Match date & time: Sunday 23rd November 2014. 4pm GMT KO.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: The KC Stadium.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3:30pm GMT. Worldwide TV listings HERE.
After what has felt like a long international break, Tottenham return to action with a tough away fixture against Hull City. After losing to Stoke City at home, a reaction is needed from the players, from the manager & from the whole club. In recent times, we haven’t seen anywhere near the level Tottenham are capable of, the players have seemed to shy away from responsibility and it has been a sorry time around the club, but a good performance and a win can change the feeling in the players, it can boost their confidence and with a bit of luck and quality, our fortune can quickly change – and our season can look a little more rosy. But, the players can’t just expect that to happen; they need to go out there with fire in their heart and go and make it happen, change their own fortunes and change people’s opinion on them, because if they don’t want to win and improve, then what’s the point of them playing football? I hold a lot of faith in our manager and the players, and I think there is no doubt that we will turn it round, but I’d love that to happen much sooner than later, because the atmosphere around the club can become sour when a bad run of results occurs. The team have to halt that and change the fan’s opinions.
We come up against a Hull City side that sits 15th in the Premier League table, winning only 2 games out of a possible 11. They have had some narrow defeats though, and they haven’t been terrible by any means, but it hasn’t been good enough and they aren’t getting the results they want or maybe even deserve. They have lost their last 2 games, narrowly to Southampton and Burnley 1-0, and their performance level against Burnley was very low, as acknowledged by manager Steve Bruce, who was extremely disappointed with the loss, so they will be looking for a reaction, especially in front of their fans against a bigger side like Tottenham. But, we will be looking to get a reaction after our dismal display against Stoke, so it’s going to be a hotly contested game, but hopefully the quality of our players will shine through and we can put in a good showing. In recent times, Tottenham have had the best of the results against Hull City, being unbeaten in the last 6 games, winning 3 and drawing 3. Last time out, we drew at the KC 1-1, with Paulinho scoring for Tottenham and Shane Long scoring for Hull, now Long has departed from Hull and Paulinho has, well, disappeared. I don’t think a draw suits either team, though, and both will be going all out to try and win this game, so hopefully we can take advantage of gaps in the Hull defence.
The team news for Hull City is good for them, Michael Dawson (ankle), Curtis Davies (back), Alex Bruce (hamstring), Nikica Jelavic (knee) & Alan McGregor (shoulder) are all back in contention for the game, but Robert Snodgrass (knee) remains out. They will be seriously boosted by the names returning to action, especially the defensive partnership of former Spur Michael Dawson and the talented Curtis Davies, who has done really well since coming into the Premier League. Hull City have some really talented players, as well as those gritty, hard working guys who will give everything. Offensively, those talented players include striker Abel Hernadez, who has 3 goals in 8 games, but has played really well since coming in from Palermo, others include on loan pair Hatem Ben-Arfa from Newcastle and Gaston Ramirez from Southampton; they are yet to make an impact but do have natural flair through their make-up. The steel in midfield, mixed with flair and finishing ability comes from Mohamed Diame, who has an impressive 4 goals in 11 appearances and after coming in from West Ham and we have to be able to accommodate his power from midfield.
The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle), Kyle Walker (abdominal) & Kyle Naughton (suspended) are of course out of the game, while Andros Townsend (ankle) and Danny Rose (ribs) are doubtful along with unnamed players coming back from international duty, likely to be Emmanuel Adebayor who returned late after two games with Togo. Also, Christian Eriksen twisted his ankle on Denmark duty, but should be okay for this game. With Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton ruled out, we will seemingly rely on Eric Dier to fill in at right back, being fresh after remaining at Hotspur Way instead of going on England U21 duty. And, with Danny Rose a doubt, it looks like Ben Davies could get his full Tottenham Premier League debut and start his first game, which after some ‘iffy’ performances from Danny Rose recently, I’m very welcome to.
One of the few shining lights of the season has been the performances of Nacer Chadli and the goals he has scored, with 6 goals so far this season in the Premier League, our top scorer, and the top scoring midfielder in the Premier League. He always looks a threat and is playing with the sort of quality we didn’t see last season. Hopefully, he can get another goal or two against Hull this Sunday, because he’s becoming a vital player for Tottenham Hotspur. After starting his first Premier League game against Stoke, Harry Kane scored another two goals for England’s U21s to take his Goalscoring tally to 15 goals in 20 appearances this season for club and country; now, he needs to rack up the goals in the Premier League, and hopefully he can get a sustained run of starts and then hopefully repay Pochettino’s faith with goals, which we know he is more than capable of getting. In midfield, Etienne Capoue has disappointed in recent games after being outstanding in the early part of the season, and now I think it’s time to give Benjamin Stambouli a game in the Premier League, alongside Ryan Mason; that gives you a good balance between defence and attack, and I think Stambouli is much more creative than Etienne, so that helps our cause as we need to be more creative and less pedestrian in midfield. After being left out of the starting 11 against Stoke, I think Erik Lamela needs to be reintegrated into the team because I hold faith he can be that spark we need, in assists and hopefully very soon, goals.
Match stats & facts provided by Opta:
– Hull City have won just one of their last 10 Barclays Premier League matches (W1 D5 L4).
– This is Spurs’ worst start to a Premier League season since 2008-09.
– Hull have won none of the last five Premier League games against Tottenham (W0 D2 L3), three of these were at the KC Stadium (W0 D1 L2).
– Only Aston Villa (2) have had fewer different scorers this season than Hull City (4).
– After scoring in each of their opening eight Premier League games this season, Hull have now failed to score in their last three.
– Nacer Chadli has scored six Premier League goals in 10 appearances this season – he found the net once in 24 appearances last term.
– Tottenham have earned more red cards in the Premier League in the calendar year 2014 than any other team (6).
– There have also been more red cards in Spurs games than those involving any other team this season (five – three for and two against).
– Only Hull City (5) have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season than Tottenham (4).
– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other team in the top flight this term (5).
This is a big game for both sides, but I think Tottenham have a lot more to lose than this Hull City side. A loss would be quite detrimental to Tottenham, especially if the performance isn’t up to the standard we demand and expect. The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, videos, photos & much more from my Twitter account, follow me there, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Hull City at the KC:
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the media ahead of the Hull game: