Tottenham Hotspur Season Review 2014/15

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLL:

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


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FA Cup

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

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

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

Player of the season – Harry Kane

Young player of the season – Harry Kane, again

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

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

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

Individual performance of the season – Harry Kane vs Chelsea

Win of the season – Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea

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

Hugo Lloris’ best saves from the season:

Tottenham season review in video from YidVids:

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

I spoke to @TurnstyleSport about the 2014/15 Tottenham season. Read HERE
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Also, check out my full review of all our loaned out players in the 2014/15 season, HERE.
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Match Review, Tottenham vs Hull City.

Match: Saturday 16th May 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-0 Hull City.

Tottenham goalscorers: Nacer Chadli 54’, Danny Rose 61’.

In our final home game of the season, we have managed to send the fans home happy; which is always good. A decent performance, with some great football and good goals while keeping a clean sheet is all you can ask for as we now start to look forward to the summer and then starting the rollercoaster up again for another season. This win keeps us one point ahead of Southampton, who sit in 7th and one point behind Liverpool in 5th heading into the final match of the season. It’s not a grand stand finish, it’s more about pride and bragging rights than anything else – it looks as though European football in the form of Europa League will be at the Lane once again next season, and it’s nothing to moan about – I quite like the competition, and although we will not be real contenders for the trophy, it’s a chance to try more youth players and give fringe players a chance to show what they can do. We played our strongest 11 quite often this season in the Europa League and it did hurt us, but I’m sure in Pochettino’s first season managing in a European competition, he will have learnt how much it does affect the players playing Thursdays and Sundays. Focusing back on a good win over Hull City, after a forgettable first half the players refocused and produced a very respectable performance against a fighting Hull City side, who certainly didn’t have a bad game.

In the first half, there really wasn’t too much to shout about for either team – chances were created, but there was only one clear cut opportunity that fell to Hull, as Nikica Jelavic smacked the crossbar from inside the box. The only notable chances that Tottenham created were from Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane; Christian Eriksen slid in Kane even though he probably should have had a go himself and the young player of the year slid the ball across the face of goal, when he probably should have had a go as well. Hull were very organised and solid defensively in the first half, but we didn’t test them like we should have, our passing was too obvious and predictable, and we weren’t penetrating the back line of Hull enough, partly or mainly because of the poor form of usually our most creative player Christian Eriksen, who quite simply looks like he has his suitcases packed already and sunglasses on, which after a long season like we have had, you can’t really blame him for – he has after all played in every game so far of our Premier League season, plus domestic, European and international duty. Improvement needed for the second half, especially in our play with the ball, probably going fro left back to centre back to right back about 100 times within the first half, which was a little frustrating. The best passing I saw in the first period was thanks to Tom Huddlestone, who on his return to Spurs made some pinpoint cross-field balls.

The second half was much better, despite Hull threatening from some set pieces which we looked a little nervous defending within the first five minutes of the restart, we settled and on 53 minutes opened the scoring through the impressive Nacer Chadli. He has to thank Erik Lamela for his goal, who has in the last three games been impressive; the Argentinian pounced on the ball in midfield before darting towards the final third and playing a delightfully weighted ball into the path of the onrushing Belgian, who took a tough round Steve Harper in the Hull City goal and finished with ease, 1-0 and the pressure lifted on Spurs and put firmly on the Tigers. After the ball the players looked more at ease, and it showed in the way we were moving the football, it was with more purpose and confidence and this confidence was evident in our second goal which came only seven minutes later on 60 minutes. Former Spurs captain Michael Dawson gave it away on the edge of the box and it fell to Ryan Mason, who played a one two with Rose, then lifted his head and lobbed a wonderful ball through to Danny Rose who had found himself in the penalty area, and he volleyed the ball first time with his weaker right foot into the roof of the net – another brilliant goal, which would surely seal the points for Tottenham and condemn Hull to what now seems like relegation. Hull City did push us despite the 2-0 margin, with Abel Hernandez going close in a goalmouth scramble where he should have really pulled the game back to 2-1 – but it was a lack of clinical nature within the Hull side which deserted the Tigers, with Jelavic, Dame N’Doye and Hernandez all having a match to forget. Despite some pressure from Hull, it turned out to be quite a routine victory for Tottenham in the end and one that we are thankful for in our last home game of the season. 2-0 – thank you very much.
review pic Our final home game of the season and a win! A decent performance and a good send off for the fans, showcasing the new kit heading into what I hope will be a good summer and then a good 2015/16 season, we are in need of a good year! If you have any comments, put them below and don’t forget to follow me on twitter at @AddictedToSpurs. Next up is the final game of the season, and we travel to Merseyside to face Everton as we look to secure European football, and hopefully finish 5th. Up the Spurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Hull at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 7.5
Fazio – 6
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 9 – Man of the Match.
Mason – 8 (Stambouli 79’ – 5)
Bentaleb – 7
Lamela – 9
Eriksen – 6 (Dembele 58’ – 6)
Chadli – 7.5
Kane – 7 (Soldado 89’ – N/A)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to a win in our penultimate game of the season:

The tradition lap of honour footage:

Danny Rose reacts after the 2-0 win over Hull City:

The new 2015/16 Tottenham Hotspur home kit created by Under Armour is OUT NOW! Get it now, click HERE!
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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Hull City.

Match date & time: Saturday 16th May 2015. 3pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

The last home game of the season is upon us, Hull City meet us at the Lane in the penultimate game of the 2014/15 season – with not a lot to play for if you’re from a Tottenham persuasion and everything to play for if you’re associated with Hull City! Premier League survival is on the agenda for the Tigers and they come to White Hart Lane with everything on the line, while we debate among ourselves whether we want Europa League or not, and we don’t really have a choice in the matter whether we end up sixth or seventh! This season hasn’t gone completely to plan, but in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season this is what we expected – an average season but one that showed promise for the future and I think this season certainly has – the emergence of youth has been a massive plus, while getting to the Capital One Cup Final, and beating big sides such as Chelsea and Arsenal – this all shows improvement and although our League form has been unsteady, I’m still very confident in the future under Mauricio Pochettino. Now, let’s hope we can end the season with two wins, and finish as high in the table as we possibly can. We need to make amends after our demoralising and apathetic performance against Stoke City last week, that’s for sure.

Hull City sit in the relegation zone, with 34 points – two points off Sunderland and Newcastle, and three off Leicester. They are desperate for another win and looking at their last two games, I think they’re going to need a miracle. Their loss to Burnley at home has surely sent them down to the Championship, with games against Tottenham and Manchester United to come – it certainly doesn’t loom good for the Tigers – but they will be going into these games all guns blazing – with no pressure of expectancy but instead the ability to cause a massive upset –one win and it looks as though they will be safe – but three points seems like a mountain for Hull City now. In Hull’s last 10 games, they have won only two, with two draws – leaving six defeats in 10 matches which leads you to believe that they will be the side joining Burnley and QPR in the Championship. Sorry Daws. Last time we faced Hull was at the KC Stadium earlier this season, Harry Kane and a late Christian Eriksen strike giving us a 2-1 win, Jake Livermore with their goal. The last time we faced Hull City at White Hart Lane in the Premier League was back in October 2013, Roberto Soldado scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win. Hopefully this time we can win in more convincing fashion! We are unbeaten against Hull City in the last seven games, winning six and drawing one – we’ll be looking to make it seven out of eight.

The team news for Hull City is that Gaston Ramirez (hamstring), Mohamed Diame (knee), Curtis Davies (hip) and Robert Snodgrass (knee) are all ruled out of the game through injury, while former Spur Jake Livermore (suspension) will also miss the game after being tested positive for cocaine, incredibly – so wont be making a return to White Hart Lane after being sold in the summer. The players that will be making the trip to North London on behalf of the Tigers includes former Tottenham captain Michael Dawson, who will make a return to the club he made 324 appearances for and I am absolutely certain that former fan favourite will get a brilliant reaction when his name is read out at the Lane – and he certainly deserves a good reaction, after being such an amazing servant to the club over his nine year stay. I look forward to seeing ‘Daws’ back on the hallow turf of White Hart Lane, along with another great servant in Tom Huddlestone, who performed really well at Spurs, and scored some absolute crackers! The threats that Hull City have come in the form of Nikica Jelavic who has eight goals this season, and strike partner, bought in January has done a decent job – Dame N’Doye, he has five goals in 13 appearances for Hull – and the partnership between Jelavic and N’Doye, if they can hit form in these last two games, will be their biggest hope of survival – but it’s still a very tall order.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Ben Davies (shoulder) and Kyle Walker (foot) remain out while Emmanuel Adebayor (illness) is a doubt for our final home game of the season. Vlad Chiriches is suspended following his red card at Stoke last weekend, but Danny Rose returns after recovering from a slight groin problem. Having Danny Rose back is a massive boost for us – and it means that we have more of an outlet down the left flank, and can move Jan Vertonghen back into his favoured centre back position, which gives us a more solid looking back four than the one we had against Stoke, which simply didn’t work at all. It will be interesting to see whether Pochettino will give DeAndre Yedlin a chance a right back, which will allow Eric Dier to move alongside Vertonghen in the centre, which seems to be our strongest centre back partnership at the moment. Personally, I would chose an inexperienced Yedlin over a mistake prone Federico Fazio at this moment in time.

In our last home game of the season, I’m hoping to see a performance that can send us off into the summer feeling good, rather than underwhelmed. Despite a hard season, with highs and lows, we do have a very good foundation for the future, with a first team built around youth, with more exciting youth looking set to come through, with the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, who has certainly helped Harry Kane become the striking force he is today and the improvement of Danny Rose has also been a success of Pochettino’s. Now, I hope next season Erik Lamela can improve further, while Christian Eriksen should be looking to be more consistent and effective on the ball. The Kane and Eriksen partnership should be one that teams fear even further next season, and even though both players have contributed 30 Premier League goals between them, I hope their partnership can grow, and the assists between them can grow as well as the goals. It will be nice to see that partnership in full force against Hull City. Even though we do have two games left of this season, it is gearing up to next term now, with Champions League fully out of the equation and only Europa League to play for, which we all wouldn’t be totally upset to see us miss out on, even though I would miss the European nights at White Hart Lane – but it would help to have a rest from the competition that without full attention, isn’t really possible to win. But, with two games to go – I want to win them – which would secure our place in the Europa League, so I am certainly not going to be wishing defeat on Tottenham, that’s for sure!

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have won four and lost none of their last six Barclays Premier League fixtures against Hull City.

– Hull have scored just five goals in seven previous Premier League games against Spurs and never more than once in a match.

– Harry Kane’s goals and assists have won Tottenham 26 points this season; more than any other player in the division.

– However, Kane has scored just once in his last six Premier League appearances.

– Hull City have never won a Premier League game in the month of May (W0 D3 L8).

– The Tigers have conceded a league-high 13 goals from outside the box this season.

– No player has scored more match-winning goals in the Premier League this term than Christian Eriksen (7, same as Eden Hazard).

– Hull’s victory last time out on the road (v Crystal Palace) was their first away win in eight attempts (D2 L5).

– Tottenham have gained 10 points from losing positions at home this season, more than any other side.

– Spurs have failed to score in their last two PL games; they’ve not gone three in a row without a goal since November 2013.

Prediction data collected through the Forza Football app:

Tottenham win: 78% of fans.

Hull win: 14% of fans.

Draw: 9% of fans.

In our final game of the season at White Hart Lane, donning the new kit, let’s hope we can get the three points against a struggling Hull City side and help secure our spot ahead of both Southampton and Swansea, getting closer to Liverpool in 5th. I’ll be at White Hart Lane, but I will attempt to get you updates live from the Lane on twitter, follow me at @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Hull City at WHL:
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Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews Hull City and reacts to Brad Friedel’s retirement:

The new Tottenham Hotspur Under Armour 2015/16 home kit is OUT NOW! Get yours now, click HERE.
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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Manchester City.

Match date & time: Sunday 3rd May 2015. 4 pm Kick Off (UK Time).

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After a good win away at Newcastle, and a decent point shared at St Mary’s with Southampton, our attention turns to Manchester City back home at White Hart Lane. Last season’s Premier League champions visit the Lane knowing that the title is out of their reach this season, and are fighting for second place in the League with Arsenal and Manchester United, with top four places looking sown up for the Gunners, United and City, it’s just the internal battles that have to be decided for who eventually does finish second, third and fourth. Our form has been patchy recently and our football hasn’t been mesmerising but it has been effective at times and results have come our way, but heading into a match with a side that has the quality that Manchester City do, we’re going to have to step it up to the next level; we have made quite a few individual errors defensively recently which has lead to goals, and against a side like Manchester City who already create lots of good chances to score themselves, helping them do that is the opposite of what we need to be doing. If we can become more decisive on the ball in midfield, and less ponderous in the final third, then we can cause a sometimes-shaky Manchester City defence problems. It’s just our own ability in defence to keep out the likes of Sergio Aguero that will be questioned.

Manchester City sit second in the Premier League heading into this weekend’s fixtures, level on points with Arsenal and just two ahead of neighbours Manchester United. Their talent is well documented and ability to dismantle teams evident – they have fantastic individual players, but at times those individual players don’t come together as a functional team, and this season the Sky Blues haven’t hit the heights that a side spending the money they are, should and settling for second place and no trophies simply isn’t good enough for them, and they know that – well, the fans certainly do. Coming into this match Manchester City haven’t set the world alight, with six wins and four losses in their last 10 Premier League fixtures, those disappointing losses coming against Liverpool, Burnley, Crystal Palace and rivals Manchester United – these results show that this current City side is more than beatable, and if you can impose your game onto them they can crumble even against the likes of Burnley and Crystal Palace. Hopefully we can add another loss to Manchester City’s current form at the Lane this Sunday.

In their last game, City were once again unconvincing; scraping past Aston Villa at the Etihad 3-2. After going 2-0 ahead, the Blues lost a grip on their lead and allowed Villa back into the game 2-2, before scoring a late and scrappy goal to secure victory despite a lack of concentration and professionalism – this is just another example that Manchester City are beatable this season. In our last match with Man City, we fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Etihad despite playing a decent game – Sergio Aguero was on fire and hit all four goals, while Christian Eriksen scored ours and Roberto Soldado missed a crucial penalty. At the Lane the story isn’t much better as we lost by even worse score line. A 5-1 thrashing, with Sergio Aguero on target once again, as City had five different scorers that night – Edin Dzeko, Vincent Kompany, Stefan Jovetic, Yaya Toure and of course Aguero. A dodgy penalty decision and a frustrating red card to Danny Rose that definitely shouldn’t have been given, just added to our misery aiding the Sky Blues. It wasn’t a nice night by any means. Manchester City have lost all of their last four Premier League away games, and we have the potential to make that five, taking advantage of City’s poor away form!

The team news for Manchester City is that three of the scorers in City’s last visit to the Lane Yaya Toure (hamstring), Vincent Kompany (thigh) and Stefan Jovetic (muscular) are out injured – while two former Arsenal men Samir Nasri (muscular) and Gael Clichy (muscular) look set to return to action for City. This just shows the strength of their squad, and why our task to beat them at White Hart Lane isn’t an easy one – although I am sure that they will miss the strength and guile of Yaya Toure in midfield as well as they leadership of captain Vincent Kompany in defence. The threats that Manchester City have are in attack – with Premier League top goalscorer Sergio Aguero the top dog in Manchester – with his clinical nature and work rate he is a nightmare for defenders, with his mind working that one second quicker than anyone else’s on the pitch, making him that bit better than anyone else. He’s the favourite for the golden boot ahead of Harry Kane, so I’m hoping we can keep him out while getting Kane to knock some in! It’s not just Aguero that makes defences squeal, it’s his partner in crime David Silva – who has cemented himself as one of the Premier League’s best in recent years, and the way he runs with ball and passes it is a joy to watch – but hopefully he can’t hit full gear against us this Sunday.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Ben Davies (shoulder) and Kyle Walker (foot) have both been ruled out for the remainder of the season. But the good news is that Danny Rose (hamstring) has recovered from his knock and is back in contention to play against Manchester City – which is great news for us defensively and offensively – have a read about my thoughts on Danny’s impressive season HERE. This means that other than Davies and Walker we have a full squad to choose from and it gives Mauricio Pochettino the chance to really go for it in this match, and play with real freedom. We’re not playing for much in terms of League position, so it would be good to see us go out and give it all for the pride of the football club – to be able to boast victories over the soon to be elected Champions Chelsea, bitter rivals Arsenal and star studded Manchester City would be fantastic – and highlight a real change in mentality around the club in these big matches.

PFA Young Player of the Year – Harry Kane – it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? There are no more words to describe the season he has had this year so I’m just going to repeat myself. Amazing, remarkable, wonderful. Earning the golden boot ahead of Aguero would be the cherry on top of the cake that’s already been scattered with sprinkles and rainbows in the chapter of Harry Kane’s personal season – it’d be brilliant and he most definitely deserves it – and a few goals against Manchester City would be just perfect, I mean, come on Harry you didn’t score in your last game, your standards are slipping! I’m hoping we can get a couple more Harry Kane shows in before the end of the season – they’re great. With two goals in his last two games, Nacer Chadli is back in form and back in the goals, which is great news for us. He may not be the most agile and fast winger in the world but he’s effective and he does add yet another important goal threat to our side, really improving on his finishing this season. I’ve been very impressed with the Belgian and it’d be great if he could make that two in two, three in three against City! In midfield, Nabil Bentaleb has earned himself two man of the match awards in a row as voted on the official Spurs website, and he has been brilliant – his passing, tackling and enthusiasm as always has been there for all to see and if he can continue to perform the way he has and improve even further, we have a real talent on our hands – and at the moment, in the absence of Yaya Toure for City, Bentaleb could be the key to controlling the midfield and therefore the game for us this Sunday. Defensively, Bentaleb and Mason are going to have to be very aware of David Silva and not allow him to get in behind them and cause us too many problems – because a player like Silva only really needs one chance to tear defences apart with his passing.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League outings.

– Manchester City have won seven and lost just one of the last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Spurs.

– Manuel Pellegrini has seen his side score 15 goals in their last three Premier League games against Spurs and at least four in each match.

– Sergio Aguero has netted nine goals in six Premier League appearances against Spurs.

– Edin Dzeko has scored six goals in six Premier League matches against Tottenham, though four of them came in one game, a 5-1 win at White Hart Lane.

– Samir Nasri has scored four Premier League goals against Tottenham Hotspur, more than against any other opponent in the competition.

– When these two sides met back in October, four penalties were awarded in a Premier League game for only the second time (Bradford v Derby, April 2000).

– Christian Eriksen has scored the most winning goals in the Premier League this season (7).

– Spurs have taken fewer points than any other team in the head to heads between the top six teams going into this weekend (8).

– City have lost their last four Premier League away games in a row. They haven’t lost five on the bounce since April 2006.

Prediction data collected through the Forza Football app:

Tottenham Hotspur win: 39%.

Manchester City win: 51%.

Draw: 11%.

It’s an intriguing match. With recent form firmly in Manchester City’s favour, we’ll be hoping to change that with a win at White Hart Lane. We know it won’t be easy but I think it will be a much tighter game than in the past – I really hope I’m right! The game is live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing updates including fast goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account, follow me here @AddictedToSpurs! Also, get the best Spurs images with my Instagram account, follow me here: addictedtospurs. I’m looking forward to this one. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Manchester City at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks ahead of the match against Manchester City:

I spoke with the official Manchester City site about the big game, read my thoughts in this Q&A HERE.
POCH MANUEL

Another article to have a read of is on my site, and it’s about Danny Rose’s impressive season, find it HERE.
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And finally, I had an exclusive interview with rising Tottenham star Joshua Onomah on his development, Tottenham and more. Read it HERE.
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Danny Rose, Left Back to the Future!

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

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

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

Match date & time: Saturday 25th April 2015. 12:45pm Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

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

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s for the first time since his switch from Southampton to Tottenham, with just one point between the sides, one position on the table, and the same amount of wins between them. It’s a match in the battle for Europa League – with Southampton probably the more enthusiastic about that prospect, but, nevertheless, we want to finish as high in the League as possible, so the fact that Champions League football is most likely out of the picture does not mean that the team, the fans and the whole club want to win and finish the season on a high. A tough task awaits us at St Mary’s; with Southampton showing consistently throughout the season how good they can be, and how many problems they can cause an opposing side. To beat the Saints on their home turf would be a great result, but Southampton have the quality to hurt any team in this League, meaning we’re setting up for a very tough game, where we have to be ready to match the offense, defence and energy levels of a confidence high Southampton side, with a lot of quality throughout their squad. After our much needed win over Newcastle at St James’ Park, we need to continue to win games to finish the season strongly, taking the confidence from a solid 3-1 win and turning it into an even better win against a really impressive Southampton side – putting the disappointing form we have had since the Capital One Cup Final behind us. Champions League may be out of the equation, but we still have to secure the highest League place possible – for pride more than anything.

Southampton sit 7th in the League on 56 points, just one point behind ourselves in 6th. They’ve had a great season after losing their manager, and five of their key players of last season, and they’ve reinvested well to create a really competitive side this season. Coming into the end of the season, the Saints haven’t been in the best of form, with four wins in their last ten games, and four losses. In their last match, Southampton fell to a 2-1 defeat up against Stoke City at the Britannia, Charlie Adam hitting the winner in the 85th minute for the Potters. In their last home game, Southampton breezed past Hull City 2-0, James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle scoring for the Saints, now Southampton will be hoping for a repeat result this Saturday! In our last five matches with Southampton since their return to the Premier League, we have come out winners in every single match, scoring 10 goals and conceding five. In our last match, we were 1-0 winners thanks to a lovely Christian Eriksen strike at White Hart Lane; Mauricio Pochettino getting the victory over his former club. The last time we visited St Mary’s; we won a thrilling game 3-2, Emmanuel Adebayor the hero with two goals, as well as a Jos Hooiveld own goal under the guidance of Tim Sherwood. If we can get six consecutive wins under our belt over an impressive Southampton side, it would do very nicely!

The team news for Southampton is that Victor Wanyama (suspended), Fraser Forster (knee), Filip Duricic (ankle), Emmanuel Mayuka (groin), and Jay Rodriguez (knee) have been ruled out while Toby Alderweireld (shoulder) could feature for the Saints, but is a doubt. Southampton have many talented offensive players to their name, and their top scorer this season Graziano Pelle has nine goals to his name in the League, and despite a disappointing 2015 so far, netting only once, he is still a massive threat with his aerial prowess, strength and finishing ability – and with supply coming from the creative brains of Saido Mane, Dusan Tadic and Eljero Elia, he should really be scoring even more goals. The way that Ronald Koeman sets up means his fullbacks have a massive impact on their offensive game; Nathanial Clyne has been superb this season at right back, with his partner in crime, left back Ryan Bertrand’s performances similarly impressive – they are key for the Saints, and if not properly dealt with, could cause major problems for us down the wings – especially the right hand side where we have looked particularly shaky, with and without Kyle Walker. In midfield, the partnership of Morgan Schneiderlin and James Ward-Prowse has really impressed me, with the pivot having a good mix between defensive cover and attacking help, bringing real energy to this Southampton side – meaning Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb, if picked to partner each other, will have a big task to quash the impact they have on the match.Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 20.29.38
The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) is close to a return, and could make this match, but Kyle Walker (foot) is ruled out for the next four weeks. Danny Rose after going off against Newcastle last week hasn’t encountered any problems and should be back at left back for this match, which is very good news for us. With Hugo Lloris looking likely to return to action, he would take the captaincy back from deputies Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane.

Coming into the end of the season, personal awards are some of the most talked about things, only being dwarfed by the results in the League table. And nobody is being talked about for awards more than Harry Kane – he’s entered for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, as well as in the hunt for Writers player of the year, a place in the Team of the Year, while all the while competing for the Premier League golden boot. He’s also got a club called Tottenham if you didn’t know! Everyone at Tottenham couldn’t be more proud of the rise that Harry has made throughout the season, and he deserves more than anyone to be recognised for his work this season – there arent enough positives in the English language to describe how amazing he has been, not just in his goal tally, but his energy, overall contribution and his breath of fresh air attitude to the game – you don’t captain Tottenham Hotspur at 21 years of age if you aren’t even a little bit special. Heading into the last games of the season, we’re all rooting for Kane to grab every personal award he possibly can, while helping Tottenham to their highest League position possible! Harry Kane beating Aguero, Costa, Rooney, Hazard and co to the Golden Boot was unfathamable at the start of this year let alone this season – now it would be a shock if he didn’t get it.

Against Newcastle, where we started to find a bit of form again, it wasn’t just Harry Kane that stole the show, there were important goals from Nacer Chadli – a goal he deeply needed, as well as another from Christian Eriksen which was also well over-due whether he meant to get it or not! Chadli and Eriksen are absolutely vital to the side and having them back in form would take a weight off the shoulders of Harry Kane, while making it much easier and fluid for us up top – an inform trio of Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane is a force to be reckoned with, and as we come into the back end of the season, hopefully we can see more good performances from them and much more goals! In midfield, Mauricio Pochettino has a decision to make regarding Paulinho – who did a good job in Newcastle, and so the Boss needs to make the decision whether to stick with the Brazilian, or bring in the fresh Ryan Mason to partner Nabil Bentaleb, who have quite the understanding. Personally, to battle with Schneiderlin and Ward-Prowse, I would revert back to the Mason and Bentaleb pivot, as it gives us more energy in the middle, and a bit more grit, despite Paulinho showing he can do the dirty work against Newcastle last weekend. Another decision Pochettino will have on his mind is one to either bring in DeAndre Yedin to make his full debut at right back, or stick with natural centre back Eric Dier on that right flank, putting Federico Fazio alongside Jan Vertonghen. I think Yedlin should be given a chance at right back from the start, with Dier partnering Vertonghen – I think this gives us a more balanced back four.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Southampton have allowed fewer shots on target against them than any other team in the Barclays Premier League (93).

– Tottenham have won their last five Premier League games against Southampton after losing four of the preceding five meetings.

– Christian Eriksen has scored three goals in three Premier League games against Saints.

– Robbie Fowler (twice) and Chris Sutton are the only two players to reach 20 goals in a Premier League season at a younger age than Harry Kane has this term.

– Southampton have both scored (4%) and conceded (8%, level with Liverpool) the lowest proportion of headed goals this season.

– If only second-halves of Premier League games counted this season, Saints would be second in the table behind only Chelsea.

– Southampton have scored just eight goals in their last 11 Premier League matches.

– 56 points after 33 matches is Southampton’s best ever Premier League performance, eight points ahead of the previous best which was 48 (2013/14 and 2002/03).

– Spurs have fewer points after 33 matches of this season (57) than they had in any of the last three seasons (2011-12 59, 2012-13 61 or 2013-14 59).

– Spurs have fired in more shots on target from outside the area than any other team (69) and scored a joint-division high 11 goals from long range (along with Man City).

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s in a big game in the race for European football. It’s a tough challenge, but a sixth win on the bounce over Southampton is on the agenda. Hopefully we can get that victory! The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, and I will be at the game, but update you as much as possible live from St Mary’s! Let’s get three points! Follow me on twitter for updates here, @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Southampton at St Mary’s:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the trip to Southampton:

Michel Vorm proving himself worthy at Tottenham Hotspur.

Hugo Lloris is without doubt our number one goalkeeper, but after the Frenchman suffered an injury to his knee which has kept him out for four games so far, we have had to rely on summer signing Michel Vorm in these Premier League fixtures – the Dutchman’s first four League appearances for the club since his move from Swansea. His performances have been admirable in these games and I don’t think we could wish for a more reliable and commanding goalkeeper to replace our usual captain.

Vorm has had to wait patiently for his opportunity in the Premier League, playing his part in the cup games, and doing very well, apart from the rare mistake against Leicester City. Mauricio Pochettino in the summer no doubt identified that we had a significant hole in goalkeeper department, with nobody pushing Hugo Lloris to be better, but also nobody there apart from Brad Friedel, who despite being a very professional player, at his age can’t be relied upon in the Premier League, there needed to be a signing. With no back up of the quality of Michel Vorm, we were risking losing points having to play 43 year old Brad Friedel.
vorm
Michel Vorm has been very professional and patient since coming to Spurs, being only complimentary of his goalkeeping teammate Hugo Lloris, while also not moaning (in public or to the media) about his lack of opportunity in the Premier League. It’s very important that the squad work harmoniously and Vorm has without doubt been only good for the side, certainly he has been no problem what so ever, and I am sure that Hugo Lloris and the squad would agree.

On the pitch, in these four games that Michel Vorm has had to step in for, although the results haven’t been fantastic against Burnley and Aston Villa, Vorm has been dependable, authoritative and vocal. His shot stopping is good and his distribution arguably better than that of Hugo Lloris’. His professional attitude has been great, and his appreciation of the club and what we expect commendable. I have been totally impressed by his attitude from the second he came to Tottenham and hope this outlook will continue during his time at the Lane.
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At 31, Vorm is showing his experience, and that has been great to have him come in and do a stellar job replacing our number one. Going to the World Cup with Holland, having won the League Cup with Swansea and of course being the Swans’ number one for a few years, means that our back up keeper is more than qualified to play second fiddle to Hugo Lloris, and is great to have as back up when needed. The only question you can have of him is whether he could have gone to a club that he would have been their first choice, but his answer of saying that it’s due to the training ground and the ‘big club feeling’ is more than enough for me; I am happy to have him.

There’s no doubting we got a bargain back up goalkeeper from Swansea this past summer, and I think now that we have had a taste of what it’s like for Hugo Lloris to be injured and have someone as reliable as Vorm to fill in, we won’t worry too hard about our goalkeeping situation for a quite a while. It’s enjoyable to see two-quality goalkeepers work so well together, and hopefully both Hugo and Michel are improving because of their healthy competition, along with the experience and know-how of Brad Friedel, who on a side note, I really hope stays with the club in a coaching role after his inevitable retirement.
vorm 4
Let’s hope Hugo gets back fit soon – but in the meantime, we’re lucky to have such a dependable goalkeeper in Michel Vorm at our disposal, and it’s proving to be a very wise acquisition for Spurs. COYS!!
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POLL:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Saturday 11th April 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Check out the worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After a really frustrating bore draw with Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, we look to put the record straight against a familiar face Tim Sherwood, and his Aston Villa side at the Lane this Saturday. Our form has been quite patchy of late which is to be expected after such a disheartening result in the Capital One Cup final, but we still have things to play for. The top four looks very unlikely, but it was never expected in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge, despite an ounce of disappointment in that probably not being possible this season, we have to have a bit of patience, even though I know that isn’t the best quality in football fans! At home to a struggling Aston Villa side, we are the favourites, but this can be deceiving, as a side like Aston Villa have everything to play for, and as we found out against the likes of Leicester and Burnley, these sides will put everything on the line to get points, which makes it extremely tough for sides just like us, who don’t have the pressure of Premier League survival stacked upon our shoulders. We have the quality to get passed these sides but their heart and determination makes our job harder, it means as a team we have to perform at a higher level to victor in these games. Knowing Tim Sherwood as we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to win this game for his own personal pride rather than the survival of Aston Villa Football Club, so we’re not only battling the will of a relegation threatened side, but also a bitter Tim Sherwood who will want to add to that win percentage.

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League, just 3 points away from the dreaded drop zone. That 3 points is not enough if you’re Tim Sherwood, and our former manager has been looking to find those points, but discovering that it is harder than he might have thought down at the bottom. After losing his first two games as Villa boss in late February, March was good to Aston Villa and helped them pull out of the bottom three of the Premier League with a big 4-0 win over Sunderland the pick of the bunch. But, two games into April, they are yet to win, with a loss to Manchester United, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but also a 3-3 draw with fellow relegation battlers QPR at Villa Park, which is a bit of a missed opportunity for 3 points for the Villains. Let’s hope we can make it a loss sandwich for Tim Sherwood’s men. Last time we faced Villa was back in November of last year, a 2-1 win thanks to late goals from Nacer Chadli and the one and only Harry Kane giving us the win in the Premier League tie. The last time we faced the Villains at the Lane was the last game of last season, under the guidance of now Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood – we triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Paulinho, a Baker OG and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty. Hopefully we can get a repeat result, but with Tim Sherwood on the losing side!

The team news for Villa is that Scott Sinclair (hamstring), Ashley Westwood (hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Chris Herd (herd) & Libor Kozak (broken leg) are all ruled out of the match, while Philippe Senderos (calf) is expected to return, as Carles Gil (hip) is to undergo a late fitness test for the Villains. That’s quite a backlog of injuries for Tim Sherwood to deal with, but he’ll be hoping that players like Christian Benteke to step up like he did against QPR, with the big Belgian striker netting a hat trick against the Hoops, and after a slow season, he seems to be picking up pace and showing some of his old form, at just the right time for Aston Villa in their fight for survival. With our defensive frailties on show to the world lately, I am sure Villa will be looking to Benteke to make us pay – hopefully we can contain the threat that the Belgian has to offer as much as possible. Along with Benteke, the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat, stretching and working the defences of opponents and running the channels, he will definitely be hard to contain. I think we have had a distinct lack of pace in our team recently, so Agbonlahor could really be a thorn to our hopes of winning the match.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) are ruled out of the match, while Jan Vertonghen (illness) is a doubt. With our number 1 still side-lined, it paves the way for Michel Vorm to continue in goal after his solid performance against Burnley, ending in a clean sheet for the Dutch international. As Kyle Walker is also on the injury list, it means that either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier will deputise for the England international, with DeAndre Yedlin not expected to be close to the first 11, but it would be nice for him to be in the squad. Federico Fazio wasn’t included in the match day squad against Burnley, but with our defensive woes, I think the big Argentinian could be reintegrated into the side, possibly replacing Vlad Chiriches in the centre of defence to allow Eric Dier to fill in at right back, where he has experience from the start of the season.

Our 0-0 draw with Burnley was far from a classic, and our offensive prowess was crowded out by Burnley’s defensive solidarity, but with Aston Villa being a very offensive and open side, it could expose space for our attack minded players to flourish once again. Tim Sherwood is known for wanting to showcase his attacking style of play, so you have to expect an open game at the Lane this Saturday. One player that will thrive in an open game is Christian Eriksen – who has had a difficult run of form recently, but this is the perfect opportunity for the Dane to open his wings again and take control of a game again. His talent is undeniable but he does lack consistency at times, and I don’t think he has fully adapted to the English game as of yet. But, he’s still very young and will only blossom further in England. I’ve said it time after time, but when Eriksen performs, Tottenham perform along with him. Harry Kane captained the side against Burnley, and could captain the side again against Villa, but he needs help in attack otherwise he can be swarmed by the opposition and as we saw against Burnley, he became ineffective, as sadly he cant do everything on his own! That support needs to be from not only Christian Eriksen, but also the wingers that Mauricio Pochettino decides to go with, whether that be Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend or even Paulinho – their job is to supply Harry Kane not only with crosses and passes, but with bodies and support offensively. Kane can’t be left stranded up top; otherwise I think Villa will find it quite easy to deal with him as a unit. I do believe that our offensive threat will be too much for the defensive frailties that Villa do have.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have won their last five PL meetings with Aston Villa, netting two or more goals in each game.

– Aston Villa have scored just six goals in their last 12 Premier League matches against Tottenham and never more than once in a game.

– Tottenham have gained 10 points from losing positions at home this season, more than any other side.

– Aston Villa have gained no points from losing positions away from home in the Premier League this season; the only team not to do so.

– White Hart Lane is the highest scoring stadium in the Premier League this season (51 goals).

– The Lane has also seen the most first half goals this season (27).

– Christian Benteke has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances.

– Under Tim Sherwood, Benteke has scored at a rate of one goal every 87 minutes in the Premier League.

– Villa have conceded three goals in each of their last two Premier League games. They have only conceded 3+ goals in three successive games twice in PL history (in 2009 and 2012).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last four Premier League games at White Hart Lane.

It’s a big game. Tim Sherwood returns to the Lane, hopefully to a decent reception. It’s important we return to winning ways quickly against a struggling Villa side, but we have to be aware that this Sherwood side will come into this game like a final and we have to be on top of our game to avoid an upset. The game isn’t shown live in the UK, but I will be updating you live at my twitter account, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more, follow me there @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend
Kane.

On the Forza Football app by @FootballAddicts, the users predicted:

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!
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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Leicester.

Match date & time: Saturday 21st March 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule found HERE.

After our disappointment in the Capital One Cup, our attention has quickly turned to making the best of the season we have left. Nine games left, with a chance, however unlikely it might be, of getting into those coveted champions League places. We sit 7th, six points off Manchester United in 4th, looking to take advantage of what looks like a favourable fixture against Leicester, while Manchester United travel to Liverpool on Sunday, and Southampton host the gutsy Burnley at St Marys. Our performances have varied since that Cup final disappointment; a great win over Swansea, then a solid victory away from home to QPR, and a very disheartening and disappointing 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, which was out of the blue in comparison with past performances both at Old Trafford and in general at this stage of the season. Now, after such an unacceptable and demoralising loss, we have to get back on the horse and attempt to elevate that performance level dramatically in a game against a struggling Leicester side, it is a real opportunity for a big and uplifting victory in front of the home faithful at White Hart Lane. A clean sheet and a few goals would do a world of good for the confidence and push to finish the season strongly and with purpose. We still have a lot to play for in these remaining nine games and I hope the players realise that, and believe that when taking the residual matches game-by-game, we can still be apart of that top four, but we would still need a mini miracle!

Leicester City are 20th, rock bottom of the Premier League, and manager Nigel Pearson is feeling the pressure with only 1 win in 10 Premier League games and no wins in their last 7 straight matches. It has been a struggle for the newly promoted Foxes, and it is looking nearly impossible for them to survive the drop, with Nigel Pearson’s job looking more and more uncertain after every lost match. Their last win, funnily enough, came against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup back in January, a disappointing 2-1 victory with a late winner for Leicester thanks to Jeffery Schlupp, and Michel Vorm. However, in the Premier League, in the reverse fixture at the King Power on Boxing Day last year, it was us who came out on top by the two goals to one, Harry Kane and a Christian Eriksen special getting us a great away victory. Hopefully we can repeat the feat at the Lane in the Premier League, and avoid a slip up like in the FA Cup. Our last Premier League fixture at White Hart Lane was back in 2004, a thrilling 4-4 draw, Jermain Defoe hitting the net twice, along with goals from Michael Brown and Robbie Keane. Goals has been an issue for Nigel Pearson and his team, only hitting more than 1 goal once in 10 Premier League games. A lack of firepower is the thing that could condemn the Foxes to relegation this season.

The team news for Leicester is that only midfielder Dean Hammond (calf) is out of the game, with Anthony Knockaert unavailable due to personal reasons, but other than Hammond and the unfortunate situation of Knockaert, Nigel Pearson has a fully fit squad to chose from, and I am sure that he will be looking for his team, fresh after a weeks rest and training, to perform to the standard he would want and recreate that FA Cup result. Leicester, although being out adrift at the bottom of the table, do have some good players offensively that can be a menace to defences, and one of those players is Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, he has the tricks and ability to cause problems for opposition full backs, with a decent delivery and goal threat. Although on scoring 2 goals and assisting 3, which is below what you would expect from a good player like Mahrez, you could put that down to how the team as a whole has been performing; but he has the individual quality to be a thorn in the opponent, hopefully we can contain him, though. As well as Riyad Mahrez, on the opposite wing, Jeffery Schlupp also has the pace and trickery to cause problems for the opposition, he was the scorer of the winning goal in the FA Cup and his tendency to cut inside will make him more difficult to mark, hopefully he doesn’t get an opportunity to repeat that achievement this Saturday. He has 4 goals and 3 assists this season, which is a decent tally for a winger, and we have to make sure we stop the threats from the wings, as if we can do that, I think we stop the service to the strikers, and their firepower diminishes. In midfield, the evergreen Esteban Cambiasso has been brilliant for the Foxes this season, and he is the dictator, sitting in the midfield scattering passes and making the Leicester side tick, as well as being able to sit back and help defensively. He has 3 goals this season, and coming in late into the box he is a goal threat. Up top, both Andrej Kramaric and Leonardo Ulloa have the ability to score goals, with 11 goals between them, and that partnership up top with support from the quick and tricky wingers could be quite the goal threat. Hopefully that doesn’t come to fruition this Saturday, though.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado (knee) is the only absentee from the squad, with Ryan Mason recovering from a thigh injury suffered at Old Trafford. It’s great to have an almost fully fit squad, and hopefully after a full week of rest and training, we can be raring to go and recover some of our pride after the defeat in Manchester.

There is no doubting that we had a very bad day at Old Trafford, in which nobody played well, and individual mistakes sneaked back into our game making us too easy to beat and overpower. We gifted a result to United, and now, with a great chance of securing three points against the side bottom of the Premier League, we will be relying on our players to step up and perform to the level required of them. One player I would like to step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck, as the saying goes, is Christian Eriksen. His quality isn’t doubted but he sometimes has the tendency to disappear in matches and not make the impact he really is capable of. We need Eriksen to get on the ball as much as possible, as when he does, he can run the game and impact heavily on the result. His performance level has dropped, but hopefully he can regain that intensity in a crucial part of the season. His performance levels will definitely have an impact on how successful we are at the end of this season. Improvement is also expected from Kyle Walker, who had nothing short of a nightmare game against Manchester United; he needs to cut out the mistakes and be more effective and efficient offensively with his crosses and interplay with his right wing partner. Against Leicester, we are expected to have most of the ball, so I hope that Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason can also be effective and we can create enough chances to really impact on the game. We have to be positive on the ball and hopefully that can lead to victory! Oh, and I couldn’t write an article without mentioning Harry Kane! The service to him and support must improve; as good as he is, he can’t do it on his own. Against his former loan side, he’ll be looking to strike once again and lead us to victory.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Five of the last seven meetings between Tottenham and Leicester in all competitions have ended with a 2-1 scoreline.

– There have been two meetings so far between these teams this season, both ending in 2-1 away wins (Spurs won the reverse Barclays Premier League game, while Leicester won in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane).

– Leonardo Ulloa has scored in all four of his starts against the two big north London sides Arsenal and Tottenham.

– Leicester City have won just one of their last 13 Premier League away games (W1 D2 L10).

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W6 D3) and have lost just one of the last 15 home games in all competitions (W10 D4 L1) but that was to Leicester in the FA Cup.

– Spurs have recovered 16 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.

– The Foxes have failed to score a first-half goal in any of their last seven Premier League games.

– Christian Eriksen has scored more winning goals than any other player in the Premier League this season (6).

– Esteban Cambiasso has scored three goals from just four shots on target for Leicester.

– Wes Morgan has blocked more opposition shots than any other Premier League player this season (39).

It’s another big game in the Premier League run in! Let’s get back to winning ways as fast as possible! It’s a great opportunity for us to get a good win over a struggling and under pressure Leicester side. A clean sheet and a few goals would do very nicely! The game is not televised live in the UK, but I will be updating as much as I can live from White Hart Lane, follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted side to face Leicester at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Leicester press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match: Wednesday 4th March 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Swansea.

Tottenham goalscorers: Chadli 6’, Mason 51’ and Townsend 60’.

Swansea goalscorers: Ki 19’ and Sigurdsson 89’.

A really, really good three points. After the Capital One Cup final disappointment, you could possibly understand if the players looked a little dejected out on the pitch after losing only 3 days ago, but that certainly wasn’t the case as we performed very well, especially in the second half to beat a very decent Swansea side at White Hart Lane. We didn’t look tired but determined; determined to prove that we can still go on to challenge for the top four and that the Capital One Cup final defeat wouldn’t be the defining moment of our season. We started very brightly, worked very hard, found our rhythm and got a very good three points. The past was firmly laid to rest, and the player’s minds looked firmly focussed on the future, starting with this game and we have won well. The result looks close, but we deserved to win; we were superior in all aspects of the game and despite a late rally from the Welsh side, we looked well worth the three points and it would have been so discouraging to drop two points because of a late show from what was an under par performance from the Swans in my opinion.

In the first half, it was an electric start to the game; and the lightening struck first in Tottenham’s favour as Danny Rose bombed forward and supplied a beautiful cross that found Nacer Chadli who provided a simply wonderful volleyed touch that found its way past Fabianski and into the net for 1-0 just 6 minutes in. That was Nacer Chadli’s 11th goal of the season as he continues to show his dazzling scoring talent. The game was stopped shortly after that as Bafetimbi Gomis provided a shock to everyone after fainting on the pitch, with flashbacks to Fabrice Muamba replaying in the minds of Spurs fans; the Frenchman was stretchered off, but was conscious and is now perfectly fine, which is fantastic to hear. After that scare, Swansea pounced on what was a lack of concentration at the back as Gylfi Sigurdsson hit a free kick onto the post and we fail to clear our lines, as poor defending from Jan Vertonghen allowed Ki Sung-Yeung to poke the ball through the legs for 1-1 on 19 minutes. We still looked good on the ball, with Bentaleb and Mason looking good in midfield, hitting strikes from long range, but comfortable for Fabianski. Jonjo Shelvey going close for the Swans, stinging the palms of Hugo Lloris in-between the Spurs sticks. It finished 1-1 at half time, with all to play for in the second half of the match.

And the second half started much like the first, as 6 minutes into the second period we took the lead once again! Christian Eriksen dazzling the Swansea defenders with his dribbling skills, before the ball made its way into the path of the oncoming Ryan Mason, who sorted his feet, before unleashing a strike into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 on 51 minutes. We were looking good on the ball, and found ourselves in the driving seat thanks to our goal scoring midfielders. And to get our third goal only 9 minutes later was another midfielder; after the referee played a brilliant advantage after a foul on Bentaleb, Andros Townsend ran at the Swansea defence with intent as he so often does, and this time he had the end product, cutting in onto his so called weaker right foot and delightfully finished into the top of the net for 3-1 on 61 minutes, and it looked like Swansea were down and out, as we looked to cruise to victory. But, this is Tottenham we’re talking about, and they wouldn’t allow us to cruise to victory, but instead hold our breath and hope for mercy. The player to cause the unrest was former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson, who powered a shot past the despairing Hugo Lloris for 3-2 on 89 minutes, and the late flurry from Swansea was very unnerving, as it would have been so disappointing if we had let all our hard work go to waste, and we had to thank the unbelievable Hugo Lloris who somehow got his hand to a Fernandez header to save us two points. Thank Hugo! Great result.
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We had a lot of stand out performers in this game. In the first half we didn’t hit the heights we could have, but in the second half the team improved and stepped up our level of performance. In particular, it was nice to see Christian Eriksen improve and find his feet in the game after being fairly poor recently, he created the second goal and looked much more threatening and free in the second half, passing the ball well and creating some good opportunities; hopefully the Dane can continue to improve and further impact our games; because when he plays well, the team plays well. Ryan Mason played a great game too, in midfield he was tenacious and also got a goal, which as the more advanced player in the midfield pivot of Mason and Bentaleb, he needs to do. He has the ability to score goals and be effective offensively and it was his day to clutch his first Premier League goal for Tottenham, and hopefully his first of many. Our full backs’ bombing forward is a feature of our play without doubt, and Danny Rose has been fantastic so far this season and his assist for Chadli was super. His delivery has been questioned during his career but there are signs of improvement under Pochettino, and he has cemented himself as a very good Premier League left back, and definitely our first choice ahead of Ben Davies. It is fantastic for Nacer Chadli to get back on the score sheet after a difficult couple of months for the Belgian – he has been a revelation so far this season and his goal scoring tendency has made him a fan favourite; having Nacer, Kane and Eriksen all flying would give me hope of a top four finish. There’s no more superlatives left in the world to describe Hugo Lloris, so I’m transforming his name into one. Lloris was extremely Lloris.

A brilliant three points against a tough opposition! We produced three incredibly nice goals to go with a solid performance and very important three points. Thankfully we held on and ended our drought of wins. Next up is another London derby away at Loftus Road against QPR. It’s going to be a tough game against a scrapping Rangers side under the guidance of former Spurs coach Chris Ramsey! I’m sure that’ll be a good game. You can follow me on twitter, @AddictedToSpurs for all the coverage ahead and during the QPR game! Let me know your views on our win over Swansea in the comments below! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that beat Swansea at the Lane:
Lloris – 8.5
Walker – 8
Dier – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the Match. (Davies 78’ – 6)
Bentaleb – 7.5
Mason – 8.5
Townsend – 7.5 (Dembele 64’ – 6)
Eriksen – 8
Chadli – 8.5
Kane – 7 (Soldado 76’ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 3-2 win over Swansea:

Match highlights from the game:

Ryan Mason post match reaction: