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Match Preview, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 25th April 2015. 12:45pm Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV schedule can be found HERE.

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s for the first time since his switch from Southampton to Tottenham, with just one point between the sides, one position on the table, and the same amount of wins between them. It’s a match in the battle for Europa League – with Southampton probably the more enthusiastic about that prospect, but, nevertheless, we want to finish as high in the League as possible, so the fact that Champions League football is most likely out of the picture does not mean that the team, the fans and the whole club want to win and finish the season on a high. A tough task awaits us at St Mary’s; with Southampton showing consistently throughout the season how good they can be, and how many problems they can cause an opposing side. To beat the Saints on their home turf would be a great result, but Southampton have the quality to hurt any team in this League, meaning we’re setting up for a very tough game, where we have to be ready to match the offense, defence and energy levels of a confidence high Southampton side, with a lot of quality throughout their squad. After our much needed win over Newcastle at St James’ Park, we need to continue to win games to finish the season strongly, taking the confidence from a solid 3-1 win and turning it into an even better win against a really impressive Southampton side – putting the disappointing form we have had since the Capital One Cup Final behind us. Champions League may be out of the equation, but we still have to secure the highest League place possible – for pride more than anything.

Southampton sit 7th in the League on 56 points, just one point behind ourselves in 6th. They’ve had a great season after losing their manager, and five of their key players of last season, and they’ve reinvested well to create a really competitive side this season. Coming into the end of the season, the Saints haven’t been in the best of form, with four wins in their last ten games, and four losses. In their last match, Southampton fell to a 2-1 defeat up against Stoke City at the Britannia, Charlie Adam hitting the winner in the 85th minute for the Potters. In their last home game, Southampton breezed past Hull City 2-0, James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle scoring for the Saints, now Southampton will be hoping for a repeat result this Saturday! In our last five matches with Southampton since their return to the Premier League, we have come out winners in every single match, scoring 10 goals and conceding five. In our last match, we were 1-0 winners thanks to a lovely Christian Eriksen strike at White Hart Lane; Mauricio Pochettino getting the victory over his former club. The last time we visited St Mary’s; we won a thrilling game 3-2, Emmanuel Adebayor the hero with two goals, as well as a Jos Hooiveld own goal under the guidance of Tim Sherwood. If we can get six consecutive wins under our belt over an impressive Southampton side, it would do very nicely!

The team news for Southampton is that Victor Wanyama (suspended), Fraser Forster (knee), Filip Duricic (ankle), Emmanuel Mayuka (groin), and Jay Rodriguez (knee) have been ruled out while Toby Alderweireld (shoulder) could feature for the Saints, but is a doubt. Southampton have many talented offensive players to their name, and their top scorer this season Graziano Pelle has nine goals to his name in the League, and despite a disappointing 2015 so far, netting only once, he is still a massive threat with his aerial prowess, strength and finishing ability – and with supply coming from the creative brains of Saido Mane, Dusan Tadic and Eljero Elia, he should really be scoring even more goals. The way that Ronald Koeman sets up means his fullbacks have a massive impact on their offensive game; Nathanial Clyne has been superb this season at right back, with his partner in crime, left back Ryan Bertrand’s performances similarly impressive – they are key for the Saints, and if not properly dealt with, could cause major problems for us down the wings – especially the right hand side where we have looked particularly shaky, with and without Kyle Walker. In midfield, the partnership of Morgan Schneiderlin and James Ward-Prowse has really impressed me, with the pivot having a good mix between defensive cover and attacking help, bringing real energy to this Southampton side – meaning Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb, if picked to partner each other, will have a big task to quash the impact they have on the match.Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 20.29.38
The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) is close to a return, and could make this match, but Kyle Walker (foot) is ruled out for the next four weeks. Danny Rose after going off against Newcastle last week hasn’t encountered any problems and should be back at left back for this match, which is very good news for us. With Hugo Lloris looking likely to return to action, he would take the captaincy back from deputies Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane.

Coming into the end of the season, personal awards are some of the most talked about things, only being dwarfed by the results in the League table. And nobody is being talked about for awards more than Harry Kane – he’s entered for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, as well as in the hunt for Writers player of the year, a place in the Team of the Year, while all the while competing for the Premier League golden boot. He’s also got a club called Tottenham if you didn’t know! Everyone at Tottenham couldn’t be more proud of the rise that Harry has made throughout the season, and he deserves more than anyone to be recognised for his work this season – there arent enough positives in the English language to describe how amazing he has been, not just in his goal tally, but his energy, overall contribution and his breath of fresh air attitude to the game – you don’t captain Tottenham Hotspur at 21 years of age if you aren’t even a little bit special. Heading into the last games of the season, we’re all rooting for Kane to grab every personal award he possibly can, while helping Tottenham to their highest League position possible! Harry Kane beating Aguero, Costa, Rooney, Hazard and co to the Golden Boot was unfathamable at the start of this year let alone this season – now it would be a shock if he didn’t get it.

Against Newcastle, where we started to find a bit of form again, it wasn’t just Harry Kane that stole the show, there were important goals from Nacer Chadli – a goal he deeply needed, as well as another from Christian Eriksen which was also well over-due whether he meant to get it or not! Chadli and Eriksen are absolutely vital to the side and having them back in form would take a weight off the shoulders of Harry Kane, while making it much easier and fluid for us up top – an inform trio of Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane is a force to be reckoned with, and as we come into the back end of the season, hopefully we can see more good performances from them and much more goals! In midfield, Mauricio Pochettino has a decision to make regarding Paulinho – who did a good job in Newcastle, and so the Boss needs to make the decision whether to stick with the Brazilian, or bring in the fresh Ryan Mason to partner Nabil Bentaleb, who have quite the understanding. Personally, to battle with Schneiderlin and Ward-Prowse, I would revert back to the Mason and Bentaleb pivot, as it gives us more energy in the middle, and a bit more grit, despite Paulinho showing he can do the dirty work against Newcastle last weekend. Another decision Pochettino will have on his mind is one to either bring in DeAndre Yedin to make his full debut at right back, or stick with natural centre back Eric Dier on that right flank, putting Federico Fazio alongside Jan Vertonghen. I think Yedlin should be given a chance at right back from the start, with Dier partnering Vertonghen – I think this gives us a more balanced back four.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Southampton have allowed fewer shots on target against them than any other team in the Barclays Premier League (93).

– Tottenham have won their last five Premier League games against Southampton after losing four of the preceding five meetings.

– Christian Eriksen has scored three goals in three Premier League games against Saints.

– Robbie Fowler (twice) and Chris Sutton are the only two players to reach 20 goals in a Premier League season at a younger age than Harry Kane has this term.

– Southampton have both scored (4%) and conceded (8%, level with Liverpool) the lowest proportion of headed goals this season.

– If only second-halves of Premier League games counted this season, Saints would be second in the table behind only Chelsea.

– Southampton have scored just eight goals in their last 11 Premier League matches.

– 56 points after 33 matches is Southampton’s best ever Premier League performance, eight points ahead of the previous best which was 48 (2013/14 and 2002/03).

– Spurs have fewer points after 33 matches of this season (57) than they had in any of the last three seasons (2011-12 59, 2012-13 61 or 2013-14 59).

– Spurs have fired in more shots on target from outside the area than any other team (69) and scored a joint-division high 11 goals from long range (along with Man City).

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s in a big game in the race for European football. It’s a tough challenge, but a sixth win on the bounce over Southampton is on the agenda. Hopefully we can get that victory! The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, and I will be at the game, but update you as much as possible live from St Mary’s! Let’s get three points! Follow me on twitter for updates here, @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Southampton at St Mary’s:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the trip to Southampton:

Michel Vorm proving himself worthy at Tottenham Hotspur.

Hugo Lloris is without doubt our number one goalkeeper, but after the Frenchman suffered an injury to his knee which has kept him out for four games so far, we have had to rely on summer signing Michel Vorm in these Premier League fixtures – the Dutchman’s first four League appearances for the club since his move from Swansea. His performances have been admirable in these games and I don’t think we could wish for a more reliable and commanding goalkeeper to replace our usual captain.

Vorm has had to wait patiently for his opportunity in the Premier League, playing his part in the cup games, and doing very well, apart from the rare mistake against Leicester City. Mauricio Pochettino in the summer no doubt identified that we had a significant hole in goalkeeper department, with nobody pushing Hugo Lloris to be better, but also nobody there apart from Brad Friedel, who despite being a very professional player, at his age can’t be relied upon in the Premier League, there needed to be a signing. With no back up of the quality of Michel Vorm, we were risking losing points having to play 43 year old Brad Friedel.
vorm
Michel Vorm has been very professional and patient since coming to Spurs, being only complimentary of his goalkeeping teammate Hugo Lloris, while also not moaning (in public or to the media) about his lack of opportunity in the Premier League. It’s very important that the squad work harmoniously and Vorm has without doubt been only good for the side, certainly he has been no problem what so ever, and I am sure that Hugo Lloris and the squad would agree.

On the pitch, in these four games that Michel Vorm has had to step in for, although the results haven’t been fantastic against Burnley and Aston Villa, Vorm has been dependable, authoritative and vocal. His shot stopping is good and his distribution arguably better than that of Hugo Lloris’. His professional attitude has been great, and his appreciation of the club and what we expect commendable. I have been totally impressed by his attitude from the second he came to Tottenham and hope this outlook will continue during his time at the Lane.
vorm 2
At 31, Vorm is showing his experience, and that has been great to have him come in and do a stellar job replacing our number one. Going to the World Cup with Holland, having won the League Cup with Swansea and of course being the Swans’ number one for a few years, means that our back up keeper is more than qualified to play second fiddle to Hugo Lloris, and is great to have as back up when needed. The only question you can have of him is whether he could have gone to a club that he would have been their first choice, but his answer of saying that it’s due to the training ground and the ‘big club feeling’ is more than enough for me; I am happy to have him.

There’s no doubting we got a bargain back up goalkeeper from Swansea this past summer, and I think now that we have had a taste of what it’s like for Hugo Lloris to be injured and have someone as reliable as Vorm to fill in, we won’t worry too hard about our goalkeeping situation for a quite a while. It’s enjoyable to see two-quality goalkeepers work so well together, and hopefully both Hugo and Michel are improving because of their healthy competition, along with the experience and know-how of Brad Friedel, who on a side note, I really hope stays with the club in a coaching role after his inevitable retirement.
vorm 4
Let’s hope Hugo gets back fit soon – but in the meantime, we’re lucky to have such a dependable goalkeeper in Michel Vorm at our disposal, and it’s proving to be a very wise acquisition for Spurs. COYS!!
vorm_forest_730

POLL:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Saturday 11th April 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Check out the worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After a really frustrating bore draw with Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, we look to put the record straight against a familiar face Tim Sherwood, and his Aston Villa side at the Lane this Saturday. Our form has been quite patchy of late which is to be expected after such a disheartening result in the Capital One Cup final, but we still have things to play for. The top four looks very unlikely, but it was never expected in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge, despite an ounce of disappointment in that probably not being possible this season, we have to have a bit of patience, even though I know that isn’t the best quality in football fans! At home to a struggling Aston Villa side, we are the favourites, but this can be deceiving, as a side like Aston Villa have everything to play for, and as we found out against the likes of Leicester and Burnley, these sides will put everything on the line to get points, which makes it extremely tough for sides just like us, who don’t have the pressure of Premier League survival stacked upon our shoulders. We have the quality to get passed these sides but their heart and determination makes our job harder, it means as a team we have to perform at a higher level to victor in these games. Knowing Tim Sherwood as we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to win this game for his own personal pride rather than the survival of Aston Villa Football Club, so we’re not only battling the will of a relegation threatened side, but also a bitter Tim Sherwood who will want to add to that win percentage.

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League, just 3 points away from the dreaded drop zone. That 3 points is not enough if you’re Tim Sherwood, and our former manager has been looking to find those points, but discovering that it is harder than he might have thought down at the bottom. After losing his first two games as Villa boss in late February, March was good to Aston Villa and helped them pull out of the bottom three of the Premier League with a big 4-0 win over Sunderland the pick of the bunch. But, two games into April, they are yet to win, with a loss to Manchester United, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but also a 3-3 draw with fellow relegation battlers QPR at Villa Park, which is a bit of a missed opportunity for 3 points for the Villains. Let’s hope we can make it a loss sandwich for Tim Sherwood’s men. Last time we faced Villa was back in November of last year, a 2-1 win thanks to late goals from Nacer Chadli and the one and only Harry Kane giving us the win in the Premier League tie. The last time we faced the Villains at the Lane was the last game of last season, under the guidance of now Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood – we triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Paulinho, a Baker OG and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty. Hopefully we can get a repeat result, but with Tim Sherwood on the losing side!

The team news for Villa is that Scott Sinclair (hamstring), Ashley Westwood (hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Chris Herd (herd) & Libor Kozak (broken leg) are all ruled out of the match, while Philippe Senderos (calf) is expected to return, as Carles Gil (hip) is to undergo a late fitness test for the Villains. That’s quite a backlog of injuries for Tim Sherwood to deal with, but he’ll be hoping that players like Christian Benteke to step up like he did against QPR, with the big Belgian striker netting a hat trick against the Hoops, and after a slow season, he seems to be picking up pace and showing some of his old form, at just the right time for Aston Villa in their fight for survival. With our defensive frailties on show to the world lately, I am sure Villa will be looking to Benteke to make us pay – hopefully we can contain the threat that the Belgian has to offer as much as possible. Along with Benteke, the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat, stretching and working the defences of opponents and running the channels, he will definitely be hard to contain. I think we have had a distinct lack of pace in our team recently, so Agbonlahor could really be a thorn to our hopes of winning the match.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) are ruled out of the match, while Jan Vertonghen (illness) is a doubt. With our number 1 still side-lined, it paves the way for Michel Vorm to continue in goal after his solid performance against Burnley, ending in a clean sheet for the Dutch international. As Kyle Walker is also on the injury list, it means that either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier will deputise for the England international, with DeAndre Yedlin not expected to be close to the first 11, but it would be nice for him to be in the squad. Federico Fazio wasn’t included in the match day squad against Burnley, but with our defensive woes, I think the big Argentinian could be reintegrated into the side, possibly replacing Vlad Chiriches in the centre of defence to allow Eric Dier to fill in at right back, where he has experience from the start of the season.

Our 0-0 draw with Burnley was far from a classic, and our offensive prowess was crowded out by Burnley’s defensive solidarity, but with Aston Villa being a very offensive and open side, it could expose space for our attack minded players to flourish once again. Tim Sherwood is known for wanting to showcase his attacking style of play, so you have to expect an open game at the Lane this Saturday. One player that will thrive in an open game is Christian Eriksen – who has had a difficult run of form recently, but this is the perfect opportunity for the Dane to open his wings again and take control of a game again. His talent is undeniable but he does lack consistency at times, and I don’t think he has fully adapted to the English game as of yet. But, he’s still very young and will only blossom further in England. I’ve said it time after time, but when Eriksen performs, Tottenham perform along with him. Harry Kane captained the side against Burnley, and could captain the side again against Villa, but he needs help in attack otherwise he can be swarmed by the opposition and as we saw against Burnley, he became ineffective, as sadly he cant do everything on his own! That support needs to be from not only Christian Eriksen, but also the wingers that Mauricio Pochettino decides to go with, whether that be Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend or even Paulinho – their job is to supply Harry Kane not only with crosses and passes, but with bodies and support offensively. Kane can’t be left stranded up top; otherwise I think Villa will find it quite easy to deal with him as a unit. I do believe that our offensive threat will be too much for the defensive frailties that Villa do have.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have won their last five PL meetings with Aston Villa, netting two or more goals in each game.

– Aston Villa have scored just six goals in their last 12 Premier League matches against Tottenham and never more than once in a game.

– Tottenham have gained 10 points from losing positions at home this season, more than any other side.

– Aston Villa have gained no points from losing positions away from home in the Premier League this season; the only team not to do so.

– White Hart Lane is the highest scoring stadium in the Premier League this season (51 goals).

– The Lane has also seen the most first half goals this season (27).

– Christian Benteke has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances.

– Under Tim Sherwood, Benteke has scored at a rate of one goal every 87 minutes in the Premier League.

– Villa have conceded three goals in each of their last two Premier League games. They have only conceded 3+ goals in three successive games twice in PL history (in 2009 and 2012).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last four Premier League games at White Hart Lane.

It’s a big game. Tim Sherwood returns to the Lane, hopefully to a decent reception. It’s important we return to winning ways quickly against a struggling Villa side, but we have to be aware that this Sherwood side will come into this game like a final and we have to be on top of our game to avoid an upset. The game isn’t shown live in the UK, but I will be updating you live at my twitter account, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more, follow me there @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend
Kane.

On the Forza Football app by @FootballAddicts, the users predicted:

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!
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Match Preview, Burnley vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 5th April 2015. 1.30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Turf Moor.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings can be seen HERE.

After the international break, we return to action with a tough away fixture at relegation battlers Burnley, where we continue to fight for a top four place, however unlikely that may be. Eight games left, in which we need to continue to have momentum with some really tough fixtures coming up. Top four is the aim, but all we should be focusing on is the next game; we have to stay focused on that mentality, otherwise we will fall like we have done many times before, where we have focused on the big picture, while the smaller parts of the puzzle have been messed up. That focus should now be on winning a very difficult game against a side with heart and determination that makes up for a lack of skill and quality. The Burnley side don’t give up and will be a stern test. That is for sure. After narrowly beating Leicester in a seven-goal thriller, we have to learn from that and understand the teams threatened by relegation are going to fight as hard as they can to stay in the Premier League, and coming into the ‘business end’ of the season, the fight within those relegation sides is only intensifying, which will make it even harder for teams coming up against them to get a result. We will have to rely not only on our quality to overcome Burnley, but our mentality. It will not be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, and we have to be prepared for that, and not underestimate Sean Dyche’s side.

Burnley sit 18th in the League, and when it takes you 10 Premier League games to register your first win, that’s the best you can really hope for, a chance of survival. But that survival is only a distant dream when Burnley only have 2 League victories in 10 fixtures, but that last victory came against none other that Manchester City, so that shows you the fighting spirit that this Burnley side has – you cant just rely on your quality to pull you through, you’ve got to be ready to fight alongside this Burnley side. But, we are Tottenham and they are Burnley, and despite having this fighting spirit, we are the favourites and even away at Turf Moor I am confident that we can come out on top, if we tighten up defensively from that Leicester match and our players are their creative selves. We have the pace and skill to dismantle this Burnley team, and we need to deliver. Last time we faced the Clarets, was in the FA Cup, a replay was needed after a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor with Nacer Chadli getting our goal, before at White Hart Lane we came out 4-2 winners thanks to goals from Paulinho, Ettiene Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Danny Rose. In the Premier League, our last meeting was at the Lane, and it was Spurs coming out victorious once again 2-1, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane with the goals, in what was a tighter victory than expected, and I expect another tight and tough test at Turf Moor.

The team news for Burnley is that Kevin Long (knee), Dean Marney (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Stephen Ward returns after an ankle injury. Burnley, despite only scoring 8 goals in 10 Premier League games, do have some really talented offensive players. In particular, Danny Ings who is Burnley’s top scorer this season with 9 to his name in the Premier League, he has the ability to stretch defences and find gaps between centre halves while also having the pace and finesse to cause problems and score the goals that Burnley so desperately need. Alongside him in attack, the likes of George Boyd, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes all know where the goal is on their day, as we found out with Barnes’ stunner at the Lane, so when they all work together it has the potential to be a very dangerous for defences, and if our defending is as bad as it was against Leicester, we will encounter problems. Ings, Barnes, Vokes and Boyd have 19 goals between them in the Premier League, which is an okay tally, but Harry Kane is equal to that tally, and he’s just one person, albeit a phenomenal one!
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The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) is out of the trip to Turf Moor, meaning Michel Vorm will continue in goal, while Roberto Soldado (knee) is a doubt, but it looks like he wont be making the match day squad. After Danny Rose (groin & hip) and Eric Dier (eye) pulled out of international duty with the England senior side and U21s respectively, they are back fit and in the squad to face the Clarets this Sunday at Turf Moor, which is very good news for us defensively.

Coming into a new month, after making his first appearances for the England senior side, and netting his first goal, Harry Kane must be on top of the world. He is the Premier League’s joint top scorer and is a shoe in for Player of the Year, and Young player of the Year. His season has been more than remarkable, with his goals, performances, drive and determination making him one of the Premier League’s new major stars, and a definite Tottenham hero of the future, and the present. Now, it’s simply coming into the back end of the season in style for Kane; he’s chasing top four with Tottenham, and on a personal level he’s looking to bag a golden boot award, a player of the year award and much more personal glory, all of which is fully deserved of course. But, he has to stay focused and not be drawn into the trap of the hype, press and exaggeration. A season is still in progress and we do have a lot to play for, Kane’s only focus football wise should be on the next game against Burnley and knowing him I am confident that it is. His potential is staggering on the field, but his mentality and work ethic off of it is something to admire in itself. Hopefully it stays that way, and after capturing his first Premier League hat trick against Burnley’s fellow relegation battlers Leicester, we shall be hoping that the now England number 9 can repeat the feat. To say I am confident he will score again against Burnley is a bit of an understatement.

At left back, Danny Rose has gone under the radar this season as one of our stand out performers, perhaps because of the incredible form of Harry Kane, but Rose has been, especially in recent games, sensational. Defensively he lacks concentration at times, but all other aspects of his game are really blossoming under the watchful eye of Mauricio Pochettino, and you can definitely say that our new boss has handed Rose new found confidence and in a less eloquent manner, a simple kick up the backside. He looks a new and improved version of himself in comparison with last season and has made that left back slot his own. He’s been suspect to criticism, but I think it’s time we all acknowledge the fact that Danny has and is becoming the left back we all hoped he would. Moving up the pitch, Christian Eriksen hasn’t had the easiest of times recently on the pitch, losing form and his effectiveness to the side, and after his time away with Denmark, in which he captained his country and provided a beautiful assist, I hope the break will be beneficent for Eriksen and he can come back firing, hopefully in the net of Burnley this Sunday. There’s no doubting his importance to the way we want to play and we play better when Eriksen is on song. After his England heroics, everyone is hopeful that Andros Townsend can reignite his form for club, and if he is in the starting line up to face Burnley, which I would expect, he needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck and really impose himself as he has been too much of a passenger in recent games – simply put, he needs to step up his game.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– The Clarets have scored just 14 goals in 15 Barclays Premier League home games this season.

– Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League away matches.

– This will be the fourth meeting between these two sides this season after Spurs won their home league fixture and also won at home in the replay after a draw at Turf Moor in the FA Cup.

– Burnley have only won six of their last 28 Premier League home matches (W6 D10 L12), but Spurs were one of their victims in a 4-2 win in May 2010.

– Tottenham haven’t lost back to back Premier League away games since March 2014.

– Burnley have been losing at half-time in 14 of their 30 Premier League games this season; more often than any other team.

– Harry Kane’s 19 Premier League goals this season have won Spurs 22 points – nine more than any other player in the PL has won for their side this season.

– Spurs have conceded seven Premier League penalties this season; more than any other side.

– The Clarets have conceded a league-high 17 headed goals in the Premier League this season.

– George Boyd has run a league-high 338.8kms in the Premier League this season, with Christian Eriksen just behind on 338.2kms.

Another big game is on the horizon once again! The race for top four is still on, but it’s getting more and more tough as each game goes by. Let’s go to Turf Moor and pick up a result that we can be proud of. It was a delightful site seeing all four of our English boys embrace as Andros Townsend found a way past Gianluigi Buffon in Turin in midweek, but now an even better site would be seeing the whole team embrace after gaining three points at Turf Moor. The game is live on Sky Sports 1, but I shall be providing live updates for you from my twitter account, including goal updates, videos, photos and much more, follow me @AddictedToSpurs for it all! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted side to face Burnley at Turf Moor:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Leicester.

