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.

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.

Dier – 7.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 6.5.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Ryan Mason Arsenal reaction:

Match Preview, Arsenal vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 27th September 2014. 5:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Emirates Stadium.

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

Here it is, the North London Derby. The most intense and nerve wracking game of the season, where expectation, blind hope, support & anxiousness all merge into one. A game with incredible history, which never fails to excite the neutrals and make the fans go grey with stress. Apart from bragging rights for the fans, this game brings a massive opportunity for Tottenham, not only to return to winning ways in the Premier League, but sparking our season into life, bringing confidence to the squad and Mauricio Pochettino instant heroism with the Tottenham fans. This game always brings an opportunity to unite the club as one, no matter what is happening around the club at the time. We all know how tough this game will be, Arsenal are an incredibly talented outfit who are very difficult to beat, especially at the Emirates, but, the players have to be confident in their ability, play their own game and play with aggression, passion & grit, if all that happens, I’m confident we’ll bring home the 3 points. We’ve got to support, and hope that the players and Mauricio Pochettino perform, and bring home the three points that can go into history.

Arsenal have a good team – they are without a doubt one of the best teams in the Premier League, and will challenge at the top of the table, as they always do. Their start to the season hasn’t been perfect, far from it, they have a record of 9 games, 3 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. They haven’t found their rhythm as of yet, and have shown that they are definitely beatable, with defence seemingly their biggest downfall, conceding 10 goals in those 9 games. This is a North London Derby, though, and Arsenal will try their best to bring their A game for this match, as they so often do, so we need to call & then raise their hand. Last time out for Arsenal, they were beaten by Southampton at the Emirates 2-1 in the Capital One Cup. Arsenal were frustrated, and Southampton got their tactics spot on. If we can defend well, and be clinical in front of goal, we can get something at least from this game. In the Premier League, they beat Aston Villa comfortably 3-0 at Villa Park, where they were much more clinical and impressive. It’s going to be very tough for us.

The Team news for Arsenal is that Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (back), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Olivier Giroud (ankle), Theo Walcott (knee) and Serge Gnabry (knee) are out of the game, while Mathieu Flamini (dead leg) is a doubt, but expected to return to the squad. There are quite a few important players in that injury list for Arsenal, but they will still put out a strong side, that’s for sure. Danny Welbeck looks to be the man to start up front, with Alexis Sanchez on the wing. They have a lot of attacking threats, especially from midfield. It looks as though Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere & Alexis Sanchez will line up as a the attacking midfielders, with Mikel Arteta holding, which is a very threatening midfield with a lot of quick, talented players that can cause us problems along with Danny Welbeck making runs ahead of them. Our defence will have to be on top form. In defence for Arsenal, they have had some problems, but Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are 99% sure to be their centre back duo, with Keiran Gibbs on the left and former player of Mauricio Pochettino Calum Chambers on the right, which is very strong and they will have a good understanding of each other.

The team news for Tottenham is that we have a fully fit squad to face Arsenal, with the exception of Kyle Walker (abdominal) who remains out after surgery. Great news! It’s a rarity to have a fully fit squad, and hopefully it can give us the opportunity to go to the Emirates and get a positive result. After being rested for the Capital One Cup game against Nottingham Forest, Hugo Lloris, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele will all return to the squad, hopefully fresh and raring to go against the Gunners.

As a team, we haven’t hit full throttle. And that’s down to a lot of factors; the team not fully knowing Mauricio Pochettino’s style completely, players still adapting to the Premier League and the players all finding out each other’s games and style. But, it is also down to key players not hitting the ground running, no more so than Christian Eriksen, who was instrumental to any glimmer of success last term, but has yet to find his old form, and improve on that. As a team is difficult, because as the old saying goes, when he plays, we play. Hopefully, on the big stage against Arsenal, Christian can find his top form and be our main man once again. In the centre of midfield, debates are rife throughout the fan-base, all we know is that Etienne Capoue is, more or less, a key player in that central area, but it is who partners him which causes confusion. Mousa Dembele, Paulinho, Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli are fighting it out for that role, and at the moment it seems Mousa Dembele has caught the fancy of Pochettino alongside Capoue, closely followed by Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli, with Paulinho seemingly seen as back up for the number 10 role. In this game, I would partner Capoue with Dembele once again – I think Mousa is a fantastic player and on form is a terrific passer and controller of the game, he pips Bentaleb & Stambouli because of that, but also because he is more experienced in these situations, and more likely to keep his head! Upfront, the discussion is still whether Emmanuel Adebayor should continue up front, or should Roberto Soldado get his chance in the Premier League, with his link up play seemingly better than Adebayor’s. My view is that Adebayor continues for this game, against his former club. He’s sure to be very pumped up and I think he’s more likely of a goal than Soldado. It is a tough choice though for Pochettino. Finally, at right back, I’d play Kyle Naughton instead of Eric Dier after Kyle’s performance in midweek and I think he’s more suited to the right back role than Dier.

Match Stats & Facts provided by Opta:

- Arsenal have won four of their last five Barclays Premier League games against Tottenham (two 1-0 wins and two 5-2 wins).

- Tottenham have won just one of their last 21 Barclays Premier League games away at Arsenal.

- Arsenal last failed to score at home to Spurs in the Premier League in November 1998. Since then the Gunners have scored 38 times in 15 games.

- Tottenham have conceded six penalties in the Premier League in 2014, only Manchester United have conceded as many.

- Arsenal took 25 points from their 10 London derbies in the Premier League last season (W8 D1 L1) and defeated Crystal Palace on the opening weekend this season.

- Six of Tottenham’s seven league points this season have come in London derbies.

- If there are four goals in this game then it will become the outright highest scoring fixture in Premier League history (currently 126 goals).

- Seven points from five games is Tottenham’s slowest start since gaining just two under Juande Ramos in 2008-09.

- Arsenal (154) and Tottenham (125) are first and third respectively for dribbles attempted this season.

- Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals than any other player in north London derby history (8 for Arsenal and 2 for Spurs).

There’s no bigger game in the Premier League for Tottenham than facing Arsenal. A game with rich history, fierce rivalry & exciting games all in one. This match is important for our season, not only for the three points but to show we can match the top teams and compete at the top this season. It’s going to be very difficult to get three points, but all I ask from the players is that we the fans don’t come out embarrassed and ashamed; that would be nice. Three points is always the main goal though. The game is televised live on Sky Sports 1, but I’ll be giving match updates, videos, pictures and much more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Nerves are here already! Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Arsenal at the Emirates:
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli

Mauricio Pochettino previews the trip to Arsenal:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match: Wednesday 24th September 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-1 Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Mason 72′, Soldado 83′ & Kane 91′.

Nottingham Forest GoalScorer: Grant 61′.

Well, it took us a long while to get started but we got there in the end! We’ve cemented our place in the Capital One Cup Fourth Round. We lacked penetration, passion & that little bit of quality in this game, but we got the job done, scored 3 goals and now we have a clear focus on the match against Arsenal on Saturday evening, which I’m sure was in the minds of all the Spurs players against Forest; or I hope it was. We can’t overshadow the performance with the result; we didn’t play well, looked shaky, slow and uninspiring. That is cause for concern, even though I never like to moan if we have won, I’d like to see much, much, much more on Saturday against Arsenal, albeit with a completely different starting 11. We have to show pace, passion, intensity against Arsenal if we are to stand any chance at all.

The first half was completely irrelevant to the game in the end. We didn’t show any threat whatsoever, and Nottingham Forest looked more dangerous, but we went in 0-0 at the break, with improvement needed in the second half, otherwise we may as well have run a replay of the West Brom game instead of this one. We can’t ignore Nottingham Forest’s performance in the first half though, they nullified any threat we had and worked tirelessly, with a definite threat on the counter attack. This continued for most of the second half.

In the second period, we didn’t start well, Pochettino didn’t make any substitutions and the players on the pitch just didn’t look at all capable of hitting the back of the net or showing that intensity that we lacked in the first half. We got what we deserved in the 61st minute, Nottingham Forest got in behind our defence, got the ball into the box and Grant slotted home for 0-1, way too easily. This though, kickstarted Tottenham into action, at last! Mauricio Pochettino made two substitutions, Ryan Mason & Harry Kane. Tottenham fans were a little wary with these two subs, instead of Erik Lamela & Christian Eriksen, but Pochettino’s choice was justified when Ryan Mason, in just his 5th appearance for Tottenham and 1st of the season, received the ball from Ben Davies about 30 yards out from the goal, took a touch and smashed the ball into the net, an incredible goal with brilliant technique. Then, it flowed from there. 10 minutes later Andros Townsend got the ball from Ryan Mason outside the box, with only one thing in his mind – a shot – he took his chance but his disappointing effort found Roberto Soldado, who stuck out a boot and the ball flew into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 Tottenham over a now tired Nottingham Forest team. We were controlling the game, as we had all match, but, this time there was an incredible difference in how much more threatening we were in the final third. The introduction of Erik Lamela furthered the pace we had up front, and it was he who found the killer pass to Harry Kane in the 91st minute, who secured our place in the 4th round with a calm finish into the far bottom corner. Game over.

There were some really frustrating performances in this match, with players capable of more not showing their true ability. In a game which gives you a platform to show what you can do, ahead of a North London Derby, I was expecting more from our fringe players, you’re fighting for your place, show the boss and everyone at Spurs what you can do! A few players did exactly that; and none better than substitute Ryan Mason, who showed everything you’d want from a Tottenham player coming on – passion, desire, enthusiasm and that bit of quality you need in difficult situations such as this match. It’s always great to see an academy product be involved in the first team, and I hope we can see Mason more and more as the season goes on. He was my man of the match, even though he didn’t start the game. It wasn’t just only his goal, either, he showed composure on the ball and got his head up, always looking forward, which is exactly what you want from a Tottenham midfielder. Another who did well was Kyle Naughton, he gets his fair share of stick but he is a decent right back who has been played out of position at left back far too often. In his favourable position on the right, he 8 times out of 10 puts in a good shift, so he is a valuable squad player. It’s great to see Roberto Soldado get a goal at White Hart Lane, it was a quick thinking finish and we pray to God it is one of many he can get this season.

A good win, in the end! Improvement needed in our performance but we got the job done and are into the 4th Round of the Capital One Cup, where we will face Brighton and Hove Albion at White Hart Lane. Next up though is the big one, the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium, Saturday 27th September, an evening kick off in the Premier League. Anything can happen, keep faith and support the team. Let’s get this season off and running once and for all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Nottingham Forest:
Vorm – 6
Naughton – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 6
Bentaleb – 5
Stambouli – 6.5
Lennon – 7
Townsend – 6.5
Paulinho – 4.5
Soldado – 6.5.

Mason – 8 – Man of the Match.
Kane – 6.5
Lamela – 6.

Match highlights:

Pochettino’s reaction:

Townsend & Mason reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match date & time: Wednesday 24th September 2014. 7:45pm KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Our Capital One Cup campaign starts here; with a tough match against the Championship league leaders. Tottenham Hotspur and it’s players have to want & fight to win every competition entered, but it’s always difficult to use the squad in a good way which doesn’t effect it too much in the Premier League, which is always the main focus, especially with the North London Derby coming up on Saturday. We have a strong squad, with a lot of depth and we have the gift of being able to rotate the starting 11 in the Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. We have to look to go far in every competition, but this takes mental & physical strength from the players. This game against Nottingham Forest is important for Tottenham, not just because it would be great to go far in the Capital One Cup, but because we need a win after a short drought. Especially ahead of a North London Derby, we need to go in with a win and possibly a little boost of the confidence.

Nottingham Forest have been fantastic this season. They are unbeaten in all competitions after 9 games, winning 7 and drawing 2. Under new boss Stuart Pearce the club have been very impressive, with the Forest legend reinvigorating both the players & the fans, which has now turned into a winning mentality. This team will be no push over, they have good players but it is their togetherness as a team that makes them so much of a threat and difficult opposition. For Tottenham, our form has dwindled since a loss to Liverpool at White Hart Lane, going 4 games without a win in all competitions; this game represents a chance to end that run dead before four difficult fixtures against Arsenal, Besiktas, Southampton and Manchester City. Having the game against Nottingham Forest at White Hart Lane makes me more confident, despite our loss to West Brom at the Lane the past weekend.

The team news for Nottingham Forest is that club captain Jack Cohen, Jack Hobbs, Jack Hunt, Matty Fryatt & former Spur Andy Reid will not feature for the Reds. The main threat for Nottingham Forest is their striker Britt Assombalonga; he has incredible strength and a clinical Goalscoring rate so far this season. In the Championship, Assombalonga has 8 goals in 8 appearances, which highlights his incredible ability to get goals, important ones too. Last season he was with Peterborough in League 1, scoring 33 goals in 58 appearances in all competitions. Now, he’s showing he can cut it in the Championship. Another very important attacking threat for Nottingham Forest is winger Michail Antonio; the pacey, direct and effective wide man has 5 goals in 10 games so far this season, which is a very good tally for a winger, he can provide but he can also contribute to scoring goals. He’s rapid, and alongside Assombalonga is a real threat in behind our defence, so we have to be on top of them from the start to nullify their threat.

The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal) remains out, but Andros Townsend is expected to return to the squad after a dead leg that kept him out of the game against West Brom. Roberto Soldado is expected to start up front, with Michel Vorm also expected to get his debut in goal. We have a fully fit squad expect for Kyle Walker, which is a rarity in Tottenham’s case. Hopefully, we can take advantage and get some good results in the near, near future.

Everyone knows Roberto Soldado’s story. The clinical striker from Spain coming to Spurs and failing to live up to the billing in his first season. I still believe there is a player in there, somewhere, buried underneath his personal doubt and lack of confidence. Glimmers of hope have emerged throughout the season (and a bit) that he’s been with us, and every game he plays is a chance for him to score a few goals and regain at least some of that confidence and clinical nature. It’s another chance for him at White Hart Lane against Nottingham Forest. A player with a lot to prove is Andros Townsend – after an injury in the second half of last season, he hasn’t regained the sort of form he had in the first half. Every game is a good chance for him to get up to scratch, but he needs to be more effective with assists and goals to have a chance of gaining a regular place in the starting 11, I’m sure he knows that. In defence, Federico Fazio has a chance to get his first appearance at White Hart Lane; every game will help him bed in to the side and understand his team mates more, and I think he will be paired with either Vlad Chiriches or Jan Vertonghen for this match against Nottingham Forest. Personally, I’d prefer Vlad to play, and save Vertonghen to play in the North London Derby on Saturday evening after being left out of the side to face West Brom.

A return to winning ways is on the agenda. A tough task against a flying Nottingham Forest, but at White Hart Lane we have to be confident of earning a place in the 4th round of the Capital One Cup. The game is televised on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, videos, pictures and more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get to the next round.. COYS!!

My predicted/proffered team to face Nottingham Forest at the Lane:
Naughton – Fazio – Chiriches – Davies
Lennon – Bentaleb – Stambouli – Townsend

Short views from Mauricio Pochettino on Nottingham Forest;

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.

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:
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli

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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.

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:
Naughton – Dier – Fazio – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend

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.

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.

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.

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:
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Capoue – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli

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.

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

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

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

Townsend – 2
Dembele – 5
Davies – 6.

Pochettino’s post match interview: