Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Wednesday 17th December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After our 2-1 away win against Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday, our focus quickly turns to the Capital One Cup Quarter Final at the Lane. For me, it’s our biggest game of the season so far. To make it into the semi finals would be a big achievement – and being three games away from Wembley is tantalising. At White Hart Lane, we have to be hoping that we will make the Semi-Finals, but, against a decent Newcastle side who have already beaten us at the Lane this season, we cannot underestimate the threat that they possess. Our home form has been difficult this season to say the least, but in the cups, we are unbeaten, so hopefully we can continue that form and triumph into the semi-finals. Realistically, it will be a very hard competition to win, but in one off games, anything can happen if we take it seriously. This close to the Final, it’s necessary to put out a strong, competitive side, even with the amount of games thrown our way during the Christmas period. A trophy is something that would give the club a lift like nothing else can. People have banged on about the top four and the Champions League for a long time, but I think fans are starting to realise that whether or not we get in, it’s almost impossible to win. So what’s the point? A trophy is a memory that can last a life time, and goes down in the history books. It’s what football fans crave – a day at Wembley. A glory, glory night. There is a long way to go, though, and first, Newcastle stand in our way.

Newcastle are a decent side, with good quality players. They sit 8th in the Premier League, and in 10 games they have only lost twice. Including wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. They cannot be underestimated, as I say. In the last round of the Capital One Cup, Newcastle travelled to Manchester City as big underdogs, but came away from the game as 2-0 winners at the Etihad and secured a place in the Quarter Finals. This just highlights how difficult the game will be for us – but we’ll be hoping that they won’t recreate the form showed against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, but instead recreate the result of when they last visited North London and faced our rivals – Arsenal – as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates. If we can find our form, if we are direct and show the quality that we possess, we can triumph and get through – but, if we are too relaxed, slow and complacent, then Newcastle will come to the Lane and steal the dream of Wembley away from us before it’s even been comprehended. In our last two games against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, we have lost both by one goal – so we’ll be looking to buck the trend before this becomes a habit!

The team news for Newcastle is that goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliott (hip) are both ruled out, while Ryan Taylor (knee), Gabriel Obertan (hip), Siem De Jong (thigh), Davide Santon (knee), Curtis Good (groin) and Rolando Aarons (hamstring) are all ruled out, while Mehdi Abeid (ankle) will undertake a late fitness test ahead of the game. Also, right back Daryl Janmaat (suspended) is out of the game. Newcastle have some good players, and none are better than driving midfielder Moussa Sissoko; he has power, pace and can effect games and change their momentum – and we saw the brute force of that the last time Newcastle made the journey to White Hart Lane, as he changed the game in Newcastle’s favour with his driving runs and quality on the ball. To deal with him, it’s important that we enforce our midfield upon them, and make sure that we are efficient on the ball and are energetic defensively to counter act Sissoko’s big threat. Another of Newcastle’s big threats, scored against us in our last fixture – Ayoze Perez has pace, technique and energy up front, as well as the ability to stretch a defence and run in behind – not forgetting his eye for goal, and he’s netted 4 goals in 8 games, including 3 against Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

IMG_3141.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness), is out of the game. And that’s it. Hurrah! Kyle Naughton has returned to the squad after injury and completes a full squad, excluding the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor. It really is important, coming into the Christmas period, that we have fully fit squad to choose from, and hopefully the players step up and play & train for their places in the first team. We’re very lucky to have a fully fit squad; and now we have to utilise that to our advantage and put a run of results together, building consistency.

It’s difficult to predict what sort of starting eleven Mauricio Pochettino will select in this game – as it is difficult timing in between extremely important Premier League fixtures, and we all know that Pochettino preaches his faith in the squad, and isn’t afraid to make changes and use his team – but, we also have to take into consideration that this is as big as a Premier League game, if not bigger – and the fans will want a performance as well as most importantly – a result. It’s a big game for our fringe players as well as our key players, as it is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents, as it is every time they step on the pitch. The players that I’m referring to are Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, Aaron Lennon and Benjamin Stambouli, who all in my opinion have the quality to be in the Premier League first team, but have a fight on their hands with the performances of the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen – which is a tall order for the fringe players. The key player in this game, excluding Harry Kane, who is likely to be rested, is Nacer Chadli who if he finds his form again, can win us a game with his goals and ability on the ball. It’s likely that Nacer will play just behind Roberto Soldado, which if they can form an understanding, could be quite a profitable partnership.

It’s a big game! I hope White Hart Lane will find it’s voice for a Quarter Final of a major domestic trophy. The game isn’t televised. I will be attending the game, but I will attempt to update as much as possible from the stands. Hopefully I’ll be reporting a win! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Newcastle press conference:

Match Preview, Hull City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 23rd November 2014. 4pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The KC Stadium.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3:30pm GMT. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

After what has felt like a long international break, Tottenham return to action with a tough away fixture against Hull City. After losing to Stoke City at home, a reaction is needed from the players, from the manager & from the whole club. In recent times, we haven’t seen anywhere near the level Tottenham are capable of, the players have seemed to shy away from responsibility and it has been a sorry time around the club, but a good performance and a win can change the feeling in the players, it can boost their confidence and with a bit of luck and quality, our fortune can quickly change – and our season can look a little more rosy. But, the players can’t just expect that to happen; they need to go out there with fire in their heart and go and make it happen, change their own fortunes and change people’s opinion on them, because if they don’t want to win and improve, then what’s the point of them playing football? I hold a lot of faith in our manager and the players, and I think there is no doubt that we will turn it round, but I’d love that to happen much sooner than later, because the atmosphere around the club can become sour when a bad run of results occurs. The team have to halt that and change the fan’s opinions.

We come up against a Hull City side that sits 15th in the Premier League table, winning only 2 games out of a possible 11. They have had some narrow defeats though, and they haven’t been terrible by any means, but it hasn’t been good enough and they aren’t getting the results they want or maybe even deserve. They have lost their last 2 games, narrowly to Southampton and Burnley 1-0, and their performance level against Burnley was very low, as acknowledged by manager Steve Bruce, who was extremely disappointed with the loss, so they will be looking for a reaction, especially in front of their fans against a bigger side like Tottenham. But, we will be looking to get a reaction after our dismal display against Stoke, so it’s going to be a hotly contested game, but hopefully the quality of our players will shine through and we can put in a good showing. In recent times, Tottenham have had the best of the results against Hull City, being unbeaten in the last 6 games, winning 3 and drawing 3. Last time out, we drew at the KC 1-1, with Paulinho scoring for Tottenham and Shane Long scoring for Hull, now Long has departed from Hull and Paulinho has, well, disappeared. I don’t think a draw suits either team, though, and both will be going all out to try and win this game, so hopefully we can take advantage of gaps in the Hull defence.

The team news for Hull City is good for them, Michael Dawson (ankle), Curtis Davies (back), Alex Bruce (hamstring), Nikica Jelavic (knee) & Alan McGregor (shoulder) are all back in contention for the game, but Robert Snodgrass (knee) remains out. They will be seriously boosted by the names returning to action, especially the defensive partnership of former Spur Michael Dawson and the talented Curtis Davies, who has done really well since coming into the Premier League. Hull City have some really talented players, as well as those gritty, hard working guys who will give everything. Offensively, those talented players include striker Abel Hernadez, who has 3 goals in 8 games, but has played really well since coming in from Palermo, others include on loan pair Hatem Ben-Arfa from Newcastle and Gaston Ramirez from Southampton; they are yet to make an impact but do have natural flair through their make-up. The steel in midfield, mixed with flair and finishing ability comes from Mohamed Diame, who has an impressive 4 goals in 11 appearances and after coming in from West Ham and we have to be able to accommodate his power from midfield.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle), Kyle Walker (abdominal) & Kyle Naughton (suspended) are of course out of the game, while Andros Townsend (ankle) and Danny Rose (ribs) are doubtful along with unnamed players coming back from international duty, likely to be Emmanuel Adebayor who returned late after two games with Togo. Also, Christian Eriksen twisted his ankle on Denmark duty, but should be okay for this game. With Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton ruled out, we will seemingly rely on Eric Dier to fill in at right back, being fresh after remaining at Hotspur Way instead of going on England U21 duty. And, with Danny Rose a doubt, it looks like Ben Davies could get his full Tottenham Premier League debut and start his first game, which after some ‘iffy’ performances from Danny Rose recently, I’m very welcome to.

One of the few shining lights of the season has been the performances of Nacer Chadli and the goals he has scored, with 6 goals so far this season in the Premier League, our top scorer, and the top scoring midfielder in the Premier League. He always looks a threat and is playing with the sort of quality we didn’t see last season. Hopefully, he can get another goal or two against Hull this Sunday, because he’s becoming a vital player for Tottenham Hotspur. After starting his first Premier League game against Stoke, Harry Kane scored another two goals for England’s U21s to take his Goalscoring tally to 15 goals in 20 appearances this season for club and country; now, he needs to rack up the goals in the Premier League, and hopefully he can get a sustained run of starts and then hopefully repay Pochettino’s faith with goals, which we know he is more than capable of getting. In midfield, Etienne Capoue has disappointed in recent games after being outstanding in the early part of the season, and now I think it’s time to give Benjamin Stambouli a game in the Premier League, alongside Ryan Mason; that gives you a good balance between defence and attack, and I think Stambouli is much more creative than Etienne, so that helps our cause as we need to be more creative and less pedestrian in midfield. After being left out of the starting 11 against Stoke, I think Erik Lamela needs to be reintegrated into the team because I hold faith he can be that spark we need, in assists and hopefully very soon, goals.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Hull City have won just one of their last 10 Barclays Premier League matches (W1 D5 L4).

– This is Spurs’ worst start to a Premier League season since 2008-09.

– Hull have won none of the last five Premier League games against Tottenham (W0 D2 L3), three of these were at the KC Stadium (W0 D1 L2).

– Only Aston Villa (2) have had fewer different scorers this season than Hull City (4).

– After scoring in each of their opening eight Premier League games this season, Hull have now failed to score in their last three.

– Nacer Chadli has scored six Premier League goals in 10 appearances this season – he found the net once in 24 appearances last term.

– Tottenham have earned more red cards in the Premier League in the calendar year 2014 than any other team (6).

– There have also been more red cards in Spurs games than those involving any other team this season (five – three for and two against).

– Only Hull City (5) have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season than Tottenham (4).

– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other team in the top flight this term (5).

This is a big game for both sides, but I think Tottenham have a lot more to lose than this Hull City side. A loss would be quite detrimental to Tottenham, especially if the performance isn’t up to the standard we demand and expect. The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, videos, photos & much more from my Twitter account, follow me there, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Hull City at the KC:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the media ahead of the Hull game:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match: Wednesday 29th October 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-0 Brighton.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Erik Lamela 54′, Harry Kane 74′.

Tottenham progress to the Quarter Finals of the Capital One Cup! Just three games away from Wembley and the thought of winning it is just about dropping into Tottenham fan’s dreams. We have been drawn to face Newcastle United at White Hart Lane in the quarter finals, a team that has just beaten us, and Manchester City away from home, so not easy but it could have been a lot worse with Liverpool and Chelsea still in the competition, despite Newcastle beating us before hand, we still remain clear favourites to progress to the Semi-Finals. Now, to look more closely at our highly contested victory over Brighton at the Lane:

In the first period, we dominated the ball, Brighton were confined to their half for 90% of the time and we were probing and poking away at their defence. The ball was played into the box numerous amount of times but we couldn’t get the breakthrough; Roberto Soldado, Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon going closest. A frustrating first half, but one in which the Seagulls didn’t threaten us and we looked comfortable in possession of the football. The problem is, although we look comfortable in possession, we don’t look threatening enough. It’s important to take advantage of that pressure and find the killer pass, or go in behind the Brighton defence. We didn’t do that enough, but it was a solid first half and you can’t complain too much when you are creating chances, and there were a few clear cut opportunities which should and could have been goals.

In the second half, we introduced Erik Lamela for Aaron Lennon who was playing well, but had a slight hamstring problem. Lamela changed the game from the outset, and we looked much more threatening and creative with the ball at our feet. And, that’s where our goal came from. The understanding between Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado is very impressive; they are two very intelligent and creative players when the ball is at their feet and when two intelligent players combine, you will create chances and in this instance, that chance was a goal. Erik Lamela on 54 minutes played the ball into the feet of Roberto Soldado, who headed it up slightly before playing a delightful pass into the path of Erik Lamela, who slid the ball into the net with his right foot for 1-0. A much needed breakthrough that put us in firm control of the game, with Brighton not offering a lot offensively. Despite being 1-0 down, Brighton didn’t try to attack us in the way that was expected – they still sat fairly deep, let us have possession of the football and tried to play a counter attacking game, even though Tottenham had men back and were not pushing all out to get a second goal. I’m sure Sami Hypia will be disappointed with his team’s attacking performance, but pleased with how they shut Tottenham out for the most part. The game continued to be a little scrappy, without the real quality of the players shining through, and that is how our second goal came about, in a scrappy fashion. Andros Townsend for what must have been the first time in the game, got to the byline and whipped in a good ball for Roberto Soldado, which hit his leg and then the keeper parried into the path of Harry Kane, who wanted it more than any other defender on the pitch to stick the ball home to make it 2-0. Job done.

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There were some very good performances from the Spurs players in this game, we passed the ball well, created a good amount of chances, scored two goals and kept a clean sheet and that is all we can really ask from the team. We’re in a bit of a sticky patch of form but you could see that the players really put a shift in and worked until the result went our way and that is pleasing. Hopefully we can get the three points at Villa Park on Sunday, too. The man of the match for me was Benjamin Stambouli, I think in the middle of the park he worked really hard, he went into every challenge committed and passed the ball well. In the cup games he’s played, Stambouli has really impressed me and I think it’s only a matter of time, if he continues with these performances, that he will be pushing for a Premier League start. Another player that deserved man of the match probably equally as much as Stambouli was Kyle Naughton, he has been very good all season and coming back from injury, he was stellar once again. He put in some fantastic crosses and defended well when Brighton attacked with pace on the counter attack. In the absence of Kyle Walker, Naughton has really stepped his game up and as a right back is showing why he’s still a Tottenham player. Erik Lamela changed the game when he was entered into proceedings; he was direct, full of energy and had the finishing touch as well for his goal. He also isn’t afraid to chase back, make a tackle and work for the team and that’s always a good trait to have. Harry Kane scored again, another decent performance, but when he is scoring like this he simply must start in the Premier League, he is on fire! His strike partner Roberto Soldado also did really well, with two assists (sort of) and a very fine performance but his goal that he did deserve didn’t come, but he’s getting closer and you can see how hard he’s working and how much he wants it.

A good win, and into the quarter finals. Cup runs are always fun and hopefully, we can continue to win when we face Newcastle. A trip to Wembley would be fantastic. Not looking too far ahead, this Sunday we travel to Villa Park for an away Premier League tie against Aston Villa. A tough game but it’s crucial we return to winning ways in the Premier League. Remember to follow me on Twitter: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Brighton at the Lane:
Vorm – 7
Naughton – 8.5
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Davies – 7.5
Stambouli – 8.5 – Man of the Match.
Dembele – 7
Lennon – 7.5
Townsend – 6.5
Kane – 8
Soldado – 8.

Subs:
Lamela – 8
Chadli – 6
Paulinho – 5.

Match highlights from our 2-0 win over Brighton:

Pochettino speaks to the press following our 2-0 win:

Match Preview, Partizan Belgrade vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Thursday 18th September 2014. 6pm KO GMT.

Competition: Europa League – Group C.

Venue: Partizan Stadium.

TV: ITV4 in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After getting past the play-off round, we’ve made it into the Europa League group stage and been drawn with some tricky ties in the road to Warsaw. Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade and Asteras Tripolis are the opponents and we start the journey with a trip to Serbia, Belgrade for the first challenge of Partizan. We know that we are favourites in the group but this doesn’t make our job any easier; we still have to go to some difficult venues and try to get results, be professional and put some good performances in. The Europa League, as I’ve insisted many times before, is a great competition in which you can still face some very tough teams in Europe. Tottenham have a lot of history in the competition (UEFA Cup) and it’s important we do well, especially with the added incentive of Champions League football if we win the competition. It all starts in Serbia.

Focusing on Partizan Belgrade, last season they finished second in the Serbian Super Liga, behind Crvena Zvezda. They are the two teams out in front of the Serbian League and the teams were only separated by 1 point last season, Partizan only losing 3 games in the whole season, winning 22 out of their 30 League games, so they are used to winning, especially at home and their confidence will be high, being unbeaten in 20 League games at Partizan Stadium. This season, they sit top of the Super Liga after 5 games, winning all 5 of them, scoring more than 1 goal in each of those fixtures. So they have momentum, having won 10 of their last 10 League fixtures, Partizan are also unbeaten in their last 13 fixtures in all competitions. In their Europa League play-off, they defeated Neftçi 3-2 at home in the first leg, and 1-2 away from home in the second leg. They are a side that is used to winning, that will fight hard in this game and try to cause us problems, especially with the vocal backing of their fans in their home ground. We have to be professional and if we play our game and impose it on them, I’m sure we can come away with three points.

Their are a few good players for Belgrade that could cause us problems; upfront, Danko Lazović has 5 goals in his first 5 League games for Partizan and has established himself as their main goalscorer, as well as fellow striker Petar Škuletić, who has 4 goals in his first 5 League games. In midfield, 18 year old Andrija Živković provides the creative spark in midfield, playing as the offensive midfielder, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him. Also, in defence, highly rated 22 year old Nemanja Petrović is important for the Belgrade team, so we’ll have to get past him in attack.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado is back in contention after disturbance in his neck and back, but Kyle Walker (abdominal) is still out. The players who haven’t travelled to Belgrade to face Partizan are newly appointed Captain Younes Kaboul, along with vice captain Emmanuel Adebayor. Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele have also been left in London for the Europa League fixture. It’s important that the players who have travelled take this game seriously & professionally, and come back with a victory and momentum going into the game against West Brom at the weekend.

In the team, it is a good chance to give game time to our new signings, helping them to bed in and understand how Tottenham want to play this season under Mauricio Pochettino, so I’d imagine both Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio will play and get their first starts for Tottenham, and first appearance in Fazio’s case. Another first appearance could come for Michel Vorm in goal after the player was registered for the Europa League & Premier League, finally, after being put on a strict fitness regime. This game will represent a good opportunity for either Roberto Soldado or Harry Kane upfront; if Roberto Soldado has had enough training time with the squad, I’d like to see him start, but I think because Soldado has had a while out of training, I think it’s more likely Harry Kane will start upfront, seeing as Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t travelled with the team. Mauricio Pochettino hinted in his press conference that young defender/defensive midfielder Milos Veljkovic could have the chance to play in his home nation; which is good to see a youngster break through after good work with the youth teams, he is a good player with big potential and I hope he can get some minutes this Thursday evening.

A new beginning to a familiar competition. Big expectations lie on the shoulders on Tottenham; we have to hope that the players rise to this occasion and play like the favourites, play in a professional manner and get the three points to take back to North London. It’s important for our Europa League campaign that we start with a win. The game is shown live on ITV4 for UK fans, but you can also follow me on Twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for all the match updates, photos, videos and more. The game kicks off at 6pm Thursday evening. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Partizan Belgrade:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Fazio – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Kane.

Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

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: