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.
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:
Dier – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Capoue
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen
QPR boss Harry Redknapp’s pre match press conference: