Match Preview, Tottenham vs Fulham.

Match date & time: Saturday 19th April 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1 in the UK.

We come into the final 4 games of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. A roller-coaster of a season if there has ever been one. Normally, our end to the season is full of tension and knife edges, but this season we have a slightly more mellow finish. Don’t get me wrong; the expectation is still well and truly there on each and every one of the players, but we aren’t playing for the Champions League anymore, sadly that ship has sailed, but what we are fighting for is a spot in Europe, whether that be 5th place or 6th place, and we are also fighting for pride. After the season we’ve had, all the ups and downs, but mostly downs, to finish above Manchester United would be just brilliant. That’s my aim. But, also, being in Europe. Although it has it’s many flaws, I still believe the Europa League is a good competition and maybe we have a chance of lifting it next season. I’d certainly like to be facing the likes of Benfica again next season.

Our form in recent games has been very up and down. We have beaten Sunderland and Southampton well, but then have dropped points to West Brom when it looked as if we could push on. There was a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in there too, which we haven’t redeemed ourselves for at all. These last 4 games are all must win. Our recent record against Fulham is very good, except for the major blip that came last season, at White Hart Lane, when our Champions League hopes were dashed significantly after losing to Fulham 1-0, thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov goal. It’s a game that sticks in my head for all the wrong reasons; a turning point. This season, we beat Fulham at Craven Cottage 2-1, after falling behind, we fought our way back into the game thanks to a great long drive from Vlad Chiriches in the second half, and then after many Hugo Lloris saves, in the 81st minute, Lewis Holtby, now on loan at Fulham, struck the winning goal and sent Spurs into ecstasy. A vital win, but it wasn’t enough to save Andre Villas Boas from the sack a few games later. In our last 10 Premier League meetings with Fulham, we have only lost once, and drawn twice, which makes for good reading for Spurs fans, but records mean nothing, because every game is different and is under different circumstances.

Fulham Football Club have had a dismal season. They have now had three managers this season and it has been a right mess in trying to keep the West London Club in the Premier League. Former Spurs manager Martin Jol was sacked in November, being replaced by Rene Meulensteen, and then only 2 months later, Meulensteen was sacked in February to be replaced by current manager Felix Magath, who in all fairness, is now doing a very decent job. Fulham sit in 18th, still in the relegation zone, behind Norwich by only 2 points, with Norwich having a much more difficult run in to the end of the season. After being rock bottom for a long time, it’s looking much brighter for Fulham.

The team news for the Cottagers is that Kostas Mitroglou (knee) and Lewis Holtby (ineligible) are the only players that will be missing, but although only a couple are unavailable, the impact of Lewis Holtby not being able to play is large. He has become a key player for the Whites while on loan from Spurs, and to lose his creativity will be a big loss. Fulham will be hoping for other players to step up. A player that has stepped up recently is Hugo Rodallega, with 2 goals in 2 appearances, the striker appears to have regained the form he showed at Wigan, and will be a big threat for Fulham. Another big player for Fulham is Ashkan Dejagah; the winger has been used off the bench recently, but he always has a big impact, and with Lewis Holtby not able to play I expect Dejagah to step in. Defensively, in midfield, it’ll be a welcome back to former Spurs player and Spurs fan, Scott Parker, he’ll be a crucial player for Fulham this Saturday.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Erik Lamela (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) will be missing for the game against Fulham. However, there will be returns for Mousa Dembele, Roberto Soldado, Sandro and Michael Dawson after injury, with Vlad Chiriches remaining fit after his return 2 weeks ago.

The team news is good news in my view; it’s great to have Sandro and Dembele back, they give us steel and quality in the middle of the park, and I think Sandro should definitely start when fit, but against Fulham at Home I expect to see a much more attacking set up by Sherwood, possibly excluding Dembele and Sandro from the team for Paulinho and Chadli. Roberto Soldado is back, but I don’t see him starting anytime soon with the emergence of Harry Kane, bagging 2 goals in 2 appearances and working like a maniac. Think it’s time for Roberto to put this season behind him and concentrate on settling more in England, learning more of the language and coming back next season fit, hungry and ready to score goals. The biggest blow from the team news is that Kyle Walker remains injured, and will be for the foreseeable future this season. He’s been a massively important player for us and is a big miss. We lack his pace and experience on the right hand side of defence. I expect Tim Sherwood to play an unchanged side from the last two games against Sunderland and West Brom. The team worked very well against Sunderland and also well in the second half of the West Brom game. With all three teams around a similar level in quality on paper, I think Sherwood will see no need to change things and we will have a bit of continuity.

Match stats provided by Opta.

- Tottenham have won seven of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Fulham, losing the other.

- No side has taken fewer points from Premier League London derbies this season than Fulham (six).

- Spurs have conceded first in their last six matches.

- Tottenham have made 19 errors leading directly to a goal this season, more than any other side.

- Fulham have drawn only three games all season. The Premier League low for draws in an entire season is three by Chelsea in 1997-98.

- Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last five home matches against Fulham.

- None of Fulham’s last 46 Premier League games have ended 0-0 – the longest current run of all Premier League teams.

- Christian Eriksen has scored four goals and assisted three more in his last four Premier League appearances for Tottenham.

- Fulham have had loss/loss results in their last five away defeats against Spurs.

- With 93 goals, Emmanuel Adebayor is the current Premier League player with less than 100 goals nearest to reaching that landmark.

- Fulham have conceded 17 goals in London derbies this season, more than any other side.

- Spurs have had Under 2.5 goals in their last five home matches against Fulham.

- Tottenham have scored only six goals in eight London derby games this season.

- Three of Tottenham’s last five Premier League goals have come in the 86th minute or later.

I’m looking forward to this one; it promises to be a hard fought, end to end game with both teams fighting for the points. Fulham will need to be at their very best to get a point and so will Tottenham. I will be at the Lane for this game! So that means I will try to update from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible, with live pictures of White Hart Lane being posted. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Fulham at the Lane:
4-4-2
Lloris
Naughton – Chiriches – Kaboul – Rose
Townsend – Paulinho – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood previews of game against Fulham in his press conference:

Match Preview, West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 12th April 2014. Kick off at 3:07pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

TV: Not on live TV in UK.

Just 5 games to go until the end of the season, and the aim is clear, to win all five games and see where it takes us. The Champions League places are not out of reach completely, and so we have to play with the intention of getting into the top four, but, it’s a difficult task if there ever was one. We have to rely on others to drop points, at least 6 for both Everton and Arsenal, but even then we have to win all of our games. Not impossible, but incredibly difficult to believe we can do it. The five games we have to go are winnable, for sure, so going into every game one at a time, we start with West Brom.

In our last game, we beat Sunderland at the Lane 5-1, playing fast flowing, attacking and effective football. Something that has been scarce this season, but we got a comfortable win and now we have to try and springboard off of it with another good performance at the Hawthorns. Last time we got into the ring with the baggies, we drew 1-1 on Boxing Day, Christian Eriksen got a stunning goal but the performance in general wasn’t good enough and we were left feeling like 2 points were dropped instead of 1 gained, but a lot has changed and we’ve seen better from the team since then. Our form against West Brom in general is good, they haven’t beaten us in 3 seasons and only beaten us once since promotion, so we are 7 games unbeaten and let’s hope that record continues to grow after this game. When we last visited the Hawthorns, last season Gareth Bale popped up again with a stunning game to give us a 1-0 win, now we’re looking for an Eriksen or an Adebayor to pop up and do the same to give us a massive three points.

West Brom are fighting relegation with both hands and both feet, scraping away for points in desperation. They sit in 16th, with 32 points from 32 games, only 5 points off the relegation places. Their season has been difficult and they’ve seen a managerial change, just like Spurs, with the popular Steve Clark, who led West Brom to a top half finish in the 2012/13 season, sacked because of poor results with a weakened West Brom team with Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea after a loan spell and then loaned to Everton. Pepe Mel has taken charge but has only managed 2 wins from 12 games, and because of that, they’re in trouble.

The team news for West Brom is good, for them, both James Morrison and Claudio Yacob are returning to the frame after injury, but Zoltan Gera is ruled out with a hamstring injury, but other than that, they have a fully fit squad. A player I believe to be a danger man for West Brom is Morgan Amalfitano; he has scored some incredible goals in his first season in the Premier League, and has been a key figure for both Steve Clark and Pepe Mel, he has 2 goals in his last 2 games, and seems to be a player for the big occasion, scoring at Old Trafford too early on in the season. Another player who I like, is Stephane Sessegnon, he is quick and has a low centre of gravity so he glides past players with great technique. He lacks a cutting edge but he is a definite threat on his day and one we need to be wary of. In midfield, Claudio Yacob gives the Baggies stability, but we should have enough in our midfield to over power them.

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The team news for Spurs hasn’t really changed at all from Monday. Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Erik Lamela (back), Mousa Dembele (hip), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) are all ruled out of the trip to West Brom, with Sandro (calf) a doubt after a calf injury in training, but Vlad Chiriches, Michael Dawson and Emmanuel Adebayor are fit and ready for the challenge after returning recently from injuries.

After his Sunderland performance, Harry Kane has already been confirmed by Tim Sherwood as starting against West Brom. Harry was excellent, and he’s hungry to play more and score more goals which is exactly what we need. He worked his socks off and his partnership with Emmanuel Adebayor was very fruitful for us. We’ll see it again at the Hawthorns and hopefully we see the same results we did against Sunderland. Goals. The provider of the goals and contributor to them is Christian Eriksen; he’s had a marvellous first season and he gets better every game, and now we’re looking at him as the superstar he is. I think it’s a safe bet to say Eriksen will score or assist once again against West Brom. In the centre of midfield, we saw Nacer Chadli partner Paulinho at the Lane, but away from home I don’t think that partnership is strong enough or defensive enough, so I am calling for Nabil Bentaleb to be reinstated into the team instead of Chadli, as to see a natural partnership. On the right hand side, I believe Andros Townsend deserves more game time, with Aaron Lennon having a dip in form. Andros is hungry for success and desperate to go to Brazil with England, so I think he could be a big player for us in the remaining games.

Match stats provided by Opta.

- West Brom have drawn five of their six Barclays Premier League home games under Pepe Mel, losing the other. Four of these games have ended 1-1.

- Spurs are unbeaten in eight Barclays Premier League meetings with the Baggies (W4 D4), scoring exactly once in six of these games.

- WBA have had both teams scoring in their last seven home matches against top-six teams

- Tottenham (25 from 14 games) have won more points than north London rivals Arsenal (22 from 14 games) in the Premier League in 2014.

- Since Tim Sherwood first took charge of Spurs in the Premier League, the only player to have scored more goals in the competition than Emmanuel Adebayor (10) is Daniel Sturridge (11).

- WBA have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

- 10 of Adebayor’s 15 Premier League goals for Spurs since the start of 2012-13 have come away from home, including seven of the 10 this season.

- 11 of West Bromwich Albion’s goals have been netted by substitutes this season; more than any other side – this includes five of their last 10 goals in the Premier League.

- Spurs have been level at half-time in their last seven away matches against bottom-six teams.

- Victor Anichebe has had more impact than any other substitute in the Premier League this season, scoring or assisting five goals as a replacement (three goals, two assists).

- Tottenham currently have a goal difference of 0. Just four sides in Premier League history have finished the season with exactly the same number of goals scored as they have conceded.

- WBA have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against top-six teams.

- This will be just the seventh time that Tottenham have played a Premier
League game on a Saturday this season – every other team have already played at least 12 PL games on a Saturday in 2013-14.

- Christian Eriksen has scored three goals and assisted three more in his last three Premier League appearances for Tottenham.

The last five is here and we have to win them all! It’s a massive game as always. The game is not live on TV, but I’ll be sure to provide a stream on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, as well as match updates, photos and videos. See you there! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face West Brom at the Hawthorns:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Paulinho – Bentaleb
Townsend – Kane – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre West Brom press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Monday 7th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Adebayor 28′, Kane 59′, Eriksen 78′, Adebayor 86′ & Sigurdsson 92′.

Sunderland GoalScorer: Cattermole 17′.

What a win. Our biggest win of the season after what was a very chaotic day, with the media saying Head Coach Tim Sherwood was to leave at the end of the season. During the build up to the match, the wonder was whether the players would be affected by this speculation on the pitch, either giving them freedom of knowing, or the feeling of uncertainty in not knowing who the boss will be next season. It seems the speculation didn’t effect them at all, or if it did, it helped, as this performance was the best I have seen all season in the Premier League. Credit goes to Sherwood for being professional and setting us up in a way to perform so well, despite the speculation.

The start to the game was catastrophic. A bit like the Southampton game, we gave away the Sunderland goal with yet another error, this time Vlad Chiriches, who played an aimless ball across the defence, which Lee Cattermole picked up and slotted in the bottom corner past a displaced Hugo Lloris, not good enough in the 17th minute, but it was a wake up call, and the players responded. After coming close with Naughton and Eriksen, we deserved our equaliser with Christian Eriksen swinging in an inch perfect cross for Emmanuel Adebayor to tap in with his body, and that gave the players and the fans a real lift in the 28th minute, we pushed on and had a solid end to the first half.

In the second half, we started badly once again, Sunderland put us under pressure and were well in the game, but that pressure soon dissipated, and our better players took the game by the scruff of the neck, most notably Eriksen, who then set up the second goal, another cross from the left hand side, bouncing in the danger area, where Harry Kane was there to tap home for his first Premier League goal for Tottenham on his first Premier League start, with an hour gone, it looked as though Sunderland were out of the contest. We were dominant after the second goal, playing with a certain swagger which we haven’t seen since our last comfortable win at home to Stoke in a 3-0 win. Sunderland became tired, and I think they gave up even though it was just 2-1. On 78 minutes, Christian Eriksen hit an unstoppable shot from outside the box into the bottom right hand corner, a very much deserved goal for an incredible player. 3-1. Then the rampage started, Harry Kane did really well to get through on goal, then shot through Mannone, but it wasn’t reaching the goal, so Emmanuel Adebayor slotted in for his second of the night and 10th of the season, 4-1 and the game was well and truly over. Just adding insult to injury, we decided to score from a corner, the ball coming in from Christian Eriksen found Adebayor, then he found Younes Kaboul, who fed the ball into Gylfi Sigurdsson who did really well to sort his feet out and finish to make it 5-1 in injury time. A great performance.

20140408-000759.jpg If there has been one player who has been a shining light for us this season, it’s Christian Eriksen. The boy has been incredible, nabbing 2 assists with great crosses to our strikers, then grabbing a goal. Our player of the season, scoring 9 goals and getting 8 assists, it’s been a stunning first season and at 22 there is so much more to come in the future. Emmanuel Adebayor was another to put in an incredible performance, his presence and all round link up play was brilliant and the two goals were just what he deserved, he has had a great season and I hope he stays next season and continues his great work. The headlines will be taken by Eriksen and Adebayor, but Harry Kane was equally as good, he worked so hard and showed his hunger to succeed, scoring and assisting. Hopefully Harry gets more starts in the run in to the end of the season, he deserves it, every game he plays he impresses me, he has a massive future at Tottenham. As a team, I thought our performance was admirable, we showed hunger and fight, as well as real quality. Even though Sunderland were poor, we were very, very good.

A great win! Now only 5 points off the Champions League, can we do it? Can we do the impossible? Probably not. But we have a favourable run in to the end of the season, our last 5 games all against teams in the bottom half. Let’s finish the season strongly and who knows what can happen. Our next game is against West Brom at the Hawtorns in the Premier League on Saturday 12th April, kick off at 3:07pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that beat Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 7
Naughton – 7
Chiriches – 6
Kaboul – 7
Rose – 6
Lennon – 7
Paulinho – 7.5
Chadli – 7.5
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the match.
Kane – 8.5
Adebayor – 8.5.

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 7
Veljkovic – 6
Townsend – 6.

Tim Sherwood talks to the press after our 5-1 win:

Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen talk to the press:

Match highlights from Tottenham vs Sunderland:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Monday 7th April 2014. Kick off at 8pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1, MNF.

The last 6 games are here of what has been a very disappointing season for the club; it is near impossible to get into the Champions League, and now even getting in Europe at all is in doubt. After the games at the weekend we sit in 7th place, which for Tottenham Hotspur is nowhere near good enough, so for these 6 games, in which on paper we are capable of winning all 6, we have to win and get some pride back into the club, and get the club another season in the Europa League, because even with it’s flaws, Tottenham need to finish as high as possible in every season and we have to deal with 2 games a week if we want to even think of being a regular top 4 team. The last six starts with Sunderland this Monday.

Our recent form against Sunderland cannot be faulted, we haven’t lost to the Black Cats since 2010, when we lost 3-1 at the Stadium of Light with Darren Bent with a brace with Harry Redknapp at the helm. At the Lane, we haven’t lost since 2008, when Djibril Cisse scored a late winner to win the game 2-1 back when Juande Ramos was in charge. That loss in 2008 was our only loss to Sunderland in 14 games at White Hart Lane dating back to 1984 in the old Division 1. Our last game against Sunderland was Andre Villas Boas’ last away game before his sacking, we won 2-1, Paulinho and a John O’Shea own goal gave us the win at the Stadium of Light so Monday gives us the chance to do the double over the Northern club. Our last game against Sunderland at White Hart Lane was the last game of the 2012/13 season, we had the chance to make Champions League if Arsenal slipped up at Newcastle, but it wasn’t to be and we finished 5th, but we won the game 1-0, a Gareth Bale screamer gave us the three points and our record points total in a Premier League season, it was also Gareth Bale’s last Premier League game in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt.

Sunderland are in dreadful, dreadful form and that form leaves them bottom of the Premier League with just 25 points from 30 games, having 3 games in hand on Cardiff and Fulham above them though. Since going to the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley and losing to Manchester City, Sunderland have been appalling and the results have not gone their way, dragging the Black Cats into the relegation zone. They have not won a Premier League game since the 1st February, a 3-0 win at St James’ Park against Newcastle. They have lost 3 Premier League games on the trot, and haven’t won in 8 League games. Gus Poyet’s men are now desperately fighting, and that makes Monday’s game a possible banana skin for us, we have to be on our game and be ready for a fight.

The team news for Sunderland is that striker Steven Fletcher (ankle) and goalkeeper Kieran Westwood (shoulder) are out of the game, but they have no other notable injuries. Even though Sunderland do sit at the bottom of the Premier League, they do have threats, most important to them is Adam Johnson on the wing, he’s hit some good form this season and has scored 10 goals and has 4 assists, Sunderland’s top scorer. Johnson gives Sunderland width, as well as a good delivery and good width on the right hand side. Another threat for Sunderland is Fabio Borini, on loan from Liverpool the striker is nuisance, he harries and hassles defences and can nick a goal from you, he has 6 goals this season in all competitions. The player in midfield that makes it all tick is Ki, on loan from Swansea he plays with composure and quality, if we stop him providing the pace in the attack we will nullify Sunderland.

20140406-194330.jpg The team news for the Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Erik Lamela (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) are sidelined for the game against Sunderland at the Lane which is a big blow, but, key players Emmanuel Adebayor, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho, Sandro and Mousa Dembele are all fit and in contention to take on Gus Poyet’s Sunderland.

The return of Emmanuel Adebayor is at a key point, as Roberto Soldado gets an injury we can replace him with the big Togolese target-man, he’s our top scorer in the Premier League and was in immense form prior to his flurry of injuries, but he’s back now, and hopefully he can continue his goalscoring form with a few in the bag on Monday. He brings us that extra dimension to our game, he’s an outlet with incredible talent. Another really important player returning on Monday is Vlad Chiriches, similar to the Adebayor/Soldado situation, he returns at a crucial point in which Jan Vertonghen has picked up an injury, so hopefully Vlad Chiriches will slot in to the defence alongside Younes Kaboul. Vlad started off his Tottenham career really well and I believe he has a massive future at Spurs ahead of him; he has so much talent, and now needs a run in the side, possibly alongside Jan Vertonghen. In central midfield, I’d like to see Sandro come back into the side after missing the last two, I’d play him alongside Paulinho, who although has been in bad form, has spoken of his want to prove the fans and Tim Sherwood wrong and spark himself back into form, so I’d like to give him the chance next to a defensive midfielder to give him the licence to attack.

Match facts and stats from Opta.

- Tottenham have won five and lost none of the last seven Barclays Premier League games against Sunderland.

- Sunderland have scored a league-high 46.4% of their Barclays Premier League goals from set pieces this season.

- Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

- Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet had two spells at Tottenham Hotspur, one as a player where he made 82 league appearances and scored 18 goals and also as Assistant Coach to Juande Ramos.

- Tottenham have failed to score in four of their last six Premier League matches.

- Spurs have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against bottom-six teams

- Tottenham have conceded the fewest headed goals in the Premier League this season (1).

- Tottenham are one of only two teams not to lose a Premier League game from a winning position this season prior to this matchday (along with Man Utd).

- Sunderland have conceded first in their last four away matches against Spurs

- Five of the six Premier League goals that Roberto Soldado has scored this season have been the first goal of the game.

- Five of the six goals that Soldado has scored have been the winning goal.

- Spurs have had Under 2.5 goals in their last four home matches against Sunderland.

- Spurs have picked up just three points fewer than they had after 32 games in 2011-12, which was their best-ever Premier League haul at this stage.

- Spurs could become only the fourth team to finish a Premier League season in the top six with a negative goal difference (currently -4; Norwich 3rd -4 GD in 1992-93, West Ham 5th -7 GD in 1998-99 & Everton 4th -1 GD in 2004-05).

Coming into the end of the season, let’s secure a good end to the season and get Europe. I’m looking forward to getting football back at the Lane after the disappointing defeat at Anfield. I will be giving updates from my twitter account, so follow me there at @AddictedToSpurs, the updates will include photos, videos, goal updates and vines! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre Sunderland press conference:

Keeping Faith in Tottenham Hotspur.

It’s been a difficult season for so many reasons. Keeping faith in Tottenham Hotspur has become a hard task, but there are positives which we must look to, so we can get a clear idea of where this club is going in the future, under Daniel Levy and ENIC, along with the people closer to the footballing matters on the pitch, the manager and the players. This article will look at what Spurs fans have to look forward to after what has been a disappointing and stagnant year for the club.

1) New Stadium.

The talk of a new stadium has been long winded to say the least, since 2007 we have been promised a new stadium and the development of the Tottenham area, it’s now mid 2014 and little has been done in terms of the building of the new stadium; we have fussed over the Olympic Stadium which wasn’t what the fans wanted, as well as looking to just improve on White Hart Lane, but in recent months the Northumberland Development Project is starting to take off, we have opened the new Sainsbury’s supermarket, as well as the Tottenham UT College, and a date has been set in which Daniel Levy believes the new stadium will be ready by, Summer of 2017. It’s a massive project, which has had it’s hiccups (understatement), but it now looks as though, pending a decision from the CPO on the building of the new stadium, we have the go-ahead to build the next chapter in Tottenham’s illustrious history.

The Stadium was quoted by Chairman Daniel Levy as being ‘critical’ to the future of Tottenham, both on the pitch and off it. The development would mean the 47,000 people on the waiting list for a season ticket at White Hart Lane would be able to come in and fill the projected 58,000 seater arena, this is massive as it gives more revenue for the club and also means that the fan base across the world will increase, as well as increasing the support in England. With this increased revenue, it helps majorly on the pitch, we can become an ‘elite’ team in England, and along with the biggest and best in the Premier League, can go out and attract the best players to play for our team. This is Daniel Levy’s legacy at Tottenham, deliver the club a new stadium and he will be deemed a complete success at Spurs, fail and he will be adjudged an utter failure. Crucial doesn’t explain how much this means.

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2) Training Ground.

Daniel Levy and ENIC haven’t delivered the new stadium as of yet, but what they have given the club is an incredible training ground, opened in 2012, the £30 million training centre is undoubtedly seen as one of the best in world football, even the best players who have trained at some of the best training grounds are in awe of the training ground’s facilities and modern look, it really is beautifully designed. What this training centre was, was the first step in what is a long term project, and it shows the commitment Daniel Levy has for Tottenham, we have to give him credit for this. This project is brilliant as it helps youth players get the best facilities in order to succeed at Spurs, as well as giving first team Spurs players the feeling of being at a top club, and being treated well and once again given the facilities needed for success. What the training ground also brings, is the same factor the new Stadium will hopefully bring, it attracts players to the club; if the first thing they see is a top of the range training ground as they come to speak to the club, they will think of Spurs as a big club, with big ambition, if Hotspur Way is where they are based.

Hotspur Way not only gives off a good image to players, but also to other football teams, the media and fans. The image of the club is that it is a top club, that is willing to give the playing staff what they need. And it doesn’t stop there, a new 500 seater stand is set to be built at Hotspur Way, giving fans the opportunity to visit the training centre and watch youth teams play, and see how they are developing, when thinking about it, it really does make you feel good to know that Hotspur Way is the standard we have set ourselves, and gives a good indication the Stadium is going to be of similar calibre.

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3) Youth.

Another aspect that should excite fans about the future of the club is the young talent we have coming up through the club, and the players that are just starting to integrate into the first team. Our U21 and U18 teams have real talent within them, and they are showing it in these recent seasons, our U21 team has not had the best of years because lots of the players have gone on loan, or have been taken into the first team, for example Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Zeki Fryers have this season made the jump from under 21 football to first team football which is brilliant. However the form of the team has increased since Under 18 players have been merged into the Under 21s, so it shows the talent we have at both levels. The Under 21s sit 11th in the Under 21 Premier League, with Fulham at the top. The Under 18 team are a really exciting bunch and their season in the Under 18 Premier League South section has been formidable, they sit at the top having won 16 games out of 24, with only 4 losses. Now we need the coaching staff to continue to integrate players into the first team, whether that’s in training, or first team game time.

Players on loan are also making good progress, Alex Pritchard at Swindon in League 1 has had a great season scoring 5 goals and getting 8 assists from the left wing, earning himself a nomination for player of the year in League 1, plus young player of the year in the whole of the Football League, at just 20 I think he has a big future at Spurs and he’s one to get excited about. Another player who we’ve had a glimpse of at Spurs is Ryan Fredericks, the right back played in our 4-1 win over Anzhi while AVB was in charge and looks to have a real maturity in the way he plays, now on loan at Championship club Millwall and getting vital experience learning from Ian Holloway. Other players who have shown great promise at the club are 18 year old Serbian centre back/centre midfielder Milos Veljkovic, who is highly rated by Tim Sherwood and people within the club, 19 year old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb who has been integrated into the first team by Tim Sherwood and despite his flaws, is one of the most promising players at the club, as well as 20 year old striker Harry Kane, who is the U21′s top scorer and has shown he can deliver in the first team recently, and finally 21 year old left back/centre back Zeki Fryers who is now seen as our main left back cover and an option to have at centre back, his versatility, strength and pace make him a great player for the future, and it looks as if his future lies at centre back after an incredible performance against Benfica.

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4) Current Squad.

Even after what has been a desperately disappointing season after so much expectation that comes with signing 7 new players, who were all international quality, what we didn’t factor in was how long it would take for these players to gel into the team, adapt to living conditions in England, and also adapt to the pace and intensity of the Premier League. Mistakes were made in the summer transfer window, we know that, but we have signed good players, I believe that and I believe in the players we have at the club, now we need a manager who is going to take this team forward and we need to give these players everything they need to succeed at Spurs. It’s a young squad, with a lot of potential and room to improve, including 42 year old keeper Brad Friedel, our average squad age is 26.4, with arguably our best and most important player Christian Eriksen only 22 years of age. There is potential and it’s another thing that is exciting and gives me hope going into the future with Spurs. We need to keep this squad and give them the ability to succeed.

The players we have are all international quality, every first team player apart from Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton have played first team football for their countries. We have the players, and we have players who will become, if everything goes well, key players in the future. The two major talents being 22 year old midfielder Christian Eriksen and 22 year old winger Erik Lamela, that is where the future of this team lies, we need to make sure we build teams around them. However, even with all this talent, we have weak spots, and we need to clear deadwood and add a left back, centre back, left winger and at least one striker, that gives the manager the team to make the coveted Champions League. Even without Champions League, we will attract players, we have showed that in the last two seasons, signing Champions League quality such as Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela without the competition, and I expect that the ambition the club shows in other areas is enough to persuade players Tottenham is a good step in their careers, but we need a manager who shares that ambition and I don’t think that’s Tim Sherwood.

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5) What’s needed now.

Obviously, as I’ve said and as Daniel Levy has said, the New Stadium is crucial to the future of Tottenham, but there are many other things that are in desperate need to get Tottenham to that ‘elite club’ stage. First of all, the appointment of a new manager, although I don’t have anything against Tim Sherwood, he is not of the calibre we need at Spurs to take us to that next level; I wouldn’t be opposed to Sherwood staying on at Spurs, either in the youth teams or with the first team, but he is not at the quality we need as a manager. The person who is, is Louis Van Gaal, he has the experience and know-how, to take us onto that next level, having won a trophy in every season as manager at a club, he wants to move to the Premier League with a project and you just can’t turn that down and stick with Tim Sherwood, Daniel Levy is on final chance basis with a lot of fans, and if he fails to land Louis Van Gaal, there won’t be a lot of support for Levy out there, and another season could pass us by. Get Van Gaal in, give him a good budget, let him do his job without interruption and put his mark on the club. After going down the route of young and exciting international managers, it hasn’t worked out, for Andre Villas-Boas and Juande Ramos, but success has come with experience, most notably Harry Redknapp. Van Gaal in my view is far superior to any recent manager we’ve had.

As well as the new manager, what we need from Daniel Levy and ENIC is a clear indication of the direction of the club, and now, after hopefully landing Louis Van Gaal, being able to grow a stable coaching staff as well as a stable squad which we can grow and develop. That’s key, for on the pitch. I have no qualms about Daniel Levy’s dealings of the club off the pitch, he has landed us lucrative deals and if we take his word for the new stadium he is showing his ambition for Spurs, the club is very well run, but now Tottenham need success on the pitch, because that’s where it really matters, to the fans.

20140403-195547.jpgThanks for reading! Tottenham will always be around, but these are crucial times in the future of our club in which decisions must be assessed with precision and care, it’s crucial that Tottenham succeed, and it’s Daniel Levy’s last few chances to make sure it’s him who takes us to glory once again.

Remember to follow me on twitter at @AddictedToSpurs and subscribe to my blog!

Leave a comment of your thoughts on the blog and Tottenham’s future.

Match Preview, Liverpool vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 30th March 2014. Kick off at 4pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Anfield.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1.

Our last game against one of the ‘big teams’ this season. Our form against the big teams has been nothing short of appalling, under AVB and Tim Sherwood, we have been unable to muster a big performance on the big stage and that is beyond disappointing, and it’s the reason we will most likely miss out on Champions League football once again. We now have our final chance to make a statement, and make the best out of what has been a distinctly average season. A win at Anfield would be a massive lift to the club, and you never know, could turn this season into a spectacular one. 7 games to go, and we have to win every one. Let’s get behind the boys.

Our recent form against the Scousers doesn’t give us much hope going into this game! We haven’t beaten Liverpool since 2012, a 2-1 win at the Lane with Lennon and Bale scoring, since then a lot has changed, and in the last two fixtures we have lost with 8 goals conceded in those two games, so defensively we have to be at our very, very best to deal with the free flowing, creative and clinical attack that Liverpool possess. Our 5-0 loss at the Lane is something we need to avenge. That was difficult; for me the worst defeat of the season because of how emphatic it was, and how our players gave up in front of the home fans. We’ve got to be mentally strong for this one as well as physically capable. A thrashing would be absolutely terrible, not that it’s ever good, but it would just be kick you in the bollocks and spit in your face terrible.

Liverpool are a top team in incredible form at this point in time, they are fighting for the title, as sad as it is to admit. They sit 2nd in the Premier League, although Manchester City have two games in hand on the reds as they sit in third. 68 points, 12 points ahead of ourselves in 6th. It’s obvious the extra training days and lack of Europe has helped, but the main difference between Spurs and Liverpool is that Liverpool kept Luis Suarez and we sold Gareth Bale. I think they play flowing football and Brendan Rodgers has done a brilliant job; but there are weaknesses, for sure, they are not unbeatable and they showed that in their shaky 2-1 win over Sunderland on Wednesday. Defensively they have loads of gaps; but obviously their attack makes up for it. We need to be defensively strong and take our chances, because there will definitely be chances for us!

The team news for Liverpool shows another factor in why they have overtaken us this season; only Enrique is out for the game on Sunday; other than that, they have a full squad. The danger players are obvious. They are Liverpool’s attacking partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge; Suarez being the leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 28 goals, and Sturridge second with 20 goals. In midfield, it’s obviously Steven Gerrard who gives Liverpool that fight, grit and experience which stands them in good stead for the title race.

20140329-172313.jpg The team news for Spurs is that Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) have been ruled out of the game with Liverpool, while Vlad Chiriches is a doubt after playing 90 minutes for the U21 team on Friday, and Emmanuel Adebayor is also a doubt with a knee injury, but Tim Sherwood is hopeful he will make the squad. The good news is that Mousa Dembele has trained all week and is at full fitness, with Michael Dawson returning from a hamstring injury, Paulinho fully recovered from his calf injury and Sandro returning to the team after missing the Southampton game.

Even if Emmanuel Adebayor does make it; it’s likely he won’t be 100% fit, and I think after his performance against Southampton, Roberto Soldado does not deserve to be dropped, and neither does Nacer Chadli, or certainly Christian Eriksen, so I don’t think we’ll see Adebayor start, but it’d be great to see him involved on the bench as another option if things don’t work out for Roberto Soldado. Gylfi Sigurdsson changed the game up against Southampton with Mousa Dembele not having the best of game with his fitness being low, but even though he did, I don’t think he’ll start ahead of Mousa Dembele, and with Sandro back it is also a big boost to our midfield and makes it much more solid. Defensively, even after his two mistakes against Southampton, Kyle Naughton is set to continue at right back, and he performed well in the second half against the Saints, so he needs to pick himself up and play like he has in his recent games and we have no concerns over him.

Match stats provided by Opta.

- Liverpool v Tottenham has seen more own goals than any other fixture in Barclays Premier League history (8).

- Tottenham haven’t lost three Barclays Premier League away games in a row since January 2009.

- Liverpool have had win/win results in their last 10 home wins.

- Tottenham against Liverpool has seen the joint-most penalties in Premier League history (17 along with Everton v Newcastle), with 11 of them coming at Anfield.

- Spurs didn’t manage a single shot on target in their 0-5 defeat to the Reds in December at White Hart Lane; the only game they haven’t managed one this season. This result marked the end of Andre Villas-Boas’ stint as Tottenham manager.

- Liverpool have had Over 1.5 1st half goals in their last five matches against top-six teams.

- Liverpool have won 11 and lost none of their last 12 Premier League games at Anfield.

- Daniel Sturridge has scored 11 goals in 11 Premier League appearances at Anfield this season.

- Spurs have had Over 2.5 goals in their last five away matches against top-six teams.

- Liverpool have only failed to score in one of their last 16 Premier League games at Anfield.

- Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are only the third pair to both score 20+ goals in a single season each (+ Andrew Cole and Peter Beardsley in 1993-94 and Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard in 2009-10).

- Liverpool have scored first in their last four home matches.

- Steven Gerrard has scored a league-high 10 goals from dead ball situations this season (eight penalties, two free kicks), while he also has the most assists from set pieces (7).

- Liverpool have scored before half-time in their last 21 Premier League games, an all-time record.

I’m strangely looking forward to the game; the pressure is all on Liverpool and we go into the game as definite underdogs, and hopefully that status will suit us and we can perform a shock! The game is live on Sky Sports, but I will be giving live updates on Sunday from my twitter account – @AddictedToSpurs, with photos, videos, goal updates and vines! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Liverpool at Anfield:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Soldado.

Tim Sherwood previews our trip to Anfield:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match: Sunday 23rd March 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Southampton.

GoalScorers for Spurs: Eriksen 31′, Eriksen 46′, Sigurdsson 92′.

GoalScorers for the Saints: Rodriguez 19′, Lallana 28′.

What a victory! After probably one of the worst first halves I have seen at the Lane, we fought back in the second half and played some of our best football to date. It showed our resilience and never say die attitude, which a lot of people had doubted in the past, rightly in some cases. The victory probably doesn’t mean that our Champions League hopes are back on track, but it gives us a platform in which we can build a good end to the season, after not achieving what was expected, with a lot of change and a lot of difficult results, if we can finish strongly, as I say, we can build a platform for next season and next seasons challenges. We can still cling onto some hope that Champions League will materialise this season, but it’s a very slim hope. What we have to do is simply win as many games as possible.

The first half was terrible, we didn’t have any urgency; clueless on the ball, and clueless off of it. Early on we looked really shaky, and then with only 19 minutes gone, Kyle Naughton misjudged the bounce of the ball and Jay Rodriguez cooly slotted away into the bottom corner, a terrible goal to give away. Only 9 minutes later, after no response from the lads at all, Kyle Naughton again touched the ball when he shouldn’t have, and gave it to Lambert, who slid the ball to Adam Lallana, and he finished in a calm fashion, another horrible piece of defending, and at this point, only half an hour in, it looked all over. But, after Southampton’s second, we saw the team respond. Only 3 minutes after their second, we got one back; Kyle Naughton slightly redeeming himself with a dangerous ball into the box, which Roberto Soldado flicked on to a waiting Christian Eriksen who composed himself, before smashing the ball past Boruc, a lifeline.

At half time, Tim Sherwood must have given the team a right bollocking, they came out of the traps fast, showing urgency, quality on the ball and composure in defence. Straight away, the ball was played up field which Roberto Soldado chased, and harried Dejan Lovren, before nudging him off the ball, lifting his head and firing the ball across the box for Christian Eriksen to get his second goal of the game, and Soldado with his second assist. The game was ours; we had the momentum, and the confidence to go ahead and win the game. But, Southampton dug in, and Boruc in goal made some good saves to deny Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado. Time was running out, and we weren’t finding the finishing product, to the fan’s and Tim’s frustration. But then, to everyone’s delight, the ball fell to Christian Eriksen, who laid it off perfectly to Gylfi Sigurdsson, who struck an absolute peach of a shot and it nestled into the bottom left hand corner. A stunner on 90 minutes. Three points.

20140323-194840.jpg There is one player that stood out above the rest in this game, and took man of the match by a mile. Christian Eriksen. What a player. Simply incredible; he took the match by the scruff of the neck and changed it in our favour. He has the touch, the vision and the end product to become one of the best players in the world; for Premier League football, he may have to bulk up a bit, but to be perfectly honest he’s got the skill to get him past that obstacle. At the age of just 22, he’s going to hopefully be an incredible player for us, for many years. He’s been saving us recently, and has cemented himself as the first name on the team sheet. 2 goals and assist against Southampton, meaning he now has 8 goals and 8 assists this season in all competitions, which is a brilliant return in his first season, taking into account he has missed a lot of games. The match winner, Gylfi Sigurdsson, came into the game at half time for Mousa Dembele and helped massively to change the game in our favour, he played with passion and determination in the middle of the park, helping move the ball quickly and working hard to get back and help out the defence. And also, of course the small matter of scoring the winning goal too! Gylfi never complains, he gets on with his job quietly, and always puts a shift in. Lots of respect to him for that. Roberto Soldado has had a torrid time at the start of his Tottenham career, but today was his best performance in a Spurs shirt, he ran, he worked and he delivered. No, he didn’t get a goal, although he deserved one, but the interplay between the Spaniard and Eriksen was incredible, they have a real understanding because they are both such intelligent football players. The finishing touch is missing from Roberto, but not much else is, he is a quality player in his approach play. Other good performers were Nacer Chadli and Younes Kaboul. Nacer played with confidence, showing good touches, but didn’t have a real chance to score, while Younes put in a captains performance, and deserves a new contract. Now.

A hard fought win, in which we showed the ‘character’ which Tim demanded after the Chelsea defeat. Let’s go into the end of the season on fire, and see what happens. Our next game doesn’t come much more difficult, Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday 30th March 2014, with kick off at 4pm. I guess we need a bit more than character to get a win there! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris – 7
Naughton – 5
Kaboul – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 5.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 7.5
Dembele – 5.5
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Chadli – 7.8
Soldado – 8.5.

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 8.
Townsend – 7.

Full match highlights from our 3-2 win over Southampton:

Tim Sherwood’s full post match press conference:

Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s post match interviews:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 23rd March 2014. Kick off 1:30pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Sky Sports 1.

The final run in to our 2013/14 season starts here, only 6 more games before we can say goodbye to what has been a disappointing season, but, we have a job to do before the end of the season, and that job is to try as hard as possible, getting as many results as possible to get into that top 4, however difficult it is, if it’s not impossible then there is still a chance. We have 2 more difficult games on paper, Southampton at the Lane and Liverpool at Anfield, but excluding those we have a very kind end to the season, so you never know what could happen, and who in the top four might lose form. We have to take what happened in Benfica as a positive, the players can take confidence from their performance and hopefully we can end the season strongly, that’s the aim.

We have a great record against Southampton in recent games; since their return to the Premier League two seasons ago, we have beaten them 3 times out of 3, once at home and twice away from home. So we’ve got a good history against them, and last time we faced them it was the return of Emmanuel Adebayor to the Premier League, and he set it on fire with 2 goals, so we’re hoping for another of those sort of performances from the big man. At the Lane last season we squeezed past them, Gareth Bale with a stunning late effort from outside the box that nestled into the bottom left hand corner, on 89 minutes it was a sigh of relief! Our last game in the Premier League was against Arsenal, which we agonisingly lost 1-0, but we can take positives away from the game, like we can against Benfica; we dominated the game, but we couldn’t find an end product, so the hope is we get a bit more luck and ruthlessness in front of goal against Southampton.

Southampton are a great side, well organised under the talented coach Mauricio Pochettino, he has got the Saints playing flowing attacking football, with an end product. They’ve been the team that I have enjoyed watching in the Premier League the most, other than Tottenham. Southampton sit in 8th place, just behind Manchester United and Everton, so they are the best of the rest. They haven’t quite made the push for European football, but they are the best team behind the ‘big 7′ this season. The team news for the Saints is that Morgan Schneiderlin (muscle), Guly Do Prado (knee) and Kelvin Davis (knock) all doubts for the game, with Victor Wanyama (calf) and Jack Cork (ankle) out of the match, but the good news for Southampton is that Dejan Lovren is expected to return. The danger men for Southampton are their English boys, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez are both having fine seasons, earning both England call ups recently. Lallana is skillful, quick and can pick a pass or a gap in the defence, plus he’s not too shabby in front of goal with 7 goals this season in the Premier League. Jay Rodriguez is a different sort of player; he likes to come from the left, using his pace and strength to run past people and often makes things happen, with an impressive 12 goals this season.

20140322-120256.jpg The team news for Tottenham is good news, after missing 11 players for the trip to Benfica through injury, suspension and leaving people behind, we are back up to a respectable compliment. Mousa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor and Younes Kaboul are all set to return from injury, with Jan Vertonghen back after completing a suspension against Benfica, and Hugo Lloris is also back after being left in London for the Benfica tie. Other than that, Kyle Walker (groin) and Paulinho (calf) are labelled as doubts for the fixture, and Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Vlad Chiriches (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) all remain out. Although Kyle Walker might not make it, Kyle Naughton has performed very well recently, especially against Arsenal and Benfica; he’s showing he’s a more than capable back up for Walker, and doesn’t actually deserve to lose his place at the moment, I’m glad he’s finally showing that he does deserve to wear the Tottenham shirt. The player that has to start this game is Nacer Chadli, two goals against Benfica on Thursday and he played very well even without those goals, his performance, a bit like Naughton, has improved in recent games and has shown he deserves to start games either on the left, or behind the striker. The return of Mousa Dembele is massive, I believe we have missed him hugely in the middle of the park, he helps us move the ball more quickly and his ability to move us forward, through passes or through gliding past the opposition is crucial, and with the lack of central midfield options Southampton have, it could be his day to shine, he needs to shoot more through! I’m looking forward to the possibility of Dembele and Sandro partnering each other once again, they compliment each other very well.

Match stats and facts provided by FourFourTwo

- Tottenham have won four of the last five Barclays Premier League meetings with the Saints, including the last three in a row.

- Southampton have won three of their last four Barclays Premier League away games, keeping clean sheets in all those victories.

- Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last six matches.

- The last four Premier League meetings between Spurs and Saints have been decided by a one-goal margin, the last three in Spurs’ favour.

- Spurs have conceded fewer headed goals than any other team in the Premier League (1).

- Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last five home defeats against top-half teams.

- Tottenham are the only Premier League side yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season – the last time that managed this was on April 27th 2013.

- Tottenham have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League games and netted just one in the other match.

- Southampton have scored first in their last five away matches.

- This is Tottenham’s fourth highest points haul after 30 games of a Premier League season (53), just two points short of their best (55) and one point fewer than at this stage last term (54).

- 45 points is Southampton’s best total after 30 games of a Premier League season, while they have also scored more goals than ever before at this stage (43).

- Spurs have won their last three matches against Southampton.

- Spurs have kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League home matches with only Man City and Arsenal breaching their defences in that run.

- Tim Sherwood has already lost four of his 10 competitive home games as Spurs manager – Andre Villas Boas has lost three of his 13 at White Hart Lane this season before he was sacked.

Looking forward to this game, hopefully we can start this end of the season period well and give the fans something to shout about! I will be at the game, but will update at my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Sandro – Dembele
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Match Review, Benfica vs Tottenham. (2nd leg)

Match: Thursday 20th March 2014.

Competition: Europa League round 16, second leg.

Venue: Estadio Da Luz.

Result: Benfica (5) 2-2 (3) Tottenham.

GoalScorers for Benfica: Garay 34′, Lima (pen) 95′.

GoalScorers for Tottenham: Nacer Chadli 78′ & 79′.

Argh! Tottenham are bloody good at getting your hopes up, aren’t they? What a hearty performance that was, we fought until the very end and the lads put in a great performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get past a Champions League standard Benfica side, who over the two legs, probably deserved to go through. With the team we put out, we have no shame on the day, we can go back to the Lane with our heads held high and although we don’t really have much to play for in terms of Champions League, we have a season that needs finishing and we have to do as well as possible and hope someone falters in the top four, which is unlikely, but after the season we’ve had, I think 5th would be a good achievement!

Back to tonight’s display; we started brightly, passing the ball with confidence and finding the players who had the potential to make things happen up front, we made some very good chances and it was desperately poor finishing from Soldado which cost us the chance to go ahead on 12 minutes, and another on 20 minutes. We should have been ahead, but instead we went behind after a weak tackle from Aaron Lennon let in Silvio, who chipped a nice ball in for the centre back Garay to head in without a challenge. Disappointing, and all hope seemed lost. The game went a bit dull, we didn’t create the greatest of chances and Benfica got comfortable, until the entrance of Harry Kane on 71 minutes and Christian Eriksen on 75 minutes, both made instant impacts and Harry Kane got the assist for Nacer Chadli’s first with a flicked header, while Nacer Chadli did very well, and shot a pile-driving shot into the bottom left hand corner, a great strike, but what seemed to be a consolation. Only 1 minute later, Aaron Lennon chipped a ball up into the box for big Harry Kane, and he grabbed his second assist of the evening and Nacer Chadli grabbed his second goal of the night. Hope, sweet hope. We pushed and pushed for a third, and probably should have had a penalty when Harry Kane was bundled over in the box, but that wouldn’t be very Tottenham like, would it? In the 95th minute, the game was out out of site after Sandro and his tired legs that did so much good, barged a Benfica player out of the way and the Portuguese side were awarded a penalty, which Lima cooly put away. Game over.

20140320-205842.jpg
What a performance from most of the team. Man of the match is an easy choice, Nacer Chadli, he played well the whole 90 minutes and got the 2 goals, but that wasn’t all that was in his performance, he worked hard showed skill and pace, and after a difficult start to his Spurs career he is showing the quality that he certainly possesses. He deserves to start on Sunday, and he also deserves a break from the fans who criticise him, when he hasn’t warranted the abuse he has got. It’s been difficult for every new signing!! Another great performer was Zeki Fryers; he is only 21 years of age, and played at centre back which isn’t his preferred position although he has played there in the past, he faced an experienced Oscar Cardozo up front and Zeki was absolutely sublime, I couldn’t fault him all game, he needs to concentrate on being a centre back and forget this left back nonsense, he’s better central. 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb showed his maturity once again in central midfield. He played without a natural central midfield partner and showed that his future is a big one. He needs to improve on his discipline, his decision making and his aggressiveness in the tackle, but he is on his way to becoming a top talent, the abuse he has received is unwarranted, also. A massive mention for Harry Kane, the 20 year old striker has shown recently in my opinion that he will be a top player, and his involvement in this game in the short time he was given was brilliant; if Adebayor isn’t fit for the Southampton game I’d start him up top. There were disappointing performances too; Aaron Lennon provided little on the right, as did Andros Townsend on the left and Roberto Soldado up top hasn’t pushed on from his Cardiff goal and looked lacklustre once again. Finishing on a high, I also thought Kyle Naughton put in a great shift, proving he is an extremely competent back up to Kyle Walker.

Proud, and nothing to be ashamed of. We bow out of the Europa League in the round of 16, our home leg result letting us down. Our next game is against Southampton at White Hart Lane on Sunday 23rd March 2014, kick off at 1:30pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Benfica at the Estadio Da Luz:
Friedel – 7
Naughton – 8.5
Sandro – 8
Fryers – 9
Rose – 5.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 8.5
Sigurdsson – 5.8
Townsend – 5.5
Chadli – 9 – Man of the Match.
Soldado – 5.

Subs:
Kane – 8.5
Eriksen – 7.5.

Match highlights from our 2-2 draw to Benfica:

Tim Sherwood’s press conference after our Benfica draw:

Match Preview, Benfica vs Tottenham. (2nd Leg)

Match date & time: Thursday 20th March 2014. Kick off 6:00pm.

Competition: Europa League Round of 16, second leg.

Venue: Estadio Da Luz.

TV: Live on ITV 4.

1st leg result: Tottenham 1-3 Benfica.

An uphill struggle to say the least. Some have even labelled it as impossible after a first leg bashing, and what is needed to progress to the quarter finals of the Europa League in the second leg. We aren’t just fighting for an incredible come back; we’re fighting for pride. We’ve lost three games in a row and that is simply not acceptable, even with the extremely tough fixture list. The fans desperately need something to cheer about and the players owe the fans travelling to Lisbon a performance, even if it doesn’t get us through to the next round. We need a 0-3+ win to progress, and if our defence is anything to go by, and their attacking threat, it’s most likely they will score, so we have to be aiming to score 4+ goals, which makes this tie as close to out of our reach as it can get, which is sad because I strongly believed we had a chance in the competition, but Benfica are Champions League standard, and the reality is, we are not. All I want from the players is a performance, something to cheer about, a couple of goals maybe and a right good go at it. Even though the fans might not believe, or the footballing world might not believe, we need the players to believe, and hopefully the tag of being the underdog will suit the team, and we can play without pressure.

We all know what Benfica are about after seeing them take us apart in the first leg. They are confident on the ball, good in tight spaces, with an organised and balanced team with good technical players. Top of the League in Portugal and unbeaten at home this season in all competitions, the task gets harder by the minute. We’re going to have to ignore the aggregate score and just try to play a good game, while attempting to contain a strong Benfica offence, with Rodrigo and Cardozo being the main threats in front of goal, but we now are fully aware of centre back Luisao’s prowess from set pieces after he scored 2 against us in the first leg. Let’s hope that a little bit of complacency trickles into their game, and we can exploit them.

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The team news for Spurs is, well, incredible. There are TWELVE absentees, and no senior centre backs available for Tim Sherwood’s selection. Here it is: Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Vlad Chiriches (back), Michael Dawson (hamstring), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Younes Kaboul (knee), Paulinho (calf), Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle/knee), Kyle Walker (groin) and Mousa Dembele (calf) have been ruled out through injury, while Danny Rose (knock) is a doubt, Jan Vertonghen is suspended and Hugo Lloris has been left in London. To say Tim’s options are limited, is an understatement. Let’s just hope the game doesn’t get messy! With all the injuries, Tim will have to rely on the youngsters to fill gaps, after calling up Alexander McQueen (RB/CB), Dominic Ball (CB), Milos Veljkovic (CB/CM), Harry Winks (CM), Joshua Onomah (CAM), Connor Ogilvie (CB/LB) and Luke McGee (GK). So our defensive options aren’t too slim, but they are inexperienced. With this news of no senior centre backs, the job could fall with Sandro and Zeki Fryers, a central defensive midfielder and a left back, although Fryers has experience of playing at centre back. I think that’s the most experienced and secure (not really) pairing you’re going to get in this situation. Even if Rose is a doubt, I think we will have to play him just to field a team! I’d expect Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane to partner each other up top, which isn’t bad, considering the circumstances, I’d argue there are goals in that partnership.

It’s going to be near impossible to get through, but let’s hope the lads give it their all and we can take something positive away from the game! Nothing to lose! You can follow my twitter @AddictedToSpurs, for all the updates on the game, including videos, pictures, goal updates and vines! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Benfica at the Estadio Da Luz:
4-4-2
Friedel
Naughton – Sandro – Fryers – Rose
Townsend – Sigurdsson – Bentaleb – Chadli
Soldado – Kane.

Oh God help us.

Tim Sherwood’s pre match press conference:

Nacer Chadli looks ahead to the Benfica game: