Match Preview, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match date & time: Wednesday 4th March 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After a very disappointing result at Wembley, being defeated 2-0 by Chelsea, our attention turns very quickly back to the Premier League, where we have to pick ourselves up and fight to secure a good finishing spot in the League. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, or use it as an excuse, because there aren’t any excuses, we have to take responsibility to improve and learn from the disappointment and make sure it doesn’t happen too often in the future! Our focus now has to be on an important game against Swansea, where we have a good opportunity to stop what can only be seen as a slump in form after our Arsenal heroics, with no wins in 5 games in all competitions. Losing the trophy is very hard to deal with but as a young squad, we can take the experience as a positive one and use the frustration and disappointment to our advantage in pushing for a place in Europe, whether that is in the Europa League or Champions League. Each game should be taken one at a time, as this season was always one of bedding into Mauricio Pochettino’s values, with next season being the realistic target to push for places in the top four, and to win trophies. The cup final this season was a surprise and winning it would have been exceptional, but we are still on the right track with the young squad and promising manager to make those Wembley appearances much more frequent. But, that’s in the past now and we have a season to concentrate on. Starting with a difficult but winnable contest with Swansea at the Lane. A win would do us a world of good.

Swansea are a good side with a good standard of players. They sit 8th, just one spot behind ourselves in 7th, with a 4 point gap, despite us playing a game less. They have been fairly consistent in their performances and under the guidance of the impressive Garry Monk, have continued to cement themselves as a competitive Premier League side that are hard to beat and pushing to be in contention for places in Europe. In their last 5 games, they have only lost once and drawn once, while winning the other three including an impressive 2-1 victory over Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium and an even more impressive 1-0 away victory over Southampton. They know how to win against good sides and are well organised defensively and in midfield, while offensively being able to get some goals too, despite the loss of star man Wilfried Bony. But, the impact of losing Wilfried Bony has meant that the Swans have only hit 1 goal in 9 of their 13 games without the new Manchester City man, but they have tightened up defensively, meaning that 1-0 wins have become enough for the Welsh boys, with credit going to Garry Monk for making them more compact, and their midfield becoming more goal threatening. Last time we faced Swansea was at the Liberty Stadium back in December, a dramatic 2-1 win, with Harry Kane and then Christian Eriksen late on securing us the win despite Wilfried Bony getting on the score sheet. The last time the Swans visited White Hart Lane was all the way back in 2013, when Roberto Soldado scored a penalty in a 1-0 win early on last season. In our last 6 games with Swansea, we have won all of them, scoring 12 goals and only conceding 4, which is fairly impressive for a very good side in Swansea.

The team news for Swansea is that former Gunner Kyle Bartley (knee) is ruled out, while current Spurs player, on loan with the Swans Tom Carroll is ineligible, and former Spurs man Gylfi Sigurdsson has recuperated from his hamstring injury and will look to replace Carroll in the side. The return of the dangerous Sigurdsson will be a big boost for the Welsh side, with his goal threat and silky touch on the ball will be greatly appreciated to Swansea, with 4 goals and 8 assists this campaign. Another big threat for Swansea is Bafetimbi Gomis; despite not hitting the heights that was expected of the Frenchmen, he still has the power, pace and goal threat to cause a stir in opposition defence, and in the absence of Wilfried Bony, he has the opportunity to shine, despite only having scored 5 goals so far this season. On the wings, Jefferson Montero, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer all have pace and skill to trouble full backs, and Gomis will look to profit off of their crosses into the box, as well as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s delivery from set pieces and also in open play. The Swans also have threats in the form of Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yeung, who have a definite goal threat and also the composure to turn provider. It will be a job to contain what is a very good Swansea side.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 09.44.06
The team news for Tottenham is that we go into this game without any injuries, and a full squad to choose from, which will be a plus for Mauricio Pochettino. But, after playing Thursday to Sunday, and then Thursday to Sunday again, and now a Wednesday to Saturday this week, with some massive games in there, you couldn’t be surprised if Pochettino makes some changes to the side to freshen things up a bit ahead of the visit of Swansea to the Lane. Hopefully whatever side we put out can help to end this 5 game winless drought we are on, because we don’t want to be dragged into some further bad form at this stage of the season. A win against Swansea wouldn’t erase the pain of losing a cup final, but I am sure it would be lovely to appease the fans just a bit.

