Bringing Balance back to Tottenham’s team.

We have seriously struggled at home to break teams down, create chances and kill teams off. Not just this season, but under André Villas-Boas too during his 18 months in charge. It’s difficult to put your finger on why these games at White Hart Lane are so difficult, why we look stuck for ideas and unable to win games in a comfortable fashion. Many suggestions have been made, whether it’s the lack of atmosphere & support at the Lane and general expectation that Tottenham will & should win at Home, and it’s the player’s responsibility to entertain & not our responsibility to be the ‘twelfth man’; the fact teams set up in an organised and defensive nature, or my personal favourite from Mousa Dembele, ‘the pitch is too small’. All may have a point, especially the lack of atmosphere at White Hart Lane in recent times, but personally I put it down to a lack of balance in the Tottenham team that is emerging so far this season and at times the two seasons before.

In the 2011/12 season, especially the first half, I think we had the most balanced team in the League. Harry Redknapp was a good manager, he knew how to man manage these players, give them confidence and set them up in a good way which was full of flair, offensive nature & a clinical edge. The balance in that side was extraordinary. With Kyle Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto in the full back positions, Gareth Bale on the left of midfield, Aaron Lennon on the right, with Rafael van der Vaart just behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Not forgetting the midfield pivot between Luka Modrić and Scott Parker/Sandro. Look at that, with those players in their prime, we had a team capable of challenging for the League title, but it wasn’t to be, we tailed off at the end of the season and finished fourth, with the unlucky event of Chelsea winning the Champions League and sending us into the Europa League. We lost Luka Modrić, Rafa left for Hamburg and it all went a little tits up. But, that’s beside the point. What I want to look at is how to recreate the sort of balance that team had within it’s ranks in the class of 2014/15.

The key to a balanced side is the full backs and wingers. And at the moment, this season, we haven’t seen that balance. One of the reasons for this is the absence of Kyle Walker through injury. 7 long months of not having a natural outlet at right back, who understands the balance of offence and defence. This season, we have relied on Eric Dier for the most part, and as a natural centre back, he’s done a very decent job, especially defensively apart from his mistakes against Newcastle, but he hasn’t been able to give us an offensive outlet and this makes the team lopsided. On the left, Danny Rose has had a tremendous season so far in my view, he’s come on leaps and bounds from last season’s performances and you have to give him full credit for working hard and coming back stronger, fitter and a much more competent left back under the pressure of new signing Ben Davies. Danny has given the team an offensive outlet on that left hand side, and has been relatively good at balancing his defensive duties with his offensive ones. If we can get Kyle Walker back into this team as soon as possible, and keep Danny Rose in good form, I truly believe we will see this team flourish so much more than we have done so far this season, stretching teams and creating more space for our creative players. The addition of DeAndre Yedlin possibly in January could also be a really big addition and help with this problem of balanced, attacking full backs when Walker is not available.

The reason that offensive full backs are so important to this Tottenham team is Pochettino’s use of ‘inverted wingers’, or having three players behind the striker with the freedom to roam and find their own space. The problem with this is that all three that we play – Eriksen, Chadli & Lamela, like to come inside and this makes our play really narrow and more difficult to find space and create clear cut chances to score goals. With the outlet of offensive full backs, it stretches the opposition and then and only then, will we be able to find space, create chances in the middle of the park and hopefully, score goals! Nacer Chadli & Christian Eriksen have been fairly impressive so far this season, with Nacer really the only player who looks to take on the defenders and try to get in behind an opposition’s defence, and Christian Eriksen is always looking to thread a killer pass, spread the play to our wide players or score himself. Erik Lamela has been slightly underwhelming, it’s true, he needs to improve and be much more efficient on the ball, but sometimes being given this freedom he has too many thoughts running through his head and his decision making seriously deteriorates because of it. It’s part of his game he needs to work on and become a more effective player with goals, hopefully his first Premier League goal comes sooner rather than later; he needs it. If the understanding of the three players behind the striker improves, and the players themselves become more effective, alongside the offensive full backs, I think we can get a good balance in this team.

Upfront, in the striker position, there is no doubt that we lack a clinical goalscorer, except for the young Harry Kane, who needs to be given a sustained chance in the Premier League before judging fully whether he is ready to lead the line. In January, I’m really hoping we can add another striker, even if that man is Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, someone Pochettino knows well, who occupies the left forward role a bit more than leading the line, but bottom line is, we need someone who can stick the ball in the net more often! In the central midfield position, it looks like Etienne Capoue & Ryan Mason have nailed their places there with good performances, with Etienne only really having a bad game against Newcastle & possibly Manchester City. Their midfield pivot needs time to develop, because I think it’s the starting of a good partnership, with Ryan Mason the more attacking of the two, pushing forward and playing the more incisive passes to get the team going, while Etienne Capoue screens the back four and helps break up play, which he is capable of for sure. It’s important those two increase their understanding. At centre back, it seems Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul is the first choice pairing, and they have been rather inconsistent together, performing in stellar fashion against Arsenal and Southampton, but being poor against Newcastle. With offensive full backs, I think, because of Kaboul’s ability to cover at right back, and Jan Vertonghen’s ability to cover at left back, they would be able to cover when Rose and Walker attack, with Etienne Capoue dropping back further into a ‘sweeper’ position. That, gives us good balance and hopefully the players would have a clear indication of what their roles are in the team. That is just how I would set out, though.

I’m not naive to think that the inclusion of Kyle Walker in the team makes us world beaters, of course. But, under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, I think it makes us much more of a threat going forward and able to create chances easier than it has been so far this season. At Southampton, Pochettino had a balanced team with offensive full backs, Nathaniel Clyne/Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw were fantastic under his tenure and playing with inverted wingers of Lallana and Rodriguez worked wonders alongside Rickie Lambert leading the line. His Southampton team created loads of chances, attacked with pace & purpose and scored goals because they had a balance and understanding alongside a good work rate and clear game-plan. That is what Tottenham need to develop and that is Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham challenge, to recreate and better the football he played at Southampton with this team, which I think has better players, but they need to be guided in the correct way.

We need to manage expectations this season and back the team and manager. Despite results not being what we wanted we must be patient and not act in a knee jerk fashion. Back the club. Pochettino is managing players that aren’t his at the moment and needs time to build his own team, hopefully he is given that opportunity by Daniel Levy and backed in a good way, with decisions made and money spent. That’s the dream. I still hold hope that it can be reality. When Tottenham lose it seems the end of the world, but we must look beyond the short term and give the manager and players support and time. That’s the key to success. Hopefully the fans do realise that, but also hope the club see that too. Wishing Kyle Walker a speedy recovery, with reports he could return to training very soon and possibly be in action by late November. That would be a massive boost!

In an ideal world, without injuries at this moment in time, my Tottenham team would be:
Lloris
Walker – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Capoue
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Up the Spurs!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Sunday 26th October 2014. 1:30pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

The Premier League returns to White Hart Lane this Sunday, with Newcastle the visitors. A big opportunity to get back to winning ways in the League and build on some good performances in recent times, most recently the 5-1 win over Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League. Our ability to be clinical and efficient in front of goal is something that has been under criticism so far this season, with our strikers getting just 1 goal so far in the Premier League, we have to finish chances if we want to be anywhere near the top four this season. This game is very important as to not fall too far behind the leading pack in the Premier League; we currently sit 10th in the League, 5 points off West Ham in 4th after they beat Manchester City on Saturday. It’s incredible what a win can do for you in this League, and if we do get the win we get the momentum, and also go very close to the top four. At home, against a Newcastle team that is very temperamental, it’s easy to expect a win, and I’m confident of one, but the players must put in a good performance and be professional as Newcastle have good players that can cause problems for us.

Newcastle sit 18th in the Premier League, in the relegation places. It’s been a very difficult season for the Toon, with Alan Pardew taking the brunt of the criticism from the Geordies. So far this season, in 8 games, they have won just 1, drawn 4 and lost 3. That win came last week against Leicester, a scrappy 1-0 win with Gabriel Obertan getting the winner. Draws coming to Swansea, Hull, Crystal Palace & Aston Villa and the 3 losses coming to Manchester City, Stoke & Southampton. It’s been poor from Newcastle’s point of view, but they have been slowly improving and should have gained confidence from their first Premier League win last time out against Leicester. Despite being in the relegation zone, it’s hard to see a club the size of Newcastle could ever be relegated and I expect them to regain form and have an average, mid table season. They have decent players but do lack grit, raw pace and goal-scorers. Last time we faced Newcastle, we beat them 4-0 at St James’ Park, Emmanuel Adebayor with 2, Paulinho & Nacer Chadli with the others, one of our best performances of last season, hopefully we can repeat that scoreline. But, we’ll be hoping to avoid a slip up that occurred last time the Toon travelled down to North London, with Loic Remy grabbing the goal that sunk Tottenham 1-0 at the Lane last year.

Injuries haven’t been kind to Newcastle so far this season; 11 players have been accredited with knocks or long term injuries, but a few players should return and make the squad for the game this Sunday. Confirmed as out of the game are Siem De Jong (thigh), Jonas Gutierrez (cancer), Roland Aarons (hamstring), Davide Santon (knee) and Chris Good (groin). There are late fitness tests for Papiss Cisse (knee), Chiek Tiote (calf) and Emmanuel Riviere (knock), three very important players for Newcastle. Back after injury are Ryan Taylor, Paul Dummett and Mike Williamson, though, which will be a boost defensively for United.

Newcastle have some very talented players, but it is upfront where Papiss Cisse holds the Goalscoring key for United, he had an incredibly poor season last term, but after returning from injury he has hit a little bit of form and looks to be the only Newcastle player capable of hitting the back of the net; he has 4 goals in 4 games so for this season, with a braces against Hull and Swansea. He has the ability to score goals, he’s shown that many times in the Premier League, especially in his first season when he was a revelation, but he lacks confidence at times and possibly the strength and pace to dominate defenders. Creatively, they lack quality, but Moussa Sissoko does have the pace and strength to cause problems from midfield, and Remy Cabella has shown glimpses of quality on the ball, but lacks that decisive edge and strength for the Premier League, and he’s without an assist or goal so far this season. I believe Newcastle lack quality throughout their team, and for a lack of quality they don’t make up for it in heart and character, which is a definite problem for Newcastle and their fans.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Federico Fazio (suspended), Kyle Walker (abdominal), Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) are all out of the game, while Younes Kaboul, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose will all return to the squad after being rested for the game against Asteras Tripolis in midweek.

Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick in midweek in the Europa League, and has 10 goals in 14 appearances for club and country. That’s a brilliant tally for a 21 year old still learning his trade and growing into his role at the club. For me, Harry Kane has to start up top in this game, he has the confidence, and momentum to be a very important player for Tottenham, starting with this Sunday against Newcastle, I hope. He’s the only striker that deserved a starting berth in my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberto Soldado start up front again after being rested in midweek. Erik Lamela was sensational against Asteras Tripolis, with 2 fantastic goals, but his Premier League form has been quite inconsistent, and he needs to get his first Premier League goal sooner rather than later, and I think that would kickstart not only his season, but his Tottenham career. In midfield, Ryan Mason has been a revelation since he won his place in the team, he looks forward, passes well, makes very direct runs and works very hard with his tackles and interceptions. He fits Pochettino’s pressing system very well and he seems to have really made himself one of the first names on the team sheet alongside Hugo Lloris, Etienne Capoue & Christian Eriksen. Christian Eriksen has really grown into his new role in the team, alongside Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela; he is now starting to pop up, control games and contribute goals, now he can hopefully push on even further.

Match facts & stats provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have scored at least once in 18 of their last 19 Premier League games against Newcastle.

– None of the last 17 league meetings between these sides at White Hart Lane has ended as a draw.

– After winning four successive Premier League games in London between May 2013 and January 2014, Newcastle have lost their last three in a row, failing to score in each match.

– Christian Eriksen has scored in his last two Premier League appearances but it yet to assist a goal in the top-flight this season (last year he provided eight assists).

– Roberto Soldado has assisted as many Premier League goals as he has scored (6).

– Tottenham have conceded nine Premier League penalties in 2014, more than any other team.

– Papiss Demba Cisse has scored four goals and assisted one more in four Premier League appearances in 2014-15.

– Six of Tottenham’s 10 goals this season have come before half-time, while Newcastle have the highest proportion of second half goals in the division in 2014-15 (75%; 6 of 8).

– The average length of Newcastle’s goals this season has been 9.02 yards, the shortest distance of any of the 20 teams in the division.

– Newcastle have displayed the most effective offside trap in the Premier League this season (22 opponents snared).

Big game, with a big 3 points up for grabs. Crucial we stay with the pack at the top and also win to improve further our home form. On the 10th anniversary of Bill Nicholson’s passing, I hope the players are told about his values and what he means to this club and it’s fans. The atmosphere hopefully is a special one and we can get a result that reflects what Mr Tottenham would have wanted! Remember if you’re attending the game to wear white in tribute to Bill Nicholson. The game isn’t televised in the UK, but I’ll be giving match updates, photos, videos and more at my Twitter account; @AddictedToSpurs, follow me there for it all!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino briefly previews the Newcastle game:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Asteras Tripolis.

Match: Thursday 23rd October 2014.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-1 Asteras Tripolis.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Harry Kane x3 13′, 75′, 81′, Erik Lamela x2 29′, 66′.

Asteras GoalScorer: Barrales 89′.

An incredible game of football. Incredible goals, a red card, Harry Kane in goal, and a Tottenham win. It had the lot. Looking past all of the madness, we got a really, really important three points in the Europa League that gets us our first win and gives us a good foundation to get through to the knockout stages. We played well, but were not fantastic, our passing was a little sloppy and in defence we got caught out a few times by a well drilled, technically sound side who have shown quality in their Europa League fixtures so far, and to be fair to them, they didn’t deserve to be thrashed 5-1, this score doesn’t reflect the effort and quality that they put into the game, they made it very even and well matched, but it was Tottenham’s individual quality that pulled us through so emphatically. Focusing on the negatives is for Mauricio Pochettino, though, I like to focus on the positives and for me there were many. Our ability to be clinical and kill the game was very refreshing and very pleasing; we have lacked that in recent times, and now hopefully we can translate that ability into the Premier League, starting on Sunday against Newcastle.

In the first half, we started well, we attacked at pace and passed the ball relatively well. Defensively at times we were a little shaky, which is a little worrying as we were playing a very strong back 5, with a lot of leaders in there including Fazio, Lloris & Vertonghen. At times I expected more from the back 4. A little more communication and organisation, but as we didn’t concede in the first half I can’t complain too much. We scored through Harry Kane, Etienne Capoue laying him off and Kane hit the ball sweetly and it skidded into the ball far corner of the goal for 1-0 after 13 minutes, a flying start which was just what we needed. Then, we created a few more chances, Etienne Capoue going close and Harry Kane once again. But, it was Erik Lamela who got the second goal on 29 minutes, what can I say about a goal like that? It is a masterpiece, a piece of art on the football pitch. The best goal I have seen from a Tottenham player in a good few years and I’m so glad that it was Erik Lamela who got it, a ‘Rabona’ goal from outside the box is almost unheard of in the game and even to attempt it is audacious, but to score from it is insane. An incredible goal from an incredibly gifted player. It’s his best moment in a Tottenham shirt so far. ‘So far’ being the key words.

In the second half we ran away with the game, we controlled the ball well and found space in between the Asteras midfield and defence. Etienne Capoue and Mousa Dembele took charge of the midfield more and more as time went on and were very effectual to the pace and tempo we played at, u was very impressed with them, especially Etienne Capoue. We didn’t score the third goal until 66 minutes in, though, that man Erik Lamela got his second of the game, twisting and turning in the box and getting a shot away which was blocked, which then popped up and it was an instinctive volley that was too powerful for the Asteras goalkeeper and the game was dead and buried. On a hat-trick, Lamela was replaced, unsurprising with the Premier League just around the corner. Only 9 minutes later we got the 4th goal, 76 minutes in Harry Kane got his second of the night, Mousa Dembele’s shot parried by the Asteras ‘keeper only for the quick thinking Harry Kane to tap in. Then, only 5 minutes later, he completed his hat-trick, turning the defender before seeing his shot blocked, rebounded into Federico Fazio’s path, then he composed himself before lifting up the ball onto Harry Kane’s head for him to tap in. His fantastic night was topped when Hugo Lloris was unfortunately sent off after his sweeper ‘keeping backfired after the offside trap was broken, with all three substitutions used, it was Harry Kane who stepped up and took the goalkeeping gloves. The first shot he had to face was a free kick from Jorónimo Berrales, who smartly decided to smack the ball straight at the make shift goalkeeper, and it produced their only goal as Kane spilt the ball and it squirmed passed the line. 5-1, no clean sheet, but a good win and a good three points.

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The team played well, it wasn’t perfect, and Asteras caused us problems at times but individually I think there were a lot of very promising performances. Erik Lamela played a very good game and scored two goals of extraordinary quality, but for me, Harry Kane took the man of the match award. A hat trick, but also his work off of the ball, ability to hold it up and play in his team mates. Harry is a much more well rounded player, who scores so many different types of goals than he is given credit for at times. It’s time for Kane to be given the chance to perform in the Premier League, he has earned the right; much more so both Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor, his goal rate is much better and I think his all round game is also better and probably more developed. His hunger for goals and for games impresses me immensely. Etienne Capoue was impressive once again, he’s developed so much so far this season, he has the ability to dictate games and dominate a midfield and he needs to do that more often in bigger games, he has all the tools to be a massive player for Tottenham. Ben Davies put in arguably his best performance so far in a Spurs shirt, he worked hard down the left flank, was involved heavily in crossing and creating but also assured on the ball and when under pressure defending, coped well. I hope he can continue to improve and push forward.

A good win! Three points and back to winning ways in empathic style. Now, we have to translate this winning formula into the Premier League and beat Newcastle at White Hart Lane this coming Sunday, 26th October. Our next Europa League game will be against Asteras once again, this time we travel to Greece, on Thursday 6th November, where we need a result! Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Asteras Triplos:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 7.5
Capoue – 8.5
Dembele – 7
Lamela – 8.5
Townsend – 6
Kane – 9 – Man of the Match.
Adebayor – 5.

Subs:
Eriksen – 5
Chadli – 6.5
Lennon – 5.

Match highlights from our 5-1 win:

Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Liverpool.

Match date & time: Sunday 31st August 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1.

Our third home game in a row has arrived and it’s our biggest and toughest game of the season so far, Liverpool Football Club travel down South to do battle with the team in form in the Premier League. Top of the League, playing some scrumptious football & most importantly getting good results. We are very high on confidence and I’m sure we’ll go into the game fired up and ready to seize revenge on Liverpool who have made us suffer in recent games. A very tough test against a very good team is on the horizon and I’m excited; it’s going to be a cracker. Goals are expected – along with swashbuckling counter attacking football, with plenty of pace, skill & strength on display from both teams who like to play football in a proper way – entertaining the fans.

In the last games, Liverpool traveled to the Etihad and received a 3-1 drubbing from the Premier League Champions Manchester City, a lacklustre performance from a team who has high hopes this season of challenging for the title. In the first game of the season, at Anfield Liverpool scraped past Southampton not very convincingly against a Southampton team that’s been taken to shreds in the transfer market, although now building back up fairly strongly. So we haven’t seen the best of Liverpool so far this season, but I’m sure we’ll be in for a stern test at the Lane. Tottenham have won all 4 games during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign; albeit 2 of the victories came against AEL Limassol, we have still been very impressive and haven’t looked like losing really at many points in the 4 games. It’s been a good start and now we have to show we can fight with the big teams again, especially at White Hart Lane.

The team news for Liverpool shows they have quite a defensive problem, with Glen Johnson (thigh), Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Martin Skrtel (knock) all doubts for the game. The good news for Liverpool is that two new signings are in line to make the squad, and possibly their debuts at the Lane: Mario Balloteli who joined from AC Milan this week is in the squad, along with Adam Lallana, who has recovered from a knee injury and is in line to make the 18.

The players to watch for Liverpool speak for themselves; in midfield the creative spark is sourced from Phillipe Coutinho, who has such quick feet and an eye for a pass, he can slot in the striker with ease and find that killer ball, as well as taking responsibility and taking a shot on, he’s very dangerous and a handful – so we’ll need our midfielders and defenders in top condition to deal with his threat. Upfront, both Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balloteli are big goal threats – they are quick, powerful and clinical in front of goal and you’ll be lucky to catch one of them on an off day, let alone two. Both players are known to be wriggly and slimy, dropping off, moving to the flanks and getting in behind the defence, they’re a massive handful and once again, we’ll have to have our concentration levels in tip top condition. In defence is where Liverpool’s weakness lies; they are not as organised as they should be, and not as tight as they should be, it is a big weakness which they’ve tried to work on and improve but what’s evident from both the Southampton and Manchester City game is that the opposition will get chances – and we need to be on hand to take them, clinically.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are all back after being rested in midweek, while Vlad Chiriches returns after a back problem. New signing Federico Fazio is also in contention after signing in midweek, but Roberto Soldado is a doubt with a neck/back problem, and Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains injured. A near enough full squad to choose from for Mauricio Pochettino, and it’s one hell of a strong one. It must be a very nice problem to have for the Boss.

After an incredible performance against QPR at the Lane last weekend, there aren’t many changes, if any, that I’d make to the team. Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli all seem to have worked very, very well behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Nabil Bentaleb and Etienne Capoue have shown they have quite a connection in the middle of the park, and in defence Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen were incredibly solid and comfortable, with Danny Rose and Eric Dier put in stellar work in the full-back positions. Any changes to the team would either have to be enforced, showing something better in training, or a change in emphasis for a sterner more attacking test in Liverpool. But, if the team that beat QPR performs to that level once again, harassing, pressing and upsetting the opposition, winning the ball back and counter attacking at pace, I truly believe we’ll be able to see off the threat from Liverpool, but for sure, it will be very difficult. We’ve got to find a balance between sitting back and defending and full blown attack, and I trust Pochettino to do this, as his research into the opposition is what gives us the edge I think.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– The Reds’ 5-0 win at White Hart Lane in December last season ended a run of five consecutive Premier League home wins for Spurs against Liverpool.

– Liverpool won six points against Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League last season with an aggregate score of 9-0.

– Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester City last Monday was their first away from home in the Premier League in 2014 (W7 D2 L1).

– Tottenham have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1).

– Eric Dier is the first defender in Premier League history to score in his first two appearances.

– Etienne Capoue has made more passes (196) than any other Premier League player this season.

– Liverpool have scored 60 Premier League goals in 2014, seven more than any other side.

– After assisting only one goal in his first 10 PL appearances for Tottenham, Erik Lamela assisted two goals in the space of seven first half minutes vs QPR last weekend.

– Daniel Sturridge has only scored in two of his last eight Premier League games.

– Liverpool have not lost back to back games in the Premier League since December 2013.

A huge game! It’s going to be exciting, nerve-racking and everything in-between. The game is televised in the UK, live on Sky Sports 1, with kick off at 1:30pm! You can follow all the action, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more at my twitter account here: @AddictedToSpurs. Looking forward to it! Let’s keep this winning run going. COYS!!

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

Mauricio Pochettino speaks ahead of Tottenham vs Liverpool:

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:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs QPR.

Match date & time: Sunday 24th August 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

Our first home game of the season has arrived; and it’s another difficult London derby opponent in Queens Park Rangers. Harry Redknapp, former Tottenham boss and now manager of QPR, returns to White Hart Lane for the first time since he was sacked in 2012, a very weird sacking which I’m sure even people now are disappointed with or utterly confused by considering the job he had done. But, that’s in the past and Tottenham Hotspur has moved on. 2 head coaches later, we have Mauricio Pochettino in charge and everything is looking very positive. Returning to White Hart Lane for Mauricio Pochettino’s first competitive home game, against Harry Redknapp’s team, the atmosphere should be very good and the match intriguing against a difficult opponent who have good players in their side.

In recent years, we haven’t faced QPR many times, only playing them four times the 2000s, and that’s not until after 2011. In those four games, we’ve won both our home games, but lost and drew our two away games. So thankfully this games falls at home. Last time we faced QPR, we drew 0-0 at Loftus Road against Redknapp’s side; a disappointing result after we had a lot of chances under AVB. In our last fixture against them at the Lane, we faced Mark Hughes’ side and we came away 2-1 winners, an Alejandro Faurlin own goal and Jermain Defoe strike got us the win but it was very hard fought. QPR come into this game after a defeat to Hull City in the first game of the season, 1-0 and very disappointing but slightly unlucky with the amount of chances they had to draw level or even win the game, so they come into this game desperate to get something from the game and they will fight very hard for points, as all the teams from lower down in the division do when they come to White Hart Lane; make it as difficult as possible for us to control the game. We have to take our chances when they come and contain QPR from counter attacks and from set pieces which I think they will be threatening this season.

The team news for QPR is that everybody in their squad is fit and ready; no-one on the treatment tables. Although, new signing Eduardo Vargas is ineligible as he hasn’t yet received international clearance. New signings Leroy Fer and Mauricio Isla could both make their QPR debuts, however after signing earlier in the week. The real threat from QPR comes from their pacey attacking line. Upfront, Loic Remy is a real threat with his pace to get in-behind the defence and also his ability to poach goals inside the box. He’s the player that we have to keep quiet, but there’s a reason we’ve been linked to him all summer, and there’s a reason Liverpool tried to sign him, it’s because he’s a striker that could play in a top Premier League team. As well as Remy, Mauricio Isla could be a real threat down the flanks for QPR after joining from Juventus, and Junior Hoilett is another that with his pace could get at our fullbacks if we aren’t careful and our wingers don’t help out.

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The Team News for Tottenham is very positive; after playing in midweek, our World Cup stars Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli are back in the squad and ready for the game, while the players that didn’t travel to Cyprus, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Aaron Lennon, Etienne Capoue and Christian Eriksen, are all back and in the squad to face QPR. The only disappointing news is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Vlad Chiriches (back) remain sidelined, while Kyle Naughton is suspended, which leaves quite a gap at right back, but I’d expect Eric Dier to fill that hole.

Erik Lamela changed the game in our favour on Thursday night against AEL Limassol with 2 assists, and now for this game he has his chance to start his first Premier League game at White Hart Lane since signing last summer. That’s quite astounding the fact he hasn’t already done that before, but that’s what terrible injuries and probable mismanagement can do. He is like a new signing this year, I truly believe that, and I think he can be that creative, special spark we need this season to push on and be successful. This is his time to prove himself and every Spurs fan wants him to succeed and fulfil his undoubted potential. Under the right guidance, from Mauricio Pochettino, he can do that this season. It’d be brilliant to see him get his first Premier League goal against QPR to kick start him. At right back, with Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton not available, I think it will be Eric Dier who fills the gap. His debut was incredible, both his performance and then his match winning goal, at just 20 years of age his potential is mouthwatering and I think he can play a lot of games this season, even if we do sign another centre back. At the back, I think Danny Rose will retain his place at left back despite pressure from Ben Davies, because Davies did play in midweek, with Jan Vertonghen coming in at centre back alongside Younes Kaboul. Upfront, despite his goal in midweek, I think Roberto Soldado will remain benched with Emmanuel Adebayor retaining his place up top. Although, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Roberto Soldado start ahead of the big Togolese man.

Match facts & stats provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have won four of their last six Barclays Premier League games against QPR, with one of those wins masterminded by current Rangers boss Harry Redknapp.

– In their last Premier League campaign (2012-13), QPR took fewer points from London derbies than any other side (nine in 10 games).

– QPR have won just four of their last 40 Premier League games.

– Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games.

– Joey Barton has created more goalscoring chances than any other Premier League player this season (6).

– Tottenham, along with Stoke, were one of only two teams not to pick up a booking on the opening weekend.

– Tottenham have won each of their last four Premier League home games, scoring 14 goals in the process.

– The Lilywhites have won all but two of their Premier League home games in 2014 (losing to Manchester City and Arsenal).

– In 102 Premier League London derbies at home, Spurs have only won one more (38) than they have drawn (37).

– Rio Ferdinand has not conceded a foul in any of his last 27 Premier League appearances.

I’m very much looking forward to getting back to White Hart Lane! It’s a tough game, one that we could easily slip up on, but I have faith we can get three points against an old friend. I’ll be at the Lane, so my coverage on @AddictedToSpurs will be limited! But I’ll be sure to provide a stream for you all as the game is not televised. Let’s get 3 points.. COYS!!

My predicted team to face QPR at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Capoue
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen
Adebayor.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp’s pre match press conference:

Match Preview, West Ham vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 16th August 2014. Kick off at 3pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

The Premier League season is upon us. A new manager for a new season and it feels as if a new era is coming to White Hart Lane, hopefully, full of success. The summer has been very exciting. A brilliant World Cup, loads of transfer rumours and deals being completed. It’s made the wait for the Premier League to return much quicker. That’s for sure. Last season, we were left disappointed and frustrated by a 6th place finish with a lot of change; managerially and with the players. Now it’s a bit more settled, we’ve made a few additions and had a few players go out, but we’ve a balanced and healthy squad. Now, we have to push on and be much more successful not just with League position and trophies, but with the way we play. We need to show flair, excitement and play the old fashioned ‘Tottenham way’. Mauricio Pochettino can bring us what we have been yearning for since Harry Redknapp left us, as well as success in the League. This all starts at Upton Park.

Our recent history against West Ham is not something I like to recall too often; normally it’s just shoved down my throat and I’m forced with the realisation that we actually lost three times to them. Farcical. A 3-0 loss under Andre Villas-Boas, and then a 2-1 and 2-0 loss under Tim Sherwood. Now, we hope for a different fate under Mauricio Pochettino. A difficult first game for him but one we can win. It’s important we ‘shake the curse’ of West Ham before it actually becomes a curse. West Ham have bought some good players this summer, and I think are stronger than last season with squad depth, but we are going to have to wait and see how their new signings adapt to the Premier League, and they’ll be thrown in the deep end with a massive London derby that means a hell of a lot to both club’s fans. Kouyate, Zarate and Enner Valencia are good players that add a bit of core strength to the squad.

The team news for West Ham coming into the game is that Andy Carroll (ankle), Carl Jenkinson (hamstring) and Ravel Morrison (match fitness) won’t feature for West Ham, with late decisions on how ready new arrival Enner Valencia and after coming back from injury, Guy Demel. Another new signing Aaron Cresswell is a slight doubt after being replaced through injury in a pre-season game against Sampdoria, but is expected to be fine. I think the problem West Ham have is upfront, with Andy Carroll injured long term, and Enner Valencia a doubt to start the game at least, they’d be left with Carlton Cole and Mauro Zarate, and that’s not exactly frightening if we’re defensively solid. Although now I’ve said that, expect them to score three hat-tricks each. One player who I think could be really important for West Ham is Kouyate, strong in the middle of the park and fairly comfortable on the ball, he’s a good player who will add solidity to their team and squad. Offensively, I believe if Valencia is passed fit to play, he’s a real threat in front of goal, as we saw in the World Cup, so we’d need to be ready for that.

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The team news for Tottenham is that our World Cup players are in contention to play at Upton Park. Hugo Lloris and Nabil Bentaleb are available to the squad, while Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli are doubts but could still make the squad. Other doubts include Vlad Chiriches (back), Michael Dawson (ankle) and Kyle Walker (pelvis). Michel Vorm (match fitness) won’t feature after Pochettino revealed he’s on a ‘special plan’ after arriving late to the squad. Quite a few concerns there, but if we can get 3 of 4 of the doubts fit then we will go to Upton Park with a really strong squad.

Erik Lamela. An injury blighted first season. A fantastic pre-season. Now it’s time for him to push on and show his worth. He has undoubted talent, his ability on the ball, to find the final pass and to score the crucial goal. He’s got that in him and I’m predicting him to show it against West Ham, it’s very important that he does. Another player who will be very important against West Ham is Christian Eriksen; he had an incredible first season but now he can push on even further, with a, fingers crossed, injury free season with the experience of having a Premier League season under his belt. Eriksen is phenomenal, there’s no two ways about it. A big decision for Pochettino is who to start up-front; with three good options, Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado, there are arguments for all three to start, but only one can, and I’d make it Emmanuel Adebayor. The most experienced of the three and our top scorer last season, for me it’s his position to lose and if he does fall off he’ll have Kane and Soldado scrapping for his place, which is good competition. In defence, assuming Jan Vertonghen doesn’t make the game, I’d stick with Younes Kaboul and give a debut to Eric Dier, who was so impressive in the game against Schalke, both centre backs played well together and if they can build that understanding more in training and in a game scenario, it can be very good for the team.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– West Ham United won both clashes with Tottenham Hotspur last season in the Barclays Premier League.

– Spurs have won just four of their last 16 opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League (D4 L8).

– In fact, the Hammers beat Spurs three times in all competitions last seasons, winning the Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

– These two sides faced each other on the opening day of the 1999/2000 season. Harry Redknapp’s West Ham won 1-0 at Upton Park.

– This game will be Sam Allardyce’s 400th as a Premier League manager.

– West Ham posted the worst shooting accuracy in the 2013-14 Premier League, hitting the target with just 37% of their attempts on goal.

– West Ham signing Enner Valencia scored three goals from five shots on target at the 2014 World Cup.

– Tottenham won 10 Premier League away games in 2013-14, only one team (Arsenal, 11) had recorded more (four other teams won 10).

– West Ham’s last three Premier League goals have come against London sides.

– Tottenham scored only nine goals in 10 Premier League London derbies in 2013-14.

It’s a massive game. A difficult one and a testing one for Mauricio Pochettino. We have to play a positive game, find holes in the West Ham team and just all-in-all play our football. I’m really looking forward to it all kicking off. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be sure to provide a stream, as well as goal updates, videos and photos all on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, so follow me there! I’ll be doing all the previews and reviews this season. Let’s have a fantastic one. Starting at Upton Park. COYS!!

My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Dier – Rose
Capoue – Holtby
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen (free roles)
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Ham press conference:

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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2014 Tottenham Hotspur Pre-Season Review.

Pre-Season is over, and now the real business gets underway, starting with West Ham on Saturday, but I want to have a look back at what we saw in pre-season – the players that impressed, goals scored, the results we got and the performances we put in:

Tottenham 3-3 Seattle – Game 1 of the USA & Canada tour.
Our first game of pre-season on July 19th was new manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge. What we instantly saw from the team was a new way of playing, focusing on possession, pressing football with attacking flair and lots of energy. It was a very early stage of getting to grips with Pochettino’s ideas and strict fitness regime. We played well, passed the ball as well as we could on a difficult artificial surface and created a nice goal for Lewis Holtby to make it 1-0 early on, Harry Kane with a fantastic assist. Seattle then scored a penalty and a terrific goal that no goalkeeper could have saved to put them 2-1 up, probably against the run of play. We levelled with Roberto Soldado from the spot, who did extremely well in the build up to get the foul. Sloppy defending from Younes Kaboul led to Seattle taking the lead 3-2, but we levelled again late on from an Iago Falque penalty. A good run out but nothing spectacular. Lewis Holtby without a doubt man of the match, but Cristian Ceballos and Etienne Capoue also impressed.

Tottenham 3-2 Toronto – Game 2 of the USA & Canada tour.
In our second pre-season game, against a fairly strong Toronto side, we game out on top, Erik Lamela opened his pre-season account with 2 goals in a first half in which we played really good, fast paced football with a purpose. Two very well taken goals that will only help Lamela’s confidence for the new season. In the second half, we were much more sloppy, especially at the back, but I think this was down to many changes made at the break to give players some game time, Toronto pulled it back to 2-2, but in the 85th minute Andros Townsend secured our first win of pre-season with a sweet right footed strike. A game of two halfs, but I think we played well on the whole and slightly improved from the Seattle game which is always important. Erik Lamela bagged that man of the match award for me for his two goals and impressive game all-round. Another impressive game for Etienne Capoue too, I thought.

Tottenham 2-0 Chicago Fire – Game 3 of the USA & Canada tour.
Our final game of the tour in America and Canada ended with a win, in comfortable fashion. We were never troubled by Chicago and played some great football ourselves although weren’t as clinical as we’d shown in the games against Toronto or Seattle. Defensively we were much more together, though and we still passed the ball nicely and found openings. Harry Kane opened the scoring after great work from Lewis Holtby, who was everywhere in this game, he played it across for Kane and he made no mistake to make it 1-0. A very quiet 80 minutes past before we scored a fantastic second goal in the 85th minute, wonderful build up play from Roberto Soldado released Aaron Lennon, who showed his pace to go past the Chicago defence and then the goalkeeper before slotting home. A welcomed clean sheet was nice after some shaky defending and another sign that we were learning from mistakes and rectifying them and trying to improve. Lewis Holtby was man of the match once again for me, but Erik Lamela was also very impressive and probably could have had a few goals himself.

Tottenham 6-1 Celtic.
An odd pre-season game, with Tottenham looking for a stern challenge from the Scottish champions, but Celtic much more focused on their Champions League dreams that were at the time in a dire state. Only 1-2 first teamers travelled with their team, and not even their manager turned up for the game in Finland, but it was another 90 minutes to make us sharper and more confident. 6 goals scored, whether against Real Madrid or Burton Albion is never a bad thing, and as all 6 goals were scored by different personnel it shows how much firepower we can have with all guns blazing. Harry Kane, Roberto Soldado, Lewis Holtby, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor from the spot scored the goals. We played well, especially Etienne Capoue for me, and once again Lewis Holtby who has had a fantastic pre-season.

Tottenham 2-1 Schalke.
Our toughest test of pre-season and a good win. Schalke are a decent team who bring physicality as well as creativity in attack. Although they didn’t have some of their best players, most notably Draxler, they were a good test to have in our final game in front of the home crowd. The first half we played some great stuff with Danny Rose our best player on the left hand side giving us an outlet of pace and width that I think we lack a bit when playing Lamela, Eriksen and Lennon, all roaming around centrally. Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring for us from a Lewis Holtby assist, playing against his former club. We moved the ball well, showed good, one touch football with a lot of pressure on the opposition when not on the ball. We should have scored a lot more goals than we did, that was my only disappointment. We worked hard and another 90 minutes of competitive football will help our cause. Roberto Soldado got our second goal, after Andros Townsend’s shot was parried he chipped the keeper with a header. A good finish and it can only help his confidence. To concede was disappointing, as it always is, but we got a result and a good run out, which is important in our last game ahead of the new season. New signing Eric Dier was my man of the match for this game, but I was also impressed by Danny Rose and once again Lewis Holtby.

Top five performers:

1 – Lewis Holtby. A fantastic work-rate and his creativity seems to have improved from past seasons. An end product to his game and I think one who should be in the 11 to face West Ham. In this pre-season he was our outstanding performer for sure, goals and assists. Contributing in every game.

2 – Etienne Capoue. After an injury struck season in 2013/14, a good pre-season was a must for Etienne and he duly delivered. Very comfortable on the ball and showed some of the form we saw early last season. If fully fit, I’d start him against West Ham.

3 – Erik Lamela. Like a new player this pre-season. Now hoping for him to push on and show his talent where it matters. Not afraid to run at the opposition and while rotating from right wing, central attacking and left wing, he showed versatility as well. Going to be a big player for us this season I think.

4 – Danny Rose. Possibly a surprise for some to read he’s been one of our best players this pre-season, but he definitely has in my eyes. The addition of Ben Davies has seemingly given him a spark to prove himself, and it’s showing to be great having competition for that left back slot now. If Danny can improve his final ball and concentration this season while keeping fit, there is no reason why he can’t hold down a starting position, even ahead of Ben Davies.

5 – Harry Kane. I thought Harry played really well this pre-season, he worked hard and showed how much his finishing has improved in the last season and a bit. He’s established himself as a first team player, whether on the bench or starting. He does a job and when he gets opportunities in front of goal he has looked good. To pick him in the top 5 players was a tough decision, as other performers such as Roberto Soldado, Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend have impressed me in these friendlies. It’s a big season for Harry and I hope he can continue to prove that he has a big future at Tottenham, at just 21 years old.

Pre-Season conclusions:

Being undefeated in pre-season can only be a positive, we had some brilliant displays, we scored goals, we showed our much more attacking and exciting style of football and it’s given Mauricio Pochettino a good start and implemented some positivity into the Tottenham fans, which is undoubtedly a good thing. One thing I can see as another big positive is that I can’t pick out a player who I think has been poor in pre-season. All have been at par or above and this gives me a lot of hope leading into the new season that Pochettino is the man to get the best out of our deep, quality squad. Of course, it is only pre-season, and it does not compare to the pace, intensity and difficulty of the Premier League, but it can give us an indicator for how Pochettino will line up.

With the World Cup this summer, it has disrupted the pre-season of some of our biggest stars, but this is the same for all the big teams. Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho and Michel Vorm no minutes of game time to their belt, which is slightly worrying, along with Vlad Chiriches who was seemingly injured for the whole pre-season, but Nabil Bentaleb and Hugo Lloris were able to get in the team and up their fitness levels which is a very good thing. Both Hugo and Nabil are going to be big players this season for us, I think. I’m sure despite not playing much football, most of the magic happens on the training pitch, getting fit and learning what Mauricio Pochettino wants from them this season.

Our style of play has improved dramatically from last season and we’ve only had a few months under the guidance of Pochettino. Hopefully we continue to improve and show more attacking flair once more top players come into the frame and possibly new signings in the last few weeks of the window. It’s been a good pre-season results wise but I was more impressed with how the players went about their business and tried to show their worth to Pochettino. Now, we have to go to Upton Park for our biggest game in a long time. A good start to the season is crucial and especially against a team that beat us three times last season. Let’s hope for the best. COYS!!

Thanks for reading! What did you think of our pre-season performances? Comment below!

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Tottenham Hotspur Season Review – 2013/14.

20140515-200108.jpgIt’s been a topsy-turvy season at White Hart Lane, a season with expectation, hope and excitement at the start, having a middle of uncertainty, anger and disillusionment, ending with relief, hope and an ounce of positivity. We’ve been through it all, every emotion from elation to despair, and everything in between. Two managers, 7 new players and yet another transition season, with another one to come next season.

August – September.
Such promise. 7 new signings for a total of £110 million, but also selling Gareth Bale for a World Record £85 million, therefore from other sales such as Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker and Steven Caulker. It was out for the English men, and in with the European talent, with Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli (in price order). Mistakes were made in the way we brought these players in, that I say without a doubt, but I do not think we made a mistake on the personnel we brought in, except for arguably Roberto Soldado in hinds sight. In August, we started the season in fine form, beating Crystal Palace, Swansea and beating off Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League qualifying. We didn’t concede in August, scoring 10 goals in 4 games. Not bad at all, although we did scrape past Palace and Swansea.

In September, we started the month conceding our first goal, against Arsenal in a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates. The excuse was that we were in incredible uncertainty, and the sale of Gareth Bale was confirmed the same day, straight after the defeat. That was a really bad day. Really bad. The saying on the season ‘bounce back’ was then introduced and we did exactly that, beating Norwich convincing at the Lane, Christian Eriksen making his introduction brilliantly, and then beating Tromsø 3-0 in the Europa League and then one of the games of the season, beating Cardiff 1-0 away from home, Paulinho with a late back-heeled goal. After that, we beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park in the Capital One Cup. Then we drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Lane with a very good performance. Things looked very up, AVB had us well drilled and the club was together pulling in a good direction. We sat 3rd in the table. Respectable, eh? Our best player in the first two months, would be Gylfi Sigurdsson, he was playing really well with 2 goals at the time against Chelsea and Norwich.

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October – November.
It all went a bit sour in October, a long journey to Anzhi, but a good victory, winning 2-0, but we returned to arguably the worst result of the season, a 3-0 defeat in a London Derby to West Ham United, we were dreadful, a lack of commitment and having no idea what to do in attacking positions, and West Ham punished our nonsensical defending. A tough one to take, the toughest. We did it again, we bounced back, we showed what seemed to be ‘character’ to quote Tim Sherwood and beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park, Robert Soldado with his first goal from open play, and we all thought he’d kick on from there and expected the team to do the same. Another long journey to Sheriff followed, getting the win again 2-0 and then returning to the Lane, we beat Hull City 1-0, a Soldado penalty clinching it. It all went sour for Andre Villas Boas after that. He criticised the fans, right or wrong, the media didn’t need to hear it, and neither did the fans who were already writhing in anger at the performance against Hull. Only a few days later, we faced Hull again, and scraped through again, on penalties in the Capital One Cup. A very difficult month, and after all that we still sat 4th in the Premier League table, and still in all the competitions.

In November, it really turned bad. We didn’t manage a League win and failed to score a League goal, although winning games in the Europa League against Sheriff 2-1, record signing Erik Lamela’s first goal for the club and beating Tromsø in Norway 2-0. In the League, we drew 0-0 with Everton, a hard fought game but arguably a good result against a resurgent Roberto Martinez team. No complaints. Then, after a game against Sheriff in the Europa League, we lost to Newcastle at home 1-0, in one of the most frustrating games of the season, nothing would go in. Nothing. We were left frustrated and the fans’ pressure built on Andre Villas Boas. The next game didn’t help the pressure on AVB, an absolute rout through Manchester City at the Etihad. Of course, the Champions this season, but for where we wanted to be, and by that margin, it was embarrassing and despite a large amount of fans backing AVB to get out of this slump, there was serious media pressure and reported pressure from the board. All in all, pressure. We ended November with a Europa League win at Tromsø, but it didn’t help heal the scars from a dreary two months. Tottenham finished November in 9th, which is, no sugar coating, terrible. Although, still, we remained in all competitions, unbeaten. Our best player in that time would in my opinion, be Andros Townsend, he was electrifying, but not lethal. The best of a bad bunch.

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December – January.
December was without a doubt the busiest and most full of change month of the season. We started the month well, really well. A draw with Manchester United, but scoring 2 goals after not scoring in the League in November was a positive, as well as the team spirit shown. After that, we won two on the bounce away for home, but both, we scraped past relegation candidates Fulham through Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, then past Sunderland, through an own goal and Paulinho. Our final victory under Andre Villas Boas then was upon us, a 4-1 victory over Anzhi with Soldado grabbing a hat-trick, and then the darkest day of the season so far. A 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Lane. Humiliating. A lack of presence, fight and quality led to a terrible day, and one that saw Daniel Levy lose patience in the Portuguese manager and fire him that next day. Right or wrong, the decision ended our season. I truly believe that. The club then appointed Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand in charge and in the first game lost in the Capital One Cup to West Ham in the Lane 2-1, after returning Emmanuel Adebayor to the team and him scoring. We then had a ‘decent’ end to the Christmas period, with Tim Sherwood being confirmed as Spurs Head Coach on an 18 month contract, we beat Pochettino’s Southampton at St Mary’s through a resurgent Emmanuel Adebayor performance, but then drew to West Brom at the Lane on Boxing Day, a big disappointment, but we then performed to the highest level of the season, beating Stoke City 3-0 with free flowing football that had been missing for too long under AVB. We finally beat someone comfortably. We finished the month in 7th.

In January, we started the month in fine fashion, we went to Old Trafford and got the result in wonderful style, Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen on the scoresheet. That’s my favourite victory of the season, an amazing win despite Manchester United’s problems this season, we have not lost to them in 4 games and beat them on their own turf twice in a row! It was back to reality after that, we lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup 2-0 at the Emirates, and now it was Sherwood’s turn to feel the pressure of the fans, his honest press conferences splitting his opinion and his tactical approach of 4-4-2 against top sides split them even further. We then beat Crystal Palace, with Jermain Defoe’s last goal for the club after the announcement of his move to Toronto, a very emotional moment and then went into beat Swansea convincingly 3-1 at the Liberty stadium, Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his great form with a brace. We finished the first month of 2014 with a heavy defeat to Manchester City, in unfortunate circumstances, a goal disallowed, wrongly, and then a wrongly awarded penalty and red card against Danny Rose. Of course, we wouldn’t go onto have an effect the game, losing 5-1, with another heavy defeat to City, but you could feel a sense of what could have been without some horrifying decisions. Plus, Etienne Capoue got his first goal for the club! At the end of January, we sat in 5th place, just three points off Liverpool in 4th. There was a little bit of hope here. Our best player during this time, was most definitely Emmanuel Adebayor, brilliant.

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February – March.
It was a mixed bag of results in February, but we continued to be there or there abouts for Champions League football and some fans still had hope! We started the month of February with a draw at the KC Stadium to Hull City, it was an incredibly hard fought match but we couldn’t seem to break them down, although Paulinho scored a great goal to get us a point. Then, as it seemed to be the case many times this season, good results came in twos. We beat Everton at White Hart Lane 1-0, taking 4 points from them this season, somehow, through a sweetly taken goal from Emmanuel Adebayor. Then, we went up to St James’ Park to complete our most convincing win of the season so far, a 4-0 win, Emmanuel Adebayor getting another brace as well as goals from Paulinho and a fine strike from Nacer Chadli, his first Premier League goal for the club. Then, a low, as we lost to Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine in the first leg of the round of 32, and then we followed it up by being beaten by Norwich at Carrow Road 1-0, a terrible defeat with some extremely disappointed performances. The loss to Dnipro was then cancelled out, after a great 3-1 win at the Lane, Adebayor with 2 and a Christian Eriksen free-kick. A good end to a mixed month. Into the round of 16 of the Europa League.

I think March was the moment we realised that Tim Sherwood wasn’t the man to take us forward. Only 2 wins out of 7 and 4 defeats conceding 16 goals and only scoring 6. We started with a win, against Cardiff City, a 1-0 win, Roberto Soldado getting only his second goal from open play in the Premier League, but it certainly wasn’t free flowing football, we scraped past them as we had many times under AVB and under Sherwood. Then, we lost heavily to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after going in level at the break after a great performance in all fairness, the team capitulated after a Jan Vertonghen mistake. A tough result to take like many this season, and Sherwood then criticised the players, which was highly supported and scrutinised at the same time. Then, we lost two on the bounce, both extremely tarnishing to the club, a 3-1 defeat to an incredible Benfica team at the Lane, but then another loss to Arsenal, quite unluckily even though we dominated the game. Then we performed really well at the Estadio Da Luz, a 2-2 draw, but we were extremely unlucky not to go through, a Nacer Chadli brace and a Harry Kane double of assists! Our next game was against Southampton, with a lot of the support extremely disheartened supporters not expecting anything from the rest of the season except for disappointment. The Southampton game was great, though, after going down 2-0 to a highly talented Southampton team, we fought back valiantly and showed the ‘gut’ that Sherwood had been willing for. That ‘gut’ and determination deserted Tottenham as we took on Liverpool, however, a 4-0 defeat, and the less said about that day the better. We sat 8 points off of 4th on 56 points after March. Our best player in that time being Christian Eriksen, for sure!

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April – May.
I’d say we had our best month of the season in April, unbeaten, scoring twelve goals in 4 games and only conceding 4. Our great month started with our biggest win of the season, a 5-1 victory over Sunderland, Adebayor once again getting a brace, with Christian Eriksen running the show along with a Gylfi Sigurdsson goal too. Then, we went to West Brom and conceded 3 goals, but we came back in the second half despite Adebayor missing a penalty, an own goal, a Harry Kane goal and finishing off the comeback with a Christian Eriksen late equaliser. Fulham came next, another 3 goals, but this time we only conceded once. Paulinho, Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul got on the scoresheet as Christian Eriksen ran the show once again and cemented his place as a contender for player of the season, as well as an incredible performance from Hugo Lloris, who saved a penalty and made three or four incredible saves at least. World Class. The rumours on Sherwood’s future was as intense as ever coming into May, but the team ended April on a high after going to Stoke and dragging out a result. We were on track to equal our highest ever points tally in the Premier League.

In May, we only had two games and one of them was utterly horrible. West Ham. Again. This time, on their own turf. A 2-0 defeat and a Younes Kaboul red card. We weren’t terrible, a little unlucky with a few individual mistakes but a loss to West Ham is just unforgivable, and unfortunately it’s been unforgivable three times this season. But, we finished the season on a high, which was definitely needed. Tim Sherwood’s last game as Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach, a 3-0 win, some wonderful football and the youth being introduced. A wonderful way to end a difficult season. Paulinho, an own goal by Baker and then an Adebayor penalty. We finished the season in 6th place, with 69 points, securing a Europa League place for next season. Tim Sherwood sacked and now a manager search commences. My player of the two months was Christian Eriksen. Incredible.

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My player ratings for the 2013/14 season:

Hugo Lloris – 9 – My player of the season. He has been incredible for us, saving us on numerous occasions. I don’t know where we’d be without him in the team, but we wouldn’t be in the Europa League, that’s for sure! He brings a cool, professional head even when chaos strikes on the pitch. He finds a way to keep his consistency no matter how the team is playing, who the team is playing and who the team is being managed by. Truly World Class and a pleasure to have in the team. He managed 17 clean sheets this season from 46 appearances.

Christian Eriksen – 8.5 – My outfield player of the season. At just 22 Eriksen has been a revelation, and has been praised as the ‘best of a bad bunch’ by many in the press. Although I disagree, I believe that he has been a shining light in a dreary season, with the way that he plays, conducts himself and speaks all becoming increasingly important to the club and without a doubt, the team should be built around Eriksen next season, whoever the manager is. There is so much more to come from such a brilliant, but young player. Eriksen has 10 goals and 10 assists, our top provider this season in 30 appearances.

Emmanuel Adebayor – 8 – Adebayor only played half a season, but still was one of our best performers this season. He scored so many vital goals to carry us through Tim Sherwood’s reign, and he almost made Sherwood look good, just as Gareth Bale seemed to bail out Andre Villas Boas. There were some lacklustre showings from the big Togolese striker, but overall, I think Adebayor has shown AVB was wrong to keep him in the dark, despite Adebayor being in the wrong through standing up to Villas-Boas. Emmanuel Adebayor scored 14 goals this season and getting 4 assists, he ended the season as our top goalscorer.

Brad Friedel – 7 – Judging Brad through the games he played, he has earned a 7/10. His performances in the Europa League were top class, he showed his professionalism throughout the season, not complaining, instead hailing the manager and the team, boosting moral and acting as a calm head. At 42, he has a decision to make regarding his future, and if he does decide to retire, I would love Brad to stay at the club and become a coach. He’s that sort of person. Friedel played 9 times and kept 3 clean sheets. Respectable.

Kyle Walker – 7.5 – Many will feel I have ‘overrated’ Walker here. But I would like to remind you all that Kyle was absolutely magnificent before injury toyed with his season. Without a doubt he was our best defender, showing a maturity that was lacking last season, but also a work ethic like I have never seen from him before. He was concentrated and driven to succeed and I am gutted that his injury has kept him out of a World Cup that he deserved to go to more than any other English right back. Walker made 35 appearances this season, scoring once and assisting 3 times.

Kyle Naughton – 5 – Average. He is no Kyle Walker, but what Naughton has been this season is reliable. Not many clubs have a player that will sit there and be willing to fill in whenever possible. Needed a lot this season, he was exposed a lot as a left back that he wasn’t and his lack of pace and bad decision making cost him many times. But overall I don’t think Naughton did too badly, and would like to thank him for his efforts. He showed that he cared. Naughton played 31 times for Spurs this season as a stop gap, and assisted goals twice.

Michael Dawson – 6 – Harshly treated for the majority of this season, including by myself. Dawson has shown his fight and determination on a numerous amount of occasions this season, although he has been exposed way too often as slow and very one dimensional. He’s my captain though, and his desire and passion for the club do not go unnoticed in my eyes. Dawson played 38 times this season.

Younes Kaboul – 5.5 – A difficult season for Younes. The injuries in his career have affected him a hell of a lot and he is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has captained us this season, and played some really good games, for example against Newcastle and against Southampton. I would like to think Kaboul will stay and have a full pre-season behind him to prove his worth to the fans, but whether or not the club feel too much of a risk of having him here we can only wait and see. Younes played 18 times this season, scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Vlad Chiriches – 7 – One of the seven new signings arriving this season, and he’s been one of the best in my view. At just 23 he has a lot to learn and he can be very nervy at times, making him prone to mistakes, but he has also had incredible games this season and is showing why we decided to sign the Romanian and ditch Steven Caulker. Vlad can only improve next season, the captain of Romania and definitely one that can push to start every game next season. Vlad played 23 times this season, scoring 1 goal.

Jan Vertonghen – 6 – A strange season for Jan. He has been accused by fans of having a bad attitude, bad body language and not showing enough passion for the team, as well as taking a big step down from the level of performance that he was last season. We all know what Vertonghen is capable of, and despite these rumours of Jan wanting out, we should try to keep him at all costs, because he is a wonderful talent. I believe he will stay. I hope he will stay. Hopefully we can see an improvement in performs from Jan next season, possibly when we have a new manager in charge! Vertonghen had an injury stricken but played 31 games, scoring 1 goal.

Zeki Fryers – 6 – A breakthrough season for young Zeki Fryers, firstly at left back, but then later in the season being used as a centre back, and I think we found the perfect position for Zeki. At left back he lacked agility and an end product, but at centre back he is composed and strong. I’d like to see more of the 21 year old there next season. Zeki played 16 times, getting 1 assist in that time.

Danny Rose – 4 – Danny, at only 23, has a lot to learn. This was his first season as our number 1 left back, but he was exposed nearly every game for defensive insecurity, a poor end product and a lack of skill on the ball. Although Danny had 3-4 good games, he isn’t at the level that Spurs need. Whether that will come in time, I don’t know, but right now, we need better. Danny made 31 appearances this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 2 assists.

Aaron Lennon – 6 – Inconsistent would be the word to describe Lennon’s season. He has been on fire at times, beating players getting dangerous balls into the box, and he has been the opposite, unimaginative, ineffective and simply poor. Aaron is still 27, so I’d definitely keep him for next season, but I hope Lamela steps up and earns his spot ahead of our long serving winger. Aaron played 34 games this season, scoring just 1 goal and getting only 3 assists.

Andros Townsend – 7 – What a start to the season Andros had. Coming back from his loan spell at QPR he was electrifying, he had the confidence to take people on, take shots and break with pace. This earned him an England call up, and he made the impact of a lifetime, scoring on his debut. Unfortunately, injury played havoc with his second half of the season and his form dipped. And now injury has ruled him out of a World Cup he was destined to go to. Hopefully Andros improves massively next season and we can see him shine again. He played 34 games scoring twice, but getting no assists.

Erik Lamela – N/A- Our record signing, but we didn’t get anywhere near a season out of him. Mismanagement, injuries and poor ability to adapt have messed the Argentine’s season and World Cup hopes right up. Such promise, but such disappointment to see our Gareth Bale replacement not start a game at White Hart Lane this season in the Premier League. He did have 2-3 good performances but needed a sustained fun in the team, and due to a fractured vertebra, he didn’t get that. He will return though and I hope he will be better than ever! He played 17 times for Spurs, but only had 3 starts in the Premier League. He scored 1 goal and got 3 assists.

Paulinho – 7 – I think Paulinho has had a very good first season at the club. It has been blighted by some terrible, invisible performances but all in all I think he’s done well, especially in the goal scoring department. Playing higher up the pitch he is a joy to watch has immense skill, but playing in a deeper role next to a similar player, such as Mousa Dembele, Paulinho didn’t have the strength and grit to make tackles. That’s why his best performance came alongside Sandro, or next to Dembele when we were bossing the game. Hopefully he’ll push on next season and prove himself to more and more fans. He played 37 times for us this season and scored 8 goals with 2 assists, a good first season tally.

Sandro – 6 – Injury has struck Sandro’s season once again. This time muscular niggles that have kept him out of the team and stopped him from having, just like Lamela, a sustained run in the team. There have been some difficult matches for Sandro, not playing well or in good form, but I think mostly he has when he has started. He’s a crucial player for the team and I can’t wait to see him in a Spurs shirt next season. Sandro played 25 games and scored 1 goal.

Mousa Dembele – 6 – It’s like a broken record, but Mousa is another player who’s season has been seriously harmed by injuries. He looked as if he had been playing with injuries all season and that meant his form wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted it to be. He has a World Cup now so I hope he gains a lot of confidence from that and comes back to Spurs a better player. Mousa did despite injury play 42 games this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist.

Nabil Bentaleb – 7 – Nabil has had a great season. Promoted through the youth system at just 19 he has put in some stellar displays in the midfield role, as well as some poor performances, which are expected at just 19 years of age. His connection with Sherwood made it difficult at times, with fans pilling pressure on the young mans shoulders, but he dealt with it really well. Nabil played 21 times, getting 1 assist.

Etienne Capoue – N/A – Etienne started the season in outstanding form, our best player against Crystal Palace and Swansea, but he was hit by injury, another player, and after that never found the level he is capable of. He missed 50% of the season through, higher than any other player, so I really can’t give him a fair rating. It will be interesting to see whether Capoue is kept by the new manager, or moved on. Etienne played 18 times scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Lewis Holtby – 6.5 – Only half a season with Spurs before being shipped out to Fulham, but during that time he made it difficult to make a decision between Eriksen and Holtby, and I think he played well at times during his time at Spurs and was unlucky, but probably for the best of his development that he was sent out on loan. I hope to see him back in a Spurs shirt next season, pushing for a place. Lewis took part in 22 games for Spurs this season, scoring 3 goals and getting 5 assists.

Nacer Chadli – 6 – Chadli hasn’t set the world alight. Far from it. He has shown glimpses of why he is so highly rated in Holland and in Belgium, but as of yet hasn’t shown it to the Spurs faithful. Some very good performances, especially his 2 goals against Benfica, and his stunner against Newcastle, but he needs to improve. He played central midfield and behind the striker later on in the season which didn’t help, though. Although he played well behind the striker, in central midfield I don’t think it suits him. Nacer played 35 times, scoring 5 goals and contributing 4 assists.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6.5 – Gylfi’s start to the season was sublime, he had a goal scoring instinct and scored some wonderful goals as well as goals where he had to be in the right place at the right time. I think Gylfi is a great player, technically, mentally and physically. He lacks a lot of pace, which let’s him down, but he has such a great shot and a great footballing mind. It’s unfortunate Sigurdsson is forced out onto the left hand side so often. He’d be a real threat in the central position. There are things wrong with his game and there has been this season. Still, he’s only 24. Gylfi played 35 games this season, scoring 6 goals and getting 3 assists. Not too bad.

Harry Kane – 7.5 – I can only judge on the games that they have played, and Harry Kane has had a superb end to the season, as well as good performances against Hull City in the League Cup and Cardiff away earlier this season. Brought in by Sherwood to the starting 11 he has repaid the faith with goals, a hard work ethic and some real good performances. Harry has played 19 games this season for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and getting 2 assists.

Jermain Defoe – 6 – Defoe was outstanding in the Europa League for us this season, there’s no denying it. He scored goal after goal and played really well, but his Premier League performances, of which there were very few, were poor. Jermain was sent off to Toronto and we will miss a true Spurs legend, but I don’t think we’ll miss the player. Defoe played 22 games for Spurs this season, with 11 of those from the bench. Scoring 10 goals and getting 3 assists.

Roberto Soldado – 5 – Hard. Disappointing. Underwhelming. All words we’d use to describe Roberto Soldado’s first season at the club, and possibly his last. I want Soldado to succeed as much as the next but judging on this season he has been terrible in front of goal. It’s a mystery. He has lost his goalscoring touch through a flight from Spain to England and I don’t know why. Everything he touches he seems to miss. Although, his link up play and play with the ball is top notch, something he never really had in Spain. I’d call it weird other than anything. We’ll see what happens to him this summer. Roberto played 37 times for us this season, scoring 11 goals and getting 5 assists.

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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Hugo Lloris.

Young player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Goal of the season – Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Hull City. (League Cup).

Assist of the season – Eriksen vs Norwich to Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Individual performance of the season – Hugo Lloris vs Fulham.

Win of the season – Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham.

Signing of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Most disappointing player of the season – Roberto Soldado.

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Ups, downs and upside downs. All in all it’s been an eventful season, for sure! Expectation outweighed reality, and now as fans we have to rally again, support the team, the players and the whole club to try and do our bit to help the side on the pitch. And that starts by supporting our new manager, whoever it may be. I’m looking forward to a great World Cup, a brilliant pre-season, an uncertain Transfer Window and a new season of excitement! Thank you for reading, tweeting and debating with me on twitter and on the website. It’s been a pleasure and I can’t wait to do it all over again next season! Leave your comments down below, subscribe and follow my twitter account if you don’t already – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you and COYS!

All the goals from the 2013/14 season:

Season Review video:

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