Match date & time: Saturday 21st March 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule found HERE.

After our disappointment in the Capital One Cup, our attention has quickly turned to making the best of the season we have left. Nine games left, with a chance, however unlikely it might be, of getting into those coveted champions League places. We sit 7th, six points off Manchester United in 4th, looking to take advantage of what looks like a favourable fixture against Leicester, while Manchester United travel to Liverpool on Sunday, and Southampton host the gutsy Burnley at St Marys. Our performances have varied since that Cup final disappointment; a great win over Swansea, then a solid victory away from home to QPR, and a very disheartening and disappointing 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, which was out of the blue in comparison with past performances both at Old Trafford and in general at this stage of the season. Now, after such an unacceptable and demoralising loss, we have to get back on the horse and attempt to elevate that performance level dramatically in a game against a struggling Leicester side, it is a real opportunity for a big and uplifting victory in front of the home faithful at White Hart Lane. A clean sheet and a few goals would do a world of good for the confidence and push to finish the season strongly and with purpose. We still have a lot to play for in these remaining nine games and I hope the players realise that, and believe that when taking the residual matches game-by-game, we can still be apart of that top four, but we would still need a mini miracle!

Leicester City are 20th, rock bottom of the Premier League, and manager Nigel Pearson is feeling the pressure with only 1 win in 10 Premier League games and no wins in their last 7 straight matches. It has been a struggle for the newly promoted Foxes, and it is looking nearly impossible for them to survive the drop, with Nigel Pearson’s job looking more and more uncertain after every lost match. Their last win, funnily enough, came against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup back in January, a disappointing 2-1 victory with a late winner for Leicester thanks to Jeffery Schlupp, and Michel Vorm. However, in the Premier League, in the reverse fixture at the King Power on Boxing Day last year, it was us who came out on top by the two goals to one, Harry Kane and a Christian Eriksen special getting us a great away victory. Hopefully we can repeat the feat at the Lane in the Premier League, and avoid a slip up like in the FA Cup. Our last Premier League fixture at White Hart Lane was back in 2004, a thrilling 4-4 draw, Jermain Defoe hitting the net twice, along with goals from Michael Brown and Robbie Keane. Goals has been an issue for Nigel Pearson and his team, only hitting more than 1 goal once in 10 Premier League games. A lack of firepower is the thing that could condemn the Foxes to relegation this season.

The team news for Leicester is that only midfielder Dean Hammond (calf) is out of the game, with Anthony Knockaert unavailable due to personal reasons, but other than Hammond and the unfortunate situation of Knockaert, Nigel Pearson has a fully fit squad to chose from, and I am sure that he will be looking for his team, fresh after a weeks rest and training, to perform to the standard he would want and recreate that FA Cup result. Leicester, although being out adrift at the bottom of the table, do have some good players offensively that can be a menace to defences, and one of those players is Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, he has the tricks and ability to cause problems for opposition full backs, with a decent delivery and goal threat. Although on scoring 2 goals and assisting 3, which is below what you would expect from a good player like Mahrez, you could put that down to how the team as a whole has been performing; but he has the individual quality to be a thorn in the opponent, hopefully we can contain him, though. As well as Riyad Mahrez, on the opposite wing, Jeffery Schlupp also has the pace and trickery to cause problems for the opposition, he was the scorer of the winning goal in the FA Cup and his tendency to cut inside will make him more difficult to mark, hopefully he doesn’t get an opportunity to repeat that achievement this Saturday. He has 4 goals and 3 assists this season, which is a decent tally for a winger, and we have to make sure we stop the threats from the wings, as if we can do that, I think we stop the service to the strikers, and their firepower diminishes. In midfield, the evergreen Esteban Cambiasso has been brilliant for the Foxes this season, and he is the dictator, sitting in the midfield scattering passes and making the Leicester side tick, as well as being able to sit back and help defensively. He has 3 goals this season, and coming in late into the box he is a goal threat. Up top, both Andrej Kramaric and Leonardo Ulloa have the ability to score goals, with 11 goals between them, and that partnership up top with support from the quick and tricky wingers could be quite the goal threat. Hopefully that doesn’t come to fruition this Saturday, though.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado (knee) is the only absentee from the squad, with Ryan Mason recovering from a thigh injury suffered at Old Trafford. It’s great to have an almost fully fit squad, and hopefully after a full week of rest and training, we can be raring to go and recover some of our pride after the defeat in Manchester.

There is no doubting that we had a very bad day at Old Trafford, in which nobody played well, and individual mistakes sneaked back into our game making us too easy to beat and overpower. We gifted a result to United, and now, with a great chance of securing three points against the side bottom of the Premier League, we will be relying on our players to step up and perform to the level required of them. One player I would like to step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck, as the saying goes, is Christian Eriksen. His quality isn’t doubted but he sometimes has the tendency to disappear in matches and not make the impact he really is capable of. We need Eriksen to get on the ball as much as possible, as when he does, he can run the game and impact heavily on the result. His performance level has dropped, but hopefully he can regain that intensity in a crucial part of the season. His performance levels will definitely have an impact on how successful we are at the end of this season. Improvement is also expected from Kyle Walker, who had nothing short of a nightmare game against Manchester United; he needs to cut out the mistakes and be more effective and efficient offensively with his crosses and interplay with his right wing partner. Against Leicester, we are expected to have most of the ball, so I hope that Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason can also be effective and we can create enough chances to really impact on the game. We have to be positive on the ball and hopefully that can lead to victory! Oh, and I couldn’t write an article without mentioning Harry Kane! The service to him and support must improve; as good as he is, he can’t do it on his own. Against his former loan side, he’ll be looking to strike once again and lead us to victory.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Five of the last seven meetings between Tottenham and Leicester in all competitions have ended with a 2-1 scoreline.

– There have been two meetings so far between these teams this season, both ending in 2-1 away wins (Spurs won the reverse Barclays Premier League game, while Leicester won in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane).

– Leonardo Ulloa has scored in all four of his starts against the two big north London sides Arsenal and Tottenham.

– Leicester City have won just one of their last 13 Premier League away games (W1 D2 L10).

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W6 D3) and have lost just one of the last 15 home games in all competitions (W10 D4 L1) but that was to Leicester in the FA Cup.

– Spurs have recovered 16 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.

– The Foxes have failed to score a first-half goal in any of their last seven Premier League games.

– Christian Eriksen has scored more winning goals than any other player in the Premier League this season (6).

– Esteban Cambiasso has scored three goals from just four shots on target for Leicester.

– Wes Morgan has blocked more opposition shots than any other Premier League player this season (39).

It’s another big game in the Premier League run in! Let’s get back to winning ways as fast as possible! It’s a great opportunity for us to get a good win over a struggling and under pressure Leicester side. A clean sheet and a few goals would do very nicely! The game is not televised live in the UK, but I will be updating as much as I can live from White Hart Lane, follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted side to face Leicester at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Leicester press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match: Wednesday 4th March 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Swansea.

Tottenham goalscorers: Chadli 6’, Mason 51’ and Townsend 60’.

Swansea goalscorers: Ki 19’ and Sigurdsson 89’.

A really, really good three points. After the Capital One Cup final disappointment, you could possibly understand if the players looked a little dejected out on the pitch after losing only 3 days ago, but that certainly wasn’t the case as we performed very well, especially in the second half to beat a very decent Swansea side at White Hart Lane. We didn’t look tired but determined; determined to prove that we can still go on to challenge for the top four and that the Capital One Cup final defeat wouldn’t be the defining moment of our season. We started very brightly, worked very hard, found our rhythm and got a very good three points. The past was firmly laid to rest, and the player’s minds looked firmly focussed on the future, starting with this game and we have won well. The result looks close, but we deserved to win; we were superior in all aspects of the game and despite a late rally from the Welsh side, we looked well worth the three points and it would have been so discouraging to drop two points because of a late show from what was an under par performance from the Swans in my opinion.

In the first half, it was an electric start to the game; and the lightening struck first in Tottenham’s favour as Danny Rose bombed forward and supplied a beautiful cross that found Nacer Chadli who provided a simply wonderful volleyed touch that found its way past Fabianski and into the net for 1-0 just 6 minutes in. That was Nacer Chadli’s 11th goal of the season as he continues to show his dazzling scoring talent. The game was stopped shortly after that as Bafetimbi Gomis provided a shock to everyone after fainting on the pitch, with flashbacks to Fabrice Muamba replaying in the minds of Spurs fans; the Frenchman was stretchered off, but was conscious and is now perfectly fine, which is fantastic to hear. After that scare, Swansea pounced on what was a lack of concentration at the back as Gylfi Sigurdsson hit a free kick onto the post and we fail to clear our lines, as poor defending from Jan Vertonghen allowed Ki Sung-Yeung to poke the ball through the legs for 1-1 on 19 minutes. We still looked good on the ball, with Bentaleb and Mason looking good in midfield, hitting strikes from long range, but comfortable for Fabianski. Jonjo Shelvey going close for the Swans, stinging the palms of Hugo Lloris in-between the Spurs sticks. It finished 1-1 at half time, with all to play for in the second half of the match.

And the second half started much like the first, as 6 minutes into the second period we took the lead once again! Christian Eriksen dazzling the Swansea defenders with his dribbling skills, before the ball made its way into the path of the oncoming Ryan Mason, who sorted his feet, before unleashing a strike into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 on 51 minutes. We were looking good on the ball, and found ourselves in the driving seat thanks to our goal scoring midfielders. And to get our third goal only 9 minutes later was another midfielder; after the referee played a brilliant advantage after a foul on Bentaleb, Andros Townsend ran at the Swansea defence with intent as he so often does, and this time he had the end product, cutting in onto his so called weaker right foot and delightfully finished into the top of the net for 3-1 on 61 minutes, and it looked like Swansea were down and out, as we looked to cruise to victory. But, this is Tottenham we’re talking about, and they wouldn’t allow us to cruise to victory, but instead hold our breath and hope for mercy. The player to cause the unrest was former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson, who powered a shot past the despairing Hugo Lloris for 3-2 on 89 minutes, and the late flurry from Swansea was very unnerving, as it would have been so disappointing if we had let all our hard work go to waste, and we had to thank the unbelievable Hugo Lloris who somehow got his hand to a Fernandez header to save us two points. Thank Hugo! Great result.
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We had a lot of stand out performers in this game. In the first half we didn’t hit the heights we could have, but in the second half the team improved and stepped up our level of performance. In particular, it was nice to see Christian Eriksen improve and find his feet in the game after being fairly poor recently, he created the second goal and looked much more threatening and free in the second half, passing the ball well and creating some good opportunities; hopefully the Dane can continue to improve and further impact our games; because when he plays well, the team plays well. Ryan Mason played a great game too, in midfield he was tenacious and also got a goal, which as the more advanced player in the midfield pivot of Mason and Bentaleb, he needs to do. He has the ability to score goals and be effective offensively and it was his day to clutch his first Premier League goal for Tottenham, and hopefully his first of many. Our full backs’ bombing forward is a feature of our play without doubt, and Danny Rose has been fantastic so far this season and his assist for Chadli was super. His delivery has been questioned during his career but there are signs of improvement under Pochettino, and he has cemented himself as a very good Premier League left back, and definitely our first choice ahead of Ben Davies. It is fantastic for Nacer Chadli to get back on the score sheet after a difficult couple of months for the Belgian – he has been a revelation so far this season and his goal scoring tendency has made him a fan favourite; having Nacer, Kane and Eriksen all flying would give me hope of a top four finish. There’s no more superlatives left in the world to describe Hugo Lloris, so I’m transforming his name into one. Lloris was extremely Lloris.

A brilliant three points against a tough opposition! We produced three incredibly nice goals to go with a solid performance and very important three points. Thankfully we held on and ended our drought of wins. Next up is another London derby away at Loftus Road against QPR. It’s going to be a tough game against a scrapping Rangers side under the guidance of former Spurs coach Chris Ramsey! I’m sure that’ll be a good game. You can follow me on twitter, @AddictedToSpurs for all the coverage ahead and during the QPR game! Let me know your views on our win over Swansea in the comments below! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that beat Swansea at the Lane:
Lloris – 8.5
Walker – 8
Dier – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the Match. (Davies 78’ – 6)
Bentaleb – 7.5
Mason – 8.5
Townsend – 7.5 (Dembele 64’ – 6)
Eriksen – 8
Chadli – 8.5
Kane – 7 (Soldado 76’ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 3-2 win over Swansea:

Match highlights from the game:

Ryan Mason post match reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match date & time: Wednesday 4th March 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not broadcast live in the UK. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

After a very disappointing result at Wembley, being defeated 2-0 by Chelsea, our attention turns very quickly back to the Premier League, where we have to pick ourselves up and fight to secure a good finishing spot in the League. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, or use it as an excuse, because there aren’t any excuses, we have to take responsibility to improve and learn from the disappointment and make sure it doesn’t happen too often in the future! Our focus now has to be on an important game against Swansea, where we have a good opportunity to stop what can only be seen as a slump in form after our Arsenal heroics, with no wins in 5 games in all competitions. Losing the trophy is very hard to deal with but as a young squad, we can take the experience as a positive one and use the frustration and disappointment to our advantage in pushing for a place in Europe, whether that is in the Europa League or Champions League. Each game should be taken one at a time, as this season was always one of bedding into Mauricio Pochettino’s values, with next season being the realistic target to push for places in the top four, and to win trophies. The cup final this season was a surprise and winning it would have been exceptional, but we are still on the right track with the young squad and promising manager to make those Wembley appearances much more frequent. But, that’s in the past now and we have a season to concentrate on. Starting with a difficult but winnable contest with Swansea at the Lane. A win would do us a world of good.

Swansea are a good side with a good standard of players. They sit 8th, just one spot behind ourselves in 7th, with a 4 point gap, despite us playing a game less. They have been fairly consistent in their performances and under the guidance of the impressive Garry Monk, have continued to cement themselves as a competitive Premier League side that are hard to beat and pushing to be in contention for places in Europe. In their last 5 games, they have only lost once and drawn once, while winning the other three including an impressive 2-1 victory over Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium and an even more impressive 1-0 away victory over Southampton. They know how to win against good sides and are well organised defensively and in midfield, while offensively being able to get some goals too, despite the loss of star man Wilfried Bony. But, the impact of losing Wilfried Bony has meant that the Swans have only hit 1 goal in 9 of their 13 games without the new Manchester City man, but they have tightened up defensively, meaning that 1-0 wins have become enough for the Welsh boys, with credit going to Garry Monk for making them more compact, and their midfield becoming more goal threatening. Last time we faced Swansea was at the Liberty Stadium back in December, a dramatic 2-1 win, with Harry Kane and then Christian Eriksen late on securing us the win despite Wilfried Bony getting on the score sheet. The last time the Swans visited White Hart Lane was all the way back in 2013, when Roberto Soldado scored a penalty in a 1-0 win early on last season. In our last 6 games with Swansea, we have won all of them, scoring 12 goals and only conceding 4, which is fairly impressive for a very good side in Swansea.

The team news for Swansea is that former Gunner Kyle Bartley (knee) is ruled out, while current Spurs player, on loan with the Swans Tom Carroll is ineligible, and former Spurs man Gylfi Sigurdsson has recuperated from his hamstring injury and will look to replace Carroll in the side. The return of the dangerous Sigurdsson will be a big boost for the Welsh side, with his goal threat and silky touch on the ball will be greatly appreciated to Swansea, with 4 goals and 8 assists this campaign. Another big threat for Swansea is Bafetimbi Gomis; despite not hitting the heights that was expected of the Frenchmen, he still has the power, pace and goal threat to cause a stir in opposition defence, and in the absence of Wilfried Bony, he has the opportunity to shine, despite only having scored 5 goals so far this season. On the wings, Jefferson Montero, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer all have pace and skill to trouble full backs, and Gomis will look to profit off of their crosses into the box, as well as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s delivery from set pieces and also in open play. The Swans also have threats in the form of Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yeung, who have a definite goal threat and also the composure to turn provider. It will be a job to contain what is a very good Swansea side.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 09.44.06
The team news for Tottenham is that we go into this game without any injuries, and a full squad to choose from, which will be a plus for Mauricio Pochettino. But, after playing Thursday to Sunday, and then Thursday to Sunday again, and now a Wednesday to Saturday this week, with some massive games in there, you couldn’t be surprised if Pochettino makes some changes to the side to freshen things up a bit ahead of the visit of Swansea to the Lane. Hopefully whatever side we put out can help to end this 5 game winless drought we are on, because we don’t want to be dragged into some further bad form at this stage of the season. A win against Swansea wouldn’t erase the pain of losing a cup final, but I am sure it would be lovely to appease the fans just a bit.

Against a very good defensive Swansea at this minute in time, I am sure they are looking to oppress the talent of Harry Kane, and this will become a fixture in the games we play, that sides narrow the space that Kane has, and don’t allow him to run with the ball or get shots away on goal, just like Chelsea did, but it’s Pochettino, Kane and the team’s responsibility to create space for Kane, and let him play his game to the best of his ability up top, where if he can find space, you know he will punish the opposition. Christian Eriksen hasn’t been in flying form like he was earlier in the season, and his assist tally isn’t spectacular, so if he could pick his game up, and start to find Kane in the positions that he does get into with space, then I think this run of bad form would cease to exist. We have to let our key duo play their football freely and in space, because there is no doubting the fact that they both are our best chance for goals at all times. Allowing the Dane and the Kane to do their thing, you need to compensate for possibly what they don’t do in midfield, so it would be asking Mason and Bentaleb to do even more, and fight harder in midfield to allow Eriksen and Kane to have the freedom up top. If Mason and Bentaleb can do even more dirty work, then Eriksen and Kane will be more free to attack and hurt the opposition. On the wings, it was our full backs against Chelsea that looked the most threatening. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker bombed down their respective flanks at every opposition, but lacked that final ball too often; their work to get into crossing positions is brilliant but they need to be able to find that final ball for Kane, Chadli and even Eriksen to latch on to. If Rose and Walker can improve their crossing game I am sure their own personal value would rise significantly to both Tottenham and England, as I have been very impressed with both recently, especially Rose down that left side.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have won all three Barclays Premier League home games against Swansea, keeping a clean sheet in the last two.

– Indeed Swansea have lost their last six against Tottenham in the PL and are winless in seven (D1 L6).

– Harry Kane has scored 12 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances.

– No team has won more Premier League games from losing positions than Tottenham this season (5) in 2014-15.

– No team has lost more top-flight games from winning positions than Swansea City (4) this season.

– Spurs have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League this season (7).

– 40 points after 27 games equates to Swansea’s best ever return in a Premier League season.

– Swansea City have failed to score a first half goal in their last five Premier League matches on the road.

– The Swans have scored exactly one goal in seven of their last eight away from home.

– Seven of Swansea’s last eight Premier League goals have arrived in the second half.

The games are coming thick and fast, probably a little too fast for Mauricio Pochettino’s liking, but we have to get a win on the board now to keep this top four challenge alive. As Roberto Soldado said, we have 12 finals from now until the end of the season, and it’d be great to pick up at least 8 wins from those games, then we could have a chance of top four. But, we take every game as it comes and we’ll hope for the best, and first up it’s Swansea in a tough test at the Lane, and we have to win it, in honour of the great Dave Mackay. The game isn’t televised in the UK, so you can follow me on twitter for live coverage including, videos, photos, goal updates and more. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Swansea at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino pre match presser, paying tribute to Dave Mackay:

Capital One Cup Final Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match date & time: Sunday 1st March 2015. 4pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Capital One Cup Final.

Venue: Wembley Stadium.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It is finally here! The day that we have all been waiting for from the moment we booked our place in the competition beating Sheffield United over two legs. But now, there’s no two legs, no second chance and certainly no room for sentiment – this is a one off match, where the best side on that one day will go down in the record books, while the other will fade away into the abyss, until their chance next year. We have to make sure we go into the record books once again. This is without doubt the biggest game of our season; a chance for our first silverware in 7 years is a massive occasion, one that we have to grab with both hands. This result has the potential to define our season – if we win, no matter what happens in regards to the Premier League and top four, we will look back at the 2014/15 season with a smile on our face, whereas, if we lose, there will be a certain distain towards the season, but we would still have the opportunity to fight for top four, no matter how unlikely that may be. The game is about glory! The everlasting quote from the immortal Danny Blanchflower that will always echo through the heartbeat of the club, and we as Spurs fans will continue to believe, most of us anyway, that winning trophies represents a successful season. Despite our memorable run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and reaching the top four of the Premier League twice, there is still a trophy sized whole in our hearts during this 7 year period that we desperately want to fill, and now we are so tantalisingly close, we simply can’t allow it to slip! This Cup Final is such a fascinating event, not only because it is for the first silverware of the season, but because of the rivalry and history between the two sides, as well as both sides knowing how to beat each other comfortably!

Chelsea are a great side, everyone knows that, all you have to do is look at their position in the Premier League, and see their record in the big games this season. They are a side that thrives on the big occasion, having World Class players with a World Class manager, and they perform on the biggest stages against the best sides 90% of the time. They top the Premier League, with a 5-point gap between themselves and Manchester City, all the while having lost just two in 26 games, they are a force to be reckoned with and I am sure they will be viewed as the favourites for this game, but in a Cup Final I like to think that the record is blank and each team is even until the final whistle, where the best side on the day will triumph. We have no reason to fear Chelsea, despite them having the better of the war in recent times, we won the last battle and wounded the beast, so now we are back on an even bigger stage to prove that it was no fluke and grasp glory. The last time we faced Chelsea was at the Lane, it was the Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli show as we dismantled the Blues to triumph 5-3 in what could arguably be the game of the season so far in the Premier League, and a repeat performance and result would do very nicely, but I’d take any result that ends up with Spurs scoring more goals! The last time we faced Chelsea at Wembley, it was the Blues who hit 5 in a 5-1 win in the FA Cup semi final, although in controversial fashion with the still frustrating decision to award Chelsea a goal despite the ball not seeming to cross the line back in 2011. The last time we went face to face with Chelsea in the League Cup was the Final at Wembley, where we were victorious 2-1 after extra time, with Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathon Woodgate scoring the vital goals that sent us to success 7 years ago in 2008, the last trophy that Tottenham tasted; now we are hungry once again and will look to repeat the feat.

The Chelsea team news is that key midfielder Nemanja Matic (suspension) is out, while fellow defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee) is the only absentee through injury for the Premier League leaders. Matic will be a massive miss to the West London club, his strength, composure and technical ability will leave a Serbian size whole in the midfield, that should make it easier for us to find space in the final third with Christian Eriksen looking to exploit that extra space. The midfield battle without Matic swings in our favour, as well, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason’s energy and intensity, I’m sure Jose Mourinho would have wanted his trusty Serbian to try and negate the effect that the home-grown midfielders are capable of bringing to our team. Hopefully Nabil and Ryan can find their levels to outshine Cesc Fabregas and Ramires, expected to form the Blue’s partnership. Diego Costa has an extreme goal threat with 18 goals this season. His brute strength and aggression is something that can really be effective in the big games, but hopefully the occasion gets the better of him and his aggression boils over! As well as Costa, it’s Eden Hazard that takes the mantle of biggest threat, he can breeze past players and is so effective in the final third with goals and assists, 13 of each to be exact. We will have to be at our very best to contend with these fantastic players.capital-one-cup-1600x900304-792656_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham coming into the match is that there are no absentees through suspension or injury. We have a fully fit and flying squad coming into the biggest game of the season, so this is a massive boost, and this has been the case for quite a while now. There are still decisions to make for Mauricio Pochettino, though; with just 18 players able to be selected I’m sure some players will be left disappointed and disheartened either on the bench or left out of the squad, and that is just one factor that Pochettino will have to deal with, hopefully his squad reflects who deserves to play and who hasn’t proved they are worthy. I think we all know, as much as we could, what Pochettino’s favoured eleven is, and I think we’ll have conformation this Sunday, as he simply must play his best side. There is no time for sentiment. I’m excited and slightly nervous to see what side Mauricio thinks is best to deal with Chelsea as well as having enough to win the trophy.

The cameras, pundits, journalists and fans will all have eyes on the most electric 21-year-old striker there is at Wembley this Sunday. Harry Kane’s rise to greatness has seen the young man lead his boyhood side to Wembley, and the fairy-tale would continue if the Englishman could find it within himself to knock down the last obstacle in his way and lead his side to Cup glory against our bitter London rivals. It has been a fantastic season for the striker no matter what happens at Wembley, but it would hit another level if the boy could grip hold of a major domestic trophy; it would be a beautiful site for every Spurs fan. With 24 goals and 5 assists this season, you simply can’t doubt that Harry Kane has all the attributes to become a Tottenham great, and he’s got a chance to cement his name in the Tottenham history books with this match, as silverware means the world to Spurs fans all over the world. If Harry Kane, the magical, unbelievable phenomenon can be the man to bring us glory once again, it would be extraordinary. Let’s hope he can deliver like we know he can. Up against John Terry and most likely Kurt Zouma, Kane will have a tough task, and we will need to get as much service to the striker as possible, and will be relying massively on our midfielders to find their passing range, and find the gaps to give Harry Kane the best chance of hurting the Chelsea back line – this responsibility to provide Kane with the best possible service lies mainly with the Danish Footballer of the Year, Christian Eriksen. The Dane, along with Kane, has massive expectation from the fans to perform. He hasn’t been at his peak in the last 4-5 games, but, in the biggest game of the season I’m sure he will step it up and find his highest gear to perform, he’s crucial to our success due to his creative spark and ability to find the net and the crucial pass. When Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well; so let’s hope the man who has 11 goals and 4 assists so far this season. The partnership between Eriksen and Kane, if it can flourish on the biggest stage, will no doubt be very profitable for Tottenham – I hope both can hit their top levels.

There has been slight debate as to whether sentiment should prevail and Michel Vorm, the goalkeeper who played every game of our Capital One Cup campaign, should retain his spot for the final, but most believe that as this is our biggest game of the season, that our best team should play and that means Hugo Lloris, our number 1 goalkeeper, gets the nod. I think it’s a no-brainer; it has to be Hugo Lloris. As good as Michel Vorm is, Hugo is miles ahead of him, and as our captain, has to play in the final. I’m sure Michel Vorm will understand, as he’s been the first man to praise his goalkeeping rival. In midfield, Pochettino has even more big decisions to make, whether Mousa Dembele or Nacer Chadli plays as well as the Andros Townsend or Erik Lamela debate. It’s tough, but I think both players in both debates are worthy of a spot in the final, and it depends on which players Mauricio Pochettino feels are best to combat Chelsea’s threat. When we beat Chelsea 5-3, I thought Mousa Dembele, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli all played great games, and maybe that will weigh on the Boss’ mind. Winning the midfield battle will be key as well, as I say, Bentaleb and Mason have the ability to quash the Chelsea midfield with their tenacity and energy, and if thy are able to do that, then I think we will be one step closer to glory. In defence, the decision for who to partner Jan Vertonghen is another no-brainer for Pochettino; Eric Dier or Federico Fazio is the question but for me Eric Dier is the answer due to the partnership he has built with Vertonghen and his solidity, whereas I think Fazio is too prone to errors for such a big game.

It’s the biggest game of the season! A chance to end the 7-year trophy drought against our bitter London rivals at the home of football, Wembley. I can’t wait. I’m nervous, excited and just plain petrified of what is about to come our way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! The game is of course live on Sky Sports 1, but follow me on twitter for live, comprehensive coverage of our biggest game of the season including goal updates, videos, photos and much more. Follow me at @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Spurs are on their way to Wembley, Tottenham’s gonna to it again! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Chelsea at Wembley:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our Cup Final against Chelsea:

Read my Q&A with Turnstyle Sport HERE.462425722.0

And also have a read of my article on how Harry Kane will affect the Cup Final for Unibet HERE.promo249317734

Match Review, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match: Saturday 22nd February 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-2 West Ham.

Tottenham goalscorers: Danny Rose 81’, Harry Kane 96’.

West Ham goalscorers: Cheikhou Kouyaté 22′, Diafra Sakho 62’.

Well, Tottenham don’t half like to play with your heartstrings, do they? We have to be honest and admit that we played a poor game, our passing was sloppy, we didn’t create enough clear cut chances and the energy that is so often a major part of our game simply wasn’t there, we lacked that intensity and drive from West Ham’s first goal until our first goal. West Ham were comfortable and it looked for all the world like they would cruise to a 2-0 victory having got their game plan spot on, suffocating our midfield and starving Harry Kane of service. Their tactical game was brilliant and on any other occasion it probably would have seen them through to victory, but despite lacking in quality throughout the game, our spirit was still there, and we didn’t give up, which credits the mentality instilled by Mauricio Pochettino once again. We did look drained, and out of sorts, and could possibly lay blame to the Europa League game in midweek, but when you see the side come to life late on in a game when 2-0 down, it makes me think that it simply was a bad day at the office that we were lucky to drag ourselves out of. Improvement is needed from that performance, on Thursday and then the Cup Final on Sunday, where we need to be at our best. I’m not happy with the point, we should have done better and performed better, but when you’ve played a bad game, and gone 2-0 down, you have to be satisfied that we got it back to 2-2, we’ll take the point, say thank you very much and then move on to what is a humungous week in the world of Tottenham Hotspur.

We did start the first half quite well, we had some shots that went close from Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, as well as a brilliant straight ball from Danny Rose that Harry Kane latched onto, and scissored towards goal, past Adrian, but finding the bottom of the post, unluckily for us. But it was West Ham who got the breakthrough, sloppy play from Mousa Dembele on the edge of our box, which then fell to Aaron Cresswell who curled a beautiful cross into the box, inbetween our two centre backs for midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to power his header past Hugo Lloris on 22’ minutes for the Hammers to lead. We didn’t react to the goal very well, we were still sloppy in possession, West Ham smothered any space that we came across, and we didn’t have many ideas in the final third for Harry Kane to receive service to affect the game; unfortunately the West Ham game plan made it extremely difficult for us to bring our star man into the game. West Ham deserved their lead at half time, but it could have been a different story should we have taken the small amount of chances that we did get.

The second half was our chance to turn it around, insert some energy into our game and find our groove once again, but unfortunately we didn’t come out of the gates flying, instead we looked the same as in the first half; pedestrian and out of ideas, which gave West Ham the opportunity to find spaces for themselves, but not allowing the space to be given to us, hence was their organisation as a team. It was frustrating, infuriating not to have enough clear cut chances to make an impact on the game, West Ham’s tactics were spot on, and on the counter attack they were effective, and caused problems for our defenders with Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho using their pace and strength to affect the game. In midfield, they had the extra man, and it made it impossible for us to get a foothold in the match and strut our stuff, and then, West Ham doubled their lead through Diafra Sakho, who took advantage of Danny Rose appealing for offside to sneak in behind and find the net for 2-0, and it looked like game over at 62 minutes in. The game looked to be fizzling out, West Ham had control, and were passing the ball well, but a big incident was Mark Noble, who was already on a yellow card, lunging in on Nabil Bentaleb for what was a stonewall second yellow and red card, but John Moss bottled the decision and at that moment I though for all the World it wasn’t our day, but the never say die attitude of the side thought otherwise. We introduced Nacer Chadli into the game and 1 minute later, from a short corner, Erik Lamela whipped a cross into the box, which was half blocked and then cleared, but only as far as Danny Rose who scuffed a shot into the ground, but the bounce seemed to deceive Adrian in the West Ham goal and settled into the back of the net on 81 minutes to give the Tottenham faithful hope. Our brightest spell of the game is often in the last 10 minutes, and that was no different in this game, and after getting the goal back, we continued to press, with Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela creating chances, as well as Roberto Soldado who had a powerful effort well saved by Adrian. Then, with the added 5 minutes of time coming to a close, the ball found its way to Harry Kane’s feet, who took a touch, and felt contact from Alex Song and went to ground as John Moss pointed to the spot. It wasn’t that straightforward though, as Harry Kane’s penalty was saved, but it fell to Kane on the rebound toscore for 2-2 with the last kick of the game. Relief.

Well, we got a point!! A very nervy and frustrating game that ended in pure relief. Now, we have to travel to Florence to face Fiorentina in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32, then it’s the biggest game of the season on Sunday 1st March with the Capital One Cup Final against Chelsea, it’s set to be a massive week for Tottenham Hotspur, and hopefully it is a joyous week for us all. Follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs, and let me know your thoughts on the game! Up the Spurs! COYS!!
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My player ratings for the side that faced West Ham at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7
Dier – 7
Vertonghen 7
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the match.
Bentaleb – 8
Mason – 7 (Chadli 80’ – 5)
Lamela – 6.5
Dembele – 4 (Eriksen 45’ – 6.5)
Townsend – 6 (Soldado – 61’ – 6)
Kane – 7.5.

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the draw with West Ham:

Harry Kane post match reaction:

Match highlights of our 2-2 draw with West Ham:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match date & time: Sunday 22nd February 2015. 12pm GMT Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It’s big game after big game at the moment, cup final after cup final. After losing to Liverpool in frustrating fashion, then a difficult draw to Fiorentina in the Europa League, we now need to get back on track with a good win in an important London derby with West Ham. The Cup final should be put to the back of our mind, and our only focus must be on the next game, and making this season a success with the attitude that our only challenge is to win the next match, not to finish ahead of Arsenal, not to finish in the top four, only to win our next match. Our defeat to Liverpool was difficult to take, we weren’t amazing, but probably deserved a point, which would have been considered a good result, but now we have to respond with a win in a massive game in terms of the League standing, and for the fans who after a 3-0 and 2-1 defeat to West Ham last season at the Lane, need to take revenge, for sure. We sit 6th in the Premier League table, and need to keep winning games to put pressure on the teams ahead of us, and this is a good opportunity at home to get another three points on the board. At home, we’re confident, and hopefully we can return to winning ways in great fashion in a big London derby.

West Ham have had a good season so far, and sit in a respectable 8th position in the Premier League, just behind Liverpool and Tottenham, and hold the title of ‘best of the rest’ that aren’t battling it out for European places, although I am sure West Ham would like to think they have a chance of gaining a European spot, as it isn’t fully beyond them yet. Their recent form has not been fantastic, with only 3 wins in 12 games, and in their last fixture, in the FA Cup away to West Brom they fell to a 4-0 thumping, so they will be looking to make amends, but on the flip side we will be looking to take advantage of what could be seen as a slump in form. Their last three games, against Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton saw the Hammers amass only 2 points, with draws to the Saints and the Red Devils, which could be seen as a good two points, but after only beating Bristol 1-0 in the FA Cup, along with dispatching struggling Hull and winning on penalties to Everton, it is only 2 wins in 10 Premier League matches, with 5 draws and 3 losses. Their form is dropping and they’ll need to improve rapidly to have a chance of keeping up with the teams ahead of them who are all hitting a good run of form.

Andy Carroll (knee) is the only definite absentee for the Hammers, while Chiekhou Kouyate (arm) and Diafra Sakho (back) are slight doubts, but along with Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins are expected to be in the squad that travels to White Hart Lane, and as key players for West Ham, would be likely to be involved from the start. New signing Nene is also set to be absent due to a lack of match fitness. West Ham have quite a few good players, and up top Diafra Sakho is the Hammers’ top scorer, with 10 goals in all competitions, and his strength and finishing prowess have been very impressive in his first season in English football. He will be the main threat for the Irons, and they will be looking to get the service that he needs to be effective. The player that will be looking to provide that service will be Stewart Downing, who has 5 goals in the Premier League, but also has a notable 7 assists, cementing himself as a very effective player to West Ham this season, which has earned him an England call up this season, so we will be looking to contain his threat from either the wings or from his more central position. In midfield, the man that has made the Irons tick has been former Arsenal player and now on loan from Barcelona, Alex Song, who has proven himself a valuable and experienced man in the midfield for West Ham, earning a lot of plaudits from fans and journalists. Along with Song, Sakho and Downing, Enner Valencia has the pace and energy to cause problems, he has 4 goals this season, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally.Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 15.34.26
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a clean bill of health, with no suspensions either, and it’s so pleasing that this has been the case for quite a while. Only DeAndre Yedlin is the definite absentee having been with the USMNT. There will definitely be rotation from the side that drew with Fiorentina at the Lane, Harry Kane replacing goalscorer Roberto Soldado, with Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason expected to return as well, hopefully fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game with West Ham. Obviously you would expect Eric Dier and Danny Rose also to come back in to replace Ben Davies and Federico Fazio.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane will once again have the eyes of the public on him, to see if he can continue his remarkable form, with 23 goals in 36 games, in another really big game against another London rival. He has come into this big patch of games in stunning form and we need him to continue that coming into the last part of the season, including our humungous Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1st; hopefully the January player of the month can continue his February performances. Harry Kane has been joined in his good form by Mousa Dembele, who as well as hitting the net away at Liverpool in our 3-2 loss, was arguably our best player with Harry Kane; on the ball Mousa is phenomenal and he has improved drastically recently in the position just behind the striker, it enables the big Belgian to be more involved in the match and increase his effectiveness in the game, which can only be positive for Tottenham because of his ability to hold onto the ball and bring his team mates into the action. Mousa’s Belgian team mate Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic so far this season, and is showing his class at the back alongside either Fazio or Dier, showing his leadership qualities but also his ability in defence to keep opponents quiet. His tackling talent is second to none in our side, but also his composure to pick a pass and start attacks from the back. I have been extremely impressed with his performances this season after being poor last term, he has rediscovered his best form, and credit goes to Jan for working hard, but also Mauricio Pochettino for re-motivating the Belgian defender after looking disillusioned at Spurs last season. In midfield, we rely on Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb to provide the energy and tenacity in midfield, and they have delivered magnificently recently. Hopefully though, both players can tighten up their passing after a sloppy display against Liverpool, but to be fair that applies to the whole team who were slightly sloppy. Christian Eriksen has been fantastic this season, but in recent games he has been slightly ineffective and had a poor game against Fiorentina, so we need him to pick up his performance levels, because he is so important to Tottenham playing well; hopefully he can find his passing range again and maybe find the net again, as he has a little bit of a dip in form, but there’s no doubting he’ll come back into form very soon.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham.

– There have been three red cards in the last two Premier League meetings between West Ham and Spurs.

– Prior to West Ham’s win at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham had won seven and lost none of the previous 11 home games against the Hammers.

– Tottenham have conceded 497 goals in Premier League history at White Hart Lane.

– Eight of Spurs’ last 10 Premier League victories have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Tottenham Hotspur have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

– Spurs have recovered the joint-most points from losing positions of any team in the Premier League (15 along with Palace).

– West Ham have scored more headed goals (14) than any other Premier League team this season, also accounting for a divisional high 39% of total scored.

– The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W1 D4 L3).

– Injured striker Andy Carroll has scored in two of his three Barclays Premier League games for West Ham against Tottenham.

Another big game, bringing us back into Premier League action with a bang in another London derby against a definite rival where revenge is definitely on the cards after our previous losses to the Hammers. The game is live on BT Sport, but I will be sure to provide updates for goals, photos and videos from my twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get back to winning ways in another big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Ham at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the West Ham match: