Match Preview, Tottenham vs Burnley.

Match date & time: Saturday 20th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

It’s been a good week for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. A good win away at Swansea, and then an emphatic win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals, which has led us to a winnable tie against Sheffield United in the Semi Finals. It’s a good opportunity for us now to create some momentum, and what better chance than another home win against newly promoted Burnley. A game that we should win, but one that must not be underestimated, as we know our form at the Lane in the Premier League has been shaky at best. It’s about time we transferred our cup form and consistency into our League form, as we have the makings of a good season evolving. To win a trophy would be incredible, but it’s no excuse for not being successful in the Premier League; we have high expectations, with the squad that we have, to attain a respectable top 5 League position, and if we can get top 5, and possibly win a trophy, this would be an incredibly good first year in charge for Mauricio Pochettino, and hopefully give us a good foundation for improvement next season. But, there are a lot of games to play and a lot of things to be decided, and the key to us having the good season that I preach, is to improve our home form and start to win the games that we should, and win them well. Consistency is key and if we can put a good run of results and performances together, we will look very good for the second half of the season. We will be hoping for no slip ups at the Lane against Burnley, and a recreation of the performance and result that was procured against Newcastle. Last time we faced Burnley, we lost 4-2 at Turf Moor back in 2010. And the last time we faced them at White Hart Lane, we won 5-0, with Robbie Keane grabbing four along with a Jenas goal. We’ll be hoping for a repeat of that, step up Harry Kane for the hat trick!

Burnley, after a very difficult start to life in the Premier League, have found their feet, slowly. After 10 games without a win in the Premier League, it was looking very bleak for the boys in claret and blue, but to their credit, after a slow start they are starting to adapt to the Premier League, work very hard and start to grind out good results. The side did not spend big money at all after coming up from the Championship, and are relying on what is a Championship standard squad to try and grit their way through the Premier League with the lack of funds available, and it is not a surprise that they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th with 15 points, ahead of QPR, Hull and Leicester. In their last 6 games though, since their 10 game drought ended, they have picked up 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, which suggests a bit of form is starting to develop. Their only loss coming to QPR at Loftus Road, 2-0. In their last game though, at Turf Moor, they triumphed against Southampton 1-0, and so come into this game high on confidence. At home, it looks as though they could gain a lot of momentum – but they do struggle on their travels, with only 1 win in 7 attempts, but that came on a difficult journey to Stoke City. It seems definite that Burnley, with their lack of offensive creativity, will try to sit deep and soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter attack and from set pieces, relying on the pace and goals for Danny Ings. It’s our job to make sure we are efficient on the ball, and score an early goal to quash the Burnley resilience.

The team news for Burnley is that Stephen Ward (ankle), Michael Duff (shin), Sam Vokes (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Ben Mee (illness) is set to return for the Clarets. There is one key factor you need at the bottom of the table if you want to survive, and that’s goals – and Burnley have potentially got a player that can bring that factor to fruition. The England U21 striker has pace, desire and an eye for a goal – and he’s Burnley’s main hope of survival, if he can stay in form and start to consistently get goals. In 13 appearances so far this season in the Premier League, he has 4 goals and is Burnley’s top scorer, which isn’t a brilliant record by any means, but it shows that recently he’s been finding his feet in the world’s most competitive League. If Burnley want a result at the Lane, they’ll be hoping Ings will be bringing his A game, as he can worry defenders and stretch the opposition with clever runs, as well as his more than decent ability on the ball, as well as off of it. Although Burnley don’t have an abundance of talent running through the veins of their squad, they have some decent players that can score goals and create opportunities – one of those players is George Boyd, who after being signed from Hull in the summer, has scored 2 goals and has been able to show his quality just off Danny Ings. Another offensive player, who managed to win the game for Burnley against Southampton, is former Brighton man Ashley Barnes. The versatile forward can score goals from the wings and from central positions, and after scoring 2 goals so far this season, he’ll be looking to add to his tally at the Lane. Those two Ashley Barnes goals have both been winners, so he’s been a valuable player for the Clarets in times of need.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor has returned and is in contention to play in this game, meaning that we have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season and what seems to be many years! Despite his marmite persona, Emmanuel Adebayor, is an important option to have upfront for Tottenham. He’s a different type of striker to Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado; as he is completely accustomed to playing in the lone striker role and can hold the ball up with his strength and height. It’s a different type of striker to have, and one who when feeling good about himself can score all types of goals. I’m glad he’s back and hope he can have a good impact in our form.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christian Eriksen is set to become a World Class player. He’s not quite at that level yet, but he’s well on his way. He has the ability to win football games, with his creativity and goals, and now, after a slow start, he’s found his feet and will be an essential player to keep fit and inform for the rest of the season. Against Burnley, it’s important that he performs as we will need his eyes for a gap to breakdown what is expected to be a tight and well compact Burnley defence. His shots from outside the box and set pieces could well prove the difference as well. Nacer Chadli bagged his 7th goal of the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, and proved a constant threat to the Geordies – and he’s proving to be a very important player so far this season for Tottenham. He has the eye for goal, and it’s crucial that he keeps up this form and after returning from injury, recreates the performances that he was producing earlier in the season. Chadli is a player that I really like and I think he’ll pass the 10-15 goal Mark with ease this season, which is fantastic for a midfielder. Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in 26 appearances for club and country so far this season, and he’s been outstanding in not only his clinical finishing but his work rate and link up play too; he has the full package and I hope he can continue to develop in the way that he is, not only this season but in the future too. In midfield, Ryan Mason has looked fairly weary and hasn’t been as influential as his early season form, so personally I would rest him for Benjamin Stambouli, who I think has proved Pochettino that he is worthy of a start in the Premier League after his performance in the Cup competitions, and after his partnership with Nabil Bentaleb was so fruitful against Newcastle, it seems natural to keep the two together for this game. But, with the quality that we do have in the centre of midfield, I’d be happy to see Mousa Dembele, Bentaleb, Mason, Stambouli or Etienne Capoue start and I really wouldn’t react badly, I think we’ve got a good calibre of player in that position. Kyle Walker could be set for his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bomb down that right hand side once again; he’s been sorely missed and will be essential to the balance of the side.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– There have been 21 goals scored in the last four meetings in all competitions between Spurs and Burnley, with at least five in each game.

– Those last four meetings between Spurs and Burnley have all been home wins.

– There have been 55 goals in the last 12 meetings between Spurs and Burnley at White Hart Lane; an average of 4.6 per game.

– Tottenham have won three Premier League games that they have been behind in this season; only Chelsea have won as many.

– Spurs have won a league-high eight points from goals scored in the 85th minute or later in the Premier League this season.

– Burnley have played the highest proportion of passes long this season in the PL (20.4%).

– The Clarets have also made 30 more long throws than any other team in the PL this season (164, Tottenham are joint second on 134).

– This is only the eighth time that Spurs will play a Premier League game on a Saturday at 3pm since the start of last season (it’ll be their 55th PL game since Aug 2013 overall).

– Burnley have won just one point in their eight previous Premier League trips to London (D1 L7).

– The Clarets have failed to score in six of these previous eight Premier League away games in the capital.

A match in which we must continue our winning form, and end the home drought for a win in the Premier League. It’s a great opportunity to grab three points! The game isn’t televised, and I’ll be attending the game. But I’ll be sure to post a stream and update when I can on Twitter. Follow me there for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted team to face Burnley at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Burnley press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match: Wednesday 17th December 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 Newcastle.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Bentaleb 18′, Chadli 46′, Kane 65 & Soldado 70′.

What a win! An extraordinary result and fantastic performance that has left a beautiful taste in Tottenham fans’ mouths. We have progressed to the Capital One Cup Semi Finals, and will face Sheffield United over two legs for a place at Wembley, which is what dreams are made of! Throughout the game, we were composed on the ball, efficient in our passing and clinical in our finishing. Benjamin Stambouli has hailed it as the perfect performance, and it really was. We were just as good off the ball as we were on the ball, though, and we tackled well, kept compact and were set up magnificently to nullify the Newcastle threat – especially form Moussa Sissoko. It was a performance that shows we are learning from mistakes, growing as a side, and also showed even without all of our best players out on the field, if we are set up correctly, limit our mistakes and introduce the kind of energy & enthusiasm we had then we can be quite successful. The opportunity to win a trophy is massive, now, Sheffield United are a League 1 side, and with the team we have we should be picking them off, especially after two legs. We avoided Chelsea and Liverpool and it really is the perfect draw – a day out at Wembley is brilliant in itself, and would give the club and the fans a real boost which is what we need at this moment in time. It’s a massive opportunity!

Focusing back on the game; in the first half, we started brightly, passed the ball well, and created some decent chances which could have easily been our first goal in the first 15 minutes. Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen all looking very lively. In the end though, the deadlock was broken by one Nabil Bentaleb, who poached his first ever goal for Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a Christian Eriksen corner which was fumbled by the Newcastle ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, and Bentaleb was alert to pounce on his mistake and set Tottenham on the path to victory. Newcastle weren’t bad in the first half, they went close themselves to breaking even, but their finishing wasn’t crisp enough. Bursting runs from Moussa Sissoko were the main threat, and he forced Michel Vorm into a good save from outside the box. The Geordies were threatening, and it was obvious that another goal for Tottenham had to come to have any sense of comfort. 1-0 at the break, and very content with the performance, but last time Newcastle visited the Lane, that was the case, and they ran away 2-1 victors, so the fans, Pochettino and the players knew that an equally as fast start in the second half was necessary or history had the possibility of repeating itself.

And as the second half kicked off, we got what we wanted. We kept the ball, drowned out Newcastle’s early threat and looked comfortable and most importantly, focussed! And then our second goal was procured; Christian Eriksen being forced wide, and looking like the chance was dead, before he brilliantly found a reverse pass into the path of Nacer Chadli who controlled it, moved into a better shooting position and then picked his spot expertly form outside the box to double Tottenham’s lead and make it a much more comfortable scoreline. We were cruising into the semi-finals, and Newcastle didn’t seem to have the spark, clinical edge or collective quality to influence the game in the way they wanted. As time moved on, we got more comfortable and comfortable, on the ball and off of it. We were creating chances, finding space, passing the ball crisply and switching play very easily with both full backs high and Christian Eriksen involved in almost everything in the middle of the park. It was lovely to watch. The third goal was thanks to good play on the left hand side from Mousa Dembele, who held off a challenge and released the ball to Andros Townsend who’s quick, one touch pass found Harry Kane who got the better of the defender before expertly sliding the ball into the far right hand corner to put the game beyond doubt. 3-0, 65 minutes in. That was Kane’s final contribution to a wonderful performance as he was replaced by Roberto Soldado – who then quickly made his mark, as Christian Eriksen drove at the Newcastle back four and got his shot away which was poorly parried by Jak Alnwick, and fell into the path of Roberto Soldado, who adjusted his feet and easily poked the ball into the back of the net, in true poachers fashion. After that goal on the 70 minute mark, the game’s pace fizzled out and we had most of the ball, and looked relaxed in our position, even to the point where showboating was being cheered by the fans as Andros Townsend produced his latest back heel. Full time – and a fantastic victory which keeps the dream of silverware very much alive.

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There were great performances all over the field in this game. It was not our strongest team – but it shows the quality of the squad we have when we can bring in the likes of Michel Vorm, Vlad Chiriches, Andros Townsend and Benjamin Stambouli and they can perform like they did in this game. While first 11 players such as Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb producing their best and it was great to see a team performance, and not relying on individual quality to pull us through. For me, Christian Eriksen was our stand out performer, in the centre of midfield he pulled the strings, kept the ball expertly, and was extremely effective on the ball, being involved in 3 of the 4 goals and moving the ball quickly in midfield. Christian seems to have once again found his top form, after an admittedly slow start to the season, he has found not only his goalscoring form, but his creative side is starting to come through and that’s incredibly important to the team. He’s a player that can win you games single handedly and I can’t wait to see him develop even further, as Jan Vertonghen says, he has the potential to become a Tottenham great. In the centre of midfield, I was incredibly impressed with the performances of Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli; they were energetic, enthusiastic and composed; which was exactly what we needed to nullify the threat of Moussa Sissoko, who in all honesty couldn’t get any rhythm to his game due to always being surrounded by Stambouli and Bentaleb. This partnership has to be given an opportunity to flourish in the Premier League, in my opinion. It has balance, and both players have potential to become very important for the future. In defence, we were solid throughout. And the partnership between Fazio and Vertonghen is starting to grow and grow, and they are starting to understand each other’s games and I think it looks the makings of a good combination. There’s also a need to mention the performance of Danny Rose, who I thought had a really good game, and is definitely rising to the task of winning his Premier League place back from Ben Davies, who has been equally as good.

A massive result! In arguably our biggest game of the season so far, we came out on top in emphatic style and booked a place in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals, where we will face Sheffield United, and a chance to go to Wembley is on the horizon! Our next game is against Burnley at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Saturday, which is another big home game, which we need all three points! Join me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Newcastle at the Lane:
Vorm – 8.5
Chiriches – 7
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Stambouli – 8.5
Bentaleb – 8.5 (Capoue 81′ – 6)
Chadli – 8 (Dembele 61′ – 7)
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Townsend – 7.5
Kane – 8.5. (Soldado 68′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 4-0 win over Newcastle:

Match highlights from our 4-0 win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Wednesday 17th December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After our 2-1 away win against Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday, our focus quickly turns to the Capital One Cup Quarter Final at the Lane. For me, it’s our biggest game of the season so far. To make it into the semi finals would be a big achievement – and being three games away from Wembley is tantalising. At White Hart Lane, we have to be hoping that we will make the Semi-Finals, but, against a decent Newcastle side who have already beaten us at the Lane this season, we cannot underestimate the threat that they possess. Our home form has been difficult this season to say the least, but in the cups, we are unbeaten, so hopefully we can continue that form and triumph into the semi-finals. Realistically, it will be a very hard competition to win, but in one off games, anything can happen if we take it seriously. This close to the Final, it’s necessary to put out a strong, competitive side, even with the amount of games thrown our way during the Christmas period. A trophy is something that would give the club a lift like nothing else can. People have banged on about the top four and the Champions League for a long time, but I think fans are starting to realise that whether or not we get in, it’s almost impossible to win. So what’s the point? A trophy is a memory that can last a life time, and goes down in the history books. It’s what football fans crave – a day at Wembley. A glory, glory night. There is a long way to go, though, and first, Newcastle stand in our way.

Newcastle are a decent side, with good quality players. They sit 8th in the Premier League, and in 10 games they have only lost twice. Including wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. They cannot be underestimated, as I say. In the last round of the Capital One Cup, Newcastle travelled to Manchester City as big underdogs, but came away from the game as 2-0 winners at the Etihad and secured a place in the Quarter Finals. This just highlights how difficult the game will be for us – but we’ll be hoping that they won’t recreate the form showed against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, but instead recreate the result of when they last visited North London and faced our rivals – Arsenal – as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates. If we can find our form, if we are direct and show the quality that we possess, we can triumph and get through – but, if we are too relaxed, slow and complacent, then Newcastle will come to the Lane and steal the dream of Wembley away from us before it’s even been comprehended. In our last two games against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, we have lost both by one goal – so we’ll be looking to buck the trend before this becomes a habit!

The team news for Newcastle is that goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliott (hip) are both ruled out, while Ryan Taylor (knee), Gabriel Obertan (hip), Siem De Jong (thigh), Davide Santon (knee), Curtis Good (groin) and Rolando Aarons (hamstring) are all ruled out, while Mehdi Abeid (ankle) will undertake a late fitness test ahead of the game. Also, right back Daryl Janmaat (suspended) is out of the game. Newcastle have some good players, and none are better than driving midfielder Moussa Sissoko; he has power, pace and can effect games and change their momentum – and we saw the brute force of that the last time Newcastle made the journey to White Hart Lane, as he changed the game in Newcastle’s favour with his driving runs and quality on the ball. To deal with him, it’s important that we enforce our midfield upon them, and make sure that we are efficient on the ball and are energetic defensively to counter act Sissoko’s big threat. Another of Newcastle’s big threats, scored against us in our last fixture – Ayoze Perez has pace, technique and energy up front, as well as the ability to stretch a defence and run in behind – not forgetting his eye for goal, and he’s netted 4 goals in 8 games, including 3 against Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

IMG_3141.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness), is out of the game. And that’s it. Hurrah! Kyle Naughton has returned to the squad after injury and completes a full squad, excluding the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor. It really is important, coming into the Christmas period, that we have fully fit squad to choose from, and hopefully the players step up and play & train for their places in the first team. We’re very lucky to have a fully fit squad; and now we have to utilise that to our advantage and put a run of results together, building consistency.

It’s difficult to predict what sort of starting eleven Mauricio Pochettino will select in this game – as it is difficult timing in between extremely important Premier League fixtures, and we all know that Pochettino preaches his faith in the squad, and isn’t afraid to make changes and use his team – but, we also have to take into consideration that this is as big as a Premier League game, if not bigger – and the fans will want a performance as well as most importantly – a result. It’s a big game for our fringe players as well as our key players, as it is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents, as it is every time they step on the pitch. The players that I’m referring to are Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, Aaron Lennon and Benjamin Stambouli, who all in my opinion have the quality to be in the Premier League first team, but have a fight on their hands with the performances of the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen – which is a tall order for the fringe players. The key player in this game, excluding Harry Kane, who is likely to be rested, is Nacer Chadli who if he finds his form again, can win us a game with his goals and ability on the ball. It’s likely that Nacer will play just behind Roberto Soldado, which if they can form an understanding, could be quite a profitable partnership.

It’s a big game! I hope White Hart Lane will find it’s voice for a Quarter Final of a major domestic trophy. The game isn’t televised. I will be attending the game, but I will attempt to update as much as possible from the stands. Hopefully I’ll be reporting a win! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Newcastle press conference:

Match Review, Swansea City vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 14th December 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Liberty Stadium.

Result: Swansea 1-2 Tottenham.

Swansea goalscorer: Wilfried Bony 48′.

Tottenham goalscorers: Harry Kane 4′, Christian Eriksen 89′.

We’ve done it again! A last minute winner, away from home, and it feels brilliant every single time. After a disappointing performance overall, our individual quality has pulled us through and we have got a fantastic three points that was desperately needed after three poor results on the bounce. Now, we got a good win against Everton and couldn’t find consistency, and now we’ve got another win, another supposed confidence boost and the win that changes our fortune and our season. It’s up to the players to take this win and turn it in to a much needed run of form, because one result isn’t enough, we need to turn it into a run of 6 or 7 good results. But, every win is nice, and it’s important that we are keeping up with the teams ahead of us and now sit in a respectable 7th place, daring to look ahead of us at the top four. This gives us some nice momentum ahead of a massive game at White Hart Lane on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup quarter final against Newcastle.

In the first half, we started extremely well, scoring almost instantly from a corner in the 4th minute. Christian Eriksen whipping in a beautiful ball from the right hand side and Harry Kane leaped like the superhero he is, ahead of Angel Rangel and powered the ball past Tremmel to give us the perfect start. We then controlled the game in possession for around 20 minutes, before Swansea, who were slow to come out of the blocks, finally got their foot in the door and started to get more and more possession, and as a result, more chances fell to the Swans and the pressure grew and grew in the first half. Wilfried Bony’s killer touch was evading him, though, and despite looking lackadaisical in defence, we managed to hang on until the half time whistle, to the amazement of many. Our defending was incredibly poor, and the ball was so difficult to tame in midfield, and with the tackles flying in and the bookings flying out, it looked like the tide was turning in favour of the hosts.

The second half was a complete reverse of the first, Swansea were the team who came out fighting and quickly, and deservedly made the score even. Wayne Routledge spinning in a ball that was met by Wilfried Bony, who got a massive slice of luck as he made contact with the ball which then hit an unassuming Federico Fazio, and then fell straight back to the Ivorian, who composed himself and then slotted the ball into the net for 1-1. At this moment, it looked as though Swansea would take the initiative, and complete the come back. They had most of the possession, most of the chances, but we were still there, hanging in, digging in. We were lucky not to concede too many clear cut chances, and as time ticked on, it was still anyone’s game. Mauricio Pochettino freshened up the game, and brought in Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli and Benjamin Stambouli, and I think they all made a big difference. It was Stambouli’s tenacity that won the ball closing into the winning goal. Eriksen took a shot from quite a way out, which was parried by Tremmel, and then the ball wasn’t proberlu cleared after pressure from Harry Kane, and it fell into former Swansea player Ben Davies’ path, and he sped a ball into Christian Eriksen’s path, who had found an ounce of space, and had time to sort out his feet, shift the ball onto his right leg and then slashing the ball into the bottom of the net on the 89th minute to give us a much needed win, despite it most probably not being completely deserved! The finish was exquisite and an important three points was in the bag. Despite it not being the most remarkable performances of the season, it’s a remarkable result.

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There was one stand out performance from this game – Harry Kane, once again. It’s not just his goals, and he got another critical one, but it’s his general work rate, enthusiasm and ability on the ball, he is a driving force in our side and is without a doubt one of our most important for the rest of the season if he can continue to get the goals at important times in important matches. He’s becoming a force of nature! Harry Kane’s first goal was assisted by the match winner, Christian Eriksen, who has been improving and improving as the season goes on, and he’s produced another match winning, crucial goal that has saved our bacon. Not only is he creative, skillful and efficient on the ball, he is absolutely effective with his goals and finally an assist this Premier League season. His performance today over the 90 minutes wasn’t phenomenal, but he pops up in key areas at key times and can win you games – and that is priceless. Young Nabil Bentaleb has been fantastic since his return from injury, he seems to have such a mature head on his shoulders for someone who is only 20 years of age and in this game, I thought he was so composed, but also showed grit and determination when needed – he was certainly one of our better performers. On his return to Premier League action, Kyle Walker did look a little rusty as expected, but his performance overall against a lively Jefferson Montero was running at him was good, and hopefully he can push on and continue to improve and get sharpness towards his game. He’s a crucial player in our system who we need to be on form and fit.

What a good three points! Major room for improvement in the performance, but heading into a massive game against Newcastle on Wednesday, we have the perfect platform to try and create a run of results. To make it to the Semi-Final of the Capital One Cup would be brilliant. Our next Premier League game is on Saturday the 20th December at the Lane against a growing Burnley side. Another big game, coming thick and fast! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Swansea at the Liberty:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7.5
Fazio – 5
Vertonghen – 6
Davies – 8
Mason – 6 (Stambouli 70′ – 7)
Bentaleb – 8.5
Lamela – 6 (Chadli 83′ – 6)
Eriksen – 9
Kane – 9 – Man of the Match.
Soldado – 5. (Dembele 56′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference post Swansea win:

The goals from our 2-1 win over Swansea:

Kane & Eriksen post match interview:

Match Preview, Swansea City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 14th December 2014. 4pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Liberty Stadium.

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

After 3 games without a win and without a goal, it’s crucial that we don’t let that drag on and come to the table at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea showing flair, pace and energy to try and get a result, and score some goals! The season so far has been very tough, with a lack of rhythm and consistency in our results and performances, and now we’re right in the thick of the Christmas period, it’s really important that we pick up our performances and get some results, otherwise we will find ourselves too far off the pace in the Premier League and, if we don’t find our performance level ahead of probably the biggest game of our season so far against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final at White Hart Lane. Getting to the final of that competition again would be fantastic, and to win it would be fabulous to say the least, but first we have to get past Newcastle on Wednesday, and have to focus on getting a result in Wales! Swansea are a well drilled, technically fantastic side, but if you look at previous results, they’ve all been in our favour and hopefully we can get a result once more against possibly the best Swansea side there has ever been! It’s unlikely to be a scrap, and Swansea will be looking to attack, keep the ball, and play to their strengths, and Tottenham love to do that to, on a good day, so we’ll be hoping to stop their rhythm, get hold of the ball and hit them on the counter attack. Our away form is good, and we’ll be hoping to take the full three points this Sunday afternoon, and what a big three points it would be.

Swansea have been great this season. Personally, I think they are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the Premier League this season, and have picked up the results to back it up as well. They sit 8th, only 1 point ahead of ourselves in 10th – and it’s their home form that has been so brilliant this season, in their last 7 games in all competitions, they have not been beaten, winning 4 and drawing 3. With a win against Arsenal in there which really caught the eye. Despite that good home form, and the scrutiny Tottenham have been put under this season, we are only 1 point away from them, and a win at the Liberty can really make our season look more rosy! I really hope we can finally build and improve on the Everton result and bring that energy to our game once more, and make sure that our Europa League commitment doesn’t hinder our performance. In our last 5 games against Swansea, we have come out on top in every single one, being unbeaten in our last 6 games, and never beaten by them in Premier League history. Last time out, at the Liberty Stadium, we were able to beat the Swans 3-1, Emmanuel Adebayor getting a brace, and Chico Flores scoring an own goal – and Wilfried Bony scoring for Swansea. We’ll be hoping, in the absence of Adebayor, that another player will step up and steer us to victory!

The team news for Swansea is that Federico Fernandez (calf) will have a late fitness test ahead of the game, and is therefore a doubt. While goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański (suspended) is out of the game, and defender Neil Taylor returns from a one match ban. Everyone knows who Swansea’s key man is – Wilfried Bony is a phenomenon upfront, his finishing, hold up play and link up with his midfield is brilliant and he is a nightmare to contain for defenders and on his day, when the ball is at his feet and he gets the service either in behind the defenders or from crosses from the wing, he can win games for his side – and if we want any chance of taking the three points back to London, we will have to make sure Bony is frustrated and starved of service. The service that Bony will be hoping to get will be attempted to be provided by a familiar face; Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a revelation this season, and despite being a very decent player in his time at Tottenham, getting important goals, he never reached his full potential and didn’t do enough to secure a place in the starting line up, but his move to Swansea has reinvigorated his career and he has reached another level of performance, scoring goals, but more impressively, being the creative force for Swansea this season with 8 assists and 2 goals. Hopefully Sigurdsson won’t come back to haunt us this Sunday in Wales. Not only do Swansea have strength and technique, they have pace in abundance with their wingers. Jefferson Montero is quick, direct, and effective on the left hand side, and the Colombian has built up a real understanding of the Premier League and with his team mates and is starting to torment defenders, and our right back, whether Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton or Vlad Chiriches, will have to be on top of their game! On the other side, it’ll be either Wayne Routlegdge or Nathan Dyer, and either player will be very threatening, with both being able to provide goals and assists to the Swansea side, while stretching defences and getting in behind. It’s going to be a very tough afternoon, where we’ll need to be right on top of our game.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (personal reasons) is out of the game, and Kyle Naughton (heel) is a doubt for the game. But, other than that, we have a full squad to choose from, with Kyle Walker fully recovered from his abdominal injury and in the squad, and the players rested for the Besiktas tie back in contention. Those include Ryan Mason, Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier. It’s so important, being in the Winter period, to have a healthy and hungry squad to choose from, and with the full squad to pick from, it’s important we can take advantage. Mauricio Pochettino needs to find his first choice starting 11 and stick with it, because that will lead to much needed consistency!

Harry Kane, after a phenomenal season so far, has hit his first dry spell of the season, not scoring in four games – but, he has played really well in each game and worked ever so hard for the side. He got a much needed rest in midweek, and should now come back fresh and hungry to drive Tottenham to victory, and hopefully get on the score sheet once again! There are some tough decisions for Mauicio Pochettino, with the midweek game, whether to throw Kyle Walker back into the Premier League after completing 75 minutes against Besiktas. Personally, I would put him into the game as he says he feels ‘perfect’ and he’d be the best equipped to deal with the pace of Jefferson Montero. Nacer Chadli has been one of our players of the season so far, but after an injury, his flow has been disrupted, and his performance level has dropped. Now, he’ll be hoping to get a consistent run in the team and find his goalscoring form once again – it’s crucial for us that he does, because goals from midfield for us are vital. Defensively, we will want to build a consistent and solid back four, and with Walker at right back, Fazio and Vertonghen look to be building a very good centre back partnership together, with strength and composure, and hopefully the understanding between them grows and they become even stronger, with Ben Davies, returning to his former club, at left back, who has been very good at left back recently. Hopefully, the whole team comes together and we can find our form once again away from home.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– Wilfried Bony has 19 goals in the Premier League in 2014, more than any other player.

– Ivorian striker Bony has netted seven times in his last nine Premier League appearances.

– Spurs have lost none of the six Barclays Premier League games against Swansea and have won the last five in a row.

– This will be Tottenham’s 32nd Premier League game on a Sunday since the start of last season, more than any other side.

– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored four goals in five Premier League games against Swansea.

– Gylfi Sigurdsson made 58 appearances in two PL seasons for Spurs, scoring eight goals and assisting four more. In two spells with Swansea he has played 33 PL games scoring nine and setting up 11 more.

– Jan Vertonghen has scored in two of his three Premier League games against Swansea.

– Swansea have now thrown away 16 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season; more than any other team and with those points would be top of the table.

– 21 points after 15 matches is Spurs’ lowest haul in the Premier League since the 2008-09 season (15 points).

– Tottenham have conceded six goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season, more than any other club.

– Swansea are the only side yet to concede a goal in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

Every game is a big game, but some are more important than others. And we need to get a result after three games without one. Starting well, getting a goal and staying compact defensively is crucial – hopefully we can do that! The game is live on Sky Sports 1, but I’ll be providing match updates, photos, videos and much more from my Twitter account here – @AddictedToSpurs – give me a follow! Let’s get back to winning ways! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Swansea at the Liberty:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Mason
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Pochettino reacts to Besiktas loss and says focus now on Swansea:

Match Preview, Besiktas vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Thursday 11th December 2014. 6pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: Ataturk Stadium.

TV: Live on ITV 4 in the UK. Worldwide TV listings, HERE.

The games come thick and fast in the Christmas period, and managing your squad, keeping players fresh and hungry, while picking up as many wins as you can along the way. With our place secured in the knockout rounds of the Europa League, we now have to battle it out with Besiktas for top spot, away from home, with only a point required after the Turkish outfit dropped points to Asteras Tripolis in a 2-2 draw, while we triumphed at home to Partizan 1-0. Now, it’s in our hands to finish off the job in style by making our lives a little bit easier and topping Group C. With so many big games coming up, it is important to prioritise, and manage the squad well, using the talent we have through the core of the squad and using them effectively, and making sure that nobody is burnt out, and we keep fresh through an incredibly tough and demanding time in the season, with the importance made twice as much for Tottenham, trying to claw back points in the race for a successful and respectable league position. But right now, we’ve got to focus on the Europa League, which I hope will be a big part of our season, because with a bit of luck in the draw, we could go a long way! It’s a very prestigious competition and to win it would be magnificent, but to succeed and play some big teams in the knockout faces would be very exciting, hopefully bringing White Hart Lane to life. Away from home, in Turkey, it’s going to be very difficult to take a result back to London, but hopefully we’ll be able to continue our unbeaten record in the Europa League and top the group.

We all know of Besiktas’ quality. When they came to the Lane earlier in the season they were very impressive, and a 1-1 draw was all we could manage, even under the lights at White Hart Lane. Currently, Besiktas are top of the Turkish Super Lig, and are in great form, especially at Home, where in 11 games, they have only lost 1, winning 5 and drawing 4 in all competitions, including holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw at the Ataturk Stadium in the Champions League. Last time out, in that 1-1 draw at the Lane, I thought it was an incredibly talented Besiktas side that graced the pitch, and they passed the ball crisply, created chances and were solid in defence and midfield. They are a well drilled side with decent, hard working players and at home, I’m sure they are going to be even more of a threat, even though like Tottenham, they are qualified as well. In their last game, they would have been disappointed to be held to the Greek side Asteras Tripolis 2-2, away from home – this was them throwing away an opportunity to get top spot with only a point in this coming game, so hopefully they throw away the opportunity to top it this Thursday evening!

The big team news for Besiktas is that star man Demba Ba (broken toe) is out of the game, after being a scorer in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane. Other injury concerns are goalkeeper Cenk Gonen (knock), defender Tomas Sivok (hamstring) and midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup (calf) go into the game as doubts, while fellow midfiedler Ugur Boral (knee) and Mustafa Pektemek (cheekbone) are definitely out of the game. With Demba Ba out of the game, a massive hole in their side needs to be filled, and they will be relying on attacking midfielder Gokhan Tore to provide the inspiration and goals – having scored three goals in five games in the Europa League, and they’ll be hoping that Ba’s potential replacement Olcay Sahan can step up after 4 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions up top, they’ll be hoping he can fill the shoes to the level of Demba Ba.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (personal issues) is out, while Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen and Kyle Naughton all being left in London – rested ahead of the weekend tie with Swansea. The big news is that Kyle Walker is finally back in the first team squad for the game, and will be looking to get minutes on his road to full fitness. Youngsters Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks are in the squad, while Younes Kaboul, Andros Townsend, Etienne Capoue, Danny Rose and Vlad Chiriches are back in the squad, along with Federico Fazio, who has returned after a one match suspension. I think it’s great that Pochettino has seen the need to rest Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Ryan Mason especially – as they have looked very drained recently and we need them to be reinvigorated ahead of the tie against a good Swansea side. Using the talented Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks would be great to see, as I see them both having big futures if nurtured in the correct way, and it’s clear Mauricio Pochettino sees the talent that runs through our academy sides, and deserves opportunities with the first team.

With Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor not involved, the baton is to be handed to Roberto Soldado to lead the line and hopefully, get the goals we need to top the group. Isolation is a problem when he is up top on his own – so to help him out, I would play Nacer Chadli just in behind the Spaniard to give him the support, and with the Goalscoring record he has I think he could be a massive player – and it’s a great opportunity for Nacer to get some more fitness and minutes to get back to the top of his game once again. In the centre of midfield, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason have taken the position in the Premier League, which means Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Benjamin Stambouli will be hoping to get some minutes under their belt and try to show that they deserve a place in the starting line up in the Premier League. In defence, Vlad Chiriches is fit again after missing the Crystal Palace game and he’ll be looking to start at centre back, and I’d start him alongside young Eric Dier, who will be keen to show his qualities at centre half with the return of Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and the likely addition of DeAndre Yedlin in January – I think he has a massive future in that central position for us.

A big game, with top spot on the agenda. A point will do – but a win would be extremely good for confidence, going to a great side, away from home and getting a result would be brilliant. The game is shown on ITV4, but I’ll be providing match updates, videos, photos and much more on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Looking forward to it! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Besiktas:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Chiriches – Dier – Rose
Stambouli – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Crystal Palace.

Match date & time: Saturday 6th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Looking back to our brilliant win over Everton at White Hart Lane, putting our Chelsea defeat to the back of our minds, we have to continue to win games at the Lane, and create a good run of results coming into the busy Christmas period. Home form is always crucial to any success in the Premier League, and for a team fighting for a place close to the top of the League, beating the teams below you at home is absolutely vital to toting up the points needed to attain your goals. So far this season, it has been well documented that we have struggled at home, losing four games already at White Hart Lane, against Stoke, West Brom, Newcastle and Liverpool – which simply isn’t good enough, but after our scintillating victory over Everton, showcasing our ability at Home, it’s crucial we build on the win and as I say, transform White Hart Lane back into the fortress that it once was, with fast, offensive football, scoring goals, pressing high and winning games – that’s what we all want! Along with home form, consistency is key to building a good season, and after beating Hull City, then Partizan and Everton, but we fell to Chelsea and now we have to get back to winning ways, with games against Palace, Swansea, Newcastle and Burnley – we have the possibility of driving our way up the table in this winter period, and starting the New Year in a good way. Crystal Palace are known for working hard and trying to be hard to beat in their battle to stay in the Premier League, so it’s going to be important that we start fast and attempt to get the first goal early on to break Palace’s possibly negative way of playing early on – and then I would be confident of winning comfortably. It sounds easy, Eh?

Crystal Palace 15th in the League, but are still only one point from the relegation zone. It’s extremely tight down at the bottom, and the key games for Palace are the ones at home, against the teams around them. That’s when the pressure is on and results need to be found. Up against a team like Tottenham, away from home, anything they get is a bonus and they have nothing to lose in coming to White Hart Lane – which puts less pressure on their shoulders, and could come to help the Eagles, and hinder Tottenham. It’s always the case when the underdog comes to town, and Palace will try to take solace from the performances and results of Newcastle, Stoke and West Brom, and I’m sure they will try to adopt a similar, counter attacking style of play in order to frustrate Tottenham. I would hope that Spurs have worked on dismantling teams that sit deep and to start fast, and destroy the oppositions game plan early in and entice them into attacking more so that we can pick them off and hopefully, score a few more goals. In recent fixtures against Crystal Palace since their promotion to the Premier League, we have won both games, last season, without conceding. With the last game being at White Hart Lane, winning 2-0. Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe scoring to secure the win in an emotional game, with Defoe getting his final goal for Tottenham Hotspur. And going back a bit further, on the first day of last season, we beat Palace 1-0, Roberto Soldado getting his first goal for Tottenham to give us the win. Hopefully we can continue to win against Crystal Palace, and get a clean sheet in the process!

The team news for Crystal Palace is that Dwight Gayle (illness) is set to return to the Palace line up, while Joe Ledley (groin) is a 50/50 doubt. Damien Delaney (calf), Adrian Mariappa (knee), Kevin Doyle (knee) and Andrew Johnson (knock) are all out. The key player for Palace so far this season, capturing the imagination of their fans and the praise of the pundits is Yannick Bolasie; he has only 1 goals and 2 assists, but, his ability to run with the ball, create chances and cause havoc to defences and full backs. He is an outlet on the attack with his pace, and can drive the Palace side forward on the counter attack, and his performance against Liverpool, on the counter attack, was frightening for defenders and Palace will be hoping he can replicate that form at the Lane. As well as Bolasie, upfront Dwight Gayle has the pace to stretch a defence and can be a perfect player for the counter attacking game. His clinical nature could be questions, and hopefully we’ll be able to starve him of service and support upfront; it’s key for Palace that they don’t let Gayle get isolated, and break quickly on the counter – it’s our job to nullify their pace and threat. In midfield, Mile Jedinak is the key player, he is their top scorer in the League with 5 goals, but it’s not his goals that make him so important for Palace, but his leadership, composure and ability to create a tempo in the Crystal Palace midfield, as well as being able to put his body in the line with blocks and tackles; I think he is the Eagles’ most important player.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Vlad Chiriches (knock), Kyle Naughton (knock) and Danny Rose (chest) are doubtful, with the latter expected to finally return to the squad, but Ben Davies has seemingly secured his first team place at left back. Emmanuel Adebayor (virus), Kyle Walker (match fitness), Etienne Capoue (knock) and Andros Townsend (ankle) remain out though.

After his goal against Everton, and then being banished to the bench against Chelsea in favour of an extra midfielder, Roberto Soldado will be hoping to return to the first eleven and to continue with another goal! He’s got a fantastic chance against a leaky Palace side. Getting another goal would do him the world of good, and I really hope he can do it to help us to victory. If we can get the Roberto Soldado of Valencia back, it would be like a new signing for us, he just needs that confidence to be ruthless and clinical again, then he can be a massive player for us this season. It’s crucial that he doesn’t go on another goal drought. Just behind him, Harry Kane has been a revelation this season, and with his great performances, work rate and energy, I think he will want to add even more goals to his Premier League tally, and in the games against Palace and the like, I think he can prove to be very effective. A goal from outside the box from open play is coming for him with those darting runs, trust me! In midfield, Nabil Bentaleb since his return from injury has been brilliant, and he’ll be looking to continue that form in the middle of the park, and drive our play forward in his box-to-box role in the midfield pivot alongside Ryan Mason, who I’m hoping ups his game a little after a disappointing performance against Chelsea – even though he was up against two of the better central midfielders in the League – Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. I really hope the Mason-Bentaleb partnership can flourish and improve as the season goes on.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have won their last two league clashes against Crystal Palace without reply; they’ve not won three in a row since November 1989.

– Bit-part Palace player Kevin Doyle has scored four goals against Tottenham, his joint-highest tally against any Barclays Premier League opponent (along with Fulham).

– Mauricio Pochettino has lost twice as many Premier League games at White Hart Lane (4) as Tim Sherwood did (2), despite taking charge of four games fewer there (7) than his predecessor (11).

– Christian Eriksen has created more goalscoring chances without actually providing an assist than any other Premier League player this term (28).

– Tottenham have conceded a season-high five penalties in the Premier League this season.

– Spurs are kings of the short corner, having taken 24 – more than any other team this season.

– Crystal Palace have not claimed a single point from any of their three London derbies so far this season (level on zero with QPR).

– Mile Jedinak has scored three of Crystal Palace’s last six Premier League goals.

– Palace have won only one of their last eight Premier League games (L5 D2).

– Crystal Palace have won 99 points from their previous 106 Premier League games away from home (W23 D30 L53).

They’re all big games in the Premier League, but our home games against the lower sides is where we need to procure the most points, and we have a good chance against a struggling Palace side, even if they did defeat Liverpool in emphatic style, they won’t have the backing of their fans, and I think we’ll have enough to dispatch them if we produce a performance with the sort of energy that we did against Everton. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be providing match updates, videos, photos and much more from my Twitter account, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Palace at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Mason – Bentaleb
Chadli – Kane – Eriksen
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino press conference pre Palace:

Match Review, Chelsea vs Tottenham.

Match: Wednesday 3rd December 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stamford Bridge.

Result: Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham.

Chelsea goalscorers: Hazard 19′, Drogba 22′ & Remy 73′.

It’s disappointing. We didn’t play badly, but we were expertly picked off by an exquisite Chelsea side. Probably the best we have faced in recent times. Even though they are quite brilliant, which is hard to admit, we should never lose three goals to nil to any side. There are always ways to stop goals, and we made mistakes leading to Chelsea’s 3 goals, but a top team take any half chances that come their way and Chelsea punished us and in 4 minutes, with one lapse in concentration from Aaron Lennon and Vlad Chiriches, and then a poor Hugo Lloris clearance and then a lack of strength from Jan Vertonghen and again we were punished. Ruthless stuff from what we have to admit is a superior team. I thought the performance was decent – but it wasn’t enough to break down Chelsea, and the energy that we had in the Everton game wasn’t quite replicated after the first Chelsea goal, as it was there before their goal. Weirdly we didn’t react at all well, which we did against Everton. It just wasn’t the same. Very tough to take.

In the first half, we started on flames – we pressed high, got the ball at our feet, found spaces, forced mistakes from the Chelsea team and it was great to watch. We created good chances, which on another day may have crept in, but we didn’t break the deadlock, which might have been the game plan; hit Chelsea early with a goal, then basically hold onto what you’ve got. But, we didn’t get that goal, and that was the difference between the teams. We couldn’t finish the half chances, whereas Chelsea finished everything off. It was Harry Kane who got those chances, and was very unfortunate not to score, first hitting the bar after a great Aaron Lennon dinked cross, and then Harry Kane created a chance for himself before sliding the ball past the post, instead of inside the post. Frustrating, as after those chances, Eden Hazard picked up the ball, played it softly into the path of the strong Didier Drogba, who saw Hazard continue his run, and picked him out before the Belgian fired the ball into the near post, to Hugo Lloris’ disappointment. It was against the run of play, and it looked as though Tottenham were a little shellshocked, and then Hugo Lloris made a poor clearance, and the ball was pinged straight into Didier Drogba’s path, who held off Jan Vertonghen with relative ease before guiding the ball into the back of the net on the 22nd minute. The half slightly fizzled out after that, with the game seemingly gone from Tottenham’s grasp, Chelsea looked rather comfortable.

In the second half, it was obvious that Tottenham were going to give it a good go. There wasn’t much to lose, and we had a lot of ball possession, but we did lack penetration and that clinical edge. We weren’t strong enough on the front foot and the Chelsea defensive structure was simply too good for us, I have watched a lot of teams, and a lot of football, but I haven’t seen such a compact, solid and well organised team for a long, long time, if not ever. I think credit has to go to Chelsea, as they are the best side in the League, both defensively and offensively. All of Tottenham’s probing, we didn’t find enough clear cut chances and that is disappointing, and then Chelsea kicked dust over the dead body when Loic Remy took advantage of another piece of poor Jan Vertonghen defending and slid the ball into the back of the net. After the third goal, the game faded even more and both teams were comfortable with their fate – Tottenham were going to lose and Chelsea were going to win, and that was that really. Unfortunate, but the better side win.

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I don’t want to focus on the negatives from this game. I think we played really well against Everton, and coming into this game is was a free shot. Not a lot was expected of Tottenham, even though we all wanted it to be a different, this Chelsea side is the finished product and we are a working progress. For me, Harry Kane played another incredibly good game, and he continues to get better and better each game, showing qualities that I had no idea he possessed. Committing defenders, barging past players and linking play really well as the leading striker. His energy, enthusiasm and work rate are phenomenal, all that was lacking was a goal from the man, and he was unlucky not to get what he deserved. It was another youth product that also impressed me; Nabil Bentaleb showed his composure, class and potential in this game. I thought he was great, and I can’t wait to see more of him in this side, he can get this side moving, find passes, uses his energy and positive mentality to win the ball back and at only 20 years old he has massive potential, and I predict him to become an ever present in the Tottenham side in years to come, starting now! Other mentions can be for Federico Fazio, who was very composed at the back and is now he has started to settle, looks a very solid centre back, but it was disappointing to see Jan Vertonghen let him down alongside him in the key moments. It would be harsh to pick out Vlad Chiriches and criticise him, because he isn’t playing in his position, and was up against the best winger in the League in Eden Hazard, so it’s hard to say he should have done better as the odds were up against him from the start.

Always difficult to take, losing heavily to one of our biggest rivals, but I think the scoreline does represent the gap between the two sides, unfortunately. We are at the start of a project, and Chelsea, with the financial backing and pure quality in the squad, have all the ability to win any trophy this season. You have to give them credit, they are a force to be reckoned with, not just in the Premier League, but in Europe as well. Spurs will have to take the positives from the game and move on very quickly, onto what is a must win game against Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on Saturday 6th December. Those games are where you get most of your points, against the team’s below you at home. Hopefully we can put in a good performance and put this result to the back of our minds. Everyone, stick together, a loss to Chelsea doesn’t define our season. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Chelsea at the Bridge:
Lloris – 4.5
Chiriches – 4
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 4.5
Davies – 6
Lennon – 6 (Chadli 58′ – 6)
Mason – 5 (Paulinho 58′ – 6)
Bentaleb – 7
Eriksen – 6
Lamela – 4.5 (Soldado 74′ – 5)
Kane – 8 – Man of the Match.

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the 3-0 loss to Chelsea:

The 3 Chelsea goals, for you cynics out there:

Match Preview, Chelsea vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Wednesday 3rd December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stamford Bridge.

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

If you look at every fixture in the Premier League, the most difficult game on the list is probably Chelsea away from home. In the form that Chelsea are in, it is difficult to see them losing at any point, especially at home, where their form is nothing short of spectacular so far this season, both in the Champions League and the Premier League. So, what are the chances of Tottenham going to the Bridge, and bringing home the three points? I’m not going to lie to you; they’re slim, but we can take hope in the last two results of both clubs. Chelsea looked rather unspectacular as they drew 0-0 with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, whereas Tottenham are coming into the game after arguably our best performance of the season, beating Everton 2-1 at White Hart Lane. This is a different prospect, though, Chelsea are at home, and with this being a London Derby, the desire to win will be even higher, with Chelsea wanting to quickly eradicate any sort of bad form with a win, and Tottenham being eager to create a run of results and good performances, and with a win in a London Derby, against the League leaders, could really kickstart our season, if the Everton performance didn’t do that already. Consistency is key to any success in any season, and at this moment in time, looking at the start to the season, we have really lacked the ability to create a good run of results – but there is a good opportunity for us, with 3 wins on the bounce against Hull City, Partizan and Everton, coming into the Christmas period we may even be classed as in good form if we can get a result at the Bridge and then a win against Crystal Palace. At that moment, our season is looking much more rosy and confidence is much higher. It’s easier said than done, though, and coming into the busiest time in the football calendar, we have a massive challenge ahead – going to Stamford Bridge, and walking out with something to show for it.

Chelsea are top of the League, unbeaten, scoring the most goals and conceding the second fewest. Not only are they unbeaten in the League, they are unbeaten in the Champions League and also are still in the Capital One Cup. As Jose Mourinho has said, it’s the makings of a perfect season. But, while unbeaten, and in this electric form, they are a target to shoot at, nobody expects anyone to beat them, everyone is the underdog when facing them, so with that tag, the pressure lifts and possibly the freedom to attack and play well is easier to come by. Hopefully Tottenham can revel in the underdog status rather than crumble. In past times, Chelsea have got the best of Tottenham, our record is dire and getting a result has been nothing short of impossible at times. But, with every game there is a new opportunity to break the cycle, and change our Chelsea fortune. Last time out against the Blues, it was a torrid evening at the Bridge. A 4-0 defeat, goals coming in the second half from Samuel Eto’o, Eden Hazard (penalty), and a two minute brace in the 88th and 89th minute from Demba Ba. It was a difficult night, in which we capitulated as a team, even though our performance was good until the first goal, which came from an individual error. A debatable penalty was then given, an even more debatable red card, and then the game was gone with more individual errors from Sandro and Kyle Walker making the defeat emphatic. In hindsight, we were probably a bit unlucky to be beat in the way we were, but it’s in the past and I think as a club, we have moved on from last season, and are very focused on the future. After the Everton win, I think a lot of fans have seen fighting spirit, ability to dig in, and also quality defensively, in midfield and offensively. It was a great result and performance and hopefully we can take the momentum of that victory into starting fast against the League leaders and getting some sort of result. At this point, if you offered me a draw, I’d still definitely take it though! What is most important for this game is that we stay tight at the back, limit individual errors to an absolute minimum, and put in a big, big shift in order to try and force a result. The Arsenal performance and Everton performance are the way we want to see the team play – as a team.

The only injury concern for Chelsea is that only young Nathan Ake (hamstring) is out of the game. While top scorer Diego Costa (suspended) won’t feature, which is a big deal, as his form this season has been magnificent, and with him in the Chelsea side, they become even more difficult to contain. They will miss his strength, prowess and finishing, but Didier Drogba or Loic Remy will come in, and we know they provide a big threat as well – but neither are World Class like Diego Costa. Eden Hazard is a wonderful player; a truly magnificent talent that can win you a game in an instant. He can score goals, assist, create attacks and everything else you’d expect a fantastic flair to provide you – I think he’s up there with the best players in the Premier League, and maybe even the world. Creative, talented players are right through the core of the Chelsea side, and the player that makes it all tick is Cesc Fabregas – he only has 1 goal this season, but he has a massive 10 assists and that is top of the assist charts. He is the focal point of the Chelsea attack and can cut any defence open with killer passes – he is incredibly dangerous, especially in the final third. Defensively, Chelsea are just as impressive as they are in attack – which is why they are at the top of the League. Sweeping up in front of the back four is the formidable Nemanja Matic, who in my opinion, is one of the best defensive midfielders in the League, and his ability on the ball is great; he’s composed, and creative when he needs to be. He can command a midfield, too, which is what you want from a holding player. The centre back partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill is extremely tight, and the understanding between the two defenders is massive. They can make it very difficult for an opponent to score, and when they do let a chance through, Thibaut Courtois is in goal, who is a massively talented ‘keeper, who can dominate his area and make some spectacular saves.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (match fitness) remains out, with Etienne Capoue, Emmanuel Adebayor, Andros Townsend and Danny Rose doubts after missing the last three games, and now joined by another doubt in Vlad Chiriches who was subbed against Everton after picking up a knock. Kyle Naughton returns from his two match suspension, and Nacer Chadli and Younes Kaboul look fully ready after being on the bench against Everton on Sunday. After the performance on Sunday, I wouldn’t anticipate many, if any changes to line up, except ones that are forced, with Kyle Naughton replacing Vlad Chiriches.

After the team’s fantastic display against Everton, it’s all about keeping that standard of performance up, delivering an even better performance at the Bridge and then hopefully coming away with a result! The hard work put in on Sunday was massive, we fought for every ball, second ball and loose ball there was and now Mauricio has the challenge of rallying the troops once again, bang the drum, and push hard once again in what is a difficult challenge with the games so close together. One of the stand out performances was that of Nabil Bentaleb; who’s energy and enthusiasm was a massive part of the victory, with composure and elegance on the ball as well to top it off. Alongside Ryan Mason, they have a very good understanding of each other, and one that brings a load of energy to the side. As the heart of the team, it’s important that the centre of midfield is ticking, moving the ball quickly and snapping at the heels of the opposition when it’s lost. Against Chelsea, with the intricate abilities of Fabregas, and the brute strength of Matic, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get a hold of the ball and be positive with it. It’s a massive ask of two fairly inexperienced players, if picked to do the job again. Some would call for an Etienne Capoue or Benjamin Stambouli to come into the side, and guard the back four, but after the performance on Sunday it’s going to be very hard for Pochettino to drop anyone. Offensively, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane look likely to continue their striking partnership, with Harry Kane dropping a little deeper. It’s Kane’s job to drive the attack forward centrally and cause problems for the Chelsea defence, and Soldado’s job to find space, use his technical ability to bring Kane, Eriksen and Lennon into the game, and hopefully, score more goals! I think Harry Kane will be asked to drop deeper still, and then act as another midfield player at times, while Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon will need to execute their defensive jobs just as well as their offensive jobs with the quality that Chelsea have on the wings and in the full-back positions. It’s difficult not to bring in Nacer Chadli after his incredible start to the season, and even though he’s probably more suited to the left hand side than Christian Eriksen, you can’t take Eriksen out because he’s in such great form himself. It’s a nice situation to be in, though!

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– Chelsea have won 28 and lost just one of the last 34 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

– Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3 D2 L1).

– Tottenham have not won away at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).

– Jose Mourinho’s side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches.

– Chelsea have lost only one of their last 17 Premier League London derbies (W12 D4); this coming in a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in March.

– Chelsea have won all three Premier League games that they have conceded the first goal in this season.

– Chelsea and Spurs have both won the most points from losing positions in the Premier League this season (9).

– Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight Premier League games against Spurs.

– Chelsea are now unbeaten in all 20 of their competitive matches in 2014-15 (W15 D5).

– Spurs have won three of their last four Premier League games (W3 L1); this after winning just three of their previous nine in the competition under Mauricio Pochettino (W3 D2 L4).

A big London Derby! Our record against the top four isn’t good, so I think it’s time we changed the record! It’s a massive, massive game and call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to it! Being the underdog gives you endless possibilities of joy and success at the end of it. Hopefully we’ll be the ones celebrating this Wednesday evening. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be providing updates on Twitter, follow me there at @AddictedToSpurs for photos, videos, goal updates and much more during the big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Mason – Bentaleb
Lennon – Kane – Eriksen
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the Chelsea game:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Everton.

Match: Sunday 30th November 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane,

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Everton.

Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 21′, Soldado 45′.

Everton goalscorer: Mirallas 15′.

Well – in my Match Preview, I touched upon my desire for the team to show intensity and drive throughout the match. What was delivered was far more impressive – as a team, we were magnificent, we worked, pressed, defended and attacked as a team, which is a breath of fresh air for Tottenham this season. I’m incredibly pleased with how the team was set out; we didn’t have a hell of a lot of the ball, but our performance off the ball is what was so pleasing, we didn’t give away many chances, and we fought hard to win the ball back while maintaining a good shape in defence and midfield. Pochettino set out the team in the right way, with loads of energy and enthusiasm in midfield with Bentaleb, Mason, Lennon & Kane, to work, fight and drive with and without the ball, while having the quality of Eriksen, Soldado, Lennon & Kane to push hard on the counter attack. It was truly fantastic to watch from the stands, and I thought every player on the pitch did their duty brilliantly. Overall, our best performance of the season by far. Hopefully, this is only the start of what can be a great season if we fight like we did in the game for every match this season. We’ve shown that we have got that fight in our team, but what we need now is consistency and a run of results!

In the first half, we started well, we pressed high, harried Everton and looked fairly threatening on the counter attack, but we did concede the first goal on 15 minutes – we struggled to clear the ball, and it fell to Kevin Mirallas, who i signalled out before the game as a big threat in front of goal, and he proved me right as he perfectly curled a beauty into the top corner that Hugo Lloris had absolutely no chance of getting to. Sometimes you just have to accept an opponents goal as unstoppable and pure quality, and that it was. When you concede the first goal, the reaction is important, making sure you not only stop the opponent from scoring again, but taking the initiative, going onto the front foot and attempting to get straight back in terms, and that’s exactly what we did, we pushed hard and it was Harry Kane who showed that initiative and ran hard at the Evertonian defence, burst through their midfield and got his shot away, which was parried by Tim Howard, but Christian Eriksen was running in and with a delightful chipped finish, put Spurs back on level terms and that really sparked the team into action on 21 minutes, and the pressure was more intense, the attack was quicker and and chances were more frequent. It was our best spell in the match by a long way, and on the stroke of half time, it was Harry Kane again who’s determination was key in winning the ball back from Gareth Barry, and Aaron Lennon picked it up and drove hard at Silvan Distin, before laying it off to delightfully to Roberto Soldado – and in that moment, the stadium was silent, a gasp of air was taken, and then probably the biggest cheer of the season was heard as Soldado smashed the ball past Tim Howard to give Tottenham the 2-1 lead. Relief, delight and absolute elation swept through the stadium. Chants for Roberto Soldado were ringing out at half time, and it was an incredible moment – one of the most heart warming moments of the season. Hopefully Roberto can push on from this. It’s his platform to transform his Tottenham career; I think he’s got what it takes, if he can drag this confidence and relief into more and more goals.

The second half was all about managing the game, seeing it out and getting the crucial three points, and we were able to do that brilliantly. We took our chances in the first half, and now we fought to preserve our hard work with even more, even harder work off of the ball with grit, determination and drive. In some ways the way we worked in the second half was more pleasing than how we scored and created in the first half. The game plan was to stay compact, press as a team, and when we did have a chance to get on the ball, we pushed forward at pace, but didn’t commit ourselves too much, and were able to stay solid in defence. The team was working properly, and in a system that was working, we were able to see the best of our players and that was the winning formula in this game. Late on, we had a few good chances to extend our lead, but it wasn’t to be, and despite it being quite nervy at the end, our fantastic team performance was rewarded with three points. Three, glorious, points.

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The team performed very, very well together. I can’t single anyone out as playing badly, but I can name a fair few that played brilliantly! For me, Jan Vertonghen was immense at the back, showing the quality we know he possesses; he dominated Everton’s Romelu Lukaku when he got the ball, timed his challenges to perfection, and was able to set the team into attack very well with his composed passing. Alongside the very solid Federico Fazio, he looked back to his, in my opinion, World Class self. We’re going to need a similar performance from Super Jan against Chelsea on Wednesday. Ben Davies at left back put in his best performance in a Spurs shirt so far on his full Premier League home debut, he was tough in the challenge, focused in his defensive duties and produced some very threatening crosses from the left flank. He’s made the left back spot his own since taking over from Danny Rose. In attack – it was Harry Kane that grabbed the imagination of the fans; every time got the ball he looked to drive at the Everton defence, the buzz came through the crowd and expectation and excitement swept the arena. He worked so, so hard for the team – he gave every ounce of his being during the game and the fans appreciated that – I certainly did. The moment of the game was Roberto Soldado’s goal; it was great, and a fantastic finish from a man that has stuggled in front of goal. His performance was very pleasing, he worked hard, moved the ball well and got his goal – which is all we can ask from him. A match winner! In midfield, the partnership between Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb was one that I thought could be a little bit exposed, especially if Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o could get in behind them – but my concerns were unfounded, and the performances of both were brilliant. Energy, enthusiasm, fight and composure – it proved to be a very balanced midfield pivot, and one that could prove to be very fruitful in the future. Other shouts go to Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon, who on the flanks, worked hard in defence to combat Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, while in attack were very effective, with Eriksen getting the first goal, and Aaron Lennon got the winning assist.

What a great win. We have built on our away win against Hull City with a fantastic, much needed home win. Now, we have to build on it again, bring this confidence, momentum and team work into our next fixtures and really build a good run of results. This starts with the easy task of the Premier League’s unbeaten leaders, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on Wedneday evening. Hurrah. Let’s do the impossible and defeat the undefeatable! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Chiriches – 6.5 (Dier 70′ – 6.5)
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the match.
Davies – 8.5
Lennon – 8 (Lamela 61′ – 6)
Mason – 8
Bentaleb – 8.5
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 9
Soldado – 8.5. (Paulinho 81′ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 2-1 win over Everton:

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Everton: