Loan Watch – Season Review 2013/14.

Tottenham Hotspur are known for utilising the loan system to give game time to young players and fringe players. This season has been no different, and now it’s time to evaluate how well the players have done in their loan spells for several different clubs in few different countries, and see what the future holds for them, whether it is at Spurs or away from Spurs, permanently, or on another loan deal.

Ryan Fredericks – Championship – Millwall. – The 21 year old right back made the move to Millwall in January, brought in to help the Lions avoid the drop. He started really well with a goal on his debut, but unfortunately Ryan dropped out of the Millwall team and didn’t play as much as he may have wanted, but was praised by manager Ian Holloway for his fight and quality during his time at Millwall. He played 18 times, scoring 1 goal, and I think we can say that this was a relatively successful loan spell, in which Fredericks gained vital League experience. Ryan has a future at Tottenham, he showed that with a brilliant performance against Anzhi in the Europa League prior to being loaned out, and he has shown a lot of quality and shown that he has a good attitude to the game. I’m looking forward to Ryan returning to Spurs, and possibly giving Kyle Walker competition next season.

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Jon Obika – Championship – Brighton & Charlton. The 23 year old striker firstly made the move to Brighton in January, in which he didn’t start a League game and only made 5 appearances from the bench, he didn’t score a League goal for the Seagulls. He started his only game for Brighton in the FA Cup and that is where his only goal came, against Port Vale. He made 8 appearances overall in his time down South, but he became something of a scapegoat at Brighton and after watching him play, it was fair. He was dreadful. He was then sent back to Tottenham in mid March, and then straight away sent out to Charlton, he didn’t score a goal during his time and 12 appearances, but 9 were from the bench. The player doesn’t have a future at Spurs, he is too old and doesn’t have the quality. A sale in the Summer is the best we can hope for.

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Alex Pritchard – League 1 – Swindon Town. Pritchard was on a youth loan deal at Swindon, and he recently turned 21 and so had to return to Tottenham early, but in his time at Swindon he had a very impressive season, being nominated for Young Player of the Year in the Football League and Young Player of the Year in League 1, he didn’t win, but it was a great achievement to be nominated. In 36 appearances, only 3 were from the bench and he became a key player for Swindon who eventually missed out on the play offs and finished 8th, but Alex Pritchard provided 8 goals and getting 11 assists, which I class as a real success and can see a real future at Tottenham for him, but first I’d give him one more season on loan, hopefully at a Championship club or a Premier League club.

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Shaquile Coulthirst – League 1 & League 2 – Leyton Orient & Torquay United. Our 20 year old striker had a very short stint at Leyton Orient in League 1, in which he only made 2 sub appearances after joining early on in January, he scored on his debut but then returned to Spurs after his one-month loan deal run out. Coulthirst was then loaned out to Torquay United in League 2 late on in March, in which he played 6 times for the Yellows in a short spell to try and help them stay in the Football League, unfortunately Shaq wasn’t able to help them stay up, but he scored 2 goals in those appearances. Unluckily, Coulthirst was injured in his final appearance for Torquay, and has now had surgery to his ankle and has a summer of rehabilitation ahead of him. Hopefully he comes back stronger, I believe Coulthirst has the right attitude to the game, and after another loan to a team in the Championship, a bit like Alex Pritchard, I think he could have a future at Tottenham.

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Lewis Holtby – Premier League – Fulham. Our 23 year old attacking midfielder joined Fulham in January after playing a fairly important role in the first half of our season, but Sherwood was not keen on Lewis. An opportunity for Lewis to get Premier League experience and come back next season stronger and better for it. I think we can say it was a successful loan spell, despite ending in relegation for Fulham, Lewis performed admirably in a dreadful team and was a fan favourite instantly due to his passion and commitment. He played 13 times for the Whites getting 1 goal and 3 assists, which by Fulham’s standards is pretty decent! I judge Lewis’ loan spell as a success and believe he can become a big player for Tottenham still.

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Jake Livermore – Premier League – Hull City. Jake is now 24 & his loan to Hull as been a complete success for the England international. Jake has been on the fringes of the Tottenham side for quite a long while now, plugging holes in our first team, but has never had a run in a Premier League team, until his loan to Hull. He has been a regular for the Tigers, playing 41 games, becoming a key player and learning next to Tom Huddlestone. He’s scored 3 goals and assisted 4, a good tally for a holding midfielder. Jake has expressed his desire to complete a permanent move to Hull City, and with the quality we have in his position, I don’t think whoever is our new manager will make Jakey stay. He deserves first team football, and he’ll get that at Hull.

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Iago Falque – La Liga – Rayo Vallecano. Now 24, this loan for Iago was extremely important, either to prove himself to a Tottenham, or the more likely option of him playing to be bought by another club. What this loan has done for him is to propel himself into the limelight at Rayo, and get him a permanent transfer to La Liga after playing a key part in their campaign. You may ask, why can’t he make it at Tottenham? I think the reason is that he is set on first team football, regularly, to improve himself and better his career. He wouldn’t start at Tottenham. Iago scored 3 goals and got 2 assists for Rayo in 31 appearances, becoming a regular for them.

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Ryan Mason – League 1 – Swindon. Ryan has had an injury stricken season with Swindon, having an ankle injury which needed surgery, he was playing very well for Swindon along with Pritchard & Grant Hall, he played 18 times, which is still a respectable amount, starting 13 times. Ryan is 22, and is not at a Premier League level, so I do not know what the future holds. Mason needs to concentrate on getting fit in the summer and coming back stronger to either push for another loan move, or a permanent transfer. Mason scored 5 goals and got 1 assist for Swindon in his 18 appearances.

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Cristian Ceballos – Primeira Liga – FC Arouca. Ceballos is 21, we signed him from Barcelona in 2011 and had extremely high hopes for his future, of course the media tipping him as the next Lionel Messi! This season, Ceballos was in Portugal, & although I haven’t seen him play, the stats suggest he hasn’t hit it off as he would have wanted. Next season, I think a loan to a more prestigious club would be much better for him, testing him at a higher level. Cristian has played 19 times but only scored 1 goal, with Arouca finishing 12th in the Primeira Liga out of 16 teams. I would like to give Ceballos another chance to prove himself next season, on loan, hopefully at an English club.

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Tom Carroll – Championship – QPR. It’s been an on-and-off season for Tom Carroll. At 21, you could say he still has massive potential to become a wonderful player, but then you compare him to where Christian Eriksen & Erik Lamela are at the same age and it takes the shine off of his potential. At QPR, Carroll wasn’t best liked by the Ranger’s fans, but still played a lot of games. Although, he struggled with the physicality and intensity of the Championship, & I’d argue it wasn’t the best move for him, & Tottenham should have pushed for a Premier League loan move, or potentially abroad, to a club like Ajax. Carroll has a massive season ahead of him now, in which he can show he has a massive future, or it all goes a bit pear shaped for the young lad. I think Carroll will get another loan move, & I hope it is to a Premier League club this time, to test himself more. Carroll made 26 appearances and helped QPR reach the Premier League, not managing a goal, but getting 4 assists.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Championship – QPR. Now 30 years of age, a loan for Benoit is exactly what he would have wanted. I’m sure he’d like to be settled at a club and playing consistent football, but this is the hand he was dealt. His performances with Tottenham were no less than appalling, after injury, he hasn’t recovered and returned to the level he was at during our Champions League years. At QPR, I watched Assou-Ekotto a fair bit, & analysed how the QPR fans saw him, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. When a player is struggling to handle the Championship at the age of 30, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is not Tottenham level. Long balls, mistakes, a lack of pace and wayward crossing. He’s not better than Danny Rose, and that’s not a compliment to Danny Rose. I don’t think he has a future with Tottenham, & it’s best he moves on. He played 31 times for QPR, not scoring a goal, but getting 2 assists.

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Grant Hall – League 1 – Swindon. Our 22 year old centre back was a regular for Swindon last season, but was struck by injury in early January, and then didn’t feature until late April, before he was injured again and returned to Spurs for treatment. Hall is a very decent player from what I’ve seen, but I don’t know what the future holds for him. I think Hall will get another loan next season, maybe even back to Swindon, & then we can see what happens when he has a solid, injury free season. Hall played 36 times for Swindon last season, with no goals or assists.

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All in all, I think the loan system really helps Tottenham and their young/fringe players. We can utilise other club’s abilities to grow youth and play players that wouldn’t get game time at Tottenham. Next season, I expect another large amount of young players to go out on loan, but hopefully, we can get rid of some deadwood this summer and trim the squad. Let’s see what happens! COYS!!

Follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs

Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013.

Premier League

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland goal: Adam Johnson 36′.

Tottenham goals: Paulinho 43′, John O’Shea OG 50′.

Another great win away from home! Our December month has started with a bang, 7 points from our last three difficult matches is exactly what we needed, our comeback is complete from our Manchester City mauling, what was looking bleak is now looking rather bright. Three points off second, after other teams dropped points, now we need to beat Liverpool and stake our claim for those Champions League places. In the first half, it wasn’t great by any means. We were sloppy and didn’t look threatening to Sunderland, slow and unimaginative. Sunderland didn’t have a lot of chances, but they only needed a bit of luck when the usually reliable Hugo Lloris made a mistake and gifted a goal for Adam Johnson, typical of the Spurs of this season. We got back very quickly, taking their goal as a kick up the backside and we didn’t look back, a great ball from Walker found Chadli, who headed the ball back in well for Paulinho to poke in. After half time, we dominated, made the game our own, showed determination, desire and offensive quality to go for the win and get it! Early on we got the goal to put us in front, Mousa Dembele took his man on and made it happen, then putting the ball in the box for John O’Shea to expertly finish it into his net, great goal! Haha. After the goal, we didn’t sit back we went for the third to kill off the game, but it didn’t come, I don’t know how. We got to 90 minutes and we won the game, so I’m happy!!

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The players all played very well, our second half performance was some of the best football we played this season, we created opportunities, passed the ball brilliantly and quickly, looking like the good old Tottenham again! My man of the match was Kyle Walker, what a player he has been for us this season so far, he’s improved so much from last season, taking the responsibility on his shoulders and thriving off of it. He was defensively outstanding, strong, aware of danger and making the right decisions. Offensively, his partnership with Lennon down the right is proving to be extremely affective. Very happy he’s back to his best. Aaron Lennon was also outstanding; since he has returned from injury he has been a breath of fresh air, giving us that width we have needed. Brilliant again. Mousa Dembele is one of the most technically gifted players that has played for Spurs in recent times, the way he glides past players like they aren’t there is incredible; the only thing you can criticise him on is his final product offensively, if he were to gain that, he’s up there with the best in the League.

Great win! We move on to the Europa League on Thursday 12th December against Anzhi, even though it doesn’t mean much, we want to maintain that 100% record! Then, we return to action in the Premier League in a massive game at the Lane! Liverpool on Sunday, 15th December. Let’s get a win!! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
Lloris – 7 – Certainly not his best performance, that mistake was disappointing, but still solid.
Walker – 9 – Man of the Match. Outstanding again.
Dawson – 8 – Saved us a couple of times. He may not be the most talented, but gives 100% every time.
Capoue – 8 – He fit in at centre back brilliantly! Great option to have in the future.
Naughton – 7.5 – Proved to a lot of his critics (including me), that he is a capable left back.
Paulinho – 9 – Top class performance, good goal. If he can control his finishing, world class!
Dembele – 9 – Very happy he’s Spurs.
Lennon – 9 – Breath of Fresh air!
Holtby – 8 – Worked his socks off, created opportunities and showing his class recently.
Chadli – 6 – He’s not found his feet in the Premier League, but I have confidence.
Defoe – 6.5 – He makes some good runs, unlucky on a couple of occasions, but should be finishing those chances…

Subs:
Sandro – 7 – Beast.
Townsend – 8 – On the left, he is outstanding. Keep him there Andre.
Sigurdsson – 6 – Didn’t make a massive impact, did his job!

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Sunderland:

AVB’s reaction post Sunderland victory:

Match Preview, Anzhi Makhachkala vs Tottenham.

Match: Thursday, 3rd October 2013. Kick off 5:00pm GMT.

Europa League

We continue our Europa League campaign with a tough trip to Russia to face a team who are facing a lot of troubles, Anzhi Makhachkala. The match will be tough as the conditions in Russia do not exactly suit the way we like to play football. The pitch may not be in the most glamorous state for the attractive passing football that we like to play, therefore we will have to adapt to the conditions quickly to get the three points that we need. We have been playing well, we still need time to gel as a team, and the thing that helps most with the development of the squad is matches, at the moment, with matches coming thick and fast, we are gelling as a team and becoming better and better. The Europa League is a trophy that we are striving to win, we tried last season and failed, but we showed a good attitude towards the competition with a weaker squad than we have now. Hopefully, with what is now a much stronger squad, we can create European glory once again.

Anzhi have been in terrible form, they lie bottom of the Russian League without a win in 16 attempts in all competitions. They had a fire sale in the summer window losing their star players Samuel Eto’o and Willian to Chelsea. Their owner ordered a ‘restructure’ of the club, and has now gone into HIDING after being placed on a most wanted list for corruption charges. It really is a shambles in Russia. They do hold a threat going forward, with their 6’8 Ivorian striker Lacina Traoré, but he is said to be out of the game with a shoulder injury. Jucile in midfield is an ever present and can be said to be their most creative of players, with, in the absence of Traoré, Burmistrov their man to lead the line, but has only grabbed one goal in seven apperances.

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AVB has always expressed his full commitment to the Europa League and sees it as a trophy that we can win, so strong teams will be played in the competition. We have extremely good squad depth, so the team we field *should* always be capable of getting the result we need. We take one star out, and replace them with another, something we have never had before. Jermain Defoe has been scoring goals for fun in the cup competitions, he is expected to start once again, so let’s hope he continues his good run. A safe bet for first goal scorer I’d say! Lewis Holtby is another to have shined in the Europa League, his ability to find a pass has been needed, he has fed Defoe extremely well so far, he should replace Christian Eriksen in the team for the game against Anzhi. Erik Lamela hasn’t been starting in the Premier League as he continues to settle in at the club, this is a perfect opportunity to show what he can do, and why he has to start ahead of an in-form Andros Townsend and when he returns, the long time starter on the right, Aaron Lennon. Danny Rose should be fit to return, but I’d like to see him rested so he is fully fit to return on Sunday for our clash with West Ham. Emmanuel Adebayor returned to first team training at the start of the week, but didn’t travel as he continues to regain his fitness, a good asset to have once he’s back.

A game we should be winning, if we do grab the three points it puts us in a great position to progress from the group. Anzhi, while they are a difficult task, shouldn’t be good enough to overcome a team full of confidence like we are. The game is being shown live in the UK on ITV 4 with coverage starting at 4:45pm. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred line up to face Anzhi at the Saturn Stadium:
Friedel
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Fryers
Sandro – Dembele
Lamela – Holtby – Chadli
Defoe

Match Review, Aston Villa vs Tottenham.

Tuesday 24th September 2013

Capital One Cup

Aston Villa 0-4 Tottenham. Defoe 45′, Paulinho 49′, Chadli 86′ and Defoe 92′.

Great performance, great win and another great clean sheet. We progress to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, and we did so in style. We controlled the game from start to finish, in the first half it was harder to break Villa down and they continued to press well, but our possession game was very good and as they tried to push us back, we pushed them back with powerful play. A piece of Lewis Holtby magic put in Defoe to make it 1-0 on the stroke of half time. The turning point. We came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and Paulinho grabbed our second of the match and his second in two games from a Holtby corner, a well taken ‘Kung fu kick’ goal to add to his back heel at the weekend! We continued to dominate possession, seeing 60% of it all game, which is always nice. Nacer Chadli took his first goal for Spurs very well, and made it 3-0. Lewis Holtby got his third assist of the game and gave Jermain Defoe his second of the night, and finish it off, 4-0. We were very good, but Aston Villa were not good and made it easy for us in places.

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Lewis Holtby was outstanding, all over the park making tackles, passes and key interceptions. He made three of the four goals and is showing AVB he deserves to start! It’s hard to fit him in to the side, but I think we really need to find a way to fit him and Eriksen into the team. Decisions that AVB will want to have! Sandro dominated in the defensive midfield role, another player pushing hard to regain his place in the side, very good on and off the ball, tackling as always top notch. Paulinho was incredible again, he’s showing that he really is a world class box to box midfielder that can chip in with goals and be a total boss of the midfield area. Long May it continue! Vlad Chiriches made his debut, and impressed in the second half. He was nervy at first, which is expected, but he settled down and started to play his football, coming out with the ball, with sharp passing and making some key tackles at the back. Is Brad Friedel human? The 42 year old goalkeeper still flies to make brilliant saves in his old age, it’s like he’s in his 20’s! Awesome back up.

Great win, and we progress to the fourth round. A good draw would be appreciated, and a home draw! 9 Games, 20 Goals Scored, 1 Goal Conceded, 8 Different Scorers, 8 Wins, 1 Loss. A very good start to the season! Our next game is against Chelsea at the Lane on Saturday 28th September, kick off at 12:45pm, live on BT Sports! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup:
Friedel – 8 – The old man’s still got it! What a great back up keeper to have, surely the best back up in the Premier League.
Walker – 7 – Very solid, good going forward, even better clearing up at the back. Looks back to his best dare I say it.
Chiriches – 7 – Shaky start with a few mistakes, but grew into the game and showed his quality.
Vertonghen – 8 – Rolls Royce in defence. So good, so consistent. Little bit of a pants down moment for him though!
Fryers – 7 – I thought Zeki was very solid. Made some superb tackles, and a good back up for Danny Rose I think!
Paulinho – 9 – Outstanding again, got his goal, but his passing and general game was incredible I thought.
Sandro – 8 – Both Sandro and Paulinho make a great pairing, Sandro the enforcer was brilliant!
Lamela – 8 – First half he was borderline mesmerising. We needed to get him the ball more in advanced areas, drifted in second half.
Holtby – 10 – Can’t find a fault with his game today. Man of the match. Three assists says it all!
Kane – 6 – Was good in parts, a little slow but he contributed quite a bit, should have scored first half!
Defoe – 9 – Another brace for Jermain. Finished them both very well, competition for Soldado!

Subs:
Chadli – 7 – His first goal for Spurs, a great finish. Nice impact after coming back from injury.
Dawson – N/A
Dembele – N/A

Match Preview, Aston Villa vs Tottenham.

Match: Tuesday, 24th September 2013, kick off 7:45pm at Villa Park.

Capital One Cup

We face a tough trip to Villa Park in the third round of the Capital One Cup, our journey in the competition starts here. Andre Villas Boas has stated tad stated that the League Cup is not top priority, and I agree fully. The Premier League is our main focus, getting into the top four is a must and anything else is sadly a distraction. AVB likes the Europa League and thinks we should also have a significant amount of focus on that and I agree again. Winning the Europa League would be a brilliant achievement and one certainly plausible with the side of our squad. I’d love to win the League Cup. It’d be great to get a trophy in the bag for AVB and the boys, but I just can’t see a cup run in the Capital One Cup not affecting our performances in the Premier League and the competition AVB favours, the Europa League. I want to win every game though, so if a suspected weaker team can do the job, hooray!

Villa Park is a really tough place to go and get a result, they have a good team and I suspect they’ll want a cup run so I can see a strong team being put out against us, but it’s hard to call as I can’t read Paul Lambert’s mind on his thoughts on the Capital One Cup and I don’t know if he wants to give the youngsters a turn! Going into a cup game, anything can happen and form means nothing. It’s a totally different game to a Premier League encounter. Aston Villa’s main threat Christian Benteke is out of the game with a thigh injury, which is good news for us, but not them! Andreas Weimann is a great player and has proved his quality for a couple of years now. Good on the ball and grabs Villa goals! Gabriel Agbonlahor can hurt even the best opposition with his pace. He can hit you in behind or run at you with his good dribbling technique. Weimann and Agbonlahor are Villa’s main threats. Brad Guzan in goal is going to be tough to get past. Top class goalkeeper.

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It’s hard to predict a line up. It really could be anything, but, AVB has said that players involved in the Cardiff match will not take part in the game as they don’t have enough time to recover in just two days for the game against Aston Villa, or very few will anyway. With this in mind, I expect all the ‘fringe’ players to get a chance to show what they can do. We have a big squad, but even with this squad we have quite a few injuries. Nacer Chadli, Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defore, Etienne Capoue and Danny Rose are all doubts for the game and the calibre of the players is immense, so it takes it’s toll on the squad. Lewis Holtby and Erik Lamela only had short spells against Cardiff, so I do expect them to start and get some much needed game time under their belts, they will provide a great amount of creativity and I think their performances will affect hugely the outcome of the match. Harry Kane is the striker I expect to start, with Jermain Defoe a doubt with a groin strain and Roberto Soldado extremely unlikely to be risked, it seems he is the only option to start with. Brad Friedel should be number 1 against the club we signed him from, and it’ll be a nice evening for him to go back to Villa Park, although not as nice if we don’t win.

Difficult game as I said, and a weaker team expected to play, but I’m sure it’ll be an intriguing match. The game sadly is not televised, and I’m unsure if there will be streams available, follow our twitter, @AddictedtoSpurs for video’s of the goals and if there are streams, we’ll be sure to post one!

My predicted/preferred team to face Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup:
4-2-3-1
Friedel
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Fryers
Sandro – Dembele
Lamela – Holtby – Sigurdsson
Kane

Match Review, Cardiff City vs Tottenham.

Sunday 22nd September 2013.

Cardiff City 0-1 Tottenham. Paulinho 92′

Wow! Nerve wracking game. We dominated the match from start to finish but just couldn’t get the ball in the net! Chance after chance came, but Cardiff City’s goalkeeper kept us at bay time after time. It looked as though we were bang out of luck. We were not at our best, actually far from it, but we grinder out a result and three points is all that matters. Our passing was okay and we dominated possession, but it just wasn’t penetrating the solid Cardiff defence. A few subs from AVB changed that, and finally we got the winner through Paulinho! Happy Days!

Cardiff were holding on so well. All credit goes to them for making it really difficult for us and still having a threat at the other end. Steven Caulker had a solid game handling Soldado, kept him at bay really well and was good on the ball. At the other end, Peter Whittingham caused us problems when he got on the ball, really good player that gave Naughton problems. Unlucky for them, but they looked good and if they perform like that every game they will stay up.

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I don’t think we were very good to be honest. Frustrating evening for our players. The substitutions from AVB were spot on. Probably easy decisions to make with the players he had available but he made them perfectly. Lewis Holtby and Erik Lamela gave us a different look and in the end, they both had a key part in our winning goal. Soldado’s link up play with Eriksen was great, they were just unfortunate not to make a few more clear cut chances. Hugo Lloris saved us a few times too, another clean sheet for him! Kyle Naughton had a poor game, mistake after mistake and made the wrong decisions in the final third when he attacked, was a frustrating day for him. Christian Eriksen couldn’t really get going today, but his passing was sharp and quick, difficult when he’s got a lot of Cardiff players tracking his every move, still needs to adapt a bit more to the pace of the Premier League.

Very good win that takes us up to second, level on points with our North London rivals Arsenal. We need to improve, but with time the team will continue to gel and get better. Very excited about what’s still to come! Our next game is against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday 24th September. Our next Premier League game is against Chelsea on Saturday 28th September. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Cardiff City:
Lloris – 7 – Slightly shaky game from Hugo, but when called upon made some key saves.
Walker – 8 – I thought Walker really improved. A threat down that right hand side, and solid defensively.
Dawson – 6 – Made some silly decisions, but also some crucial interceptions! Dealt with Campbell well I thought.
Vertonghen – 6 – Not his best game at all, but always good on the ball. Looked a little off the pace.
Naughton – 4 – Defensive liability. Really poor and doesn’t look Spurs standard after his two seasons back from Norwich.
Paulinho – 8 – Man of the match. Good on the ball and got the all important goal to get us the three points!
Dembele – 7 – Mousa and Paulinho dominated possession. He also made some key tackles.
Townsend – 6 – Very selfish. A real threat, but needs to pass a lot more. His shot really didn’t trouble Cardiff’s keeper.
Eriksen – 7 – Passing was sharp, and looked a threat but was crowded out a lot and didn’t make a massive impact.
Sigurdsson – 7 – Unlucky is his middle name! Thought he was good otherwise, but didn’t get into many goalscoring positions.
Soldado – 6 – A few chances to score, but Cardiff’s keeper was sensational. He’s getting into the positions which is good!

Subs:
Holtby – 8 – Was superb when he came on. Such passion and a real creative spark!
Lamela – 7 – Got they assist after getting into a great position on the right. Very good when he came on.
Kane – 7 – Thought he was good when he came on! His touch was good and came close to scoring!

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Tromsø.

Our Europa League campaign starts against Tromsø at White Hart Lane. We are the early favourites to win the tournament, so expectations are very high. Andre Villas Boas took this competition very seriously last season and he has said he will take the same approach. The players in their pre match interviews talk about wanting to win the Europa League so I’d like to think they have the hunger and drive to succeed. On paper, we should be winning this game comfortably, and that’s what I expect. At White Hart Lane we are very strong and any team we pick will be able to grab three points and start our campaign in the right way. They’ll try to make it difficult for us, but our attacking threat and ability to move the ball around should be too much for the Norwegian outfit. Like they say though, there are no easy games!

Tromsø are hovering just above the relegation zone in the Norwegian League, and are having a more than difficult season. League form goes out the window in cup competitions, of course, but they are not in good form, and anything less than three points for ourselves would be a miracle for them! Watch out for Tromsø attacking midfielder Bendiksen, he’s their main threat in midfield. Up front Ondrasek is their main scoring threat. Hopefully, we won’t be seeing too much of them, with more focus on ourselves.

20130918-171325.jpgI always find AVB’s team selections very unpredictable for Europa League games and with the massive squad and large selection options we have now it’s become even harder. I’m sure we’ll put out a team more than capable of doing the job, though. What we do know is that Aaron Lennon, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue will not feature due to injury, also Vlad Chiriches is yet to receive a work permit and so is ineligible to play. Emmanuel Adebayor is training with the development squad. Other than them, we have a full squad to select from. Jermain Defoe has made it clear he wants more game time so this is the perfect opportunity for him to get some goals and show his worth! Lewis Holtby has been brilliant when he has played so far this season and this is another game where he should play and hopefully, play well and show why I rate him so highly! Erik Lamela needs game time after arriving from Roma for £30 million and I’m really excited to see him play at White Hart Lane for us. The game is live on ITV 4 on Thursday 19th September, with kick off at 8:05pm GMT. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred line up to face Tromsø at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Freidel
Walker – Dawson – Kaboul – Fryers
Dembele – Sandro
Lamela – Holtby – Townsend
Defoe

Match Preview, Arsenal vs Tottenham.

The North London Derby is a thing of beauty. The most exciting league game we are involved in all year. The ups and downs we’ve had with these games, the classics. It’s all just brilliant. Up there with the best derby’s in the world. The passion from the players, the passion from the fans, the awe that the neutrals look on in. I’ve experienced my fair share of North London Derby’s, you cry, you laugh, you scream, you celebrate. The emotion you go through is something special. Can’t wait to get stuck in once again. The tide is turning. Time to show them that North London is WHITE.

We’ve started this season really well. Two wins from two against Swansea and Crystal Palace. Hard fought victories for sure, but our first real test comes now. Arsenal at the Emirates. It’s the fixture that jumped up when the game’s were announced, and it’s now upon us. It’s going to be an extremely difficult game and a game that could go either way. It’s going to be end to end, nerve wracking and a great contest of two top notch teams. Even without signings, Arsenal are a very strong team, with some emerging talent. Aaron Ramsey has been great for them this season and is full of confidence, so he’ll be a threat for this match. The obvious threats of Walcott, Cazorla and Olivier Giroud. Defensively, I think we could take advantage. I’m really looking forward to a cracking game.

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We’ve signed three new players in Eriksen, Lamela and Chiriches this week and they are eligible to play against Arsenal, but after only one training session, they are unlikely to start. During the week we played very well against Tbilisi, and a lot of players impressed, most of all Lewis Holtby and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start. Soldado needs a goal that doesn’t come from the penalty spot, and so I hope tomorrow is the day! Haha. I think Lamela will make an impact from the bench, he is fully fit after training and having pre season with Roma. I think Capoue will start over Sandro, so I really hope he keeps his cool and plays how well he has in the previous games. Townsend doesn’t deserve to be dropped so I fully expect him to start again. Make a name for yourself Andros. I’d like to see Kaboul and Vertonghen start at the back, but I think Dawson will regain his place as Kaboul played in mid week. It’s going to be a brilliant game. It’s being shown live on Sky Sports with coverage starting at 3pm on Sunday 1st September. COYS!!

My preferred/predicted team to face Arsenal at the Emirates:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Capoue – Dembele
Townsend – Soldado – Chadli

Match Review, Chelsea vs Tottenham

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham
Oscar 10′. Adebayor 26′
Ramires 39′. Sigurdsson 80′

Well, not what we wanted, but still a really great effort. We needed three points, that much was clear, and we didn’t get it and that is extremely unfortunate. Champions League is still a possibility, but it looks a much harder goal to reach now. A draw sits us 1 point behind Arsenal having played the same amount if games, and it’s now out of our hands, if they win their remaining games, Champions League is theirs. I think Chelsea still have two tough games, but with their performance against us, they look ready to win those tough games. Hard to take not winning, but I’m proud of how we performed to get a point on the night.

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Emmanuel Adebayor was superb, gave us options all night with his ability on the ball, and he had a brilliant game, he scored a wonderful goal and his assist to Sigurdsson for the second was a touch of a genius. Let’s just hope he can continue to produce this form for the last two games. Missing Dembélé was a massive blow, the way he plays would have opened this game up for the likes of Bale and Holtby, but without him, we couldn’t really find the space, and both Bale and Holtby were marked off the ball, both having next to no impact on the game. Another AVB substitute came on and made the difference, and this time it was Sigurdsson, he never stops working the lad, and in the end got us the goal that forced the point. It wasn’t the game we were all hoping for, but it was a really hard fought point, we can be proud. We can do it, believe. Our next game is against Stoke at the Britannia on Sunday. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Chelsea at the Bridge:
Lloris – 7
Walker – 7
Dawson – 5
Vertonghen – 6
Assou-Ekotto – 4
Lennon – 6
Huddlestone – 8
Parker – 5
Bale – 6
Holtby – 5
Adebayor – 9 Man of the Match

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 8
Dempsey – N/A

Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Tottenham 1-0 Southampton
Bale 86′

One of the worst performances of the season leads to one of the most important three points of the season. It was a weird game, Southampton were better than us, and they had the better chances, but couldn’t put them away, and in the end it cost them dearly. Our performance was really relaxed, and we couldn’t put our passes together, we need to improve on that in the coming games. One thing is for certain, if we bring that level of performance into the Chelsea game, we will not be coming away with three points. As much as the performance was bad, we got three points, and at this point in the season, that is all that matters.

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Gareth Bale, what is left to say? He is just unbelievable, he has the quality to change the game in an instant, even when it isn’t going your way at all, that is why he is World Class. Gareth had a poor game all round, and this is what makes his goal even more special. When Lewis Holtby and Emmanuel Adebayor came on from the bench the game changed in our favour, they really made an impact. Adebayor had one of his best performances so far this season, and it was from the bench, this could be promising for Wednesday. Holtby was great, his vision is awesome, and his passing can change a game, another promising player for Wednesday. Not the best of performances, but we are still in and amongst the Champions League places. We can do it. Our next game is massive, the biggest of the season, we face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8 Man of the Match
Walker – 5
Dawson – 6
Vertonghen – 7
Assou-Ekotto – 3
Lennon – 5
Huddlestone – 7
Dembele – 6
Dempsey – 4
Bale – 7
Defoe – 5

Subs:
Adebayor – 7
Holtby – 7
Sigurdsson – 7