Against a very good defensive Swansea at this minute in time, I am sure they are looking to oppress the talent of Harry Kane, and this will become a fixture in the games we play, that sides narrow the space that Kane has, and don’t allow him to run with the ball or get shots away on goal, just like Chelsea did, but it’s Pochettino, Kane and the team’s responsibility to create space for Kane, and let him play his game to the best of his ability up top, where if he can find space, you know he will punish the opposition. Christian Eriksen hasn’t been in flying form like he was earlier in the season, and his assist tally isn’t spectacular, so if he could pick his game up, and start to find Kane in the positions that he does get into with space, then I think this run of bad form would cease to exist. We have to let our key duo play their football freely and in space, because there is no doubting the fact that they both are our best chance for goals at all times. Allowing the Dane and the Kane to do their thing, you need to compensate for possibly what they don’t do in midfield, so it would be asking Mason and Bentaleb to do even more, and fight harder in midfield to allow Eriksen and Kane to have the freedom up top. If Mason and Bentaleb can do even more dirty work, then Eriksen and Kane will be more free to attack and hurt the opposition. On the wings, it was our full backs against Chelsea that looked the most threatening. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker bombed down their respective flanks at every opposition, but lacked that final ball too often; their work to get into crossing positions is brilliant but they need to be able to find that final ball for Kane, Chadli and even Eriksen to latch on to. If Rose and Walker can improve their crossing game I am sure their own personal value would rise significantly to both Tottenham and England, as I have been very impressed with both recently, especially Rose down that left side.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have won all three Barclays Premier League home games against Swansea, keeping a clean sheet in the last two.

– Indeed Swansea have lost their last six against Tottenham in the PL and are winless in seven (D1 L6).

– Harry Kane has scored 12 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances.

– No team has won more Premier League games from losing positions than Tottenham this season (5) in 2014-15.

– No team has lost more top-flight games from winning positions than Swansea City (4) this season.

– Spurs have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League this season (7).

– 40 points after 27 games equates to Swansea’s best ever return in a Premier League season.

– Swansea City have failed to score a first half goal in their last five Premier League matches on the road.

– The Swans have scored exactly one goal in seven of their last eight away from home.

– Seven of Swansea’s last eight Premier League goals have arrived in the second half.

The games are coming thick and fast, probably a little too fast for Mauricio Pochettino’s liking, but we have to get a win on the board now to keep this top four challenge alive. As Roberto Soldado said, we have 12 finals from now until the end of the season, and it’d be great to pick up at least 8 wins from those games, then we could have a chance of top four. But, we take every game as it comes and we’ll hope for the best, and first up it’s Swansea in a tough test at the Lane, and we have to win it, in honour of the great Dave Mackay. The game isn’t televised in the UK, so you can follow me on twitter for live coverage including, videos, photos, goal updates and more. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

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

Mauricio Pochettino pre match presser, paying tribute to Dave Mackay:

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 Review, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match: Saturday 22nd February 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-2 West Ham.

Tottenham goalscorers: Danny Rose 81’, Harry Kane 96’.

West Ham goalscorers: Cheikhou Kouyaté 22′, Diafra Sakho 62’.

Well, Tottenham don’t half like to play with your heartstrings, do they? We have to be honest and admit that we played a poor game, our passing was sloppy, we didn’t create enough clear cut chances and the energy that is so often a major part of our game simply wasn’t there, we lacked that intensity and drive from West Ham’s first goal until our first goal. West Ham were comfortable and it looked for all the world like they would cruise to a 2-0 victory having got their game plan spot on, suffocating our midfield and starving Harry Kane of service. Their tactical game was brilliant and on any other occasion it probably would have seen them through to victory, but despite lacking in quality throughout the game, our spirit was still there, and we didn’t give up, which credits the mentality instilled by Mauricio Pochettino once again. We did look drained, and out of sorts, and could possibly lay blame to the Europa League game in midweek, but when you see the side come to life late on in a game when 2-0 down, it makes me think that it simply was a bad day at the office that we were lucky to drag ourselves out of. Improvement is needed from that performance, on Thursday and then the Cup Final on Sunday, where we need to be at our best. I’m not happy with the point, we should have done better and performed better, but when you’ve played a bad game, and gone 2-0 down, you have to be satisfied that we got it back to 2-2, we’ll take the point, say thank you very much and then move on to what is a humungous week in the world of Tottenham Hotspur.

We did start the first half quite well, we had some shots that went close from Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, as well as a brilliant straight ball from Danny Rose that Harry Kane latched onto, and scissored towards goal, past Adrian, but finding the bottom of the post, unluckily for us. But it was West Ham who got the breakthrough, sloppy play from Mousa Dembele on the edge of our box, which then fell to Aaron Cresswell who curled a beautiful cross into the box, inbetween our two centre backs for midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to power his header past Hugo Lloris on 22’ minutes for the Hammers to lead. We didn’t react to the goal very well, we were still sloppy in possession, West Ham smothered any space that we came across, and we didn’t have many ideas in the final third for Harry Kane to receive service to affect the game; unfortunately the West Ham game plan made it extremely difficult for us to bring our star man into the game. West Ham deserved their lead at half time, but it could have been a different story should we have taken the small amount of chances that we did get.

The second half was our chance to turn it around, insert some energy into our game and find our groove once again, but unfortunately we didn’t come out of the gates flying, instead we looked the same as in the first half; pedestrian and out of ideas, which gave West Ham the opportunity to find spaces for themselves, but not allowing the space to be given to us, hence was their organisation as a team. It was frustrating, infuriating not to have enough clear cut chances to make an impact on the game, West Ham’s tactics were spot on, and on the counter attack they were effective, and caused problems for our defenders with Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho using their pace and strength to affect the game. In midfield, they had the extra man, and it made it impossible for us to get a foothold in the match and strut our stuff, and then, West Ham doubled their lead through Diafra Sakho, who took advantage of Danny Rose appealing for offside to sneak in behind and find the net for 2-0, and it looked like game over at 62 minutes in. The game looked to be fizzling out, West Ham had control, and were passing the ball well, but a big incident was Mark Noble, who was already on a yellow card, lunging in on Nabil Bentaleb for what was a stonewall second yellow and red card, but John Moss bottled the decision and at that moment I though for all the World it wasn’t our day, but the never say die attitude of the side thought otherwise. We introduced Nacer Chadli into the game and 1 minute later, from a short corner, Erik Lamela whipped a cross into the box, which was half blocked and then cleared, but only as far as Danny Rose who scuffed a shot into the ground, but the bounce seemed to deceive Adrian in the West Ham goal and settled into the back of the net on 81 minutes to give the Tottenham faithful hope. Our brightest spell of the game is often in the last 10 minutes, and that was no different in this game, and after getting the goal back, we continued to press, with Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela creating chances, as well as Roberto Soldado who had a powerful effort well saved by Adrian. Then, with the added 5 minutes of time coming to a close, the ball found its way to Harry Kane’s feet, who took a touch, and felt contact from Alex Song and went to ground as John Moss pointed to the spot. It wasn’t that straightforward though, as Harry Kane’s penalty was saved, but it fell to Kane on the rebound toscore for 2-2 with the last kick of the game. Relief.

Well, we got a point!! A very nervy and frustrating game that ended in pure relief. Now, we have to travel to Florence to face Fiorentina in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32, then it’s the biggest game of the season on Sunday 1st March with the Capital One Cup Final against Chelsea, it’s set to be a massive week for Tottenham Hotspur, and hopefully it is a joyous week for us all. Follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs, and let me know your thoughts on the game! Up the Spurs! COYS!!
Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 14.07.20
My player ratings for the side that faced West Ham at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7
Dier – 7
Vertonghen 7
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the match.
Bentaleb – 8
Mason – 7 (Chadli 80’ – 5)
Lamela – 6.5
Dembele – 4 (Eriksen 45’ – 6.5)
Townsend – 6 (Soldado – 61’ – 6)
Kane – 7.5.

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the draw with West Ham:

Harry Kane post match reaction:

Match highlights of our 2-2 draw with West Ham:

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 Review, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match: Saturday 7th February 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal.

Tottenham goalscorers: Harry Kane 56’, Harry Kane 86’.

Arsenal goalscorer: Mesut Ozil 11’.

What a game, what a win, what a performance and what a player Harry Kane is. Everything we wanted to happen in this game did. It was our day and we now own, rightfully, the bragging rights in North London. We had a game plan and we stuck to it, we played with incredible energy, desire and every time we lost the ball, we recovered it as soon as was humanly possible. The side never panicked, never stressed; there was always an air of belief around the stadium and in the players that we could get the job done and we did exactly that, it was sensational. The win further boosts our confidence going into a very tough February period, with Liverpool coming up next, we go into that game bouncing and buzzing, and hopefully, the win propels us into having a wonderful season, because a North London Derby victory can change your fortune in an instant. We need to take this feeling and buoyancy into the rest of the season, and continue to be consistent and keep working our way up the Premier League table, and I hope, we can win a trophy as well. Mauricio Pochettino has been magnificent and his tactics in the big games have been marvellous; and now I hope on Tuesday we can do it again at Anfield. It’s all begun to click at Tottenham; the fans and the players have that connection again, and White Hart Lane is rocking – the way in which we are playing, with intent, with creativity and guile as well as aggression and desire, is exactly what the fans and the whole club has craved for a long while, and under Pochettino we are starting to see it all come together, and the future really is looking bright on this side of North London. I am certainly excited to see how we can further develop on what is a really good squad and bunch of young players.

Back to the game, in the first half, we started really well, Harry Kane going close, Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose were causing a mountain of problems on that left hand side and we were looking the much more likely side to break the deadlock. But, it wasn’t to be us that struck first, as Danny Welbeck showed great pace to breeze past Danny Rose, and then delivered a good ball for Olivier Giroud, who scuffed his shot and it unfortunately it fell to Mesut Ozil, who on 11 minutes stroked the ball into the top of the net, past Hugo Lloris. 1-0, but it was an injustice considering the way in which we were playing, and after their goal, we retook the momentum, and continued our dominance of possession and we did create chances, with Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, and Ryan Mason going fairly close, but unfortunately we couldn’t get back on level terms in that first half, but there was still so much belief in all the players, and they knew they could get the goals needed. After Arsenal got their goal, they did sit back, try and frustrate us, but it didn’t work, we kept coming and kept coming and were never stressed about when the goal would come, but you could see that we knew that it was coming. In the first half there was a definite feistiness about the game, with tackles coming in from every angle, and normally it was Ryan Mason who was doing the challenging for Tottenham! He was everywhere.

The second half was all about Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur, we dominated, made the game our own, and one of own, Harry Kane, was the man who made it happen for us, along with fellow Tottenham youth products Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason in midfield who showed incredible tenacity and energy to push us onto victory. After going close with Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason, with shots from outside the box, inside the box, free kicks, chances coming from corners as well; we were dominant. And, on 56 minutes, after Erik Lamela whipped in the corner, and it was Jan Vertonghen who got his head to it and guided it towards goal, with David Ospina parrying the ball into the path of Harry Kane, who composed himself before caressing the ball into the back of the net for 1-1, and then, our belief sky rockets, our performance level increases, and the noise level around White Hart Lane becomes deafening, and this North London Derby became electric. After Kane’s equaliser, we pushed so hard for that winning goal, and came close with Mousa Dembele who was brilliant throughout the game, hit a shot with his right foot and it was parried by Ospina and we were so unlucky not to get our second then and there, but, we still had many more opportunities to come, with Mason from long range straight at Ospina, Erik Lamela who skied the ball from close range and Christian Eriksen who had a chance from the free kick, but, it wasn’t going to be any of them to get the winner, but instead, our beautiful Harry Kane was destined for the winning goal, and in the 86th minute, he got it as Nabil Bentaleb lobbed a wonderful ball from deep into the box and Harry Kane rose highest and directed a peach of header past the despairing David Ospina and buried into the back of the net and White Hart Lane erupted in joy, and it looked clear that we were destined for victory in what was a brilliant performance and we had that finishing product from the magnificent Harry Kane, and he adds Arsenal to his list of clubs dismantled. Kane now has 22 goals in all competitions so far this season, and his 4th goal in 2 games. Excellent. At the end of the game, you could see what it meant to every Tottenham player and every fan. Fantastic feeling. Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Arsenal+Premier+League+TjKPRt3HeT5x There were so many fantastic displays all over the pitch for Tottenham, but there is no disputing who has to have the Man of the Match award – Harry Kane was sensational, the way he took his goals was brilliant, but the way he ran with the ball with intent, found spaces on the left, right and centre of the pitch, and used his energy and strength so well to disrupt the Arsenal defence. It was a complete display, and the only thing that was missing was the match ball, but he deserves every award that could come his way, as he was astonishing. He has shown time and time again that whoever the opposition is, he will score goals and cause problems for the opposition, and his never give up attitude is one that brings confidence to the players around him, he inspires the team with his work ethic and there is no doubting that the fans get motivated when he picks up the ball anywhere on the pitch, and the decibel level raises. He can only get better, and at 21 it really is flabbergasting how much more he can do within his career, as he isn’t the finished article, but there’s no doubt he is on the way to being just that. He in my view is producing World Class displays, week in, week out at this moment in time. Along with Harry Kane, the midfield duo of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason were outstanding, and dictated the pace of the game in the centre, spraying passes across the turf, long, short, forwards, sideways, back – everything a central midfielder should do. As well as they’re great work on the ball, they’re work off of it was just as impressive, if not more impressive. They held their positions really well, made crunching tackles, interceptions and showed incredible energy and desire to win, that no doubt pushed us to victory, with Nabil Bentaleb producing the quality assist for Harry Kane’s winning goal. At left back, Danny Rose was also brilliant, especially in the first half where Hector Bellerin was out of his depth against an in form Rose, running at him with pace and purpose, and getting crosses into the box, but unfortunately he wasn’t as accurate with his crosses as we would like, but he still showed great intent and in defence, he made great tackles and kept Danny Welbeck quiet, except unfortunately for their goal! But, he has come on leaps and bounds so far this season and it’s great to see. Young Eric Dier has been given the opportunity at centre back recently, and has risen to the occasion majestically today, being calm and composed with and without the ball, keeping Olivier Giroud at bay throughout the game and he passed the ball really well out from the back, and he is creating a very fruitful partnership with Jan Vertonghen at centre back. The final mention goes to Mousa Dembele, who was majestic in the number 10 role; he is so difficult to get the ball off of, and he passed the ball with purpose, and spread the play really well. He has hit form once again and he could become a massive player this season, as when on form he is such a different and intriguing player to watch.

What a win! It’s always a pleasure to win a North London Derby, but having a home grown talent dispatch the club from Woolwich is something special, and it puts us ahead of Arsenal in the table, which makes it further sweet for everyone at White Hart Lane. We were superb, and now hopefully we can further improve and take this confidence into our next fixtures this season, starting with Liverpool on Tuesday 10th February at Anfield. He’s one of our own and he’s the King of North London. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for everything Tottenham! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings from the side that beat Arsenal at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8.5
Dier – 9
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 9 (Chadli 75’ – 6.5)
Mason – 9 (Paulinho 90’ – N/A)
Bentaleb – 9
Dembele – 8.5
Lamela – 7.5 (Stambouli 89’ – N/A)
Eriksen – 8
Kane – 9.5 – Man of the Match.

Mauricio Pochettino reaction:

Ryan Mason and Harry Kane reaction:

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.
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 16.16.12
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 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 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, Crystal Palace vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 10th January 2015. 5:30pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Selhurst Park.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. World wide TV listings HERE.

Exiting the festive period, we have left ourselves in a great position to pursue a great season. After going 7 games unbeaten in all competitions, we have found ourselves just two points off the top four, and still in every competition we can be involved in, including the semi finals of the Capital One Cup, with a real chance to go to Wembley and challenge for coveted silverware. In these recent seven games unbeaten, it looks as though the players have really found their form, and Mauricio Pochettino has found something of his best 11, or at most best first team, match day squad of eighteen. We have been injury free, and competition for places means that our squad looks hungry and ready to fight entering into the final half of the season. Our next six games are favourable, but massive. We have the chance to go to Wembley against Sheffield United, but also we have to continue this unbeaten run, and keep momentum ticking over into the second half of the season. This all starts with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, who are a difficult proposition at home, and with a new manager, and his first home game, he will be looking to make a good impression; and the players could rise to the occasion. But, if we play the way we know we can, and emulate a performance of the calibre of our 5-3 win over Chelsea, the we should have no problem in seeing off Crystal Palace. There is no doubt Palace will try to make it as difficult as possible for us on their home turf, with the crowd behind them – we have a really difficult task ahead of us, but we need to be professional, and get the job done and move on. It’s crucial we don’t let the momentum that we have dither.

Palace have struggled this season, which was expected after Tony Pulis left them just before the start of the season. Neil Warnock replaced him, but he only lasted half of the season before Alan Pardew stepped up and took the job, to the surprise of many leaving Newcastle – a much safer side with better players. Crystal Palace sit 18th in the Premier League, inside the relegation spots, and Pardew has a big job to keep them up, which means he will be looking to start strong, and transform Selhurst Park into the fortress it became last season under Tony Pulis; and that, Pardew will be hoping, will start with us. Palace have only won once in their last 14 Premier League games, and are without a win since their victory over Liverpool at Selhurst Park eight games ago, back in November. This barren spell led to manager Neil Warnock losing his job, and being replaced by Alan Pardew. In our last game against Crystal Palace, we drew 0-0 at the Lane, in an exciting, but frustrating game in which Palace did really well to counteract our offensive prowess. It wasn’t our finest game but Palace really turned up and probably deserved more from the game. In our last game at Selhurst Park, we won 1-0 on the first day of last season; with Roberto Soldado getting the only goal from the spot. I think this time around, we will want to break down the Palace defence a little more, and finish off the game as early as possible. If we have a slow start, Palace could easily grow into the game and dig in, which would make our task harder than it has to be. Last time we faced an Alan Pardew side, it was against Newcastle at the Lane in the Capital One Cup quarter final, in which we won comfortably 4-0; hopefully Pochettino’s men can recreate a similar scoreline against Pardew’s new side.

The team news for CrystaL Palace is that their midfield menace Yannick Bolasie, and midfield hard man Mile Jedinak will both be absent for Alan Pardew’s first Premier League game in charge as they are both on international duty; and they will be a huge miss for Palace, as they are both arguably their most important players, and Yannick Bolasie caused us all sorts of problems in our last encounter at the Lane, and I am sure our defence will be glad not having to face him once again. Mile Jedinak is the leader of the side, the hard man, but also the orchestrator of it all from his deep position in the centre of midfield; he is a touch of class in an otherwise below average Palace side, and I am sure they will miss him dearly; hopefully we can make his absence count. Other than those absentees, James McArthur (knock), Marouane Chamakh (hamstring) and Glenn Murray (ankle) are all slight doubts for the Eagles, but are expected to at least make the squad. With the absence of Bolasie and Jedinak, Palace will have to rely offensively on the talents of Wilfried Zaha, who is on loan from Manchester United and has undoubted talent on the ball. His end product is questionable, but on his day he can be a big threat to any defence, and Pardew will be hoping he can be the man to help his side create chances, and use his pace to stretch our defence. Up front, Palace have a wealth of options, from Chamakh to Doyle, to Campbell to Murray and the to Dwight Gayle, and all of these strikers aren’t exactly prolific, but they still pose a threat given the correct service, but if we can nullify the supply, we can isolate the striker and then we should get most of the fun in the match. There’s no doubting that this Crystal Palace side will put in a massive shift to prevent us from scoring, and will look to hit us on the counter with the pace of Zaha and Gayle; we will have to make sure to score early and then hopefully we can take command of the game.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Nail Bentaleb has joined up with his Algerian team mates for the African Cup of Nations and so will be absent from this game. DeAndre Yedlin isn’t ready after only joining up with the side on Wednesday, with Ryan Mason (hamstring) & Erik Lamela (calf) out of the game through injury. With Mason and Bentaleb out, it’s a chance for Mousa Dembele and Benjamin Stambouli to stake a claim for first team football, and hopefully they can grab their chance and put in a good display.

There is no hesitating when asked who the key man for Tottenham is at the moment; Harry Kane has been nothing short of sensational so far this season and we rely upon him for goals, but it’s not only his goals, but it’s his overall contribution of assists, hold up play and his incredible work rate, which makes him so valuable to us, and he is developing into a wonderful player with a massive future. Another player in a rich vain of form is Nacer Chadli, who has 9 goals and 4 assists so far this season and has been a revelation with his contribution, and has established himself as an incredibly important player to us, to have a midfielder who can get 10 goals plus a season alongside Christian Eriksen. In defence, Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen have been in stellar form as a unit, and our back five as a whole is beginning to take shape with Kyle Walker back from injury and Ben Davies and Danny Rose competing valiantly for a place at left back, and our results prove that continuity and understanding within the side and at the back is leading to consistency in our results, and hopefully no injuries will disrupt the flow of thew side and the squad, and we can continue to produce good results and climb the table. On the wing, with Erik Lamela out, and Aaron Lennon seemingly on his way out, an opportunity has arisen for Andros Townsend to stake a claim on the right wing after being a bit part player for quite a while he has the chance to put a run of games together and hopefully rediscover some form that he had early on last season.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Crystal Palace have gone eight Premier League games without a win (W0 D5 L3).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team in the Barclays Premier League (12).

– The Eagles have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League matches.

– Harry Kane has scored five goals in his last five Premier League matches.

– Palace have failed to score in their last three Premier League games against Spurs.

– Spurs have won six and lost just one of their last nine Premier League matches.

– Harry Kane has the best minutes/goal ratio of any player to score at least five PL goals for Tottenham (149, Klinsmann 169).

– Crystal Palace have committed more fouls than any other team in the Premier League this season (270).

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

– Kevin Doyle has scored four goals against Tottenham, his joint-highest tally against any Barclays Premier League opponent (along with Fulham).

It’s a massive game to continue our recent form, and it would be lovely to go eight games unbeaten. Crystal Palace are a tough proposition, but we have what it takes to break them down and come out as victors. The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates including goal updates, photos and videos. Follow me on twitter for it all, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get another three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Dembele
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of Palace: