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

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

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

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Preview, Manchester City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 18th October 2014. 12:45pm KO BST.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Etihad Stadium.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. World Wide TV listings HERE.

After a long, drawn out international break – Premier League football returns and we certainly won’t be eased back in… The test of Premier League champions Manchester City awaits at the Etihad Stadium, a place nightmares were born last season with a 6-0 defeat. There is no good time to face Manchester City at the Etihad – so this is as good as any. The Tottenham team will have to perform to their maximum & beyond to get the three points that we all crave against the Champions, but it is possible and we have shown our mettle before this season – and now we’ll be looking for that again. No doubt that Manchester City are an incredibly talented, strong and devastating outfit, and at home they are very, very difficult to beat, but on the day of the game you just don’t know what is going to happen, and we’ve beaten them before at the Etihad, despite that being before they hit the heights of winning the League, but we can do it again, and take inspiration from that 1-0 win from Crouch’s header, and also more recently Stoke’s 1-0 win at the Etihad earlier this season. It is possible that we get all three points, but of course, it will need to be a performance full of togetherness, strong mentality and a clinical nature when we get the chances.

Manchester City are a wonderful team with so much quality throughout their squad, we all know how tough this game will be for us. Manchester City sit in 2nd place in the Premier League table with 7 games gone, they have 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss – 14 points. A steady start to the season with their high standards, with the loss coming to Stoke City at home 1-0, and the 2 draws coming against Arsenal and Chelsea. The City team have been performing to a good level, but I think they are yet to reach their swashbuckling best as of yet. Tottenham sit in 6th place in the Premier League, only 3 points off of Manchester City in 2nd, and that tells you how tight this Premier League is and will be in the future. A win for Tottenham makes our start to the season extremely pleasing and I think gives us a massive lift to go on and really achieve this season – but we have an incredibly difficult task ahead of us and we need to put in a massive team performance to get a victory.

The team news for Manchester City is that Samir Nasri (groin) and Eliaquim Mangala (thigh) have been ruled out of the game. Yaya Toure had been touted by the press to be rested in this game after the international break with Ivory Coast, but Pellegrini has brushed that rumour aside, saying he’s likely to play. Other than that, they have a fully fit squad.

It is difficult to pick out just one big threat from the Manchester City team, but I would say that Sergio Aguero, when fit and firing, is the Premier League’s best striker and gives every defence problems every game that he plays, he has 5 goals in 7 Premier League appearances which shows his clinical nature when given the opportunity. Behind him, David Silva provides the creative spark – one of the best players in the Premier League, and best ‘number 10s’ in the World, he can slip the ball between the defence and find an opening you didn’t think was there, he provides the perfect ying to Aguero’s yang and they work very well together. In midfield, Frank Lampard has a very good record against Tottenham when he played at Chelsea, and now after his switch to New York City, and loan deal to Manchester City, he is still in the goals and looks totally settled in Manchester, with his goal Scoring ability not leaving his side.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal) and Kyle Naughton (ankle) are out of the game, with Nacer Chadli (hip) and Hugo Lloris (groin) minor doubts, but fully expected to make the team after being such crucial players for us so far this season. Other doubts include Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb, who have returned late after international duty with Togo and Algeria respectively, but I’d expect both to be fine for the game.

As I’ve said, we’ll need a mammoth team performance to get 3 points and maybe even 1 point, so our players will have to be on top form. I think our problem so far this season has been our lack of clinical edge in front of goal; we create the chances to score but don’t finish them and kill teams off unlike teams such as Chelsea & Manchester City, this is the difference between the top 4 and top 6, our ability to score goals and kill games. A lot of our hope relies on Emmanuel Adebayor finding form again, he hasn’t been able to hit the back of the net like he did in the second half of last season, and his hold up play has also been rather suspect to criticism. But, against his former club, and the inspiration 2 wins with his national team Togo will give him, now’s the perfect time for him to start banging them in again! If Adebayor isn’t available due to getting back late from international duty, I’d give Harry Kane the opportunity up top, his work rate and eye for goal at the moment means he does deserve a shot in the Premier League at some point. In midfield, I think Etienne Capoue has been outstanding so far this season, he is very secure defensively, and passes the ball very well to start attacks and has become a key player to Pochettino’s system; against Manchester City we will definitely need him on top form to help us nullify their attacking threat in midfield, tracking the runs of Lampard, Toure, Silva etc and stopping them in their tracks on the ball, it’ll be a tough afternoon for Etienne but he has the ability to really make the difference in midfield. I’d pick out Capoue vs Toure as the key battle in this game, apart from Aguero vs Lloris! Christian Eriksen was the match winner last time out against Southampton, and I’m hoping he can now push on after that, then match and improve on his form last season, he’s very important for us.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Manchester City have won six of their last seven Premier League meetings with Tottenham Hotspur (L1).

– Tottenham have secured 20 wins against Manchester City in the Premier League; only against Everton (20) have they won as many.

– The last six Premier League games between Man City and Spurs have produced 30 goals (five per game on average), with City scoring 22 of these goals.

– Edin Dzeko has scored six goals in six Premier League games against Spurs; more than versus any other opponent. Four of these goals came in one game (August 2011).

– Sergio Aguero has netted five goals in five PL apps against Tottenham; only against Norwich City (5) has he scored as many in the competition.

– Man City have gone two home games without a win in the Premier League (L1 D1). The last time that they went three PL home games without a victory was back in November 2010 (L1 D2).

– Tottenham have won just three of their last 11 Premier League away matches (W3 D4 L4); this after winning their previous five on the road in succession.

– Manchester City scored 11 goals in their two Premier League games against Spurs in 2013-14. The last team to score more in a single PL season versus one opponent were Spurs against Wigan in 2009-10 (12 goals).

– Spurs lost 0-6 against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in November 2013. This is their joint heaviest defeat in Premier League history (6-0 v Sheffield United in March 1993 and 7-1 v Newcastle United in December 1996).

– Christian Eriksen has only been involved in five goals (three goals, two assists) in 13 away appearances in the Premier League, compared to 12 goals in 19 PL apps at White Hart Lane (six goals, six assists).

I believe this game will be much closer than in previous times, there is no doubt it will be truly difficult but if we can show a similar mentality to the one we showed against Arsenal in the 1-1 draw we can get something from this game. Pochettino has a fairly good record against Manchester City and I trust in him to set the team out in the correct way to suffocate their attacking threat, but also hurt them with ours. I’m looking forward to Tottenham being back in action! The game is live on BT Sport at 12:45pm, but I’ll be giving live updates, photos, videos and more on my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Manchester City at the Etihad:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Chadli – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 5th October 2014. 2:05pm KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

This game has become very important. At White Hart Lane, against a well drilled, offensively exciting team, we have to be on top form to get the full three points. This match has become a must win after we have failed to win a Premier League game since the thrashing of QPR in just our second game of the season. Since then, we have lost twice and drawn twice, which is not up to Tottenham standard with 6 games gone. Mauricio Pochettino knows we have to improve – to be more clinical in front of goal when we get the chances, more creative & purposeful when we have possession and defensively solid when under pressure. We showed a lot of good, positive things against Arsenal last week, but now we need to turn that form into a winning formula again in the Premier League, and not be left playing catch up on the rest so early in the season. It is important, though, that if things don’t click, that we remain behind Mauricio Pochettino, because he needs time to build & mould this squad into his team, and only then can we judge him objectively. Knee-jerk reactions help nobody, we have learnt that the hard way. We have a very talented manager, who our players have warmed to magnificently. Now we – the fans – have to give him the time to succeed.

This will be the first time Mauricio Pochettino has faced his former side, he was replaced by Ronald Koeman, who has done a fantastic job in the hot seat, when everything was looking so bleak for Southampton, he has turned it into a very positive, forward thinking club that nobody expected it would be this season after so much upheaval. Southampton have started this season spectacularly and sit in second place in the Premier League. After Liverpool beat them 2-1 at Anfield on the opening day of their season, they are unbeaten in all competitions, with just 1 draw (to West Brom) against their name. They have won 4 Premier League games on the trot, scoring 10 goals and conceding just 2 goals, which has led them to second in the table, only 3 points behind the supposedly unstoppable Chelsea. Tottenham sit in 8th place, 5 points off Southampton in second. At this early stage in the season, the table can change dramatically with just a couple of wins or a couple of losses, and hopefully Tottenham can get a few wins under the belt now and push in from that Arsenal result. In our last 2 meetings with Southampton, the scores have been 3-2 in favour of Tottenham. Hopefully, we see a great game like that, with a similar result for Tottenham.

The team news for Southampton is that James Ward-Prowse (foot), Maya Yoshida (ankle), Lloyd Isgrove (knee), Sam Gallagher (knee) and Jay Rodriguez (knee) are out of the game at the Lane, with Florin Gardos (calf) a doubt. Southampton have some extremely talented players going forward; their wingers/attacking midfielders are their biggest threat in my opinion. Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mané are both really creative, exciting players that can make things happen in the final third. Tadic has 3 assists in 6 appearances in the Premier League, and has created many more chances, while Mané has 2 assists in his first 2 games with Southampton. These players are making an instant impact after coming into the squad in the summer window, which is what you want from new signings after a lot of your best players have departed. In the middle of the park, the man that makes Southampton tick round and does the dirty work is Morgan Schneiderlin, from his deep lying role in midfield, he makes Southampton move the ball quickly, and when they don’t have the ball he is trying to win it back, making tackles and interceptions all over the park. I think Schneiderlin is Southampton’s most influential player and there’s no guessing as to why Tottenham were sniffing around in the summer window. The finisher of the team is Graziano Pelle, he has been in great form since coming in from Feyenoord scoring 5 goals in 8 appearances in all competitions, but it’s not just his Goalscoring form that has impressed, it’s his ability to bring the ball down and play in his midfielders around him. His hold up play is very good and he is a strong, imposing player, who is a good outlet for a Southampton team that play very nice football across the floor.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, and that is our only injury for this game. A fully fit and ready squad, which is extremely pleasing, but also very rare in Tottenham’s case! For the Besiktas game, Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue had knocks but they are ready and fit for the game against Southampton. After making 10 changes to the team in midweek, the team will be fresh and hopefully ready to get three points at White Hart Lane.

The team picks itself mostly, I think. But the one position that divides opinion throughout the fan base is up top. Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane are the options, with Emmanuel Adebayor starting every Premier League game so far this season, only getting 1 goal and disappointing in his work rate and ability to get into the position to finish chances, and when he gets the chances, isn’t finishing them! Roberto Soldado would be the likely replacement, with 2 goals in 3 starts so far this season, but his work rate, in my opinion, isn’t much better than Emmanuel Adebayor and isn’t getting himself into the areas to score goals when he plays. With all that said, I would start with the younger option, Harry Kane, up top on his own. He has showed his ability on numerous occasions to score goals, all sorts of goals, and he works his socks off every time he gets onto the pitch, so I think Pochettino should put faith in Harry Kane and give him a chance to start in the Premier League. If there was a finishing competition between Adebayor, Soldado and Kane today, I think Harry Kane would win. Kane’s performance against Besiktas in midweek was outstanding from the rest and for that, I think he deserves a start. However, if I were to predict the starter, I think Emmanuel Adebayor will again get the nod. Nacer Chadli has been brilliant so far this season, scoring very important goals, and hopefully he can continue that this Sunday against Southampton. If Nacer can keep fit, I’m sure he can get 10+ goals this season and be very useful to us, playing either on the left, or as a second striker.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Two Spurs players scored braces in 3-2 wins over Southampton in last season’s Barclays Premier League games (Adebayor and Eriksen).

– Mauricio Pochettino comes up against his former club who he coached for 54 Premier League games with a record of W19 D18 L17.

– Tottenham have won all four Premier League games against Saints since the south coast club’s return to the top flight.

– Southampton’s total of 13 points from six games is their best since claiming 14 in 1983-84.

– Spurs have lost their last two home Premier League games. The last time they lost three in a row on home soil was in September 2008 under Juande Ramos.

– Southampton have won three of their last five Premier League away games (W3 D1 L1).

– Graziano Pelle has scored four goals in his last four Premier League outings.

– Since August 2012, Pelle has scored 54 goals in 63 league appearances.

– Sadio Mane has made five assists in five league games this season (Premier League and Austrian Bundesliga).

– The 19 players to have made a Premier League appearance for Southampton this season are made up of 14 different nationalities; the most diverse of PL teams.

A massive game is on the horizon! Although I’m sure it’ll be tight, nervous and tough, I am confident we can build on the performance against Arsenal and get back to winning ways. The game is not televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane and find everyone a stream. Follow me on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Chadli – Eriksen
Kane (preferred)/Adebayor (predicted).

Mauricio Pochettino previews Tottenham vs Southampton:

Who do you think should start up front against Southampton? Comment below!

Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Brom.

Match date & time: Sunday 21st September 2014. 1:30pm KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not on TV in the UK. World wide TV listings HERE.

This game against West Brom has become increasingly important with every dropped point in the last 3 games in all competitions. Firstly, a bad 3-0 loss to Liverpool, then a frustrating 2-2 draw at Sunderland, then an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League. Those results have been truly difficult to take as we know we are capable of better, that the players are capable of more. But, it’s not clicked in those three games and now it’s time to get back on track with a win at the Lane over West Brom, time to show some real attacking flair and excite the crowd, just like against QPR earlier in the season. It’s important we end this short streak of not winning in its tracks before it can take a toll on the squad and the fans.

Focusing on West Brom, they are without a win in the Premier League so far currently with only 2 points to their name from 4 games. Their latest result was a 2-0 home defeat to Everton, and new boss Alan Irvine is having a torrid start to life as a Premier League manager. Even in the Capital One Cup, West Brom needed penalties to get past League 2 side Oxford United in the 2nd round. The Baggies are yet to find winning formula, so let’s hope they don’t find the correct calculation this Sunday and continue with their dwindling form. West Brom will need to find wins soon if they’re to kick start their season, but hopefully on Sunday Tottenham will be too tough a task for the Midlands outfit.

The team news for the Albion is that Stephane Sessegnon (eye), Joleon Lescott (knee), Yousouff Mulumbu (hamstring) and Vitor Anichebe (groin) are all doubts for the game, but, it is expected that they will return in some capacity, whether that’s the bench or the starting eleven, that is yet to be seen. But, some important players for West Brom are listed there and it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Tottenham if some of them didn’t make it in time for this match.

The important players for West Brom include strikers Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye, who are both very much capable of grabbing a goal. Saido Berahino has scored 2 goals this season, both in 1 game against Sunderland on the first day of the season, those are Albion’s only goals this season’s Brown Ideye is West Brom’s record signing and he has so far shown the strength to play in the Premier League, so we’ll need to keep a close IdEYE on him (excuse the pun), despite him not being able to score so far this season. A player to look out for this Sunday hasn’t made his debut as of yet, Silvestre Varela on loan from Porto is a very decent player and if he is to make his debut could be a real threat in attack. Defensively, Albion rely on Jonas Olsson in defence to give them stability, and I’m sure he will latch on to Emmanuel Adebayor (should he start) and make it difficult for him to get space, especially in and around the box. He will match Adebayor for height and that is an advantage to stopping Adebayor.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Andros Townsend (dead leg) is a doubt for the game, while Kyle Walker (abdominal) remains out of the game. The players rested for the Partizan Belgrade game, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele, now return to the squad, which is obviously a big boost to our hopes after Pochettino made 10 changes to the team that faced Sunderland on Thursday. It’s important that we don’t let our midweek game affect our performance this Sunday and play with energy, intensity & flair.

Nacer Chadli has scored 3 goals in 3 games so far this season and has been incredibly impressive. So far showing why we signed him; for his goal scoring ability from the wing. Last season, he didn’t show that and only got 1 goal in the Premier League, but he’s started this season flying and cemented his name on the team sheet so far. For Twente, he got 18 goals in his last season and I think it’s possible for him to get 10+ this season, which would be important goals for us, like having another striker. Christian Eriksen showed against Sunderland that he is getting back to somewhere near last season’s form, and I hope now he can push on further and improve on last season after a disappointing start to the season, lacking maybe a little bit of sharpness. Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t been on top form this season, but he’s an extremely important player for our season so we need him to find his mojo and score some goals before his lack of goals gets to him; he needs to get back to last season’s form, otherwise Roberto Soldado & Harry Kane will be breathing down his neck for that starting berth. Goals win games & we need Adebayor to bring his A game. Defensively, Jan Vertonghen was very good alongside Federico Fazio on Thursday night, and after missing the Sunderland game it’s important for Jan to get back into the team. Whether that’s in a defensive partnership with captain Younes Kaboul, or with new signing Federico Fazio, who was also good against Partizan.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta

– Christian Eriksen scored in both Barclays Premier League games against West Brom last season.

– West Brom are without a win in nine Barclays Premier League meetings with Spurs (D5 L4).

– Tottenham have conceded almost as many handballs (6) as they have scored goals (7) in the Premier League this season.

– Tottenham have given away two of the five penalties awarded in the Premier League this season.

– Craig Gardner has been booked in four of his last five Premier League appearances, including in each of his last three.

– Saido Berahino remains the only West Brom player to score in the Premier League this season (2).

– Last season, Tottenham played a Premier League record 22 games on a Sunday.

– WBA have made four errors leading to goal this season, equalling their total from last season.

– The Baggies have won none of their last 13 Premier League games on a Sunday (D6 L7), last tasting victory when Roy Hodgson guided them to a win against Liverpool in April 2012.

– Etienne Capoue has made the most successful passes in the Premier League this season (342).

Very important game! The need to get back to winning ways is massive after a few disappointing result, and this is a very good opportunity to do just that. Although the game isn’t shown live on TV in the UK, I’ll be sure to provide a stream for you all on Twitter, along with match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and more. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted team to face West Brom at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 13th September 2014. 3pm KO GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium Of Light.

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

The Premier League is back! After a somewhat dull international break, Tottenham return to our lives with a difficult trip up to Wearside to face Gus Poyet’s Sunderland. A tough fixture away from home, but one we are expected to get maximum points from after a disappointing 3-0 drubbing from Liverpool at White Hart Lane, we have some making up to do, and try to show the same form that blew Queen’s Park Rangers away last month. Pochettino has had some time on the training pitch during this international period and you’d hope the players are feeling refreshed and ready to put in a performance showcasing Mauricio Pochettino’s ideas & style of play. A term I liked was to ‘suffocate’ the opponents through high pressure & fast attacking football. That’s what I’m looking for this Saturday afternoon, as well as three points.

Sunderland are as yet, without a win in their first three Premier League fixtures with two draws and a loss. Picking up a point away to West Brom & at home to Manchester United, which all-in-all, isn’t something to be totally ashamed of, but they lost away from home to QPR in terrible fashion, losing 1-0 and showing a distinct lack of fire-power, not being able to convert from 16 attempts. But, at home, against Manchester United they did well to grind out a point, especially after going behind in the first place; that’s showed fight and they do have quality, which we will have to be wary of. For Tottenham, as mentioned we had a bit of a ‘blip’ to the start of our season, losing uninspiringly to Liverpool at home, but looking beyond that, we won our first two games and we have to say it’s been a positive start, especially the convincing win over QPR at the Lane. Now, we have a tough away trip in which we may need to grind out a win, which is a different proposition to QPR and Liverpool, and more similar to West Ham, even with the sendings off. It’s another big test but we’re definitely the favourites for this clash, considering the differing starts to the season.

The only team news for Sunderland is that new signings Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez are in line to make their Black Cat debuts, with the rest of the squad fit for the tie. The players to watch for Sunderland include two of their new signings from this Summer, Ricky Alvarez and Will Buckley, both attacking midfielders they offer skill and pace to the Sunderland side and look to cause problems to the opposition. Buckley has shown in his first game after arriving from Brighton that he can deal with the Premier League, showing his directness and pace that is a danger to defences, while Alvarez is yet to play in the Premier League, he offers a different dimension to their midfield, with much more creativity from the Argentinian. Another important player for Sunderland is Jack Rodwell, who is looking to rebuild his career after a stuttering move to Manchester City; he has the talent and is a very solid & tidy player in the centre of midfield.

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The team news for Tottenham is that striker Roberto Soldado (neck/back) remains a doubt for the game, along with Nabil Bentaleb who arrived slightly late from international duty with Algeria, while right back Kyle Walker (pelvis) is a definite absentee with a long term problem. The good news for Tottenham is that Eric Dier is fit after a knock that kept him out of the England U21 squad, while new signings Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio are available to make their Tottenham debuts on Wearside. Our international players all returned without injury and are fit and ready, except Nabil Bentaleb supposedly, for the trip to Sunderland.

There are quite a few decisions for Mauricio Pochettino to mull over in his team selection; one being the places of new signings Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli, and whether or not to enter them straight into the first 11. Personally, I would play both players. With the possible absence of Nabil Bentaleb, I would play Stambouli alongside Etienne Capoue in the middle of the park; I think this is a very strong and capable midfield that would combat Sunderland well with Cattermole & Rodwell, who are tough tackling and powerful, similar to Etienne and Benjamin, so a straight battle would be interesting for sure and that combination is most likely our best chance of winning and breaking down Sunderland’s attacks. Another conundrum for Pochettino is the left back slot, whether to play Danny Rose or Ben Davies; I chose Danny Rose over Davies for the first three Premier League fixtures, but I think Ben Davies should be given his first Premier League start this Saturday afternoon, after his displays in Europe and for Wales, I don’t think anyone is doubting that Ben Davies will become our number 1 left back sooner rather than later, as his defensive game is far superior to Danny Rose’s, and he’s shown his ability to venture forward. Another half decision is upfront, but I think even with Harry Kane’s 2 goals for England’s U21s, Emmanuel Adebayor will continue to lead the line with Roberto Soldado still expected to be out with injury.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Sunderland scored first in both of their Barclays Premier League games against Spurs last season, but ended up losing on both occasions.

– Spurs have won six and lost none of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland (D2).

– Tottenham’s last four league away wins against Sunderland have all ended 2-1.

– Spurs have been shown more red cards (1) than yellow cards (0) in the Premier League this season.

– Gus Poyet’s side have only won three of their last 14 home league games (D4 L7).

– Etienne Capoue has completed a league-high 267 passes so far this season.

– Ricardo Alvarez was Internazionale’s leading assister in Serie A last season, setting up eight goals.

– Had the Premier League started on January 1st, Tottenham would be fifth on 41 points, just one short of Arsenal in fourth.

– Will Buckley has made more dribbles than any other Sunderland player this term (16) despite only playing 117 of a possible 270 minutes.

– Erik Lamela has drawn more fouls than any other Premier League player this campaign (10).

It’s a very repeated saying but it’s true, we have to bounce back straight away from our unfortunate defeat to Liverpool, and this is a chance to do that. It’s going to be competitive and closely fought but with our recent history of results and the form we can show, I’m quietly confident we can come back to North London with three points! The game isn’t televised, but you can follow me on twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and much more. Let’s get the win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Capoue – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs QPR.

Match: Sunday 24th August 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 QPR.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Chadli 12′, Dier 30′, Chadli 37′ & Adebayor 65′.

What a win! An incredible team performance and three points that takes us to the top of the table, for now, anyway. For the first time we got a glimpse of the incredible potential that our team has, offensively and defensively. We worked as a team, pushed as a team, attacked as a team and won as a team. The first time in a very long while that I have been completely and utterly pleased with a Tottenham performance. I couldn’t fault it. Queens Park Rangers were not good, they didn’t put us under enough pressure and their team were all over the place defensively and didn’t look threatening at all offensively, but, we were brilliant to take advantage, you can only beat in front of you, right? Every player on the pitch played their part in the victory and this is so very pleasing, it’s been long overdue.

In the first half, it was important to get an early goal and we did exactly that through Nacer Chadli, Emmanuel Adebayor finding the ball which Chadli took down very well on the chest and the poked the ball past Robert Green, 12 minutes in and it forced QPR to change their tactics and attack more, which left more and more spaces for us to create more and more chances. Every time QPR got the ball we had a player snapping at their heels, harrying them and putting pressure on them. 8 times out of 10 we won the ball back and created an attack. That’s something that Pochettino has brought instantly into the way we play, and it’s brilliant to see. Lamela, Capoue, Bentaleb, Adebayor, Eriksen, Chadli… Everyone pressed high and worked so hard to get the ball if we lost it, which in reality was very rare with possession 57% to 43% in our favour. In the 30th minute, we won a corner which Erik Lamela stood up to take, he then whipped a fantastic ball into the near post where none other than home debutant Eric Dier was there to flick the ball into the net past Robert Green, again. 7 minutes later, a fantastic 48 touch move from back to front found Erik Lamela in space to run, he darted into the box and picked out a delightful little ball into the path of Nacer Chadli who powered a header into the left side of the net, giving us a commanding 3-0 lead going into the break. Lamela with 2 assists, Chadli with 2 goals.

The game was won, in principle, but we still had a second half to play and a clean sheet and goal difference are important things. Every little helps. We continued to play like we did in the first half, pressing high, creating opportunities, but QPR improved, they changed to a 4-4-2 formation and it worked in their favour. Although they still never looked like threatening our clean sheet, except for earning a few corners, we were comfortable and QPR looked as if they were just playing for pride as they knew the game was gone, and so did their fans who were in all honesty, lifeless after what was a barbaric first half for them. I’m sure they’re thankful they didn’t have a big journey home after. The ball was sticking to our feet, we were keeping it and using it in areas which matter, something we haven’t seen for too long, ironically, since Harry Redknapp was in charge. We need to be a little sharper in the final third, but these are very, very early days in the Pochettino era and we can only improve with more training sessions and games. In the 65th minute, Nacer Chadli played a delightful ball down the left hand side to a rampaging Danny Rose, who slightly undercooked his cross but luck was on our side and the ball scurried through to Emmanuel Adebayor, who in the box, on his right foot, was not going to miss. He struck the net and we struck a 4-0 scoreline. Delight. We continued to push for a fifth goal, but the damage was done and then, we topped it off with getting a well deserved clean sheet, testament to the performances of our back line and midfield.

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Our whole team was brilliant in this game, we worked together and as one, which is something we haven’t done in a long, long time. To pick out a couple of good performers is a very difficult task, but, I aim to please so I will try. Eric Jeremy Edgar Dier, £4 million from Sporting Lisbon; a nothing transfer, one for the future and certainly not headline stuff, but his start to the season has been nothing short of sensational, not just his goals that as a defender are just a bonus, but it’s his composure on the ball, sharpness of thought, tenacity in the tackle and a magnificently simple way of playing football that is delightful and old fashioned. His potential is incredible, but we mustn’t get carried away; he is still only 20 years old but these performances show he plays far beyond his years. Experience will only make him better and that is exciting, centre back, right back, he’s got what it takes, that’s for sure. Danny Rose at left back along with Eric Dier was brilliant, defensively he was switched on and always made the right decision, in the tackle, on the ball and in attack, I was very, very impressed with his performance and the addition of Ben Davies has spurred him on to up his game and that is very pleasing. Another defender to mention, even though we scored four goals, is Jan Vertonghen; in a three word review I’d like to state that: He is back. That’s really all I need to say. World Class. In front of the defence, Etienne Capoue was phenomenal, he worked for the team, did all the dirty work and then was composed enough to find a more offensive player who can find the key pass. All pre-season Etienne was brilliant and he’s carried that form into the season, rediscovering the form of early in last season. Nacer Chadli got 2 goals and was a key part in our 4th goal too playing a great pass through to Danny Rose, it was his best ever performance in a Spurs shirt and he’s caused a lot of people to eat their words, hopefully now he can kick on and score 10+ goals this season, showing why we bought him. Erik Lamela was another fantastic performer, he didn’t stop running for 90 minutes; if he lost the ball he immediately won it back, and when on the ball he was always a threat, a few times not quite getting it right but again he will only improve as the season goes on, 2 assists is always good and hopefully he can, the same as all the team, push on and deliver week-in-week-out.

Just a fantastic win all round. Four goals, a clean sheet and top of the Premier League table, even if it is just temporary! It’s very early days but we’ve been starved of excitement and joy for quite a while so excuse me while I gloat and shout from the rooftops that we won a game comfortably as a team and I didn’t feel worried at any point! Next up is our second leg Europa League play-off fixture against AEL Limassol at the Lane on Thursday 28th August. Then we return to Premier League action at White Hart Lane again, this time, against Liverpool on Sunday 31st August. Exciting. Remember to follow me on twitter for all the updates.. Here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced QPR at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 10 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 8.5
Vertonghen – 9
Rose – 9
Capoue – 9
Bentaleb – 8.5
Lamela – 9
Eriksen – 8.2
Chadli – 9
Adebayor – 8.5.

Subs:
Dembele – 8
Kane – 8
Soldado – 6.

Pochettino post match reaction:

Match highlights:

Tottenham Hotspur 2014/15 Season Preview.

The new season is upon us. We’ve had an action packed summer, with the World Cup, pre-season tours and transfer rumours/deals. So it’s made the wait for the new season to start a little more bearable. We’ve got a new Head Coach for the new season, and hopefully it’s the start of a new, successful era under Mauricio Pochettino. In this article I’m going to share my general expectations for the season in the Premier League, FA & League Cup, as well as the Europa League. Also, I’ll be looking at the players I think will be key to success this season, player awards and my season conclusions:

Premier League:
For many years our goal in the Premier League has been the same; break into the top four and secure Champions League football. And this season, the hope and urge that we will, continues to burn brightly in the hearts of Tottenham fans. Having those glory glory nights back at White Hart Lane, and then eventually the new stadium. It’s a dream. This season, with Pochettino being appointed, I think most fans for this season just want improvement, in the style of football we play, and the results we get. If we can get both of those things then I think the season will have been a success and a stepping stone to better things. Daniel Levy seems to, according to Mauricio Pochettino himself, not set any targets for this season and that for me is such a sigh of relief. We need to give Pochettino time to make this squad his own and this takes at least a season. What I want is to enjoy watching Tottenham again, with free flowing, fast paced football on the agenda and always being a threat to the big teams on the pitch, not just rolling over and letting them trounce us. Despite what anyone will say, it is a season of transition for Tottenham and us fans need to be patient and stay fully behind the team and the manager.

Getting in the top 4 is very difficult this season. A lot of the top teams in the top 4, and just outside it have strengthened a lot while keeping a stable core of their team. It’s very hard to see where we fit in to that elite group, so in all honesty I think it would either take one team having a season like Manchester United last season, or Tottenham having a miracle season. Both are difficult to see. For this season, I’d be content with 5th, which is an improvement on last season’s 6th place finish. But, I’d want us to compete further in the cups, and if the draws are kind, go on and win one. I am confident we will be competing for the top 4 spaces, we have a good squad with a great manager who is known for getting the best out of his players, and I think back to last season when we got these players and people believed it was a squad that could compete. If we can get the players back to the level they were when they arrived, who knows what could happen.

Prediction: 5th place.

FA Cup and Capital One Cup:
To win one of these competitions you need two things; a good team, and loads of luck. It’s all about the draw you get. Whether against a big team or little, at home or away and praying you don’t get the game just before a big Premier League game. It’s difficult to see Tottenham being fully focused on winning one of these trophies, even though I’d sacrifice any top 4 space offered to me for a glory day at Wembley. We have a lot of focus on the Premier League, where ultimately your season is judged on, plus the commitments of the Europa League, which now offers the winner Champions League football, so I think the priority of these Cups is down the pecking order, although I would still love to go for one. It’s always nice playing teams away from the Premier League, striving to get into the next round. Something very special about it, but if I had to chose a trophy to focus on it wouldn’t be the FA Cup or Capital One Cup, it would be the Europa League.

Prediction – FA Cup: 4th Round.

Prediction – Capital One Cup: Quarter Finals.

Europa League:
This competition always splits opinion. Some say all it does is distract from the Premier League, offering up games on the far side of the earth until the teams from the Champions League come in and knock you out, others say it’s a real opportunity for European Glory, something that Tottenham should always strive towards having won the competition twice. We have to learn to deal with playing in the Europa League, in my opinion, if we ever want to compete in the Champions League and Premier League simultaneously, which is the long term goal. Last season we made the round of 16, Benfica getting the better of us, but this season I want us to do better. Show Champions League credentials by taking it by storm. Starting with AEL Limassol in Cyprus. There’s nothing better than a European Glory night at White Hart Lane. If that means the Europa League then I’m all for it. Mauricio Pochettino has said in the past he doesn’t like the Europa League, but has recently admitted that the option for the winners getting Champions League at the end makes the competition more appealing, so I do sincerely hope we take it seriously.

Prediction: Quarter Finals, but I’d love to think we’d go all the way.

Key Players for the 2014/15 season:
We have a lot of great players who will definitely be very important for our 2014/15 campaign, but there are a bunch that stick out as being extra special and the players I’m predicting to have a big season:

Christian Eriksen – Our player of the season for the 2013/14, expectations are high for his performances but I think he will just continue to improve and improve. At only 22 he still has a lot to learn, but he’s on the right path to be considered a World Class player, even if people would argue he’s at that level right now. It’s a pleasure to have him at Tottenham and I’m predicting him to have another massive season, getting into double figures for goals scored and assists made.

Erik Lamela – A difficult season last campaign, but he looked reinvigorated in pre-season, and after a long term injury, he’s back and looking sharp. He has undoubted quality, can play in any position across the three behind the striker. Left wing, central attacking midfield and right wing. He is creative, skilful and in my head is a traditional Tottenham player. As Bill Nicholson once said, “Finding, making and using space is a distinction of all great players” that is what I think Lamela can do for us this season.

Emmanuel Adebayor – Our top scorer last season, playing just half a season under Tim Sherwood. He’s our main man up front and we need him to be on form this season. If he can continue his form that he showed last season we don’t need a new striker as I think he can be classed as a top class striker. Hold up play, link up play and the finish on the end of it. I’m predicting Emmanuel to have a really good season and I think he’s a dark horse for Premier League top scorer, if he can stay fit and on form.

Jan Vertonghen – Jan didn’t have the best of seasons last year, inconsistent, injuries and didn’t repeat the quality he showed when he first joined the club. Now though, with a new season on the horizon and a new challenge, I think Jan will play a major role in any success we have this season from centre back. He can focus on being our main centre back, as we have a lot of back up at left back now, so I think he’ll show his quality once again that once got him mentioned as our new Ledley King. I hope he can rediscover that.

Other players that will be key are of course Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker, they bring great quality to the team. There could be a few surprise packages, too; if Roberto Soldado can find his form in front of goal he could be the difference for us, if Emmanuel Adebayor goes off to the African Cup of Nations and Lewis Holtby, who was on loan at Fulham last season; I think he can break into the first team this season and Etienne Capoue, who had a great pre-season is another that I think can become a really big player; composed on the ball and solid in his defensive duty. Others include a few younger players, Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend and Harry Kane could all be really important players for us this season.

Player awards predictions:

Player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Young player of the season – Erik Lamela.

Top scorer – Emmanuel Adebayor.

Most assists – Christian Eriksen.

Conclusions:
I’m excited. I always am for a new season. Surely we will have a better season than the last. I’m hoping for progression, but also to enjoy watching Tottenham again. One or two decent Cup runs and 5th in the League. That is what I think ‘success’ would look like for Tottenham. A season full of excitement, thrills and as little spills as possible. I believe in the quality of the squad. We have a lot of depth and good players, so despite it being a sort of transition period, I think Spurs can make this season memorable.

It all kicks off on Saturday, 16th August at 3pm. West Ham await at Upton Park. Let’s get this one out of the way with three points and then push on. Let the madness commence… COYS!!

What are your hopes and aspirations for the new season? Comment below!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Sunday 11th May 2014. Kick off at 3pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK.

Well here we are! The last game of the season. I can’t really tell whether it’s flown by or if it’s dragged, but what it has been is frustrating and disappointing, with a lot of change and a lot of failure. But also I think we’ve had sparks of brilliance, hope and glimpses of a great future. It’s time to put the bad things behind us and focus on moving into next season with a clear vision and a team hungry to succeed. Aston Villa at the Lane, a chance for the players and Sherwood to give us a nice send off into the summer, hopefully we see some goals, good football and a nice three points! We are fighting for something, the Europa League and to finish above Manchester United, we need a point to guarantee we finish 6th and gain European football next season.

Last time out, we lost to West Ham 2-0 at Upton Park, a dark day. We played with 10 men for a long time after Younes Kaboul was sent off, and after they scored very quickly after the sending off it was inevitable that we would lose. I don’t think we were terrible. With 11 men I think we would have won the game, but it was a difficult day with frustrations running high between the fans and throughout the club. But, we move on, as always, and look to just finish the season on a high. Our recent form against Aston Villa is exemplary, we have won 4 in a row and are 11 games unbeaten, since 2008, 8 wins and 3 draws. It’s a great record we have against them and having won 4 in a row, not conceding a goal in that time, I think we will make it 5 in a row this Sunday. Last time we faced them was earlier this season, at Villa Park, a 2-0 win with Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado scoring in a very good win with a lot of positives back then. A lot has changed since then, but I still think we will come out on top again, just like we did last time we faced them at the Lane, Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon scoring in a 2-0 win.

Aston Villa are safe from relegation, so they can class that as a success, but I think the fans will be disappointed that they didn’t push on this season after avoiding relegation last season as well. Villa are a big club and should be much higher up in the table, and now they need to push on next season for a top half finish. Of course it’s been difficult being without their best player, Christian Benteke, through injury for a lot of the season, but they have good players and are under achieving at the moment in my opinion. They sit 15th, with 38 points and are safe, so maybe we can take advantage of them being on their holidays, so to speak.

The team news for Aston Villa is Christian Benteke (knee), Jores Okore (knee) and Libor Kozak (broken leg) are ruled out, with Marc Albrighton (groin) and Gabby Agbonlahor (knee) are doubts for the game. The main threat for Villa is Andreas Weimann, the forward is full of energy and is a good finisher, he has 6 goals this season and recently got a brace against Hull City which consolidated Villa’s place in the Premier League, Weimann is a very competent footballer and at 22 has a big future. Another big player for Aston Villa is Fabian Delph, the central midfielder has had a great season and is a very talented footballer, he is a workhorse but also has a lot of skill and talent, he’s still 24 and has 4 goals this season and 2 assists.

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The team news for Tottenham Hotspur is that Erik Lamela (back), Andros Townsend (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin), Nacer Chadli (hip), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (suspension) are all out of the game against Aston Villa, with Jan Vertonghen (ankle) a doubt but Etienne Capoue will be returning from injury and is in contention to play.

Our outfield player of the season, Christian Eriksen. He’s been absolutely outstanding this season and he’s key to us winning this game, once again. He’s got 10 goals and 10 assists this season and I don’t think anyone doubts that he will be adding to that tally against Villa. Everything good offensive usually comes from the Dane, and I think he’ll be the star of the show once again against Aston Villa. With Younes Kaboul ruled out, I think Vlad Chiriches will play in his place alongside Captain Michael Dawson, at full back, I wouldn’t mind seeing young Ryan Fredericks play at right back in Kyle Walker’s absence and Zeki Fryers play at left back ahead of Danny Rose, I think those full backs give us pace but also both have big futures and I’d like to see that used by Sherwood, even if it would probably mean he’s lambasted by the fans, how much worse can it get! Youth has to be given a chance and he’s been great for that. Sherwood spoke in his press conference (below) about playing a team who want to win and want to play for Tottenham in the Europa League next season. It’s going to be very interesting to see who he believes those players are.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta.

– Against no Barclays Premier League side has Emmanuel Adebayor scored more Barclays Premier League goals than he has against Aston Villa (six).

– The Villans are without a win in 10 league games against Spurs, drawing three, losing seven and scoring just five times.

– Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

– Tottenham Hotspur have won on the final day of the season in each of the last three Premier League campaigns – all of which have been played at White Hart Lane.

– Should Spurs win this match, they’ll equal their highest number of wins in a single Premier League season (21 in 2009-10 and 2012-13).

– Spurs have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against bottom-six teams.

– Spurs are the only side to not score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

– Only one team in Premier League history (Crystal Palace in 1994-95) have gone through an entire season without scoring in the opening 15 minutes.

– Aston Villa have had Over 2.5 goals in their last 10 away matches against top-six teams.

– 21 of Spurs’ 37 Premier League games this season have been played on a Sunday – no side have ever played 22 in a single season on a Sunday.

– Aston Villa have currently won 497 points away from home in the Premier League. If they win this match, they’ll be the fifth side in Premier League history to have won 500 away points.

– Spurs have won their last four home matches against bottom-six teams.

– Tottenham have seen more players net a Premier League goal for them than any other side this season (18).

– In contrast, Villa have seen the smallest spread of players score a Premier League goal for them this season (10).

The last game of the season is always a special occasion, and I’m looking forward to it massively. The game is live on Sky Sports 3, but I’ll be giving you live match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos, vines and much more! Give me a follow – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you all for reading my match previews this season, I will be back next season, it’s been a pleasure! Please leave a comment down below telling me what you like and how you think I could improve for next season! Lots of love, and COYS!

My predicted/preferred team to face Aston Villa at the Lane:
4-4-2
Lloris
Fredericks – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Lennon – Bentaleb – Sigurdsson – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre Aston Villa press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Monday 7th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Adebayor 28′, Kane 59′, Eriksen 78′, Adebayor 86′ & Sigurdsson 92′.

Sunderland GoalScorer: Cattermole 17′.

What a win. Our biggest win of the season after what was a very chaotic day, with the media saying Head Coach Tim Sherwood was to leave at the end of the season. During the build up to the match, the wonder was whether the players would be affected by this speculation on the pitch, either giving them freedom of knowing, or the feeling of uncertainty in not knowing who the boss will be next season. It seems the speculation didn’t effect them at all, or if it did, it helped, as this performance was the best I have seen all season in the Premier League. Credit goes to Sherwood for being professional and setting us up in a way to perform so well, despite the speculation.

The start to the game was catastrophic. A bit like the Southampton game, we gave away the Sunderland goal with yet another error, this time Vlad Chiriches, who played an aimless ball across the defence, which Lee Cattermole picked up and slotted in the bottom corner past a displaced Hugo Lloris, not good enough in the 17th minute, but it was a wake up call, and the players responded. After coming close with Naughton and Eriksen, we deserved our equaliser with Christian Eriksen swinging in an inch perfect cross for Emmanuel Adebayor to tap in with his body, and that gave the players and the fans a real lift in the 28th minute, we pushed on and had a solid end to the first half.

In the second half, we started badly once again, Sunderland put us under pressure and were well in the game, but that pressure soon dissipated, and our better players took the game by the scruff of the neck, most notably Eriksen, who then set up the second goal, another cross from the left hand side, bouncing in the danger area, where Harry Kane was there to tap home for his first Premier League goal for Tottenham on his first Premier League start, with an hour gone, it looked as though Sunderland were out of the contest. We were dominant after the second goal, playing with a certain swagger which we haven’t seen since our last comfortable win at home to Stoke in a 3-0 win. Sunderland became tired, and I think they gave up even though it was just 2-1. On 78 minutes, Christian Eriksen hit an unstoppable shot from outside the box into the bottom right hand corner, a very much deserved goal for an incredible player. 3-1. Then the rampage started, Harry Kane did really well to get through on goal, then shot through Mannone, but it wasn’t reaching the goal, so Emmanuel Adebayor slotted in for his second of the night and 10th of the season, 4-1 and the game was well and truly over. Just adding insult to injury, we decided to score from a corner, the ball coming in from Christian Eriksen found Adebayor, then he found Younes Kaboul, who fed the ball into Gylfi Sigurdsson who did really well to sort his feet out and finish to make it 5-1 in injury time. A great performance.

20140408-000759.jpg If there has been one player who has been a shining light for us this season, it’s Christian Eriksen. The boy has been incredible, nabbing 2 assists with great crosses to our strikers, then grabbing a goal. Our player of the season, scoring 9 goals and getting 8 assists, it’s been a stunning first season and at 22 there is so much more to come in the future. Emmanuel Adebayor was another to put in an incredible performance, his presence and all round link up play was brilliant and the two goals were just what he deserved, he has had a great season and I hope he stays next season and continues his great work. The headlines will be taken by Eriksen and Adebayor, but Harry Kane was equally as good, he worked so hard and showed his hunger to succeed, scoring and assisting. Hopefully Harry gets more starts in the run in to the end of the season, he deserves it, every game he plays he impresses me, he has a massive future at Tottenham. As a team, I thought our performance was admirable, we showed hunger and fight, as well as real quality. Even though Sunderland were poor, we were very, very good.

A great win! Now only 5 points off the Champions League, can we do it? Can we do the impossible? Probably not. But we have a favourable run in to the end of the season, our last 5 games all against teams in the bottom half. Let’s finish the season strongly and who knows what can happen. Our next game is against West Brom at the Hawtorns in the Premier League on Saturday 12th April, kick off at 3:07pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that beat Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 7
Naughton – 7
Chiriches – 6
Kaboul – 7
Rose – 6
Lennon – 7
Paulinho – 7.5
Chadli – 7.5
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the match.
Kane – 8.5
Adebayor – 8.5.

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 7
Veljkovic – 6
Townsend – 6.

Tim Sherwood talks to the press after our 5-1 win:

Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen talk to the press:

Match highlights from Tottenham vs Sunderland:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 23rd March 2014. Kick off 1:30pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Sky Sports 1.

The final run in to our 2013/14 season starts here, only 6 more games before we can say goodbye to what has been a disappointing season, but, we have a job to do before the end of the season, and that job is to try as hard as possible, getting as many results as possible to get into that top 4, however difficult it is, if it’s not impossible then there is still a chance. We have 2 more difficult games on paper, Southampton at the Lane and Liverpool at Anfield, but excluding those we have a very kind end to the season, so you never know what could happen, and who in the top four might lose form. We have to take what happened in Benfica as a positive, the players can take confidence from their performance and hopefully we can end the season strongly, that’s the aim.

We have a great record against Southampton in recent games; since their return to the Premier League two seasons ago, we have beaten them 3 times out of 3, once at home and twice away from home. So we’ve got a good history against them, and last time we faced them it was the return of Emmanuel Adebayor to the Premier League, and he set it on fire with 2 goals, so we’re hoping for another of those sort of performances from the big man. At the Lane last season we squeezed past them, Gareth Bale with a stunning late effort from outside the box that nestled into the bottom left hand corner, on 89 minutes it was a sigh of relief! Our last game in the Premier League was against Arsenal, which we agonisingly lost 1-0, but we can take positives away from the game, like we can against Benfica; we dominated the game, but we couldn’t find an end product, so the hope is we get a bit more luck and ruthlessness in front of goal against Southampton.

Southampton are a great side, well organised under the talented coach Mauricio Pochettino, he has got the Saints playing flowing attacking football, with an end product. They’ve been the team that I have enjoyed watching in the Premier League the most, other than Tottenham. Southampton sit in 8th place, just behind Manchester United and Everton, so they are the best of the rest. They haven’t quite made the push for European football, but they are the best team behind the ‘big 7’ this season. The team news for the Saints is that Morgan Schneiderlin (muscle), Guly Do Prado (knee) and Kelvin Davis (knock) all doubts for the game, with Victor Wanyama (calf) and Jack Cork (ankle) out of the match, but the good news for Southampton is that Dejan Lovren is expected to return. The danger men for Southampton are their English boys, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez are both having fine seasons, earning both England call ups recently. Lallana is skillful, quick and can pick a pass or a gap in the defence, plus he’s not too shabby in front of goal with 7 goals this season in the Premier League. Jay Rodriguez is a different sort of player; he likes to come from the left, using his pace and strength to run past people and often makes things happen, with an impressive 12 goals this season.

20140322-120256.jpg The team news for Tottenham is good news, after missing 11 players for the trip to Benfica through injury, suspension and leaving people behind, we are back up to a respectable compliment. Mousa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor and Younes Kaboul are all set to return from injury, with Jan Vertonghen back after completing a suspension against Benfica, and Hugo Lloris is also back after being left in London for the Benfica tie. Other than that, Kyle Walker (groin) and Paulinho (calf) are labelled as doubts for the fixture, and Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Vlad Chiriches (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) all remain out. Although Kyle Walker might not make it, Kyle Naughton has performed very well recently, especially against Arsenal and Benfica; he’s showing he’s a more than capable back up for Walker, and doesn’t actually deserve to lose his place at the moment, I’m glad he’s finally showing that he does deserve to wear the Tottenham shirt. The player that has to start this game is Nacer Chadli, two goals against Benfica on Thursday and he played very well even without those goals, his performance, a bit like Naughton, has improved in recent games and has shown he deserves to start games either on the left, or behind the striker. The return of Mousa Dembele is massive, I believe we have missed him hugely in the middle of the park, he helps us move the ball more quickly and his ability to move us forward, through passes or through gliding past the opposition is crucial, and with the lack of central midfield options Southampton have, it could be his day to shine, he needs to shoot more through! I’m looking forward to the possibility of Dembele and Sandro partnering each other once again, they compliment each other very well.

Match stats and facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Tottenham have won four of the last five Barclays Premier League meetings with the Saints, including the last three in a row.

– Southampton have won three of their last four Barclays Premier League away games, keeping clean sheets in all those victories.

– Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last six matches.

– The last four Premier League meetings between Spurs and Saints have been decided by a one-goal margin, the last three in Spurs’ favour.

– Spurs have conceded fewer headed goals than any other team in the Premier League (1).

– Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last five home defeats against top-half teams.

– Tottenham are the only Premier League side yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season – the last time that managed this was on April 27th 2013.

– Tottenham have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League games and netted just one in the other match.

– Southampton have scored first in their last five away matches.

– This is Tottenham’s fourth highest points haul after 30 games of a Premier League season (53), just two points short of their best (55) and one point fewer than at this stage last term (54).

– 45 points is Southampton’s best total after 30 games of a Premier League season, while they have also scored more goals than ever before at this stage (43).

– Spurs have won their last three matches against Southampton.

– Spurs have kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League home matches with only Man City and Arsenal breaching their defences in that run.

– Tim Sherwood has already lost four of his 10 competitive home games as Spurs manager – Andre Villas Boas has lost three of his 13 at White Hart Lane this season before he was sacked.

Looking forward to this game, hopefully we can start this end of the season period well and give the fans something to shout about! I will be at the game, but will update at my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Sandro – Dembele
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.