Tottenham Hotspur Season Review – 2013/14.

20140515-200108.jpgIt’s been a topsy-turvy season at White Hart Lane, a season with expectation, hope and excitement at the start, having a middle of uncertainty, anger and disillusionment, ending with relief, hope and an ounce of positivity. We’ve been through it all, every emotion from elation to despair, and everything in between. Two managers, 7 new players and yet another transition season, with another one to come next season.

August – September.
Such promise. 7 new signings for a total of £110 million, but also selling Gareth Bale for a World Record £85 million, therefore from other sales such as Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker and Steven Caulker. It was out for the English men, and in with the European talent, with Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli (in price order). Mistakes were made in the way we brought these players in, that I say without a doubt, but I do not think we made a mistake on the personnel we brought in, except for arguably Roberto Soldado in hinds sight. In August, we started the season in fine form, beating Crystal Palace, Swansea and beating off Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League qualifying. We didn’t concede in August, scoring 10 goals in 4 games. Not bad at all, although we did scrape past Palace and Swansea.

In September, we started the month conceding our first goal, against Arsenal in a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates. The excuse was that we were in incredible uncertainty, and the sale of Gareth Bale was confirmed the same day, straight after the defeat. That was a really bad day. Really bad. The saying on the season ‘bounce back’ was then introduced and we did exactly that, beating Norwich convincing at the Lane, Christian Eriksen making his introduction brilliantly, and then beating Tromsø 3-0 in the Europa League and then one of the games of the season, beating Cardiff 1-0 away from home, Paulinho with a late back-heeled goal. After that, we beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park in the Capital One Cup. Then we drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Lane with a very good performance. Things looked very up, AVB had us well drilled and the club was together pulling in a good direction. We sat 3rd in the table. Respectable, eh? Our best player in the first two months, would be Gylfi Sigurdsson, he was playing really well with 2 goals at the time against Chelsea and Norwich.

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October – November.
It all went a bit sour in October, a long journey to Anzhi, but a good victory, winning 2-0, but we returned to arguably the worst result of the season, a 3-0 defeat in a London Derby to West Ham United, we were dreadful, a lack of commitment and having no idea what to do in attacking positions, and West Ham punished our nonsensical defending. A tough one to take, the toughest. We did it again, we bounced back, we showed what seemed to be ‘character’ to quote Tim Sherwood and beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park, Robert Soldado with his first goal from open play, and we all thought he’d kick on from there and expected the team to do the same. Another long journey to Sheriff followed, getting the win again 2-0 and then returning to the Lane, we beat Hull City 1-0, a Soldado penalty clinching it. It all went sour for Andre Villas Boas after that. He criticised the fans, right or wrong, the media didn’t need to hear it, and neither did the fans who were already writhing in anger at the performance against Hull. Only a few days later, we faced Hull again, and scraped through again, on penalties in the Capital One Cup. A very difficult month, and after all that we still sat 4th in the Premier League table, and still in all the competitions.

In November, it really turned bad. We didn’t manage a League win and failed to score a League goal, although winning games in the Europa League against Sheriff 2-1, record signing Erik Lamela’s first goal for the club and beating Tromsø in Norway 2-0. In the League, we drew 0-0 with Everton, a hard fought game but arguably a good result against a resurgent Roberto Martinez team. No complaints. Then, after a game against Sheriff in the Europa League, we lost to Newcastle at home 1-0, in one of the most frustrating games of the season, nothing would go in. Nothing. We were left frustrated and the fans’ pressure built on Andre Villas Boas. The next game didn’t help the pressure on AVB, an absolute rout through Manchester City at the Etihad. Of course, the Champions this season, but for where we wanted to be, and by that margin, it was embarrassing and despite a large amount of fans backing AVB to get out of this slump, there was serious media pressure and reported pressure from the board. All in all, pressure. We ended November with a Europa League win at Tromsø, but it didn’t help heal the scars from a dreary two months. Tottenham finished November in 9th, which is, no sugar coating, terrible. Although, still, we remained in all competitions, unbeaten. Our best player in that time would in my opinion, be Andros Townsend, he was electrifying, but not lethal. The best of a bad bunch.

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December – January.
December was without a doubt the busiest and most full of change month of the season. We started the month well, really well. A draw with Manchester United, but scoring 2 goals after not scoring in the League in November was a positive, as well as the team spirit shown. After that, we won two on the bounce away for home, but both, we scraped past relegation candidates Fulham through Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, then past Sunderland, through an own goal and Paulinho. Our final victory under Andre Villas Boas then was upon us, a 4-1 victory over Anzhi with Soldado grabbing a hat-trick, and then the darkest day of the season so far. A 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Lane. Humiliating. A lack of presence, fight and quality led to a terrible day, and one that saw Daniel Levy lose patience in the Portuguese manager and fire him that next day. Right or wrong, the decision ended our season. I truly believe that. The club then appointed Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand in charge and in the first game lost in the Capital One Cup to West Ham in the Lane 2-1, after returning Emmanuel Adebayor to the team and him scoring. We then had a ‘decent’ end to the Christmas period, with Tim Sherwood being confirmed as Spurs Head Coach on an 18 month contract, we beat Pochettino’s Southampton at St Mary’s through a resurgent Emmanuel Adebayor performance, but then drew to West Brom at the Lane on Boxing Day, a big disappointment, but we then performed to the highest level of the season, beating Stoke City 3-0 with free flowing football that had been missing for too long under AVB. We finally beat someone comfortably. We finished the month in 7th.

In January, we started the month in fine fashion, we went to Old Trafford and got the result in wonderful style, Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen on the scoresheet. That’s my favourite victory of the season, an amazing win despite Manchester United’s problems this season, we have not lost to them in 4 games and beat them on their own turf twice in a row! It was back to reality after that, we lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup 2-0 at the Emirates, and now it was Sherwood’s turn to feel the pressure of the fans, his honest press conferences splitting his opinion and his tactical approach of 4-4-2 against top sides split them even further. We then beat Crystal Palace, with Jermain Defoe’s last goal for the club after the announcement of his move to Toronto, a very emotional moment and then went into beat Swansea convincingly 3-1 at the Liberty stadium, Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his great form with a brace. We finished the first month of 2014 with a heavy defeat to Manchester City, in unfortunate circumstances, a goal disallowed, wrongly, and then a wrongly awarded penalty and red card against Danny Rose. Of course, we wouldn’t go onto have an effect the game, losing 5-1, with another heavy defeat to City, but you could feel a sense of what could have been without some horrifying decisions. Plus, Etienne Capoue got his first goal for the club! At the end of January, we sat in 5th place, just three points off Liverpool in 4th. There was a little bit of hope here. Our best player during this time, was most definitely Emmanuel Adebayor, brilliant.

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February – March.
It was a mixed bag of results in February, but we continued to be there or there abouts for Champions League football and some fans still had hope! We started the month of February with a draw at the KC Stadium to Hull City, it was an incredibly hard fought match but we couldn’t seem to break them down, although Paulinho scored a great goal to get us a point. Then, as it seemed to be the case many times this season, good results came in twos. We beat Everton at White Hart Lane 1-0, taking 4 points from them this season, somehow, through a sweetly taken goal from Emmanuel Adebayor. Then, we went up to St James’ Park to complete our most convincing win of the season so far, a 4-0 win, Emmanuel Adebayor getting another brace as well as goals from Paulinho and a fine strike from Nacer Chadli, his first Premier League goal for the club. Then, a low, as we lost to Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine in the first leg of the round of 32, and then we followed it up by being beaten by Norwich at Carrow Road 1-0, a terrible defeat with some extremely disappointed performances. The loss to Dnipro was then cancelled out, after a great 3-1 win at the Lane, Adebayor with 2 and a Christian Eriksen free-kick. A good end to a mixed month. Into the round of 16 of the Europa League.

I think March was the moment we realised that Tim Sherwood wasn’t the man to take us forward. Only 2 wins out of 7 and 4 defeats conceding 16 goals and only scoring 6. We started with a win, against Cardiff City, a 1-0 win, Roberto Soldado getting only his second goal from open play in the Premier League, but it certainly wasn’t free flowing football, we scraped past them as we had many times under AVB and under Sherwood. Then, we lost heavily to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after going in level at the break after a great performance in all fairness, the team capitulated after a Jan Vertonghen mistake. A tough result to take like many this season, and Sherwood then criticised the players, which was highly supported and scrutinised at the same time. Then, we lost two on the bounce, both extremely tarnishing to the club, a 3-1 defeat to an incredible Benfica team at the Lane, but then another loss to Arsenal, quite unluckily even though we dominated the game. Then we performed really well at the Estadio Da Luz, a 2-2 draw, but we were extremely unlucky not to go through, a Nacer Chadli brace and a Harry Kane double of assists! Our next game was against Southampton, with a lot of the support extremely disheartened supporters not expecting anything from the rest of the season except for disappointment. The Southampton game was great, though, after going down 2-0 to a highly talented Southampton team, we fought back valiantly and showed the ‘gut’ that Sherwood had been willing for. That ‘gut’ and determination deserted Tottenham as we took on Liverpool, however, a 4-0 defeat, and the less said about that day the better. We sat 8 points off of 4th on 56 points after March. Our best player in that time being Christian Eriksen, for sure!

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April – May.
I’d say we had our best month of the season in April, unbeaten, scoring twelve goals in 4 games and only conceding 4. Our great month started with our biggest win of the season, a 5-1 victory over Sunderland, Adebayor once again getting a brace, with Christian Eriksen running the show along with a Gylfi Sigurdsson goal too. Then, we went to West Brom and conceded 3 goals, but we came back in the second half despite Adebayor missing a penalty, an own goal, a Harry Kane goal and finishing off the comeback with a Christian Eriksen late equaliser. Fulham came next, another 3 goals, but this time we only conceded once. Paulinho, Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul got on the scoresheet as Christian Eriksen ran the show once again and cemented his place as a contender for player of the season, as well as an incredible performance from Hugo Lloris, who saved a penalty and made three or four incredible saves at least. World Class. The rumours on Sherwood’s future was as intense as ever coming into May, but the team ended April on a high after going to Stoke and dragging out a result. We were on track to equal our highest ever points tally in the Premier League.

In May, we only had two games and one of them was utterly horrible. West Ham. Again. This time, on their own turf. A 2-0 defeat and a Younes Kaboul red card. We weren’t terrible, a little unlucky with a few individual mistakes but a loss to West Ham is just unforgivable, and unfortunately it’s been unforgivable three times this season. But, we finished the season on a high, which was definitely needed. Tim Sherwood’s last game as Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach, a 3-0 win, some wonderful football and the youth being introduced. A wonderful way to end a difficult season. Paulinho, an own goal by Baker and then an Adebayor penalty. We finished the season in 6th place, with 69 points, securing a Europa League place for next season. Tim Sherwood sacked and now a manager search commences. My player of the two months was Christian Eriksen. Incredible.

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My player ratings for the 2013/14 season:

Hugo Lloris – 9 – My player of the season. He has been incredible for us, saving us on numerous occasions. I don’t know where we’d be without him in the team, but we wouldn’t be in the Europa League, that’s for sure! He brings a cool, professional head even when chaos strikes on the pitch. He finds a way to keep his consistency no matter how the team is playing, who the team is playing and who the team is being managed by. Truly World Class and a pleasure to have in the team. He managed 17 clean sheets this season from 46 appearances.

Christian Eriksen – 8.5 – My outfield player of the season. At just 22 Eriksen has been a revelation, and has been praised as the ‘best of a bad bunch’ by many in the press. Although I disagree, I believe that he has been a shining light in a dreary season, with the way that he plays, conducts himself and speaks all becoming increasingly important to the club and without a doubt, the team should be built around Eriksen next season, whoever the manager is. There is so much more to come from such a brilliant, but young player. Eriksen has 10 goals and 10 assists, our top provider this season in 30 appearances.

Emmanuel Adebayor – 8 – Adebayor only played half a season, but still was one of our best performers this season. He scored so many vital goals to carry us through Tim Sherwood’s reign, and he almost made Sherwood look good, just as Gareth Bale seemed to bail out Andre Villas Boas. There were some lacklustre showings from the big Togolese striker, but overall, I think Adebayor has shown AVB was wrong to keep him in the dark, despite Adebayor being in the wrong through standing up to Villas-Boas. Emmanuel Adebayor scored 14 goals this season and getting 4 assists, he ended the season as our top goalscorer.

Brad Friedel – 7 – Judging Brad through the games he played, he has earned a 7/10. His performances in the Europa League were top class, he showed his professionalism throughout the season, not complaining, instead hailing the manager and the team, boosting moral and acting as a calm head. At 42, he has a decision to make regarding his future, and if he does decide to retire, I would love Brad to stay at the club and become a coach. He’s that sort of person. Friedel played 9 times and kept 3 clean sheets. Respectable.

Kyle Walker – 7.5 – Many will feel I have ‘overrated’ Walker here. But I would like to remind you all that Kyle was absolutely magnificent before injury toyed with his season. Without a doubt he was our best defender, showing a maturity that was lacking last season, but also a work ethic like I have never seen from him before. He was concentrated and driven to succeed and I am gutted that his injury has kept him out of a World Cup that he deserved to go to more than any other English right back. Walker made 35 appearances this season, scoring once and assisting 3 times.

Kyle Naughton – 5 – Average. He is no Kyle Walker, but what Naughton has been this season is reliable. Not many clubs have a player that will sit there and be willing to fill in whenever possible. Needed a lot this season, he was exposed a lot as a left back that he wasn’t and his lack of pace and bad decision making cost him many times. But overall I don’t think Naughton did too badly, and would like to thank him for his efforts. He showed that he cared. Naughton played 31 times for Spurs this season as a stop gap, and assisted goals twice.

Michael Dawson – 6 – Harshly treated for the majority of this season, including by myself. Dawson has shown his fight and determination on a numerous amount of occasions this season, although he has been exposed way too often as slow and very one dimensional. He’s my captain though, and his desire and passion for the club do not go unnoticed in my eyes. Dawson played 38 times this season.

Younes Kaboul – 5.5 – A difficult season for Younes. The injuries in his career have affected him a hell of a lot and he is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has captained us this season, and played some really good games, for example against Newcastle and against Southampton. I would like to think Kaboul will stay and have a full pre-season behind him to prove his worth to the fans, but whether or not the club feel too much of a risk of having him here we can only wait and see. Younes played 18 times this season, scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Vlad Chiriches – 7 – One of the seven new signings arriving this season, and he’s been one of the best in my view. At just 23 he has a lot to learn and he can be very nervy at times, making him prone to mistakes, but he has also had incredible games this season and is showing why we decided to sign the Romanian and ditch Steven Caulker. Vlad can only improve next season, the captain of Romania and definitely one that can push to start every game next season. Vlad played 23 times this season, scoring 1 goal.

Jan Vertonghen – 6 – A strange season for Jan. He has been accused by fans of having a bad attitude, bad body language and not showing enough passion for the team, as well as taking a big step down from the level of performance that he was last season. We all know what Vertonghen is capable of, and despite these rumours of Jan wanting out, we should try to keep him at all costs, because he is a wonderful talent. I believe he will stay. I hope he will stay. Hopefully we can see an improvement in performs from Jan next season, possibly when we have a new manager in charge! Vertonghen had an injury stricken but played 31 games, scoring 1 goal.

Zeki Fryers – 6 – A breakthrough season for young Zeki Fryers, firstly at left back, but then later in the season being used as a centre back, and I think we found the perfect position for Zeki. At left back he lacked agility and an end product, but at centre back he is composed and strong. I’d like to see more of the 21 year old there next season. Zeki played 16 times, getting 1 assist in that time.

Danny Rose – 4 – Danny, at only 23, has a lot to learn. This was his first season as our number 1 left back, but he was exposed nearly every game for defensive insecurity, a poor end product and a lack of skill on the ball. Although Danny had 3-4 good games, he isn’t at the level that Spurs need. Whether that will come in time, I don’t know, but right now, we need better. Danny made 31 appearances this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 2 assists.

Aaron Lennon – 6 – Inconsistent would be the word to describe Lennon’s season. He has been on fire at times, beating players getting dangerous balls into the box, and he has been the opposite, unimaginative, ineffective and simply poor. Aaron is still 27, so I’d definitely keep him for next season, but I hope Lamela steps up and earns his spot ahead of our long serving winger. Aaron played 34 games this season, scoring just 1 goal and getting only 3 assists.

Andros Townsend – 7 – What a start to the season Andros had. Coming back from his loan spell at QPR he was electrifying, he had the confidence to take people on, take shots and break with pace. This earned him an England call up, and he made the impact of a lifetime, scoring on his debut. Unfortunately, injury played havoc with his second half of the season and his form dipped. And now injury has ruled him out of a World Cup he was destined to go to. Hopefully Andros improves massively next season and we can see him shine again. He played 34 games scoring twice, but getting no assists.

Erik Lamela – N/A- Our record signing, but we didn’t get anywhere near a season out of him. Mismanagement, injuries and poor ability to adapt have messed the Argentine’s season and World Cup hopes right up. Such promise, but such disappointment to see our Gareth Bale replacement not start a game at White Hart Lane this season in the Premier League. He did have 2-3 good performances but needed a sustained fun in the team, and due to a fractured vertebra, he didn’t get that. He will return though and I hope he will be better than ever! He played 17 times for Spurs, but only had 3 starts in the Premier League. He scored 1 goal and got 3 assists.

Paulinho – 7 – I think Paulinho has had a very good first season at the club. It has been blighted by some terrible, invisible performances but all in all I think he’s done well, especially in the goal scoring department. Playing higher up the pitch he is a joy to watch has immense skill, but playing in a deeper role next to a similar player, such as Mousa Dembele, Paulinho didn’t have the strength and grit to make tackles. That’s why his best performance came alongside Sandro, or next to Dembele when we were bossing the game. Hopefully he’ll push on next season and prove himself to more and more fans. He played 37 times for us this season and scored 8 goals with 2 assists, a good first season tally.

Sandro – 6 – Injury has struck Sandro’s season once again. This time muscular niggles that have kept him out of the team and stopped him from having, just like Lamela, a sustained run in the team. There have been some difficult matches for Sandro, not playing well or in good form, but I think mostly he has when he has started. He’s a crucial player for the team and I can’t wait to see him in a Spurs shirt next season. Sandro played 25 games and scored 1 goal.

Mousa Dembele – 6 – It’s like a broken record, but Mousa is another player who’s season has been seriously harmed by injuries. He looked as if he had been playing with injuries all season and that meant his form wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted it to be. He has a World Cup now so I hope he gains a lot of confidence from that and comes back to Spurs a better player. Mousa did despite injury play 42 games this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist.

Nabil Bentaleb – 7 – Nabil has had a great season. Promoted through the youth system at just 19 he has put in some stellar displays in the midfield role, as well as some poor performances, which are expected at just 19 years of age. His connection with Sherwood made it difficult at times, with fans pilling pressure on the young mans shoulders, but he dealt with it really well. Nabil played 21 times, getting 1 assist.

Etienne Capoue – N/A – Etienne started the season in outstanding form, our best player against Crystal Palace and Swansea, but he was hit by injury, another player, and after that never found the level he is capable of. He missed 50% of the season through, higher than any other player, so I really can’t give him a fair rating. It will be interesting to see whether Capoue is kept by the new manager, or moved on. Etienne played 18 times scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Lewis Holtby – 6.5 – Only half a season with Spurs before being shipped out to Fulham, but during that time he made it difficult to make a decision between Eriksen and Holtby, and I think he played well at times during his time at Spurs and was unlucky, but probably for the best of his development that he was sent out on loan. I hope to see him back in a Spurs shirt next season, pushing for a place. Lewis took part in 22 games for Spurs this season, scoring 3 goals and getting 5 assists.

Nacer Chadli – 6 – Chadli hasn’t set the world alight. Far from it. He has shown glimpses of why he is so highly rated in Holland and in Belgium, but as of yet hasn’t shown it to the Spurs faithful. Some very good performances, especially his 2 goals against Benfica, and his stunner against Newcastle, but he needs to improve. He played central midfield and behind the striker later on in the season which didn’t help, though. Although he played well behind the striker, in central midfield I don’t think it suits him. Nacer played 35 times, scoring 5 goals and contributing 4 assists.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6.5 – Gylfi’s start to the season was sublime, he had a goal scoring instinct and scored some wonderful goals as well as goals where he had to be in the right place at the right time. I think Gylfi is a great player, technically, mentally and physically. He lacks a lot of pace, which let’s him down, but he has such a great shot and a great footballing mind. It’s unfortunate Sigurdsson is forced out onto the left hand side so often. He’d be a real threat in the central position. There are things wrong with his game and there has been this season. Still, he’s only 24. Gylfi played 35 games this season, scoring 6 goals and getting 3 assists. Not too bad.

Harry Kane – 7.5 – I can only judge on the games that they have played, and Harry Kane has had a superb end to the season, as well as good performances against Hull City in the League Cup and Cardiff away earlier this season. Brought in by Sherwood to the starting 11 he has repaid the faith with goals, a hard work ethic and some real good performances. Harry has played 19 games this season for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and getting 2 assists.

Jermain Defoe – 6 – Defoe was outstanding in the Europa League for us this season, there’s no denying it. He scored goal after goal and played really well, but his Premier League performances, of which there were very few, were poor. Jermain was sent off to Toronto and we will miss a true Spurs legend, but I don’t think we’ll miss the player. Defoe played 22 games for Spurs this season, with 11 of those from the bench. Scoring 10 goals and getting 3 assists.

Roberto Soldado – 5 – Hard. Disappointing. Underwhelming. All words we’d use to describe Roberto Soldado’s first season at the club, and possibly his last. I want Soldado to succeed as much as the next but judging on this season he has been terrible in front of goal. It’s a mystery. He has lost his goalscoring touch through a flight from Spain to England and I don’t know why. Everything he touches he seems to miss. Although, his link up play and play with the ball is top notch, something he never really had in Spain. I’d call it weird other than anything. We’ll see what happens to him this summer. Roberto played 37 times for us this season, scoring 11 goals and getting 5 assists.

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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Hugo Lloris.

Young player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Goal of the season – Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Hull City. (League Cup).

Assist of the season – Eriksen vs Norwich to Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Individual performance of the season – Hugo Lloris vs Fulham.

Win of the season – Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham.

Signing of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Most disappointing player of the season – Roberto Soldado.

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Ups, downs and upside downs. All in all it’s been an eventful season, for sure! Expectation outweighed reality, and now as fans we have to rally again, support the team, the players and the whole club to try and do our bit to help the side on the pitch. And that starts by supporting our new manager, whoever it may be. I’m looking forward to a great World Cup, a brilliant pre-season, an uncertain Transfer Window and a new season of excitement! Thank you for reading, tweeting and debating with me on twitter and on the website. It’s been a pleasure and I can’t wait to do it all over again next season! Leave your comments down below, subscribe and follow my twitter account if you don’t already – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you and COYS!

All the goals from the 2013/14 season:

Season Review video:

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Keeping Faith in Tottenham Hotspur.

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

1) New Stadium.

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

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

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2) Training Ground.

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

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

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3) Youth.

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

Players on loan are also making good progress, Alex Pritchard at Swindon in League 1 has had a great season scoring 8 goals and getting 9 assists from the left wing, earning himself a nomination for player of the year in League 1, plus young player of the year in the whole of the Football League, at just 20 I think he has a big future at Spurs and he’s one to get excited about. Now he’s back at Spurs he could definitely get game time. Another player who we’ve had a glimpse of at Spurs is Ryan Fredericks, the right back played in our 4-1 win over Anzhi while AVB was in charge and looks to have a real maturity in the way he plays, now on loan at Championship club Millwall and getting vital experience learning from Ian Holloway. Other players who have shown great promise at the club are 18 year old Serbian centre back/centre midfielder Milos Veljkovic, who is highly rated by Tim Sherwood and people within the club, 19 year old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb who has been integrated into the first team by Tim Sherwood and despite his flaws, is one of the most promising players at the club, as well as 20 year old striker Harry Kane, who is the U21’s top scorer and has shown he can deliver in the first team recently, and finally 21 year old left back/centre back Zeki Fryers who is now seen as our main left back cover and an option to have at centre back, his versatility, strength and pace make him a great player for the future, and it looks as if his future lies at centre back after an incredible performance against Benfica.

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4) Current Squad.

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

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

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5) What’s needed now.

Obviously, as I’ve said and as Daniel Levy has said, the New Stadium is crucial to the future of Tottenham, but there are many other things that are in desperate need to get Tottenham to that ‘elite club’ stage. First of all, the appointment of a new manager, although I don’t have anything against Tim Sherwood, he is not of the calibre we need at Spurs to take us to that next level; I wouldn’t be opposed to Sherwood staying on at Spurs, either in the youth teams or with the first team, but he is not at the quality we need as a manager. Rumours are all over the shop, and with Louis Van Gaal’s ship almost fully sailed in the direction of Manchester United, it seems the two managers that are available are Frank De Boer of Ajax and Mauricio Pochettino of Southampton. For me, Frank De Boer has to be seen as the number 1 target, he has an incredible future as a manager and has managed Ajax to 4 Eredivisie titles in 4 consecutive years. What De Boer can bring to the table is his ability to work with youth and grow teams into a squad that can compete for trophies, he likes to work with young teams and that is exactly what we are. It may be a risk, but he knows Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen well and everything we have got from Ajax has turned out brilliantly so far, so what is one more! The crucial thing, if Frank De Boer is to be appointed is that he is given time, given time to build his team and ingrain his footballing philosophy onto the team and the club. He plays attacking football and that’s what we demand at Spurs.

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

20140429-172640.jpg Thanks for reading! Tottenham will always be around, but these are crucial times in the future of our club in which decisions must be assessed with precision and care, it’s crucial that Tottenham succeed, and it’s Daniel Levy’s last few chances to make sure it’s him who takes us to glory once again.

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

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

Christian Eriksen is quickly becoming the player we know he can be.

Since Eriksen made his much anticipated move away from Ajax to a the Premier League he has been in the limelight from the Dutch press, the Danish press, and the English press. The pressure and expectation that comes with that must be very difficult to take for someone who you look past all the time that he’s been on the footballing scene, is still only 22. He deals with it very well, he’s adored in Denmark, respected greatly at Ajax, now he’s a fan favourite at Tottenham and rated highly by the English media. It’s all going rather well for the Dane at the moment.

Eriksen had trials at Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United and AC Milan before making a move to Ajax from Odense in 2008 at 15, saying “My first step should not be too big. I knew that playing in the Netherlands would be very good for my development. Then Ajax arrived and that was a fantastic option”. For me this shows a level headed, well advised kid who is determined to better himself through hard work, rather than trying to run before he can walk. There was obvious talent there and he chose a team that doesn’t stand out against the Barcelona’s and the Manchester United’s, but known for their ability to grow young players. This is when you know you’ve got a guy with the know-how to get to the top. Eriksen made his Denmark debut at 17 in 2010, and appeared in the 2010 World Cup as the youngest in the tournament. That’s when Eriksen burst onto the scene and in 2011 he went on to win the Danish Footballer of the year award, Dutch football talent of the year and Ajax talent of the year, as well as winning the Eredivisie title with Ajax. He won the Eredivisie title with Ajax again in 2012 and 2013, before completing his move to Tottenham. So he’s been about a bit.

We signed Christian Eriksen for £11 million, or if you believe the press in the Netherlands, they say it’s actually €11 million, roughly £9 million. It really is incredible to think that a player with that potential could be grasped for so cheap, with no Champions League football (good to note his contract was running down though), for me other club’s scouts must be getting seriously questioned, but we aren’t complaining, far from it, we’re revelling in the glory of such a brilliant acquisition.

Christian Eriksen on his debut against Norwich was incredible, notching an assist and the man of the match award. This set the tone for the rest of his Tottenham career in my eyes, classy, quick thinking and with the ability to create goals for himself and others. Injury to his ankle set him back, he missed a few games and didn’t come back all guns blazing as Holtby had taken his place after some decent performances in Eriksen’s absence, but he showed what a great mentality he has again through waiting for his chance, this time in the Europa League, and showing his capabilities. He has had a few disappointing games, but this must be expected when you are getting used to the Premier League’s pace and physicality at such a young age.

Since Tim Sherwood has taken over he has been better than under AVB, the Dane has 3 goals and 3 assists in 6 appearances for Sherwood in the Premier League, becoming in my opinion our most important player. He’s been crucial in every game Sherwood has taken charge of, winning us points, creating opportunities, contributing with goals and assists, defensively working hard and linking up the play supremely. What we have seen from him on the left has showed his versatility and his willingness to help the team and as Tim would say ‘put a shift in’, and in the hole, like we saw against Swansea, he’s even more effective, being closer to the final third, so being much more of an offensive threat and linking up with Adebayor, who at the moment must be a joy for Eriksen to be playing with. His recent performances have me seriously thinking, without a doubt that he can become just as important to us in the future, as Bale was for us last season.

With the quality central midfielders we’ve had at the club, there is bound to be comparison. In Denmark they compare him to the great Michael Laudrup, a fast thinking attacking midfielder with the ability to pick out a pass and get a goal. With Spurs, it’s the comparisons with Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart. The similarities are there, for sure. He has the slightness and low centre of gravity that Modric had, with such great vision, and the ability to pop up in the right areas and find a pass or stick the ball in the back of the net just like Rafa had. If Eriksen can tone these abilities and improve on them, especially his finishing, I see no reason why he can’t surpass what they have become.

Just thinking about his potential makes my mouth water, he’s the real spark in this current Tottenham team and he’s thriving on the attention at the moment, his confidence has always been high in himself, but it must be sky rocketing right now. We know he’ll keep his feet on the ground, continue to work hard and perform well, because that’s the sort of guy he is, he’s got good heads around him, guiding him in the right direction, mainly his Dad who he listens to as he has said in many interviews so I’m just looking forward to the future having this talent in our team. Long may his form continue. And let’s enjoy the player he is now, and the player he is set to become.

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Match Preview, Tromsø vs Tottenham.

Match: Thursday 28th November 2013. Kick off 6pm GMT. Live on ITV 4.

Europa League

We are already qualified for the Europa League knockout stages, and with a win against Tromsø in Norway, we will have confirmed our place at the top of the group. After our embarrassing 6-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad, a response from the players and AVB is needed just to cool the tense atmosphere amongst fans and press alike, obviously a win against Tromsø wouldn’t make up for the loss to City, as it is more than expected from the players, but it would deflect some criticism if we can put on a good show. The game that we can gain some respect back is against Manchester United on Sunday; we need to make sure we put in a good performance and so we need to keep players fresh and ready for that game, it should be our main focus, not this game against Tromsø. Being already qualified, we should rest a vast amount of players.

Tromsø’s season finished on the 10th November 2013, and they were relegated coming 15th out of 16 teams, which is a shock as they were a top four team last season. They mustered 29 points and just 7 wins in 30 games, so we are definitely the favourites. Although of course they are a poor team in comparison to ours, they will want to put on a show with nothing to lose, it’s a massive game for them and their fans. With conditions in their favour and being used to the artificial pitch, they’ll look to make it a difficult game for us and make it very tight. The players to look out for are Bendiksen in midfield, he carries a goal threat and can find some good passes, and up front Ondrasek and Nystrom, who are Tromsø’s biggest threats up top.

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Lots of changes are expected in this game, with AVB promising to change it up and give the youngsters a chance to show what they’ve got on a bigger stage. Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, Paulinho, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, Sandro, Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Christian Eriksen, Heurelho Gomes and Harry Kane will not feature against Tromsø. Eriksen because of an Ankle injury, Adebayor because of a slight groin problem, Gomes is not eligible and Harry Kane because of a back problem, the rest of the players have been rested. Youngsters Jordan Archer, Shaquille Coulthirst, Kenneth McEvoy, Laste Dombaxe and Ryan Fredericks have made the trip to Norway and could well feature, with Nabil Bentaleb not eligible. It’s difficult to call what side will play, as there are so many options for AVB to use, but I’d expect to see Etienne Capoue, Kyle Naughton and Nacer Chadli to feature at some point during the game, if not start.

The game is our chance to confirm our place at the top of the group, so we want to do it as soon as possible and continue our winning streak in the Europa League. You can watch the game on ITV 4 with coverage starting at 5:30pm GMT. You can follow me on twitter @AddictedToSpurs, for all the coverage of the game including videos, pictures and goal updates! COYS!!

My preferred team to face Tromsø at the Alfhiem Stadion, of which is a complete and utter guess:
4-4-2
Friedel
Naughton – Chiriches – Dawson – Fryers
McEvoy – Capoue – Dombaxe – Chadli
Soldado – Coulthirst

AVB press conference pre Tromsø:

What’s going so wrong at White Hart Lane?

Monday 11th November 2013.

What is going so wrong at White Hart Lane?

Form

We sit 7th in the League after 11 games with 20 points, 5 points off Arsenal at the top. We have played 3 teams in the top 8, gaining 2 points, a draw to Everton and Chelsea, and loss to Arsenal. We are not in a dreadful position, but it could be much, much better. The stand out defeats are to West Ham at Home and Newcastle at Home, two teams which we should have beaten, no doubt about that, we have the better team on paper and their form was nothing of a concern; particularly West Ham. With wins against those teams, we would have been top of the league, you can see why they are so frustrating, of course they happen from time to time, but two defeats like this in 11 games is extremely disappointing, if we want to aim for the top.

Signings

Most of our Summer signings have not hit the ground running like we’d hoped for, the sale of Gareth Bale hurt us deeply, something we could see coming but thought we could do enough to keep him. If Bale had to leave, serious reinvestments had to be made, and they happened, we signed seven international level players who had been key players for their retrospective teams, every single one. What we had hoped for is them to continue to be a ‘main man’ for Spurs as they had been for previous clubs. They need time, and we have to be patient with them, especially players as young as Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, they need time to adapt, and they are starting to do that. Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Etienne Capoue have impressed with Nacer Chadli not having enough game time to judge, but Roberto Soldado has disappointed, we can sugar coat it as much as you want but he has to do more for an experienced striker who has proved himself at Champions League level and international level, although his service has been appalling.

Goals

We aren’t scoring enough. 9 goals in 11 Premier League games is simply unacceptable, especially as 3 of them were from the penalty spot. Our offensive play hasn’t clicked and our build up play is too slow, it’s not the Tottenham way, we were grown on attacking and exciting football, that’s the way we’ve played since we were founded back in 1882, it’s our philosophy. Playing with two inverted wingers is not the way to go forward, it hasn’t clicked and it is starving Soldado of chances, it needs to change and AVB needs to see that now. Yes, defensively we have been supreme, but we can’t be too cautious when a team like West Ham comes to the Lane, we need to use attack as our best form of defence in those sort of games in my eyes. ‘The game is about Glory, about doing things with a flourish’

Home form

Away is the new home for Tottenham Hotspur, a complete opposite of previous years; winning at home was a foregone conclusion while winning away was something of a luxury. We need to win our home games and make White Hart Lane a fortress again, AVB has blamed the fans, Dembele has blamed the size of the pitch, while Spurs fans blame AVB. What is the problem? Why do we find it so difficult at home, especially against the so called ‘smaller’ teams? It’s a mixture, the fans creating a negative atmosphere with too many moaners and groaners instead of singers and cheerers, there is no doubt home support helps, it gives that extra push to the players and we need to create that, we are responsible. The pitch is probably a silly excuse, we’ve played our football there for hundreds of years and scored goals and won games, although it’s the second smallest in the Premier League, it’s not a legitimate excuse to lose 3-0 to West Ham. The big problem I think is how difficult we find it to break teams down, the teams lower down set up to stop us, with 11 men behind the ball defending for their lives, so it’s going to be difficult, and will need players with creativity to find a way; I don’t like the football the teams play to win or draw the game, but if it’s how you beat us then they are going to use it.

Offensive line

It’s time to unleash Lamela into the Premier League, I really believe he could help a lot with creating and scoring goals; he has that raw ability to run a make something happen and create things for the strikers, while chipping in with a few himself, why won’t AVB let him at it, especially after the sort of performance he produced against FC Sheriff!? Andros Townsend shouldn’t play on the right hand side, that should be Lamela’s spot, with Townsend on the left. Townsend should play like an ‘early Bale’, getting to the byline and getting dangerous crosses into the box, he can use his right foot and cut in, but he can produce dangerous crosses, and I’d prefer he’d do it with his favoured foot. Upfront I think Soldado is the man, despite his poor start he is a player who given chances to put away, he can duly deliver, he can also bring others into play, unlike Defoe, only Adebayor can do that better; he’s a goal scorer, give him the conditions in which to score André!!

Conclusion

Andre Villas Boas is a great manager, who I believe in to take us to the top, he has the potential to get this spot on, but that needs to happen soon, otherwise there will be pressure on him. The obvious need for goals is one that needs to be addressed, if we click offensively, and stay solid defensively, we could be on to something special and challenge for trophies and the top four at least, but time is running out, we can’t be left behind and continue to lose ground in such a tight race. COYS!!

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The man to take Spurs to the top: Luis André De Piña Cabral e Villas-Boas.

We’ve struggled to find the right man for the job over the years, we’ve outgrown some managers, some were just painfully rubbish and some brought us great success, but all have gone now and a new reign is upon us, Andre Villas Boas. The young, fresh and talented coach from Portugal has been in charge for over a year now, and I couldn’t be happier.

Before his time at Chelsea, AVB had an unbeaten season with FC Porto, winning the Portuguese League, and the Europa League, which for a 33 year old manager, is something extraordinary. If he can do that at such a young age, imagine what he could do at 60!

AVB’s time at Chelsea was partly his fault, but mainly due to the impatience and ego’s of the people at Chelsea, they didn’t give a 34 year old manager a chance, and if they had, who knows where they’d be, or we’d be. I call it destiny, thank God he failed!

When AVB took over at White Hart Lane, many football fans highly doubted the appointment, the Chelsea ‘failure’ who couldn’t handle the pressure that the East London stars brought upon him. Why would we replace an experienced manager highly respected in the English game like Harry Redknapp, for some chump (at the time) like AVB? It didn’t compute, to most. But behind all the commotion, was a bald man called Daniel Levy, who certainly had a plan.

The decision to ‘sack’ Harry Redknapp and hire AVB is a decision to be highly commended, in my opinion. There is no doubt that ‘Arry did a great job for Tottenham, getting us in to the Champions League and being in charge for what were some of the most memorable years a Spurs fan could remember, but the time was right, in hinds sight, to get rid of ‘Arry and bring in one of, or the most promising coach there is, Andre Villas Boas.

AVB brings that European flair, he is highly respected in South America, and in Europe, he is a man who can improve our image in the game and help us hugely to become a ‘top club’ in world football. It’s not just his management skills that are handy throughout the club, he brings a lot to the table off the field as the face of Tottenham overseas.

AVB in his first season, branded as a transition period with the new manager and different squad, brought us our record total of points in the Premier League (72), unfortunately, missing out on the Champions League by one agonising point on the final day to our arch-rivals Arsenal. Looking beyond the disappointment, we were brought a fantastic starting season, after losing Luka Modric to Real Madrid, and bringing in AVB, who at this point was a ‘failure’ in the Premier League, fifth place was a good start. We got to the quarter final of the Europa League, a competition that AVB fully embraced, but ended in disappointment, some may criticise Andre’s decision to play such a strong team in the Europa League, but in my eyes it was refreshing to see a team change the perception of the competition, it is after all a European Trophy, not many can say they’ve won one!

As Spurs fans, we expect a lot. We don’t always get it (understatement), but we live to dream, as the famous saying goes ‘To Dare Is To Do’. We aim high, sometimes we overachieve, sometimes we underachieve, but that’s the life of a Spurs fan. With the squad we have this season, and the manager we have, we expect great things for the future, starting with this season. The players need time to adgust, but we have a manager who is settled after over a year in charge, so hopefully, we’re ready to push on.

Andre has always said he wants to keep his career short in football, but things change, I want him for the long haul, like Sir Alex for Manchester United, this is the level of admiration and respect I have for AVB, I think he could be legendary. I hope we can at least squeeze another 5 seasons out of the man!

AVB plays his own style of attacking football, a man with his own ideas on the game which sometimes can clash with his fans, yes, there are certain things that he needs to improve on in management, as there are with every manager, but for a 36 year old, he’s well on his way to becoming one of the best, I truly believe that.

I personally, have never felt such a connection of love with a manager than I do with AVB. I yearn for Spurs to become successful again, and I truly believe he is the man to take us to it.

“It’s not a mission of restoring my reputation, it’s a mission to put Tottenham back on track, with TITLES.” – Luis Andre De Piña Cabral e Villas-Boas.

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match: Saturday, 28th September 2013

Premier League

What a game we have in prospect here. A London derby between two sides who are expected to be challenging for the coveted Champions League spots, and maybe even the Premier League. The game is being built up as ‘The Master vs The Apprentice’, in other words Jose Mourinho vs Andre Villas Boas. They both go back a long time with similarities in their approach to the game being made constantly. They are phenomenal coaches, but there is a sense of a rift between the two, it doesn’t seem that they are friends anymore, for us fans it’s great to see rivalry and for the coaches it’ll add a little tension into the game, if you can fit any more in to a game of this magnitude that is! We’ve had a great start to the season and a win against our fierce rivals would make it even better. I’m very much looking forward to the task ahead.

Chelsea are a very solid team with exceptional players. Their start hasn’t been great, with criticism coming from the media about Jose Mourinho’s style of play and decisions to leave out quality players like Juan Mata and David Luiz. Despite all the critical views, they sit in fourth place with ten points out of a possible fifteen, two points behind ourselves in second. The threats they have to try and hurt us are strong. Eden Hazard hasn’t impressed this season so far, but he’s a gifted player who can cause defences lots of problems with his skill and trickery, how Kyle Walker deals with him on our right hand side could be crucial. Juan Mata, if he plays, is another player who in the whole can create chances and be a nuisance to defenders. Our defensive midfielders are key to stopping him, or Oscar if he gets the nod. Defensively I feel we have the quality to contain them, but we need to be fully concentrated. Great team, but their striker situation will be a worry as no striker has scored for them this season.

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Midfielder Paulinho has been in sensational form, scoring two goals in the last two games against Cardiff in the Premier League and Aston Villa in the League Cup. He’s shown so far that he’s certainly worth the £17 million price tag, hopefully he can continue his scoring form and general domination of the midfield against Chelsea. There are a few selection headaches that AVB will have for this one. Jermain Defoe and Lewis Holtby have been in scintillating form, scoring goals and creating chances for others. Lewis Holtby gained three assists against Aston Villa and has shown why we brought him in last January window, the way he can spot a pass is great to watch and his passion something all the fans love him for, it’s hard to fit him in though with Eriksen one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment. Hopefully André can find a place for him. Jermain Defoe is unlikely to start, with Soldado ahead of him in the ranking, he’s in good goalscoring form but I do prefer Soldado as he helps the team out more with his link up play, it will be hard to keep Defoe out if Soldado doesn’t hit goal scoring form soon though… I think Sandro has been very good in the games he has played this season, whether to play Dembele or Sandro is yet another decision to make for Villas Boas, both give so much to the team, I fancy Sandro as he gives us more defensive security. Erik Lamela should get his first Premier League start this weekend, this will bring us a lot of creative talent and he scored last time he faced them in a pre season friendly, hopefully he can do the same at the Lane! Danny Rose has a 90% chance of making the game as he recovers from his injury, would be a big boost to have him back.

An exciting game awaits. I’m sure the Lane will be absolutely rocking. The match is being shown live on BT Sport 1, with kick off at 12:45pm. Let’s get this win that would mean so much to everyone involved to the club. COYS!!

Match Facts provided by Opta from tottenhamhotspur.com

Chelsea have not failed to score in three successive Premier League away games since April 2002.

The last three competitive meetings between Tottenham and Chelsea have produced a total of 16 goals in total (an average of 5.3 per game).

Tottenham have conceded more Barclays Premier League home goals to Chelsea (38) than any other team.

Chelsea have only conceded 22 goals in 21 Premier League outings at White Hart Lane.

Five of Tottenham’s last six Barclays Premier League games have ended 1-0 (W4 L1).

No team in Europe’s top five leagues has conceded fewer goals than Spurs this season (1).

Spurs have fashioned more goal attempts from open play (60) than any other team this season but have scored only three of them.

None of Chelsea’s strikers have scored a Barclays Premier League goal yet this season.

If this game is a draw then Chelsea will have made the same start as they did in 2007-08 when Jose Mourinho departed after six Premier League matches.

Chelsea haven’t scored more than two goals in any of their last 11 Premier League games.

My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at White Hart Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro
Lamela – Eriksen – Holtby
Soldado

Squad Depth. The many ways we can play this season.

This article is to show you the force we possess in squad depth and how it will be a key factor in our battle for top four plus the cup competitions we are in.

During the summer transfer window we picked up 7 new players in Soldado, Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli, Chiriches, Paulinho and Capoue. Add to that Andros Townsend and Danny Rose returning to Spurs after Premier League loan spells.

Departures included Bale, Assou-Ekotto (loan), Tom Carroll (loan), Parker, Huddlestone, Livermore (loan), Dempsey and Caulker, excluding other youth loans.

As you can see, we replaced with quality while getting rid of players not up to ‘Tottenham standard’ (excluding Bale). All round a very successful transfer window, with the only massive blemish being Gareth Bale’s departure.

With all the new signings coming in, we have the ability to play different formations and execute something we desperately lacked last season. A plan B.

Two styles we can use for the new season, the main two in which AVB likes to play, are 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. Both formations have a different impact for different scenarios which will help us to overcome tough obstacles this season, I believe.

With 4-2-3-1 we allow a playmaker, a number 10, to play and use creativity to support the striker, while two deeper midfielders hold and protect the back four, maybe taking turns to help out the attack, like a box to box midfielder. Wingers are obviously very effective in the Premier League and are key to supplying the striker with chances from wide areas and crosses. Possibly home fixtures at White Hart Lane most effective to use.

With 4-3-3 it is about the midfield three controlling the game and helping to start attacks, while also being ready to help defend opposition attacks. The wingers are offensive and aren’t relied on making too much of an attempt to help out the full-backs, this is again left to the midfield. Wingers again are key, as they need to be creating opportunities for the striker, the same as the 4-2-3-1 formation. Possibly most effective for tough away fixtures.

These are the styles in which we have the ability to play. Teams to use them, in my opinion:

4-3-3, first team.
Lloris
Walker – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Lamela – Soldado – Townsend/Chadli

4-3-3, second team.
Friedel
Naughton – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Holtby – Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Adebayor/Defoe – Sigurdsson

4-2-3-1, first team.
Lloris
Walker – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend/Chadli
Soldado

4-2-3-1, second team.
Friedel
Naughton – Dawson – Chriches – Fryers
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Holtby – Sigurdsson
Adebayor/Defoe

These are just examples of how our squad can adapt to the formations. To say we have two teams that we could quite easily put out (on paper) against some other teams in the Premier League and compete is brilliant! We’ve built and improved so much from last season on paper, it’s time to put it into action. The squad needs time to gel and work together and hopefully this won’t take too long, but when they do we’ll be a real force.

There are certainly some players that are in serious danger of losing their place in the side. The key players being Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon. I believe these players do have a lot to offer, but do they place ahead of players like Lamela, Paulinho, Sandro and Capoue? Not to mention the competition that Lennon has got from Townsend. These are problems for the players, but problems that AVB will more than welcome. All the players I’ve mentioned are top quality.

This season, success will be top four. That is the main target which MUST be achieved this year for the club to move on and hopefully challenge for the title in the coming seasons. The team, and more importantly the squad, we have is more than capable of achieving that, even with the stiff opposition we face from Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. We’ve got to concentrate on us and hopefully we come out on top. COYS!

Food for thought for AVB…

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A New Belgian at White Hart Lane, Nacer Chadli.

Official! Nacer Chadli is a Spurs player after we agreed a deal with FC Twente for the winger. A reported fee of £6 million, which is an absolute steal for the Belgian international. Chadli was in the last year of his contract, and decided not to renew with FC Twente so they were forced to sell him for what is a cut price.

If Chadli were to have a long term contract, I think he’s a £15 million player, so we’ve definitely got a good player. He was a fan favourite at FC Twente, and their key man last season, they think of him as the best player in the Dutch League, which is a huge tag considering the players that grace that league. Frank De Boer, Ajax’s head coach is quoted as saying that Chadli is the ‘best player in the league’, so he is very highly rated. The likes of Christian Eriksen would probably disagree with that though.

Chadli is 23, and has a lot of room to improve, and at Spurs with our coaches we can definitely help him do that. Just look at Gareth Bale. Nacer will want to replicate the sort of impact he has had here, which is a very hard thing to do, but not impossible. Chadli’s preferred position is on the left wing, but he can play right wing, and centre attacking midfield. He is creative, and can score goals, which we did lack last season.

Chadli scored a very impressive 19 goals in 27 appearances for both FC Twente and Belgium last season, so he will bring goals to the side. I see Chadli possibly replacing Lennon in the starting line up. He is probably the better player out of the two, and can bring more goals than Lennon, which just edges him into my starting 11 for the new season. His attributes are clear, he’s strong, fast, creative, versatile and he can assist and score goals, perfect for AVB’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.

One thing you can see from Chadli’s signing is that AVB is building a powerful squad. He did the same with Porto, and tried with Chelsea before being sacked prematurely. The 4-3-3 formation will be used, as it has done in pre season so far, and having Chadli and Bale as wingers is a great start to this. Paulinho has helped massively for this formation to come to fruition also, as our midfield three is now complete with Sandro coming back as well. Our defence is also very solid with Kaboul coming back and Walker to improve. The only spots in our team that I feel are weak, are the target man striker, and a left back. Hopefully we can strengthen these positions this Summer.

Good news that Chadli has arrived, lets hope he can make a big impact. He now joins pre season with the squad in Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy. COYS!!

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Franco Baldini, our new Technical Director.

Firstly, welcome to Spurs Franco Baldini! We have announced the appointment of the Italian as our new Technical Director. His role is to partner up with AVB in scouting, and recruiting new players in all areas of the squad. He parted company with AS Roma through mutual consent, paving the way for him to join Spurs. The appointment was something André Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy both wanted, and they got their man in Franco Baldini.

A little bit about Franco Baldini.

Baldini’s first job, outside being a player was at AS Roma, in which he had a very good spell from 1999-2005, bringing in most notably, Walter Samuel and Daniele De Rossi. Roma being consistently in the Champions League. He was at the forefront of Roma’s success, and made his name there before resigning in 2005.

Baldini then went to Spanish giants Real Madrid, only for one season in 2006 but this season, transfer wise, was a great success. He brought in some absolute gems! A young Higuain at 18 was brought in, as well as Marcelo, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and Fabio Cannavaro. Some Stella names, and this definitely shows his eye for a player!

He also was assistant manager to Fabio Capello at England in 2007, which was a good spell for him. He helped Capello a lot, his job was to make it as ‘easy as possible’ for Capello, which he did well. It was a different role for Baldini, but it definitely made him more respected in the game, gaining him a lot of well known friends in the game.

He then left England after the successful Euro 2012 qualification. He joined up with AS Roma again, which was a less successful spell, but this was because of the way Roma declined. In this spell he brought in some great players. Notably, he brought in a massive SIX Brazilians, which shows his love for the game over there, Marquinhos would be known as the best of those signings, a great signing.

His New Challenge at Tottenham.

The Tottenham project is to get to the Champions League, and stay there, establishing themselves in England and Europe as a top club. The Franco Baldini appointment is just another small step to achieving this goal. He will help Daniel Levy and AVB a lot with transfers (hopefully). The Baldini appointment will be judged on who he brings in, and how they affect the team. It’s looking promising, but we need to wait and see wether or not it will have a positive outcome.

My personal opinion on the Baldini appointment.

I think the Baldini appointment is a very shrewd move by Daniel Levy. Someone to be the boarder between the board and management of the club. This buffer is something Levy likes, and AVB is a certain fan of it as well. André apparently knows Baldini well, and likes him a lot. This is a good sign for the future.

We now have a very good scouting network. Baldini being an expert on Europe and South America, AVB, being a former scout himself, has a good understanding of Portugal, South America and arguably England, and then Tim Sherwood who’s very knowledgeable on the game in all areas, especially England. Finally, Steffen Fruend, who knows Germany very well, helping to seal the deal of Lewis Holtby to join.

It’s all looking very promising. The ‘Tottenham Project’ is well on it’s way, and we will be seeing a lot of action this summer, and hopefully a good season is ahead of us. Franco Baldini, good luck, and we hope that you can help us to success. COYS!!

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