Match Review, Tottenham vs FC Sheriff Tiraspol.

Match: Thursday 7th November 2013.

Europa League

Tottenham 2-1 FC Sheriff

Goals for Spurs: Erik Lamela 60′, Jermain Defoe (pen) 67′

Goal for Sheriff: Isa 72′

With this three points, we have secured our place in the Europa League knock-out stages with two games to spare. A great achievement, continuing our 100% record in the competition, while putting in a good display. First half we started very well, moving the ball around exquisitely, while making some very good chances, but the breakthrough was elusive, yet another half with all the possession, but no killer instinct, disappointing, although it was promising start to the game. Sheriff defended for their lives, hurling players at the ball to stop shots, while setting up with what seemed to be an eight man defence. Very difficult to break down. In the second half, we didn’t come out all guns blazing, we were patient, and let the opposition tire, looking for that little bit of space. Finally, after a brilliant defensive performance from Sheriff, we broke through; a lovely little dink from Christian Eriksen deflected into the path of Erik Lamela, who finished it expertly to the delight of everyone in the stadium and watching at home, a massive goal for Spurs, and an even bigger one for our record signing. We then pushed on, playing with a swagger, and earned a penalty from a dazzling run from the confident Erik Lamela, which set the stage for Jermain Defoe to break Martin Chivers’ record and become our European top goalscorer, he duly delivered, another great moment from the match. A very frustrating goal conceded dampened our spirits, we’re just so used to getting clean sheets! A well taken goal from Isa brought Sheriff back into the game, but it wasn’t enough, and we went on to win the game.

Erik Lamela has arrived ladies and gentleman! Better late than never, eh? It was well worth the wait as the Argentine international showed his worth putting in a great performance, and a match winning one too. Straight from the first minute, he looked focused, confident and ready to show his true class, he was all over the pitch, passing well, making some penetrating runs, and coming close on a few occasions. The goal is just what he needed, a big boost of his confidence, hopefully now he can kick on and have a great season, starting him against Newcastle would be great. A goal and an assist, man of the match. Jermain Defoe has done it, he’s broken the record and become our all time leading goalscorer in Europe, a great goalscorer throughout his career, and a deserved place in Tottenham history. I’m not his biggest fan, but I admire and thank him for what he has done in his career. Etienne Capoue has returned, and he put in a very solid performance in the middle of the park, great passing display and defensively a rock as ever, a crucial part of the squad this year. Mousa Dembele really impressed me, we all know about his ability on the ball, to beat a man and keep possession, but today he showed a little bit more of an attacking threat, which is what we like to see, a partnership with Capoue looks promising to me. Disappointed with Christian Eriksen, despite his assist, I thought he looked disinterested, we know he’s capable of so much more, and while being out of the team, he has to show when he’s got the chance that he’s the man for the number 10 role, we want more Christian!

We’re through, and we did it in style, four wins out of four in the group with two games to go. Our next game is in the Premier League as we face Newcastle at White Hart Lane on Sunday 10th November, kick off at 12pm live on Sky Sports. Our next Europa League game is against Tromsø on Thursday 28th November away in Norway. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Sheriff at the Lane:
Friedel – 6
Walker – 7
Kaboul – 7
Vertonghen – 7
Naughton – 6
Capoue – 7
Dembele – 8
Lamela – 9 – Man of the Match.
Eriksen – 5
Sigurdsson – 6
Defoe – 7

Paulinho – 6
Kane – 6
Holtby – N/A

Highlights of our 2-1 over Sheriff:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs FC Sheriff Tiraspol.

Match: Thursday 7th November 2013. Kick off: 8:05pm.

Europa League

A big game and a 100% must win. If we win on Thursday, we are through to the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and continue our 100% record in the tournament, we need to get through as early as possible so we can rest our players in the final two remaining games against Tromsø and Anzhi Makhachkala, but obviously, securing a place in the knockout round is something we want to do, so the motivation to win is big. Our inability to score goals and play free attacking football has been highly documented, we registered a 0-0 draw with Everon at the weekend in which our attacking performance disappointed once again, we as fans are waiting for it to click, and I’m sure it will, but it needs to happen soon! While our attacking play is lacking, our defensive performances have been sublime, not conceding a single goal in the Europa League so far, hopefully this continues against Sheriff! Last time out against Sheriff, we won 2-0 away from home, far from a convincing win; they surprised us with their fast attacking football, but their finishing was appalling, and ours was quite clinical, so we won the game with a seeming comfortably score line.

FC Sheriff are a tough side, who attack with purpose and pace, they can cause problems for teams, especially teams who like to attack like ourselves. It’ll be a very difficult, but it’s one we should win, at home, we’ll be confident of getting a result. They sit top of the Moldovan league, with 35 points from 14 games, 7 points ahead of their nearest rivals Costuleni, having a very impressive goal difference of 33, they like scoring goals! Isa is their biggest threat, he plays up top for the Moldovan champions and he showed in our game with them that he has pace and the ability to hold up the ball and get midfielders into the game. We’ve got to keep him quiet. Other players to look out for are Jhulliam, Cadû and Ricardinho; all Brazilian!

I expect changes to the team, but still a very strong one. The players need to go out and show their attacking prowess, and get a big win at the Lane, for the fans more than anyone else, we want to get this game done and dusted early, and book our place in the knockout stages. Chances for a lot of so called ‘fringe’ players to make a mark, and show their worth to the squad, the most noteworthy being our record signing, Erik Lamela, he hasn’t particularly taken North London by storm like some Spurs fans wanted, but he’s slowly improving and put in a good performance in his last game against Hull in the Capital One Cup, showing glimpses of his undoubted quality. He’s settling into a new environment, but we want to see some good performances, and get his confidence up, so he has the chance against Sheriff. Jermain Defoe is expected to lead the line, our top scorer in the Europa League, always pops up with a goal in these games, with the service he could receive from Eriksen, Lamela and Sigurdsson, he’s in good hands. Etienne Capoue is back! He is in contention for a place in the line up, and it’s a great pleasure to have him back in the squad, an important player, with great quality, looking forward to seeing him back in action after his lengthy injury. The team news is that Danny Rose, Sandro, Zeki Fryers and Emmanuel Adebayor are all out of the game through injury, while Kyle Naughton and Etienne Capoue come back into the frame. Hugo Lloris is also fit and available for selection after his heavy blow to the head, but Brad Friedel is expected to start.

Should be a fast paced and exciting game! It is being shown live on ITV 4, with coverage starting at 7:45pm on Thursday 7th November, kick off at 8:05pm. Let’s hope we can show our offensive ability, as well as our defensive stability and light up White Hart Lane once again. COYS!!

My preferred team to face FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane:
Walker – Dawson – Kaboul – Naughton
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Sigurdsson

AVB’s press conference pre Sheriff:

Match Review, FC Sheriff Tiraspol vs Tottenham

Match: Thursday 24th October 2013

Europa League

FC Sheriff 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur. Vertonghen 12′, Defoe 75′.

Three points and a clean sheet as we sit top of our Europa League group with nine points. A good win, but not a good performance. We struggled in the game, with Sheriff’s pace in behind causing us significant problems defensively, but fortunately enough for us, their shooting was extremely poor, and hardly tested Hugo Lloris in the end, they’ll be very disappointed in their strikers. They applied a high amount of pressure in midfield, not giving our midfield an inch of space, it was very difficult to break through. Finally, through none other than a corner, yes you read that right, Tottenham Hotspur scored from a corner, Jan Vertonghen the man to take advantage of a great Eriksen cross on 12 minutes. We continued to find it hard to break through, and Sheriff continued to work our defence and midfield extremely hard. Our passing was not good and in truth we didn’t get going at all throughout the game, we tried to cruise it, and thank fully we managed to. Jermain Defoe’s strike late on secured the points and his equalled record with Martin Chivers as Tottenham’s top European goalscorer, and we are extremely close to qualifying for the knockout stages.

Sad to say there weren’t many stand out performances, sloppy work in midfield and not many chances created, and defensively we were shaky as well, even though arguably our best player was in defence. Vlad Chiriches is looking like a very classy central defender, good in possession, quick decision making and a great tackler. I really like him as a player. He was shifted out to right back when Ezequiel Fryers got injured, which wasn’t great for Vlad, but he dealt with it well, and attacked well on the right! Jan Vertonghen also did well, some key tackles in situations which could have been avoided, but at the end of the day, clean sheet and three points! It was good to see Aaron Lennon back, not very influential, but in the conditions he faced he did well, going to be important for us this season. Disappointed in Jermain Defoe, he didn’t offer anything up front, despite his goal the stats show he didn’t create or take his few chances well, maybe I’m being harsh, but he certainly didn’t do well in this game. Erik Lamela had a difficult game, had some sparks of brilliance with a few flicks but the game was very narrow and difficult for all the attackers.

Frustrating game, but we got the job done and now we can move on and get back into Premier League action. Our next game against Hull City at White Hart Lane is on Sunday 27th October. In our next Europa League game, we could clinch qualification to the knockout stages, we face FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane on Thursday 7th November. Both very big games! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced FC Sheriff at the Complexus Sheriff Stadium:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 4
Chiriches – 8
Vertonghen – 8 – Man of the Match
Fryers – N/A
Sandro – 8
Dembele – 6
Lamela – 5
Eriksen – 6
Lennon – 6
Defoe – 5

Holtby – 6
Chadli – 7
Dawson – 6

Match Highlights of the game against Sheriff:

Match Preview, FC Sheriff Tiraspol vs Tottenham.

Match: Thursday 24th October 2013. Kick off 6pm, live on ITV 4.

Europa League

The games come thick and fast and so do the air miles when you’re in the Europe. We visit Moldova to face Sheriff at the Complexul Sheriff Stadium. We are in a great position in our group, winning our first two games against Tromsø and Anzhi convincing with five goals and two clean sheets; fairly straight forward games , and I expect our game against Sheriff to be no different. The team we have should be too much to handle for the Moldovan champions, even if they are on their home turf. We have had a good start to the season, with only two losses and a draw in thirteen games, so we need to keep winning to help the team gel even more, and keep that winning feeling around the dressing room. The Europa League is a trophy we want to win. We want to win every game we play, this is a game we need to keep focused and put in a professional performance to get the three points. We shouldn’t be troubled too much by the opposition.

FC Sheriff are a team who are used to winning games, so won’t be short of confidence, they sit at the top of the Moldovan League winning 9 games, drawing 2 and losing only 1 in 12 games. They failed in their Champions League play-off game, losing out to Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 on aggregate, which was an expected result. In their last game they drew 1-1 away from home in the Moldovan league to Zimbru, who sit sixth, this is a result that will undoubtedly disappoint them, not a great result coming into the game, whereas we are full of confidence after our 2-0 away win against Aston Villa. Sheriff’s goals tend to come from midfield, with 5 strikers only getting 4 goals between them. The players who they will look to utilise are Brazilian midfielders Jhuilliam, who has seven goals in nine appearances, and Cadû, who has six goals in nine apperances. These are players who given time on the ball, or a chance in the box, could hurt us.

The team we put out is hard to predict, as the squad we have is so deep, and AVB likes to change it up in the Europa League, although still playing a strong team. We have a host of players on the way back from injuries, two players returning to action are Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor. These players could be big assets to the team, Adebayor offers something different to Soldado and Defoe with his ariel threat and ability to hold up the ball, which Defoe is unable to do, and he’s probably better at it than Soldado. I’d expect Adebayor to get some minutes in Moldova, but I’d expect Defoe to start. Aaron Lennon is a hugely important squad player, he’s direct and can get some great balls into the box of which Soldado, Defoe and Adebayor thrive off, he was great last season and it’s good to have him back. I expect him to start. It’s widely documented that Erik Lamela, our record signing, isn’t getting a lot of game time, but he is settling into life at Spurs, and for someone as young as him, he needs time. I’m very confident he’ll be amazing for us, a great player, with phenomenal ability, I think he could start in the number 10 role against Sheriff. Kyle Naughton at RB and Ezequiel Fryers at LB is who I would prefer at full-back, Kyle Walker being left in London and Danny Rose still not being fit.

My predicted/preferred team to face FC Sheriff at the Complexus Sheriff Stadium in the Europa League:
Naughton – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Lamela – Chadli

It should be a good game for Spurs fans to see players returning into the frame, expecting goals, and lots of them! Hopefully we continue our impressive run of clean sheets at the back too. It’s an early kick off at 6pm, so get back from work on time! Follow @AddictedtoSpurs on twitter for updates on the game, videos of the goals, and pictures from the game. COYS!!