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 West Ham.

Match date & time: Sunday 22nd February 2015. 12pm GMT Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It’s big game after big game at the moment, cup final after cup final. After losing to Liverpool in frustrating fashion, then a difficult draw to Fiorentina in the Europa League, we now need to get back on track with a good win in an important London derby with West Ham. The Cup final should be put to the back of our mind, and our only focus must be on the next game, and making this season a success with the attitude that our only challenge is to win the next match, not to finish ahead of Arsenal, not to finish in the top four, only to win our next match. Our defeat to Liverpool was difficult to take, we weren’t amazing, but probably deserved a point, which would have been considered a good result, but now we have to respond with a win in a massive game in terms of the League standing, and for the fans who after a 3-0 and 2-1 defeat to West Ham last season at the Lane, need to take revenge, for sure. We sit 6th in the Premier League table, and need to keep winning games to put pressure on the teams ahead of us, and this is a good opportunity at home to get another three points on the board. At home, we’re confident, and hopefully we can return to winning ways in great fashion in a big London derby.

West Ham have had a good season so far, and sit in a respectable 8th position in the Premier League, just behind Liverpool and Tottenham, and hold the title of ‘best of the rest’ that aren’t battling it out for European places, although I am sure West Ham would like to think they have a chance of gaining a European spot, as it isn’t fully beyond them yet. Their recent form has not been fantastic, with only 3 wins in 12 games, and in their last fixture, in the FA Cup away to West Brom they fell to a 4-0 thumping, so they will be looking to make amends, but on the flip side we will be looking to take advantage of what could be seen as a slump in form. Their last three games, against Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton saw the Hammers amass only 2 points, with draws to the Saints and the Red Devils, which could be seen as a good two points, but after only beating Bristol 1-0 in the FA Cup, along with dispatching struggling Hull and winning on penalties to Everton, it is only 2 wins in 10 Premier League matches, with 5 draws and 3 losses. Their form is dropping and they’ll need to improve rapidly to have a chance of keeping up with the teams ahead of them who are all hitting a good run of form.

Andy Carroll (knee) is the only definite absentee for the Hammers, while Chiekhou Kouyate (arm) and Diafra Sakho (back) are slight doubts, but along with Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins are expected to be in the squad that travels to White Hart Lane, and as key players for West Ham, would be likely to be involved from the start. New signing Nene is also set to be absent due to a lack of match fitness. West Ham have quite a few good players, and up top Diafra Sakho is the Hammers’ top scorer, with 10 goals in all competitions, and his strength and finishing prowess have been very impressive in his first season in English football. He will be the main threat for the Irons, and they will be looking to get the service that he needs to be effective. The player that will be looking to provide that service will be Stewart Downing, who has 5 goals in the Premier League, but also has a notable 7 assists, cementing himself as a very effective player to West Ham this season, which has earned him an England call up this season, so we will be looking to contain his threat from either the wings or from his more central position. In midfield, the man that has made the Irons tick has been former Arsenal player and now on loan from Barcelona, Alex Song, who has proven himself a valuable and experienced man in the midfield for West Ham, earning a lot of plaudits from fans and journalists. Along with Song, Sakho and Downing, Enner Valencia has the pace and energy to cause problems, he has 4 goals this season, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally.Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 15.34.26
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a clean bill of health, with no suspensions either, and it’s so pleasing that this has been the case for quite a while. Only DeAndre Yedlin is the definite absentee having been with the USMNT. There will definitely be rotation from the side that drew with Fiorentina at the Lane, Harry Kane replacing goalscorer Roberto Soldado, with Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason expected to return as well, hopefully fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game with West Ham. Obviously you would expect Eric Dier and Danny Rose also to come back in to replace Ben Davies and Federico Fazio.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane will once again have the eyes of the public on him, to see if he can continue his remarkable form, with 23 goals in 36 games, in another really big game against another London rival. He has come into this big patch of games in stunning form and we need him to continue that coming into the last part of the season, including our humungous Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1st; hopefully the January player of the month can continue his February performances. Harry Kane has been joined in his good form by Mousa Dembele, who as well as hitting the net away at Liverpool in our 3-2 loss, was arguably our best player with Harry Kane; on the ball Mousa is phenomenal and he has improved drastically recently in the position just behind the striker, it enables the big Belgian to be more involved in the match and increase his effectiveness in the game, which can only be positive for Tottenham because of his ability to hold onto the ball and bring his team mates into the action. Mousa’s Belgian team mate Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic so far this season, and is showing his class at the back alongside either Fazio or Dier, showing his leadership qualities but also his ability in defence to keep opponents quiet. His tackling talent is second to none in our side, but also his composure to pick a pass and start attacks from the back. I have been extremely impressed with his performances this season after being poor last term, he has rediscovered his best form, and credit goes to Jan for working hard, but also Mauricio Pochettino for re-motivating the Belgian defender after looking disillusioned at Spurs last season. In midfield, we rely on Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb to provide the energy and tenacity in midfield, and they have delivered magnificently recently. Hopefully though, both players can tighten up their passing after a sloppy display against Liverpool, but to be fair that applies to the whole team who were slightly sloppy. Christian Eriksen has been fantastic this season, but in recent games he has been slightly ineffective and had a poor game against Fiorentina, so we need him to pick up his performance levels, because he is so important to Tottenham playing well; hopefully he can find his passing range again and maybe find the net again, as he has a little bit of a dip in form, but there’s no doubting he’ll come back into form very soon.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham.

– There have been three red cards in the last two Premier League meetings between West Ham and Spurs.

– Prior to West Ham’s win at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham had won seven and lost none of the previous 11 home games against the Hammers.

– Tottenham have conceded 497 goals in Premier League history at White Hart Lane.

– Eight of Spurs’ last 10 Premier League victories have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Tottenham Hotspur have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

– Spurs have recovered the joint-most points from losing positions of any team in the Premier League (15 along with Palace).

– West Ham have scored more headed goals (14) than any other Premier League team this season, also accounting for a divisional high 39% of total scored.

– The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W1 D4 L3).

– Injured striker Andy Carroll has scored in two of his three Barclays Premier League games for West Ham against Tottenham.

Another big game, bringing us back into Premier League action with a bang in another London derby against a definite rival where revenge is definitely on the cards after our previous losses to the Hammers. The game is live on BT Sport, but I will be sure to provide updates for goals, photos and videos from my twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get back to winning ways in another big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Ham at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the West Ham match:

Match Preview, Liverpool vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Tuesday 10th February 2015. 8pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Anfield.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

After triumphing in the North London Derby, we almost instantly have to re-focus on what is another massive game against a really good side, wanting to continue our good form and build on the fantastic result against Arsenal. The way in which we played was admirable, and now we have to replicate that intensity and energy this Tuesday against an energetic, creative Liverpool side, who at home are very difficult to beat, and always recognised as a side with a brilliant record at Anfield, with the Kop behind them. With the form we are in, we have to look to keep this momentum going and with confidence elevated within the squad we have all the tools to succeed in Merseyside against a good side, but one that is still finding it’s feet after the sale of Luis Suarez. At the moment we sit in 5th place, just one point off Manchester United in 4th and two points away from Southampton in 3rd, and now we must be looking to break our way into that top four bracket, and have a good opportunity to keep up the pressure with a win at Anfield, as tough as the game will no doubt be. I think we go into the game without fear; we have a team functioning well, that now knows that on their day, can beat any side in the League, and the good mentality that has been grinded into their make up by Mauricio Pochettino is starting to pay off magnificently, as the side never looks like losing, and even if we do go a goal behind there isn’t panic, and we always seem to be self-assured that we will snatch a goal or two with the quality we have up top, so, heading into another big game at Anfield, I’m confident of taking at least a point, and I’m sure Pochettino and the players feel the same.

Focusing on Liverpool; after a tough start to their season, with the loss of Luis Suarez, and the failure to settle in by some of their big signings, it was a turbulent beginning, with intense media scrutiny on their performances and results, but, they have recently started to pick up their displays and showcase more energy, creativity and goal threat than previously. They have hit good form, and in their last five Premier League games they have won 4 and drawn 1, and are unbeaten in 8 League fixtures, with their last loss coming to Manchester United, 3-0, back in mid December, so there is no doubt that we are coming into a very difficult fixture, with this Liverpool side in a winning mentality, despite their Merseyside derby bore draw at Goodison Park on Saturday evening. They will be high on confidence having gone unbeaten at Anfield in 9 games in all competitions, with only Chelsea back in early November scraping a 2-1 win. In our last game against the Merseyside giants, we fell to a 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane at the start of the season, being unlucky to lose by that scoreline, but deservedly losing the game at the very start of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at White Hart Lane. Then, the last time we visited Anfield was under Tim Sherwood’s tenure near the end of last season, a 4-0 defeat to a devastatingly good Liverpool side who had the power of Luis Suarez at their disposal, and a very well drilled and functioning side that was threatening for the League, whereas our side was to put it lightly, dysfunctional and poorly managed. Now though, it’s a different story and we will be looking to put the record straight after our poor displays in recent times against the Reds. We both had a derby on the Saturday, and we came out on top while Liverpool couldn’t get on the scoreboard in a 0-0 draw, and now we’ll be hoping we can keep Liverpool at bay and grab another three points within three days.

The team news for Liverpool is that key man Phillipe Coutinho have recovered from knock in the game against Everton to be fit for this game, but Lucas Leiva (groin), Brad Jones (hip), Raheem Sterling (foot) and John Flanagan (knee) are out, while Adam Lallana is in line to return to contention after a groin injury, which will be a big plus for the Reds. There is no doubting that having Phillipe Coutinho fit for the Reds will be a God send for Liverpool, who rely on him for creativity, goals and their overall ability to impact games and change them in Liverpool’s favour. Coutinho, recently, has been brilliant, and has 3 goals and 5 assists so far this season, which isn’t spectacular, but recently he has upped his game and become a more integral part of the Liverpool side, and has a similar effect on the side that Christian Eriksen has to our side, with his ability to see passes and gaps, as well as spread the play and contribute with goals and assists. Unfortunately for Liverpool, England and Daniel Sturridge, the striker has been side lined for a long period of time, but is now starting to get back into his stride, and returned against West Ham with a goal, and made an appearance from the bench against Everton at the week-end and will be hoping he can get back into the starting line up as soon as possible, but youngster Jordan Ibe may have something to say about that! The 21-year-old attacker was electric in the Merseyside derby and will be hoping he can get a sustained period of time in the side, and have his effect on Liverpool’s fortunes, he has pace, good technique and can cause problems for defenders. He is certainly one to watch out for in a dangerous Liverpool attacking group.
Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 23.09.11
The team news for Tottenham is that DeAndre Yedlin is the only absentee from the squad due to international duty with the USMNT, but other than that our side is 100% fit, healthy and raring to go, and long may it continue! Nabil Bentaleb returned to fantastic effect against Arsenal, but it was Andros Townsend who missed out on the 18 man squad who will be looking to fight his way back in, along with Younes Kaboul, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue and Emmanuel Adebayor, who’s futures don’t look bright at Tottenham at this moment in time.

There seems to be only one man who I can talk about at the moment and that man is Harry Kane. He is beyond unbelievable and is in nothing short of World Class form, hitting the 22-goal mark against Arsenal and continuing to silence any doubters he has left. Now, another big game is looming large and we are looking to the 21-year-old man in form to deliver once again and outshine the other English firepower in the ranks of Liverpool. You can see that he is enjoying himself on the field, and is relaxed about his chances, as he knows that when he gets one, he will take it, and he is being brilliantly clinical in front of the two posts. His all round game is the best in the Premier League at the moment, and every pundit across the land is running out of superlatives for the man who performs beyond disbelief. Now, after dismantling Arsenal and Chelsea, I am sure Harry Kane’s eyes are lighting up at the prospect of adding another side to his collection of goals. I don’t think anyone would put it past him! Mousa Dembele is along with the rest of the side who have been overshadowed by Kane’s greatness, as quietly in the background the powerful Belgian has been performing admirably just behind the striker, holding the ball and moving it beautifully, and really making the side tick over nicely, and against Liverpool, with the absence of Lucas Leiva, the grit in midfield, I think Mousa could have a big impact on the outcome of this game, and if he can get into his stride and effect the game in a similar way that he did against Arsenal, then I think along with Harry Kane, Mousa could be a vital part of any success. In the engine, it’s Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason who are putting in the work, and we will need them to be at the top of their games, to harass the creative spark of Liverpool’s midfield and take control of the game with their energetic and positive way of playing the game, and Nabil Bentaleb’s more offensive nature could be key as well, being the player who provided the inch perfect cross for Harry Kane’s winning header in the North London Derby. He really is a bright prospect for the future, and I look forward to seeing him develop even further. In defence, the partnership of Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen is looking very fruitful, with the defenders not only building a good understanding between themselves, but also their fullbacks, with Dier and Walker interchanging and helping each other well, and the same for Vertonghen and Rose. Dier has really showed his maturity in that centre back position, and showed how much better suited to that role he is than at right back.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League home matches against Spurs (W13 D6 L1).

– Spurs managed just one shot on target when they entertained Liverpool at White Hart Lane earlier in the season.

– Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur in the fixture with the most own goals in Premier League history (9), with three of them being netted by Jamie Carragher.

– The Reds have scored 15 goals in the last four Premier League meetings with Spurs, while the Lilywhites have failed to register on the score sheet in any of the last three.

– Liverpool have won just four of their last 11 Premier League home matches (W4 D5 L2).

– Liverpool scored their 10th Premier League penalty against Tottenham in the reverse fixture last August. This took them clear of Manchester City against Aston Villa as the team with most penalties against a single opponent.

– Spurs have won five of their last seven Premier League away games.

– All seven matches in that run have seen exactly three goals scored and finished either 2-1 or 3-0.

– Jordan Henderson has scored in two of his last three Premier League games against Spurs.

– Harry Kane has now scored 22 goals in all competitions this season; more than any other Premier League player.

– Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 14 appearances for Spurs in all competitions.

Another massive game looming large! A trip to Anfield after a North London Derby, and we have to put the win to the back of our minds and focus fully on gaining another big win against a fellow top 4 competitor. It’s another chance for the players to show that this side is one that can compete for the Champions League positions this season, and hopefully we are able to complete what would be a brilliant couple of weeks, securing our place at Wembley, triumphing in the North London Derby, and then winning at Anfield is what dreams are made of for Spurs fans! The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, but you can follow me on twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs, for all the match updates including goals, videos, photos and much more. Give us a follow and let’s get three points! COYS!!

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

Mauricio Pochettino previews the trip to Merseyside:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match date & time: Saturday 7th February 2015. 12:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be seen HERE.

It’s the North London Derby! The match that both Arsenal fans and Tottenham fans look out for first when the season’s fixtures are released to the World; and I certainly can’t wait for the contest to begin. Both sides that are in good form, with no obvious winner, with players in incredible form too, doing brilliant things, and it really is going to be a phenomenal competition between two really good sides with high confidence. Goals are always expected – drama and aggression a certainty, with a pinch of guile and creativity. There have been so many fantastic North London Derbies, and I think there is a big chance that we get another high scoring, but extremely competitive match with the sides having such high confidence, I don’t think either side has even contemplate that they could lose and so it is a very intriguing match. Despite the bragging rights being on the line, this is also a really massive came because of the context of the Premier League table, Tottenham sitting 6th and Arsenal lying 5th, with just 2 points between the sides, so a win could do a lot not only for confidence, but for our position in the League, as we could go 4th depending on Southampton’s result. I am always excited for these derby games, against the ‘big’ sides where the foundations of White Hart Lane are rocked and you can feel the tension and nerves lying on palms; it’s time to do the business, Tottenham!

Arsenal have had an very inconsistent season so far, but sit 5th in the table after hitting a real good run of form in the last five matches, winning all five, scoring 15 goals in these 5 games and conceding only 2, in 1 game against Brighton in the FA Cup. So, they come into the derby in good form, hitting a run of consistency and playing with confidence, but in the North London Derby, whatever your prior results are can’t be an indication of what will happen in the match, as simply anything can happen, from red cards, injuries, stunning strikes and so many other anomalies within the game, that can stray so far from the norm. Arsenal’s last clash was against Aston Villa at the Emirates, a 5-0 win, and they come into the game assured of their quality and ready to compete, and will try to take solace from their last visit to White Hart Lane, where they grinded out a 1-0 win after an early Thomas Rosicky strike, despite pressure from a Tim Sherwood guided Tottenham, but a lot has changed since then, and in our trip to the Emirates earlier this season, we put on a really good show, we were great on the counter attack and very solid at the back and managed a 1-1 draw; Nacer Chadli getting our goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain got the equaliser. Now, we’ll be looking to go one step further and turn a draw into three points, but I am sure Arsenal will be trying everything to do exactly the same. Hopefully, we get a game that lives up to the build-up and hype around the fixture. A classic, but one that turns out as a Spurs win!

The team news for Arsenal is that star man Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) is a major injury doubt, while goal scorer last time out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), captain Mikel Arteta (foot), right back Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) and injury connoisseur Abou Diaby (calf) are all ruled out of the match, while Danny Welbeck (hip) is expected to return to the squad after his injury. Despite the absentees that arsenal seem to always have, they still possess some real talents, and at the moment creative midfielder Santi Cazorla is in a rich vain of form, and has really contributed to his sides recent upturn in performances, he has 6 goals and 6 assists so far this Premier League season, and was vital in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over the champions Manchester City, providing the spark that guided them to victory. And, with Sanchez ruled out, they will be relying on the Spaniard for inspiration in attack, along with record signing Mesut Ozil who has returned to the side and provided a great performance against Aston Villa and will be looking to build on his displays in the coming games, but hopefully he doesn’t continue to influence games in the way Arsenal fans would like! As well as their creative options; in midfield Francis Coquelin has added some steel, organisation and aggression to Arsenal’s team and they will look to utilise his qualities to attempt to control our own creativity, with Lamela, Eriksen and Chadli, as well as Ryan Mason in central midfield. The battle in midfield, I think, will determine the outcome of the match; the energy and tenacity of ours and the guile and creativity of theirs. It will be quite a match up.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb is back in the frame after the African Cup of Nations with Algeria, and Mauricio Pochettino says that the 20 year old, energetic midfielder is ‘100%’ and ready for the game, and I would not be surprised to see the passionate youngster thrown straight back in along Ryan Mason, as both work very well together and know the importance of this sort of match, and I am sure they could run the midfield, even if it would be harsh to take Mousa Dembele out of the line up. With Nabil Bentaleb back from international duty, new signing DeAndre Yedlin is still with the USMNT, and not available for the match.

There are so many key battles, including Theo Walcott vs Danny Rose, Olivier Giroud vs Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane vs Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin vs Nabil Bentaleb. All of these small battles within the match are so interesting, and so close, these individual clashes will determine the final outcome; whether it’s Harry Kane bossing Laurent Koscielny or Giroud getting the better if Vertonghen; these things are so important. In my view, the player that makes us tick is Christian Eriksen, he’s the one that finds the space in midfield, spreads the play, and when he plays well, the team revolve around him; if he can step it up and get to top form, we’ll be in very good shape if we’re able to contain the threat from Arsenal – I am sure we will be able to find the space to hurt this Arsenal team, with Eriksen finding the gaps. Plus, if we can get a free kick in the final third of the pitch, I’d definitely bet on him converting! Harry Kane has been a revelation so far this season, and as he’s a Spurs fan, he knows exactly what this fixture means to the fans, to the club and everyone around the club and now it’s his chance to affect the game himself and score the goals to win the game, it would complete the fairy-tale, of the youth product coming up through the ranks, becoming a key player, and then destroying our bitter rivals. It’s perfect, no? Hopefully our dreams can come true. His performance at West Brom was excellent, and his display against Chelsea was electric, now, he has the chance to make his impact on the North London Derby, and in the form he’s in, with his confidence so high, I have no doubt that he will. He’s a machine. In midfield, Mousa Dembele has had a good couple of games, but in this game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nabil Bentaleb partner another Spurs fan in Ryan Mason, and in this game, you need the players to understand what it means, to have that fight in their belly, to go into the tackle without fear, but with aggression and desire – and Bentaleb and Mason have that sort of attitude and can make this derby feisty and exciting, as it should always be. On the wing, Nacer Chadli has been brilliant, and in the last North London Derby, he was excellent, and got the goal for Tottenham and cemented himself as a cult hero for Tottenham when he shushed the Arsenal fans at the Emirates and sent the Spurs fans into delirium; hopefully he can do the same at White Hart Lane, he’s certainly got the appetite for it!

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have lost just one of their last six Premier League home games against North London rivals Arsenal (W3 D2 L1).

– Theo Walcott has scored four and assisted three goals in his last six Barclays Premier League appearances against Tottenham.

– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals in North London derbies than any other player (10 – eight for Arsenal, two for Spurs). Adebayor is one of only two players to score for both sides in a North London derby along with Jimmy Robertson.

– Spurs and Arsenal have drawn 18 times in the Premier League, making it the most drawn fixture in the history of the competition.

– Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 32 Premier League matches against the Gunners.

– Arsenal have not managed back to back away wins in the Premier League this season and have only managed it once since January 2014.

– Tottenham have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League (6) while Arsenal have won the most (6).

– Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last six Premier League appearances.

– David Ospina has as many clean sheets in the Premier League this season as Wojciech Szczesny (3).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last six Premier League home matches (W4 D2).

There’s no bigger home Premier League fixture than Arsenal. All fans can put to bed their differences on opinion and unite in their desire to beat Arsenal. It’s a magical fixture, and one in which the best players shine, and crave success. Hopefully, this Saturday can be one of success for Tottenham Hotspur, because the fans are craving this result with all their hearts. I certainly am. The game is live on BT Sport 1, and I will be giving live updates with goals, photos, videos and more; follow me on twitter for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Arsenal at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Arsenal press conference:

Match Review, West Brom vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 31st January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

Result: West Brom 0-3 Tottenham.

Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 6’, Kane 15′, 64’.

A really, really good win. You can’t get much better than 3-0 away from home, scoring great goals and keeping a clean sheet makes it the perfect win. The whole occasion was very comfortable, we passed the ball swiftly and accurately, and constantly looked a threat to the Albion goal, with the interplay between Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele & Erik Lamela. Going ahead early made it much easier to keep West Brom at bay, hold the ball and play at our own pace, able to up the speed of play when we wanted to, and slow it down also. West Brom weren’t able to get their foot into the game and affect it in the way they would have wanted to; we were just too powerful, too intricate and too good for what is a side that don’t have the sheer quality in their ranks that we do. This win is crucial, going into a very tough February, we needed to pick up three points and now we go into these difficult fixtures with conviction and confidence, and we certainly will not fear any fixture, with the form that we have hit. Facing Arsenal, Liverpool and Fiorentina in this form is a good thing, and we will look to win all of those contests. After securing a spot at Wembley, and winning comfortably against West Brom, it hasn’t been a bad week to be a Tottenham fan. Now let’s hope February and March top January!

In the first half, it was Christian Eriksen who commenced the scoring, with his 11th goal of the season from a free kick. He has become an expert from the dead ball, and it was another scrumptious curling effort, which alluded West Brom’s Ben Foster and nestled into the back of the net for what was a picture-perfect start to the game. We controlled the tempo after that, with Mason and Dembele shifting the ball around with relative ease, and then we picked up the pace, and the ball found it’s way into the path of Mousa Dembele who dribbled with the ball before releasing it into the quick feet of Harry Kane, who took two touched before smashing the ball past Ben Foster before he could say ‘goal’, and the scoreboard showed 2-0, with just 15 minutes played and it was looking healthy for Tottenham and rather miserable for the Baggies. After the second goal, it’s natural, although frustrating for Tottenham to just take their foot off the pedal and try and control the possession, but we couldn’t really contain West Brom, who settled into the game and started to have more possession, be more threatening and create good chances. And they forced two magnificent saves out of Hugo Lloris, first from long range from James Morrison and then Claudio Yacob from just outside the six-yard box. Saved by our captain Lloris, once again. After these chances, we wanted to see half time come about quite quickly, as the pressure mounted, but we saw this spell through to half time and at half time, we looked in a fantastic position to win the game, if we could build on our two goal lead in the next period.

The second half was not all guns blazing by any means; West Brom created a few chances here and there but were never overly threatening, and apart from Christian Eriksen going extremely close from outside the box, we didn’t create a hell of a lot either, but we were still a threat on the ball; we were patient, and we probed with the ball in midfield, with Harry Kane always moving in front of the midfield, looking for an opening, and after Hugo Lloris making another brilliant save, this time from Victor Anichebe, it was Tottenham who got the vital third goal to kill the game, the goal which Mauricio Pochettino has been craving for so long, to kill a game and be comfortable, and not have to rely on a late goal, and it was Harry Kane who got it from the spot, Kyle Walker fizzing a ball low into the box and hitting a hand of a West Brom defender, granting us the penalty, and Harry Kane converting with ease on 64 minutes, finishing off the game. And that penalty wasn’t just Kane’s second of the match, it was his 20th of the season for Tottenham, a simply magnificent achievement for a player who has come on leaps and bounds this season, and will no doubt continue to develop, and cement his place as one of the best strikers in the Premier League at the moment, I am not over exaggerating when I say he is on his way to becoming a complete player, he can do everything. We continued, after the third goal, to hold the ball well, but West Brom tried to get the ball a bit more and succeeded, but they simply couldn’t get the ball into the net, and past the unbelievable Hugo Lloris, as well as Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio, who were very assuring at the back, and kept Saido Berahino very quiet. We strolled into the final whistle with the three-goal lead and three points secured, being a brilliant performance and result.West+Bromwich+Albion+v+Tottenham+Hotspur+Premier+JB9pNzcfvZvx
There’s no doubt who the man of the match award goes to; Harry Kane scored twice, worked extremely hard and linked up really well with his fellow attackers, he kept Dawson and McCauley ever so busy all through the game until he was replaced by Roberto Soldado to cheers of ‘He’s one of our own!’ from the travelling support. As I have said, he’s now at 20 goals for the season and there is no doubt that he will go on to get around 30 this season, even more, because he is so lively, in every game he plays, even when he isn’t scoring he’s affecting games, making space, assisting team mates and working hard – he is without doubt the most improved player in the Premier League this season, and being 21, there is still so much more he will learn, and he will continue to improve throughout this season, and throughout his long Tottenham career. As well as the phenomenal Harry Kane, you have the magnificent Christian Eriksen, who seems to just continue to produce, game after game, after game, and he did that once again in this match, with a perfect free kick, and he threatened throughout the game as well, with his intricate passing and ability to run with the ball and effect the game; he is a joy to watch and his class from the dead ball is something you can never get bored of, he is such an intelligent player, and I am so glad that he is Spurs. After being in the peripheral of the Spurs team, Mousa Dembele’s performance today, especially in the first half was very good; his ability on the ball is second to none, and recently, he has been able to provide that killer touch too of an assist, key pass or chance created, which is exactly what we have always wanted from Dembele, and you have to credit Pochettino, as he has put him in a more offensive position and it is paying dividends, as he notched the assist for the second goal, and also won the foul that led to Christian Eriksen’s wonder free kick. Consistency in his performances is key, and with two good performances in a row, hopefully he can kick on and become a big and important member of the squad, like he was when he first joined the club. Hugo Lloris, what can I say? He makes crucial, phenomenal saves time and time again and is the indisputable best goalkeeper in the Premier League in my opinion; he is unbelievable and there aren’t enough superlatives in the world to describe him, so I will make one up, he’s ‘fantabuloumazing’! Special mention for Paulinho, who after being the forgotten man earlier in the season, has worked hard to regain fitness, to regain his touch and form, and then regain his place as part of the squad, and he played really well today, and I am hoping there is further improvement to come for the Brazilian, as his graft to get back in the side is commendable. Another mention as well for Jan Vertonghen, who I believe has been Mr Consistent at the back this season, and he has certainly rediscovered his best form alongside Eric Dier and Federico Fazio; he’s been brilliant and was again in this match, containing Saido Berahino and Victor Anichebe with relative comfort.

A magnificent three points! Next up is the North London Derby at White Hart Lane in the Premier League, and let’s hope we start February in a similar way to how we started January, with a comprehensive victory against a top 4 London side. The first month of January has been very kind to Tottenham; let’s hope the rest of the year is just as good, and we can be very successful. Follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!

My player ratings for the side that faced West Brom at the Hawthorns:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 8
Mason – 7.5 (Stambouli 72’ – 5)
Dembele – 8.5 (Chadli 62’ – 6.5)
Paulinho – 7.5
Lamela – 7
Eriksen – 9
Kane – 9.5 Man of the Match. (Soldado 88’ – N/A)

Mauricio Pochettino’s reaction to our 3-0 win over West Brom:

Harry Kane’s post match reaction:

Match Preview, West Brom vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 31st January 2015. 3pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

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

After making it to Wembley in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, our attention quickly turns back to the Premier League, and a challenging fixture against a reinvigorated West Brom side under the guidance of Premier League survival specialist Tony Pulis. Our confidence is high, our form is good and we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Wembley is on the horizon and we are in good positions in the Europa League with the knockout stages close and Premier League, where we sit only 3 points off of 4th spot, and 5 points off 3rd. It hasn’t been the perfect start under Mauricio Pochettino, but you offered this situation to him at the start of his reign as Tottenham boss, I am sure he would of snapped your hand off and said thank you very much. There is no doubt that we have seen significant improvement under the Argentinian, not only in our fitness, but in the side’s mentality and will to win; there is a certain toughness that wasn’t here 6 months ago, and self belief is most definitely running through the veins of the players. What we want to see now is further improvement; more comfortable victories, a more fluid style of play and consistency in our performances over all three competitions that we are still involved in. But, at this moment in time, I don’t think I can complain at all, because as seasons go, this is shaping up to be quite a successful one!

West Brom have had a turbulent season, starting under the unpopular manager choice of Alan Irvine, who lost his job after a run of only 2 victories in 14 matches, the club turned to Tony Pulis, who was manager of the year last season with Crystal Palace, and now things look more rosy for the Albion, having now gone unbeaten under Pulis in 5 games, winning 3 and drawing 2. A January unbeaten is what the Baggies will be looking to achieve, and it will be a tough test at the Hawthorns to stop that. Last time we faced West Brom was at the Lane, and the Albion triumphed 1-0 thanks to a James Morrison header in a gloomy day in North London, and now we will look to retaliate with a victory of our own on their home turf. Last time we visited the Hawthorns, it was a six-goal thriller, with West Brom taking a three goal lead in the first half an hour, before we clawed it back in the second half to 3-3 thanks to goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and an own-goal from Jonas Olsson. It was late heroics from Christian Eriksen that acquired us the point, hopefully this time he can help us claim all three. Tony Pulis will make sure his side is well disciplined, difficult to break down and at full concentration throughout the 90 minutes, so it will be very challenging to score the goals we want to, and we will have to rely on Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli to spot the small gaps, or pounce on small mistakes and make them pay, as well as keeping our guard up to what I am sure will be a team set up to counter attack with pace, with the likes of Saido Berahino and Stephane Sessegnon able to use that speed to stretch defences and cause problems.

The team news for the Baggies is that back up keeper Boaz Myhill (finger) is facing a late fitness test, while Jonas Olsson (calf) and Youssef Mulumbu (hamstring) are ruled out. The good news for the Albion is that new signing from Wigan Callum McManaman, who scored against Spurs in his last appearance against us, is available and in the squad to face us, and he could use his craftiness to West Brom’s advantage for sure. As well as McManaman, West Brom will look to young striker Saido Berahino, who has been in great form so far this season for the Baggies, bagging (pun intended) 14 goals in 27 appearances, which has earned him interest from clubs such as Liverpool, and even Tottenham, so there is no doubt who will be down as West Brom’s danger man in the Spurs dressing room. A player who I enjoy watching a lot, is Stephane Sessegnon, and he is without doubt West Brom’s most skilful and intelligent player in the final third, as he can contribute with goals and assists, but probably not as much as he could do, with only 1 goal this season, and 3 assists, which I must say is not as impressive as it should be for a player with a great footballing mind. Along with Berahino and Sessegnon, in midfield they will look to the craft of Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and James Morrison to move the ball around and create chances, with the Albion relying on Yacob to be the holding man in midfield, and most likely stick like a fly to honey on Christian Eriksen. There is no doubting that this West Brom side will be set up really well, and will work their socks off in defence and midfield.Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 21.13.48
The team news for Tottenham is that Nacer Chadli returns after compassionate leave, while Hugo Lloris returns after a short break and Mauricio Pochettino reports no injury concerns, while DeAndre Yedlin and Nabil Bentaleb are away on international duty for the USA and Algeria respectively. It isn’t often that we can boast a fully fit squad, and with the heavy fixture list it is important that we take full advantage, but we must make sure the side isn’t rotated too much, so that it doesn’t alter our rhythm or the team’s understanding. The return of Nacer Chadli and Hugo Lloris is vital, and I hope they can make a big impact to help us achieve victory at the Hawthorns this Saturday.

Against Sheffield United, Mousa Dembele was fantastic, on the ball he was positive, imaginative and inventive and he gave us control in the game when he got on the ball. He is such a brilliant talent, and when he turns it up, he can be as good as any player in the Premier League, which makes it so frustrating to see him as a bit part player in our side, when if he could take games by the scruff of the neck, he could quite easily cement a place in our starting eleven. I would like to see him given a chance to start in the Premier League, as another chance to be consistent in his performances and hopefully he can give us control of the game against West Brom in the centre of the park if he is given the opportunity by Mauricio Pochettino; he definitely deserves it after his midweek performance. He speaks for himself with his performances and goals, but I am going to mention him again, especially after his incredible, match winning brace in midweek – Christian Eriksen is wonderful, on the ball, from set pieces and in front of goal, and he has been crucial to any success we have had so far this season, and we will be trusting him again to deliver in another important game, after notching 10 goals already this season. Nacer Chadli is back in contention, and we have missed his effectiveness in front of goal, as well as his link up play with Eriksen & Kane, and general wing play on the left hand side. Hopefully Nacer can pick up where he left off before the tragic passing of his father, and he can continue to generate such great form, but if he isn’t quite fit enough, then I hope he can make an impact from the bench. Up front, Harry Kane is enduring a slight goal drought by his standards, and I am sure he will be eager to end that barren spell with a goal or two, but even if he doesn’t, he still produces such a fantastic work ethic, and his link up play has been superb.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– West Brom’s win over Spurs earlier this season ended a run of nine Barclays Premier League games without a win over the Londoners (W0 D5 L4).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last four Premier League trips to the Hawthorns (W2 D2).

– Christian Eriksen has scored in two of his three Premier League games against West Brom.

– Seven of Tottenham’s last eight Premier League wins have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Spurs’ record after 22 games this campaign is worse than each of the last five seasons.

– Tottenham have won 10 points with goals scored in the 88th minute or later this season; four more than any other side.

– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other team in the Premier League this season (6).

– No player has scored more winning goals than Christian Eriksen this season (5- level with Yaya Toure).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League appearances.

– Tottenham have lost just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W5 D2 L1).

Our concentration levels have to be up to scratch if we want to avoid West Brom doing the double over us this season. Hopefully, we will be professional and get the job done at the Hawthorns – it is important that we get some consistency, not only in our results but in our performances, and I would like to see us try and take control of the game early on and score an early goal, and build on that to kill the game off! It will no doubt be very tough though, and we will have to be at our best to break down a well drilled Pulis side. The game isn’t televised, but I will be providing goal updates, photos, videos and more at my twitter account, follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Brom at the Hawthorns:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Brom press conference:

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 Sunderland.

Match: Saturday 17th January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham goal scorers: Jan Vertonghen 3’, Christian Eriksen 88’.

Sunderland goal scorer: Sebastian Larsson 31’.

It’s becoming a habit now, winning late on in games, and one that brings a lot of pleasure to the fans, players, and Mauricio Pochettino. There are a lot of factors which have been shouted about as to why we have the ability to go the extra mile in the final stages of games, with some saying it’s character and will power, and others seeking technical improvements, such as fitness, and the sheer quality of Christian Eriksen. Whatever it is, it’s a pleasure to win in such fashion, even if it does make games a little more ‘nervy’; but that’s Tottenham, and it is entertaining! Our style of play hasn’t been very obvious this season under Pochettino, but it has been effective, and the manner we have won games that have looked certain draws or losses, is very impressive and a testament to Pochettino, who is certainly instilling belief into his players, and that is being broadcasted on the pitch. 2-1 has been a popular scoreline so far this season, and it does illustrate how difficult games have been for us, particularly against teams of lowly positioning in the League, who play scrappy football, but are successful in their attempt to disrupt our flow and rhythm, making us rely on our quality to thrust us through matches with three points. As the archaic saying goes, the sign of a good side is one that can win when playing badly. I think it is exciting to see us not play to our full potential, but still come out on top, as we all know there is more to come, when Pochettino has further implanted his philosophy into the team. This win keeps us right in the hunt for top four, and personally, although I told myself to keep expectations to a minimum this season, I have a sneaking belief that we could creep into the top four unexpectedly if we are to continue improving, and win our games against lower opposition. It’s definitely possible.

In the first half, we started very brightly, and got the goal almost immediately, when the ball in from Christian Eriksen rebounded around, before falling to the feet of Jan Vertonghen, who curled the ball into the crowd of players and acquired a deflection to lead the ball into the back of the net on 3 minutes, and showed off his ‘Super-Jan’ celebration once again, which had been missed sorely. A good start, and one that you think should lead us on to killing off the game and getting the three points, but unfortunately that is something that has lacked in our games this season, and we seem to become comfortable when going ahead, instead of improving our intensity, which is something a side like Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester City would do when going ahead so early in the game; and I think that’s the difference between our level and there’s, taking away the amount of World Class players they have compared to us! We pass the ball well, and we do create a good amount of chances, but I thought we lacked width in the first half, and Harry Kane was dropping too deep, leaving Roberto Soldado fairly isolated up top, which is never good. You have to query the decision of Pochettino to play in form Harry Kane out of position, to accommodate for the out of form Roberto Soldado. Christian Eriksen looked very lively in the first half, and was our key player once again, for creating openings in tight spaces for others and for himself – he is a breath-taking player, who we are privileged to have at Tottenham. Despite having most of the ball, and Sunderland not threatening us too much, despite having a claim for a penalty as Jermain Defoe went down after contact from goalscorer Jan Vertonghen, they did get the equaliser, as Jan Vertonghen took down Defoe again, and the referee did give the foul, and in a dangerous position the dangerous dead ball specialist Sebastian Larsson stepped up and perfectly slotted the ball into the top corner, out of the reach of Hugo Lloris who truly had no chance, and it needed to be special to beat him in the form he is in between the sticks. Frustratingly, we didn’t capitalise on our goal advantage and produce more goals, but instead we were right back at square one and had work to do in a crucial second half, with a second loss on the bounce to relegation threatened sides possibly on the cards, we had to deliver.

And in the second half, we did look a little better, you could identify our pressing game more, and we passed the ball more crisply. Christian Eriksen was creating chances again, and almost bagged his goal early on in the half, juggling the ball on his head, chest, knee, and then finally striking the ball just past the post; he was in scintillating form and it was a joy to watch; when Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well. Although we were creating decent opportunities, not enough were clear cut and a point wasn’t enough for us at home to a struggling side, who weren’t exactly putting on a show, and to be honest were fairly ordinary all game, and it would have definitely been two frustrating points dropped if the game had ended all square. But there was time left, and we were patient in our build up play, brought on a few substitutes, including Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho, who all added something to our play, especially Townsend who added width and pace down the right hand side, where we didn’t have a natural wide player. Emmauel Adebayor, who hadn’t played since November 9th of last year, was also fairly effective, and added a runner and a spearhead to our attack, which was good to see of a player who has been heavily criticised in recent times. After chances for Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor which didn’t find the back of the net, Andros Townsend drove down the right hand side from his own half to the edge of Sunderland’s 18 yard box, before lifting his head, and rolling a ball behind Harry Kane, but fortuitously into the path of the composed Christian Eriksen who slid the ball through the swarm of defenders to find the inside of the post and the inside of the net on 88 minutes to surely give us the win. But, that wasn’t the last talking point of the game, and probably not the biggest talking point, as Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went forward for the corner, but the corner was collected by Harry Kane who played in Paulinho in a lightening pace counter attack, with Jan Vertonghen racing forward and he was perfectly put in by Paulinho, and the already goalscorer expertly placed the ball into the back of the net for what seemed like 3-1 and a great win, only for the linesman to call for offside, even though the Belgian was inside his own half, and so immune from the offside rule, but it seems the linesman and Chris Foy are unaware of the rules they enforce! There would have been riots if that goal had been important to the result, but thankfully it only affects our goal difference. Thankfully, the result stayed the same and we gained the three points to put us 5th in the Premier League table.Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Sunderland+Premier+League+GFJbzwd5Po8x
We performed fairly well, but we certainly weren’t on top form, with Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli not at their brilliant best, it was Christian Eriksen who drove us forward, created chances, the joint highest of any player in Saturday’s games, and he made us collectively better, with his spreading of the play and ability on the ball; I couldn’t be anymore complimentary to the Dane, and his goal scoring rate is sensational so far this season, and he has been scoring winning goals for us all season long, spectacularly! He’s definitely my man of the match for this game. Our substitutes were effective, especially Andros Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor, who added pace and energy to our side, and helped us stretch the Sunderland defence. I don’t think anyone can deny that Adebayor’s form hasn’t been great, and he’s become something of a scapegoat for Tottenham fans, but when he came on he almost scored, he ran the channels well and almost provided a wonderful assist for Harry Kane – which isn’t bad for a cameo appearance for the Togolese striker linked with various different clubs throughout Europe and America. It’s unsure whether he has a long-term future at Spurs, but he’s a good outlet to have, with different attributes to our other strikers, possibly he does still hold a place in the squad, as he says he doesn’t want to leave. Jan Vertonghen has been very consistent at the back, and he provided a long awaited goal, but it’s not just his goal that makes his performance so good, he was a leader, who guided Eric Dier through his first Premier League start at centre back, and they did well to contain Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe. We did well to get the three points, and now we have to turn focus to an incredibly important game against Sheffield United in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.

A good win, even though our performance wasn’t top draw the result was crucial and we move to 5th in the Premier League and return to winning ways in the League after slipping up against Palace last week, now we need to get a run of results again and start it off with a good win in midweek in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Sheffield United at the Lane, and then we return to Premier League action against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns on the 31st of January, but prior to that we have cup duties to attend to with both legs of the Capital One Cup semi final, as well as the 4th round of the FA Cup up against Leicester. Hopefully January 2015 can be a very successful one in both the cups and the Premier League. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that faced Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 6
Dier – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 7
Stambouli – 7
Dembele – 7 (Townsend 75’ – 7.5)
Eriksen – 9
Chadli – 6.5 (Paulinho 86’ N/A)
Kane – 7.5
Soldado – 6 (Adebayor 61’ 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Saturday 17th January 2015. 3pm GMT kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

The games are coming around very quickly at this moment in time, and we are in a crucial period of the season in which we have the opportunity to go to Wembley in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield United, as well as progress in the FA Cup against Leicester, and all the while we have big games in the Premier League, where we will be looking to pick up maximum points away to West Brom, but first, our full attention must be on the game at the Lane against Sunderland, and pick up to the three points to keep us well in the hunt with the top sides in the League. Our home games against lower opposition are absolutely vital, with all points in the Premier League so valuable, we need to capitalise on all of our opportunities, and this struggling Sunderland side is a good opportunity to get three points on the board, even though it’s never an easy game. After losing away at Crystal Palace, in what was a very frustrating and unfortunate game, with a buoyant Palace side able to fight back – and in the end it was a big three points dropped; and now we need to try to make up for it and keep momentum going and beat Sunderland to get points on the board, but also to get back to winning ways heading into some massive games this month. After beating Burnley 4-2 in the FA Cup, we gained back a little bit of momentum, but in the cup it is different to the Premier League, and our importance in performance and results is mostly judged on our League form, which has been good up until our slip up to Palace – and we will be hoping that it is just a slip up, and we can get right back up and on track with a win against the Black Cats.

Sunderland sit 16th in the Premier League table, and are in the relegation battle this season, with former Spur Gus Poyet in a little bit of a situation after winning only once in ten games and twice in 13, with 20 points from 21 games, which certainly isn’t setting the world alight, and they have developed a reputation for being the draw specialists of the Premier League, with only 3 wins this season, and 11 draws, which I am sure would be frustrating for the Sunderland fans, and Gus Poyet will be hoping he can get some more wins on the board to help guard from criticism and release the pressure on Poyet and Sunderland. The Black Cats have had some tough fixtures recently, and haven’t picked up any points in the last two games against Liverpool and Arsenal, and if they go three games without any points on the board, I’m sure Poyet’s job will be in jeopardy. But, from a Tottenham perspective, it’s a real chance to finish off what is already a wounded animal. The last time we faced Sunderland, earlier this season, we drew 2-2, with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen scoring in a game where we just couldn’t get the three points despite going ahead twice. The last time we faced Sunderland at the Lane, was last season, where despite going behind, we came back to win comfortably 5-1, with Emmanuel Adebayor getting two goals, with Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson also getting on the scoresheet in the emphatic victory. A repeat scoreline would be most welcome.

The team news for Sunderland is that former Spur Jermain Defoe, who made his move to Sunderland on Friday, is eligible to face his former club at his former home stadium for Sunderland, but as he hasn’t played competitive football in four months, and after only one training session with Sunderland, it is difficult to see him starting and playing the majority of the game. With Defoe, eligible, Liam Bridcutt (suspended), Steven Fletcher (groin), Lee Cattermole (groin) and Anthony Reveillere (calf) are out, with Jack Rodwell (hamstring) an injury doubt, and will undergo a late fitness test. Sunderland have some good players, and after obtaining Jermain Defoe they hope that they have signed a player to bring them goals and experience, and after his time at Tottenham, we know that he can, when on form, cause havoc to any defence, and he has a great eye for goal… Especially when it’s a debut, and he has scored on every debut that he has had, so betting on a Defoe goal seems like easy money! Along with Defoe, Connor Wickham is another goal threat where goal threats are scarce; he runs the channels well and can cause problems and make himself a nuisance, but he only has 2 goals, and that isn’t the return he would have wanted with the threat he poses; the young striker can play on the flanks as well and puts in a good shift for the side. Winger Adam Johnson is probably Sunderland’s biggest outlet for pace and effectiveness, and he has 5 goals so far this season in all competitions, but hasn’t been able to register an assist for his team mates, which is probably a bad stat for his team mates, rather than Johnson himself, as he has created 20 chances, the second highest after Sebastian Larsson with 39, who is their set piece specialist. There are some really good players in this Sunderland side, and if they get some momentum in their play I am sure they can cause us problems.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 22.46.49
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf) and Ryan Mason (hamstring) remain out, while Nabil Bentaleb is with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations. Federico Fazio (illness), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Younes Kaboul (illness) are doubts, while Emmanuel Adebayor is still available, despite not playing since early November against Stoke at the Lane. New signing DeAndre Yedlin doesn’t seem to be ready to make his debut as of yet, and is definitely unlikely to be thrown into Premier League action. With Fazio, Chiriches & Kaboul doubts, it seems we are a little short on centre backs, and that could mean Eric Dier being put into central defence, after not starting a game since the home draw to Crystal Palace in early December. Hopefully he isn’t rusty!

There is no doubting that Harry Kane has been phenomenal in recent times, and we will be looking to him once again to provide the finishing touch against the side he scored his first Premier League goal against, last season in the 5-1 win at the Lane; it was definitely the first of many and he is on his way to becoming indispensable to the side, and he has already cemented himself as one of the best strikers in the League at the moment, on form and on quality. I believe Kane is consistently improving under Mauricio Pochettino, and I hope that this development will continue and he will become an amazing asset for us. The man who makes us tick, and the person we need to perform to find gaps in tight games at home is Christian Eriksen, as he has two goals in his last two games against the black cats, it seems he has made quite the habit of performing against Sunderland; hopefully he can grab another goal and help us break down their defence and find those gaps again! The three musketeers of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen is completed by Nacer Chadli, who is a constant goal threat in every situation, from corners, with his right and left foot, as well as his ability to score from outside the box, he has become a crucial player to us and he has been a big improvement from last season. After the Burnley game, Paulinho and Andros Townsend received plaudits, and both are pushing hard for first team berths, with Townsend already cementing a place ahead of Aaron Lennon while Erik Lamela remains out, and Paulinho returning from the abyss to reclaim what seems to be a bit of his old form, and improvement means opportunities, even for someone who looked as though his Tottenham career looked unstable to say the least, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason out, it could be an opportunity for him to prove his worth in the Premier League after some decent performances in the cups and from the bench, and he has been very patient and not made a fuss, which I think is very honourable. Andros Townsend performed really well against Burnley and hopefully he is finding form once again as well and can become very effective on that right flank for Tottenham in the absence of Erik Lamela.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Christian Eriksen has netted in both of his Barclays Premier League appearances against Sunderland.

– Sunderland managed to net two goals despite only having one shot on target in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier this season against the Londoners.

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games against the Black Cats (W6 D3).

– Defeat last time out against Manchester City (2-3) ended a run of five on the road without loss for the Black Cats in the Premier League (W3 D2). It also ended a run of four consecutive clean sheets away from home.

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League home games (W3 D2).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered 12 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the most in the top flight.

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games for Spurs.

– Nacer Chadli has provided an assist in four of his last five league appearances for Tottenham.

– Spurs have given away six penalties in the Premier League; two more than any other side in the division.

– Sunderland have scored a higher proportion of their goals in the final 15 minutes of Barclays Premier League games than any other side (33%).

A big game to get back on track and return to winning ways in the Premier League, and one in which we will be welcoming back an old friend and now a new foe in Jermain Defoe; but let’s hope it isn’t a happy return for him on the pitch! The game isn’t being shown live on TV, but I will be providing match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account; follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Paulinho
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Burnley.

Match date & time: Saturday 20th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

It’s been a good week for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. A good win away at Swansea, and then an emphatic win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals, which has led us to a winnable tie against Sheffield United in the Semi Finals. It’s a good opportunity for us now to create some momentum, and what better chance than another home win against newly promoted Burnley. A game that we should win, but one that must not be underestimated, as we know our form at the Lane in the Premier League has been shaky at best. It’s about time we transferred our cup form and consistency into our League form, as we have the makings of a good season evolving. To win a trophy would be incredible, but it’s no excuse for not being successful in the Premier League; we have high expectations, with the squad that we have, to attain a respectable top 5 League position, and if we can get top 5, and possibly win a trophy, this would be an incredibly good first year in charge for Mauricio Pochettino, and hopefully give us a good foundation for improvement next season. But, there are a lot of games to play and a lot of things to be decided, and the key to us having the good season that I preach, is to improve our home form and start to win the games that we should, and win them well. Consistency is key and if we can put a good run of results and performances together, we will look very good for the second half of the season. We will be hoping for no slip ups at the Lane against Burnley, and a recreation of the performance and result that was procured against Newcastle. Last time we faced Burnley, we lost 4-2 at Turf Moor back in 2010. And the last time we faced them at White Hart Lane, we won 5-0, with Robbie Keane grabbing four along with a Jenas goal. We’ll be hoping for a repeat of that, step up Harry Kane for the hat trick!

Burnley, after a very difficult start to life in the Premier League, have found their feet, slowly. After 10 games without a win in the Premier League, it was looking very bleak for the boys in claret and blue, but to their credit, after a slow start they are starting to adapt to the Premier League, work very hard and start to grind out good results. The side did not spend big money at all after coming up from the Championship, and are relying on what is a Championship standard squad to try and grit their way through the Premier League with the lack of funds available, and it is not a surprise that they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th with 15 points, ahead of QPR, Hull and Leicester. In their last 6 games though, since their 10 game drought ended, they have picked up 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, which suggests a bit of form is starting to develop. Their only loss coming to QPR at Loftus Road, 2-0. In their last game though, at Turf Moor, they triumphed against Southampton 1-0, and so come into this game high on confidence. At home, it looks as though they could gain a lot of momentum – but they do struggle on their travels, with only 1 win in 7 attempts, but that came on a difficult journey to Stoke City. It seems definite that Burnley, with their lack of offensive creativity, will try to sit deep and soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter attack and from set pieces, relying on the pace and goals for Danny Ings. It’s our job to make sure we are efficient on the ball, and score an early goal to quash the Burnley resilience.

The team news for Burnley is that Stephen Ward (ankle), Michael Duff (shin), Sam Vokes (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Ben Mee (illness) is set to return for the Clarets. There is one key factor you need at the bottom of the table if you want to survive, and that’s goals – and Burnley have potentially got a player that can bring that factor to fruition. The England U21 striker has pace, desire and an eye for a goal – and he’s Burnley’s main hope of survival, if he can stay in form and start to consistently get goals. In 13 appearances so far this season in the Premier League, he has 4 goals and is Burnley’s top scorer, which isn’t a brilliant record by any means, but it shows that recently he’s been finding his feet in the world’s most competitive League. If Burnley want a result at the Lane, they’ll be hoping Ings will be bringing his A game, as he can worry defenders and stretch the opposition with clever runs, as well as his more than decent ability on the ball, as well as off of it. Although Burnley don’t have an abundance of talent running through the veins of their squad, they have some decent players that can score goals and create opportunities – one of those players is George Boyd, who after being signed from Hull in the summer, has scored 2 goals and has been able to show his quality just off Danny Ings. Another offensive player, who managed to win the game for Burnley against Southampton, is former Brighton man Ashley Barnes. The versatile forward can score goals from the wings and from central positions, and after scoring 2 goals so far this season, he’ll be looking to add to his tally at the Lane. Those two Ashley Barnes goals have both been winners, so he’s been a valuable player for the Clarets in times of need.

IMG_3167.PNG
The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor has returned and is in contention to play in this game, meaning that we have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season and what seems to be many years! Despite his marmite persona, Emmanuel Adebayor, is an important option to have upfront for Tottenham. He’s a different type of striker to Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado; as he is completely accustomed to playing in the lone striker role and can hold the ball up with his strength and height. It’s a different type of striker to have, and one who when feeling good about himself can score all types of goals. I’m glad he’s back and hope he can have a good impact in our form.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christian Eriksen is set to become a World Class player. He’s not quite at that level yet, but he’s well on his way. He has the ability to win football games, with his creativity and goals, and now, after a slow start, he’s found his feet and will be an essential player to keep fit and inform for the rest of the season. Against Burnley, it’s important that he performs as we will need his eyes for a gap to breakdown what is expected to be a tight and well compact Burnley defence. His shots from outside the box and set pieces could well prove the difference as well. Nacer Chadli bagged his 7th goal of the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, and proved a constant threat to the Geordies – and he’s proving to be a very important player so far this season for Tottenham. He has the eye for goal, and it’s crucial that he keeps up this form and after returning from injury, recreates the performances that he was producing earlier in the season. Chadli is a player that I really like and I think he’ll pass the 10-15 goal Mark with ease this season, which is fantastic for a midfielder. Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in 26 appearances for club and country so far this season, and he’s been outstanding in not only his clinical finishing but his work rate and link up play too; he has the full package and I hope he can continue to develop in the way that he is, not only this season but in the future too. In midfield, Ryan Mason has looked fairly weary and hasn’t been as influential as his early season form, so personally I would rest him for Benjamin Stambouli, who I think has proved Pochettino that he is worthy of a start in the Premier League after his performance in the Cup competitions, and after his partnership with Nabil Bentaleb was so fruitful against Newcastle, it seems natural to keep the two together for this game. But, with the quality that we do have in the centre of midfield, I’d be happy to see Mousa Dembele, Bentaleb, Mason, Stambouli or Etienne Capoue start and I really wouldn’t react badly, I think we’ve got a good calibre of player in that position. Kyle Walker could be set for his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bomb down that right hand side once again; he’s been sorely missed and will be essential to the balance of the side.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– There have been 21 goals scored in the last four meetings in all competitions between Spurs and Burnley, with at least five in each game.

– Those last four meetings between Spurs and Burnley have all been home wins.

– There have been 55 goals in the last 12 meetings between Spurs and Burnley at White Hart Lane; an average of 4.6 per game.

– Tottenham have won three Premier League games that they have been behind in this season; only Chelsea have won as many.

– Spurs have won a league-high eight points from goals scored in the 85th minute or later in the Premier League this season.

– Burnley have played the highest proportion of passes long this season in the PL (20.4%).

– The Clarets have also made 30 more long throws than any other team in the PL this season (164, Tottenham are joint second on 134).

– This is only the eighth time that Spurs will play a Premier League game on a Saturday at 3pm since the start of last season (it’ll be their 55th PL game since Aug 2013 overall).

– Burnley have won just one point in their eight previous Premier League trips to London (D1 L7).

– The Clarets have failed to score in six of these previous eight Premier League away games in the capital.

A match in which we must continue our winning form, and end the home drought for a win in the Premier League. It’s a great opportunity to grab three points! The game isn’t televised, and I’ll be attending the game. But I’ll be sure to post a stream and update when I can on Twitter. Follow me there for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted team to face Burnley at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Burnley press conference: