportunity to go to Wembley and face one of Chelsea or Liverpool to battle for a domestic trophy, we have to treat our opponent with complete respect, and not misjudge their threat to what Tottenham and the fans have been craving since 2008, some silverware. The Capital One Cup is a massive opportunity for us to bring glory back to the Lane, after going six years trophy-less, the pressure is on to get trophies back to White Hart Lane, and instead of overly focusing on getting a top four spot, I think winning trophies is what football is all about, as Danny Blanchflower famously said, ‘The Game is about Glory’, and it is a quote that is bounded around every time a trophy is even slightly possible, because of the truth to it, and how much it means to Tottenham fans, we are proud of our rich history in Cup competitions, and to add another piece of history to our collection would be most welcome. Being at home in the first leg isn’t ideal, but we are perfectly capable of finishing off the tie in the first leg, if we are able to perform to our maximum, I am sure we will be able to see off a, with respect, inferior League 1 Sheffield United. Of course this game will not be ‘easy’ to say the least, as I am sure Sheffield United will come into the tie, especially at Bramall Lane, driven to succeed and perform what can only be seen to be a miracle Cup upset, for a side that sit 7th in League One. At the Lane, I can only be confident that we will be able to come out as victors, if we can perform as we did against Newcastle in the Quarter Final, I am sure we will be in a good position heading into the second leg at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United sit 7th in League One, with their Cup form being incredible, but their League form, recently, has been average as they sit just outside the play-off places. Focusing on their League Cup run, they have been the upset kings, beating West Ham, Leyton Orient and MK Dons, while in the quarter finals beating Southampton at Bramall Lane; so it has been quite the run, and I am sure they will be very confident of continuing their Capital One Cup journey, even if the odds are stacked upon them. In their last game, they lost to MK Dons in League One, by one goal to nil, and this may give you confidence, but we have to remember that Cup games, in particular Semi-finals, can invigorate opponents of lower Leagues, and I am sure they have had one eye on these games with a chance to go to Wembley, so you can’t blame them for dropping points. If you think it is just their Home form that has helped them get to this stage of the competition, you are mistaken; early in the Capital One Cup, they got through against West Ham at Upton Park, and in the last round of the FA Cup, they thrashed QPR at Loftus Road 3-0, proving that this Sheffield United side is not one to be misjudged and underestimated. The last time we faced the Blades, was at Bramall Lane in 2007, while Sheffield United were in the Premier League, and it was the team in red and white that came out on top, winning 2-1, Hulse and Jagielka scoring for them, while Jermaine Jenas netting for Tottenham. The last time Sheffield United visited White Hart Lane, was back in 2006, where we triumphed 2-0 in the Premier League fixture, with Jermaine Jenas again finding the net, along with the artist Dimitar Berbatov getting his first Premier League goal for Tottenham.

The team news for the Blades is that James Wallace and Ben Davies (Not that one!) are expected to be out of the game, along with back up goalkeeper Ian Turner with a hamstring problem and Ryan Flynn feeling the pain in his Achilles. The good news for the team in red and white is that defender Chris Balsham is expected to return, and I am sure they will need all the defensive help they can get if Tottenham can turn up the heat enough. The offensive threat will be coming from forward Marc McNulty, who has netted 10 times already so far this season in all competitions, including big goals against Premier League sides Southampton and QPR, and he will be looking to be adding to his list of goals against teams from the top flight. Along with McNulty, Jamie Murphy is another threat up top, even though he only has 4 goals this term, he is an ever present in the Sheffield United side and on form, the Scotsman can be a menace to our defence, but I am sure we will be capable of containing the two Scotsmen.2trophy800x450304-589123_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf), Federico Fazio (illness) and Vlad Chiriches (back) remain out, along with Nacer Chadli who is dealing with the loss of his father, and is being allowed time with his family, and we all wish him the best. The good news is that captain Younes Kaboul returns after suffering from illness, and midfielder Ryan Mason is back in contention after a hamstring problem, and that is a massive boost for us in the middle of the park, and I am sure he can make a big impact for us in this game, if he is selected.

In a semi-final, I think that playing our strongest, or near strongest side is essential. Being at Home, we will be looking to finish off the tie as soon as possible, so that we can go to Bramall Lane with the pressure off, or close to it anyway! This is arguably our most important game of the season so far, and that is how we have to treat it in terms of the side we put out; we can’t have a shock start like against Burnley in the FA Cup, and will have to be completely respectful of the Sheffield United side. The crucial player for us recently, apart from the phenomenal Harry Kane, is Christian Eriksen, and it feels like I talk about him every time I write a Preview or Review, and that is because he is so fundamental in everything good that comes to us in attack, with his beautiful way of playing, but also effective way of scoring goals, and notching assists; this Sheffield United side will not be used to facing a player with so much vision and intelligence on the football pitch, and if he can get on the ball and find space inbetween the midfield and defence, he will cause all sorts of difficulties for the Sheffield defenders. The formally mentioned Harry Kane is also vital to how we will achieve victory; his power and clinical edge have been phenomenal this season, as well as his work rate and energy, and if he can continue to perform in the Capital One Cup, I am sure Wembley will be very close. Andros Townsend has been finding a little bit of form recently, and his pace, directness and recently, his crossing of the ball and has been notching assists too, with 6 assists so far this season; if he can continue to get minutes, and improve his decision making I am sure he will be able to find that form he was showing regularly at the start of last season.

It is a massive opportunity to put us one step closer to Wembley, and if we can put in a good display and score some goals, while keeping tight at the back, we will go to Bramall Lane in high spirits and full of confidence. But first, we have to do the job at the Lane; and it is live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, goal updates, photos and much more live from the Lane, follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Lets hope we can get a good result going into the second leg! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Sheffield United at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Kane – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s full press conference ahead of Sheffield United:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Saturday 17th January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham goal scorers: Jan Vertonghen 3’, Christian Eriksen 88’.

Sunderland goal scorer: Sebastian Larsson 31’.

It’s becoming a habit now, winning late on in games, and one that brings a lot of pleasure to the fans, players, and Mauricio Pochettino. There are a lot of factors which have been shouted about as to why we have the ability to go the extra mile in the final stages of games, with some saying it’s character and will power, and others seeking technical improvements, such as fitness, and the sheer quality of Christian Eriksen. Whatever it is, it’s a pleasure to win in such fashion, even if it does make games a little more ‘nervy’; but that’s Tottenham, and it is entertaining! Our style of play hasn’t been very obvious this season under Pochettino, but it has been effective, and the manner we have won games that have looked certain draws or losses, is very impressive and a testament to Pochettino, who is certainly instilling belief into his players, and that is being broadcasted on the pitch. 2-1 has been a popular scoreline so far this season, and it does illustrate how difficult games have been for us, particularly against teams of lowly positioning in the League, who play scrappy football, but are successful in their attempt to disrupt our flow and rhythm, making us rely on our quality to thrust us through matches with three points. As the archaic saying goes, the sign of a good side is one that can win when playing badly. I think it is exciting to see us not play to our full potential, but still come out on top, as we all know there is more to come, when Pochettino has further implanted his philosophy into the team. This win keeps us right in the hunt for top four, and personally, although I told myself to keep expectations to a minimum this season, I have a sneaking belief that we could creep into the top four unexpectedly if we are to continue improving, and win our games against lower opposition. It’s definitely possible.

In the first half, we started very brightly, and got the goal almost immediately, when the ball in from Christian Eriksen rebounded around, before falling to the feet of Jan Vertonghen, who curled the ball into the crowd of players and acquired a deflection to lead the ball into the back of the net on 3 minutes, and showed off his ‘Super-Jan’ celebration once again, which had been missed sorely. A good start, and one that you think should lead us on to killing off the game and getting the three points, but unfortunately that is something that has lacked in our games this season, and we seem to become comfortable when going ahead, instead of improving our intensity, which is something a side like Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester City would do when going ahead so early in the game; and I think that’s the difference between our level and there’s, taking away the amount of World Class players they have compared to us! We pass the ball well, and we do create a good amount of chances, but I thought we lacked width in the first half, and Harry Kane was dropping too deep, leaving Roberto Soldado fairly isolated up top, which is never good. You have to query the decision of Pochettino to play in form Harry Kane out of position, to accommodate for the out of form Roberto Soldado. Christian Eriksen looked very lively in the first half, and was our key player once again, for creating openings in tight spaces for others and for himself – he is a breath-taking player, who we are privileged to have at Tottenham. Despite having most of the ball, and Sunderland not threatening us too much, despite having a claim for a penalty as Jermain Defoe went down after contact from goalscorer Jan Vertonghen, they did get the equaliser, as Jan Vertonghen took down Defoe again, and the referee did give the foul, and in a dangerous position the dangerous dead ball specialist Sebastian Larsson stepped up and perfectly slotted the ball into the top corner, out of the reach of Hugo Lloris who truly had no chance, and it needed to be special to beat him in the form he is in between the sticks. Frustratingly, we didn’t capitalise on our goal advantage and produce more goals, but instead we were right back at square one and had work to do in a crucial second half, with a second loss on the bounce to relegation threatened sides possibly on the cards, we had to deliver.

And in the second half, we did look a little better, you could identify our pressing game more, and we passed the ball more crisply. Christian Eriksen was creating chances again, and almost bagged his goal early on in the half, juggling the ball on his head, chest, knee, and then finally striking the ball just past the post; he was in scintillating form and it was a joy to watch; when Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well. Although we were creating decent opportunities, not enough were clear cut and a point wasn’t enough for us at home to a struggling side, who weren’t exactly putting on a show, and to be honest were fairly ordinary all game, and it would have definitely been two frustrating points dropped if the game had ended all square. But there was time left, and we were patient in our build up play, brought on a few substitutes, including Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho, who all added something to our play, especially Townsend who added width and pace down the right hand side, where we didn’t have a natural wide player. Emmauel Adebayor, who hadn’t played since November 9th of last year, was also fairly effective, and added a runner and a spearhead to our attack, which was good to see of a player who has been heavily criticised in recent times. After chances for Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor which didn’t find the back of the net, Andros Townsend drove down the right hand side from his own half to the edge of Sunderland’s 18 yard box, before lifting his head, and rolling a ball behind Harry Kane, but fortuitously into the path of the composed Christian Eriksen who slid the ball through the swarm of defenders to find the inside of the post and the inside of the net on 88 minutes to surely give us the win. But, that wasn’t the last talking point of the game, and probably not the biggest talking point, as Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went forward for the corner, but the corner was collected by Harry Kane who played in Paulinho in a lightening pace counter attack, with Jan Vertonghen racing forward and he was perfectly put in by Paulinho, and the already goalscorer expertly placed the ball into the back of the net for what seemed like 3-1 and a great win, only for the linesman to call for offside, even though the Belgian was inside his own half, and so immune from the offside rule, but it seems the linesman and Chris Foy are unaware of the rules they enforce! There would have been riots if that goal had been important to the result, but thankfully it only affects our goal difference. Thankfully, the result stayed the same and we gained the three points to put us 5th in the Premier League table.Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Sunderland+Premier+League+GFJbzwd5Po8x
We performed fairly well, but we certainly weren’t on top form, with Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli not at their brilliant best, it was Christian Eriksen who drove us forward, created chances, the joint highest of any player in Saturday’s games, and he made us collectively better, with his spreading of the play and ability on the ball; I couldn’t be anymore complimentary to the Dane, and his goal scoring rate is sensational so far this season, and he has been scoring winning goals for us all season long, spectacularly! He’s definitely my man of the match for this game. Our substitutes were effective, especially Andros Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor, who added pace and energy to our side, and helped us stretch the Sunderland defence. I don’t think anyone can deny that Adebayor’s form hasn’t been great, and he’s become something of a scapegoat for Tottenham fans, but when he came on he almost scored, he ran the channels well and almost provided a wonderful assist for Harry Kane – which isn’t bad for a cameo appearance for the Togolese striker linked with various different clubs throughout Europe and America. It’s unsure whether he has a long-term future at Spurs, but he’s a good outlet to have, with different attributes to our other strikers, possibly he does still hold a place in the squad, as he says he doesn’t want to leave. Jan Vertonghen has been very consistent at the back, and he provided a long awaited goal, but it’s not just his goal that makes his performance so good, he was a leader, who guided Eric Dier through his first Premier League start at centre back, and they did well to contain Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe. We did well to get the three points, and now we have to turn focus to an incredibly important game against Sheffield United in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.

A good win, even though our performance wasn’t top draw the result was crucial and we move to 5th in the Premier League and return to winning ways in the League after slipping up against Palace last week, now we need to get a run of results again and start it off with a good win in midweek in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Sheffield United at the Lane, and then we return to Premier League action against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns on the 31st of January, but prior to that we have cup duties to attend to with both legs of the Capital One Cup semi final, as well as the 4th round of the FA Cup up against Leicester. Hopefully January 2015 can be a very successful one in both the cups and the Premier League. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that faced Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 6
Dier – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 7
Stambouli – 7
Dembele – 7 (Townsend 75’ – 7.5)
Eriksen – 9
Chadli – 6.5 (Paulinho 86’ N/A)
Kane – 7.5
Soldado – 6 (Adebayor 61’ 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Saturday 17th January 2015. 3pm GMT kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

The games are coming around very quickly at this moment in time, and we are in a crucial period of the season in which we have the opportunity to go to Wembley in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield United, as well as progress in the FA Cup against Leicester, and all the while we have big games in the Premier League, where we will be looking to pick up maximum points away to West Brom, but first, our full attention must be on the game at the Lane against Sunderland, and pick up to the three points to keep us well in the hunt with the top sides in the League. Our home games against lower opposition are absolutely vital, with all points in the Premier League so valuable, we need to capitalise on all of our opportunities, and this struggling Sunderland side is a good opportunity to get three points on the board, even though it’s never an easy game. After losing away at Crystal Palace, in what was a very frustrating and unfortunate game, with a buoyant Palace side able to fight back – and in the end it was a big three points dropped; and now we need to try to make up for it and keep momentum going and beat Sunderland to get points on the board, but also to get back to winning ways heading into some massive games this month. After beating Burnley 4-2 in the FA Cup, we gained back a little bit of momentum, but in the cup it is different to the Premier League, and our importance in performance and results is mostly judged on our League form, which has been good up until our slip up to Palace – and we will be hoping that it is just a slip up, and we can get right back up and on track with a win against the Black Cats.

Sunderland sit 16th in the Premier League table, and are in the relegation battle this season, with former Spur Gus Poyet in a little bit of a situation after winning only once in ten games and twice in 13, with 20 points from 21 games, which certainly isn’t setting the world alight, and they have developed a reputation for being the draw specialists of the Premier League, with only 3 wins this season, and 11 draws, which I am sure would be frustrating for the Sunderland fans, and Gus Poyet will be hoping he can get some more wins on the board to help guard from criticism and release the pressure on Poyet and Sunderland. The Black Cats have had some tough fixtures recently, and haven’t picked up any points in the last two games against Liverpool and Arsenal, and if they go three games without any points on the board, I’m sure Poyet’s job will be in jeopardy. But, from a Tottenham perspective, it’s a real chance to finish off what is already a wounded animal. The last time we faced Sunderland, earlier this season, we drew 2-2, with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen scoring in a game where we just couldn’t get the three points despite going ahead twice. The last time we faced Sunderland at the Lane, was last season, where despite going behind, we came back to win comfortably 5-1, with Emmanuel Adebayor getting two goals, with Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson also getting on the scoresheet in the emphatic victory. A repeat scoreline would be most welcome.

The team news for Sunderland is that former Spur Jermain Defoe, who made his move to Sunderland on Friday, is eligible to face his former club at his former home stadium for Sunderland, but as he hasn’t played competitive football in four months, and after only one training session with Sunderland, it is difficult to see him starting and playing the majority of the game. With Defoe, eligible, Liam Bridcutt (suspended), Steven Fletcher (groin), Lee Cattermole (groin) and Anthony Reveillere (calf) are out, with Jack Rodwell (hamstring) an injury doubt, and will undergo a late fitness test. Sunderland have some good players, and after obtaining Jermain Defoe they hope that they have signed a player to bring them goals and experience, and after his time at Tottenham, we know that he can, when on form, cause havoc to any defence, and he has a great eye for goal… Especially when it’s a debut, and he has scored on every debut that he has had, so betting on a Defoe goal seems like easy money! Along with Defoe, Connor Wickham is another goal threat where goal threats are scarce; he runs the channels well and can cause problems and make himself a nuisance, but he only has 2 goals, and that isn’t the return he would have wanted with the threat he poses; the young striker can play on the flanks as well and puts in a good shift for the side. Winger Adam Johnson is probably Sunderland’s biggest outlet for pace and effectiveness, and he has 5 goals so far this season in all competitions, but hasn’t been able to register an assist for his team mates, which is probably a bad stat for his team mates, rather than Johnson himself, as he has created 20 chances, the second highest after Sebastian Larsson with 39, who is their set piece specialist. There are some really good players in this Sunderland side, and if they get some momentum in their play I am sure they can cause us problems.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 22.46.49
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf) and Ryan Mason (hamstring) remain out, while Nabil Bentaleb is with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations. Federico Fazio (illness), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Younes Kaboul (illness) are doubts, while Emmanuel Adebayor is still available, despite not playing since early November against Stoke at the Lane. New signing DeAndre Yedlin doesn’t seem to be ready to make his debut as of yet, and is definitely unlikely to be thrown into Premier League action. With Fazio, Chiriches & Kaboul doubts, it seems we are a little short on centre backs, and that could mean Eric Dier being put into central defence, after not starting a game since the home draw to Crystal Palace in early December. Hopefully he isn’t rusty!

There is no doubting that Harry Kane has been phenomenal in recent times, and we will be looking to him once again to provide the finishing touch against the side he scored his first Premier League goal against, last season in the 5-1 win at the Lane; it was definitely the first of many and he is on his way to becoming indispensable to the side, and he has already cemented himself as one of the best strikers in the League at the moment, on form and on quality. I believe Kane is consistently improving under Mauricio Pochettino, and I hope that this development will continue and he will become an amazing asset for us. The man who makes us tick, and the person we need to perform to find gaps in tight games at home is Christian Eriksen, as he has two goals in his last two games against the black cats, it seems he has made quite the habit of performing against Sunderland; hopefully he can grab another goal and help us break down their defence and find those gaps again! The three musketeers of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen is completed by Nacer Chadli, who is a constant goal threat in every situation, from corners, with his right and left foot, as well as his ability to score from outside the box, he has become a crucial player to us and he has been a big improvement from last season. After the Burnley game, Paulinho and Andros Townsend received plaudits, and both are pushing hard for first team berths, with Townsend already cementing a place ahead of Aaron Lennon while Erik Lamela remains out, and Paulinho returning from the abyss to reclaim what seems to be a bit of his old form, and improvement means opportunities, even for someone who looked as though his Tottenham career looked unstable to say the least, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason out, it could be an opportunity for him to prove his worth in the Premier League after some decent performances in the cups and from the bench, and he has been very patient and not made a fuss, which I think is very honourable. Andros Townsend performed really well against Burnley and hopefully he is finding form once again as well and can become very effective on that right flank for Tottenham in the absence of Erik Lamela.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Christian Eriksen has netted in both of his Barclays Premier League appearances against Sunderland.

– Sunderland managed to net two goals despite only having one shot on target in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier this season against the Londoners.

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games against the Black Cats (W6 D3).

– Defeat last time out against Manchester City (2-3) ended a run of five on the road without loss for the Black Cats in the Premier League (W3 D2). It also ended a run of four consecutive clean sheets away from home.

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League home games (W3 D2).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered 12 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the most in the top flight.

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games for Spurs.

– Nacer Chadli has provided an assist in four of his last five league appearances for Tottenham.

– Spurs have given away six penalties in the Premier League; two more than any other side in the division.

– Sunderland have scored a higher proportion of their goals in the final 15 minutes of Barclays Premier League games than any other side (33%).

A big game to get back on track and return to winning ways in the Premier League, and one in which we will be welcoming back an old friend and now a new foe in Jermain Defoe; but let’s hope it isn’t a happy return for him on the pitch! The game isn’t being shown live on TV, but I will be providing match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account; follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Paulinho
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Preview, Crystal Palace vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 10th January 2015. 5:30pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Selhurst Park.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. World wide TV listings HERE.

Exiting the festive period, we have left ourselves in a great position to pursue a great season. After going 7 games unbeaten in all competitions, we have found ourselves just two points off the top four, and still in every competition we can be involved in, including the semi finals of the Capital One Cup, with a real chance to go to Wembley and challenge for coveted silverware. In these recent seven games unbeaten, it looks as though the players have really found their form, and Mauricio Pochettino has found something of his best 11, or at most best first team, match day squad of eighteen. We have been injury free, and competition for places means that our squad looks hungry and ready to fight entering into the final half of the season. Our next six games are favourable, but massive. We have the chance to go to Wembley against Sheffield United, but also we have to continue this unbeaten run, and keep momentum ticking over into the second half of the season. This all starts with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, who are a difficult proposition at home, and with a new manager, and his first home game, he will be looking to make a good impression; and the players could rise to the occasion. But, if we play the way we know we can, and emulate a performance of the calibre of our 5-3 win over Chelsea, the we should have no problem in seeing off Crystal Palace. There is no doubt Palace will try to make it as difficult as possible for us on their home turf, with the crowd behind them – we have a really difficult task ahead of us, but we need to be professional, and get the job done and move on. It’s crucial we don’t let the momentum that we have dither.

Palace have struggled this season, which was expected after Tony Pulis left them just before the start of the season. Neil Warnock replaced him, but he only lasted half of the season before Alan Pardew stepped up and took the job, to the surprise of many leaving Newcastle – a much safer side with better players. Crystal Palace sit 18th in the Premier League, inside the relegation spots, and Pardew has a big job to keep them up, which means he will be looking to start strong, and transform Selhurst Park into the fortress it became last season under Tony Pulis; and that, Pardew will be hoping, will start with us. Palace have only won once in their last 14 Premier League games, and are without a win since their victory over Liverpool at Selhurst Park eight games ago, back in November. This barren spell led to manager Neil Warnock losing his job, and being replaced by Alan Pardew. In our last game against Crystal Palace, we drew 0-0 at the Lane, in an exciting, but frustrating game in which Palace did really well to counteract our offensive prowess. It wasn’t our finest game but Palace really turned up and probably deserved more from the game. In our last game at Selhurst Park, we won 1-0 on the first day of last season; with Roberto Soldado getting the only goal from the spot. I think this time around, we will want to break down the Palace defence a little more, and finish off the game as early as possible. If we have a slow start, Palace could easily grow into the game and dig in, which would make our task harder than it has to be. Last time we faced an Alan Pardew side, it was against Newcastle at the Lane in the Capital One Cup quarter final, in which we won comfortably 4-0; hopefully Pochettino’s men can recreate a similar scoreline against Pardew’s new side.

The team news for CrystaL Palace is that their midfield menace Yannick Bolasie, and midfield hard man Mile Jedinak will both be absent for Alan Pardew’s first Premier League game in charge as they are both on international duty; and they will be a huge miss for Palace, as they are both arguably their most important players, and Yannick Bolasie caused us all sorts of problems in our last encounter at the Lane, and I am sure our defence will be glad not having to face him once again. Mile Jedinak is the leader of the side, the hard man, but also the orchestrator of it all from his deep position in the centre of midfield; he is a touch of class in an otherwise below average Palace side, and I am sure they will miss him dearly; hopefully we can make his absence count. Other than those absentees, James McArthur (knock), Marouane Chamakh (hamstring) and Glenn Murray (ankle) are all slight doubts for the Eagles, but are expected to at least make the squad. With the absence of Bolasie and Jedinak, Palace will have to rely offensively on the talents of Wilfried Zaha, who is on loan from Manchester United and has undoubted talent on the ball. His end product is questionable, but on his day he can be a big threat to any defence, and Pardew will be hoping he can be the man to help his side create chances, and use his pace to stretch our defence. Up front, Palace have a wealth of options, from Chamakh to Doyle, to Campbell to Murray and the to Dwight Gayle, and all of these strikers aren’t exactly prolific, but they still pose a threat given the correct service, but if we can nullify the supply, we can isolate the striker and then we should get most of the fun in the match. There’s no doubting that this Crystal Palace side will put in a massive shift to prevent us from scoring, and will look to hit us on the counter with the pace of Zaha and Gayle; we will have to make sure to score early and then hopefully we can take command of the game.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Nail Bentaleb has joined up with his Algerian team mates for the African Cup of Nations and so will be absent from this game. DeAndre Yedlin isn’t ready after only joining up with the side on Wednesday, with Ryan Mason (hamstring) & Erik Lamela (calf) out of the game through injury. With Mason and Bentaleb out, it’s a chance for Mousa Dembele and Benjamin Stambouli to stake a claim for first team football, and hopefully they can grab their chance and put in a good display.

There is no hesitating when asked who the key man for Tottenham is at the moment; Harry Kane has been nothing short of sensational so far this season and we rely upon him for goals, but it’s not only his goals, but it’s his overall contribution of assists, hold up play and his incredible work rate, which makes him so valuable to us, and he is developing into a wonderful player with a massive future. Another player in a rich vain of form is Nacer Chadli, who has 9 goals and 4 assists so far this season and has been a revelation with his contribution, and has established himself as an incredibly important player to us, to have a midfielder who can get 10 goals plus a season alongside Christian Eriksen. In defence, Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen have been in stellar form as a unit, and our back five as a whole is beginning to take shape with Kyle Walker back from injury and Ben Davies and Danny Rose competing valiantly for a place at left back, and our results prove that continuity and understanding within the side and at the back is leading to consistency in our results, and hopefully no injuries will disrupt the flow of thew side and the squad, and we can continue to produce good results and climb the table. On the wing, with Erik Lamela out, and Aaron Lennon seemingly on his way out, an opportunity has arisen for Andros Townsend to stake a claim on the right wing after being a bit part player for quite a while he has the chance to put a run of games together and hopefully rediscover some form that he had early on last season.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Crystal Palace have gone eight Premier League games without a win (W0 D5 L3).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team in the Barclays Premier League (12).

– The Eagles have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League matches.

– Harry Kane has scored five goals in his last five Premier League matches.

– Palace have failed to score in their last three Premier League games against Spurs.

– Spurs have won six and lost just one of their last nine Premier League matches.

– Harry Kane has the best minutes/goal ratio of any player to score at least five PL goals for Tottenham (149, Klinsmann 169).

– Crystal Palace have committed more fouls than any other team in the Premier League this season (270).

– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other club in the top flight (5).

– Kevin Doyle has scored four goals against Tottenham, his joint-highest tally against any Barclays Premier League opponent (along with Fulham).

It’s a massive game to continue our recent form, and it would be lovely to go eight games unbeaten. Crystal Palace are a tough proposition, but we have what it takes to break them down and come out as victors. The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates including goal updates, photos and videos. Follow me on twitter for it all, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get another three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Dembele
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of Palace:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match: Thursday 1st January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea.

Tottenham goalscorers: Kane 30′, Rose 44′, Townsend 45, Kane 52′ & Chadli 78′.

Chelsea goalscorers: Costa 18′, Hazard 61′ & Terry 87′.

Happy New Year from everyone at Tottenham Hotspur! An absolute classic of a football match, with so much excitement, quality and controversy throughout. This result means so much to Tottenham, winning against arguably the best side in the Premier League at the moment, and doing it in such emphatic fashion, which has definitely sent shockwaves through the Premier League, means that we now have incredible confidence flowing into the second half of the season. We have recently looked very sheepish against top sides, with capitulations and disappointments a common factor; but beating a side of Chelsea’s calibre in such a way surely means there will be a change in mentality from the players and the fans heading into matches with great teams such as Chelsea in the future. We can go out in the big games and strut our stuff, instead of being frightened by the opposition, and crumbling under pressure. What makes this result so incredibly satisfying is the fact we came from one goal down to win the game, and didn’t let Chelsea’s good spell in the game end any chance of us getting back into it; in the past I wouldn’t have been surprised, after going 1-0 down, that we had gone on to lose 3-4 nil, but it is testament to the change in mentality that Pochettino has seemingly instilled upon the players to not give up, and rise to the challenge of having setbacks. This Tottenham side has proven a lot of people wrong in this game, and I am hoping that we can now prove a lot more people wrong in the future, and go on to have a very successful season, in the Cups and in the League. I have seen some say ‘I want my Tottenham back.’ Well, this is the new bunch and they look pretty damn good! It is now six games unbeaten for Tottenham Hotspur in all competitions.

In the first half, the game started very lively, with both sides looking threatening, and it looked as though it was going to be a very high scoring game, and it was in the end. We started slightly brighter than the Blues, and looked comfortable in possession and creative in the final third. But, it was Chelsea who took the lead, when Eden Hazard collected the ball, ran at Danny Rose, and beat him, before sliding a shot past Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris, but not the post, as it rebounded to Oscar, who scuffed his shot, but it fell into the path of Diego Costa, who finished with one touch to put them 1-0 up, and it looked as though it was going to be another long afternoon as Chelsea ran riot at the Lane, but the reality was much different! After absorbing the pressure from Chelsea after their first goal brilliantly, we then went on to build some pressure of our own, before the main man Harry Kane, on 30 minutes drove past a couple of Chelsea players before beautifully powering the ball into the bottom corner past Thibaut Courtois to make it 1-1, and get us that incredibly important equaliser in the first half. What transpired afterwards was absolutely overwhelming; coming into the end of the first half, we quickly took the lead as Christian Eriksen slipped the ball into the path of Nacer Chadli, who found a route past Courtois, only to find the post, but it was Danny Rose who was there to power home the rebound to put Tottenham in front at 44 minutes. We weren’t finished there in the first half, as Branislav Ivanovic’s pass to Gary Cahill was short, and Harry Kane snatched it from his grasp, only to be tripped, and the referee awarded a penalty, which Andros Townsend stepped up, under pressure, and found the bottom corner expertly to make it 3-1 as the half time whistle blew. Dreamland.

The second half was one of nerves, as we all know, Chelsea are a team that can do the unexpected, especially against Tottenham. Even 3-1 isn’t safe, which sounds ridiculous but you just never know! But, the nerves were settled on 52 minutes, as Nacer Chadli played the ball into the feet of Kane, and he turned exquisitely to place the ball into the bottom corner for 4-1, to hopefully cement the result. The goal was sensational, and Harry Kane has turned into an incredible player, who can win Tottenham games on his own if he felt like it. Being 4-1 up, we played with confidence, in our passing, tackling and defensive duties, it was shaping up as a fantastic team performance and even better result. Being 4-1 up, and looking comfortable, it wasn’t necessary of Federico Fazio to try an audacious pass, which was subsequently cut out by Eden Hazard, who broke with unbelievable pace and it was three on three between Chelsea’s attack and Tottenham’s defence, and with two lightening passes between Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard opened up the space for Hazard to finish clinically into the bottom corner for 4-2 on 61 minutes. Were we really going to throw away a 3 goal lead? The answer was no, as Nacer Chadli did really well to find space in the box, before hitting the ball towards goal, and getting a nice deflection off of John Terry to make it 5-2, and game over on 78 minutes. We were confident after that, but still managed to concede another goal to John Terry, who slotted the ball into the net for a mere consolation goal to make it 5-3 in a classic, entertaining game, that thankfully ended up in a Tottenham win!We controlled the major parts of the game, and were clinical in our finishing, and that delights me, as in our last game against Chelsea, which we lost 3-0, if we were more clinical, I’m sure we would have had a chance of getting something from the game. We learnt from our mistakes and came out on top.tumblr_nhik9ujezO1rjev45o1_1280
There were loads of great performances in this game, but not many were better than Nacer Chadli, and I am sure you’re thinking that I have misspelt Harry Kane, but my man of the match goes to the Belgian, who was instrumental in everything good that Tottenham did, as he ran at defenders, committed them, and found that effective final ball or shot more often than not. He was immense, and produced his best performance in a Tottenham shirt by far. He got two assists and a goal, and was fantastic throughout. The next man to mention is Harry Kane, who was exceptional once again. It is becoming natural for Harry Kane to score in every game he plays, and he now has 17 goals in all competitions, which is incredible for a 21 year old. He has everything to become an unbelievable player in the future, and he is our talisman at the moment, who lifts everyone up off of their seats when he gets the ball at his feet. At this moment, the confidence that Kane has is incredible, and it makes him unstoppable. Our players normally put in a good shift, but lack the clinical edge, but in this game everything came together perfectly and it is an incredible way to start 2015! Hopefully there is more of these performances to come throughout the rest of 2015. There are also special mentions for Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, who I thought were brilliant throughout; especially Bentaleb, who’s energy was unbelievable in the middle of the park and dealt with the quality of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas expertly. His future is so bright, and this season he has been spectacular at the age of just 20. Overall, despite conceding three goals, I cannot fault the effort and performance of all the players in this match. It is a very pleasing way to start off 2015!

What a win and what a day! Happy New Year everybody! It really was the perfect way to start the year. Now 6 games unbeaten, we have the chance to go on a real run of good results. Next up is Burnley in the FA Cup on Monday 5th January at Turf Moor. A tough test. Our next Premier League fixture is up against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday January 10th, which should be an interesting game! Remember to follow me for it all on twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Chelsea at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7
Fazio – 7
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 8 (Davies 76′ – 6)
Bentaleb – 8.5
Mason – N/A (Dembele 14′ – 7)
Townsend – 8 (Paulinho 66′ – 6.5)
Eriksen – 8
Chadli – 9.5 – Man of the Match.
Kane – 9.5.

Match highlights of our 5-3 win over Chelsea:

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press after our 5-3 win:

Danny Rose and Harry Kane speak to the press:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match date & time: Thursday 1st January. 5:30pm GMT kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings shown HERE.

Coming into 2015, we all want to start the year on a high. Last season, away to Manchester United on New Year’s Day, we did exactly that and produced a fantastic 2-1 win at Old Trafford. We will be looking to replicate that kind of result at home to the League leaders, Chelsea in 2015. We have ended 2014 on a relatively good note, going five games unbeaten, and winning four of them. Now there is a massive challenge ahead, Chelsea are a different proposition to any other side in the League apart from Manchester City – you need to be in supreme form, and hope that you can be clinical in punishing any mistakes that they make, and those mistakes are rare. You need luck, but also full commitment to the cause. Organisation, concentration and ruthlessness are crucial if you hope to beat a side like Chelsea. Confidence is high, and at White Hart Lane we hope to beat every side that visits, but there is no doubt we will need Chelsea to have an off day to even dream of defeating them. It is a tall order, and if we can avoid getting beat, then I will be pleased with the result. If we roll over and capitulate against them again, it’d be a mighty shame as it is looking like some real progress is being made, and the mentality towards the big games is shifting to positive. If the players go out there and perform, work hard and show the determination we know is within them, we can most definitely get a result.

Chelsea are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, with only one loss all season in every competition. They have been in incredible form and have made themselves extremely difficult to beat under Jose Mourinho. Since beating us 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea lost their first game of the season away to Newcastle, and away from home have dropped points away to Southampton in their last game. They haven’t been perfect, that is for sure, but they still pick up points when playing badly, and that is the sign of a good side; a title winning side. Chelsea at home is pretty much a formality. Chelsea and the opponent turn up at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea win – and repeat. But, away from home, it is more of a competition for points, and as Newcastle showcased, Chelsea are beatable! Our record against the blues is nothing short of abysmal, but with every game arises the opportunity to do what has been impossible in the past – getting three points against Chelsea. Last season, at the Lane, we drew 1-1, with Gylfi Sigurdsson getting our goal before John Terry equalised to earn Chelsea a point, but this seems like a lifetime ago, and a lot has changed for both sides over what is now more than a year’s time. Chelsea are a different proposition but so are we, and we will hope to take points off the challengers with a sturdy performance.

The team news for Chelsea is that Oscar (illness), after missing their game against Southampton, is expected to return to contention for the game at the Lane. Chelsea have no other injury concerns. We all know the threats that Chelsea possess, especially in the final third of the pitch, with Diego Costa deadly in front of goal, with 14 goals in 23 appearances so far this season in all competitions, he is a nightmare to defend against, and we will need Fazio and Vertonghen to be on top form to counter his threat. Another menace to defences, and probably one of the best players in the Premier League, who grabbed a goal in our last encounter with the Blues, is Eden Hazard – who from the wing is extraordinarily good at beating his man and causing problems; but it is not only that, it is his effectiveness on the ball, to create opportunities not only for his team mates but for himself, and be clinical in his finishing. In midfield, the partnership between Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic is majestic, with both players complimenting each other very well. Fabregas is the creative force in midfield, with 13 assists in 18 Premier League games, chipping in with 2 goals as well. Matic is the more defensive player, who adds solidity to Chelsea’s side, but when he is on the ball he is always looking to pass the ball forward and ignite attacks. There is no doubting that this Chelsea side is one of the best that the Premier League has seen, and I can’t see anyone stopping them from winning the title.Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 11.53.40
The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (illness) returns to the squad after missing the tie against Manchester United, while Mauricio Pochettino reports no other injuries. Which means a fully fit and fresh squad to choose from. Kyle Walker will be looking to regain his place in the starting eleven after being rested against United, while Benjamin Stambouli will be hoping to retain his place despite the return of Nabil Bentaleb – it could well be Ryan Mason who drops to the bench.

If we want to succeed, and get the three points, Hugo Lloris is going to have to be in similar form as he was against Manchester United. Hopefully we won’t concede too many chances, but with the creative quality that Chelsea have, with Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Fabregas and even Costa, chances will be made, it is a forgone conclusion, but if and when they get past our defence, hopefully they will be met with the in-form World Class, Hugo Lloris. Defensively, we have found some consistency in our centre back partnership; Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen have grown in their understanding of each other’s game. Fazio, after a very shaky start, has started to settle well into the side and despite getting stick has performed quite well. His strength and aerial prowess have become important to the side, and Jan Vertonghen’s ability on the ball and composure coming out from the back compliment’s Fazio well. Hopefully Fazio and Vertonghen can contain what is going to be a massive challenge against Diego Costa – hopefully Fazio’s previous encounters against the Spaniard brute hold him in good stead for this clash. Our talisman in attack is Christian Eriksen, who recently has been given the freedom of the central ‘number 10’ role, and he has taken to it by storm, and I think he has, after a slow start, picked up to the form we saw from him in the second half of last season, where he was involved in everything good that we produced. In this game, he will have a tough time finding the space to hurt Chelsea, with Nemanja Matic most likely sweeping up just in front of the Blue’s back four, but in those milliseconds that Eriksen does have the space, I trust him to be efficient, and attempt to dismantle the Chelsea stronghold. While creating the chances is at the hands of Christian Eriksen most of the time, Nacer Chadli in recent times has put to one side his goalscoring form and discovered his creative technique on the left hand side. Nacer has 2 assists in 3 games, both from that left wing position crossing it into no other than Harry Kane to finish. We will need both Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen to do their utmost in making sure Harry Kane has the tools to finish off the League Leaders in front of goal. In the centre of midfield, I would give the job to Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli; with their energy they are our best bet to counter act the strength and technical prowess of the Chelsea midfield. I have been very impressed with both Bentaleb and Stambouli so far this season.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– Spurs have won three and lost just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League home games against the Blues (D4).

– After winning his first two trips to White Hart Lane 2-0, Jose Mourinho has drawn one and lost one of his last two trips to the North London venue.

– Didier Drogba has scored four goals and assisted five more in his last nine Premier League games against Spurs.

– The Blues have won six and lost two of their eight New Year’s Day Premier League fixtures.

– Loic Remy has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances against Spurs.

– Cesc Fabregas has assisted eight goals in his last eight Premier League games against Tottenham and scored two himself.

– Chelsea are unbeaten in the last nine Premier League games against Spurs (W4 D5).

– Since 2006-07 Chelsea have picked up 17 yellow cards for simulation, more than any other Premier League side (Tottenham have 16 in that period).

– Six Tottenham games have ended as 2-1 wins this season, they have not experienced any other scoreline more than twice.

– Every time Chelsea have scored two or more goals in the Premier League this season they have won (14 times), every time they have scored fewer than twice they have failed to win (five times).

What a massive game this is! On New Year’s Day, both sides will be wanting to start their year’s with a bang, and for Spurs, there would be no bigger bang than getting a result in a London Derby, at White Hart Lane, against the Premier League leaders. It may seem like a negative mentality, but I think most Spurs fans would take a point in this game; but we will always hope for three points, especially at White Hart Lane. The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, but I will be providing match updates, photos, videos and more from my twitter account. Follow me for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Burnley.

Match date & time: Saturday 20th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

It’s been a good week for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. A good win away at Swansea, and then an emphatic win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals, which has led us to a winnable tie against Sheffield United in the Semi Finals. It’s a good opportunity for us now to create some momentum, and what better chance than another home win against newly promoted Burnley. A game that we should win, but one that must not be underestimated, as we know our form at the Lane in the Premier League has been shaky at best. It’s about time we transferred our cup form and consistency into our League form, as we have the makings of a good season evolving. To win a trophy would be incredible, but it’s no excuse for not being successful in the Premier League; we have high expectations, with the squad that we have, to attain a respectable top 5 League position, and if we can get top 5, and possibly win a trophy, this would be an incredibly good first year in charge for Mauricio Pochettino, and hopefully give us a good foundation for improvement next season. But, there are a lot of games to play and a lot of things to be decided, and the key to us having the good season that I preach, is to improve our home form and start to win the games that we should, and win them well. Consistency is key and if we can put a good run of results and performances together, we will look very good for the second half of the season. We will be hoping for no slip ups at the Lane against Burnley, and a recreation of the performance and result that was procured against Newcastle. Last time we faced Burnley, we lost 4-2 at Turf Moor back in 2010. And the last time we faced them at White Hart Lane, we won 5-0, with Robbie Keane grabbing four along with a Jenas goal. We’ll be hoping for a repeat of that, step up Harry Kane for the hat trick!

Burnley, after a very difficult start to life in the Premier League, have found their feet, slowly. After 10 games without a win in the Premier League, it was looking very bleak for the boys in claret and blue, but to their credit, after a slow start they are starting to adapt to the Premier League, work very hard and start to grind out good results. The side did not spend big money at all after coming up from the Championship, and are relying on what is a Championship standard squad to try and grit their way through the Premier League with the lack of funds available, and it is not a surprise that they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th with 15 points, ahead of QPR, Hull and Leicester. In their last 6 games though, since their 10 game drought ended, they have picked up 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, which suggests a bit of form is starting to develop. Their only loss coming to QPR at Loftus Road, 2-0. In their last game though, at Turf Moor, they triumphed against Southampton 1-0, and so come into this game high on confidence. At home, it looks as though they could gain a lot of momentum – but they do struggle on their travels, with only 1 win in 7 attempts, but that came on a difficult journey to Stoke City. It seems definite that Burnley, with their lack of offensive creativity, will try to sit deep and soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter attack and from set pieces, relying on the pace and goals for Danny Ings. It’s our job to make sure we are efficient on the ball, and score an early goal to quash the Burnley resilience.

The team news for Burnley is that Stephen Ward (ankle), Michael Duff (shin), Sam Vokes (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Ben Mee (illness) is set to return for the Clarets. There is one key factor you need at the bottom of the table if you want to survive, and that’s goals – and Burnley have potentially got a player that can bring that factor to fruition. The England U21 striker has pace, desire and an eye for a goal – and he’s Burnley’s main hope of survival, if he can stay in form and start to consistently get goals. In 13 appearances so far this season in the Premier League, he has 4 goals and is Burnley’s top scorer, which isn’t a brilliant record by any means, but it shows that recently he’s been finding his feet in the world’s most competitive League. If Burnley want a result at the Lane, they’ll be hoping Ings will be bringing his A game, as he can worry defenders and stretch the opposition with clever runs, as well as his more than decent ability on the ball, as well as off of it. Although Burnley don’t have an abundance of talent running through the veins of their squad, they have some decent players that can score goals and create opportunities – one of those players is George Boyd, who after being signed from Hull in the summer, has scored 2 goals and has been able to show his quality just off Danny Ings. Another offensive player, who managed to win the game for Burnley against Southampton, is former Brighton man Ashley Barnes. The versatile forward can score goals from the wings and from central positions, and after scoring 2 goals so far this season, he’ll be looking to add to his tally at the Lane. Those two Ashley Barnes goals have both been winners, so he’s been a valuable player for the Clarets in times of need.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor has returned and is in contention to play in this game, meaning that we have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season and what seems to be many years! Despite his marmite persona, Emmanuel Adebayor, is an important option to have upfront for Tottenham. He’s a different type of striker to Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado; as he is completely accustomed to playing in the lone striker role and can hold the ball up with his strength and height. It’s a different type of striker to have, and one who when feeling good about himself can score all types of goals. I’m glad he’s back and hope he can have a good impact in our form.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christian Eriksen is set to become a World Class player. He’s not quite at that level yet, but he’s well on his way. He has the ability to win football games, with his creativity and goals, and now, after a slow start, he’s found his feet and will be an essential player to keep fit and inform for the rest of the season. Against Burnley, it’s important that he performs as we will need his eyes for a gap to breakdown what is expected to be a tight and well compact Burnley defence. His shots from outside the box and set pieces could well prove the difference as well. Nacer Chadli bagged his 7th goal of the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, and proved a constant threat to the Geordies – and he’s proving to be a very important player so far this season for Tottenham. He has the eye for goal, and it’s crucial that he keeps up this form and after returning from injury, recreates the performances that he was producing earlier in the season. Chadli is a player that I really like and I think he’ll pass the 10-15 goal Mark with ease this season, which is fantastic for a midfielder. Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in 26 appearances for club and country so far this season, and he’s been outstanding in not only his clinical finishing but his work rate and link up play too; he has the full package and I hope he can continue to develop in the way that he is, not only this season but in the future too. In midfield, Ryan Mason has looked fairly weary and hasn’t been as influential as his early season form, so personally I would rest him for Benjamin Stambouli, who I think has proved Pochettino that he is worthy of a start in the Premier League after his performance in the Cup competitions, and after his partnership with Nabil Bentaleb was so fruitful against Newcastle, it seems natural to keep the two together for this game. But, with the quality that we do have in the centre of midfield, I’d be happy to see Mousa Dembele, Bentaleb, Mason, Stambouli or Etienne Capoue start and I really wouldn’t react badly, I think we’ve got a good calibre of player in that position. Kyle Walker could be set for his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bomb down that right hand side once again; he’s been sorely missed and will be essential to the balance of the side.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– There have been 21 goals scored in the last four meetings in all competitions between Spurs and Burnley, with at least five in each game.

– Those last four meetings between Spurs and Burnley have all been home wins.

– There have been 55 goals in the last 12 meetings between Spurs and Burnley at White Hart Lane; an average of 4.6 per game.

– Tottenham have won three Premier League games that they have been behind in this season; only Chelsea have won as many.

– Spurs have won a league-high eight points from goals scored in the 85th minute or later in the Premier League this season.

– Burnley have played the highest proportion of passes long this season in the PL (20.4%).

– The Clarets have also made 30 more long throws than any other team in the PL this season (164, Tottenham are joint second on 134).

– This is only the eighth time that Spurs will play a Premier League game on a Saturday at 3pm since the start of last season (it’ll be their 55th PL game since Aug 2013 overall).

– Burnley have won just one point in their eight previous Premier League trips to London (D1 L7).

– The Clarets have failed to score in six of these previous eight Premier League away games in the capital.

A match in which we must continue our winning form, and end the home drought for a win in the Premier League. It’s a great opportunity to grab three points! The game isn’t televised, and I’ll be attending the game. But I’ll be sure to post a stream and update when I can on Twitter. Follow me there for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted team to face Burnley at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Burnley press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match: Wednesday 17th December 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 Newcastle.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Bentaleb 18′, Chadli 46′, Kane 65 & Soldado 70′.

What a win! An extraordinary result and fantastic performance that has left a beautiful taste in Tottenham fans’ mouths. We have progressed to the Capital One Cup Semi Finals, and will face Sheffield United over two legs for a place at Wembley, which is what dreams are made of! Throughout the game, we were composed on the ball, efficient in our passing and clinical in our finishing. Benjamin Stambouli has hailed it as the perfect performance, and it really was. We were just as good off the ball as we were on the ball, though, and we tackled well, kept compact and were set up magnificently to nullify the Newcastle threat – especially form Moussa Sissoko. It was a performance that shows we are learning from mistakes, growing as a side, and also showed even without all of our best players out on the field, if we are set up correctly, limit our mistakes and introduce the kind of energy & enthusiasm we had then we can be quite successful. The opportunity to win a trophy is massive, now, Sheffield United are a League 1 side, and with the team we have we should be picking them off, especially after two legs. We avoided Chelsea and Liverpool and it really is the perfect draw – a day out at Wembley is brilliant in itself, and would give the club and the fans a real boost which is what we need at this moment in time. It’s a massive opportunity!

Focusing back on the game; in the first half, we started brightly, passed the ball well, and created some decent chances which could have easily been our first goal in the first 15 minutes. Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen all looking very lively. In the end though, the deadlock was broken by one Nabil Bentaleb, who poached his first ever goal for Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a Christian Eriksen corner which was fumbled by the Newcastle ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, and Bentaleb was alert to pounce on his mistake and set Tottenham on the path to victory. Newcastle weren’t bad in the first half, they went close themselves to breaking even, but their finishing wasn’t crisp enough. Bursting runs from Moussa Sissoko were the main threat, and he forced Michel Vorm into a good save from outside the box. The Geordies were threatening, and it was obvious that another goal for Tottenham had to come to have any sense of comfort. 1-0 at the break, and very content with the performance, but last time Newcastle visited the Lane, that was the case, and they ran away 2-1 victors, so the fans, Pochettino and the players knew that an equally as fast start in the second half was necessary or history had the possibility of repeating itself.

And as the second half kicked off, we got what we wanted. We kept the ball, drowned out Newcastle’s early threat and looked comfortable and most importantly, focussed! And then our second goal was procured; Christian Eriksen being forced wide, and looking like the chance was dead, before he brilliantly found a reverse pass into the path of Nacer Chadli who controlled it, moved into a better shooting position and then picked his spot expertly form outside the box to double Tottenham’s lead and make it a much more comfortable scoreline. We were cruising into the semi-finals, and Newcastle didn’t seem to have the spark, clinical edge or collective quality to influence the game in the way they wanted. As time moved on, we got more comfortable and comfortable, on the ball and off of it. We were creating chances, finding space, passing the ball crisply and switching play very easily with both full backs high and Christian Eriksen involved in almost everything in the middle of the park. It was lovely to watch. The third goal was thanks to good play on the left hand side from Mousa Dembele, who held off a challenge and released the ball to Andros Townsend who’s quick, one touch pass found Harry Kane who got the better of the defender before expertly sliding the ball into the far right hand corner to put the game beyond doubt. 3-0, 65 minutes in. That was Kane’s final contribution to a wonderful performance as he was replaced by Roberto Soldado – who then quickly made his mark, as Christian Eriksen drove at the Newcastle back four and got his shot away which was poorly parried by Jak Alnwick, and fell into the path of Roberto Soldado, who adjusted his feet and easily poked the ball into the back of the net, in true poachers fashion. After that goal on the 70 minute mark, the game’s pace fizzled out and we had most of the ball, and looked relaxed in our position, even to the point where showboating was being cheered by the fans as Andros Townsend produced his latest back heel. Full time – and a fantastic victory which keeps the dream of silverware very much alive.

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There were great performances all over the field in this game. It was not our strongest team – but it shows the quality of the squad we have when we can bring in the likes of Michel Vorm, Vlad Chiriches, Andros Townsend and Benjamin Stambouli and they can perform like they did in this game. While first 11 players such as Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb producing their best and it was great to see a team performance, and not relying on individual quality to pull us through. For me, Christian Eriksen was our stand out performer, in the centre of midfield he pulled the strings, kept the ball expertly, and was extremely effective on the ball, being involved in 3 of the 4 goals and moving the ball quickly in midfield. Christian seems to have once again found his top form, after an admittedly slow start to the season, he has found not only his goalscoring form, but his creative side is starting to come through and that’s incredibly important to the team. He’s a player that can win you games single handedly and I can’t wait to see him develop even further, as Jan Vertonghen says, he has the potential to become a Tottenham great. In the centre of midfield, I was incredibly impressed with the performances of Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli; they were energetic, enthusiastic and composed; which was exactly what we needed to nullify the threat of Moussa Sissoko, who in all honesty couldn’t get any rhythm to his game due to always being surrounded by Stambouli and Bentaleb. This partnership has to be given an opportunity to flourish in the Premier League, in my opinion. It has balance, and both players have potential to become very important for the future. In defence, we were solid throughout. And the partnership between Fazio and Vertonghen is starting to grow and grow, and they are starting to understand each other’s games and I think it looks the makings of a good combination. There’s also a need to mention the performance of Danny Rose, who I thought had a really good game, and is definitely rising to the task of winning his Premier League place back from Ben Davies, who has been equally as good.

A massive result! In arguably our biggest game of the season so far, we came out on top in emphatic style and booked a place in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals, where we will face Sheffield United, and a chance to go to Wembley is on the horizon! Our next game is against Burnley at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Saturday, which is another big home game, which we need all three points! Join me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Newcastle at the Lane:
Vorm – 8.5
Chiriches – 7
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Stambouli – 8.5
Bentaleb – 8.5 (Capoue 81′ – 6)
Chadli – 8 (Dembele 61′ – 7)
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Townsend – 7.5
Kane – 8.5. (Soldado 68′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 4-0 win over Newcastle:

Match highlights from our 4-0 win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Wednesday 17th December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

After our 2-1 away win against Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday, our focus quickly turns to the Capital One Cup Quarter Final at the Lane. For me, it’s our biggest game of the season so far. To make it into the semi finals would be a big achievement – and being three games away from Wembley is tantalising. At White Hart Lane, we have to be hoping that we will make the Semi-Finals, but, against a decent Newcastle side who have already beaten us at the Lane this season, we cannot underestimate the threat that they possess. Our home form has been difficult this season to say the least, but in the cups, we are unbeaten, so hopefully we can continue that form and triumph into the semi-finals. Realistically, it will be a very hard competition to win, but in one off games, anything can happen if we take it seriously. This close to the Final, it’s necessary to put out a strong, competitive side, even with the amount of games thrown our way during the Christmas period. A trophy is something that would give the club a lift like nothing else can. People have banged on about the top four and the Champions League for a long time, but I think fans are starting to realise that whether or not we get in, it’s almost impossible to win. So what’s the point? A trophy is a memory that can last a life time, and goes down in the history books. It’s what football fans crave – a day at Wembley. A glory, glory night. There is a long way to go, though, and first, Newcastle stand in our way.

Newcastle are a decent side, with good quality players. They sit 8th in the Premier League, and in 10 games they have only lost twice. Including wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. They cannot be underestimated, as I say. In the last round of the Capital One Cup, Newcastle travelled to Manchester City as big underdogs, but came away from the game as 2-0 winners at the Etihad and secured a place in the Quarter Finals. This just highlights how difficult the game will be for us – but we’ll be hoping that they won’t recreate the form showed against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, but instead recreate the result of when they last visited North London and faced our rivals – Arsenal – as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates. If we can find our form, if we are direct and show the quality that we possess, we can triumph and get through – but, if we are too relaxed, slow and complacent, then Newcastle will come to the Lane and steal the dream of Wembley away from us before it’s even been comprehended. In our last two games against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, we have lost both by one goal – so we’ll be looking to buck the trend before this becomes a habit!

The team news for Newcastle is that goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliott (hip) are both ruled out, while Ryan Taylor (knee), Gabriel Obertan (hip), Siem De Jong (thigh), Davide Santon (knee), Curtis Good (groin) and Rolando Aarons (hamstring) are all ruled out, while Mehdi Abeid (ankle) will undertake a late fitness test ahead of the game. Also, right back Daryl Janmaat (suspended) is out of the game. Newcastle have some good players, and none are better than driving midfielder Moussa Sissoko; he has power, pace and can effect games and change their momentum – and we saw the brute force of that the last time Newcastle made the journey to White Hart Lane, as he changed the game in Newcastle’s favour with his driving runs and quality on the ball. To deal with him, it’s important that we enforce our midfield upon them, and make sure that we are efficient on the ball and are energetic defensively to counter act Sissoko’s big threat. Another of Newcastle’s big threats, scored against us in our last fixture – Ayoze Perez has pace, technique and energy up front, as well as the ability to stretch a defence and run in behind – not forgetting his eye for goal, and he’s netted 4 goals in 8 games, including 3 against Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

IMG_3141.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness), is out of the game. And that’s it. Hurrah! Kyle Naughton has returned to the squad after injury and completes a full squad, excluding the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor. It really is important, coming into the Christmas period, that we have fully fit squad to choose from, and hopefully the players step up and play & train for their places in the first team. We’re very lucky to have a fully fit squad; and now we have to utilise that to our advantage and put a run of results together, building consistency.

It’s difficult to predict what sort of starting eleven Mauricio Pochettino will select in this game – as it is difficult timing in between extremely important Premier League fixtures, and we all know that Pochettino preaches his faith in the squad, and isn’t afraid to make changes and use his team – but, we also have to take into consideration that this is as big as a Premier League game, if not bigger – and the fans will want a performance as well as most importantly – a result. It’s a big game for our fringe players as well as our key players, as it is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents, as it is every time they step on the pitch. The players that I’m referring to are Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, Aaron Lennon and Benjamin Stambouli, who all in my opinion have the quality to be in the Premier League first team, but have a fight on their hands with the performances of the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen – which is a tall order for the fringe players. The key player in this game, excluding Harry Kane, who is likely to be rested, is Nacer Chadli who if he finds his form again, can win us a game with his goals and ability on the ball. It’s likely that Nacer will play just behind Roberto Soldado, which if they can form an understanding, could be quite a profitable partnership.

It’s a big game! I hope White Hart Lane will find it’s voice for a Quarter Final of a major domestic trophy. The game isn’t televised. I will be attending the game, but I will attempt to update as much as possible from the stands. Hopefully I’ll be reporting a win! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Newcastle press conference:

Match Review, Swansea City vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 14th December 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Liberty Stadium.

Result: Swansea 1-2 Tottenham.

Swansea goalscorer: Wilfried Bony 48′.

Tottenham goalscorers: Harry Kane 4′, Christian Eriksen 89′.

We’ve done it again! A last minute winner, away from home, and it feels brilliant every single time. After a disappointing performance overall, our individual quality has pulled us through and we have got a fantastic three points that was desperately needed after three poor results on the bounce. Now, we got a good win against Everton and couldn’t find consistency, and now we’ve got another win, another supposed confidence boost and the win that changes our fortune and our season. It’s up to the players to take this win and turn it in to a much needed run of form, because one result isn’t enough, we need to turn it into a run of 6 or 7 good results. But, every win is nice, and it’s important that we are keeping up with the teams ahead of us and now sit in a respectable 7th place, daring to look ahead of us at the top four. This gives us some nice momentum ahead of a massive game at White Hart Lane on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup quarter final against Newcastle.

In the first half, we started extremely well, scoring almost instantly from a corner in the 4th minute. Christian Eriksen whipping in a beautiful ball from the right hand side and Harry Kane leaped like the superhero he is, ahead of Angel Rangel and powered the ball past Tremmel to give us the perfect start. We then controlled the game in possession for around 20 minutes, before Swansea, who were slow to come out of the blocks, finally got their foot in the door and started to get more and more possession, and as a result, more chances fell to the Swans and the pressure grew and grew in the first half. Wilfried Bony’s killer touch was evading him, though, and despite looking lackadaisical in defence, we managed to hang on until the half time whistle, to the amazement of many. Our defending was incredibly poor, and the ball was so difficult to tame in midfield, and with the tackles flying in and the bookings flying out, it looked like the tide was turning in favour of the hosts.

The second half was a complete reverse of the first, Swansea were the team who came out fighting and quickly, and deservedly made the score even. Wayne Routledge spinning in a ball that was met by Wilfried Bony, who got a massive slice of luck as he made contact with the ball which then hit an unassuming Federico Fazio, and then fell straight back to the Ivorian, who composed himself and then slotted the ball into the net for 1-1. At this moment, it looked as though Swansea would take the initiative, and complete the come back. They had most of the possession, most of the chances, but we were still there, hanging in, digging in. We were lucky not to concede too many clear cut chances, and as time ticked on, it was still anyone’s game. Mauricio Pochettino freshened up the game, and brought in Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli and Benjamin Stambouli, and I think they all made a big difference. It was Stambouli’s tenacity that won the ball closing into the winning goal. Eriksen took a shot from quite a way out, which was parried by Tremmel, and then the ball wasn’t proberlu cleared after pressure from Harry Kane, and it fell into former Swansea player Ben Davies’ path, and he sped a ball into Christian Eriksen’s path, who had found an ounce of space, and had time to sort out his feet, shift the ball onto his right leg and then slashing the ball into the bottom of the net on the 89th minute to give us a much needed win, despite it most probably not being completely deserved! The finish was exquisite and an important three points was in the bag. Despite it not being the most remarkable performances of the season, it’s a remarkable result.

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There was one stand out performance from this game – Harry Kane, once again. It’s not just his goals, and he got another critical one, but it’s his general work rate, enthusiasm and ability on the ball, he is a driving force in our side and is without a doubt one of our most important for the rest of the season if he can continue to get the goals at important times in important matches. He’s becoming a force of nature! Harry Kane’s first goal was assisted by the match winner, Christian Eriksen, who has been improving and improving as the season goes on, and he’s produced another match winning, crucial goal that has saved our bacon. Not only is he creative, skillful and efficient on the ball, he is absolutely effective with his goals and finally an assist this Premier League season. His performance today over the 90 minutes wasn’t phenomenal, but he pops up in key areas at key times and can win you games – and that is priceless. Young Nabil Bentaleb has been fantastic since his return from injury, he seems to have such a mature head on his shoulders for someone who is only 20 years of age and in this game, I thought he was so composed, but also showed grit and determination when needed – he was certainly one of our better performers. On his return to Premier League action, Kyle Walker did look a little rusty as expected, but his performance overall against a lively Jefferson Montero was running at him was good, and hopefully he can push on and continue to improve and get sharpness towards his game. He’s a crucial player in our system who we need to be on form and fit.

What a good three points! Major room for improvement in the performance, but heading into a massive game against Newcastle on Wednesday, we have the perfect platform to try and create a run of results. To make it to the Semi-Final of the Capital One Cup would be brilliant. Our next Premier League game is on Saturday the 20th December at the Lane against a growing Burnley side. Another big game, coming thick and fast! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Swansea at the Liberty:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7.5
Fazio – 5
Vertonghen – 6
Davies – 8
Mason – 6 (Stambouli 70′ – 7)
Bentaleb – 8.5
Lamela – 6 (Chadli 83′ – 6)
Eriksen – 9
Kane – 9 – Man of the Match.
Soldado – 5. (Dembele 56′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference post Swansea win:

The goals from our 2-1 win over Swansea:

Kane & Eriksen post match interview: