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:

Why AVB has done a wonderful job at the Lane.

André Villas Boas was given a new lease of life when we gave the Portuguese manager the job at White Hart Lane. AVB had big boots to fill, Harry Redknapp had done a wonderful job for us, getting us top four twice and having a wonderful run in the Champions League in 2010/11. The sacking came as a shock to most, and the appointment of AVB was maybe more of a shock, the bookies favourite being the now Manchester United manager David Moyes.

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André had a bad start, and the questions about his future were already being shouted around, ‘sacked by Christmas’ being the general feel. Draws at home to Norwich and West Brom being the worst moments in a hard month for AVB. We weren’t really clicking together as a team, and AVB’s tactics and methods didn’t seem to be taken upon by the players. A difficult start.

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Our form seemed to change a lot when we picked up our first win at Reading, and then what is now one of the moments of the season, the win at Old Trafford. Opinions on AVB were starting to change, the ‘wonder boy’ from Portugal was back. We hit a streak of wins, nobody was questioning AVB anymore. The tactics he had to beat teams were precise, and specific to the team we were playing, it was all about getting points, game by game, and as a fan, it was a joy to watch.

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Top four, the ultimate aim, we were dreaming of an awesome finish, but we got a little carried away, if you looked back to the start of the season, we lost some of our best players, Modric, Van Der Vaart and losing our captain Ledley King through retirement, was always going to be hard. The fact that we are still in with a shout with 2 games to go is extremely good, and it’s down to André, he has been superb.

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Injuries also hit us very hard, Kaboul who was my personal player of the season last year, has been out all season, and this is a massive blow, defensively he is our key player. Also, Sandro has been out for half of this season, the best CDM in the Premier League in the first half of the season, and a candidate for player of the season, out for the rest of the season. Scott Parker came in as a replacement, and he hasn’t been the same as last year, so it’s been a huge blow. I miss the beast. We missed Mousa Dembélé for 6 weeks, and Aaron Lennon has been missing in quite a few games, so the fact we are even close to top four is nothing short of a miracle.

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If we get into the top four, and I still believe we can, as a club we will go very very far, but if we fail to achieve that goal, I don’t think it would set us back too far with Bale staying no matter what, and according to AVB, funds are available for the transfer window. André has been at the heart of our success this season, and finishing above teams that are of a very good standard in Everton and Liverpool and we are looking likely to beat the amount of points we got last season, this season has been a success, no matter how it finishes now. Keep the faith in the lads, it’s still possible. COYS, and Believe in André Villas Boas.

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Europa League Winners, and Champions League Qualification. Can we do both?

Can we do it? Can we finish the season with ultimate glory? Something nobody would have expected us to do at the start of the season, win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League. It’s the stuff of dreams. Trophies are the most important thing in football, as the great man said, “The game is about glory.”, so surely winning a trophy should be our main objective? Can you imagine being European Champions, it would be unbelievable, and you know what, it’s possible.

Champions League qualification, top four, our goal for many years, achieved by Harry Redknapp once, and it was phenomenal, I would say one of the most exciting seasons I’ve witnessed, playing in the Champions League, beating Inter, AC Milan, getting to quarter finals, going to the Santiago Bernabeu. Unbelievable. We have to get there, we have to be in the best competition in the world, it’s vital to the development of our club, we can build on it, sign better players, and finally become a force in Europe. Or to put it simply, we need Champions League football to keep Gareth Bale.

The Europa League, it’s a competition that we never would have thought we’d be playing our best players and going all out to win it, some thought it would be a distraction to our Premier League run, but instead it’s been a wonderful ride, an unexpected thrill on this roller coaster season. I’ve loved every second of it, Gareth Bale’s free-kick to win the game against Lyon, Mousa Dembélé’s strike in the last second to send us through to the Round of 16. The stunning performance at home to Inter Milan, 3-0. They have all been amazing moments, even losing 4-1 to Inter, was a good moment, we got through! After all of these moments, it would be a massive shame to go out, we have to give everything to go all the way and get to Amsterdam, and win this trophy. European Champions.

The top four, and the Europa League, our focus has to be on both, and we have to do well in both. Top four is crucial, but being European Champions would live with the club forever. We are capable of doing both, and turning this season into one of the best ever, certainly the best we have ever had in the Premier League years.

Lets make this season one to remember forever, I believe we can do it, do you? COYS!!

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