Match Review, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match: Wednesday 29th October 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-0 Brighton.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Erik Lamela 54′, Harry Kane 74′.

Tottenham progress to the Quarter Finals of the Capital One Cup! Just three games away from Wembley and the thought of winning it is just about dropping into Tottenham fan’s dreams. We have been drawn to face Newcastle United at White Hart Lane in the quarter finals, a team that has just beaten us, and Manchester City away from home, so not easy but it could have been a lot worse with Liverpool and Chelsea still in the competition, despite Newcastle beating us before hand, we still remain clear favourites to progress to the Semi-Finals. Now, to look more closely at our highly contested victory over Brighton at the Lane:

In the first period, we dominated the ball, Brighton were confined to their half for 90% of the time and we were probing and poking away at their defence. The ball was played into the box numerous amount of times but we couldn’t get the breakthrough; Roberto Soldado, Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon going closest. A frustrating first half, but one in which the Seagulls didn’t threaten us and we looked comfortable in possession of the football. The problem is, although we look comfortable in possession, we don’t look threatening enough. It’s important to take advantage of that pressure and find the killer pass, or go in behind the Brighton defence. We didn’t do that enough, but it was a solid first half and you can’t complain too much when you are creating chances, and there were a few clear cut opportunities which should and could have been goals.

In the second half, we introduced Erik Lamela for Aaron Lennon who was playing well, but had a slight hamstring problem. Lamela changed the game from the outset, and we looked much more threatening and creative with the ball at our feet. And, that’s where our goal came from. The understanding between Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado is very impressive; they are two very intelligent and creative players when the ball is at their feet and when two intelligent players combine, you will create chances and in this instance, that chance was a goal. Erik Lamela on 54 minutes played the ball into the feet of Roberto Soldado, who headed it up slightly before playing a delightful pass into the path of Erik Lamela, who slid the ball into the net with his right foot for 1-0. A much needed breakthrough that put us in firm control of the game, with Brighton not offering a lot offensively. Despite being 1-0 down, Brighton didn’t try to attack us in the way that was expected – they still sat fairly deep, let us have possession of the football and tried to play a counter attacking game, even though Tottenham had men back and were not pushing all out to get a second goal. I’m sure Sami Hypia will be disappointed with his team’s attacking performance, but pleased with how they shut Tottenham out for the most part. The game continued to be a little scrappy, without the real quality of the players shining through, and that is how our second goal came about, in a scrappy fashion. Andros Townsend for what must have been the first time in the game, got to the byline and whipped in a good ball for Roberto Soldado, which hit his leg and then the keeper parried into the path of Harry Kane, who wanted it more than any other defender on the pitch to stick the ball home to make it 2-0. Job done.

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There were some very good performances from the Spurs players in this game, we passed the ball well, created a good amount of chances, scored two goals and kept a clean sheet and that is all we can really ask from the team. We’re in a bit of a sticky patch of form but you could see that the players really put a shift in and worked until the result went our way and that is pleasing. Hopefully we can get the three points at Villa Park on Sunday, too. The man of the match for me was Benjamin Stambouli, I think in the middle of the park he worked really hard, he went into every challenge committed and passed the ball well. In the cup games he’s played, Stambouli has really impressed me and I think it’s only a matter of time, if he continues with these performances, that he will be pushing for a Premier League start. Another player that deserved man of the match probably equally as much as Stambouli was Kyle Naughton, he has been very good all season and coming back from injury, he was stellar once again. He put in some fantastic crosses and defended well when Brighton attacked with pace on the counter attack. In the absence of Kyle Walker, Naughton has really stepped his game up and as a right back is showing why he’s still a Tottenham player. Erik Lamela changed the game when he was entered into proceedings; he was direct, full of energy and had the finishing touch as well for his goal. He also isn’t afraid to chase back, make a tackle and work for the team and that’s always a good trait to have. Harry Kane scored again, another decent performance, but when he is scoring like this he simply must start in the Premier League, he is on fire! His strike partner Roberto Soldado also did really well, with two assists (sort of) and a very fine performance but his goal that he did deserve didn’t come, but he’s getting closer and you can see how hard he’s working and how much he wants it.

A good win, and into the quarter finals. Cup runs are always fun and hopefully, we can continue to win when we face Newcastle. A trip to Wembley would be fantastic. Not looking too far ahead, this Sunday we travel to Villa Park for an away Premier League tie against Aston Villa. A tough game but it’s crucial we return to winning ways in the Premier League. Remember to follow me on Twitter: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Brighton at the Lane:
Vorm – 7
Naughton – 8.5
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Davies – 7.5
Stambouli – 8.5 – Man of the Match.
Dembele – 7
Lennon – 7.5
Townsend – 6.5
Kane – 8
Soldado – 8.

Subs:
Lamela – 8
Chadli – 6
Paulinho – 5.

Match highlights from our 2-0 win over Brighton:

Pochettino speaks to the press following our 2-0 win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match date & time: Wednesday 29th October 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Capital One Cup action returns to White Hart Lane with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors. A big game with a place in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final’s up for grabs for the winner. It’s always difficult to take when you lose; especially when it is at home, throwing away a 1-0 lead to a team that we should really beat, but it’s got to be forgotten and it can’t effect our performance against Brighton, but be an inspiration to the players – to fight harder and silence doubters. A win this Wednesday won’t make everything Rosey – but getting to the Quarter Finals would be really good, hopefully leading to a good draw, and if that happens, who knows, we could go all the way to Wembley! For me, winning a trophy is well and truly overdue at Tottenham, whether it’s the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or Europa League, winning a major trophy is the lift that Tottenham needs, with top four in the Premier League looking out of reach. Hopefully, we can get through on Wednesday with very little difficulty, and a few goals wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Brighton sit 21st in the Championship, just 2 points off of the relegation places. In 14 League games, they have won just 2, drawn 7 and lost 5. New manager Sami Hypia has struggled to find the winning formula on the South coast, with a lack of goals a big problem for the Seagulls, with only 13 goals scored in 14 games, drawing too many games and not being able to get a run of good results together. The Capital One Cup has been a welcome distraction from their League form, winning both their 2nd and 3rd round games with relative ease against Cheltenham and Burton, winning 2-0 & 3-0 respectively. But of course, they haven’t faced a test of the magnitude of Tottenham, especially at White Hart Lane under the lights. The last time we faced Brighton was in 2005, an FA Cup 3rd round tie at White Hart Lane in which Tottenham triumphed 2-1, courtesy of Ledley King and Robbie Keane goals. There’s no doubt that Brighton will be well up for the game, just like Nottingham Forest before them, and they will be carrying the support of 4100 Brightonians alongside them, who I’m sure will sing until the very end for their team and attempt to give them an extra level. Whenever a lower league team comes to a big Premier League team’s home, the want to win and score is large and we must act in a professional manner to get the job done.

The team news for Brighton is that Craig Mackail-Smith (hamstring) will be unable to start for the Seagulls, but will be in the 18 man squad, with Sam Baldock (cup tied), Solly March (back) and Dale Stephens (ankle) are out of the game. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is available for Brighton after his suspension, which will be a big boost for the Seasiders. Brighton do have threats – but their top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk, he has 5 goals and is a definite threat from set pieces, which will probably be Brighton’s biggest chance to score, despite our height at the back with Federico Fazio. Kazenga LuaLua is one of those players that can bring a bit of magic to the game, be it a cross or a goal from range, he has that little bit of quality, but doesn’t show it often enough. LuaLua is Brighton’s top assist maker this season with 3, 2 in the League and 1 in the Capital One Cup. He also has 2 goals so far this season. In the centre of midfield, young Rohan Ince is a talented player, he’s big, strong and competent on the ball, he can get Brighton playing if given time and space, but if we pressuring him and get in his face when on the ball, I’m sure we’ll be able to stop his flow. Another talented young midfielder is England U21 international Jake Forster-Caskey, less powerful, more agile and able to get Brighton moving; just like with Rohan Ince, we should be looking to pressure them early and disrupt their passing rhythm.

IMG_2525.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the game against Brighton, but Kyle Naughton returns from an ankle injury, while Federico Fazio is available again after his 1 match suspension. Emmanuel Adebayor had an upset stomach after the game against Newcastle, but he has recovered and is available for selection against the Albion.

Harry Kane has been in stellar form so far this season, he’s got the goalscoring touch and I’m sure he’ll get the nod upfront again in the cup competitions, possibly alongside Roberto Soldado who scored in the last round of this competition. It seems Pochettino sees Harry Kane as a second striker, someone who needs to play with a partner, and even if I disagree and believe he can and will become a leading striker, he has been performing extremely well in this position and I hope his understanding with Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor develops more so that both Kane & his partner can benefit. In midfield, Benjamin Stambouli and Mousa Dembele are expected to partner each other, a partnership that could start in the Premier League for many, many teams, with their ability on the ball, especially Mousa Dembele, with Stambouli’s toughness and ability to win the ball back and pass it efficiently, both are very good players and I think have the makings of a good partnership, with a good balance in their midfield pivot. On the wing, it’s another opportunity for Andros Townsend to show his worth and effect a game in a positive way with his pace and direct running style with the ball, he needs to be more efficient, to score more goals and make more assists, at the moment he still looks like a raw talent but hopefully he can continue to improve and effect the games he plays more. To add width to our play, I’d play Aaron Lennon on the right hand side and Andros Townsend on the left, to get them whipping crosses into the box for Harry Kane, and Roberto Soldado. I think we’ll score more goals like that. Almost a direct 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 system. We can do that at home against ‘weaker’ opposition and still dominate the midfield.

A game where a win brings us just 2 games away from a final at Wembley. If that isn’t inspiration to victory for the players, I don’t know what is! A cup game under the lights at White Hart Lane awaits and Brighton I’m sure will try to make it as difficult as possible for the Tottenham team, but I’m confident, as always, that we can get the job done. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane from my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Brighton at White Hart Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Lennon – Stambouli – Dembele – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our game against Brighton:

Bringing Balance back to Tottenham’s team.

We have seriously struggled at home to break teams down, create chances and kill teams off. Not just this season, but under André Villas-Boas too during his 18 months in charge. It’s difficult to put your finger on why these games at White Hart Lane are so difficult, why we look stuck for ideas and unable to win games in a comfortable fashion. Many suggestions have been made, whether it’s the lack of atmosphere & support at the Lane and general expectation that Tottenham will & should win at Home, and it’s the player’s responsibility to entertain & not our responsibility to be the ‘twelfth man'; the fact teams set up in an organised and defensive nature, or my personal favourite from Mousa Dembele, ‘the pitch is too small’. All may have a point, especially the lack of atmosphere at White Hart Lane in recent times, but personally I put it down to a lack of balance in the Tottenham team that is emerging so far this season and at times the two seasons before.

In the 2011/12 season, especially the first half, I think we had the most balanced team in the League. Harry Redknapp was a good manager, he knew how to man manage these players, give them confidence and set them up in a good way which was full of flair, offensive nature & a clinical edge. The balance in that side was extraordinary. With Kyle Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto in the full back positions, Gareth Bale on the left of midfield, Aaron Lennon on the right, with Rafael van der Vaart just behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Not forgetting the midfield pivot between Luka Modrić and Scott Parker/Sandro. Look at that, with those players in their prime, we had a team capable of challenging for the League title, but it wasn’t to be, we tailed off at the end of the season and finished fourth, with the unlucky event of Chelsea winning the Champions League and sending us into the Europa League. We lost Luka Modrić, Rafa left for Hamburg and it all went a little tits up. But, that’s beside the point. What I want to look at is how to recreate the sort of balance that team had within it’s ranks in the class of 2014/15.

The key to a balanced side is the full backs and wingers. And at the moment, this season, we haven’t seen that balance. One of the reasons for this is the absence of Kyle Walker through injury. 7 long months of not having a natural outlet at right back, who understands the balance of offence and defence. This season, we have relied on Eric Dier for the most part, and as a natural centre back, he’s done a very decent job, especially defensively apart from his mistakes against Newcastle, but he hasn’t been able to give us an offensive outlet and this makes the team lopsided. On the left, Danny Rose has had a tremendous season so far in my view, he’s come on leaps and bounds from last season’s performances and you have to give him full credit for working hard and coming back stronger, fitter and a much more competent left back under the pressure of new signing Ben Davies. Danny has given the team an offensive outlet on that left hand side, and has been relatively good at balancing his defensive duties with his offensive ones. If we can get Kyle Walker back into this team as soon as possible, and keep Danny Rose in good form, I truly believe we will see this team flourish so much more than we have done so far this season, stretching teams and creating more space for our creative players. The addition of DeAndre Yedlin possibly in January could also be a really big addition and help with this problem of balanced, attacking full backs when Walker is not available.

The reason that offensive full backs are so important to this Tottenham team is Pochettino’s use of ‘inverted wingers’, or having three players behind the striker with the freedom to roam and find their own space. The problem with this is that all three that we play – Eriksen, Chadli & Lamela, like to come inside and this makes our play really narrow and more difficult to find space and create clear cut chances to score goals. With the outlet of offensive full backs, it stretches the opposition and then and only then, will we be able to find space, create chances in the middle of the park and hopefully, score goals! Nacer Chadli & Christian Eriksen have been fairly impressive so far this season, with Nacer really the only player who looks to take on the defenders and try to get in behind an opposition’s defence, and Christian Eriksen is always looking to thread a killer pass, spread the play to our wide players or score himself. Erik Lamela has been slightly underwhelming, it’s true, he needs to improve and be much more efficient on the ball, but sometimes being given this freedom he has too many thoughts running through his head and his decision making seriously deteriorates because of it. It’s part of his game he needs to work on and become a more effective player with goals, hopefully his first Premier League goal comes sooner rather than later; he needs it. If the understanding of the three players behind the striker improves, and the players themselves become more effective, alongside the offensive full backs, I think we can get a good balance in this team.

Upfront, in the striker position, there is no doubt that we lack a clinical goalscorer, except for the young Harry Kane, who needs to be given a sustained chance in the Premier League before judging fully whether he is ready to lead the line. In January, I’m really hoping we can add another striker, even if that man is Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, someone Pochettino knows well, who occupies the left forward role a bit more than leading the line, but bottom line is, we need someone who can stick the ball in the net more often! In the central midfield position, it looks like Etienne Capoue & Ryan Mason have nailed their places there with good performances, with Etienne only really having a bad game against Newcastle & possibly Manchester City. Their midfield pivot needs time to develop, because I think it’s the starting of a good partnership, with Ryan Mason the more attacking of the two, pushing forward and playing the more incisive passes to get the team going, while Etienne Capoue screens the back four and helps break up play, which he is capable of for sure. It’s important those two increase their understanding. At centre back, it seems Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul is the first choice pairing, and they have been rather inconsistent together, performing in stellar fashion against Arsenal and Southampton, but being poor against Newcastle. With offensive full backs, I think, because of Kaboul’s ability to cover at right back, and Jan Vertonghen’s ability to cover at left back, they would be able to cover when Rose and Walker attack, with Etienne Capoue dropping back further into a ‘sweeper’ position. That, gives us good balance and hopefully the players would have a clear indication of what their roles are in the team. That is just how I would set out, though.

I’m not naive to think that the inclusion of Kyle Walker in the team makes us world beaters, of course. But, under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, I think it makes us much more of a threat going forward and able to create chances easier than it has been so far this season. At Southampton, Pochettino had a balanced team with offensive full backs, Nathaniel Clyne/Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw were fantastic under his tenure and playing with inverted wingers of Lallana and Rodriguez worked wonders alongside Rickie Lambert leading the line. His Southampton team created loads of chances, attacked with pace & purpose and scored goals because they had a balance and understanding alongside a good work rate and clear game-plan. That is what Tottenham need to develop and that is Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham challenge, to recreate and better the football he played at Southampton with this team, which I think has better players, but they need to be guided in the correct way.

We need to manage expectations this season and back the team and manager. Despite results not being what we wanted we must be patient and not act in a knee jerk fashion. Back the club. Pochettino is managing players that aren’t his at the moment and needs time to build his own team, hopefully he is given that opportunity by Daniel Levy and backed in a good way, with decisions made and money spent. That’s the dream. I still hold hope that it can be reality. When Tottenham lose it seems the end of the world, but we must look beyond the short term and give the manager and players support and time. That’s the key to success. Hopefully the fans do realise that, but also hope the club see that too. Wishing Kyle Walker a speedy recovery, with reports he could return to training very soon and possibly be in action by late November. That would be a massive boost!

In an ideal world, without injuries at this moment in time, my Tottenham team would be:
Lloris
Walker – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Capoue
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Up the Spurs!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Sunday 26th October 2014. 1:30pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

The Premier League returns to White Hart Lane this Sunday, with Newcastle the visitors. A big opportunity to get back to winning ways in the League and build on some good performances in recent times, most recently the 5-1 win over Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League. Our ability to be clinical and efficient in front of goal is something that has been under criticism so far this season, with our strikers getting just 1 goal so far in the Premier League, we have to finish chances if we want to be anywhere near the top four this season. This game is very important as to not fall too far behind the leading pack in the Premier League; we currently sit 10th in the League, 5 points off West Ham in 4th after they beat Manchester City on Saturday. It’s incredible what a win can do for you in this League, and if we do get the win we get the momentum, and also go very close to the top four. At home, against a Newcastle team that is very temperamental, it’s easy to expect a win, and I’m confident of one, but the players must put in a good performance and be professional as Newcastle have good players that can cause problems for us.

Newcastle sit 18th in the Premier League, in the relegation places. It’s been a very difficult season for the Toon, with Alan Pardew taking the brunt of the criticism from the Geordies. So far this season, in 8 games, they have won just 1, drawn 4 and lost 3. That win came last week against Leicester, a scrappy 1-0 win with Gabriel Obertan getting the winner. Draws coming to Swansea, Hull, Crystal Palace & Aston Villa and the 3 losses coming to Manchester City, Stoke & Southampton. It’s been poor from Newcastle’s point of view, but they have been slowly improving and should have gained confidence from their first Premier League win last time out against Leicester. Despite being in the relegation zone, it’s hard to see a club the size of Newcastle could ever be relegated and I expect them to regain form and have an average, mid table season. They have decent players but do lack grit, raw pace and goal-scorers. Last time we faced Newcastle, we beat them 4-0 at St James’ Park, Emmanuel Adebayor with 2, Paulinho & Nacer Chadli with the others, one of our best performances of last season, hopefully we can repeat that scoreline. But, we’ll be hoping to avoid a slip up that occurred last time the Toon travelled down to North London, with Loic Remy grabbing the goal that sunk Tottenham 1-0 at the Lane last year.

Injuries haven’t been kind to Newcastle so far this season; 11 players have been accredited with knocks or long term injuries, but a few players should return and make the squad for the game this Sunday. Confirmed as out of the game are Siem De Jong (thigh), Jonas Gutierrez (cancer), Roland Aarons (hamstring), Davide Santon (knee) and Chris Good (groin). There are late fitness tests for Papiss Cisse (knee), Chiek Tiote (calf) and Emmanuel Riviere (knock), three very important players for Newcastle. Back after injury are Ryan Taylor, Paul Dummett and Mike Williamson, though, which will be a boost defensively for United.

Newcastle have some very talented players, but it is upfront where Papiss Cisse holds the Goalscoring key for United, he had an incredibly poor season last term, but after returning from injury he has hit a little bit of form and looks to be the only Newcastle player capable of hitting the back of the net; he has 4 goals in 4 games so for this season, with a braces against Hull and Swansea. He has the ability to score goals, he’s shown that many times in the Premier League, especially in his first season when he was a revelation, but he lacks confidence at times and possibly the strength and pace to dominate defenders. Creatively, they lack quality, but Moussa Sissoko does have the pace and strength to cause problems from midfield, and Remy Cabella has shown glimpses of quality on the ball, but lacks that decisive edge and strength for the Premier League, and he’s without an assist or goal so far this season. I believe Newcastle lack quality throughout their team, and for a lack of quality they don’t make up for it in heart and character, which is a definite problem for Newcastle and their fans.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Federico Fazio (suspended), Kyle Walker (abdominal), Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) are all out of the game, while Younes Kaboul, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose will all return to the squad after being rested for the game against Asteras Tripolis in midweek.

Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick in midweek in the Europa League, and has 10 goals in 14 appearances for club and country. That’s a brilliant tally for a 21 year old still learning his trade and growing into his role at the club. For me, Harry Kane has to start up top in this game, he has the confidence, and momentum to be a very important player for Tottenham, starting with this Sunday against Newcastle, I hope. He’s the only striker that deserved a starting berth in my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberto Soldado start up front again after being rested in midweek. Erik Lamela was sensational against Asteras Tripolis, with 2 fantastic goals, but his Premier League form has been quite inconsistent, and he needs to get his first Premier League goal sooner rather than later, and I think that would kickstart not only his season, but his Tottenham career. In midfield, Ryan Mason has been a revelation since he won his place in the team, he looks forward, passes well, makes very direct runs and works very hard with his tackles and interceptions. He fits Pochettino’s pressing system very well and he seems to have really made himself one of the first names on the team sheet alongside Hugo Lloris, Etienne Capoue & Christian Eriksen. Christian Eriksen has really grown into his new role in the team, alongside Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela; he is now starting to pop up, control games and contribute goals, now he can hopefully push on even further.

Match facts & stats provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have scored at least once in 18 of their last 19 Premier League games against Newcastle.

– None of the last 17 league meetings between these sides at White Hart Lane has ended as a draw.

– After winning four successive Premier League games in London between May 2013 and January 2014, Newcastle have lost their last three in a row, failing to score in each match.

– Christian Eriksen has scored in his last two Premier League appearances but it yet to assist a goal in the top-flight this season (last year he provided eight assists).

– Roberto Soldado has assisted as many Premier League goals as he has scored (6).

– Tottenham have conceded nine Premier League penalties in 2014, more than any other team.

– Papiss Demba Cisse has scored four goals and assisted one more in four Premier League appearances in 2014-15.

– Six of Tottenham’s 10 goals this season have come before half-time, while Newcastle have the highest proportion of second half goals in the division in 2014-15 (75%; 6 of 8).

– The average length of Newcastle’s goals this season has been 9.02 yards, the shortest distance of any of the 20 teams in the division.

– Newcastle have displayed the most effective offside trap in the Premier League this season (22 opponents snared).

Big game, with a big 3 points up for grabs. Crucial we stay with the pack at the top and also win to improve further our home form. On the 10th anniversary of Bill Nicholson’s passing, I hope the players are told about his values and what he means to this club and it’s fans. The atmosphere hopefully is a special one and we can get a result that reflects what Mr Tottenham would have wanted! Remember if you’re attending the game to wear white in tribute to Bill Nicholson. The game isn’t televised in the UK, but I’ll be giving match updates, photos, videos and more at my Twitter account; @AddictedToSpurs, follow me there for it all!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino briefly previews the Newcastle game:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Asteras Tripolis.

Match: Thursday 23rd October 2014.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-1 Asteras Tripolis.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Harry Kane x3 13′, 75′, 81′, Erik Lamela x2 29′, 66′.

Asteras GoalScorer: Barrales 89′.

An incredible game of football. Incredible goals, a red card, Harry Kane in goal, and a Tottenham win. It had the lot. Looking past all of the madness, we got a really, really important three points in the Europa League that gets us our first win and gives us a good foundation to get through to the knockout stages. We played well, but were not fantastic, our passing was a little sloppy and in defence we got caught out a few times by a well drilled, technically sound side who have shown quality in their Europa League fixtures so far, and to be fair to them, they didn’t deserve to be thrashed 5-1, this score doesn’t reflect the effort and quality that they put into the game, they made it very even and well matched, but it was Tottenham’s individual quality that pulled us through so emphatically. Focusing on the negatives is for Mauricio Pochettino, though, I like to focus on the positives and for me there were many. Our ability to be clinical and kill the game was very refreshing and very pleasing; we have lacked that in recent times, and now hopefully we can translate that ability into the Premier League, starting on Sunday against Newcastle.

In the first half, we started well, we attacked at pace and passed the ball relatively well. Defensively at times we were a little shaky, which is a little worrying as we were playing a very strong back 5, with a lot of leaders in there including Fazio, Lloris & Vertonghen. At times I expected more from the back 4. A little more communication and organisation, but as we didn’t concede in the first half I can’t complain too much. We scored through Harry Kane, Etienne Capoue laying him off and Kane hit the ball sweetly and it skidded into the ball far corner of the goal for 1-0 after 13 minutes, a flying start which was just what we needed. Then, we created a few more chances, Etienne Capoue going close and Harry Kane once again. But, it was Erik Lamela who got the second goal on 29 minutes, what can I say about a goal like that? It is a masterpiece, a piece of art on the football pitch. The best goal I have seen from a Tottenham player in a good few years and I’m so glad that it was Erik Lamela who got it, a ‘Rabona’ goal from outside the box is almost unheard of in the game and even to attempt it is audacious, but to score from it is insane. An incredible goal from an incredibly gifted player. It’s his best moment in a Tottenham shirt so far. ‘So far’ being the key words.

In the second half we ran away with the game, we controlled the ball well and found space in between the Asteras midfield and defence. Etienne Capoue and Mousa Dembele took charge of the midfield more and more as time went on and were very effectual to the pace and tempo we played at, u was very impressed with them, especially Etienne Capoue. We didn’t score the third goal until 66 minutes in, though, that man Erik Lamela got his second of the game, twisting and turning in the box and getting a shot away which was blocked, which then popped up and it was an instinctive volley that was too powerful for the Asteras goalkeeper and the game was dead and buried. On a hat-trick, Lamela was replaced, unsurprising with the Premier League just around the corner. Only 9 minutes later we got the 4th goal, 76 minutes in Harry Kane got his second of the night, Mousa Dembele’s shot parried by the Asteras ‘keeper only for the quick thinking Harry Kane to tap in. Then, only 5 minutes later, he completed his hat-trick, turning the defender before seeing his shot blocked, rebounded into Federico Fazio’s path, then he composed himself before lifting up the ball onto Harry Kane’s head for him to tap in. His fantastic night was topped when Hugo Lloris was unfortunately sent off after his sweeper ‘keeping backfired after the offside trap was broken, with all three substitutions used, it was Harry Kane who stepped up and took the goalkeeping gloves. The first shot he had to face was a free kick from Jorónimo Berrales, who smartly decided to smack the ball straight at the make shift goalkeeper, and it produced their only goal as Kane spilt the ball and it squirmed passed the line. 5-1, no clean sheet, but a good win and a good three points.

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The team played well, it wasn’t perfect, and Asteras caused us problems at times but individually I think there were a lot of very promising performances. Erik Lamela played a very good game and scored two goals of extraordinary quality, but for me, Harry Kane took the man of the match award. A hat trick, but also his work off of the ball, ability to hold it up and play in his team mates. Harry is a much more well rounded player, who scores so many different types of goals than he is given credit for at times. It’s time for Kane to be given the chance to perform in the Premier League, he has earned the right; much more so both Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor, his goal rate is much better and I think his all round game is also better and probably more developed. His hunger for goals and for games impresses me immensely. Etienne Capoue was impressive once again, he’s developed so much so far this season, he has the ability to dictate games and dominate a midfield and he needs to do that more often in bigger games, he has all the tools to be a massive player for Tottenham. Ben Davies put in arguably his best performance so far in a Spurs shirt, he worked hard down the left flank, was involved heavily in crossing and creating but also assured on the ball and when under pressure defending, coped well. I hope he can continue to improve and push forward.

A good win! Three points and back to winning ways in empathic style. Now, we have to translate this winning formula into the Premier League and beat Newcastle at White Hart Lane this coming Sunday, 26th October. Our next Europa League game will be against Asteras once again, this time we travel to Greece, on Thursday 6th November, where we need a result! Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Asteras Triplos:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 7.5
Capoue – 8.5
Dembele – 7
Lamela – 8.5
Townsend – 6
Kane – 9 – Man of the Match.
Adebayor – 5.

Subs:
Eriksen – 5
Chadli – 6.5
Lennon – 5.

Match highlights from our 5-1 win:

Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Asteras Tripolis.

Match date & time: Thursday 23rd October 2014. 8:05pm KO BST.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV 4. Full world wide TV listings HERE.

Match day three of the Europa League group stages is at our doorstep, and we need to step up our performances & increase our points tally if we are to avoid a shock group stage exit. In two games, we have accumulated just two points and that isn’t good enough, despite two difficult games away at Partizan and at home to Besiktas. It’s important we aim to take full points from our next four games in the group, especially our home fixtures, starting with Asteras Tripolis. Our start of season form has stuttered at times, and we lack consistency from game to game, so that is something we must put right really early before it starts to take an effect on the team, manager & fans. In the Europa League, we are expected to go out, get a few goals and breeze the group, but also make a real go of the knockout stages. We all know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but our players must perform better than they have done so far and aim to win what is a great & prestigious competition. At home to Asteras Tripolis, the expectation is that we will get our first win of the Europa League campaign; it’s now up to the players to deliver that and hopefully with some style.

Asteras Tripolis, despite being the somewhat unknown quantity of Group C, currently top it and are the only team in the group to record a win in the competition so far, beating Partizan Belgrade 2-0 at home. The Greek outfit also managed to get a 1-1 draw away at Besiktas, a team we struggled with at times at the Lane. The unknown aspect of their game could play into their advantage and therefore it’s important the players don’t underestimate the opposition and try to play the game our way, with an early goal, otherwise this team could cause us problems if they decide to sit back, frustrate & then counter attack us. Being group leaders at this moment in time doesn’t mean too much, and you would still expect Tottenham and Besiktas to be going through once the fixtures are all played, but the assumption of having an easy group is wide of the mark and we must take this game seriously and Pochettino has to get the point of professionalism across to the players as best as he can. Asteras will have a game plan, and they will work hard to stick to it; it’s our job to break the team down early and dictate & control the game in the way we want it to be played.

Asteras Tripolis have a couple of injuries heading into the game; striker Ziguy Badibanga (thigh), defender Dorin Goian (ankle) and midfiedler Eric Tie Bie (knee) have been ruled out of the game, with midfielder Dimitris Kourbelis (thigh) a doubt. The main threat for Asteras lies with strikers Jerónimo Barrales, who has 4 goals in 7 games, and Manuel Parra who has 3 goals in 9 games, but 2 in 2 Europa League games. The creator for Asteras is Martin Rollé, the Argentinian attacking midfielder on loan from San Lorenzo has 5 assists in 9 games so far this season, bagging 2 goals as well, he can cause defences problems and can play the incisive pass or deliver the dangerous cross. He either plays on the left hand side or as a number 10. Despite having these threats, we will hope that they won’t be getting many opportunities and we can focus on our attacking prowess.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal), Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) have been ruled out of the game. Other than them, we have a full squad to chose from and it looks as though this will be another opportunity to change the team around and give ‘fringe’ players a chance to express themselves and push for a starting place in the Premier League. As always it’s an opportunity to put their names into Mauricio Pochettino’s thinking with a good performance, and hopefully that can lead to a good, hard working and prosperous squad.

The debate all around the Tottenham fans at the moment is which striker should lead the line. Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane, or Roberto Soldado. In this game, I would start with Harry Kane; he offers the most of any striker we have in my eyes, he works hard, holds the ball up well and can finish chances, which both Soldado and Adebayor are struggling with at this moment in time. It is another opportunity for Harry Kane to prove to Pochettino that he is the option for the Premier League games and can lead the line on his own; so far, Mauricio looks to favour Emmanuel Adebayor over both, but I think Kane has staked a better claim than both so far this season, with 3 goals in 4 starts, the same amount of Adebayor & Soldado in 12 starts combined. In midfield, I expect Mousa Dembele and Benjamin Stambouli to start, with Nabil Bentaleb out injured. Mousa has lost his place in the Premier League starting line up, but has an opportunity to fight for his place in this game. I think Dembele is an incredible player, with talent coursing through his veins, but of course he needs to show it more regularly and also contribute a little more in the attacking third of the pitch. Stambouli and Dembele could provide a very balanced combination; I hope they both show their quality on the pitch. Defensively, Federico Fazio and Vlad Chiriches look the likely partnership, with Fazio suspended from Premier League duty, Jan Vertonghen looks like he will be rested. In goal, it will be interesting to see whether Hugo Lloris or Michel Vorm gets the nod; I wouldn’t be surprised to see either start, but I would personally like to see Vorm get a chance.

Important game! Important to get back to winning ways after losing to Manchester City, and also put our first win on the board in the Europa League Group Stages. The game is being shown live on ITV4, but I will be providing game updates, videos, photos and more on my Twitter account, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Asteras at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Stambouli – Dembele
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Asteras press conference:

How would you line up against Asteras?

Match Review, Manchester City vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 18th October 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Etihad Stadium.

Result: Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham.

Manchester City GoalScorers: Sergio Aguero x4. 13′, 20′, 68′, 75′.

Tottenham GoalScorer: Christian Eriksen 15′.

Well, an absolutely mental game that didn’t go our way whatsoever. The effort from Tottenham was there, we were looking sharp in attack, fairly solid in defence and were more-or-less matching Manchester City stride for stride, but when push came to shove, Manchester City had a World Class finisher and we didn’t. It’s been the story far too often for Tottenham in recent years. We seem to get the chances but the ball doesn’t seem to just fall in the net like it does for the teams who face us. It’s difficult to take, but we have to look at the positives here. We didn’t deserve to lose 4-1. Far from it. The game is full of ifs and buts, and if things had taken a different path in the key moments, I think we would have come away with a point at least. Penalties were those key moments, and the referee didn’t have a good game, at all. In the big moments he let us down. 3 penalties given to Manchester City, when does that ever happen?! But, if we don’t look at those decisions, I have to be relatively happy with our general performance.

There were four penalties given in this game, which was madness. In my opinion, only 2 should have been given, and if the others hadn’t have occurred then maybe other penalties aren’t given. It’s frustrating. A game of ifs and buts, though. The reality is we have come out losing 4-1 and that is very disappointing, even if the performance didn’t deserve that kind of trouncing. We need to be more clinical when we get the chances, whether that is Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor, but we can’t just completely blame Soldado who did play relatively well. For me, in the next game Harry Kane must play, he is the only striker that at the moment can find the back of the net, work hard, and hold the ball up. It’s a must, and I hope Pochettino can see this sooner rather than later. I believe that we can have a good season and when we play the top teams we do need to get points. A win in the next fixture against the ‘big 4′ would be great!

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There were quite a few good performances out on the pitch for Tottenham. Especially up until the 68th minute, because we were right in the game until Aguero’s third goal. Christian Eriksen played probably his best game of the season, getting a goal and he probably could have scored more and assisted another couple! I think these goals that he is scoring will give him a lot of confidence to improve even further this season and become our most important outfield player once again. Ryan Mason has only played a few Premier League games in his career but he has looked like an ever present so far this season, he is calm in possession, but also effective in his work, runs and passing. He always looks forward and is a typical Tottenham youth product who knows the values of the club and the way we like to play, he has a massive future with Tottenham and played very, very well in this game. Hugo Lloris was also great, but I’m sure even if you didn’t watch the game, you already could have guessed that! As well as there were good performances, there were also disappointing ones. I expected more from Erik Lamela, he will know he hasn’t been as effective as he can be and he doesn’t need to be sugar coated or abused, he needs constructive criticism. When he is on the ball, he needs to work it quicker, and find more defence splitting passes – sometimes, the easy ball is the best option, though, and running aimlessly won’t help. When the opportunity to shoot arises, take the opportunity! There is an extremely talented player in Lamela’s body but it is struggling to reach the surface. That first Premier League goal, whether a tap in, a deflection or an absolute stunner will help him though, he needs that soon now.

Difficult to take this result when we didn’t play terribly. Now, we have a good run of fixtures coming up and we need to take loads of points from them, including our games in the Europa League, and getting through to the next round in the Capital One Cup. I’m optimistic at our chances of having a good season; I believe in the squad we have and the manager. Next up, it’s Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League on Thursday 23rd October at White Hart Lane. Then, a return to Premier League action at home to Newcastle United on Sunday 26th October at the Lane. Let’s take positives from a loss and go and get some points in our next fixtures! COYS!!

Player ratings for the team that faced Manchester City:
Lloris – 8.5
Dier – 6
Kaboul – 5.5
Fazio – 5
Rose – 6
Mason – 8 – Man of the Match.
Capoue – 6.5
Lamela – 5.5
Eriksen – 8
Chadli – 6
Soldado – 6.

Subs:
Dembele – 5
Townsend – 5
Vertonghen – 5.

Mauricio Pochettino post match interview:

Match Preview, Manchester City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 18th October 2014. 12:45pm KO BST.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Etihad Stadium.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. World Wide TV listings HERE.

After a long, drawn out international break – Premier League football returns and we certainly won’t be eased back in… The test of Premier League champions Manchester City awaits at the Etihad Stadium, a place nightmares were born last season with a 6-0 defeat. There is no good time to face Manchester City at the Etihad – so this is as good as any. The Tottenham team will have to perform to their maximum & beyond to get the three points that we all crave against the Champions, but it is possible and we have shown our mettle before this season – and now we’ll be looking for that again. No doubt that Manchester City are an incredibly talented, strong and devastating outfit, and at home they are very, very difficult to beat, but on the day of the game you just don’t know what is going to happen, and we’ve beaten them before at the Etihad, despite that being before they hit the heights of winning the League, but we can do it again, and take inspiration from that 1-0 win from Crouch’s header, and also more recently Stoke’s 1-0 win at the Etihad earlier this season. It is possible that we get all three points, but of course, it will need to be a performance full of togetherness, strong mentality and a clinical nature when we get the chances.

Manchester City are a wonderful team with so much quality throughout their squad, we all know how tough this game will be for us. Manchester City sit in 2nd place in the Premier League table with 7 games gone, they have 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss – 14 points. A steady start to the season with their high standards, with the loss coming to Stoke City at home 1-0, and the 2 draws coming against Arsenal and Chelsea. The City team have been performing to a good level, but I think they are yet to reach their swashbuckling best as of yet. Tottenham sit in 6th place in the Premier League, only 3 points off of Manchester City in 2nd, and that tells you how tight this Premier League is and will be in the future. A win for Tottenham makes our start to the season extremely pleasing and I think gives us a massive lift to go on and really achieve this season – but we have an incredibly difficult task ahead of us and we need to put in a massive team performance to get a victory.

The team news for Manchester City is that Samir Nasri (groin) and Eliaquim Mangala (thigh) have been ruled out of the game. Yaya Toure had been touted by the press to be rested in this game after the international break with Ivory Coast, but Pellegrini has brushed that rumour aside, saying he’s likely to play. Other than that, they have a fully fit squad.

It is difficult to pick out just one big threat from the Manchester City team, but I would say that Sergio Aguero, when fit and firing, is the Premier League’s best striker and gives every defence problems every game that he plays, he has 5 goals in 7 Premier League appearances which shows his clinical nature when given the opportunity. Behind him, David Silva provides the creative spark – one of the best players in the Premier League, and best ‘number 10s’ in the World, he can slip the ball between the defence and find an opening you didn’t think was there, he provides the perfect ying to Aguero’s yang and they work very well together. In midfield, Frank Lampard has a very good record against Tottenham when he played at Chelsea, and now after his switch to New York City, and loan deal to Manchester City, he is still in the goals and looks totally settled in Manchester, with his goal Scoring ability not leaving his side.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal) and Kyle Naughton (ankle) are out of the game, with Nacer Chadli (hip) and Hugo Lloris (groin) minor doubts, but fully expected to make the team after being such crucial players for us so far this season. Other doubts include Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb, who have returned late after international duty with Togo and Algeria respectively, but I’d expect both to be fine for the game.

As I’ve said, we’ll need a mammoth team performance to get 3 points and maybe even 1 point, so our players will have to be on top form. I think our problem so far this season has been our lack of clinical edge in front of goal; we create the chances to score but don’t finish them and kill teams off unlike teams such as Chelsea & Manchester City, this is the difference between the top 4 and top 6, our ability to score goals and kill games. A lot of our hope relies on Emmanuel Adebayor finding form again, he hasn’t been able to hit the back of the net like he did in the second half of last season, and his hold up play has also been rather suspect to criticism. But, against his former club, and the inspiration 2 wins with his national team Togo will give him, now’s the perfect time for him to start banging them in again! If Adebayor isn’t available due to getting back late from international duty, I’d give Harry Kane the opportunity up top, his work rate and eye for goal at the moment means he does deserve a shot in the Premier League at some point. In midfield, I think Etienne Capoue has been outstanding so far this season, he is very secure defensively, and passes the ball very well to start attacks and has become a key player to Pochettino’s system; against Manchester City we will definitely need him on top form to help us nullify their attacking threat in midfield, tracking the runs of Lampard, Toure, Silva etc and stopping them in their tracks on the ball, it’ll be a tough afternoon for Etienne but he has the ability to really make the difference in midfield. I’d pick out Capoue vs Toure as the key battle in this game, apart from Aguero vs Lloris! Christian Eriksen was the match winner last time out against Southampton, and I’m hoping he can now push on after that, then match and improve on his form last season, he’s very important for us.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Manchester City have won six of their last seven Premier League meetings with Tottenham Hotspur (L1).

– Tottenham have secured 20 wins against Manchester City in the Premier League; only against Everton (20) have they won as many.

– The last six Premier League games between Man City and Spurs have produced 30 goals (five per game on average), with City scoring 22 of these goals.

– Edin Dzeko has scored six goals in six Premier League games against Spurs; more than versus any other opponent. Four of these goals came in one game (August 2011).

– Sergio Aguero has netted five goals in five PL apps against Tottenham; only against Norwich City (5) has he scored as many in the competition.

– Man City have gone two home games without a win in the Premier League (L1 D1). The last time that they went three PL home games without a victory was back in November 2010 (L1 D2).

– Tottenham have won just three of their last 11 Premier League away matches (W3 D4 L4); this after winning their previous five on the road in succession.

– Manchester City scored 11 goals in their two Premier League games against Spurs in 2013-14. The last team to score more in a single PL season versus one opponent were Spurs against Wigan in 2009-10 (12 goals).

– Spurs lost 0-6 against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in November 2013. This is their joint heaviest defeat in Premier League history (6-0 v Sheffield United in March 1993 and 7-1 v Newcastle United in December 1996).

– Christian Eriksen has only been involved in five goals (three goals, two assists) in 13 away appearances in the Premier League, compared to 12 goals in 19 PL apps at White Hart Lane (six goals, six assists).

I believe this game will be much closer than in previous times, there is no doubt it will be truly difficult but if we can show a similar mentality to the one we showed against Arsenal in the 1-1 draw we can get something from this game. Pochettino has a fairly good record against Manchester City and I trust in him to set the team out in the correct way to suffocate their attacking threat, but also hurt them with ours. I’m looking forward to Tottenham being back in action! The game is live on BT Sport at 12:45pm, but I’ll be giving live updates, photos, videos and more on my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Manchester City at the Etihad:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Chadli – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

The Football Blogging Awards – Vote for Addicted To Spurs!

If you have been following me on Twitter, or read my earlier blog piece, you would know that I am competing in the Football Blogging Awards – also known as the FBAs. Thank you to all that have voted, as I have made the final 10 candidates for the club blogging award! This in itself is a massive achievement and once again I thank everyone for their votes. Now, as a finalist, I need every single vote that I can get to fight off some very stern opposition. This post is to notify everyone on how to vote for Addicted To Spurs as the best Club blogger of 2014. There are two easy ways to vote – via Twitter, or via the Football Blogging Award’s website.

To vote for me on Twitter, use this click to tweet link: http://ctt.ec/3M3E4 – after the tweet is sent, that’s it, you have voted for me. It only takes a second, so if you appreciate my blogs then I’d be eternally grateful if you could vote for me.

If Twitter isn’t your style, but you’d like to share your Addicted To Spurs love, you can vote for me online here – http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/vote-now/ - all you have to do is enter your Name and email accordingly, select Addicted To Spurs in the ‘club’ section and register your vote. After, you will receive an email to confirm your vote. That is it!

I can’t stress enough as to how grateful I am to everyone voting for me. Thank you and get voting! COYS!!

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match: Sunday 5th October 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 1-0 Southampton.

Tottenham GoalScorer: Christian Eriksen 40′.

Three points! Hurrah! A brilliant victory, hard fought, nail biting but all in all, extremely positive. Southampton are a good side, who are in terrific form and we shut them out and got all three points, even if we did have to hold on and sit back a little bit more than we wanted to at the end. We worked hard and offensively we were threatening, even if we didn’t finish off the chances we had and make more of the possession game that we played. Both teams played fairly well, and in the end, it was the quality of Christian Eriksen that split the teams. There is a lot more that we could have done, but it is all positive signs to improvement in the future. One thing that still isn’t quite there is our clinical nature in front of goal. We have to finish off our chances and finish off teams when we get the chance, otherwise we take the risk of losing 2 points, or maybe even 3. I can’t complain with three points though, and even better that we did it as a team – together.

In the first half, I thought we played really well, passed the ball around, pressed high and showed some of our best form of the season. When we pressure teams we force mistakes and get chances. We saw that against QPR and now against Southampton & Arsenal. We need to press as a team and this will come in time. Erik Lamela didn’t stop all game, fighting for every ball available and when he was dispossessed, he fought for the ball back again. The same goes for all the midfield, in all honesty, which is very pleasing. After creating a few chances, we were getting closer and closer before the deadlock was broken – good work from Emmanuel Adebayor bombing down the left hand side, who then found Nacer Chadli, with a cute flick out to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box who took a touch and rifled the ball low into the bottom left corner, 1-0, close to half time and we were playing some great football. Almost straight after that, we found another opportunity. Nacer Chadli went through on goal and threaded the ball low, but it hit the post and came back out instead of creeping in. That was a little frustrating and unfortunate, but we were creating, and looking threatening.

In the second half, it was more difficult, we didn’t create as many clear cut chances, and let Southampton into the game a little bit more than we would have liked. They improved, worked the ball a little bit more, earned more free kicks and the ball was in our half much, much more. Defensively, we were compact though and kept them at bay. We limited their chances and when they did get opportunities, Hugo Lloris was to thank. I thought Kaboul and Vertonghen worked very very well together, limiting the in form Graziano Pelle to next to no chances. We worked well as a team but the game got more tough as time ticked away, the ball seemed to be constantly in the air and we couldn’t get it down and bring the ball out of the danger areas, giving away silly free kicks, no thanks to the referee, though. We did manage to see the game out, thankfully and got a vital Premier League three points after a little bit of a shaky few games. Now hopefully we can push on and gallop up the table as far as possible!

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The team played well as a whole, and it’s difficult to pick one outstanding player. Defensively, we were very strong again, and I hold that to the partnership between Vertonghen and Kaboul, they both compliment each other very well and this leads to a balanced, well organised back line who look very comfortable together with good understanding. I think Jan Vertonghen has severely improved his form in recent games and I think we can finally say that he is completely back to his incredible best, especially alongside an in-form Younes Kaboul, and even an in-form Danny Rose, who was brilliant in this game – defensively and offensively. In midfield, Etienne Capoue and Ryan Mason played fantastically well together, chasing, tackling, pressing and moving the ball quickly when they had possession. Etienne especially was formidable once again and he is becoming invaluable to the team, and for sure once of the first names on the team sheet. It was great to see the three players behind the striker – Lamela, Eriksen & Chadli – all linking well and creating chances, as well as making chances for themselves. Their partnership and understanding can only improve and when it is in full flow they can become an incredibly frightening proposition for the opposition. My only disappointment was Emmanuel Adebayor, who I thought again had a shocking game, and I would call for either Roberto Soldado or Harry Kane to be given the chance to lead the line instead of Adebayor.

A good win and a decent performance. It was a tough game in which we did well to defeat an in-form Southampton side. We did well and now we have to improve further, our next opponent being the easy challenge of the Premier League Champions away from home, Manchester City! That game falling on Saturday 18th October at the Etihad. Looking forward to it after the international break. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris – 9
Naughton – 7 (injured in first half)
Kaboul – 8.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 8.5
Capoue – 9 – Man of the Match.
Mason – 8
Lamela – 7
Eriksen – 7.5
Chadli – 8
Adebayor – 5.5.

Subs:
Dier – 8
Dembélé – 6.5
Kane – 6.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post math press conference:

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match interview:

Christian Eriksen’s goal against Southampton: