Lewis Holtby, where does he fit in?

In the January window of last season, we bought Lewis Holtby for £1.5 million from Schalke in Germany. Bargain. The German U21 captain came with high expectation as a creative midfielder with bags of potential. He came in at a time in which Gareth Bale was making all the headlines in the number 10 role, so Lewis was forced to the wings, or more often the bench. Not a great start.

This summer, we brought in a lot of great talent, players who could make a big difference and we brought them in for big money. Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho (to an extent), Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen are all players who will bring creativity and goals to the team. This makes it difficult for players like Holtby, who were already here to get an opportunity. Especially, when a player like Eriksen comes in as a proven, but still young, quality number 10. He’s been phenomenal since he came in for a cheap fee of £11.5 million.

The squad we have is brilliant, two players at least in every position that can fill each other’s boots very well. Players will get frustrated sitting on the bench, not playing week-in-week-out, but that’s football, you have to earn your spot in training and when you get a sniff of a chance, you have to prove that you are as good, if not better than the person ahead of you in the rankings.

What does this mean for Lewis Holtby though? Lewis has been getting his chances in the Europa League and other cup competitions, against opposition who are inferior to that of the Premier League, but in those games he’s been doing extremely well. He has 1 goal and 6 assists, which are the same as goals for a creative player like Holtby, with a hat-trick of assists against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup. His playmaking abilities have been noticed, finally, by Spurs fans and he is loved by all, not just for his ability, but because of his passion for football, and more importantly, Spurs. Lewis Holtby gets what football is about, he says the right things, he does the right things and he does them for us. The fans. He’s on his way to becoming a legend, I truly believe that. All he needs now, is a chance to start in the Premier League.

Where he plays is something that Spurs fans have been debating about for a while now, how do you fit him in? He hasn’t got the pace for the wings, and our deeper midfield is packed with the talent of Dembele, Paulinho, Sandro and Capoue who are much more capable defensively than Lewis, the only place left is the number 10 role. This has been operated by Christian Eriksen so far this season, who as I said has been a revelation since coming in, quick thinking, perfect passing and hailed as the next Michael Laudrup, taking him out of the team would be wrong, he offers too much in my opinion. But could you fit Lewis Holtby and Christian Eriksen into the same team? Possibly. It would give you a lot of creativity and options going forward, and would help out Roberto Soldado a lot, the service he could get would be top notch and would guarantee goals.

This is my thought:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Dembele
Lamela – Holtby – Eriksen
Soldado

This line up may look like it lacks width, which it possibly does. But this is where the full-backs can come into play, we have two full-backs who love to get forward if given the opportunity, they are very pacey and Danny Rose can produce a great delivery, as can Kyle Walker on his day, this formation could be one that we use at home in a game where we won’t be getting too much attacking pressure from the opposition, but I think this is a team that if they were to work together they could create something great. Kaboul has the ability to cover the right back slot as Walker gets forward, as does Vertonghen on the left side as Rose goes forward. The balance in this team seems right to me. Eriksen has the ability to work in from the left side, and create opportunities, as does Erik Lamela on the right, who also can go to the byline if needed. Holtby being the figure head in midfield is something I’d really love to see, I believe he could shine in this position, and create a great partnership within the front four. Interchanging positions and roaming at the right time could be great as well. Soldado needs service, and I think this could be a brilliant way to get him that. Give it a go, Andre.

That’s the only way I can think to include Holtby, who I believe will be pushing the current first-team players very hard for a start in the cup competitions. Players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli are all missing from that line up, who have been good, especially Townsend and Siggy, but I believe Holtby could make a big impact in this Spurs side. I just can’t get enough of Lewis Holtby!

What are your thoughts on Lewis Holtby, should he start? Instead of who? Do you agree with my team, if not, what would your starting 11 be? Leave a comment! COYS!

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I’m going to miss him. Spurs are going to miss him. The Premier League are going to miss him. Gareth Bale.

It’s finally confirmed. Gareth Bale has joined Real Madrid in a world record £85 million deal. The 24 year old from Wales has completed his ‘dream move’ to Spain, and has taken all the challenges that come with that.

First of all, the situation we faced this transfer window. At the start of the window, it was certain he would stay at Spurs another season and help us achieve our goals of Champions League football. The stance from the board was that he was, and I quote, ‘Not for sale.’ We continued this stance and it seemed as though Bale was happy to stay for another season. Everyone was very, very happy about this. Then, the stories from Spain started to gather pace, Sky Sports News and their sources started spurting out news on how Bale’s stance was beginning to change. Spurs remained clear in their stance that he was not for sale at any price. More and more stories. Back page of every newspaper every day. Madrid talking about how much they admired Gareth, and would love him to join them. Trying to force Gareth into forcing a transfer from Spurs, unsuccessfully at first, but more and more stories came, more and more of Madrid’s players and staff started talking about Bale. In my opinion, this forced the transfer. Bale’s head was now well and truly turned and Madrid was the only thing in his mind. The deal was done, and that was that. Bye Bye Bale.

I’m going to miss the him. Spurs are going to miss him. The Premier League are going to miss him.

Gareth Bale is one of the best players to grace the hallowed turf at White Hart Lane. The ability he has is just unbelievable. A unique talent. The way he can control the ball while running at such incredible pace leaving defender after defender in his wake is something I will never forget I saw. Last season, he started scoring more and more goals and became the complete player. When a game wasn’t going your way, he would pop up and score a stunner to win you the three points. Watching him in action, live, with my own eyes is something I will cherish until the day I die. He was and is that good.

Gareth spent seven years with us. He had his downs, many of them, but he had so many ups. The hat-trick in Milan is a night I’ll always remember him for, the night he announced himself on the world stage as a superstar. Many more moments of magic followed. He was and I hope he still will be beloved by the fans of Tottenham. The players loved him, AVB loved him. Him as a person will be sorely missed, his character, his charm and his determination to succeed are things that just put him above the rest. I can’t tell you how much I will miss having him at White Hart Lane.

Bale has completed what would be a dream move for any player. To play at arguably the greatest club in the world, to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, at the Santiago Bernabeu it’s quite amazing really. I’m Spurs through and through, and if I was in his position I’d still find it so hard to turn down.

In my mind, there is no doubt he will be a success at Real Madrid. He is absolutely outstanding and will show his class on the pitch. His determination to succeed will help him a lot off the field. With all the politics with Ronaldo, Madrid and all his ‘Brand Bale’ work, he will strive to be an even better player than he already is, and I believe that is completely possible. Learning the new language and settling in a new country will take time, but I’m sure he’ll make it work, and for him I really hope it does.

This lad is something special. Someone who can be the best if he gives it his all. It’s been a pleasure, Gareth. You were born to play for Spurs, and I hope you always remember that.

We move on as a club and I’m sure another star will emerge soon enough. Erik Lamela, your time is now.

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Tottenham 1-0 Sunderland
Bale 90′

Even though we won, we can’t help but feel disappointed, Arsenal also won, and with that it takes them to the Champions League, and we miss out. It’s a very hard to take, but as I’ve said previously, it’s a season to be proud of, no matter what happened on Sunday. The Europa League awaits for us next season, and personally I’m looking forward to it, we have unfinished business in this competition, and it would be absolutely magnificent if we could lift the trophy next season. The last game of the season, and we went out with a win, we couldn’t have asked for anymore. We didn’t perform particularly well, it doesn’t matter how you win, as long as you get the three points. We have now broken our points record for a Premier League season with 72, something to be very proud of.

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Gareth Bale once again providing the magic, his 21st goal of the season in the Premier League, and what a goal it was, he didn’t have a great day at the office, he wasn’t given the time and space to create openings, but when he is given the slight chance, he takes it wonderfully. Scott Parker was good I thought, made some crunching tackles, and looked back to somewhere near his best, good to see. Jan Vertonghen also had a very solid game in defence, his tackling is some of the best I’ve ever seen at White Hart Lane, perfectly timed, every time, wonderful player. Kyle Walker had one of his better days, defensively he was decent, and he pushed us forward a lot and gave us a lot of pace in wide areas, hope he can start to push on and have a great 2013/14 season. Not what we wanted from the day, but we did our job, and that is all we could do on the day. Proud to be Spurs. Pre Season starts now, a tour of Bahamas is later this month, looking forward to it. COYS!!

My player ratings for the game against Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 8
Dawson – 7
Vertonghen – 8 Man of the Match
Assou-Ekotto – 4
Lennon – 7
Parker – 8
Huddlestone – 4
Dempsey – 6
Bale – 7
Adebayor – 5

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 7
Defoe – 6
Dembélé – 7

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

The last day has finally come. It’s going to be a very exciting end to what has been a very good season. We have to win, and do our job to have a chance of finishing in the coveted top four position. Sunderland will prove to be a tricky opposition, they have good players, and can play without pressure now that they are safe from relegation. Newcastle face Arsenal, and if they can pull off a shock and grab a point or maybe even three points, what every Spurs fan is hoping for, we will get top four with a win. We’ve had a great season, whatever happens, and if we win we have broken our record points in a Premier League season, 72. Awesome.

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We’ll be hoping to be seeing more scenes of jubilation from André on Sunday, we have to hope, it’s possible, we can do it. Gareth Bale could produce more magic, he’s been named Barclays Player the year, his fourth award this season, unbelievable season from him, but his greatest achievement would surely be taking us into the Champions League. Emmanuel Adebayor has had a great end to the season, and hopefully he can continue this and bag another goal! Mousa Dembélé is fully fit now, and should start, this is great news as he brings a flow to our game that we don’t have when he doesn’t feature. I believe, and a slip up from Arsenal is definitely not out of the equation, whatever happens, I’m proud to be Spurs. The game is televised live on Sky Sports from 4pm. COYS, and for now, Come On Newcastle!

My preferred team to face Sunderland at the Lane on the last day:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Dembélé – Dempsey
Bale
Adebayor

Match Preview, Stoke vs Tottenham.

We know that qualification for the Champions League is now out of our hands, Wigan or Newcastle have to take points away from Arsenal, but we have to do our job, beating Stoke is a necessity as is beating Sunderland, if we drop points in either game, the dream is over. We know what Stoke do, it’s not pretty but most of the time it’s effective, they lump balls into the box and defend very well, so it’s going to be very tough to get three points over at the Britannia. We have more of an incentive to win the match than Stoke, and this should help us, but it’s Stoke, they will want to win at all costs. The main threat for us, is set pieces, we are dreadful at defending them as we have seen many times this season, I’m sure we will work on that specifically for this game, but it’s going to be hard containing Stoke’s height in defence, and attack.

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The return of Emmanuel Adebayor, the performance at Stamford Bridge was outstanding, he seems to have finally found his form, and most importantly he has found his goal scoring form, hopefully he can put in another awesome performance at the Britannia. Gareth Bale was bullied out of the game against Chelsea, something that was expected, and I expect some of the same tactics against Stoke, except I think he will have more opportunities to break free into space, and affect the game a bit more, it’ll be difficult for him, but we know he’s capable of anything. Both our centre backs will need to be in top form for this game, aerial battles will be key to who comes out on top. Another big game, need three points to keep us in the race for top four. The game is televised on Sky Sports from 1pm. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Stoke at the Britannia:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Dembélé – Sigurdsson
Bale
Adebayor

Match Review, Chelsea vs Tottenham

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham
Oscar 10′. Adebayor 26′
Ramires 39′. Sigurdsson 80′

Well, not what we wanted, but still a really great effort. We needed three points, that much was clear, and we didn’t get it and that is extremely unfortunate. Champions League is still a possibility, but it looks a much harder goal to reach now. A draw sits us 1 point behind Arsenal having played the same amount if games, and it’s now out of our hands, if they win their remaining games, Champions League is theirs. I think Chelsea still have two tough games, but with their performance against us, they look ready to win those tough games. Hard to take not winning, but I’m proud of how we performed to get a point on the night.

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Emmanuel Adebayor was superb, gave us options all night with his ability on the ball, and he had a brilliant game, he scored a wonderful goal and his assist to Sigurdsson for the second was a touch of a genius. Let’s just hope he can continue to produce this form for the last two games. Missing Dembélé was a massive blow, the way he plays would have opened this game up for the likes of Bale and Holtby, but without him, we couldn’t really find the space, and both Bale and Holtby were marked off the ball, both having next to no impact on the game. Another AVB substitute came on and made the difference, and this time it was Sigurdsson, he never stops working the lad, and in the end got us the goal that forced the point. It wasn’t the game we were all hoping for, but it was a really hard fought point, we can be proud. We can do it, believe. Our next game is against Stoke at the Britannia on Sunday. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Chelsea at the Bridge:
Lloris – 7
Walker – 7
Dawson – 5
Vertonghen – 6
Assou-Ekotto – 4
Lennon – 6
Huddlestone – 8
Parker – 5
Bale – 6
Holtby – 5
Adebayor – 9 Man of the Match

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 8
Dempsey – N/A

Match Preview, Chelsea vs Tottenham

This is it. The win or bust game, the biggest game of the season. Win, and Champions League football looks almost a certainty, drop points and our dream could be over. We don’t have a great record at Stamford Bridge, but this season is the time to break our run of poor results, and grab a spectacular three points. Chelsea have some wonderful players, Mata, Lampard and Ba can all hurt you in a split second, and containing them will be difficult, but it can be done. André Villas Boas will be returning to his former club, the place in which he was kicked out of extremely unfairly. AVB will want to go back and show that they were wrong to get rid of him, and three points would be bliss.

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Gareth Bale will need to continue his unbelievable form if we are to gain three points. His quality has been the difference in most games this season, and if he could get us a win against Chelsea it would top off an amazing season for Gareth. The fitness of Aaron Lennon and Mousa Dembélé is a factor, they need to be back as both are so important to us and our balance as a team. Both players have muscle tightness, so I’d expect them to be available. Jermain Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor, a question that will be in AVB’s mind up until team selection. For me, Adebayor has to start, the way he holds up the ball and includes other people in the game is a big asset, and him starting will also help Gareth get on the ball more often. Defoe should play, but only from the bench, he’s more of a super sub, like we saw against Manchester City. Humongous game, one of the biggest games in a long time, three points is the only option. We can do it. The game is televised, it is on Sky Sports 1 from 7pm on Wednesday 8th May. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Lennon – Huddlestone – Dembele – Sigurdsson
Bale
Adebayor

Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Tottenham 1-0 Southampton
Bale 86′

One of the worst performances of the season leads to one of the most important three points of the season. It was a weird game, Southampton were better than us, and they had the better chances, but couldn’t put them away, and in the end it cost them dearly. Our performance was really relaxed, and we couldn’t put our passes together, we need to improve on that in the coming games. One thing is for certain, if we bring that level of performance into the Chelsea game, we will not be coming away with three points. As much as the performance was bad, we got three points, and at this point in the season, that is all that matters.

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Gareth Bale, what is left to say? He is just unbelievable, he has the quality to change the game in an instant, even when it isn’t going your way at all, that is why he is World Class. Gareth had a poor game all round, and this is what makes his goal even more special. When Lewis Holtby and Emmanuel Adebayor came on from the bench the game changed in our favour, they really made an impact. Adebayor had one of his best performances so far this season, and it was from the bench, this could be promising for Wednesday. Holtby was great, his vision is awesome, and his passing can change a game, another promising player for Wednesday. Not the best of performances, but we are still in and amongst the Champions League places. We can do it. Our next game is massive, the biggest of the season, we face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8 Man of the Match
Walker – 5
Dawson – 6
Vertonghen – 7
Assou-Ekotto – 3
Lennon – 5
Huddlestone – 7
Dembele – 6
Dempsey – 4
Bale – 7
Defoe – 5

Subs:
Adebayor – 7
Holtby – 7
Sigurdsson – 7

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

All four of our remaining games are ‘must win’ matches, and this is just the start of a really hard final push for Champions League football. Great news in the build up to the game is that Gareth Bale will stay at Spurs for next season, no matter where we end up, this may be a little far fetched, but this news could just lift the team to end the season in style. First up on our 4 game run, Southampton, a tough opponent, they’ve had a good 2013, and they will be looking to build on their performances, and finish in the top 10. Southampton have a few players out, Gaston Ramirez being their biggest loss through suspension, also Luke Shaw and Fox are both out of the game.

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Gareth Bale is coming into this game off the back of an awesome week. He bagged all three Player of the Year awards, and through this he will be absolutely delighted. He’s been fantastic this season, our best player by far, deserves all the recognition he gets, world class footballer. Gareth will be facing his former club, and this incentive will spur him on, expecting a good performance from him, as always. Tom Huddlestone was good against Wigan, probably our best performer, and he deserves to start once again, really helps us going forward and is decent in his defensive work. I don’t think Scott Parker should play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the bench for this game. Hopefully Mousa Dembele is back, so important to us and the decline in performance and ball retention when he isn’t on the pitch is massive, such a wonderful player for us. Massive game, like a cup final, three points is all that is good enough. We can do this. The game isn’t televised unfortunately. Kick off at 3:00pm on Saturday, 4th May. COYS!!

My preferred line up to face Southampton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Holtby – Huddlestone – Dembele
Lennon – Defoe – Bale

Match Review, Wigan vs Tottenham

Wigan 2-2 Tottenham.
Boyce 11′. Bale 9′
McManaman 49′ Boyce OG 90′

Very poor performance, something that we didn’t see possible after our stunning win against Manchester City. We started brilliantly, and got the goal early on and it looked good, but we conceded almost straight after we scored, and it knocked our confidence. We didn’t seem to react to their goal, and Wigan looked comfortable in defence, and threatening in attack, McManaman scored a stunner and despair came across every Spurs fan. After their second we pushed forward, but nothing seemed to be falling for us. We then got a massive slice of luck when Emerson Boyce sliced the ball into his own net very late on. Relief.

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Poor performances all round, nobody really stood out as having a good game, and that is disappointing. I think the 4-3-3 formation does work, but today we couldn’t get the rhythm in our passing, and couldn’t find the space in behind the defence and that is a credit to how Wigan played. Tom Huddlestone was probably our best player today, his passing was the best on the pitch, and he showed that he still has something to offer us in the future. Aaron Lennon made a cameo appearance, but couldn’t affect the game which was unfortunate, hopefully he will be fully fit for the next game. We have to up our performance for the last games now, massive push. We can still get the coveted top four place, but we need to fight. Our next game is against Southampton at the Lane on the 4th May. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Wigan at the DW:
Lloris – 7
Walker – 6
Dawson – 6
Vertonghen – 7 1/2
Naughton – 5
Parker – 5
Huddlestone – 8 Man of the Match
Dembele – N/A
Dempsey – 6
Defoe – 5
Bale – 6 1/2

Subs:
Holtby – 7
Assou-Ekotto – 5
Lennon – 6