The Ins and Outs at Tottenham in the Summer Transfer Window 2014.

The season is over, we’ve got a new manager and the World Cup is about to start. Time to relax, right? Far from it. The transfer window is fast approaching, with the window officially opening on July 1st, but all throughout June deals will be rumoured, proposed & some will be done all ready for pre-season. It’s a long window in the summer. July 1st until August 31st, so plenty of time for Tottenham Hotspur to get their squad sorted all ready for a massive Premier League season for the club. In this article I’ll be discussing the ins, outs & what I think the club has to do during what will be a busy summer for Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini & Mauricio Pochettino.

Firstly, I believe that during this summer window it’s crucial that we keep the core of the squad we have. That includes most of the 7 new signings and our longer serving players, this is because I have a lot of faith in the individuals we have and think the road to success is making the current squad click, not change it all up and starting again. Before last season, I was extremely excited with the signings and the structure of the squad we had, with a lot of depth, experience and young flair, but it didn’t work out as we wanted, the team failed to gel and in the end it cost Andre Villas-Boas his job. But, after having this first season in the Premier League, they are much more experienced and have learnt a lot, ready for them to hopefully, make the impact that we first hoped they would, especially with the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino who has a long history of getting the best out of his players. But, there are definite weaknesses in the squad that we have to address as to push on next season.

INS.
As I said; I don’t want an overhaul of the club and another 7-8 signings, we have extremely strong foundations of a World Class squad, but, in specific places we have to be aware of getting new players to possibly replace some fringe players & some that could unfortunately be sold to raise funds.

Centre Back – We currently have 4 senior centre backs, 5 if you include the promising Zeki Fryers, but Michael Dawson is now 30 and did not have a good season in my view, along with Younes Kaboul is the wrong side of 25 and is extremely unpredictable in both performances and injuries, so I think adding one could really be good for the team & add a bit of youth to the position.

There are a lot of options for centre back, but my favourite would be Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, who had a very good season for the Saints and has the connection with Mauricio Pochettino who brought him into the Premier League. A partnership between Lovren and Vertonghen would be great, wouldn’t it? Lovren is just 24 years old, the same age as Vlad Chiriches, so he also has a big future. In terms of price, I think he’d be worth around £12 million – £15 million, a reasonable price for a player of his age and level after Southampton paid £8 million for his services. I’d also be very happy if we could bring Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld to the Lane, the 25 year old ex-Ajax defender knows Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen well & we have been heavily linked, both last summer & this year, after he has expressed his disappointment with his game time in Madrid. I think he’d be a stellar option at the back, with his ability to bring the ball out of defence and with his pace. He can also play at right back, so has versatility too.

Other options could include free agent Joleon Lescott, who would be a much less exciting signing, but he has Premier League experience and it’s always a bonus that he would be free, although I’m sure his wages would be quite high. Another, would be Ezequiel Garay, but he would be a much more difficult signing because of the interest he already has from Champions League clubs, but he’s a 27 year old with incredible pedigree, but unlikely I think. Some would suggest Steven Caulker, but personally, I do not think he is at our level and is only being suggested because he’s a product of our academy, plus, I don’t think he’d be willing to play second fiddle again.

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Left Back – Probably the most important position that we strengthen this summer. Danny Rose had a torrid season and although he is only 23 years old, it’s difficult to believe that he will improve to the level that we need him to. So, I believe we should turn to either Swansea City’s Ben Davies, who is just 21 years old & now has 2 years of Premier League experience, performing extremely well & showing incredible promise, & I believe he’d be a brilliant addition, but difficult to obtain because of his personal connection to Swansea City, but it’s certainly someone we should enquire about, I’d speculate that his worth would be around £10million – £15 million.; the other is Ricardo Rodriguez of Wolfsburg, a 21 year old Swiss left back who has been incredible in the Bundesliga, but has a lot of admirers around Europe, so if we could get in early and show strong interest you never know what could happen, he’s an incredible player with a lot of potential, his value would be higher than Davies’, and I’d say the investment would be around £15 million – £20 million.

Other options could be Ajax’s Daley Blind, who is a 24 year old Dutch left back/midfielder who currently plays for Ajax, and his versatility and quality could be a really good addition to the club, but, is again, unlikely because of admirers from clubs in the Champions League. Finally, one other player who maybe, just maybe be possible is Luke Shaw, who although looking highly unlikely, his connection with Mauricio Pochettino could sway the deal in some way, at just 18 years old it would be a fantastic addition but he would be extremely expensive, with Manchester United rumoured to be offering £27 million for his services. As you can see, there are definitely players out there that could fill a gap in our team, & they are young players too who could grow under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino.

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Left Midfield – We do have quite a few options on the left, Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen & Andros Townsend can all play there, but we lack someone who is an out-and-out left winger who can bring pace and a crossing ability to the team. Eriksen and Sigurdsson both prefer central positions, with Townsend growing into a right midfielder, this leaves Nacer Chadli, who at times last season also looked more comfortable in the centre or the right, but I think over time on the left is where he’ll play. There is a gap. This gap can be filled by quite a few really talented players who I’d like to see at the Lane.

My first & realistic choice would be 24 year old Dnipro & Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, who has consistently been linked with a move to Tottenham and has a confirmed buy out clause for foreign clubs such as ourselves of £12 million, which in this market is an absolute bargain for a player who has a high pedigree of talent. Konoplyanka is known for his pace and ability to score a goal, as we saw when we faced Dnipro in last season’s Europa League, he was Dnipro’s outstanding player both home and away, giving our full-backs a torrid time. Of course, there are other options if this deal were to go pear-shaped or Liverpool decide to move for his services, & one of the options could be another Southampton player, Jay Rodriguez who was transformed by our new Head Coach into a goal scoring left forward last season, bagging 17 goals. Jay is 24 years of age, so has plenty of time ahead of him to improve, but the thing that obviously holds back this deal is his injury, in which he will be out until October because of a torn ACL. Surely this would put the deal into jeopardy, as paying big money for a player that’s return is unpredictable is something Daniel Levy normally wouldn’t do, although maybe this injury could force Southampton to sell at a lower price, I’d say he’d be worth around £10 million.

Other players that could tempt Baldini or Pochettino’s fancy could be Mauricio’s former captain at Southampton, Adam Lallana, who has been heavily tipped with a move away from the Saints, & of course speculation is rife that his relationship with Pochettino could sway Lallana’s decision to leave Southampton for Tottenham, instead of Liverpool. The 26 year old midfielder can play on the left, the right and through the middle and is rumoured to have an asking price of £20 million and rising, possibly close to £30 million depending on his performance for England at the World Cup. Last summer, we were heavily linked with Brazil winger Bernard, who eventually moved to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine for for £21.5 million, but recent quotes suggest it’s not exactly his dream to play in Ukraine and would be interested in a move to the Premier League, possibly sparking our interest.

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Striker – In January, we agreed to sell Jermain Defoe to Toronto, and he left the club in March, so we decided not to buy a replacement at the time, and stuck with Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane. Now, with rumours and speculation of the sales of Emmanuel Adebayor possibly to Monaco, & Roberto Soldado a possibility to leave for Atletico Madrid, it seems we’re going to be in the hunt for a new striker once again. Personally, I’d like to keep hold of both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, but if we want to sign a new striker funds may need to be amassed, and that could mean their sales, or one of their sales.

My number one target for the striker position is Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, the 25 year old Ivorian scored 25 goals last season in all competitions for the Swans, cementing himself as one of the best signings of last summer, & I believe he could be the striker we’ve been missing for a long time, with his link up play being exceptional and having that clinical touch which is now proven in the Premier League after being outstanding in Holland. A right handful for any defender and can grow at just 25 years of age, it’s said Bony has an expensive price tag on his head, though, with some reports saying only £25 million would prise him away from the Welsh club. Another option, although seemingly unlikely has to be Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who has had a good season with Everton on loan, it could be time someone took him off Chelsea’s hands and he can have a permanent club who love him very much. At just 21 years of age, Lukaku has a massive future ahead of him, being Belgium’s number 1 striker and scoring 35 goals in 2 Premier League seasons, proving his suitability to the Premier League, the question is, after proving himself, do Chelsea want to let him go? It seems after the expected signing of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku could be up for grabs, & I reckon we could, just could have a shot for around £20 million.

Other options up front include 20 year old Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, who plays at Standard Liege, with comparisons between himself at Lukaku, & a reported £8 million fee wanted from Standard Liege, he could be a striker that could grow eventually into our first striker, & is someone I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to taking an ever so slight gamble on, plus he has a definite resale price, which is right up Daniel Levy’s street. Another player who has been constantly linked with Tottenham over the years is Loic Remy, the 27 year old QPR striker had a very good season with Newcastle on loan and I know some would be very happy to see the Frenchman who’s going to the World Cup this summer, grace the Lane next season. I am unsure on Remy, but if we could get a deal at around £8 million, I wouldn’t have many qualms.

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There is a lot of talent up for grabs, & without a doubt Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Mauricio Pochettino will be searching throughout the market for the players to improve the Tottenham squad, so if you’re reading Franco, have a little look at the players I’ve mentioned, eh?

OUTS.
In every transfer window, especially for a big club like Tottenham, players need to be let go. The reasons are differ but the fact is it’s ruthless, because you have to make difficult decisions for the best of the whole squad, which may mean getting rid of fan favourites, good quality players & those that could have a big future. In other cases, it’s the fact the players just aren’t good enough, or don’t fit into the way you want your squad to look. In this transfer window, I hope that we won’t be too ruthless, & I hope we keep what I have already said is the core of a World Class squad, but there are some players that can be let go, to help the team improve, not in depth, but in quality.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – I think time is up on Benny’s adventure with Tottenham. He’s had great years at the club, but now, he’s not at the level we need him to be, to be our number 1 left back, or even a back up at the age of 30. I’m sure a Premier League club would be willing to buy him permanently, and for £5 million or so I would say goodbye and thank you without hesitation.

Danny Rose – It’s been a difficult season for Danny Rose, after a good loan move with Sunderland he’s found it difficult to adapt to the level we would have wanted him at. A new left back is in order, & some may say, getting rid of Assou-Ekotto and Danny Rose leaves us dry, but I believe Zeki Fryers could well be a very good back up for a new left back at the age of 21, and with Mauricio Pochettino’s emphasis on youth he could well turn to Zeki Fryers. I’m sure Rose would have a host of buyers, at a Premier League level, and I’d let go happily for around £6 million – £8 million.

Jake Livermore – It’s more of when than if with Jake Livermore leaving Tottenham. He’s had a great year at Hull City and deserves to play regular first team football, and it’s a simple fact that he won’t get that at Tottenham. Hull City could well buy him after his loan spell there, & he has said he would be more than willing to make his move to the KC Stadium a permanent one. Reports suggest Tottenham will ask for around £8 million for the 24 year olds services.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – I say this with a heavy heart. I like Sigurdsson a lot and believe he has tremendous ability, technique and mental attitude, but it hasn’t really clicked at Tottenham, as he hasn’t been given a sustained place in the starting line up in his favoured central role. It could be possible that we loan Sigurdsson, to se how he does playing regular football at a Premier League team, but at 24, I think Tottenham could look for a permanent sale, and I’m definite he’d have a host of teams interested in his signature. I like Gylfi a lot, but it is a choice between him, Holtby & Chadli on who goes and I think I’d prefer Sigurdsson to go than the previous two.

Roberto Soldado – I’m undecided on this one. Part of me says, get rid, get the funds and buy a striker that seems to suit us better, but another side of me thinks that we should keep him, as with all our new 7 signings, & let him have another season in the Premier League to prove himself. Although, he is 29 and I can’t see him improving too much. I’d put Soldado down as a possibility of leaving, with Atletico rumoured to be interested in his services, and I’d probably let him go at the £15 million – £18 million mark.

Other players I’d let go include Jonathan Obika, Iago Falque, Ryan Mason & Grant Hall after their loan spells last season – read about our loan player’s last season HERE. Players that I don’t want to leave who you may think aren’t good enough, or it’s time to get rid include Kyle Naughton, who I think being on the bench is fine as a good back up to Walker and at left back, Michael Dawson, our captain who I think deserves more respect from our fan base, and I’m sure he’d be happy to stay and sit on the bench too, playing in the cup games; Aaron Lennon who I believe still has something to offer Tottenham, and again, is a good back up player for the squad & Lewis Holtby who I think deserves a season with Tottenham to prove his worth to the fans and the new manager.

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It’s simply crucial that Tottenham hang on to their best players this summer. It is paramount to any sort of success that the club want to get this coming season and it will make Mauricio Pochettino’s job ever so easier.

Hugo Lloris – Our best player. World Class and my player of the year last season. It’s so important that Mauricio gets Hugo on side in his project and pushes on with him as an integral part of the squad and dressing room. We have to do everything to keep hold of Lloris, as in my opinion he is our only irreplaceable player and earns the team at least 10 points a season, he’s that good. Thankfully, it seems Lloris is happy to stay and doesn’t want a move back to France, so that holds us in good stead ahead of this summer. Part of me doesn’t want him to do well in the World Cup, just so the interest dies down! I truly believe Hugo will stay.

Jan Vertonghen – Thankfully, Jan has confirmed that he will ‘definitely’ be staying at Tottenham, which is fantastic news for the club. Jan is a leader & a wonderfully gifted player who brings so much to the team. He didn’t have a good season last season, but I truly believe without injuries he’ll further improve, & he can become a crucial part of the team once more. Get him a new contract.

Christian Eriksen – Along with Vertonghen, Eriksen has confirmed he doesn’t want to leave Tottenham after just 1 season, which is excellent news for us, although I never doubted that he would leave as he’s not the type from my eyes to just give up at the first hurdle. Obviously, Eriksen is going to only improve next season and I can’t wait to see him in Pochettino’s team. Hopefully, we will build the team around him for years to come.

Erik Lamela – An injury hit season for our record signing. At just 22 years of age, Lamela has a massive future at White Hart Lane and it’s of paramount importance that we don’t let him go after one disrupted season. Under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino I really believe Lamela could be one of our most important players next season on the right hand side. It’s important Lamela has a good pre-season and goes into next season fit and raring to go.

Others who are going to be crucial that I really want the club to keep are most of our summer signings last season, including Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue & Nacer Chadli. I believe all have big roles to play at the club.

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Conclusions.
It’s going to be busy, unpredictable and extremely exciting. It always is with Tottenham in transfer windows, but I hope we can get our business done swiftly and have an undisrupted pre-season in which Pochettino can implement his ideas on the team and we can start the season ready with a team that compete with the top. It will always be the aim to get top four, but, this season, all I want is for the team to play with dignity, passion & good football, & if they could win something that would be fantastic.

What are your thoughts? Who should we sign, who should we sell and who should we keep? Leave a comment below, subscribe and follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

Match Preview, Manchester City vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 24th November 2013.

Premier League

Finally we return to action, for what has felt like an age after our abysmal defeat to Newcastle at the Lane, we have the chance to redeem ourselves; and what better way to do it with a win at the Etihad? It’s not been the easiest start to the season, with a struggle for goals and three dreadful defeats to Arsenal, West Ham and Newcastle, but there has been a shimmer of light, with some good performances, so it’s not all bad, especially away from home where we have been exceptional in most matches. Defensively we are solid, so now we just have to find a way of getting that round thing in that rectangular thing, it can’t be that hard… No easy games in the Premier League, we figured that out the hard way, twice, but this is an extremely big challenge for us, to try to beat Manchester City on their own turf is something that hasn’t been done at all this season, and that’s the same with getting a draw, it’s normally a foregone conclusion Manchester City win, but, that’s what they said about Manchester United last season, and we went there, did the impossible and got the win. Anything is possible as the old saying goes, so let’s, in the words of Sandro ‘Win, win, win.’

Manchester City have not had a very convincing start to the season, sitting in a disappointing 8th position in the league, 1 point behind Spurs in 7th, scoring 19 more goals… While having a 100% record at the Etihad so far this season, their away form has let them down only winning 17% of their 6 games, losing 67%. But we visit the Etihad, so their away form really doesn’t matter to us, but neither should their home form, because we have an outstanding away record, winning 3, drawing 1 and losing 1, conceding only 1 goal in the process, the best in Europe. So we go there without fear, but with confidence. Manchester City are missing some important players for Sunday’s clash; Vincent Kompany their captain is out through injury, along with David Silva another key player and talented striker Stefan Jovetic, so that’s a plus, even though the players to replace them are world class too! Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Alvaro Negredo have been in scintillating form this season, and will the players we need to contain if we want any chance of winning the game.

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Erik Lamela. Sandro. Lloris. All must start against Man City on Sunday in my view, Lamela is high on confidence and we need the creativity to score more goals and break down a resolute Manchester City defence at the Etihad, while we need Sandro to break up the play and contain the threat of the brilliant Yaya Toure, Sandro has become one of our most important players in my opinion, and Lloris speaks for himself, we missed him so much against Newcastle and now he’s fit there is no doubt he’ll be in the starting 11. The team news is positive, with the whole squad available for the game on Sunday except for Christian Eriksen (4 weeks) and Danny Rose (2-3 weeks), which means Vlad Chiriches, Nacer Chadli, Ezequiel Fryers, Hugo Lloris and Emmanuel Adebayor are fit and in contention for a start. With Danny Rose still out with injury, I expect to see Jan Vertonghen continue his job at left back, with Vlad Chiriches and Michael Dawson continuing to build their partnership at centre back. As Christian Eriksen is out with an ankle injury, Lewis Holtby is expected to start and I feel that’s the right decision, Lewis has been good for us so far this season and we need that to continue, with an even bigger performance on Sunday. I would like to see Andros Townsend switch to the left hand side, with Erik Lamela fitting in on the right, I think that’s what we will see in the future, so with Lamela high on confidence I believe it’s the right time to see how it could work.

Match Stats ahead of our game with Man City provided by FourFourTwo

– No Barclays Premier League ground has seen more goals scored this season so far than the Etihad Stadium (22).

– The last time that Tottenham failed to score in three successive Barclays Premier League matches was back in January 2009.

– Of the 114 different players to have scored at least 40 Premier League goals, only Thierry Henry (122) has a better minutes per goal average than Sergio Aguero (123) in the competition.

– Man City have lost seven of the 26 Premier League games that Vincent Kompany hasn’t started since the start of 2011-12 (27%), compared to just 13% (8 of 61) when he’s started.

– No side has seen fewer players score a Premier League goal this season than Tottenham (4).

– Eden Dzeko has scored more goals against Tottenham Hotspur than any other side in the Premier League (5). Four of these came in a single game; Manchester City’s 5-1 defeat of Spurs at White Hart Lane in August 2011.

– 14 of the 18 goals scored in the last four Premier League meetings between these two sides have been netted in the second half.

– Tottenham have won the same number of points away from home this season as they have at White Hart Lane (10), this despite playing one game less away.

– Spurs have attempted the most shots a goal this season (157 – excluding blocked), but have the worst shot conversion rate (5.7%).

– Tottenham Hotspur have made the most long throws in the Premier League this season (120) – at least 45 more than any other side.

My preferred team to face Manchester City at the Etihad:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Chriches – Vertonghen
Sandro – Dembele
Lamela – Holtby – Townsend
Soldado

AVB talks to the press ahead of Sunday’s clash with City:

Match Review, Everton vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 3rd November 2013.

Premier League

Everton 0-0 Tottenham.

Good result in a very difficult game for Spurs. A game of two halves. We were dominant in the first, having complete control of the ball, creating a fair few chances, but we didn’t capitalise when we really needed to. Was very impressed with the way we were playing, bombing forward whenever we got the chance and keeping Everton at bay expertly. Slightly unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty when Vertonghen was bundled over in the area by Seamus Coleman, but in the second half, we got lucky as with the roles reversed it looked like Vertonghen fouled Coleman in the box, nothing given. The second half was a different story, Everton came into the game more and more, with the fans behind them, they looked the likely to break the deadlock, but defensively, we were as solid as ever, stopping crosses and starving Lukaku of service. Very impressive. Offensively we have been disappointing this season, and in the second half this continued, very narrow and not getting enough service to Soldado, but I don’t think we can complain too much with such a good result away from home.

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All about the defence! 7 clean sheets this season in the Premier League, with 10 games played. We’ve been extremely good defensively all season, with this game no different. My man of the match is Jan Vertonghen, down the left he was unreal, it’s not his preferred position, but he did very well to deal with the threat of Kevin Mirallas, who is undoubtedly faster than Jan, offensively, he was one of our biggest threats! Continuously working to get the ball into the box, a very good performance, hardly put a foot wrong. Vlad Chririches has been brilliant so far this season, and we are yet to concede a goal when he has started the game in all competitions, he dealt with the threat of Lukaku immensely, and for £8.5 million looks a real bargain. Michael Dawson put in a captains performance, dominant at the back, leading by example, his best performance this season. Sandro back to his best after his poor Hull City performance, unfortunate he was forced off with a knock, because he dominated the game for us in the middle, when he came off, we certainly weren’t as dominant. Offensively, we need to improve, we need to become more fluid and start creating more opportunities for Soldado so he can flourish. Positives and negatives to take from this game. An honouree mention for the warrior that is Hugo Lloris, knocked unconscious, but continuing with the game!

A good point, at a place in which we lost last season, horribly. Unfortunate not to grab the win, which I think we deserved, but I’m relatively happy. Our next match is against FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane in the Europa League, on Thursday 7th November. Our next game in the Premier League is against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, Sunday 10th November. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at Goodison Park:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8
Dawson – 8
Chiriches – 9
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Paulinho – 6
Sandro – 8
Townsend – 7
Holtby – 7
Lennon – 6
Soldado – 5

Subs:
Dembele – 6
Eriksen – 7
Sigurdsson – 6

AVB reaction after the game:

What is Tottenham’s best 11?

Tottenham’s squad is undoubtedly one of the strongest and deepest in the Premier League, the amount of international regulars we have throughout the entire squad is staggering and holds us in good stead for the rest of this season and beyond, but what is the best starting 11 that can be put out in our biggest and most important games? It’s a difficult choice that will most likely differ in choice from one person to the next, but here is my choice and my reasons for picking them in my 11:

Formation

Early on in pre season it looked as though a change of style could occur, and we could go to a 4-3-3 formation, similar to Porto when AVB was in charge, but the addition of Eriksen who plays in the hole and also Lewis Holtby, means that we have stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation, which adds more guile and creativity to the team than the 4-3-3. An easy choice. 4-2-3-1.

GK – Hugo Lloris

Most likely the easiest choice I have to make in the line-up. One of the best ‘keepers the Premier League has to offer. Fits our style of play with the high-line perfectly with his pace, agility and sharpness. Saved us numerous times so far this season, our nailed on number 1.

RB – Kyle Walker

Kyle certainly has his critics. Defensively he can be vulnerable, and his positioning is quite poor for a right back, but he is the best we have in the position and is still learning the game at 23. He will continue to improve defensively. Offensively, I think Walker is a real asset to the team, given the freedom to attack the right flank he can create for the team and cause threat to the opposition. Hopefully he improves more as the season continues.

RCB – Younes Kaboul

I think Younes is a quality centre back, who fits in with the way AVB plays. Pace, power and defensive composure. Two seasons ago he was arguably our best player, a rock at the back. Sadly, Kaboul really struggles with injuries, wether he can recover fully from these injuries is a definite question mark. I really hope he can, because if he becomes fit again, he will in my opinion start alongside Jan Vertonghen. While Younes isn’t fit, club captain Michael Dawson should get the nod.

LCB – Jan Vertonghen

Another easy decision. Vertonghen has cemented his place in our starting 11 from more-or-less day one. Commonly known as ‘Super Jan’, he performs consistently as one of the best centre backs in the league. On the ball he plays like a midfielder, off the ball, he plays like a world class defender, certainly one of our best players. Sometimes can be caught a little flat footed, but that’d be a very harsh judgement from myself.

LB – Danny Rose

Danny Rose proved himself in the Premier League with Sunderland on loan last season, being awarded player of the year. He’s come back, and he’s been very solid. An unsung hero so far this season. Offensively he has been good, but I’ve been disappointed with his final ball, hopefully it improves as he continues the season. Where I’ve been very impressed with Danny is defensively. Some picked him out as a ‘defensive liability’, but I don’t think this is the case at all. Sometimes he can be caught out while pushing up the pitch, but not too often as Jan Vertonghen is usually there to cover. When he is in defensive situations, he deals with them very well, he’s also made some extremely important blocks so far! Hopefully he continues his good form when he comes back into the team.

RCM – Paulinho

I’ve been very impressed with how Paulinho has settled into life at Spurs, he’s been one of the stand out players. Defensively he is strong and offensively, he’s even better! A true box to box midfielder that adds another goal threat to the team, but also a player who can pick a pass when needed. I believe he has to start, even with the fierce, and I mean FIERCE competition he is getting for his position from players like Capoue and Sandro.

LCM – Mousa Dembélé

My toughest decision in the team. Dembele, Sandro or Capoue. I was really tempted to put Sandro or Capoue in there, as they can add the defensive toughness to the team that Paulinho and Dembele possibly don’t have, certainly not like Capoue or Sandro do. Dembele makes us tick, I rate him very highly, his ability to glide past players and bring the ball out from defence to start attacks. To take him out could be a big mistake, but to leave him in could be a mistake in itself. Capoue has been phenomenal since coming in, and Sandro has been a rock for a while now. The toughest decision AVB will have to make is this one, in my opinion.

CAM – Christian Eriksen

Eriksen has been a great signing so far, bringing a creative touch to our powerful midfield. Controlled the game on his debut against Norwich and has already scored a beauty for us in the Europa League against Tromsø. It is still a tough decision to decide between Eriksen and Lewis Holtby. Both have been excellent so far this season, but Eriksen just tips it at the moment. Good competition for places in this area, with Erik Lamela able to play here as well.

RW – Erik Lamela

Erik hasn’t set the Premier League, or the Europa League by storm so far this season, and some may doubt his £30 million price tag, but I can assure you he will come good. 15 goals last season for AS Roma in Serie A, and at only 21, I truly believe he’ll be a star in the future. He hasn’t adapted to the physicality and pace of the Premier League just yet, and he also doesn’t speak English, but in time, when he does settle and maybe beef up a little, I believe he will gain his place in the Spurs side. The competition on the right flank is high, with the Premier League experienced Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend both fighting for the spot, but I think Erik will take it after he settles properly into the team.

LW – Andros Townsend

Having played right wing this season for both Spurs and England, it may be a bit of a surprise that I’ve placed him on the left. This would be my choice, to fit in two very very good wingers into the Spurs team, Lamela and Andros. Andros has lots of experience on the left, having started his career in the position, so I’d give him the left wing slot over Lamela. Townsend has shown he is very capable with both feet, he can come inside and shoot with his right, or have more of the option to go to the by-line and get a dangerous cross in. I believe this would get even more out of Townsend. He’s has a great start, hopefully he starts banging the goals in for Spurs like he has for England!

ST – Roberto Soldado

There is no doubt that Soldado has struggled to adapt to the Premier League’s pace and physicality, a bit like Erik Lamela. With only 2 goals in 7 games, which were from the penalty spot, it hasn’t been a great start for the Spaniard. It takes time, and I have faith in him to score the goals to help us reach the Champions League. His 24 goals last season in La Liga for Valencia show that he’s more than got it in his locker. His conversion rate in Spain was extraordinary, and when he finds his feet and gets the confidence back, I’m sure he’ll be banging them in for fun. His link up play has been excellent, despite not scoring, he’s made 11 chances for others in 7 games, which shows he helps us out in more ways than just goals.

Conclusion

It is very difficult to pick just 11 players, when the squad is so vast. Leaving out players like Sandro, Capoue, Sigurdsson, Chadli and Defoe is difficult, but it shows you the quality we have. I could name a second team quite easily, so the cup competitions should be quite an experience this season! It’s going to be a long season, and I think our squad will be right up there this season. Blips like against West Ham happen to the best teams, it’s how you respond that makes you a top team. COYS!!

Thanks for reading! What team would you play? Comment and SHARE!

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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 Review, Arsenal vs Tottenham.

Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham.
Giroud 23′

Obviously a more than disappointing day. Losing to Arsenal is never, ever good. I think both teams played quite poorly. Sloppy with the ball, no cutting edge and if you were a neutral, not a very entertaining game. They took the lead through Giroud after some really poor defending from Dawson and Vertonghen. First half, we were really poor and they deserved to be leading. Second half, we tried to push for the equaliser and dominated most of the half, but we still couldn’t find that cutting pass to open up Soldado or Defoe for a clear cut chance. The creativity is needed, that man can be Eriksen. A late push and a lot of nerves didn’t push an equaliser, and we lost the battle.

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There were not really any players that stood out as being great, overall a poor and not an exciting performance. We really need to improve, but it’s really early days and the team need to settle in. Townsend was impressive first half, but was a little too greedy. Still our only real threat going forward. Dembele needs to up his game if he wants to keep his place, with the midfield prowess we have. Dawson looks out of his depth in the high line and I can’t wait for Kaboul to be back fully fit. Erik Lamela came on and showed his class already, getting a few shots away and on the ball he looked a threat. Exciting. We can’t dwell on this at all. We move on. It’s a long season. Our next game is against Norwich at the Lane on the 14th September. COYS!

My player ratings for today’s team that faced Arsenal:
Lloris – 9 Man of the Match
Walker – 5
Dawson – 4
Vertonghen – 7
Rose – 6
Townsend – 6
Capoue – 5
Paulinho – 7
Dembele – 4
Chadli – 5
Soldado – 6

Subs:
Defoe – N/A
Sandro – 6
Lamela – 6

Match Preview, Dinamo Tbilisi vs Tottenham. (First Leg)

Our Europa League campaign starts here. A trip to Georgia in the two legged tie to take us to the Group Stages. On paper, we should cruise into the Group Stages, but away from home, in what is expected to be a hostile environment, it could prove a difficult task. I wasn’t too happy about having to qualify after coming fifth, but it’s another game for the youngsters, and team building, so it has it’s positives, but it has a few negatives, as it is close to our game against Swansea on Sunday. I fully expect a weakened team though. Honestly, and I think this goes for most, I don’t know what Dinamo Tbilisi can offer in this game, but it’ll be interesting to see!

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Expecting a younger, and weaker team to face Tbilisi, but one certainly capable of a win against a supposedly weak team. We’ve got a lot of strength in depth, so I’m confident we can see off the challenge away from home, and finish off the tie at White Hart Lane. Etienne Capoue could get his first start for Spurs, and he’ll give us a lot of stability, and it’ll be great to see him play fully in a Spurs shirt, Sandro has a run for his money in the defensive midfield role, for sure! I wouldn’t expect Soldado to start, so Jermain Defoe should come in, or Harry Kane, who has been impressing for the Under 21’s. Solid Brad Friedel in goal is expected, with Lloris getting a rest on the bench. Younes Kaboul could get a start as he returns from an injury, which is a massive plus. Other youngsters I’d like to see get minutes are the extremely promising Tom Carroll and possibly the improving Shaq Coulthirst. Always nice to win, and it’ll be good for the youngsters to get some minutes with the first team. The game is being shown live on ITV 4, on Thursday, August 22nd, Kick Off at 5:00pm. COYS!

My predicted line up for the game in Georgia:
Friedel
Naughton – Dawson – Kaboul – Fryers
Townsend – Capoue – Carroll – Chadli
Sigurdsson
Defoe.

Choosing a line up is obviously very difficult in a game like this, any team could be picked!

Match Review, Stoke vs Tottenham.

Stoke 1-2 Tottenham.
N’Zonzi 2′. Dempsey 20′
Adam S/O 47′. Adebayor 83′

What a win. A hard fought victory at the Britannia for an extremely important three points. We knew it would be difficult, and it really was in the first half, when they got the early goal it was feared that we wouldn’t come back, and Stoke would defend, but we got back into it through an amazing Clint Dempsey goal, and from then on, it was all Tottenham. We left it late, but we don’t care, three points thanks to Emmanuel Adebayor. Charlie Adam got sent off for a second bookable offence, and it was definitely deserved, played horribly all game. Not a good way for Stoke to celebrate their 150th anniversary.

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Clint Dempsey was exceptional, chased the ball down well, and when we needed him to produce, he came up with the goods, a goal and an assist, the perfect day for Clint. Adebayor was very good, he possibly should have been in the box more often as when he is, he can grab a goal, but that was the only criticism, link up play was superb, and right at the death, he got a really important, match winning goal, some could say, he’s back. Jan Vertonghen played at left back today, a position I don’t feel he has adapted to well, but he was great, his crossing was good, offensively played well when needed, and then amazing when needed at the back. Good performance. Hugo Lloris had a tough time, which was expected, but he seemed to deal with it better and better as the game went on, wasn’t particularly needed in the second half. An awesome three points, we deserved the win. It’s still possible, we’ve done our job. Keep the faith, and support Wigan on Tuesday! Our next game is the last game of the season, at White Hart Lane against Sunderland, lets go out with a bang. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Stoke at the Britannia:
Lloris – 6
Walker – 7
Dawson – 8
Caulker – 7
Vertonghen – 9
Lennon – 8
Huddlestone – 7
Parker – 7
Dempsey – 9 Man of the Match
Bale – 8
Adebayor – 9

Subs:
Dembélé – 8
Sigurdsson – 7
Defoe – 6

Match Review, Swansea vs Tottenham

Swansea 1-2 Tottenham
Michu 71′. Vertonghen 8′, Bale 21′

Great win, we move up to third place in the league and it’s all looking peachy once again. We started unbelievably well, scoring the early goal and then got the second through an unbelievable Gareth Bale strike. Our work rate was outstanding, we closed down Swansea when they had the ball, and with the ball, we kept possession well. Swansea were the better team in the second half, penned us back and got their goal through Michu. It was a nervy end to the game, but we defended honourably, and held out for a brilliant victory.

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Jan Vertonghen was majestic in defence, making some crucial interceptions and tackles, and he also pitched in with a goal which he finished brilliantly. Jan has been amazing for us throughout the season, and today he showed exactly the same kind of form, maybe even better than earlier in the season. Gareth Bale was great today, once again, he took his goal brilliantly which eventually won us the match, but when he was needed to help out the team defensively he did his duty. Great performance. Mousa Dembele was limited in his attacking today, but he defended really well, and dominated the midfield. One of our most influential players this season and again today. Brad Friedel started in goal as Hugo Lloris was injured, and he did an amazing job, commanded his area well, and made some awesome saves. Great win, and it’s time to get a run going. Our next game is against Basel in the Europa league on Thursday. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Swansea at the Liberty Stadium:
Friedel – 8
Walker – 8
Dawson – 8
Vertonghen – 10 Man of the Match
Naughton – 7
Lennon – 7
Parker – 8
Dembele – 9
Sigurdsson – 7
Bale – 10
Adebayor – 5

Subs:
Defoe – 7
Holtby – 8
Livermore – 6

Match Review, West Ham vs Tottenham

West Ham 2-3 Tottenham

What a fantastic game, one of the games of the season, for sure. We started the game well, got the early goal and we looked set for a convincing win, but then a rash challenge from a rusty Scott Parker in the box set us back as Andy Carroll slotted the ball away to make it 1-1. We had a shaky 20 minutes and then Joe Cole put West Ham ahead, 2-1. We then started to attack and pressurise West Ham, until, finally, we got the equaliser from Gylfi Sigurdsson, his first in a Spurs shirt. What happened next was magic, Gareth Bale, an unbelievable strike on 90 minutes put us in the lead, and gave us the win. Absolutely brilliant.

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Gareth Bale, I think I’ve run out of superlatives to describe this boy, simply world class. His two goals were brilliant, he has saved us on many occasions and I wouldn’t swap him for anyone in the world, he is the best player in the Premier League, no doubt. Michael Dawson put in a captains performance, he cleared danger, and commanded in the air, he did everything we needed him to do, so happy that he’s established himself with AVB. Hugo Lloris was phenomenal, some of his saves were of the highest quality, he is so calm under pressure and for the first time, I’m confident in a Spurs goalkeeper! So happy for Gylfi Sigurdsson, he has been so close on many occasions with some brilliant strikes, and to get his first goal for us is amazing, hopefully he continues to improve and score goals, if he does he can be brilliant for us. I don’t even want to talk about Adebayor, he is not fit to wear a Spurs shirt, hope Defoe is back for our next game against Arsenal. Our next game is against Arsenal in the North London Derby, it’s going to be a cracker! The game is televised, it’s on Sky Sports with coverage starting at 3:00pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the game against West Ham at Upton Park:
Lloris – 10
Walker – 8
Dawson – 9
Caulker – 8
Vertonghen – 8
Lennon – 7
Parker – 5
Dembele – 7
Bale – 10 Man of the Match
Holtby – 7
Adebayor – 3

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 8
Carroll – 8
Livermore – 7