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, Tottenham vs Manchester United.

Match: Sunday 1st December 2013. Kick off 12:00pm GMT.

Premier League

Arguably our biggest game of the season so far against the reigning Champions, after our 6-0 drubbing dished out by the other team in Manchester a response is essential. The pressure is on for AVB from the fans and the press, after some dreadful performances and not being able to score a single goal in the League in November AVB and the players need to show what they’re capable of and soon, in this game against United it is important we get a good result, but even more important is the performance and the show we put on to the fans; some excitement, passion and desire from the players and back into smooth and offensive play. If the result doesn’t go our way, you could probably understand as it is Manchester United, so I’d say results are more important against Fulham and Southampton, but good performances in all are crucial. I believe we have a chance, if we can find our finishing touch to win the game, so let’s hope luck is on our side and the ball ends up in the back of the net a few times.

Manchester United have had an indifferent start to the season, with some bad results and some very good results, but they are now starting to pick up pace and put themselves back in a position to challenge for the title. Manchester United sit in 6th place, with 21pts just 1pt ahead of ourselves in 9th, so the margins in the top half are extremely tight. United have two key players who are both doubts for the game on Sunday, Nemanja Vidic with concussion and Robin Van Persie with a groin problem. Ryan Giggs is expected to start ahead of either Tom Cleverley or Marouanne Fellaini as he is celebrating his 40th Birthday, what a player and one of the Premier League’s best ever. Wayne Rooney is Man United’s biggest asset at the moment, the striker has returned to form and is showing why he’s classed as one of the best strikers in the world, with 6 goals in 11 appearances this season.

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It’s a difficult call to chose the starting 11, with decisions on which formation to use; 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or the favourite this season for AVB, 4-2-3-1. I wouldn’t go with the 4-4-2 for this game, as it really is a system which doesn’t suit the modern game, and the only time you can play this in the Premier League is if you do have two brilliant strikers which compliment each other and have an understanding. Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor are the most likely players to play upfront in a 4-4-2 formation, and they, sadly, don’t compete with an Aguero and Negredo or a Sturridge and Suarez or United’s partnership of Rooney and Van Persie, one player drops off and plays that number 10 role anyway so I personally don’t think 4-4-2 is the answer. I’d stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation for now, but with a different front four, of which I have put in my preferred team line up for Sunday. Big performances are needed from the players, especially from our offensive players; Aaron Lennon was one of our better players against Manchester City, going past players and trying to create chances, so I’d like him to try the same things on the right hand side up against Evra. Andros Townsend should come back into the team for this one after missing out against City, and I’d like to see him on the left getting some crosses in. Paulinho hasn’t been good enough in recent games, and Mousa Dembele put in a great performance against Tromsø in the week with a goal, so I’d start Mousa and Sandro in the middle of the park. We need Soldado to do more, hopefully he can show his class and score a couple in a massive game, I believe in Bobby! The team news is that Danny Rose remains out with his ongoing foot injury, Harry Kane is out with a back injury, Emmanuel Adebayor sadly is out with a groin injury and Christian Eriksen also is out with his ankle injury. Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Zeki Fryers are now all fully fit and able to feature against United.

Match stats provided by FourFourTwo

– Spurs have kept seven clean sheets this season, more than any other team in the Barclays Premier League.

– Ryan Giggs has scored more Barclays Premier League goals against Tottenham than he has against any other opponent (10).

– Tottenham Hotspur have won just one of the last 24 Barclays Premier League matches against Manchester United (W1 D6 L17) and none of the last 12 at White Hart Lane (W0 D4 L8).

– Spurs have scored just six goals in the last 11 Premier League home games against Manchester United.

– Robin van Persie has scored six goals and assisted five more in his last eight Premier League starts against Spurs.

– United striker Robin van Persie has scored 14 goals in his last 16 Premier League starts.

– Manchester United have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine Premier League away games and have kept just one shut out in their last eight overall in the competition.

– If Tottenham fail to score, they will equal their worst ever run of games without scoring in Premier League history (four games in Feb 2001 & Sep 2006).

– Excluding a penalty, Tottenham Hotspur have failed to score with any of their last 78 shots in the Premier League.

– Andre Villas-Boas’ men have averaged 24 shots (inc. blocked) for every goal scored this season, a higher average than any other team.

Massive game, let’s replicate our great recent form against United and get a win! The match is being shown live on BT Sport on Sunday 1st December, with coverage starting at 11:00am, and kick off at 12:00pm. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Manchester United at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Chiriches – Kaboul – Vertonghen
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Lamela – Townsend
Soldado

AVB after the Tromsø game and pre Manchester United:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

The last day has finally come. It’s going to be a very exciting end to what has been a very good season. We have to win, and do our job to have a chance of finishing in the coveted top four position. Sunderland will prove to be a tricky opposition, they have good players, and can play without pressure now that they are safe from relegation. Newcastle face Arsenal, and if they can pull off a shock and grab a point or maybe even three points, what every Spurs fan is hoping for, we will get top four with a win. We’ve had a great season, whatever happens, and if we win we have broken our record points in a Premier League season, 72. Awesome.

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We’ll be hoping to be seeing more scenes of jubilation from André on Sunday, we have to hope, it’s possible, we can do it. Gareth Bale could produce more magic, he’s been named Barclays Player the year, his fourth award this season, unbelievable season from him, but his greatest achievement would surely be taking us into the Champions League. Emmanuel Adebayor has had a great end to the season, and hopefully he can continue this and bag another goal! Mousa Dembélé is fully fit now, and should start, this is great news as he brings a flow to our game that we don’t have when he doesn’t feature. I believe, and a slip up from Arsenal is definitely not out of the equation, whatever happens, I’m proud to be Spurs. The game is televised live on Sky Sports from 4pm. COYS, and for now, Come On Newcastle!

My preferred team to face Sunderland at the Lane on the last day:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Dembélé – Dempsey
Bale
Adebayor

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

All four of our remaining games are ‘must win’ matches, and this is just the start of a really hard final push for Champions League football. Great news in the build up to the game is that Gareth Bale will stay at Spurs for next season, no matter where we end up, this may be a little far fetched, but this news could just lift the team to end the season in style. First up on our 4 game run, Southampton, a tough opponent, they’ve had a good 2013, and they will be looking to build on their performances, and finish in the top 10. Southampton have a few players out, Gaston Ramirez being their biggest loss through suspension, also Luke Shaw and Fox are both out of the game.

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Gareth Bale is coming into this game off the back of an awesome week. He bagged all three Player of the Year awards, and through this he will be absolutely delighted. He’s been fantastic this season, our best player by far, deserves all the recognition he gets, world class footballer. Gareth will be facing his former club, and this incentive will spur him on, expecting a good performance from him, as always. Tom Huddlestone was good against Wigan, probably our best performer, and he deserves to start once again, really helps us going forward and is decent in his defensive work. I don’t think Scott Parker should play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the bench for this game. Hopefully Mousa Dembele is back, so important to us and the decline in performance and ball retention when he isn’t on the pitch is massive, such a wonderful player for us. Massive game, like a cup final, three points is all that is good enough. We can do this. The game isn’t televised unfortunately. Kick off at 3:00pm on Saturday, 4th May. COYS!!

My preferred line up to face Southampton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Holtby – Huddlestone – Dembele
Lennon – Defoe – Bale

Match Review, Wigan vs Tottenham

Wigan 2-2 Tottenham.
Boyce 11′. Bale 9′
McManaman 49′ Boyce OG 90′

Very poor performance, something that we didn’t see possible after our stunning win against Manchester City. We started brilliantly, and got the goal early on and it looked good, but we conceded almost straight after we scored, and it knocked our confidence. We didn’t seem to react to their goal, and Wigan looked comfortable in defence, and threatening in attack, McManaman scored a stunner and despair came across every Spurs fan. After their second we pushed forward, but nothing seemed to be falling for us. We then got a massive slice of luck when Emerson Boyce sliced the ball into his own net very late on. Relief.

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Poor performances all round, nobody really stood out as having a good game, and that is disappointing. I think the 4-3-3 formation does work, but today we couldn’t get the rhythm in our passing, and couldn’t find the space in behind the defence and that is a credit to how Wigan played. Tom Huddlestone was probably our best player today, his passing was the best on the pitch, and he showed that he still has something to offer us in the future. Aaron Lennon made a cameo appearance, but couldn’t affect the game which was unfortunate, hopefully he will be fully fit for the next game. We have to up our performance for the last games now, massive push. We can still get the coveted top four place, but we need to fight. Our next game is against Southampton at the Lane on the 4th May. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Wigan at the DW:
Lloris – 7
Walker – 6
Dawson – 6
Vertonghen – 7 1/2
Naughton – 5
Parker – 5
Huddlestone – 8 Man of the Match
Dembele – N/A
Dempsey – 6
Defoe – 5
Bale – 6 1/2

Subs:
Holtby – 7
Assou-Ekotto – 5
Lennon – 6

Match Preview, Wigan vs Tottenham

After our win last weekend against Manchester City at the Lane, we have to push on, this game against Wigan is a very important one, top four is in our sights, and it’s up to us to clinch it. With Arsenal and Chelsea having very tough games this weekend, we have to take advantage of any points dropped with three points. Wigan are fighting for survival, and so this game will be tough, and it’s whoever wants it the most who will come out on top. We have our own incentive to win, they have theirs, this means it should be a great game. Both teams know how to score goals, very attack minded, but our defence is much more solid then theirs, and this is why I expect us to come out on top. Koné is Wigan’s biggest threat, a top player in the air, and his pace can cause problems for any defence.

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Aaron Lennon is back, he’s been training with the team since Wednesday and he’s fit and available for this game against Wigan. Aaron is a very important player for us, his pace and width give us loads of options in the attacking half of the pitch. Also, he works tremendously hard for the team, always chasing back and helping Kyle Walker, glad he’s back! Gareth Bale wasn’t 100% fit at all against Manchester City, and he still had a massive impact in the game, now he’s completely fit, he should impact very well on the counter. We all know his quality to hurt teams. Jermain Defoe is back in the goals, finally. I think against Wigan, he is the best option. Jermain gives us more pace in behind the defence, and away from home, this is crucial. If Jermain is given an opportunity, he usually finishes well. We need three points, every game is like a cup final, starting with Wigan. The game isn’t televised, unfortunately. 3:00pm kick off on Saturday. COYS!!

My preferred line up to face Wigan at the DW:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Holtby – Huddlestone – Dembele
Lennon – Defoe – Bale

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Manchester City

Massive game, Manchester City are a quality side, with some world class players, and they will be really hard to beat, but we have to try, it’s crucial for our top four hopes. We haven’t been in the best of form, but we have been without our best players, and now that the like of Bale, Lennon and Defoe are back from injury, I think we can be back to our best, and get a result. Man City have lost the title in my opinion, but they will continue to fight, we have to make it final that they have lost out.

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Gareth Bale is back in contention to start against City, and he’s obviously a massive player for us, if he can start and put in a performance, it will make beating a top team like City easier, we’ve missed his quality massively. Aaron Lennon is also back, and he’s just as crucial to our team as Bale, he gives us an option out wide that we need in games, will really help our cause to win the game. Jermain Defoe is back in the squad, and that’s great news, he is a natural goalscorer, and if we need a goal, he can be brought on and make an impact, or if he starts, he will be a threat. Defensively, we need to perform, we’ve been bad in defence recently, so we need to up it against the top strikers that City have. We can do it, get behind the team, lets fight and get all three points. The game is televised, it is live from 1pm on Sky Sports. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Manchester City at the Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Lennon – Parker – Dembélé – Sigurdsson
Bale
Adebayor

The Super Six.

The end of the season nears, our fate will be decided. It’s all to play for, Top Four is our objective, and we must get there. The last six games will be hard, but we can win every game when we are on form, so we have to make the most of our opportunities.

We’ve been on a disappointing run, a few bad results at the Lane, and the thoughts of a ‘collapse’ were being shouted around. The disappointing result in the Europa League, being knocked out on penalties, it’s a hard thing to take, but we have to regroup and push for unfortunately, our only objective for the rest of the season.

We’ve been stricken with injuries during this season, especially this recent period. For the games against Basel and Everton we had 5 first team players out, and it showed in the scoreline. Although we can’t use this as an excuse to perform badly, but it’s always going to be difficult when you aren’t at full strength.

We have players coming back now, and are looking very likely to feature in our last six games. Bale, Lennon, and Defoe should all be back for the game against Manchester City, and the rest of the games, so we will be at almost full strength for the run in, and this makes me confident of securing a place.

Our competitors have difficult run ins. Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton being the threats for a top four place. All of these teams will drop points, and in my opinion they are more likely to drop points then we are, so we still have a massive chance of getting the much coveted Top Four place.

I think we can do it, we have enough in our ranks, and the fighting spirit to do it, it’s going to be difficult, but expect some more twists and turns in the fight for Champions League. Everything to play for. Believe in the squad, and believe in the manager. COYS!!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Everton

Big game, two teams fighting for Champions League football, both have good squads and it looks like it’s going to be a tough game. Both teams have injuries or suspensions so it’s going to be a scrappy game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were very little goals. Pienaar and Fellaini are out for Everton, also Baines and Mirallas are both doubts. This is good news for us as Everton don’t have a lot of strength in depth, they will struggle at the Lane. Bale, Lennon and Defoe are all out for us, but we have a good squad, and I think although it’s a massive blow that they are out, we have good, hungry players to replace them. Younes Kaboul could be back on the bench for us, but I wouldn’t expect to see him play a part at all yet.

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Lewis Holtby is facing his boyhood club, and has said it’s a dream to play against Everton, I expect him to start, and I wouldn’t be surprised to say he was Man of the Match after the game, he is going to be right up for it. Clint Dempsey could also start, can play on the left, and he can score us goals, something we are lacking at the moment, he’s got the talent, just needs to put in the performance. Scott Parker needs to up his performance from Thursday, he was poor, but now needs to show the same sort of form he is capable. Adebayor scored on Thursday and looked like he was trying to recreate his old form, and lets hope he can bang in another goal against Everton! It’s a big game, and a big opportunity to stay in third place. We can do it! The game is televised, it is on ESPN, kick off at 2:05pm. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Everton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Sigurdsson – Parker – Dembele – Dempsey
Holtby
Adebayor

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Fulham

It’s a massive game, after a couple of losses, we need to get back on track with a solid win, it’s simple, play our football, and win the game with the Lane bouncing, how it should be done. We need to up our whole performance, add more passion and desire to our game, go out and win, and send out a statement, there is no chance of any sort of collapse, we need to be better than ever, that’s what we need to do, to redeem ourselves after the Inter Milan defeat at the San Siro. Fulham are a good side, with decent players, they won’t be easy to beat, but we need to be on top of our game, and crush them! Dimitar Berbatov is their main threat, we know all about him, he’s got a lot of skill, and he can get a goal, very hard to contain!

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Gareth Bale is back! We definitely missed him against Inter, and now we have a fully fit and refreshed Gareth Bale, this makes him very dangerous, lets hope he can put in a good performance! Aaron Lennon is now fully fit, and you would expect him to start, he brings pace to our team, and he works very hard down the right hand side, massive player for us, good to have him back. Lewis Holtby has had limited opportunities in the first team, but this could be him chance to show what he can do, very creative and should add a lot to our team. Adebayor, if he plays, needs to up his performance, he has the quality, but mentally he is just not right, and this means my patience is thin with him, but hopefully he proves us all wrong. The game is not televised unfortunately, but the game is on Sunday, at 3:00pm. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Fulham at the Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Assou-Ekotto
Lennon – Parker – Dembélé – Holtby
Bale
Adebayor