Tottenham Hotspur Season Review 2014/15

We as a fan base came into this season with low expectations. Mauricio Pochettino had only just come in, had one pre season and not brought in game changing signings. It had the look of another transition season plastered all over it. The only thing we really wanted was an improvement on a disastrous 2013-14 season under Andre Villas Boas and then Tim Sherwood, where there was a complete divide between the club and the fans for the first time in a long while – so Pochettino’s first order of business was to turn that divide into a connection once again, and that includes beating some of the big sides, the team showing that they care and playing some good football – our position at the end of the season was of course cared about, but I think this season, there wasn’t the pressure on the shoulders of the players and club that Champions League football was a must – because with the sides around us, and the squad we had at the start of the season it simply didn’t look feasible and that is the way it turned out in the end. Next season is where we can judge Pochettino more objectively – with what we hope is a good summer transfer window with the keeping of key players, the introduction of good players and the leaving of the players that aren’t in Pochettino’s plans – then, with a squad that looks more like his, we can push on and hopefully have a very good season under the Argentine.
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Premier League

Overall our League form wasn’t fantastic. Losses to West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane are what really dragged us down; all games we could have won, and if we had there would be no doubting we would be in the Champions League places. 12 points unnecessarily dropped, and with those points we would have hit 76 points, and finished in third, ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United – which is frustrating to say the least. But looking back at games we could and maybe should have won is frivolous, we didn’t and on the day every team that rocked up to White Hart Lane and beat us, deserved it – and brilliant performances came from struggling sides (and Stoke). Hopefully we can learn from these mistakes at the Lane and make sure they don’t happen again – teams lower in the table seem to be able to shut us down too easily and make it really difficult to create, and that has happened for a while now, even under Harry Redknapp. Even though our home form improved as the season went on, we still looked a little vulnerable against the lower opposition sides at the Lane and that needs to change next season – White Hart Lane needs to be a fortress.

The positives of the season in the Premier League come in the form of victories over Chelsea and Arsenal – the most memorable moments of our season, and definitely the best performances. On January 1st 2015, something must have clicked in the minds of the players because they didn’t look afraid of the big sides any more – they looked confident and controlled coming up against a giant of the game in Chelsea – and even going a goal down, when last season that would have led to a three or four goal defeat against a team like Chelsea, we rallied and performed to an even higher standard – and to demolish a side like Chelsea 5-3 was absolutely magnificent, something I will never forget about this season. Of course winning a North London Derby will always get into the positive side of the season, but this one was special – once again going a goal behind, we put in a performance possibly even more spirited than against Chelsea and outplayed Arsenal entirely, with crunching tackles, great defending and looking threatening up top – it was brilliant and I believe that the players understand what the derby matches mean to us, possibly because of the youth we have through the core of the team that gave us that tenacity and spirit when we needed it, and the quality of the Vertonghen, Lloris’ in the side looked even better because of the performances of your Mason’s and Bentaleb’s in the side. It was even more special because Harry Kane was the player that won us the match, a tap in from a corner and then a beautiful cross from Nabil Bentaleb found Kane and he produced one of the best headed goals I’ve seen at White Hart Lane late on for a 2-1 win. A great day neither the fans nor Kane will forget very easily.

Fifth place in the end was secured, meaning Europa League football next season. Finishing above Liverpool and Southampton who would have looked odds on to breeze ahead of us earlier in the season – but didn’t, while also being just six points off Manchester United in fourth. This isn’t a Premier League season I will look back on in distain, hopefully it’s one that I can look back on knowing it was a building block to future success. The rise of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb – the emergence and improvement of Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli, while discovering another talent in Eric Dier. Our wins over Chelsea and Arsenal – and in the end securing fifth place. I’m not complaining; a good first Premier League season for Mauricio Pochettino – but the he and the players, along with the fans know that this isn’t enough – and next season there will be an expectation for more. Hopefully we can get even further improvement.
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Europa League

Not a Europa League campaign to remember. We qualified with wins home and away over AEL Limassol. Taking us into a group stage along with Besiktas, Partizan and Asteras. We started that group stage off with an enthralling 0-0 with Partizan away from home, and then a frustrating 1-1 draw with Besiktas at the Lane with Harry Kane scoring a great goal, but Vlad Chiriches giving away a silly penalty in the last seconds for Demba Ba to slot home. We then got our first win in the competition quite emphatically, a 5-1 drubbing over Asteras Tripolis, with Erik Lamela getting a brace and treating us to the most amazing goal of the season, a rabona from outside the box into the top of the goal – an incredible piece of skill that will be a contender for UEFA Puskas award for best goal next year I’m sure. Along with that Lamela brace Harry Kane scored his first hat trick for Tottenham and also had a go in goal, which brought upon another memorable moment in our season from this game. Another win over Asteras away from home and then a 1-0 victory over Partizan at the Lane secured our place in the round of 32, but we didn’t top the group as we lost to Besiktas away from home which was a disappointing night in which the lights didn’t even work!

We went on to face Fiorentina in the Round of 32 but could only muster a 1-1 draw at the Lane before falling to a 2-0 defeat at the Artemio Franchi Stadium, which saw us knocked out of the Europa League. This Europa League campaign was fairly poor really, but when drawn against a side of Fiorentina’s quality with a Capital One Cup final to think about just a few days later; it wasn’t to be our year in Europe. There has been a lot of debate as to whether Europa League is more of a hindrance than anything else and you have to admit that it does take a lot out of the players, with long trips to smaller clubs and a format of Thursday – Sunday which doesn’t really help the players when they have to make long trips, and it can be an excuse that the players use not to perform, sadly. We are in the Europa League next season, but as we aren’t likely to win it, I see it as an opportunity to introduce young players into the first team and give them a chance; the likes of Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks & Kyle Walker-Peters. A change of philosophy in the Europa League from trying to win it, back to Harry Redknapp’s way of playing youth players is probably the most diplomatic answer to the Europa League next season.

POLL:

Should we try to win the Europa League as if it were the Champions League, should we use it to breed young talent, or would you just focus on the Premier League and domestic competitions, and sack off the Europa League?


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FA Cup

The FA Cup was a bit of a non-starter really in terms of domestic cups for us this season. With the Capital One Cup, Europa League and Premier League another competition was not really going to suit us, and despite getting past Burnley after a replay – we fell to Leicester at the Lane due to a Michel Vorm mistake. Despite all of the tradition around the FA Cup and the history Tottenham as a club have with it, it wasn’t the year to go and win it – but I would like to see us go and really have a go next term, because it is a special trophy in connection with Tottenham.
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Capital One Cup

A massive positive in our season was our performance in the Capital One Cup. After beating Nottingham Forrest 3-1 at the Lane, with Ryan Mason scoring a cracking goal, with the other two coming from Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane – we booked a date with Brighton in the fourth round at home once again, and got a convincing 2-0 win thanks to goals from Erik Lamela and Harry Kane once again which sent us into the quarter finals. Here is where you start to think we could be having a date at Wembley if the draw is favourable – and it was, yet another home tie this time against a struggling Newcastle side, and we breezed past them at the Lane 4-0 thanks to goals from Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane and our semi final place was sealed, and it would be either Chelsea, Liverpool of Sheffield United in the semi final, obviously hoping for Sheffield United to be pulled out of the hat, and it was. A two legged tie with Sheffield United awaited and we could already taste Wembley. In the first leg, thanks to a penalty from Andros Townsend we won 1-0, not convincing, but hard fought and a good building block for the second leg at Bramall Lane, which turned out to be a magnificent match – Christian Eriksen with a stunning free kick goal which looked like it would be enough to secure a place at Wembley, before United youngster Che Adams suddenly struck for 1-1 and then two minutes later for 2-1 Sheffield, and we were shell shocked, and Wembley looked like it could slip away, but Harry Kane played through Christian Eriksen who finished it beautifully for 2-2 and to send us to Wembley to take on Chelsea.

The build up to Wembley was great, we felt good and confident having beaten them earlier in the season, but we knew it would be tough – the now Premier League champions wouldn’t let us just walk all over them again like we did at the Lane, and that is the way it went. Despite a decent performance, Chelsea put in a fantastic performance – both offensively and defensively. We couldn’t break them down and when they attacked they always looked threatening, in the end it was John Terry and Diego Costa scoring to inflict a 2-0 defeat at Wembley. No repeat of the 5-3, or our 2-1 win back in 2008 unfortunately, but we lost to the team that went onto be Premier League champions, with a young team. Hopefully we can learn from the experience and make sure we don’t lose our next final!
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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Harry Kane

Young player of the season – Harry Kane, again

Most improved player of the season – Shared between Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli.

Goal of the season – Erik Lamela rabona vs Asteras in the Europa League, or Harry Kane’s second goal against Chelsea in the 5-3 win.

Assist of the season – Harry Kane to Christian Eriksen vs Sheffield United, or Ryan Mason to Danny Rose vs Hull

Individual performance of the season – Harry Kane vs Chelsea

Win of the season – Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea

Signing of the season – Eric Dier
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Building for the future. That’s how we have to treat this season. All the mistakes that were made, loses we endured and annoyances that occurred will all hopefully be so that we don’t have to sustain them any further. I believe in Mauricio Pochettino, I think he has the right ideas and I hope that Daniel Levy will back him on the back of this season, for him to create a side that is competitive at the top of the Premier League. Thank you all for following and reading throughout the season, now onto pre season! Follow me for it all @AddictedToSpurs. As always, up the Spurs and COYS!!
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All 31 of Harry Kane’s Tottenham goals this season:

Hugo Lloris’ best saves from the season:

Tottenham season review in video from YidVids:

What has been your favourite moment of the 2014/15 season? Let me know in the comments!

I spoke to @TurnstyleSport about the 2014/15 Tottenham season. Read HERE
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Also, check out my full review of all our loaned out players in the 2014/15 season, HERE.
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Capital One Cup Final Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match date & time: Sunday 1st March 2015. 4pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Capital One Cup Final.

Venue: Wembley Stadium.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It is finally here! The day that we have all been waiting for from the moment we booked our place in the competition beating Sheffield United over two legs. But now, there’s no two legs, no second chance and certainly no room for sentiment – this is a one off match, where the best side on that one day will go down in the record books, while the other will fade away into the abyss, until their chance next year. We have to make sure we go into the record books once again. This is without doubt the biggest game of our season; a chance for our first silverware in 7 years is a massive occasion, one that we have to grab with both hands. This result has the potential to define our season – if we win, no matter what happens in regards to the Premier League and top four, we will look back at the 2014/15 season with a smile on our face, whereas, if we lose, there will be a certain distain towards the season, but we would still have the opportunity to fight for top four, no matter how unlikely that may be. The game is about glory! The everlasting quote from the immortal Danny Blanchflower that will always echo through the heartbeat of the club, and we as Spurs fans will continue to believe, most of us anyway, that winning trophies represents a successful season. Despite our memorable run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and reaching the top four of the Premier League twice, there is still a trophy sized whole in our hearts during this 7 year period that we desperately want to fill, and now we are so tantalisingly close, we simply can’t allow it to slip! This Cup Final is such a fascinating event, not only because it is for the first silverware of the season, but because of the rivalry and history between the two sides, as well as both sides knowing how to beat each other comfortably!

Chelsea are a great side, everyone knows that, all you have to do is look at their position in the Premier League, and see their record in the big games this season. They are a side that thrives on the big occasion, having World Class players with a World Class manager, and they perform on the biggest stages against the best sides 90% of the time. They top the Premier League, with a 5-point gap between themselves and Manchester City, all the while having lost just two in 26 games, they are a force to be reckoned with and I am sure they will be viewed as the favourites for this game, but in a Cup Final I like to think that the record is blank and each team is even until the final whistle, where the best side on the day will triumph. We have no reason to fear Chelsea, despite them having the better of the war in recent times, we won the last battle and wounded the beast, so now we are back on an even bigger stage to prove that it was no fluke and grasp glory. The last time we faced Chelsea was at the Lane, it was the Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli show as we dismantled the Blues to triumph 5-3 in what could arguably be the game of the season so far in the Premier League, and a repeat performance and result would do very nicely, but I’d take any result that ends up with Spurs scoring more goals! The last time we faced Chelsea at Wembley, it was the Blues who hit 5 in a 5-1 win in the FA Cup semi final, although in controversial fashion with the still frustrating decision to award Chelsea a goal despite the ball not seeming to cross the line back in 2011. The last time we went face to face with Chelsea in the League Cup was the Final at Wembley, where we were victorious 2-1 after extra time, with Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathon Woodgate scoring the vital goals that sent us to success 7 years ago in 2008, the last trophy that Tottenham tasted; now we are hungry once again and will look to repeat the feat.

The Chelsea team news is that key midfielder Nemanja Matic (suspension) is out, while fellow defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee) is the only absentee through injury for the Premier League leaders. Matic will be a massive miss to the West London club, his strength, composure and technical ability will leave a Serbian size whole in the midfield, that should make it easier for us to find space in the final third with Christian Eriksen looking to exploit that extra space. The midfield battle without Matic swings in our favour, as well, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason’s energy and intensity, I’m sure Jose Mourinho would have wanted his trusty Serbian to try and negate the effect that the home-grown midfielders are capable of bringing to our team. Hopefully Nabil and Ryan can find their levels to outshine Cesc Fabregas and Ramires, expected to form the Blue’s partnership. Diego Costa has an extreme goal threat with 18 goals this season. His brute strength and aggression is something that can really be effective in the big games, but hopefully the occasion gets the better of him and his aggression boils over! As well as Costa, it’s Eden Hazard that takes the mantle of biggest threat, he can breeze past players and is so effective in the final third with goals and assists, 13 of each to be exact. We will have to be at our very best to contend with these fantastic players.capital-one-cup-1600x900304-792656_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham coming into the match is that there are no absentees through suspension or injury. We have a fully fit and flying squad coming into the biggest game of the season, so this is a massive boost, and this has been the case for quite a while now. There are still decisions to make for Mauricio Pochettino, though; with just 18 players able to be selected I’m sure some players will be left disappointed and disheartened either on the bench or left out of the squad, and that is just one factor that Pochettino will have to deal with, hopefully his squad reflects who deserves to play and who hasn’t proved they are worthy. I think we all know, as much as we could, what Pochettino’s favoured eleven is, and I think we’ll have conformation this Sunday, as he simply must play his best side. There is no time for sentiment. I’m excited and slightly nervous to see what side Mauricio thinks is best to deal with Chelsea as well as having enough to win the trophy.

The cameras, pundits, journalists and fans will all have eyes on the most electric 21-year-old striker there is at Wembley this Sunday. Harry Kane’s rise to greatness has seen the young man lead his boyhood side to Wembley, and the fairy-tale would continue if the Englishman could find it within himself to knock down the last obstacle in his way and lead his side to Cup glory against our bitter London rivals. It has been a fantastic season for the striker no matter what happens at Wembley, but it would hit another level if the boy could grip hold of a major domestic trophy; it would be a beautiful site for every Spurs fan. With 24 goals and 5 assists this season, you simply can’t doubt that Harry Kane has all the attributes to become a Tottenham great, and he’s got a chance to cement his name in the Tottenham history books with this match, as silverware means the world to Spurs fans all over the world. If Harry Kane, the magical, unbelievable phenomenon can be the man to bring us glory once again, it would be extraordinary. Let’s hope he can deliver like we know he can. Up against John Terry and most likely Kurt Zouma, Kane will have a tough task, and we will need to get as much service to the striker as possible, and will be relying massively on our midfielders to find their passing range, and find the gaps to give Harry Kane the best chance of hurting the Chelsea back line – this responsibility to provide Kane with the best possible service lies mainly with the Danish Footballer of the Year, Christian Eriksen. The Dane, along with Kane, has massive expectation from the fans to perform. He hasn’t been at his peak in the last 4-5 games, but, in the biggest game of the season I’m sure he will step it up and find his highest gear to perform, he’s crucial to our success due to his creative spark and ability to find the net and the crucial pass. When Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well; so let’s hope the man who has 11 goals and 4 assists so far this season. The partnership between Eriksen and Kane, if it can flourish on the biggest stage, will no doubt be very profitable for Tottenham – I hope both can hit their top levels.

There has been slight debate as to whether sentiment should prevail and Michel Vorm, the goalkeeper who played every game of our Capital One Cup campaign, should retain his spot for the final, but most believe that as this is our biggest game of the season, that our best team should play and that means Hugo Lloris, our number 1 goalkeeper, gets the nod. I think it’s a no-brainer; it has to be Hugo Lloris. As good as Michel Vorm is, Hugo is miles ahead of him, and as our captain, has to play in the final. I’m sure Michel Vorm will understand, as he’s been the first man to praise his goalkeeping rival. In midfield, Pochettino has even more big decisions to make, whether Mousa Dembele or Nacer Chadli plays as well as the Andros Townsend or Erik Lamela debate. It’s tough, but I think both players in both debates are worthy of a spot in the final, and it depends on which players Mauricio Pochettino feels are best to combat Chelsea’s threat. When we beat Chelsea 5-3, I thought Mousa Dembele, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli all played great games, and maybe that will weigh on the Boss’ mind. Winning the midfield battle will be key as well, as I say, Bentaleb and Mason have the ability to quash the Chelsea midfield with their tenacity and energy, and if thy are able to do that, then I think we will be one step closer to glory. In defence, the decision for who to partner Jan Vertonghen is another no-brainer for Pochettino; Eric Dier or Federico Fazio is the question but for me Eric Dier is the answer due to the partnership he has built with Vertonghen and his solidity, whereas I think Fazio is too prone to errors for such a big game.

It’s the biggest game of the season! A chance to end the 7-year trophy drought against our bitter London rivals at the home of football, Wembley. I can’t wait. I’m nervous, excited and just plain petrified of what is about to come our way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! The game is of course live on Sky Sports 1, but follow me on twitter for live, comprehensive coverage of our biggest game of the season including goal updates, videos, photos and much more. Follow me at @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Spurs are on their way to Wembley, Tottenham’s gonna to it again! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Chelsea at Wembley:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our Cup Final against Chelsea:

Read my Q&A with Turnstyle Sport HERE.462425722.0

And also have a read of my article on how Harry Kane will affect the Cup Final for Unibet HERE.promo249317734

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sheffield United. (1st Leg)

Match date and time: Wednesday 21st January 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Semi Final. 1st Leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Our biggest two games of the season so far await, with an opportunity to go to Wembley and face one of Chelsea or Liverpool to battle for a domestic trophy, we have to treat our opponent with complete respect, and not misjudge their threat to what Tottenham and the fans have been craving since 2008, some silverware. The Capital One Cup is a massive opportunity for us to bring glory back to the Lane, after going six years trophy-less, the pressure is on to get trophies back to White Hart Lane, and instead of overly focusing on getting a top four spot, I think winning trophies is what football is all about, as Danny Blanchflower famously said, ‘The Game is about Glory’, and it is a quote that is bounded around every time a trophy is even slightly possible, because of the truth to it, and how much it means to Tottenham fans, we are proud of our rich history in Cup competitions, and to add another piece of history to our collection would be most welcome. Being at home in the first leg isn’t ideal, but we are perfectly capable of finishing off the tie in the first leg, if we are able to perform to our maximum, I am sure we will be able to see off a, with respect, inferior League 1 Sheffield United. Of course this game will not be ‘easy’ to say the least, as I am sure Sheffield United will come into the tie, especially at Bramall Lane, driven to succeed and perform what can only be seen to be a miracle Cup upset, for a side that sit 7th in League One. At the Lane, I can only be confident that we will be able to come out as victors, if we can perform as we did against Newcastle in the Quarter Final, I am sure we will be in a good position heading into the second leg at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United sit 7th in League One, with their Cup form being incredible, but their League form, recently, has been average as they sit just outside the play-off places. Focusing on their League Cup run, they have been the upset kings, beating West Ham, Leyton Orient and MK Dons, while in the quarter finals beating Southampton at Bramall Lane; so it has been quite the run, and I am sure they will be very confident of continuing their Capital One Cup journey, even if the odds are stacked upon them. In their last game, they lost to MK Dons in League One, by one goal to nil, and this may give you confidence, but we have to remember that Cup games, in particular Semi-finals, can invigorate opponents of lower Leagues, and I am sure they have had one eye on these games with a chance to go to Wembley, so you can’t blame them for dropping points. If you think it is just their Home form that has helped them get to this stage of the competition, you are mistaken; early in the Capital One Cup, they got through against West Ham at Upton Park, and in the last round of the FA Cup, they thrashed QPR at Loftus Road 3-0, proving that this Sheffield United side is not one to be misjudged and underestimated. The last time we faced the Blades, was at Bramall Lane in 2007, while Sheffield United were in the Premier League, and it was the team in red and white that came out on top, winning 2-1, Hulse and Jagielka scoring for them, while Jermaine Jenas netting for Tottenham. The last time Sheffield United visited White Hart Lane, was back in 2006, where we triumphed 2-0 in the Premier League fixture, with Jermaine Jenas again finding the net, along with the artist Dimitar Berbatov getting his first Premier League goal for Tottenham.

The team news for the Blades is that James Wallace and Ben Davies (Not that one!) are expected to be out of the game, along with back up goalkeeper Ian Turner with a hamstring problem and Ryan Flynn feeling the pain in his Achilles. The good news for the team in red and white is that defender Chris Balsham is expected to return, and I am sure they will need all the defensive help they can get if Tottenham can turn up the heat enough. The offensive threat will be coming from forward Marc McNulty, who has netted 10 times already so far this season in all competitions, including big goals against Premier League sides Southampton and QPR, and he will be looking to be adding to his list of goals against teams from the top flight. Along with McNulty, Jamie Murphy is another threat up top, even though he only has 4 goals this term, he is an ever present in the Sheffield United side and on form, the Scotsman can be a menace to our defence, but I am sure we will be capable of containing the two Scotsmen.2trophy800x450304-589123_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf), Federico Fazio (illness) and Vlad Chiriches (back) remain out, along with Nacer Chadli who is dealing with the loss of his father, and is being allowed time with his family, and we all wish him the best. The good news is that captain Younes Kaboul returns after suffering from illness, and midfielder Ryan Mason is back in contention after a hamstring problem, and that is a massive boost for us in the middle of the park, and I am sure he can make a big impact for us in this game, if he is selected.

In a semi-final, I think that playing our strongest, or near strongest side is essential. Being at Home, we will be looking to finish off the tie as soon as possible, so that we can go to Bramall Lane with the pressure off, or close to it anyway! This is arguably our most important game of the season so far, and that is how we have to treat it in terms of the side we put out; we can’t have a shock start like against Burnley in the FA Cup, and will have to be completely respectful of the Sheffield United side. The crucial player for us recently, apart from the phenomenal Harry Kane, is Christian Eriksen, and it feels like I talk about him every time I write a Preview or Review, and that is because he is so fundamental in everything good that comes to us in attack, with his beautiful way of playing, but also effective way of scoring goals, and notching assists; this Sheffield United side will not be used to facing a player with so much vision and intelligence on the football pitch, and if he can get on the ball and find space inbetween the midfield and defence, he will cause all sorts of difficulties for the Sheffield defenders. The formally mentioned Harry Kane is also vital to how we will achieve victory; his power and clinical edge have been phenomenal this season, as well as his work rate and energy, and if he can continue to perform in the Capital One Cup, I am sure Wembley will be very close. Andros Townsend has been finding a little bit of form recently, and his pace, directness and recently, his crossing of the ball and has been notching assists too, with 6 assists so far this season; if he can continue to get minutes, and improve his decision making I am sure he will be able to find that form he was showing regularly at the start of last season.

It is a massive opportunity to put us one step closer to Wembley, and if we can put in a good display and score some goals, while keeping tight at the back, we will go to Bramall Lane in high spirits and full of confidence. But first, we have to do the job at the Lane; and it is live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, goal updates, photos and much more live from the Lane, follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Lets hope we can get a good result going into the second leg! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Sheffield United at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Kane – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s full press conference ahead of Sheffield United:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match: Wednesday 17th December 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 Newcastle.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Bentaleb 18′, Chadli 46′, Kane 65 & Soldado 70′.

What a win! An extraordinary result and fantastic performance that has left a beautiful taste in Tottenham fans’ mouths. We have progressed to the Capital One Cup Semi Finals, and will face Sheffield United over two legs for a place at Wembley, which is what dreams are made of! Throughout the game, we were composed on the ball, efficient in our passing and clinical in our finishing. Benjamin Stambouli has hailed it as the perfect performance, and it really was. We were just as good off the ball as we were on the ball, though, and we tackled well, kept compact and were set up magnificently to nullify the Newcastle threat – especially form Moussa Sissoko. It was a performance that shows we are learning from mistakes, growing as a side, and also showed even without all of our best players out on the field, if we are set up correctly, limit our mistakes and introduce the kind of energy & enthusiasm we had then we can be quite successful. The opportunity to win a trophy is massive, now, Sheffield United are a League 1 side, and with the team we have we should be picking them off, especially after two legs. We avoided Chelsea and Liverpool and it really is the perfect draw – a day out at Wembley is brilliant in itself, and would give the club and the fans a real boost which is what we need at this moment in time. It’s a massive opportunity!

Focusing back on the game; in the first half, we started brightly, passed the ball well, and created some decent chances which could have easily been our first goal in the first 15 minutes. Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen all looking very lively. In the end though, the deadlock was broken by one Nabil Bentaleb, who poached his first ever goal for Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a Christian Eriksen corner which was fumbled by the Newcastle ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, and Bentaleb was alert to pounce on his mistake and set Tottenham on the path to victory. Newcastle weren’t bad in the first half, they went close themselves to breaking even, but their finishing wasn’t crisp enough. Bursting runs from Moussa Sissoko were the main threat, and he forced Michel Vorm into a good save from outside the box. The Geordies were threatening, and it was obvious that another goal for Tottenham had to come to have any sense of comfort. 1-0 at the break, and very content with the performance, but last time Newcastle visited the Lane, that was the case, and they ran away 2-1 victors, so the fans, Pochettino and the players knew that an equally as fast start in the second half was necessary or history had the possibility of repeating itself.

And as the second half kicked off, we got what we wanted. We kept the ball, drowned out Newcastle’s early threat and looked comfortable and most importantly, focussed! And then our second goal was procured; Christian Eriksen being forced wide, and looking like the chance was dead, before he brilliantly found a reverse pass into the path of Nacer Chadli who controlled it, moved into a better shooting position and then picked his spot expertly form outside the box to double Tottenham’s lead and make it a much more comfortable scoreline. We were cruising into the semi-finals, and Newcastle didn’t seem to have the spark, clinical edge or collective quality to influence the game in the way they wanted. As time moved on, we got more comfortable and comfortable, on the ball and off of it. We were creating chances, finding space, passing the ball crisply and switching play very easily with both full backs high and Christian Eriksen involved in almost everything in the middle of the park. It was lovely to watch. The third goal was thanks to good play on the left hand side from Mousa Dembele, who held off a challenge and released the ball to Andros Townsend who’s quick, one touch pass found Harry Kane who got the better of the defender before expertly sliding the ball into the far right hand corner to put the game beyond doubt. 3-0, 65 minutes in. That was Kane’s final contribution to a wonderful performance as he was replaced by Roberto Soldado – who then quickly made his mark, as Christian Eriksen drove at the Newcastle back four and got his shot away which was poorly parried by Jak Alnwick, and fell into the path of Roberto Soldado, who adjusted his feet and easily poked the ball into the back of the net, in true poachers fashion. After that goal on the 70 minute mark, the game’s pace fizzled out and we had most of the ball, and looked relaxed in our position, even to the point where showboating was being cheered by the fans as Andros Townsend produced his latest back heel. Full time – and a fantastic victory which keeps the dream of silverware very much alive.

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There were great performances all over the field in this game. It was not our strongest team – but it shows the quality of the squad we have when we can bring in the likes of Michel Vorm, Vlad Chiriches, Andros Townsend and Benjamin Stambouli and they can perform like they did in this game. While first 11 players such as Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb producing their best and it was great to see a team performance, and not relying on individual quality to pull us through. For me, Christian Eriksen was our stand out performer, in the centre of midfield he pulled the strings, kept the ball expertly, and was extremely effective on the ball, being involved in 3 of the 4 goals and moving the ball quickly in midfield. Christian seems to have once again found his top form, after an admittedly slow start to the season, he has found not only his goalscoring form, but his creative side is starting to come through and that’s incredibly important to the team. He’s a player that can win you games single handedly and I can’t wait to see him develop even further, as Jan Vertonghen says, he has the potential to become a Tottenham great. In the centre of midfield, I was incredibly impressed with the performances of Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli; they were energetic, enthusiastic and composed; which was exactly what we needed to nullify the threat of Moussa Sissoko, who in all honesty couldn’t get any rhythm to his game due to always being surrounded by Stambouli and Bentaleb. This partnership has to be given an opportunity to flourish in the Premier League, in my opinion. It has balance, and both players have potential to become very important for the future. In defence, we were solid throughout. And the partnership between Fazio and Vertonghen is starting to grow and grow, and they are starting to understand each other’s games and I think it looks the makings of a good combination. There’s also a need to mention the performance of Danny Rose, who I thought had a really good game, and is definitely rising to the task of winning his Premier League place back from Ben Davies, who has been equally as good.

A massive result! In arguably our biggest game of the season so far, we came out on top in emphatic style and booked a place in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals, where we will face Sheffield United, and a chance to go to Wembley is on the horizon! Our next game is against Burnley at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Saturday, which is another big home game, which we need all three points! Join me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Newcastle at the Lane:
Vorm – 8.5
Chiriches – 7
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Stambouli – 8.5
Bentaleb – 8.5 (Capoue 81′ – 6)
Chadli – 8 (Dembele 61′ – 7)
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Townsend – 7.5
Kane – 8.5. (Soldado 68′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 4-0 win over Newcastle:

Match highlights from our 4-0 win:

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 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, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match date & time: Wednesday 29th October 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Capital One Cup action returns to White Hart Lane with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors. A big game with a place in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final’s up for grabs for the winner. It’s always difficult to take when you lose; especially when it is at home, throwing away a 1-0 lead to a team that we should really beat, but it’s got to be forgotten and it can’t effect our performance against Brighton, but be an inspiration to the players – to fight harder and silence doubters. A win this Wednesday won’t make everything Rosey – but getting to the Quarter Finals would be really good, hopefully leading to a good draw, and if that happens, who knows, we could go all the way to Wembley! For me, winning a trophy is well and truly overdue at Tottenham, whether it’s the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or Europa League, winning a major trophy is the lift that Tottenham needs, with top four in the Premier League looking out of reach. Hopefully, we can get through on Wednesday with very little difficulty, and a few goals wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Brighton sit 21st in the Championship, just 2 points off of the relegation places. In 14 League games, they have won just 2, drawn 7 and lost 5. New manager Sami Hypia has struggled to find the winning formula on the South coast, with a lack of goals a big problem for the Seagulls, with only 13 goals scored in 14 games, drawing too many games and not being able to get a run of good results together. The Capital One Cup has been a welcome distraction from their League form, winning both their 2nd and 3rd round games with relative ease against Cheltenham and Burton, winning 2-0 & 3-0 respectively. But of course, they haven’t faced a test of the magnitude of Tottenham, especially at White Hart Lane under the lights. The last time we faced Brighton was in 2005, an FA Cup 3rd round tie at White Hart Lane in which Tottenham triumphed 2-1, courtesy of Ledley King and Robbie Keane goals. There’s no doubt that Brighton will be well up for the game, just like Nottingham Forest before them, and they will be carrying the support of 4100 Brightonians alongside them, who I’m sure will sing until the very end for their team and attempt to give them an extra level. Whenever a lower league team comes to a big Premier League team’s home, the want to win and score is large and we must act in a professional manner to get the job done.

The team news for Brighton is that Craig Mackail-Smith (hamstring) will be unable to start for the Seagulls, but will be in the 18 man squad, with Sam Baldock (cup tied), Solly March (back) and Dale Stephens (ankle) are out of the game. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is available for Brighton after his suspension, which will be a big boost for the Seasiders. Brighton do have threats – but their top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk, he has 5 goals and is a definite threat from set pieces, which will probably be Brighton’s biggest chance to score, despite our height at the back with Federico Fazio. Kazenga LuaLua is one of those players that can bring a bit of magic to the game, be it a cross or a goal from range, he has that little bit of quality, but doesn’t show it often enough. LuaLua is Brighton’s top assist maker this season with 3, 2 in the League and 1 in the Capital One Cup. He also has 2 goals so far this season. In the centre of midfield, young Rohan Ince is a talented player, he’s big, strong and competent on the ball, he can get Brighton playing if given time and space, but if we pressuring him and get in his face when on the ball, I’m sure we’ll be able to stop his flow. Another talented young midfielder is England U21 international Jake Forster-Caskey, less powerful, more agile and able to get Brighton moving; just like with Rohan Ince, we should be looking to pressure them early and disrupt their passing rhythm.

IMG_2525.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the game against Brighton, but Kyle Naughton returns from an ankle injury, while Federico Fazio is available again after his 1 match suspension. Emmanuel Adebayor had an upset stomach after the game against Newcastle, but he has recovered and is available for selection against the Albion.

Harry Kane has been in stellar form so far this season, he’s got the goalscoring touch and I’m sure he’ll get the nod upfront again in the cup competitions, possibly alongside Roberto Soldado who scored in the last round of this competition. It seems Pochettino sees Harry Kane as a second striker, someone who needs to play with a partner, and even if I disagree and believe he can and will become a leading striker, he has been performing extremely well in this position and I hope his understanding with Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor develops more so that both Kane & his partner can benefit. In midfield, Benjamin Stambouli and Mousa Dembele are expected to partner each other, a partnership that could start in the Premier League for many, many teams, with their ability on the ball, especially Mousa Dembele, with Stambouli’s toughness and ability to win the ball back and pass it efficiently, both are very good players and I think have the makings of a good partnership, with a good balance in their midfield pivot. On the wing, it’s another opportunity for Andros Townsend to show his worth and effect a game in a positive way with his pace and direct running style with the ball, he needs to be more efficient, to score more goals and make more assists, at the moment he still looks like a raw talent but hopefully he can continue to improve and effect the games he plays more. To add width to our play, I’d play Aaron Lennon on the right hand side and Andros Townsend on the left, to get them whipping crosses into the box for Harry Kane, and Roberto Soldado. I think we’ll score more goals like that. Almost a direct 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 system. We can do that at home against ‘weaker’ opposition and still dominate the midfield.

A game where a win brings us just 2 games away from a final at Wembley. If that isn’t inspiration to victory for the players, I don’t know what is! A cup game under the lights at White Hart Lane awaits and Brighton I’m sure will try to make it as difficult as possible for the Tottenham team, but I’m confident, as always, that we can get the job done. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane from my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Brighton at White Hart Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Lennon – Stambouli – Dembele – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our game against Brighton:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match: Wednesday 24th September 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-1 Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Mason 72′, Soldado 83′ & Kane 91′.

Nottingham Forest GoalScorer: Grant 61′.

Well, it took us a long while to get started but we got there in the end! We’ve cemented our place in the Capital One Cup Fourth Round. We lacked penetration, passion & that little bit of quality in this game, but we got the job done, scored 3 goals and now we have a clear focus on the match against Arsenal on Saturday evening, which I’m sure was in the minds of all the Spurs players against Forest; or I hope it was. We can’t overshadow the performance with the result; we didn’t play well, looked shaky, slow and uninspiring. That is cause for concern, even though I never like to moan if we have won, I’d like to see much, much, much more on Saturday against Arsenal, albeit with a completely different starting 11. We have to show pace, passion, intensity against Arsenal if we are to stand any chance at all.

The first half was completely irrelevant to the game in the end. We didn’t show any threat whatsoever, and Nottingham Forest looked more dangerous, but we went in 0-0 at the break, with improvement needed in the second half, otherwise we may as well have run a replay of the West Brom game instead of this one. We can’t ignore Nottingham Forest’s performance in the first half though, they nullified any threat we had and worked tirelessly, with a definite threat on the counter attack. This continued for most of the second half.

In the second period, we didn’t start well, Pochettino didn’t make any substitutions and the players on the pitch just didn’t look at all capable of hitting the back of the net or showing that intensity that we lacked in the first half. We got what we deserved in the 61st minute, Nottingham Forest got in behind our defence, got the ball into the box and Grant slotted home for 0-1, way too easily. This though, kickstarted Tottenham into action, at last! Mauricio Pochettino made two substitutions, Ryan Mason & Harry Kane. Tottenham fans were a little wary with these two subs, instead of Erik Lamela & Christian Eriksen, but Pochettino’s choice was justified when Ryan Mason, in just his 5th appearance for Tottenham and 1st of the season, received the ball from Ben Davies about 30 yards out from the goal, took a touch and smashed the ball into the net, an incredible goal with brilliant technique. Then, it flowed from there. 10 minutes later Andros Townsend got the ball from Ryan Mason outside the box, with only one thing in his mind – a shot – he took his chance but his disappointing effort found Roberto Soldado, who stuck out a boot and the ball flew into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 Tottenham over a now tired Nottingham Forest team. We were controlling the game, as we had all match, but, this time there was an incredible difference in how much more threatening we were in the final third. The introduction of Erik Lamela furthered the pace we had up front, and it was he who found the killer pass to Harry Kane in the 91st minute, who secured our place in the 4th round with a calm finish into the far bottom corner. Game over.

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There were some really frustrating performances in this match, with players capable of more not showing their true ability. In a game which gives you a platform to show what you can do, ahead of a North London Derby, I was expecting more from our fringe players, you’re fighting for your place, show the boss and everyone at Spurs what you can do! A few players did exactly that; and none better than substitute Ryan Mason, who showed everything you’d want from a Tottenham player coming on – passion, desire, enthusiasm and that bit of quality you need in difficult situations such as this match. It’s always great to see an academy product be involved in the first team, and I hope we can see Mason more and more as the season goes on. He was my man of the match, even though he didn’t start the game. It wasn’t just only his goal, either, he showed composure on the ball and got his head up, always looking forward, which is exactly what you want from a Tottenham midfielder. Another who did well was Kyle Naughton, he gets his fair share of stick but he is a decent right back who has been played out of position at left back far too often. In his favourable position on the right, he 8 times out of 10 puts in a good shift, so he is a valuable squad player. It’s great to see Roberto Soldado get a goal at White Hart Lane, it was a quick thinking finish and we pray to God it is one of many he can get this season.

A good win, in the end! Improvement needed in our performance but we got the job done and are into the 4th Round of the Capital One Cup, where we will face Brighton and Hove Albion at White Hart Lane. Next up though is the big one, the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium, Saturday 27th September, an evening kick off in the Premier League. Anything can happen, keep faith and support the team. Let’s get this season off and running once and for all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Nottingham Forest:
Vorm – 6
Naughton – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 6
Bentaleb – 5
Stambouli – 6.5
Lennon – 7
Townsend – 6.5
Paulinho – 4.5
Soldado – 6.5.

Subs:
Mason – 8 – Man of the Match.
Kane – 6.5
Lamela – 6.

Match highlights:

Pochettino’s reaction:

Townsend & Mason reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match date & time: Wednesday 24th September 2014. 7:45pm KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Our Capital One Cup campaign starts here; with a tough match against the Championship league leaders. Tottenham Hotspur and it’s players have to want & fight to win every competition entered, but it’s always difficult to use the squad in a good way which doesn’t effect it too much in the Premier League, which is always the main focus, especially with the North London Derby coming up on Saturday. We have a strong squad, with a lot of depth and we have the gift of being able to rotate the starting 11 in the Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. We have to look to go far in every competition, but this takes mental & physical strength from the players. This game against Nottingham Forest is important for Tottenham, not just because it would be great to go far in the Capital One Cup, but because we need a win after a short drought. Especially ahead of a North London Derby, we need to go in with a win and possibly a little boost of the confidence.

Nottingham Forest have been fantastic this season. They are unbeaten in all competitions after 9 games, winning 7 and drawing 2. Under new boss Stuart Pearce the club have been very impressive, with the Forest legend reinvigorating both the players & the fans, which has now turned into a winning mentality. This team will be no push over, they have good players but it is their togetherness as a team that makes them so much of a threat and difficult opposition. For Tottenham, our form has dwindled since a loss to Liverpool at White Hart Lane, going 4 games without a win in all competitions; this game represents a chance to end that run dead before four difficult fixtures against Arsenal, Besiktas, Southampton and Manchester City. Having the game against Nottingham Forest at White Hart Lane makes me more confident, despite our loss to West Brom at the Lane the past weekend.

The team news for Nottingham Forest is that club captain Jack Cohen, Jack Hobbs, Jack Hunt, Matty Fryatt & former Spur Andy Reid will not feature for the Reds. The main threat for Nottingham Forest is their striker Britt Assombalonga; he has incredible strength and a clinical Goalscoring rate so far this season. In the Championship, Assombalonga has 8 goals in 8 appearances, which highlights his incredible ability to get goals, important ones too. Last season he was with Peterborough in League 1, scoring 33 goals in 58 appearances in all competitions. Now, he’s showing he can cut it in the Championship. Another very important attacking threat for Nottingham Forest is winger Michail Antonio; the pacey, direct and effective wide man has 5 goals in 10 games so far this season, which is a very good tally for a winger, he can provide but he can also contribute to scoring goals. He’s rapid, and alongside Assombalonga is a real threat in behind our defence, so we have to be on top of them from the start to nullify their threat.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal) remains out, but Andros Townsend is expected to return to the squad after a dead leg that kept him out of the game against West Brom. Roberto Soldado is expected to start up front, with Michel Vorm also expected to get his debut in goal. We have a fully fit squad expect for Kyle Walker, which is a rarity in Tottenham’s case. Hopefully, we can take advantage and get some good results in the near, near future.

Everyone knows Roberto Soldado’s story. The clinical striker from Spain coming to Spurs and failing to live up to the billing in his first season. I still believe there is a player in there, somewhere, buried underneath his personal doubt and lack of confidence. Glimmers of hope have emerged throughout the season (and a bit) that he’s been with us, and every game he plays is a chance for him to score a few goals and regain at least some of that confidence and clinical nature. It’s another chance for him at White Hart Lane against Nottingham Forest. A player with a lot to prove is Andros Townsend – after an injury in the second half of last season, he hasn’t regained the sort of form he had in the first half. Every game is a good chance for him to get up to scratch, but he needs to be more effective with assists and goals to have a chance of gaining a regular place in the starting 11, I’m sure he knows that. In defence, Federico Fazio has a chance to get his first appearance at White Hart Lane; every game will help him bed in to the side and understand his team mates more, and I think he will be paired with either Vlad Chiriches or Jan Vertonghen for this match against Nottingham Forest. Personally, I’d prefer Vlad to play, and save Vertonghen to play in the North London Derby on Saturday evening after being left out of the side to face West Brom.

A return to winning ways is on the agenda. A tough task against a flying Nottingham Forest, but at White Hart Lane we have to be confident of earning a place in the 4th round of the Capital One Cup. The game is televised on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, videos, pictures and more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get to the next round.. COYS!!

My predicted/proffered team to face Nottingham Forest at the Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Fazio – Chiriches – Davies
Lennon – Bentaleb – Stambouli – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Short views from Mauricio Pochettino on Nottingham Forest;

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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