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:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 5th October 2014. 2:05pm KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

This game has become very important. At White Hart Lane, against a well drilled, offensively exciting team, we have to be on top form to get the full three points. This match has become a must win after we have failed to win a Premier League game since the thrashing of QPR in just our second game of the season. Since then, we have lost twice and drawn twice, which is not up to Tottenham standard with 6 games gone. Mauricio Pochettino knows we have to improve – to be more clinical in front of goal when we get the chances, more creative & purposeful when we have possession and defensively solid when under pressure. We showed a lot of good, positive things against Arsenal last week, but now we need to turn that form into a winning formula again in the Premier League, and not be left playing catch up on the rest so early in the season. It is important, though, that if things don’t click, that we remain behind Mauricio Pochettino, because he needs time to build & mould this squad into his team, and only then can we judge him objectively. Knee-jerk reactions help nobody, we have learnt that the hard way. We have a very talented manager, who our players have warmed to magnificently. Now we – the fans – have to give him the time to succeed.

This will be the first time Mauricio Pochettino has faced his former side, he was replaced by Ronald Koeman, who has done a fantastic job in the hot seat, when everything was looking so bleak for Southampton, he has turned it into a very positive, forward thinking club that nobody expected it would be this season after so much upheaval. Southampton have started this season spectacularly and sit in second place in the Premier League. After Liverpool beat them 2-1 at Anfield on the opening day of their season, they are unbeaten in all competitions, with just 1 draw (to West Brom) against their name. They have won 4 Premier League games on the trot, scoring 10 goals and conceding just 2 goals, which has led them to second in the table, only 3 points behind the supposedly unstoppable Chelsea. Tottenham sit in 8th place, 5 points off Southampton in second. At this early stage in the season, the table can change dramatically with just a couple of wins or a couple of losses, and hopefully Tottenham can get a few wins under the belt now and push in from that Arsenal result. In our last 2 meetings with Southampton, the scores have been 3-2 in favour of Tottenham. Hopefully, we see a great game like that, with a similar result for Tottenham.

The team news for Southampton is that James Ward-Prowse (foot), Maya Yoshida (ankle), Lloyd Isgrove (knee), Sam Gallagher (knee) and Jay Rodriguez (knee) are out of the game at the Lane, with Florin Gardos (calf) a doubt. Southampton have some extremely talented players going forward; their wingers/attacking midfielders are their biggest threat in my opinion. Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mané are both really creative, exciting players that can make things happen in the final third. Tadic has 3 assists in 6 appearances in the Premier League, and has created many more chances, while Mané has 2 assists in his first 2 games with Southampton. These players are making an instant impact after coming into the squad in the summer window, which is what you want from new signings after a lot of your best players have departed. In the middle of the park, the man that makes Southampton tick round and does the dirty work is Morgan Schneiderlin, from his deep lying role in midfield, he makes Southampton move the ball quickly, and when they don’t have the ball he is trying to win it back, making tackles and interceptions all over the park. I think Schneiderlin is Southampton’s most influential player and there’s no guessing as to why Tottenham were sniffing around in the summer window. The finisher of the team is Graziano Pelle, he has been in great form since coming in from Feyenoord scoring 5 goals in 8 appearances in all competitions, but it’s not just his Goalscoring form that has impressed, it’s his ability to bring the ball down and play in his midfielders around him. His hold up play is very good and he is a strong, imposing player, who is a good outlet for a Southampton team that play very nice football across the floor.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, and that is our only injury for this game. A fully fit and ready squad, which is extremely pleasing, but also very rare in Tottenham’s case! For the Besiktas game, Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue had knocks but they are ready and fit for the game against Southampton. After making 10 changes to the team in midweek, the team will be fresh and hopefully ready to get three points at White Hart Lane.

The team picks itself mostly, I think. But the one position that divides opinion throughout the fan base is up top. Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane are the options, with Emmanuel Adebayor starting every Premier League game so far this season, only getting 1 goal and disappointing in his work rate and ability to get into the position to finish chances, and when he gets the chances, isn’t finishing them! Roberto Soldado would be the likely replacement, with 2 goals in 3 starts so far this season, but his work rate, in my opinion, isn’t much better than Emmanuel Adebayor and isn’t getting himself into the areas to score goals when he plays. With all that said, I would start with the younger option, Harry Kane, up top on his own. He has showed his ability on numerous occasions to score goals, all sorts of goals, and he works his socks off every time he gets onto the pitch, so I think Pochettino should put faith in Harry Kane and give him a chance to start in the Premier League. If there was a finishing competition between Adebayor, Soldado and Kane today, I think Harry Kane would win. Kane’s performance against Besiktas in midweek was outstanding from the rest and for that, I think he deserves a start. However, if I were to predict the starter, I think Emmanuel Adebayor will again get the nod. Nacer Chadli has been brilliant so far this season, scoring very important goals, and hopefully he can continue that this Sunday against Southampton. If Nacer can keep fit, I’m sure he can get 10+ goals this season and be very useful to us, playing either on the left, or as a second striker.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Two Spurs players scored braces in 3-2 wins over Southampton in last season’s Barclays Premier League games (Adebayor and Eriksen).

– Mauricio Pochettino comes up against his former club who he coached for 54 Premier League games with a record of W19 D18 L17.

– Tottenham have won all four Premier League games against Saints since the south coast club’s return to the top flight.

– Southampton’s total of 13 points from six games is their best since claiming 14 in 1983-84.

– Spurs have lost their last two home Premier League games. The last time they lost three in a row on home soil was in September 2008 under Juande Ramos.

– Southampton have won three of their last five Premier League away games (W3 D1 L1).

– Graziano Pelle has scored four goals in his last four Premier League outings.

– Since August 2012, Pelle has scored 54 goals in 63 league appearances.

– Sadio Mane has made five assists in five league games this season (Premier League and Austrian Bundesliga).

– The 19 players to have made a Premier League appearance for Southampton this season are made up of 14 different nationalities; the most diverse of PL teams.

A massive game is on the horizon! Although I’m sure it’ll be tight, nervous and tough, I am confident we can build on the performance against Arsenal and get back to winning ways. The game is not televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane and find everyone a stream. Follow me on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Chadli – Eriksen
Kane (preferred)/Adebayor (predicted).

Mauricio Pochettino previews Tottenham vs Southampton:

Who do you think should start up front against Southampton? Comment below!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Besiktas.

Match date & time: Thursday 2nd October 2014. 8:05pm KO BST.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV4 in the UK. Full worldwide TV listings HERE.

The Europa League is here again! And I’m really, really looking forward to this game. We’re coming up against a good team, with fantastic away support that will bring an electric European atmosphere to White Hart Lane. I always enjoy the European games at the Lane – there is something special about watching Tottenham under the lights, donning that all white strip with the Tottenham faithful hopefully belting out songs and getting behind the team in a difficult game. The game will be tight, fiercely contested and full of tension, and I hope that we can come away with a much needed three points, helping us to progress in the group. If we can get past Besiktas, who are without a doubt the toughest team in the group, I think coming out on top in the group will prove much easier.

Besiktas are a good side – with good players that compete at the top of the Turkish Super Lig. They are part of 4 teams that compete for the title, Fenerbahce, Champions Last Season, Galatasaray, Besiktas and Trabzonspor, who are all good teams who are consistently in Europe, whether the Champions League or Europa League. For the past 5 seasons, though, Besiktas haven’t been able to finish above 3rd place in the Super Lig, seemingly unable to push on further after every season, with their last title coming in 2009. This season, Besiktas have started well, unbeaten from their first 4 games in the League; 2 wins and 2 draws, sitting in 2nd place behind Akhisar Belediye, who have came out of nowhere after coming 10th last season. In the Europa League, Besiktas drew 1-1 with Asteras Tripolis in game week one away from home, so we’ll take heart from that I’m sure. Last time we faced Besiktas we came out on top in 2006 in the previously named UEFA Cup, a 2-0 victory in Istanbul – Dimitar Berbatov and Hossam Ghaly getting the goals under Martin Jol’s guidance. A similar result in this game at the Lane would be glorious!

The team news for Besiktas is that Mustafa Pektemek is the only doubt for Besiktas with injury, with the rest of the squad fit. The important players for Besiktas starts with midfielder Gokhan Tore, who was the GoalScorer in their game against Tripolis; at just 22 he is a very good player, and can grab the odd goal from midfield. Another midfielder who can make the impact is Olcay Sahan, he’s Besiktas’ top scorer in the League with 3 goals in 4 games and from the wing he’s very threatening. Sahan will be feeding their new striker who is very familiar to English football, Demba Ba, going to Besiktas from Chelsea after having previous spells at Newcastle and West Ham, he’s a very good striker who can produce a finish in the box when you need it; he’s a big player for Besiktas and endeared himself to the fans with a hat-trick in a Champions League qualifier against Feyernoord. We know his threat and it’ll be tricky to contain.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, while Danny Rose (knock) and Etienne Capoue (knock) are doubts, and will probably be rested even if they are fit. The team will change, that’s for sure. Ben Davies, Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend & Roberto Soldado look to be in line to feature and they need to perform as I’m sure Besiktas will put out a strong team away from home, putting in a strong performance.

For me, it’s important that we are strong in midfield for this game, close Besiktas down early and keep the ball well, and when we have the ball, be effective in attack, with pace and intensity. I expect the midfield duo to be Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli, and we need them to avoid being ponderous otherwise they will be caught out and give pressure to our back line. When they have the ball, they must find the right pass quickly and effectively to more advanced players so they can hopefully create chances and goals. Up front, Roberto Soldado is the likely option to start and after his good goal against Nottingham Forest he has 2 goals in 2 starts so far this season, and hopefully he can continue this against Besiktas, and if he does I think he deserves a chance to start up top in the Premier League against Southampton. In defence, new signing Federico Fazio should start and he has impressed me so far. For what he lacks in pace, he makes up for in intelligence and positioning, with the ability to play the ball out of defence as well. He has a fight on his hands to displace Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen though, who were colossal against Arsenal at the weekend.

A big game is on the horizon! It’s going to be tough, hard fought and hopefully full of exciting football. The game is to be shown live on ITV 4, and I’ll update as much as possible from White Hart Lane. I’m very much looking forward to the game, and I hope we can get the win! Three points and a good win is needed! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Besiktas at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Chiriches – Davies
Stambouli – Bentaleb
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino pre match press conference:

Match Review, Arsenal vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 27th September 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Emirates Stadium.

Result: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham.

Arsenal GoalScorer: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 74′.

Tottenham GoalScorer: Nacer Chadli 56′.

A good, well fought point at the Emirates in the North London Derby. The game was played with desire & fight, and that’s exactly what we wanted from the team. Pochettino set the team out perfectly for this match, we were compact defensively and fast on the counter attack, but lacked that clinical edge in the final third. It wasn’t clicking, but we were looking threatening and we were causing Arsenal problems; something that is difficult to do, especially away from home. We can be proud of a good point and even better performance. It gives us more confidence in big games that we can go to difficult places and get results, stick games out, hang in there, use our grit; something we have lacked in recent times. It’s important we take this result forward and improve even further. We are a good side and under Pochettino we can develop and have a good season; I truly believe that.

In the first half, it took us a while to acclimatise to the situation, but we were still keeping Arsenal out, while trying to find our own passing rhythm. Arsenal were a little sluggish, and so were we. It was scrappy football, but passionate with a lot of tackles, interceptions and blocks being made. Defensively we were superb, composed and full of fight which is extremely pleasing as it’s been one of our main downfalls this season. We had chances in the first half, that’s for sure. On the counter attack we looked able to cut through Arsenal’s defence. Nacer Chadli and Emmanuel Adebayor having chances that really should have been goals, but as I say, we weren’t clinical in taking our chances. Arsenal had opportunities too, but they were long range efforts without really looking terribly threatening. To go in 0-0 at the break was good, we did well.

The second half was much more open, entertaining and exciting. Both teams were attacking with much more intent, and the game was being stretched with the pace of the attacks. Then, a mistake in the Arsenal ranks led to Christian Eriksen intercepting the ball, offloading it to Erik Lamela who composed himself and threaded a ball through to Nacer Chadli who picked his spot past Sczezney. 1-0, 56 minutes. An amazing moment, with the away section going mental. After the goal, it was all about holding on and getting the result. After a goal, it is subconscious to sit back and that’s what happened, Arsenal pushed and we continued to get pushed further and further back, and when that happens you need a hell of a lot of luck and grit to get through with 3 points. The goal came a little early in the end. Score at 70 or 80 minutes and I think we come out victorious but that’s not in our control, and the goal sparked Arsenal into life and the introduction of Alexis Sanchez gave them more pace and directness, making it difficult for us. Unfortunately, on 74 minutes, the ball squirmed it’s way into the box, Danny Welbeck air-shotting and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain behind him to power the ball into the top of the net, maybe too easily. We ended up with a point, working very hard and making sure we saw out at least a point, despite intense Arsenal pressure. I’m pleased with the players, the performance and content with a point.

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There were a lot of stellar performances out on the field in this match. Non more so than captain Younes Kaboul. His performance was of a typical Tottenham captain; he led by example, giving everything, led with his mouth, ordering and organising, and played magnificently, saving the team on numerous occasions. I can’t express enough how happy I am to see him performing like Younes Kaboul again, the one we all know and love, pre-injury. If he can continue to perform like that, he can be a legendary captain of Tottenham Hotspur. Another incredible performance was from Hugo Lloris; he is a true leader in the team and shows every game that he is worth at least 15 points a season to Tottenham Hotspur, with his incredible agility, quick thinking and control of his box. Without a doubt the best Tottenham goalkeeper in recent history, and one of the best ever. The defence was just brilliant, every single one of them. Jan Vertonghen returned to the Premier League defence and added such composure, quality and fantastic communication with the rest of his defenders. He is in my opinion, very close to being World Class and he backed me up today. Danny Rose has improved incredible amounts this season, and he reached a level I didn’t think he was capable of in his defensive game – he made tackles, blocks, interceptions and everything in-between, a complete left back performance in my view, the addition of Ben Davies has pushed him into new realms of quality I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think he was capable of. Kyle Naughton and substitute Eric Dier were also brilliant, giving everything in such an important game.

A good point! A performance we can be proud of. There is still room for improvement, especially upfront, being more clinical. Let’s use this good point as a springboard to future success now. Starting with Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday at White Hart Lane, a difficult, intense game on the horizon. Then, in the Premier League, on Sunday we face Pochettino’s old side Southampton at the Lane. Looking forward to it! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Arsenal:
Lloris – 9
Naughton – 8
Kaboul – 9 – Man of the match.
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Capoue – 8
Mason – 8
Lamela – 6
Eriksen – 6.5
Chadli – 7
Adebayor – 5.5.

Subs:
Dier – 7.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 6.5.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Ryan Mason Arsenal reaction: