Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Saturday 17th January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham goal scorers: Jan Vertonghen 3’, Christian Eriksen 88’.

Sunderland goal scorer: Sebastian Larsson 31’.

It’s becoming a habit now, winning late on in games, and one that brings a lot of pleasure to the fans, players, and Mauricio Pochettino. There are a lot of factors which have been shouted about as to why we have the ability to go the extra mile in the final stages of games, with some saying it’s character and will power, and others seeking technical improvements, such as fitness, and the sheer quality of Christian Eriksen. Whatever it is, it’s a pleasure to win in such fashion, even if it does make games a little more ‘nervy’; but that’s Tottenham, and it is entertaining! Our style of play hasn’t been very obvious this season under Pochettino, but it has been effective, and the manner we have won games that have looked certain draws or losses, is very impressive and a testament to Pochettino, who is certainly instilling belief into his players, and that is being broadcasted on the pitch. 2-1 has been a popular scoreline so far this season, and it does illustrate how difficult games have been for us, particularly against teams of lowly positioning in the League, who play scrappy football, but are successful in their attempt to disrupt our flow and rhythm, making us rely on our quality to thrust us through matches with three points. As the archaic saying goes, the sign of a good side is one that can win when playing badly. I think it is exciting to see us not play to our full potential, but still come out on top, as we all know there is more to come, when Pochettino has further implanted his philosophy into the team. This win keeps us right in the hunt for top four, and personally, although I told myself to keep expectations to a minimum this season, I have a sneaking belief that we could creep into the top four unexpectedly if we are to continue improving, and win our games against lower opposition. It’s definitely possible.

In the first half, we started very brightly, and got the goal almost immediately, when the ball in from Christian Eriksen rebounded around, before falling to the feet of Jan Vertonghen, who curled the ball into the crowd of players and acquired a deflection to lead the ball into the back of the net on 3 minutes, and showed off his ‘Super-Jan’ celebration once again, which had been missed sorely. A good start, and one that you think should lead us on to killing off the game and getting the three points, but unfortunately that is something that has lacked in our games this season, and we seem to become comfortable when going ahead, instead of improving our intensity, which is something a side like Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester City would do when going ahead so early in the game; and I think that’s the difference between our level and there’s, taking away the amount of World Class players they have compared to us! We pass the ball well, and we do create a good amount of chances, but I thought we lacked width in the first half, and Harry Kane was dropping too deep, leaving Roberto Soldado fairly isolated up top, which is never good. You have to query the decision of Pochettino to play in form Harry Kane out of position, to accommodate for the out of form Roberto Soldado. Christian Eriksen looked very lively in the first half, and was our key player once again, for creating openings in tight spaces for others and for himself – he is a breath-taking player, who we are privileged to have at Tottenham. Despite having most of the ball, and Sunderland not threatening us too much, despite having a claim for a penalty as Jermain Defoe went down after contact from goalscorer Jan Vertonghen, they did get the equaliser, as Jan Vertonghen took down Defoe again, and the referee did give the foul, and in a dangerous position the dangerous dead ball specialist Sebastian Larsson stepped up and perfectly slotted the ball into the top corner, out of the reach of Hugo Lloris who truly had no chance, and it needed to be special to beat him in the form he is in between the sticks. Frustratingly, we didn’t capitalise on our goal advantage and produce more goals, but instead we were right back at square one and had work to do in a crucial second half, with a second loss on the bounce to relegation threatened sides possibly on the cards, we had to deliver.

And in the second half, we did look a little better, you could identify our pressing game more, and we passed the ball more crisply. Christian Eriksen was creating chances again, and almost bagged his goal early on in the half, juggling the ball on his head, chest, knee, and then finally striking the ball just past the post; he was in scintillating form and it was a joy to watch; when Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well. Although we were creating decent opportunities, not enough were clear cut and a point wasn’t enough for us at home to a struggling side, who weren’t exactly putting on a show, and to be honest were fairly ordinary all game, and it would have definitely been two frustrating points dropped if the game had ended all square. But there was time left, and we were patient in our build up play, brought on a few substitutes, including Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho, who all added something to our play, especially Townsend who added width and pace down the right hand side, where we didn’t have a natural wide player. Emmauel Adebayor, who hadn’t played since November 9th of last year, was also fairly effective, and added a runner and a spearhead to our attack, which was good to see of a player who has been heavily criticised in recent times. After chances for Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor which didn’t find the back of the net, Andros Townsend drove down the right hand side from his own half to the edge of Sunderland’s 18 yard box, before lifting his head, and rolling a ball behind Harry Kane, but fortuitously into the path of the composed Christian Eriksen who slid the ball through the swarm of defenders to find the inside of the post and the inside of the net on 88 minutes to surely give us the win. But, that wasn’t the last talking point of the game, and probably not the biggest talking point, as Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went forward for the corner, but the corner was collected by Harry Kane who played in Paulinho in a lightening pace counter attack, with Jan Vertonghen racing forward and he was perfectly put in by Paulinho, and the already goalscorer expertly placed the ball into the back of the net for what seemed like 3-1 and a great win, only for the linesman to call for offside, even though the Belgian was inside his own half, and so immune from the offside rule, but it seems the linesman and Chris Foy are unaware of the rules they enforce! There would have been riots if that goal had been important to the result, but thankfully it only affects our goal difference. Thankfully, the result stayed the same and we gained the three points to put us 5th in the Premier League table.Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Sunderland+Premier+League+GFJbzwd5Po8x
We performed fairly well, but we certainly weren’t on top form, with Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli not at their brilliant best, it was Christian Eriksen who drove us forward, created chances, the joint highest of any player in Saturday’s games, and he made us collectively better, with his spreading of the play and ability on the ball; I couldn’t be anymore complimentary to the Dane, and his goal scoring rate is sensational so far this season, and he has been scoring winning goals for us all season long, spectacularly! He’s definitely my man of the match for this game. Our substitutes were effective, especially Andros Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor, who added pace and energy to our side, and helped us stretch the Sunderland defence. I don’t think anyone can deny that Adebayor’s form hasn’t been great, and he’s become something of a scapegoat for Tottenham fans, but when he came on he almost scored, he ran the channels well and almost provided a wonderful assist for Harry Kane – which isn’t bad for a cameo appearance for the Togolese striker linked with various different clubs throughout Europe and America. It’s unsure whether he has a long-term future at Spurs, but he’s a good outlet to have, with different attributes to our other strikers, possibly he does still hold a place in the squad, as he says he doesn’t want to leave. Jan Vertonghen has been very consistent at the back, and he provided a long awaited goal, but it’s not just his goal that makes his performance so good, he was a leader, who guided Eric Dier through his first Premier League start at centre back, and they did well to contain Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe. We did well to get the three points, and now we have to turn focus to an incredibly important game against Sheffield United in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.

A good win, even though our performance wasn’t top draw the result was crucial and we move to 5th in the Premier League and return to winning ways in the League after slipping up against Palace last week, now we need to get a run of results again and start it off with a good win in midweek in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Sheffield United at the Lane, and then we return to Premier League action against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns on the 31st of January, but prior to that we have cup duties to attend to with both legs of the Capital One Cup semi final, as well as the 4th round of the FA Cup up against Leicester. Hopefully January 2015 can be a very successful one in both the cups and the Premier League. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that faced Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 6
Dier – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 7
Stambouli – 7
Dembele – 7 (Townsend 75’ – 7.5)
Eriksen – 9
Chadli – 6.5 (Paulinho 86’ N/A)
Kane – 7.5
Soldado – 6 (Adebayor 61’ 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Everton.

Match: Sunday 30th November 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane,

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Everton.

Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 21′, Soldado 45′.

Everton goalscorer: Mirallas 15′.

Well – in my Match Preview, I touched upon my desire for the team to show intensity and drive throughout the match. What was delivered was far more impressive – as a team, we were magnificent, we worked, pressed, defended and attacked as a team, which is a breath of fresh air for Tottenham this season. I’m incredibly pleased with how the team was set out; we didn’t have a hell of a lot of the ball, but our performance off the ball is what was so pleasing, we didn’t give away many chances, and we fought hard to win the ball back while maintaining a good shape in defence and midfield. Pochettino set out the team in the right way, with loads of energy and enthusiasm in midfield with Bentaleb, Mason, Lennon & Kane, to work, fight and drive with and without the ball, while having the quality of Eriksen, Soldado, Lennon & Kane to push hard on the counter attack. It was truly fantastic to watch from the stands, and I thought every player on the pitch did their duty brilliantly. Overall, our best performance of the season by far. Hopefully, this is only the start of what can be a great season if we fight like we did in the game for every match this season. We’ve shown that we have got that fight in our team, but what we need now is consistency and a run of results!

In the first half, we started well, we pressed high, harried Everton and looked fairly threatening on the counter attack, but we did concede the first goal on 15 minutes – we struggled to clear the ball, and it fell to Kevin Mirallas, who i signalled out before the game as a big threat in front of goal, and he proved me right as he perfectly curled a beauty into the top corner that Hugo Lloris had absolutely no chance of getting to. Sometimes you just have to accept an opponents goal as unstoppable and pure quality, and that it was. When you concede the first goal, the reaction is important, making sure you not only stop the opponent from scoring again, but taking the initiative, going onto the front foot and attempting to get straight back in terms, and that’s exactly what we did, we pushed hard and it was Harry Kane who showed that initiative and ran hard at the Evertonian defence, burst through their midfield and got his shot away, which was parried by Tim Howard, but Christian Eriksen was running in and with a delightful chipped finish, put Spurs back on level terms and that really sparked the team into action on 21 minutes, and the pressure was more intense, the attack was quicker and and chances were more frequent. It was our best spell in the match by a long way, and on the stroke of half time, it was Harry Kane again who’s determination was key in winning the ball back from Gareth Barry, and Aaron Lennon picked it up and drove hard at Silvan Distin, before laying it off to delightfully to Roberto Soldado – and in that moment, the stadium was silent, a gasp of air was taken, and then probably the biggest cheer of the season was heard as Soldado smashed the ball past Tim Howard to give Tottenham the 2-1 lead. Relief, delight and absolute elation swept through the stadium. Chants for Roberto Soldado were ringing out at half time, and it was an incredible moment – one of the most heart warming moments of the season. Hopefully Roberto can push on from this. It’s his platform to transform his Tottenham career; I think he’s got what it takes, if he can drag this confidence and relief into more and more goals.

The second half was all about managing the game, seeing it out and getting the crucial three points, and we were able to do that brilliantly. We took our chances in the first half, and now we fought to preserve our hard work with even more, even harder work off of the ball with grit, determination and drive. In some ways the way we worked in the second half was more pleasing than how we scored and created in the first half. The game plan was to stay compact, press as a team, and when we did have a chance to get on the ball, we pushed forward at pace, but didn’t commit ourselves too much, and were able to stay solid in defence. The team was working properly, and in a system that was working, we were able to see the best of our players and that was the winning formula in this game. Late on, we had a few good chances to extend our lead, but it wasn’t to be, and despite it being quite nervy at the end, our fantastic team performance was rewarded with three points. Three, glorious, points.

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The team performed very, very well together. I can’t single anyone out as playing badly, but I can name a fair few that played brilliantly! For me, Jan Vertonghen was immense at the back, showing the quality we know he possesses; he dominated Everton’s Romelu Lukaku when he got the ball, timed his challenges to perfection, and was able to set the team into attack very well with his composed passing. Alongside the very solid Federico Fazio, he looked back to his, in my opinion, World Class self. We’re going to need a similar performance from Super Jan against Chelsea on Wednesday. Ben Davies at left back put in his best performance in a Spurs shirt so far on his full Premier League home debut, he was tough in the challenge, focused in his defensive duties and produced some very threatening crosses from the left flank. He’s made the left back spot his own since taking over from Danny Rose. In attack – it was Harry Kane that grabbed the imagination of the fans; every time got the ball he looked to drive at the Everton defence, the buzz came through the crowd and expectation and excitement swept the arena. He worked so, so hard for the team – he gave every ounce of his being during the game and the fans appreciated that – I certainly did. The moment of the game was Roberto Soldado’s goal; it was great, and a fantastic finish from a man that has stuggled in front of goal. His performance was very pleasing, he worked hard, moved the ball well and got his goal – which is all we can ask from him. A match winner! In midfield, the partnership between Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb was one that I thought could be a little bit exposed, especially if Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o could get in behind them – but my concerns were unfounded, and the performances of both were brilliant. Energy, enthusiasm, fight and composure – it proved to be a very balanced midfield pivot, and one that could prove to be very fruitful in the future. Other shouts go to Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon, who on the flanks, worked hard in defence to combat Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, while in attack were very effective, with Eriksen getting the first goal, and Aaron Lennon got the winning assist.

What a great win. We have built on our away win against Hull City with a fantastic, much needed home win. Now, we have to build on it again, bring this confidence, momentum and team work into our next fixtures and really build a good run of results. This starts with the easy task of the Premier League’s unbeaten leaders, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on Wedneday evening. Hurrah. Let’s do the impossible and defeat the undefeatable! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Chiriches – 6.5 (Dier 70′ – 6.5)
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the match.
Davies – 8.5
Lennon – 8 (Lamela 61′ – 6)
Mason – 8
Bentaleb – 8.5
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 9
Soldado – 8.5. (Paulinho 81′ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 2-1 win over Everton:

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Everton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Brom.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats & facts provided by Opta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Preview, AEL Limassol vs Tottenham. (1st leg)

Match date & time: Thursday 21st August 2014. 5pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League – play-off stage.

Venue: Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca, Cyprus.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

The Europa League has come back round the corner. Last season, we made the round of 16 before meeting our match in Benfica. This season, our aim as it was last season is to win the competition, but it will be very difficult. It starts here, in the play-off round to enter the group stages. We had to get through this last year, facing Dinamo Tblisli and we got through the game with ease, and now we’ll be hoping to breeze past AEL Limassol in similar fashion. We should be taking this competition seriously, because, as Pochettino has said, it gives us another chance to secure Champions League. Even if that chance is slim, difficult and even more unrealistic than getting top 4, it’s a chance and given a good draw and luck goes our way, who knows; we have the squad to do well, that is for sure.

AEL Limassol were champions of the Cypriot division 1 in the 2013/14 season, winning 19, drawing 5 and losing just 2. This got them into the Champions League third qualifying round, where they met a strong Zenit St. Petersburg side, managed by our former head coach Andre Villas Boas. In the first leg, at home, they beat AVB’s side 1-0, a massive win for their club and City, but in the second leg away from home they couldn’t finish the job as Zenit ran away 3-0 victors. This should show us that this could be a really tough test that if we underestimate them, we could get stung by an obviously ‘plucky’ AEL Limassol team who will no doubt be pumped up for the game.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Younes Kaboul, Michel Vorm and Etienne Capoue have been left in London for the first leg, while Vlad Chiriches (back) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) are still suffering from their injuries. Good news is that Jan Vertonghen, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are back in contention for the game after returning from the World Cup, so we’re hoping that they get a run out and then be ready for the game against QPR in the Premier League on Sunday after missing the West Ham game. Youngsters Milos Veljkovic and Luke McGee (GK) have also traveled with the squad along with Tom Carroll. It’s a very strong squad and we’ll be looking to take a strong lead into the second leg at White Hart Lane, but if we slip up, we will still be confident of breezing past them at the Lane into the group stages.

It’s important that our World Cup players get minutes, and I’m specifically looking forward to seeing Jan Vertonghen return to the field after an impressive World Cup display. He has the talent, after a disappointing 2013/14 season, to become our key defender and really take this season by storm as he did in his 2012/13 debut season, when he made the Premier League team of the year, it’s key that he regains that form as we will rely on him this season. Three players returning from the World Cup Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli have a lot to prove this season, but I do believe they have the quality to show why we bought them in the first place, especially Mousa Dembele who I think has incredible ability, but he needs to find form and fitness again and come back with the form he had in his first season and in his Fulham days, this starts against AEL Limassol. Lewis Holtby is another I think is important for the game, he can provide the spark along with Erik Lamela in the absence of Christian Eriksen, with Harry Kane providing goals without Emmanuel Adebayor present.

We’ve got a tough game on our hands, with what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere and a dodgy pitch. We have to be professional, as always, and look to get a good result to bring back to North London. The game isn’t televised in the UK but I’m sure a stream will become available. Make sure to follow my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs for match & goal updates, photos and videos for the game. COYS!!

My predicted team to face AEL Limassol in Larnaca:
4-2-3-1
Friedel
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Davies
Paulinho – Carroll
Townsend – Holtby – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match 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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Tottenham Hotspur players at the 2014 Brazil World Cup – Review.

After a disappointing club season for Tottenham, the World Cup has certainly taken that off the minds of the fans, as well as the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino and the positive direction the club is seemingly taking. This World Cup has been superb, the best that I can remember, twists, turns and everything in-between, goals, mistakes, saves, assists. Everything; really sublime. For Tottenham Hotspur players representing the club on the biggest stage in sport, it was a mixed bag. 7 players of varying ability travelled to Brazil, none going all the way to the final, but there were some good performances which is positive, but there were also some incredibly disappointing displays. Here, I will review the performances of our seven representatives…

Paulinho – Brazil – Semi Finals. – Paulinho made 6 appearances for Brazil in the World Cup out of their 7 games, once from the bench. He failed to score or assist a goal in those games. Any way you try to sugar coat it, Paulinho had a very poor World Cup with Brazil. He was unable to make an impact in an uninspiring Brazilian team, who despite making the semi finals, have been dubbed the worst Brazilian team in memory. Sluggish, tired and average is the way Paulinho looked, after a disappointing season for Tottenham he didn’t improve and if anything got worse. He needs a break after 2 years of constant football, and hopefully he can come back in a fairly refreshed way. But, the worry is that his confidence will yet again be knocked by this poor Brazilian display, especially in the now infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany. I still have confidence that Paulinho can find form in a Tottenham shirt, after quite a few glimpses of his quality. It’s in there, I hope.

Paulinho rating – 4.5/10.

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Nabil Bentaleb – Algeria – Round of 16. – Bentaleb appeared in all of Algeria’s group games, but a slight injury deprived him of a game in the round of 16 against Germany, but in those three games against Belgium, Russia and South Korea he started and played 90 minutes, and played very well for a 19 year old, looking really competent in the midfield. After starting the last season in the reserves, he got his chance in the second half of the season and became an ever present, really impressing most of the fan base, and at just 19 years old I believe he has an extremely promising future both at Tottenham and with Algeria. Algeria created history at he World Cup in Brazil, and Nabil Bentaleb will always be remembered for his participation. I truly believe a star has been born at this World Cup. Lots of hard work, a good pre season and I think Bentaleb can continue to be a big part of our season and first team. Hopefully Pochettino can hone in on his potential and develop him further.

Bentaleb rating – 6.5/10.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Cameroon – Group Stage. – Assou-Ekotto played twice for Cameroon in their 3 games, and it was a tournament to forget for both Cameroon and Benoit. No assists and no goals contributed from Assou-Ekotto. Assou played a solid game in the first fixture against Mexico, losing narrowly 1-0, but losing 4-0 to Croatia in the next game was terrible and Assou-Ekotto performed equally as bad, and to top it off at the end being involved in head butting his team mate, which then succumbed him to the bench in the final loss against Brazil. Benoit in my view was guilty of poor positioning, being mentally fragile and acting like he was too good for his team, when they needed big performances most. It’s difficult to see how Benoit Assou-Ekotto can return to Tottenham and not be transfer listed.

Assou-Ekotto rating – 3/10.

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Hugo Lloris – France – Quarter Finals. – Hugo Lloris started and captained all of France’s 5 games in this World Cup, getting 3 clean sheets in a decent campaign for the French national side. Throughout the games Lloris played really well, not tested too much, but when he was he was up to anything thrown at him. It was the usual Hugo Lloris we see week-in-week-out at the Lane, commanding in the box, a sublime shot stopper, quick off of his line and a leader on the pitch. Sadly Germany were an obstacle too far for a young French side, but in my eyes they are now the favourites to win Euro 2016 in France. A new 5 year contract at the end of the World Cup for Hugo was another cracking decision! Lloris is World Class and without a doubt one of the best goalkeepers in World Football.

Lloris rating – 8/10.

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Mousa Dembele – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Mousa Dembele only made 2 appearances for Belgium in their 5 World Cup games not being able to score or assist. In the 2 games he didn’t show his best form, some saying that’s down to long term injuries still bugging the player. I’m sure Dembele would have wanted more from his World Cup, as would the Belgian fans. In the 90 minutes he played against South Korea, I think he put in a decent performance, showing glimpses of his ability on the ball to glide past players and get the play moving, but he didn’t set the World alight. Hopefully a short break can help Dembele return to the form that we know he’s capable of, because he hasn’t reached that for quite a while.

Dembele rating – 4/10.

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Nacer Chadli – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Nacer Chadli’s World Cup was similar to Mousa Dembele’s. Chadli featured in 4 of Belgium’s five World Cup games, but only started once, again failing to score or assist. In the 3 other appearances were very late substitute displays, to give Belgium hight and a target up front. In the time Nacer did play, he wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either. He made some good runs, found some good passes, but was unable to impact on the game as I’m sure he would have liked to. The criticism of Chadli is harsh in some cases, as I think he always gives his all for the team, doing the job he’s instructed to do, but I think it’s when he’s given the licence to attack he shows his best form, and in this World Cup he wasn’t given that opportunity, but that was probably down to the fact better players were ahead of him in the pecking order. Disappointing overall, but not given a massive chance.

Chadli rating – 3.5/10.

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Jan Vertonghen – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Jan Vertonghen featured in all of Belgium’s five games starting 4 and coming on as an early substitute in the other. Jan was the scorer of the only Tottenham World Cup goal, but didn’t get an assist. In my view, Vertonghen was the best Tottenham performer of the World Cup, and certainly put in the performance of the World Cup for Spurs against the USA, where he was absolutely sublime at left back. He showed composure in defence, but also was very handy when in attack, putting a lot of great crosses into the box all tournament and of course getting the winning goal against South Korea. After a difficult season for Jan at Spurs, he put that to the darkest and deepest place in his mind and performed to the level we know he can, which fills me with a lot of excitement for how he can play when he returns to Tottenham for the new season, under a manager that can motivate him. The World Cup will enrich Vertonghen’s game with experience and hopefully give him the motivation and confidence for the new season. A good World Cup display from Jan!

Vertonghen rating – 8.5/10.

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What a World Cup it was. Unfortunately, no Spurs player got the pleasure of playing in the final, or winning the remarkable trophy, but I’m sure the experience of Brazil will stay with them forever. It’s a sad thing that it has finished, but I’m so happy that I got to witness the greatest show on earth in a country that lives and breathes football. Germany were deserved winners in the end, but nearly every team contributed in some way to the excitement of the tournament. From a Tottenham aspect, I hope the experience of being involved in the biggest footballing occasion there is will push them on to better themselves at club level, especially 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb. The new season can’t come soon enough. New manager, new season, new era. Let the adventure begin. COYS!

Tottenham at the World Cup – ratings:
1st) Vertonghen 8.5.
2nd) Lloris 8.
3rd) Bentaleb 6.5.
4th) Paulinho 4.5.
5th) Dembele 4.
6th) Chadli 3.5.
7th) Assou-Ekotto 3.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Everton.

Match: Sunday 9th February 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 1-0 Everton.

Tottenham goal: Emmanuel Adebayor 65′.

What a win! An incredible result in a crucial game for the Champions League places, Everton are a superbly compact and organised team that make it very difficult for their opponents and coming into the game I would have taken any win, for in the big games it’s not about how you play, it’s all about the final result and the team that brings home 3 points, that was us. In the first half we were very lucky not to be behind, we were sloppy on the ball, and didn’t press Everton high enough, letting them create too many chances, while not creating enough goal scoring opportunities ourselves, frustrating, but relieved that it was still 0-0. In the second half we improved, we found more space in midfield and tried to create more chances, our passing was still sloppy and we made quite a few, let’s say, ‘unforced errors’. It got to the hour mark and we still hadn’t had a shot on target, incredible really at home, but if anyone was to get a chance and score it was Emmanuel Adebayor, a quickly thought out free kick from Kyle Walker was expertly controlled by the Togolese striker with his chest, used his strength to hold off Jagielka who was very tight, then rifled it into the near post for 1-0, a great goal! As time went on it was really really nervy, in the stadium and shown through the players, a couple of decisions went against us, Everton got few free kicks and came close a few times, but also we got a few decisions that went our way, Etienne Capoue sliding in on Coleman, in the box for what probably should have been a penalty, but luck was on our side and we held on for a great 3 points.

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Difficult to pick a man of the match, there were quite a few good performances, but I’ll give it to Jan Vertonghen in defence, an incredibly composed and solid performance, in which he helped us out on numerous occasions with last ditch blocks, perfectly timed tackles but also setting up attacks and bringing the ball out of defence in tight situations. A defensive master class, world class. Mousa Dembele, Vertonghen’s Belgian compatriot also put in a top class display, his ability on the ball is second to none, gliding past players and making us tick in the middle of the park. Mousa had some difficult moments in which he didn’t find the right pass or got caught in possession, but other than that I thought he was very good. The man of the moment, Emmanuel Adebayor got the winner, but that wasn’t his only contribution to the team, he worked so, so hard, harrying the Everton players, tracking back making tackles in midfield, and holding the ball up well getting Paulinho, Dembele and Lennon more and more into the game, he was outstanding. Deserved his goal, his 7th of the season in just 11 games. Another world class performer was Hugo Lloris, he kept us in the game, especially in the first half, some amazing saves and he took control of his box as usual, using his safe hands to grasp crosses, he was outstanding. Disappointing performance from Aaron Lennon, very quiet, needed much more from him offensively and defensively. He’s been poor for a few games and needs to up his game dramatically, that’s if his spot isn’t taken by Townsend or Lamela soon. It was great to get to say goodbye to Jermain Defoe in his last Premier League home game, sadly he couldn’t get his goal, but the applause after was heart warming and emotional. Goodbye to a Spurs legend, but we’ll see you against Dnipro again at the Lane!

A great win! Our next game is a toughy, on Wednesday 13th February we face Newcastle at St James’ Park, another big game, but one in which we have to be expected to win with the Geordie’s poor form. Let’s give it a big push for the top four! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 7
Dawson – 5.5
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Rose – 7
Lennon – 5
Paulinho – 7
Dembele – 8.5
Bentaleb – 7.5
Eriksen – 5.5
Adebayor – 8.5

Subs:
Capoue – N/A
Defoe – N/A
Townsend – 6

Tim Sherwood’s post match press conference:

Match highlights of our 1-0 win over Everton:

Match Preview, Hull City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 1st February 2014. 3pm Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: KC Stadium.

TV: Not televised.

Another Manchester City capitulation, it’s cliche but it’s the truth, we need to bounce back instantly with a big performance, the players will be down because they know things went against them on Wednesday, but it’s in the past and the positive is we don’t have to play them again! Too good, they’ll win the league. Against Hull City it’s going to be difficult, but our away form has been brilliant and I hope we can continue our good form away from the Lane, we’ve won 5 on the bounce away, a club record, so with that stat I’m confident we can go and win. Last time out against Hull City we won 1-0 at the Lane, a late Roberto Soldado penalty getting us the win in a difficult game with Hull City’s tactics spot on, we had no space. Different times now! We’ve been in great scoring form and with Hull City at home I’d expect them to try and attack us and create opportunities, which would leave space for us to counter attack, which we’ve been extremely good at recently. I am glad we get back into action so soon after the defeat to Manchester City, now we can get back to winning ways instantly against another City, Hull!

Hull City have been great this season, but have recently hit troublesome results and with them, have been dragged back into the relegation battle. They’ve lost 4 Premier League games on the bounce and have only won once in 10 matches, so they’re under a little bit of pressure to perform, especially from their home fans. They are 4 points off the relegation zone while being in 13th place, so it tells you just how tight it is down at the bottom! The team news for Hull City is that Figueroa (muscle) and Brady (groin) are doubtful for the game, with Chester (hamstring), Aluko (achilles) and goalkeeper McGregor (suspended) all out of the match on Saturday. Plus, Jake Livermore is unable to play because he is on loan from Tottenham and can’t play against his parent club. The players that will be key for Hull start with our former midfielder, Tom Huddlestone, he’s been crucial to their team this season and makes them tick, given time he can hurt us with his brilliant range of passing, we have to close him down and make him rush! Also, Shane Long is a good player up-front, he will harry our defence and work hard for chances, we need to keep him quiet, too. Finally, Elmohamady is a flyer on the right hand side, he’s got energy and pace, with the ability to put in a good cross too, with Jelavic and Long in the middle it could cause problems, so Danny Rose will have to be on his game to deal with him.

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The team news for Spurs is good news, after being close to a return against Manchester City, Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho and Younes Kaboul are now fit and in contention to start against Hull. Also, Mousa Dembele is fit after a knock against Manchester City and included in the match day squad, with Danny Rose’s red card that he received being rescinded, so he is available for the match. The bad news is that Andros Townsend, Erik Lamela and Sandro remain out and will not feature against the Tigers. With the news of Jan Vertonghen coming back, I’d put him straight into the team along with Paulinho, the two that I would drop out would be Michael Dawson and Nabil Bentaleb, even though I rate Nabil highly I just don’t see a place in the team once Paulinho and Sandro are back, but you never know, Tim seems to love him! Dawson is a great captain, but the reality is, football wise, he is not as good as Jan Vertonghen or at the moment Vlad Chiriches at the back, as for the captaincy, we have good leaders on the pitch, but I’d give it to Jan Vertonghen or Hugo Lloris. Up front, I’d give Roberto Soldado back his place up top with Emmanuel Adebayor, this would see Eriksen go back out to the left hand side, I think Soldado needs game time to show his quality and if he can get a goal it would be a massive boost for us and most importantly him, confidence wise. With two strikers up front we could be able to stretch The Hull back line because the Tigers play three at the back with two flying wing backs, so I’d like to see that tried to start with!

Match Stats and Facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Only one of the last six meetings between Hull and Spurs in all competitions has ended as a home win (three away wins, two draws).

– Tottenham have won their last five Barclays Premier League away matches, their best run since 1960.

– Hull City have been level at half-time in their last six home matches.

– Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick on Spurs’ last visit to the KC Stadium.

– Tottenham are in fifth place in the Premier League table but have a negative goal difference (-1) – the only side in the top nine places to do so.

– Hull City have not had both teams scoring in their last five matches.

– George Boyd is the most used substitute in the division this season (15 times).

– Tottenham’s last Premier League clean sheet away from home came on November 3rd and they have failed to keep one in their six road trips since.

– Spurs have had Over 2.5 goals in their last six away matches.

– Spurs have scored at least once in every Premier League game under Tim Sherwood.

– No team has hit fewer shots on target than Hull this season (71 – level with Cardiff).

– Hull City have conceded first in their last four matches.

– Hull have received a red card in each of their last two Premier League games – this after going 19 PL games without one.

– Since putting six past Fulham; Hull City have gone four league games without a goal.

It’s a big ‘bounce back’ game for Spurs, we need the three points to keep up with the teams above us, the game is not televised but I’ll be sure to provide you with a stream, as well as updates on twitter at @AddictedToSpurs where I’ll give you match updates, pictures, videos and even vines! Let’s get a win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Hull City at the KC Stadium:
4-4-2
Lloris
Walker – Chiriches – Vertonghen – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Dembele – Eriksen
Soldado – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s thoughts previewing our clash with Hull:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Anzhi Makhachkala.

Match: Thursday 12th December 2013. Kick off 8:05pm.

Europa League

After already securing our place in the knockout stages, and securing our place at the top of group K, this game holds little meaning but getting through the group with a 100% win record. It’s a good chance for us to give game time to some youngsters, those who need match fitness after injury and keeping fringe players happy. The last time we faced Anzhi, it was a decent contest but we played a decent game and win comfortably 2-0 in the end, so at home, we will be looking to get some goals and win the game well.

Anzhi have been in terrible form, they lie bottom of the Russian League without a win in 19 attempts in all competitions. Anzhi have already qualified from Group K in second place, so they don’t have much to play for, except pride! They do hold a threat going forward, with their 6’8 Ivorian striker Lacina Traoré. Jucile in midfield is an ever present and can be said to be their most creative of players, with Burmistrov and Traoré expected to lead the line.

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The big team news for the game is that Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose have recovered from injury, and in contention to play against Anzhi, and more importantly, our game against Liverpool on Sunday. Also, Harry Kane has recovered from a back injury and is available to play against Anzhi. The bad news is that Jan Vertonghen is ruled out and expected to miss up to four weeks with an ankle injury he picked up at Fulham last week. Vlad Chiriches is out, but expected to recover for the game against Liverpool and Younes Kaboul is ruled out with a quad injury, but will return to training on Tuesday next week. Emmanuel Adebayor has been left out of the squad by AVB. Youth players Shaq Coulthirst, Ryan Fredericks and Laste Dombaxe have been called up to the first team and I’d expect them to play some part in the game so they can gain some much needed experience, I’m surprised more haven’t been called up by AVB.

The game is being shown live on ITV 4, kick off at 8:05pm. Let’s get this 100% record in the bag! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Anzhi at White Hart Lane:
Friedel
Fredericks – Dawson – Fryers – Naughton
Capoue – Dombaxe
Lamela – Sigurdsson – Townsend
Defoe

AVB gives his thoughts pre Anzhi:

Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013. Kick off 5:30pm.

Premier League

The December period is crucial to a team’s season, how well it goes and where you end up in the new year can play a big part in either achieving the club’s goals, or destroying them. It’s the perfect time to pick up pace, get a winning run together and get in a good position in the table. After our simply dreadful November month, our festive period has started well, with a draw and a good performance against the Champions Manchester United at the Lane, and a crucial 2-1 win at Craven Cottage against Fulham, thanks to a Lewis Hotby strike. Sunderland at the Stadium of Light awaits and we now need to complete the come back from our 6-0 thrashing at the Etihad. The performance needs to improve from the Fulham game, we can’t rely on wonder strikes every week as they simply won’t come, we need to improve the levels of our game and play an offensive and expansive game, up against a Sunderland defence that is leaky at best, it is an opportunity to get some goals!

Sunderland have had a dreary start to the season, sitting rock bottom of the Premier League with only 8 points from 14 games, winning only 2 games, leading to the sack of Paulo Di-Canio, and the appointment of former Spur and former Spurs assistant manager Gus Poyet, who has picked up the results recently, beating fierce rivals Newcastle 2-1, big-money Manchester City 1-0 and narrowly losing to Chelsea 4-3 at Stanford Bridge last time out in the League. Recent results shows that this game isn’t going to be a walk in the park, it never is in the Premier League, but they’ll push us hard and make a good game of it. The team news for Sunderland is that centre back Carlos Cuellar and goalkeeper Kieron Westwood are out of the game, but all others are fit and available for the Northerners. The players to look out for are offensive players, Joze Altidore has the ability to cause problems for our defence, he’s big and strong and able to hold up the ball well and bring other players to the game like Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini. Steven Flethcher is known for being a threat in the box, he’s able to get a goal and his partnership with Altidore could be very rewarding for Sunderland.

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The team news is in, and we’ve a few out for the game, most notably Jan Vertonghen, the ankle injury he picked up against Fulham has ruled him out of the game against Sunderland, we hope he will be back as soon as possible. With Jan, Christian Eriksen remains out with an ankle injury, Danny Rose with a foot injury and Emmanuel Adebayor with a knee injury. Mousa Dembele should be fit, and is likely to return to the team after he missed the Fulham game with a pain in his hip, which is a boost! With Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen ruled out, we have a distinct problem at the left back position, with the options limited to Kyle Naughton and inexperienced Zeki Fryers; I’d hope that AVB gives a chance to Zeki Fryers, who has impressed me in Europa League games and looking like he is turning into a good player, the only thing he needs to improve on is his final delivery once he gets to the byline, he’s my option for left back, ahead of Kyle Naughton. Jermain Defoe or Roberto Soldado is still an argument between Spurs fans, Soldado was left out for Defoe against Fulham, and the difference in performance wasn’t very different, I believe Soldado is the more rounded player of the two, and should play against Sunderland after his rest on Wednesday, his hold up play has been good, but his movement needs to increase and so does his service from the wings, then he will start banging them in, I’m sure!

Match Stats and Facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Sunderland have lost eight points from winning positions this season, more than any other Barclays Premier League team.

– Tottenham are one of only two teams (along with Newcastle) yet to score more than twice in a Barclays Premier League game this season.

– Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet made 82 Premier League appearances for Tottenham Hotspur as a player and also served as Assistant Coach under Juande Ramos for the Lilywhites.

– Steven Fletcher has scored in three of his last five Premier League games against Spurs.

– Spurs have won four and lost none of the last six Premier League meetings with Sunderland.

– Jermain Defoe has never scored against Sunderland in 10 Premier League appearances for Spurs, despite netting four goals in six games for other clubs against the Black Cats.

– Tottenham have won five of their last eight Premier League away games (D1 L2).

– Spurs will attempt to score 2+ goals in three successive Premier League games for the first time since April.

– Sunderland have conceded four own goals in the Premier League this season, twice as many as any other side.

– Sunderland have hit the fewest shots on target this season (33) while Spurs have the lowest shot conversion rate (7%).

The game with Sunderland is televised, live on Sky Sports 1 SNF, from 5:00pm, with kick off at 5:30pm. You can also follow my twitter, @AddictedToSpurs, for live coverage of the game, including photos, match updates and videos. Follow! COYS!!

My preferred team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Sandro – Dembele
Lennon – Paulinho – Lamela
Soldado

AVB after Fulham previewing our game with Sunderland: