Danny Rose, Left Back to the Future!

After what can only be described as a difficult and unfulfilling 2013/14 season for Danny Rose personally, not showing any of his best form, looking uninterested and at times uninspired. But Great Scott, we have seen a complete transformation into one of our best players throughout this season. The left back has earnt two England call ups and at 23 years of age, and if he can continue to peform, then you wouldn’t put it past him to gain even more. We the fans have been desperate for a consistent left back for many years, with several having small flourishes in the position such as Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale before moving further forward and even new signing Ben Davies was thought to be the man to cement the position; but after all of that, it was the man from Leeds, that has come through Tottenham’s academy and now reached the point of being for now, Spurs’ number one left back – and at 23, he could yet cement himself as that left back for many years to come.

Watching the England man last season, you couldn’t see much hope – and I am sure he would be the first to admit he was under par. With the season Tottenham had, looking back you couldn’t blame Rose for looking disillusioned with the game and I am sure football became insipid for the left back at times, being critised after every little mistake by the not so faithful supporters; Tottenham was not a very happy place, and it wasn’t very stable last season, making it difficult for the players to feel comfortable I would assume, and it looked as though that affected Rose – who looked nothing like the player that scored a wonder goal on his debut against Arsenal – that player had passion and excitement when playing. I think Danny Rose lost interest, meaning the way he played suffered. But, alas, Rose has risen from the dead this season under Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine reigniting the fire within Rose and he looks a new man; he tackles with conviction, runs with purpose and is determined to win – becoming a vocal character on the pitch with his team mates. Yes, he has still made mistakes this season, and yes he can be a little bit naïve defensively, but that is the same with all offensive full backs throughout the game, and I would say that the balance that Rose has got between defence and attack is very good, and will only improve we hope.
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After Ben Davies signed for Spurs from Swansea for £10 million, it looked as though he would push on to replace Rose at left back, and that Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t keen on the Englishman – but it turned out that this investment in the 21 year old Welshman has had a good effect on both players – pushing eachother to improve throughout the season. Danny Rose started off the season as number one left back, but injury allowed Ben Davies to stake a claim, and he did impress, with a great performance against former side Swansea at the Liberty Stadium sticking out in my mind, and that looked like a turning point – Ben Davies replacing Danny Rose who had been good, but there were still doubts over his long term future as Tottenham’s left back amongst the fans. But, the tinking was premature and probably the most impressive thing about Danny Rose’s season is that he fought hard and regained his spot as number one left back from Ben Davies; perfoming in the Cups and I am sure he impressed in training and all of a sudden, Rose was establishing himself as one of Tottenham’s most impressive players.

Rose has a big impact on the way the Lilywhites play, with not much width on the left hand side with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen; the usual operators on the left flank always looking to cut inside and make an impact through the middle; they have been reliant on Rose to give them that pace and width with crosses, and it gives the creative players in the middle a good wide outlet. Without the pace of Rose, Spurs have had real problems down the left hand side, notibly against Southampton, where the Tottenham side was crying out for a player to bomb down the left hand side. Rose has contributed with 5 assists this season, a good tally from left back, and also seen himself poach 4 goals, which is no mean feat – with a goal against Chelsea to his name. I am sure he will be looking to increase that tally next term.
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The impact Mauricio Pochettino has had on Danny Rose cannot be underestimated, with Mauricio seeming to put an arm around Rose and as I have said, reignite that passion for football within him, and his quality has shone after that; he has deserved the plaudits he has got – but there are still doubts about him from some, but other than Harry Kane, he has arguably been Tottenham’s best player this season and Rose will be hoping that this form can continue for a long time yet and he can prove those few doubters left, wrong. COYS!! Remember to follow me on twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs. And also check out my instagram page, here: addictedtospurs, to keep up with everything Tottenham!
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Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 13th September 2014. 3pm KO GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium Of Light.

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

The Premier League is back! After a somewhat dull international break, Tottenham return to our lives with a difficult trip up to Wearside to face Gus Poyet’s Sunderland. A tough fixture away from home, but one we are expected to get maximum points from after a disappointing 3-0 drubbing from Liverpool at White Hart Lane, we have some making up to do, and try to show the same form that blew Queen’s Park Rangers away last month. Pochettino has had some time on the training pitch during this international period and you’d hope the players are feeling refreshed and ready to put in a performance showcasing Mauricio Pochettino’s ideas & style of play. A term I liked was to ‘suffocate’ the opponents through high pressure & fast attacking football. That’s what I’m looking for this Saturday afternoon, as well as three points.

Sunderland are as yet, without a win in their first three Premier League fixtures with two draws and a loss. Picking up a point away to West Brom & at home to Manchester United, which all-in-all, isn’t something to be totally ashamed of, but they lost away from home to QPR in terrible fashion, losing 1-0 and showing a distinct lack of fire-power, not being able to convert from 16 attempts. But, at home, against Manchester United they did well to grind out a point, especially after going behind in the first place; that’s showed fight and they do have quality, which we will have to be wary of. For Tottenham, as mentioned we had a bit of a ‘blip’ to the start of our season, losing uninspiringly to Liverpool at home, but looking beyond that, we won our first two games and we have to say it’s been a positive start, especially the convincing win over QPR at the Lane. Now, we have a tough away trip in which we may need to grind out a win, which is a different proposition to QPR and Liverpool, and more similar to West Ham, even with the sendings off. It’s another big test but we’re definitely the favourites for this clash, considering the differing starts to the season.

The only team news for Sunderland is that new signings Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez are in line to make their Black Cat debuts, with the rest of the squad fit for the tie. The players to watch for Sunderland include two of their new signings from this Summer, Ricky Alvarez and Will Buckley, both attacking midfielders they offer skill and pace to the Sunderland side and look to cause problems to the opposition. Buckley has shown in his first game after arriving from Brighton that he can deal with the Premier League, showing his directness and pace that is a danger to defences, while Alvarez is yet to play in the Premier League, he offers a different dimension to their midfield, with much more creativity from the Argentinian. Another important player for Sunderland is Jack Rodwell, who is looking to rebuild his career after a stuttering move to Manchester City; he has the talent and is a very solid & tidy player in the centre of midfield.

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The team news for Tottenham is that striker Roberto Soldado (neck/back) remains a doubt for the game, along with Nabil Bentaleb who arrived slightly late from international duty with Algeria, while right back Kyle Walker (pelvis) is a definite absentee with a long term problem. The good news for Tottenham is that Eric Dier is fit after a knock that kept him out of the England U21 squad, while new signings Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio are available to make their Tottenham debuts on Wearside. Our international players all returned without injury and are fit and ready, except Nabil Bentaleb supposedly, for the trip to Sunderland.

There are quite a few decisions for Mauricio Pochettino to mull over in his team selection; one being the places of new signings Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli, and whether or not to enter them straight into the first 11. Personally, I would play both players. With the possible absence of Nabil Bentaleb, I would play Stambouli alongside Etienne Capoue in the middle of the park; I think this is a very strong and capable midfield that would combat Sunderland well with Cattermole & Rodwell, who are tough tackling and powerful, similar to Etienne and Benjamin, so a straight battle would be interesting for sure and that combination is most likely our best chance of winning and breaking down Sunderland’s attacks. Another conundrum for Pochettino is the left back slot, whether to play Danny Rose or Ben Davies; I chose Danny Rose over Davies for the first three Premier League fixtures, but I think Ben Davies should be given his first Premier League start this Saturday afternoon, after his displays in Europe and for Wales, I don’t think anyone is doubting that Ben Davies will become our number 1 left back sooner rather than later, as his defensive game is far superior to Danny Rose’s, and he’s shown his ability to venture forward. Another half decision is upfront, but I think even with Harry Kane’s 2 goals for England’s U21s, Emmanuel Adebayor will continue to lead the line with Roberto Soldado still expected to be out with injury.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Sunderland scored first in both of their Barclays Premier League games against Spurs last season, but ended up losing on both occasions.

– Spurs have won six and lost none of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland (D2).

– Tottenham’s last four league away wins against Sunderland have all ended 2-1.

– Spurs have been shown more red cards (1) than yellow cards (0) in the Premier League this season.

– Gus Poyet’s side have only won three of their last 14 home league games (D4 L7).

– Etienne Capoue has completed a league-high 267 passes so far this season.

– Ricardo Alvarez was Internazionale’s leading assister in Serie A last season, setting up eight goals.

– Had the Premier League started on January 1st, Tottenham would be fifth on 41 points, just one short of Arsenal in fourth.

– Will Buckley has made more dribbles than any other Sunderland player this term (16) despite only playing 117 of a possible 270 minutes.

– Erik Lamela has drawn more fouls than any other Premier League player this campaign (10).

It’s a very repeated saying but it’s true, we have to bounce back straight away from our unfortunate defeat to Liverpool, and this is a chance to do that. It’s going to be competitive and closely fought but with our recent history of results and the form we can show, I’m quietly confident we can come back to North London with three points! The game isn’t televised, but you can follow me on twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and much more. Let’s get the win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Capoue – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Welcome to Tottenham Hotspur, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm!

Tottenham have completed the signing of Welsh left back Ben Davies and Dutch keeper Michel Vorm from Swansea in a deal rumoured to be worth around £15 million with Gylfi Sigurdsson going the other way to Swansea for £10 million in virtually a swap deal for Davies. A deal that suits Tottenham, and I’m sure Swansea will benefit from too. Sigurdsson is a fantastic player and being the key man in Swansea’s midfield will definitely make him show his undoubted quality but he doesn’t fit in at Spurs, with too many players in his position, and he’s too good for our bench, so a move is best, but Tottenham get in return a player who will fill our left back slot for years to come, in a position we desperately needed to fill and a keeper that can be a like-for-like back up to Hugo Lloris. We’re signing Davies not only for his previous performances, but also for what those performances have shown he can do in the future. It’s filled a weakness that’s been quickly spotted by Pochettino and his coaching staff. We’ve been waiting quite a while for our first piece of business in the transfer window, but it’s apparent that Pochettino believes in the squad we have and only wants to tinker in key areas, something we expected after last summer’s spending and the 7 signings we made that haven’t all clicked into place just yet, but that’s what Pochettino was hired to do. Make those players into what we believed they would be when they were first signed. Now, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm have been added to the ranks and I think it’s a good news for Tottenham.

Ben Davies is 21 and already has two full Premier League seasons to his name with Swansea, also having 7 games in the Europa League with appearances against Napoli on the résumé, so he’s a very experienced player for someone so young. He made 85 appearances for Swansea in all competitions with a League Cup trophy to his name. He came through the ranks at the Welsh club, getting the chance to play because of an injury to first choice left back Neil Taylor, and he grabbed it with both hands and within a season was definite first choice after a great season under Michael Laudrup. The second season Swansea struggled because of Europa League commitments, but the experience of trying to juggle both will surely only help Ben Davies now that he’s at Spurs. Davies’ performances have earned him a place in the Welsh national squad, too, having 10 appearances to his name and of course that will only increase with time. It’s been a pretty amazing 2 seasons for Ben Davies, and now securing this deal to Tottenham is the next step and hopefully, it’ll be even more successful than his Swansea time, in trophies and performances.

At 21 years of age, Davies is a raw talent, he will learn with experience, but the fact he has only made 2 defensive errors in two full Premier League seasons, compared to Danny Rose’s 3 defensive errors last season alone shows what a cool head is on Ben’s shoulders. Davies is a very competent left back, he does his job well, isn’t rash, doesn’t make many mistakes and is composed on the ball with an 84% passing accuracy last season. Consistency is his game, he’s a 7/10 or more week-in-week-out, composed, technically and tactically astute, finding his left winger and his strikers, or his central midfielders who can do more damage than him in the opposition half.

But offensively, Davies created 31 chances last season from the left back slot, that’s compared with Aaron Lennon last season who created just 4 more chances from a much more advanced role at right wing, so you can see he is able to provide good chances for our more attacking players. Obviously there are a lot of things he needs to learn, but he will be nurtured by Pochettino, who has seen the potential in him through signing him it seems. Signing Davies solves a problem that we’ve had since Benoit Assou-Ekotto got injured and never returned to the level that he once had, we’ve tried Jan Vertonghen there, Danny Rose has had a season at left back after a successful season at Sunderland, but he’s failed to nail down his place with Davies seemingly replacing him now. At 21 years old Ben Davies can become our left back for many years to come, and hopefully he can be even more successful than our last Welsh left back, Gareth Bale.

Michel Vorm’s signing was rumoured to be worth £3.5 million – £5 million, another Swansea player. The goalkeeper is 30 years old has vast experience in the Premier League for Swansea and has a decent amount of appearances for his native country Holland, as well as in the World Cup this summer, even if it was only for 5 minutes. At a cut price deal, this is without a doubt a good signing, as a back up to our number 1 without question Hugo Lloris. A strange transfer in many ways, as Michel could easily be number one for another team in the Premier League, but he has chosen Tottenham and wants to fight, playing in cup competitions and if, God forbid, Hugo Lloris sustains an injury. He’s a much more like-for-like swap for Hugo, quick off his line, very assured on the ball, and very agile in the save and around his area, which gives me much more confidence with him in goal, with the high line we play than with Brad Friedel, a model professional, and for sure still a top goalkeeper even at his ripe old age of 43, but he doesn’t fill me with confidence when Hugo doesn’t feature, and now we can allow Friedel to become more of a coach and use his vast experience to help Hugo, Vorm and the younger ‘keepers develop even further. With Lloris, Vorm and Friedel, we without a doubt have one of the top set of keepers in the League.

The signing of Ben Davies and Michel Vorm kicks off this summer’ business for Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Mauricio Pochettino to create a team ready to compete. I think the signing of Davies and Vorm shows the direction we are taking in this window, signing players who have experience in the Premier League and in Europe, so they can fit straight in without the period of getting used to the League like last season, but now we can link this Premier League experience with quality who have now had a season in the Premier League and know what to expect. It’s going to be an interesting transfer window, but we’ve kicked off our Summer signing plugging a big hole and signing a good back up keeper. Now let’s get the rest of our business sorted early, so more can bed in and we can hit the ground running for the new season. COYS!!

What do you think of our new signings? Comment below!

Welcome to Spurs, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm!

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