Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Brom.

Match date & time: Sunday 21st September 2014. 1:30pm KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not on TV in the UK. World wide TV listings HERE.

This game against West Brom has become increasingly important with every dropped point in the last 3 games in all competitions. Firstly, a bad 3-0 loss to Liverpool, then a frustrating 2-2 draw at Sunderland, then an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League. Those results have been truly difficult to take as we know we are capable of better, that the players are capable of more. But, it’s not clicked in those three games and now it’s time to get back on track with a win at the Lane over West Brom, time to show some real attacking flair and excite the crowd, just like against QPR earlier in the season. It’s important we end this short streak of not winning in its tracks before it can take a toll on the squad and the fans.

Focusing on West Brom, they are without a win in the Premier League so far currently with only 2 points to their name from 4 games. Their latest result was a 2-0 home defeat to Everton, and new boss Alan Irvine is having a torrid start to life as a Premier League manager. Even in the Capital One Cup, West Brom needed penalties to get past League 2 side Oxford United in the 2nd round. The Baggies are yet to find winning formula, so let’s hope they don’t find the correct calculation this Sunday and continue with their dwindling form. West Brom will need to find wins soon if they’re to kick start their season, but hopefully on Sunday Tottenham will be too tough a task for the Midlands outfit.

The team news for the Albion is that Stephane Sessegnon (eye), Joleon Lescott (knee), Yousouff Mulumbu (hamstring) and Vitor Anichebe (groin) are all doubts for the game, but, it is expected that they will return in some capacity, whether that’s the bench or the starting eleven, that is yet to be seen. But, some important players for West Brom are listed there and it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Tottenham if some of them didn’t make it in time for this match.

The important players for West Brom include strikers Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye, who are both very much capable of grabbing a goal. Saido Berahino has scored 2 goals this season, both in 1 game against Sunderland on the first day of the season, those are Albion’s only goals this season’s Brown Ideye is West Brom’s record signing and he has so far shown the strength to play in the Premier League, so we’ll need to keep a close IdEYE on him (excuse the pun), despite him not being able to score so far this season. A player to look out for this Sunday hasn’t made his debut as of yet, Silvestre Varela on loan from Porto is a very decent player and if he is to make his debut could be a real threat in attack. Defensively, Albion rely on Jonas Olsson in defence to give them stability, and I’m sure he will latch on to Emmanuel Adebayor (should he start) and make it difficult for him to get space, especially in and around the box. He will match Adebayor for height and that is an advantage to stopping Adebayor.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Andros Townsend (dead leg) is a doubt for the game, while Kyle Walker (abdominal) remains out of the game. The players rested for the Partizan Belgrade game, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele, now return to the squad, which is obviously a big boost to our hopes after Pochettino made 10 changes to the team that faced Sunderland on Thursday. It’s important that we don’t let our midweek game affect our performance this Sunday and play with energy, intensity & flair.

Nacer Chadli has scored 3 goals in 3 games so far this season and has been incredibly impressive. So far showing why we signed him; for his goal scoring ability from the wing. Last season, he didn’t show that and only got 1 goal in the Premier League, but he’s started this season flying and cemented his name on the team sheet so far. For Twente, he got 18 goals in his last season and I think it’s possible for him to get 10+ this season, which would be important goals for us, like having another striker. Christian Eriksen showed against Sunderland that he is getting back to somewhere near last season’s form, and I hope now he can push on further and improve on last season after a disappointing start to the season, lacking maybe a little bit of sharpness. Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t been on top form this season, but he’s an extremely important player for our season so we need him to find his mojo and score some goals before his lack of goals gets to him; he needs to get back to last season’s form, otherwise Roberto Soldado & Harry Kane will be breathing down his neck for that starting berth. Goals win games & we need Adebayor to bring his A game. Defensively, Jan Vertonghen was very good alongside Federico Fazio on Thursday night, and after missing the Sunderland game it’s important for Jan to get back into the team. Whether that’s in a defensive partnership with captain Younes Kaboul, or with new signing Federico Fazio, who was also good against Partizan.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta

- Christian Eriksen scored in both Barclays Premier League games against West Brom last season.

- West Brom are without a win in nine Barclays Premier League meetings with Spurs (D5 L4).

- Tottenham have conceded almost as many handballs (6) as they have scored goals (7) in the Premier League this season.

- Tottenham have given away two of the five penalties awarded in the Premier League this season.

- Craig Gardner has been booked in four of his last five Premier League appearances, including in each of his last three.

- Saido Berahino remains the only West Brom player to score in the Premier League this season (2).

- Last season, Tottenham played a Premier League record 22 games on a Sunday.

- WBA have made four errors leading to goal this season, equalling their total from last season.

- The Baggies have won none of their last 13 Premier League games on a Sunday (D6 L7), last tasting victory when Roy Hodgson guided them to a win against Liverpool in April 2012.

- Etienne Capoue has made the most successful passes in the Premier League this season (342).

Very important game! The need to get back to winning ways is massive after a few disappointing result, and this is a very good opportunity to do just that. Although the game isn’t shown live on TV in the UK, I’ll be sure to provide a stream for you all on Twitter, along with match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and more. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted team to face West Brom at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

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Match Preview, Partizan Belgrade vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Thursday 18th September 2014. 6pm KO GMT.

Competition: Europa League – Group C.

Venue: Partizan Stadium.

TV: ITV4 in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After getting past the play-off round, we’ve made it into the Europa League group stage and been drawn with some tricky ties in the road to Warsaw. Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade and Asteras Tripolis are the opponents and we start the journey with a trip to Serbia, Belgrade for the first challenge of Partizan. We know that we are favourites in the group but this doesn’t make our job any easier; we still have to go to some difficult venues and try to get results, be professional and put some good performances in. The Europa League, as I’ve insisted many times before, is a great competition in which you can still face some very tough teams in Europe. Tottenham have a lot of history in the competition (UEFA Cup) and it’s important we do well, especially with the added incentive of Champions League football if we win the competition. It all starts in Serbia.

Focusing on Partizan Belgrade, last season they finished second in the Serbian Super Liga, behind Crvena Zvezda. They are the two teams out in front of the Serbian League and the teams were only separated by 1 point last season, Partizan only losing 3 games in the whole season, winning 22 out of their 30 League games, so they are used to winning, especially at home and their confidence will be high, being unbeaten in 20 League games at Partizan Stadium. This season, they sit top of the Super Liga after 5 games, winning all 5 of them, scoring more than 1 goal in each of those fixtures. So they have momentum, having won 10 of their last 10 League fixtures, Partizan are also unbeaten in their last 13 fixtures in all competitions. In their Europa League play-off, they defeated Neftçi 3-2 at home in the first leg, and 1-2 away from home in the second leg. They are a side that is used to winning, that will fight hard in this game and try to cause us problems, especially with the vocal backing of their fans in their home ground. We have to be professional and if we play our game and impose it on them, I’m sure we can come away with three points.

Their are a few good players for Belgrade that could cause us problems; upfront, Danko Lazović has 5 goals in his first 5 League games for Partizan and has established himself as their main goalscorer, as well as fellow striker Petar Škuletić, who has 4 goals in his first 5 League games. In midfield, 18 year old Andrija Živković provides the creative spark in midfield, playing as the offensive midfielder, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him. Also, in defence, highly rated 22 year old Nemanja Petrović is important for the Belgrade team, so we’ll have to get past him in attack.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado is back in contention after disturbance in his neck and back, but Kyle Walker (abdominal) is still out. The players who haven’t travelled to Belgrade to face Partizan are newly appointed Captain Younes Kaboul, along with vice captain Emmanuel Adebayor. Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele have also been left in London for the Europa League fixture. It’s important that the players who have travelled take this game seriously & professionally, and come back with a victory and momentum going into the game against West Brom at the weekend.

In the team, it is a good chance to give game time to our new signings, helping them to bed in and understand how Tottenham want to play this season under Mauricio Pochettino, so I’d imagine both Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio will play and get their first starts for Tottenham, and first appearance in Fazio’s case. Another first appearance could come for Michel Vorm in goal after the player was registered for the Europa League & Premier League, finally, after being put on a strict fitness regime. This game will represent a good opportunity for either Roberto Soldado or Harry Kane upfront; if Roberto Soldado has had enough training time with the squad, I’d like to see him start, but I think because Soldado has had a while out of training, I think it’s more likely Harry Kane will start upfront, seeing as Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t travelled with the team. Mauricio Pochettino hinted in his press conference that young defender/defensive midfielder Milos Veljkovic could have the chance to play in his home nation; which is good to see a youngster break through after good work with the youth teams, he is a good player with big potential and I hope he can get some minutes this Thursday evening.

A new beginning to a familiar competition. Big expectations lie on the shoulders on Tottenham; we have to hope that the players rise to this occasion and play like the favourites, play in a professional manner and get the three points to take back to North London. It’s important for our Europa League campaign that we start with a win. The game is shown live on ITV4 for UK fans, but you can also follow me on Twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for all the match updates, photos, videos and more. The game kicks off at 6pm Thursday evening. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Partizan Belgrade:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Fazio – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Kane.

Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 13th September 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium of Light.

Result: Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland GoalScorers: Adam Johnson 4′, Harry Kane OG 82′.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Nacer Chadli 2′, Christian Eriksen 48′.

Difficult to swallow. After such a positive performance to come away with just 1 point is very difficult to take, but we’re only 4 games in and we have to look at it objectively, emphasising on the positives. The attack is starting to click, we have new signings set to come into the defence, additionally Jan Vertonghen who was missing today. We led 2-1 for a large portion of the second half and looked relatively comfortable and probably should have gone up 3-1 or 4-1 if not for the crossbar and a little bit of luck. It is though but we look forward. I think there are things we definitely need to improve on, but I trust in Pochettino to deliver us a win at home to West Brom and look even better and even more solid than we looked in this game.

In the first half, the pace of the game was electric, we almost went ahead in the first minute, but were unlucky. We pressed very high and didn’t give Sunderland any time to think, and before we knew it, Emmanuel Adebayor took a shot which was parried by the Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone, only into Nacer Chadli’s path who finished well into the bottom of the net for 1-0 in the second minute. Only 2 minutes later, Adam Johnson bombards into the Tottenham box and gets a shot away, and it somehow scurries into the net after a couple of slight deflections. Disappointing, but the pace of the game was such that we could hardly take the goals in. Attack after attack followed but the second goal wouldn’t come in the first half, as the game went a bit flat with Sunderland sitting a bit deeper and Tottenham not really penetrating enough. Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli were a threat though, creating a couple of opportunities but nothing really clear cut. It was a shot from Mousa Dembele which got the Spurs fans out of their seats, powering a shot from outside the box and crushing against the outside of the post. Unlucky.

In the second half, we started well once again and got the early goal, once again. This time it was a good run by Emmanuel Adebayor, who then put in a cross for Nacer Chadli, and he squared it trying to find Christian Eriksen, and after a few knocks around the box it fell to Eriksen who prodded the ball home for 2-1, and it looked as though we’d push on and get the three points. But, the third goal was elusive. You could say we weren’t clinical enough, but it was also that little bit of luck not going our way. Through balls that were just a tad too far to reach, crosses that were a little too far and shots that were just a little too high. We had our chances to kill it off, but didn’t take them and that is disappointing. As the game went on we seemed to drop too deep, something that is natural when you have a lead to defend, but you have to fight against it and push high as there was nobody really who could affect us in behind. We have quick defenders and a quick goalkeeper. The goal didn’t come from that, though. A free kick somehow squirmed through our defence and hit Harry Kane, deflecting into his own goal unfortunately. A blind piece of bad luck took the three points away from our grasp, but we have to be pleased with the performance and hopeful we will become more clinical.

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There were some good performances from the Tottenham team, Christian Eriksen showing better form than in his previous games under Pochettino, again showing his vision and ability on the ball, as well as showing he can pop up and score a goal when it’s needed. Another good performance was from Mousa Dembele who especially in the first half showed his immense potential to be an important player for Tottenham; on the ball he is exceptional and showed offensive ability which hasn’t been shown a lot from him in recent times, even though he is capable. Danny Rose seems to keep improving under Pochettino’s guidance as well, with Ben Davies not in the squad, probably due to the fact he played 90 minutes midweek in Andorra for Wales. In defence, we missed Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Kyle Walker and new signing Federico Fazio wasn’t deemed ready by Pochettino. So we aren’t at full strength, that’s for sure, and we do need to improve.

Difficult to take but as the old Spurs saying goes; we move forward and look to the next game. Next up, we return to Europa League action, travelling to Belgrade to face Partizan on Thursday 18th September. We return to Premier League action next Sunday the 21st at White Hart Lane against West Brom, a game we’ll be aiming to win. For all the updates, follow @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Sunderland:
Lloris – 6
Dier – 5.5
Kaboul – 6
Chiriches – 6.5
Rose – 7.5
Dembele – 8
Capoue – 7.5
Lamela – 7
Chadli – 7.5
Eriksen – 8 Man of the Match.
Adebayor – 6.

Subs:
Stambouli – 6
Kane – 3
Lennon – N/A.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match interview:

Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 13th September 2014. 3pm KO GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium Of Light.

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

The Premier League is back! After a somewhat dull international break, Tottenham return to our lives with a difficult trip up to Wearside to face Gus Poyet’s Sunderland. A tough fixture away from home, but one we are expected to get maximum points from after a disappointing 3-0 drubbing from Liverpool at White Hart Lane, we have some making up to do, and try to show the same form that blew Queen’s Park Rangers away last month. Pochettino has had some time on the training pitch during this international period and you’d hope the players are feeling refreshed and ready to put in a performance showcasing Mauricio Pochettino’s ideas & style of play. A term I liked was to ‘suffocate’ the opponents through high pressure & fast attacking football. That’s what I’m looking for this Saturday afternoon, as well as three points.

Sunderland are as yet, without a win in their first three Premier League fixtures with two draws and a loss. Picking up a point away to West Brom & at home to Manchester United, which all-in-all, isn’t something to be totally ashamed of, but they lost away from home to QPR in terrible fashion, losing 1-0 and showing a distinct lack of fire-power, not being able to convert from 16 attempts. But, at home, against Manchester United they did well to grind out a point, especially after going behind in the first place; that’s showed fight and they do have quality, which we will have to be wary of. For Tottenham, as mentioned we had a bit of a ‘blip’ to the start of our season, losing uninspiringly to Liverpool at home, but looking beyond that, we won our first two games and we have to say it’s been a positive start, especially the convincing win over QPR at the Lane. Now, we have a tough away trip in which we may need to grind out a win, which is a different proposition to QPR and Liverpool, and more similar to West Ham, even with the sendings off. It’s another big test but we’re definitely the favourites for this clash, considering the differing starts to the season.

The only team news for Sunderland is that new signings Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez are in line to make their Black Cat debuts, with the rest of the squad fit for the tie. The players to watch for Sunderland include two of their new signings from this Summer, Ricky Alvarez and Will Buckley, both attacking midfielders they offer skill and pace to the Sunderland side and look to cause problems to the opposition. Buckley has shown in his first game after arriving from Brighton that he can deal with the Premier League, showing his directness and pace that is a danger to defences, while Alvarez is yet to play in the Premier League, he offers a different dimension to their midfield, with much more creativity from the Argentinian. Another important player for Sunderland is Jack Rodwell, who is looking to rebuild his career after a stuttering move to Manchester City; he has the talent and is a very solid & tidy player in the centre of midfield.

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The team news for Tottenham is that striker Roberto Soldado (neck/back) remains a doubt for the game, along with Nabil Bentaleb who arrived slightly late from international duty with Algeria, while right back Kyle Walker (pelvis) is a definite absentee with a long term problem. The good news for Tottenham is that Eric Dier is fit after a knock that kept him out of the England U21 squad, while new signings Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio are available to make their Tottenham debuts on Wearside. Our international players all returned without injury and are fit and ready, except Nabil Bentaleb supposedly, for the trip to Sunderland.

There are quite a few decisions for Mauricio Pochettino to mull over in his team selection; one being the places of new signings Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli, and whether or not to enter them straight into the first 11. Personally, I would play both players. With the possible absence of Nabil Bentaleb, I would play Stambouli alongside Etienne Capoue in the middle of the park; I think this is a very strong and capable midfield that would combat Sunderland well with Cattermole & Rodwell, who are tough tackling and powerful, similar to Etienne and Benjamin, so a straight battle would be interesting for sure and that combination is most likely our best chance of winning and breaking down Sunderland’s attacks. Another conundrum for Pochettino is the left back slot, whether to play Danny Rose or Ben Davies; I chose Danny Rose over Davies for the first three Premier League fixtures, but I think Ben Davies should be given his first Premier League start this Saturday afternoon, after his displays in Europe and for Wales, I don’t think anyone is doubting that Ben Davies will become our number 1 left back sooner rather than later, as his defensive game is far superior to Danny Rose’s, and he’s shown his ability to venture forward. Another half decision is upfront, but I think even with Harry Kane’s 2 goals for England’s U21s, Emmanuel Adebayor will continue to lead the line with Roberto Soldado still expected to be out with injury.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

- Sunderland scored first in both of their Barclays Premier League games against Spurs last season, but ended up losing on both occasions.

- Spurs have won six and lost none of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland (D2).

- Tottenham’s last four league away wins against Sunderland have all ended 2-1.

- Spurs have been shown more red cards (1) than yellow cards (0) in the Premier League this season.

- Gus Poyet’s side have only won three of their last 14 home league games (D4 L7).

- Etienne Capoue has completed a league-high 267 passes so far this season.

- Ricardo Alvarez was Internazionale’s leading assister in Serie A last season, setting up eight goals.

- Had the Premier League started on January 1st, Tottenham would be fifth on 41 points, just one short of Arsenal in fourth.

- Will Buckley has made more dribbles than any other Sunderland player this term (16) despite only playing 117 of a possible 270 minutes.

- Erik Lamela has drawn more fouls than any other Premier League player this campaign (10).

It’s a very repeated saying but it’s true, we have to bounce back straight away from our unfortunate defeat to Liverpool, and this is a chance to do that. It’s going to be competitive and closely fought but with our recent history of results and the form we can show, I’m quietly confident we can come back to North London with three points! The game isn’t televised, but you can follow me on twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and much more. Let’s get the win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Capoue – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Liverpool.

Match: Sunday 31st August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subs:
Townsend – 2
Dembele – 5
Davies – 6.

Pochettino’s post match interview:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Liverpool.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My predicted team to face Liverpool at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks ahead of Tottenham vs Liverpool:

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

Match: Thursday 28th August 2014.

Competition: Europa League play-off second leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subs:
Veljkovic – N/A
Holtby – N/A.

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

Pochettino’s post match press conference:

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

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

Competition: Europa League play-off second leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV4.

1st leg result: Limassol 1-2 Tottenham.

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

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

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

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

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

My predicted team to face AEL Limassol at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Friedel
Naughton – Chiriches – Veljkovic – Davies
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Holtby – Townsend
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino press conference pre Limassol:

Match Review, Tottenham vs QPR.

Match: Sunday 24th August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 QPR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subs:
Dembele – 8
Kane – 8
Soldado – 6.

Pochettino post match reaction:

Match highlights: