Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Saturday 11th April 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Check out the worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After a really frustrating bore draw with Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, we look to put the record straight against a familiar face Tim Sherwood, and his Aston Villa side at the Lane this Saturday. Our form has been quite patchy of late which is to be expected after such a disheartening result in the Capital One Cup final, but we still have things to play for. The top four looks very unlikely, but it was never expected in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge, despite an ounce of disappointment in that probably not being possible this season, we have to have a bit of patience, even though I know that isn’t the best quality in football fans! At home to a struggling Aston Villa side, we are the favourites, but this can be deceiving, as a side like Aston Villa have everything to play for, and as we found out against the likes of Leicester and Burnley, these sides will put everything on the line to get points, which makes it extremely tough for sides just like us, who don’t have the pressure of Premier League survival stacked upon our shoulders. We have the quality to get passed these sides but their heart and determination makes our job harder, it means as a team we have to perform at a higher level to victor in these games. Knowing Tim Sherwood as we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to win this game for his own personal pride rather than the survival of Aston Villa Football Club, so we’re not only battling the will of a relegation threatened side, but also a bitter Tim Sherwood who will want to add to that win percentage.

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League, just 3 points away from the dreaded drop zone. That 3 points is not enough if you’re Tim Sherwood, and our former manager has been looking to find those points, but discovering that it is harder than he might have thought down at the bottom. After losing his first two games as Villa boss in late February, March was good to Aston Villa and helped them pull out of the bottom three of the Premier League with a big 4-0 win over Sunderland the pick of the bunch. But, two games into April, they are yet to win, with a loss to Manchester United, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but also a 3-3 draw with fellow relegation battlers QPR at Villa Park, which is a bit of a missed opportunity for 3 points for the Villains. Let’s hope we can make it a loss sandwich for Tim Sherwood’s men. Last time we faced Villa was back in November of last year, a 2-1 win thanks to late goals from Nacer Chadli and the one and only Harry Kane giving us the win in the Premier League tie. The last time we faced the Villains at the Lane was the last game of last season, under the guidance of now Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood – we triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Paulinho, a Baker OG and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty. Hopefully we can get a repeat result, but with Tim Sherwood on the losing side!

The team news for Villa is that Scott Sinclair (hamstring), Ashley Westwood (hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Chris Herd (herd) & Libor Kozak (broken leg) are all ruled out of the match, while Philippe Senderos (calf) is expected to return, as Carles Gil (hip) is to undergo a late fitness test for the Villains. That’s quite a backlog of injuries for Tim Sherwood to deal with, but he’ll be hoping that players like Christian Benteke to step up like he did against QPR, with the big Belgian striker netting a hat trick against the Hoops, and after a slow season, he seems to be picking up pace and showing some of his old form, at just the right time for Aston Villa in their fight for survival. With our defensive frailties on show to the world lately, I am sure Villa will be looking to Benteke to make us pay – hopefully we can contain the threat that the Belgian has to offer as much as possible. Along with Benteke, the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat, stretching and working the defences of opponents and running the channels, he will definitely be hard to contain. I think we have had a distinct lack of pace in our team recently, so Agbonlahor could really be a thorn to our hopes of winning the match.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) are ruled out of the match, while Jan Vertonghen (illness) is a doubt. With our number 1 still side-lined, it paves the way for Michel Vorm to continue in goal after his solid performance against Burnley, ending in a clean sheet for the Dutch international. As Kyle Walker is also on the injury list, it means that either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier will deputise for the England international, with DeAndre Yedlin not expected to be close to the first 11, but it would be nice for him to be in the squad. Federico Fazio wasn’t included in the match day squad against Burnley, but with our defensive woes, I think the big Argentinian could be reintegrated into the side, possibly replacing Vlad Chiriches in the centre of defence to allow Eric Dier to fill in at right back, where he has experience from the start of the season.

Our 0-0 draw with Burnley was far from a classic, and our offensive prowess was crowded out by Burnley’s defensive solidarity, but with Aston Villa being a very offensive and open side, it could expose space for our attack minded players to flourish once again. Tim Sherwood is known for wanting to showcase his attacking style of play, so you have to expect an open game at the Lane this Saturday. One player that will thrive in an open game is Christian Eriksen – who has had a difficult run of form recently, but this is the perfect opportunity for the Dane to open his wings again and take control of a game again. His talent is undeniable but he does lack consistency at times, and I don’t think he has fully adapted to the English game as of yet. But, he’s still very young and will only blossom further in England. I’ve said it time after time, but when Eriksen performs, Tottenham perform along with him. Harry Kane captained the side against Burnley, and could captain the side again against Villa, but he needs help in attack otherwise he can be swarmed by the opposition and as we saw against Burnley, he became ineffective, as sadly he cant do everything on his own! That support needs to be from not only Christian Eriksen, but also the wingers that Mauricio Pochettino decides to go with, whether that be Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend or even Paulinho – their job is to supply Harry Kane not only with crosses and passes, but with bodies and support offensively. Kane can’t be left stranded up top; otherwise I think Villa will find it quite easy to deal with him as a unit. I do believe that our offensive threat will be too much for the defensive frailties that Villa do have.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have won their last five PL meetings with Aston Villa, netting two or more goals in each game.

– Aston Villa have scored just six goals in their last 12 Premier League matches against Tottenham and never more than once in a game.

– Tottenham have gained 10 points from losing positions at home this season, more than any other side.

– Aston Villa have gained no points from losing positions away from home in the Premier League this season; the only team not to do so.

– White Hart Lane is the highest scoring stadium in the Premier League this season (51 goals).

– The Lane has also seen the most first half goals this season (27).

– Christian Benteke has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances.

– Under Tim Sherwood, Benteke has scored at a rate of one goal every 87 minutes in the Premier League.

– Villa have conceded three goals in each of their last two Premier League games. They have only conceded 3+ goals in three successive games twice in PL history (in 2009 and 2012).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last four Premier League games at White Hart Lane.

It’s a big game. Tim Sherwood returns to the Lane, hopefully to a decent reception. It’s important we return to winning ways quickly against a struggling Villa side, but we have to be aware that this Sherwood side will come into this game like a final and we have to be on top of our game to avoid an upset. The game isn’t shown live in the UK, but I will be updating you live at my twitter account, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more, follow me there @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend
Kane.

On the Forza Football app by @FootballAddicts, the users predicted:

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!
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Match Review, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match: Wednesday 4th March 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Swansea.

Tottenham goalscorers: Chadli 6’, Mason 51’ and Townsend 60’.

Swansea goalscorers: Ki 19’ and Sigurdsson 89’.

A really, really good three points. After the Capital One Cup final disappointment, you could possibly understand if the players looked a little dejected out on the pitch after losing only 3 days ago, but that certainly wasn’t the case as we performed very well, especially in the second half to beat a very decent Swansea side at White Hart Lane. We didn’t look tired but determined; determined to prove that we can still go on to challenge for the top four and that the Capital One Cup final defeat wouldn’t be the defining moment of our season. We started very brightly, worked very hard, found our rhythm and got a very good three points. The past was firmly laid to rest, and the player’s minds looked firmly focussed on the future, starting with this game and we have won well. The result looks close, but we deserved to win; we were superior in all aspects of the game and despite a late rally from the Welsh side, we looked well worth the three points and it would have been so discouraging to drop two points because of a late show from what was an under par performance from the Swans in my opinion.

In the first half, it was an electric start to the game; and the lightening struck first in Tottenham’s favour as Danny Rose bombed forward and supplied a beautiful cross that found Nacer Chadli who provided a simply wonderful volleyed touch that found its way past Fabianski and into the net for 1-0 just 6 minutes in. That was Nacer Chadli’s 11th goal of the season as he continues to show his dazzling scoring talent. The game was stopped shortly after that as Bafetimbi Gomis provided a shock to everyone after fainting on the pitch, with flashbacks to Fabrice Muamba replaying in the minds of Spurs fans; the Frenchman was stretchered off, but was conscious and is now perfectly fine, which is fantastic to hear. After that scare, Swansea pounced on what was a lack of concentration at the back as Gylfi Sigurdsson hit a free kick onto the post and we fail to clear our lines, as poor defending from Jan Vertonghen allowed Ki Sung-Yeung to poke the ball through the legs for 1-1 on 19 minutes. We still looked good on the ball, with Bentaleb and Mason looking good in midfield, hitting strikes from long range, but comfortable for Fabianski. Jonjo Shelvey going close for the Swans, stinging the palms of Hugo Lloris in-between the Spurs sticks. It finished 1-1 at half time, with all to play for in the second half of the match.

And the second half started much like the first, as 6 minutes into the second period we took the lead once again! Christian Eriksen dazzling the Swansea defenders with his dribbling skills, before the ball made its way into the path of the oncoming Ryan Mason, who sorted his feet, before unleashing a strike into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 on 51 minutes. We were looking good on the ball, and found ourselves in the driving seat thanks to our goal scoring midfielders. And to get our third goal only 9 minutes later was another midfielder; after the referee played a brilliant advantage after a foul on Bentaleb, Andros Townsend ran at the Swansea defence with intent as he so often does, and this time he had the end product, cutting in onto his so called weaker right foot and delightfully finished into the top of the net for 3-1 on 61 minutes, and it looked like Swansea were down and out, as we looked to cruise to victory. But, this is Tottenham we’re talking about, and they wouldn’t allow us to cruise to victory, but instead hold our breath and hope for mercy. The player to cause the unrest was former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson, who powered a shot past the despairing Hugo Lloris for 3-2 on 89 minutes, and the late flurry from Swansea was very unnerving, as it would have been so disappointing if we had let all our hard work go to waste, and we had to thank the unbelievable Hugo Lloris who somehow got his hand to a Fernandez header to save us two points. Thank Hugo! Great result.
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We had a lot of stand out performers in this game. In the first half we didn’t hit the heights we could have, but in the second half the team improved and stepped up our level of performance. In particular, it was nice to see Christian Eriksen improve and find his feet in the game after being fairly poor recently, he created the second goal and looked much more threatening and free in the second half, passing the ball well and creating some good opportunities; hopefully the Dane can continue to improve and further impact our games; because when he plays well, the team plays well. Ryan Mason played a great game too, in midfield he was tenacious and also got a goal, which as the more advanced player in the midfield pivot of Mason and Bentaleb, he needs to do. He has the ability to score goals and be effective offensively and it was his day to clutch his first Premier League goal for Tottenham, and hopefully his first of many. Our full backs’ bombing forward is a feature of our play without doubt, and Danny Rose has been fantastic so far this season and his assist for Chadli was super. His delivery has been questioned during his career but there are signs of improvement under Pochettino, and he has cemented himself as a very good Premier League left back, and definitely our first choice ahead of Ben Davies. It is fantastic for Nacer Chadli to get back on the score sheet after a difficult couple of months for the Belgian – he has been a revelation so far this season and his goal scoring tendency has made him a fan favourite; having Nacer, Kane and Eriksen all flying would give me hope of a top four finish. There’s no more superlatives left in the world to describe Hugo Lloris, so I’m transforming his name into one. Lloris was extremely Lloris.

A brilliant three points against a tough opposition! We produced three incredibly nice goals to go with a solid performance and very important three points. Thankfully we held on and ended our drought of wins. Next up is another London derby away at Loftus Road against QPR. It’s going to be a tough game against a scrapping Rangers side under the guidance of former Spurs coach Chris Ramsey! I’m sure that’ll be a good game. You can follow me on twitter, @AddictedToSpurs for all the coverage ahead and during the QPR game! Let me know your views on our win over Swansea in the comments below! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that beat Swansea at the Lane:
Lloris – 8.5
Walker – 8
Dier – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the Match. (Davies 78’ – 6)
Bentaleb – 7.5
Mason – 8.5
Townsend – 7.5 (Dembele 64’ – 6)
Eriksen – 8
Chadli – 8.5
Kane – 7 (Soldado 76’ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 3-2 win over Swansea:

Match highlights from the game:

Ryan Mason post match reaction:

Capital One Cup Final Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match date & time: Sunday 1st March 2015. 4pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Capital One Cup Final.

Venue: Wembley Stadium.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It is finally here! The day that we have all been waiting for from the moment we booked our place in the competition beating Sheffield United over two legs. But now, there’s no two legs, no second chance and certainly no room for sentiment – this is a one off match, where the best side on that one day will go down in the record books, while the other will fade away into the abyss, until their chance next year. We have to make sure we go into the record books once again. This is without doubt the biggest game of our season; a chance for our first silverware in 7 years is a massive occasion, one that we have to grab with both hands. This result has the potential to define our season – if we win, no matter what happens in regards to the Premier League and top four, we will look back at the 2014/15 season with a smile on our face, whereas, if we lose, there will be a certain distain towards the season, but we would still have the opportunity to fight for top four, no matter how unlikely that may be. The game is about glory! The everlasting quote from the immortal Danny Blanchflower that will always echo through the heartbeat of the club, and we as Spurs fans will continue to believe, most of us anyway, that winning trophies represents a successful season. Despite our memorable run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and reaching the top four of the Premier League twice, there is still a trophy sized whole in our hearts during this 7 year period that we desperately want to fill, and now we are so tantalisingly close, we simply can’t allow it to slip! This Cup Final is such a fascinating event, not only because it is for the first silverware of the season, but because of the rivalry and history between the two sides, as well as both sides knowing how to beat each other comfortably!

Chelsea are a great side, everyone knows that, all you have to do is look at their position in the Premier League, and see their record in the big games this season. They are a side that thrives on the big occasion, having World Class players with a World Class manager, and they perform on the biggest stages against the best sides 90% of the time. They top the Premier League, with a 5-point gap between themselves and Manchester City, all the while having lost just two in 26 games, they are a force to be reckoned with and I am sure they will be viewed as the favourites for this game, but in a Cup Final I like to think that the record is blank and each team is even until the final whistle, where the best side on the day will triumph. We have no reason to fear Chelsea, despite them having the better of the war in recent times, we won the last battle and wounded the beast, so now we are back on an even bigger stage to prove that it was no fluke and grasp glory. The last time we faced Chelsea was at the Lane, it was the Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli show as we dismantled the Blues to triumph 5-3 in what could arguably be the game of the season so far in the Premier League, and a repeat performance and result would do very nicely, but I’d take any result that ends up with Spurs scoring more goals! The last time we faced Chelsea at Wembley, it was the Blues who hit 5 in a 5-1 win in the FA Cup semi final, although in controversial fashion with the still frustrating decision to award Chelsea a goal despite the ball not seeming to cross the line back in 2011. The last time we went face to face with Chelsea in the League Cup was the Final at Wembley, where we were victorious 2-1 after extra time, with Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathon Woodgate scoring the vital goals that sent us to success 7 years ago in 2008, the last trophy that Tottenham tasted; now we are hungry once again and will look to repeat the feat.

The Chelsea team news is that key midfielder Nemanja Matic (suspension) is out, while fellow defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee) is the only absentee through injury for the Premier League leaders. Matic will be a massive miss to the West London club, his strength, composure and technical ability will leave a Serbian size whole in the midfield, that should make it easier for us to find space in the final third with Christian Eriksen looking to exploit that extra space. The midfield battle without Matic swings in our favour, as well, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason’s energy and intensity, I’m sure Jose Mourinho would have wanted his trusty Serbian to try and negate the effect that the home-grown midfielders are capable of bringing to our team. Hopefully Nabil and Ryan can find their levels to outshine Cesc Fabregas and Ramires, expected to form the Blue’s partnership. Diego Costa has an extreme goal threat with 18 goals this season. His brute strength and aggression is something that can really be effective in the big games, but hopefully the occasion gets the better of him and his aggression boils over! As well as Costa, it’s Eden Hazard that takes the mantle of biggest threat, he can breeze past players and is so effective in the final third with goals and assists, 13 of each to be exact. We will have to be at our very best to contend with these fantastic players.capital-one-cup-1600x900304-792656_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham coming into the match is that there are no absentees through suspension or injury. We have a fully fit and flying squad coming into the biggest game of the season, so this is a massive boost, and this has been the case for quite a while now. There are still decisions to make for Mauricio Pochettino, though; with just 18 players able to be selected I’m sure some players will be left disappointed and disheartened either on the bench or left out of the squad, and that is just one factor that Pochettino will have to deal with, hopefully his squad reflects who deserves to play and who hasn’t proved they are worthy. I think we all know, as much as we could, what Pochettino’s favoured eleven is, and I think we’ll have conformation this Sunday, as he simply must play his best side. There is no time for sentiment. I’m excited and slightly nervous to see what side Mauricio thinks is best to deal with Chelsea as well as having enough to win the trophy.

The cameras, pundits, journalists and fans will all have eyes on the most electric 21-year-old striker there is at Wembley this Sunday. Harry Kane’s rise to greatness has seen the young man lead his boyhood side to Wembley, and the fairy-tale would continue if the Englishman could find it within himself to knock down the last obstacle in his way and lead his side to Cup glory against our bitter London rivals. It has been a fantastic season for the striker no matter what happens at Wembley, but it would hit another level if the boy could grip hold of a major domestic trophy; it would be a beautiful site for every Spurs fan. With 24 goals and 5 assists this season, you simply can’t doubt that Harry Kane has all the attributes to become a Tottenham great, and he’s got a chance to cement his name in the Tottenham history books with this match, as silverware means the world to Spurs fans all over the world. If Harry Kane, the magical, unbelievable phenomenon can be the man to bring us glory once again, it would be extraordinary. Let’s hope he can deliver like we know he can. Up against John Terry and most likely Kurt Zouma, Kane will have a tough task, and we will need to get as much service to the striker as possible, and will be relying massively on our midfielders to find their passing range, and find the gaps to give Harry Kane the best chance of hurting the Chelsea back line – this responsibility to provide Kane with the best possible service lies mainly with the Danish Footballer of the Year, Christian Eriksen. The Dane, along with Kane, has massive expectation from the fans to perform. He hasn’t been at his peak in the last 4-5 games, but, in the biggest game of the season I’m sure he will step it up and find his highest gear to perform, he’s crucial to our success due to his creative spark and ability to find the net and the crucial pass. When Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well; so let’s hope the man who has 11 goals and 4 assists so far this season. The partnership between Eriksen and Kane, if it can flourish on the biggest stage, will no doubt be very profitable for Tottenham – I hope both can hit their top levels.

There has been slight debate as to whether sentiment should prevail and Michel Vorm, the goalkeeper who played every game of our Capital One Cup campaign, should retain his spot for the final, but most believe that as this is our biggest game of the season, that our best team should play and that means Hugo Lloris, our number 1 goalkeeper, gets the nod. I think it’s a no-brainer; it has to be Hugo Lloris. As good as Michel Vorm is, Hugo is miles ahead of him, and as our captain, has to play in the final. I’m sure Michel Vorm will understand, as he’s been the first man to praise his goalkeeping rival. In midfield, Pochettino has even more big decisions to make, whether Mousa Dembele or Nacer Chadli plays as well as the Andros Townsend or Erik Lamela debate. It’s tough, but I think both players in both debates are worthy of a spot in the final, and it depends on which players Mauricio Pochettino feels are best to combat Chelsea’s threat. When we beat Chelsea 5-3, I thought Mousa Dembele, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli all played great games, and maybe that will weigh on the Boss’ mind. Winning the midfield battle will be key as well, as I say, Bentaleb and Mason have the ability to quash the Chelsea midfield with their tenacity and energy, and if thy are able to do that, then I think we will be one step closer to glory. In defence, the decision for who to partner Jan Vertonghen is another no-brainer for Pochettino; Eric Dier or Federico Fazio is the question but for me Eric Dier is the answer due to the partnership he has built with Vertonghen and his solidity, whereas I think Fazio is too prone to errors for such a big game.

It’s the biggest game of the season! A chance to end the 7-year trophy drought against our bitter London rivals at the home of football, Wembley. I can’t wait. I’m nervous, excited and just plain petrified of what is about to come our way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! The game is of course live on Sky Sports 1, but follow me on twitter for live, comprehensive coverage of our biggest game of the season including goal updates, videos, photos and much more. Follow me at @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Spurs are on their way to Wembley, Tottenham’s gonna to it again! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Chelsea at Wembley:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our Cup Final against Chelsea:

Read my Q&A with Turnstyle Sport HERE.462425722.0

And also have a read of my article on how Harry Kane will affect the Cup Final for Unibet HERE.promo249317734

Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match date & time: Sunday 22nd February 2015. 12pm GMT Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It’s big game after big game at the moment, cup final after cup final. After losing to Liverpool in frustrating fashion, then a difficult draw to Fiorentina in the Europa League, we now need to get back on track with a good win in an important London derby with West Ham. The Cup final should be put to the back of our mind, and our only focus must be on the next game, and making this season a success with the attitude that our only challenge is to win the next match, not to finish ahead of Arsenal, not to finish in the top four, only to win our next match. Our defeat to Liverpool was difficult to take, we weren’t amazing, but probably deserved a point, which would have been considered a good result, but now we have to respond with a win in a massive game in terms of the League standing, and for the fans who after a 3-0 and 2-1 defeat to West Ham last season at the Lane, need to take revenge, for sure. We sit 6th in the Premier League table, and need to keep winning games to put pressure on the teams ahead of us, and this is a good opportunity at home to get another three points on the board. At home, we’re confident, and hopefully we can return to winning ways in great fashion in a big London derby.

West Ham have had a good season so far, and sit in a respectable 8th position in the Premier League, just behind Liverpool and Tottenham, and hold the title of ‘best of the rest’ that aren’t battling it out for European places, although I am sure West Ham would like to think they have a chance of gaining a European spot, as it isn’t fully beyond them yet. Their recent form has not been fantastic, with only 3 wins in 12 games, and in their last fixture, in the FA Cup away to West Brom they fell to a 4-0 thumping, so they will be looking to make amends, but on the flip side we will be looking to take advantage of what could be seen as a slump in form. Their last three games, against Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton saw the Hammers amass only 2 points, with draws to the Saints and the Red Devils, which could be seen as a good two points, but after only beating Bristol 1-0 in the FA Cup, along with dispatching struggling Hull and winning on penalties to Everton, it is only 2 wins in 10 Premier League matches, with 5 draws and 3 losses. Their form is dropping and they’ll need to improve rapidly to have a chance of keeping up with the teams ahead of them who are all hitting a good run of form.

Andy Carroll (knee) is the only definite absentee for the Hammers, while Chiekhou Kouyate (arm) and Diafra Sakho (back) are slight doubts, but along with Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins are expected to be in the squad that travels to White Hart Lane, and as key players for West Ham, would be likely to be involved from the start. New signing Nene is also set to be absent due to a lack of match fitness. West Ham have quite a few good players, and up top Diafra Sakho is the Hammers’ top scorer, with 10 goals in all competitions, and his strength and finishing prowess have been very impressive in his first season in English football. He will be the main threat for the Irons, and they will be looking to get the service that he needs to be effective. The player that will be looking to provide that service will be Stewart Downing, who has 5 goals in the Premier League, but also has a notable 7 assists, cementing himself as a very effective player to West Ham this season, which has earned him an England call up this season, so we will be looking to contain his threat from either the wings or from his more central position. In midfield, the man that has made the Irons tick has been former Arsenal player and now on loan from Barcelona, Alex Song, who has proven himself a valuable and experienced man in the midfield for West Ham, earning a lot of plaudits from fans and journalists. Along with Song, Sakho and Downing, Enner Valencia has the pace and energy to cause problems, he has 4 goals this season, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally.Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 15.34.26
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a clean bill of health, with no suspensions either, and it’s so pleasing that this has been the case for quite a while. Only DeAndre Yedlin is the definite absentee having been with the USMNT. There will definitely be rotation from the side that drew with Fiorentina at the Lane, Harry Kane replacing goalscorer Roberto Soldado, with Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason expected to return as well, hopefully fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game with West Ham. Obviously you would expect Eric Dier and Danny Rose also to come back in to replace Ben Davies and Federico Fazio.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane will once again have the eyes of the public on him, to see if he can continue his remarkable form, with 23 goals in 36 games, in another really big game against another London rival. He has come into this big patch of games in stunning form and we need him to continue that coming into the last part of the season, including our humungous Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1st; hopefully the January player of the month can continue his February performances. Harry Kane has been joined in his good form by Mousa Dembele, who as well as hitting the net away at Liverpool in our 3-2 loss, was arguably our best player with Harry Kane; on the ball Mousa is phenomenal and he has improved drastically recently in the position just behind the striker, it enables the big Belgian to be more involved in the match and increase his effectiveness in the game, which can only be positive for Tottenham because of his ability to hold onto the ball and bring his team mates into the action. Mousa’s Belgian team mate Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic so far this season, and is showing his class at the back alongside either Fazio or Dier, showing his leadership qualities but also his ability in defence to keep opponents quiet. His tackling talent is second to none in our side, but also his composure to pick a pass and start attacks from the back. I have been extremely impressed with his performances this season after being poor last term, he has rediscovered his best form, and credit goes to Jan for working hard, but also Mauricio Pochettino for re-motivating the Belgian defender after looking disillusioned at Spurs last season. In midfield, we rely on Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb to provide the energy and tenacity in midfield, and they have delivered magnificently recently. Hopefully though, both players can tighten up their passing after a sloppy display against Liverpool, but to be fair that applies to the whole team who were slightly sloppy. Christian Eriksen has been fantastic this season, but in recent games he has been slightly ineffective and had a poor game against Fiorentina, so we need him to pick up his performance levels, because he is so important to Tottenham playing well; hopefully he can find his passing range again and maybe find the net again, as he has a little bit of a dip in form, but there’s no doubting he’ll come back into form very soon.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham.

– There have been three red cards in the last two Premier League meetings between West Ham and Spurs.

– Prior to West Ham’s win at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham had won seven and lost none of the previous 11 home games against the Hammers.

– Tottenham have conceded 497 goals in Premier League history at White Hart Lane.

– Eight of Spurs’ last 10 Premier League victories have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Tottenham Hotspur have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

– Spurs have recovered the joint-most points from losing positions of any team in the Premier League (15 along with Palace).

– West Ham have scored more headed goals (14) than any other Premier League team this season, also accounting for a divisional high 39% of total scored.

– The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W1 D4 L3).

– Injured striker Andy Carroll has scored in two of his three Barclays Premier League games for West Ham against Tottenham.

Another big game, bringing us back into Premier League action with a bang in another London derby against a definite rival where revenge is definitely on the cards after our previous losses to the Hammers. The game is live on BT Sport, but I will be sure to provide updates for goals, photos and videos from my twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get back to winning ways in another big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Ham at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the West Ham match:

Match Preview, Liverpool vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Tuesday 10th February 2015. 8pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Anfield.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

After triumphing in the North London Derby, we almost instantly have to re-focus on what is another massive game against a really good side, wanting to continue our good form and build on the fantastic result against Arsenal. The way in which we played was admirable, and now we have to replicate that intensity and energy this Tuesday against an energetic, creative Liverpool side, who at home are very difficult to beat, and always recognised as a side with a brilliant record at Anfield, with the Kop behind them. With the form we are in, we have to look to keep this momentum going and with confidence elevated within the squad we have all the tools to succeed in Merseyside against a good side, but one that is still finding it’s feet after the sale of Luis Suarez. At the moment we sit in 5th place, just one point off Manchester United in 4th and two points away from Southampton in 3rd, and now we must be looking to break our way into that top four bracket, and have a good opportunity to keep up the pressure with a win at Anfield, as tough as the game will no doubt be. I think we go into the game without fear; we have a team functioning well, that now knows that on their day, can beat any side in the League, and the good mentality that has been grinded into their make up by Mauricio Pochettino is starting to pay off magnificently, as the side never looks like losing, and even if we do go a goal behind there isn’t panic, and we always seem to be self-assured that we will snatch a goal or two with the quality we have up top, so, heading into another big game at Anfield, I’m confident of taking at least a point, and I’m sure Pochettino and the players feel the same.

Focusing on Liverpool; after a tough start to their season, with the loss of Luis Suarez, and the failure to settle in by some of their big signings, it was a turbulent beginning, with intense media scrutiny on their performances and results, but, they have recently started to pick up their displays and showcase more energy, creativity and goal threat than previously. They have hit good form, and in their last five Premier League games they have won 4 and drawn 1, and are unbeaten in 8 League fixtures, with their last loss coming to Manchester United, 3-0, back in mid December, so there is no doubt that we are coming into a very difficult fixture, with this Liverpool side in a winning mentality, despite their Merseyside derby bore draw at Goodison Park on Saturday evening. They will be high on confidence having gone unbeaten at Anfield in 9 games in all competitions, with only Chelsea back in early November scraping a 2-1 win. In our last game against the Merseyside giants, we fell to a 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane at the start of the season, being unlucky to lose by that scoreline, but deservedly losing the game at the very start of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at White Hart Lane. Then, the last time we visited Anfield was under Tim Sherwood’s tenure near the end of last season, a 4-0 defeat to a devastatingly good Liverpool side who had the power of Luis Suarez at their disposal, and a very well drilled and functioning side that was threatening for the League, whereas our side was to put it lightly, dysfunctional and poorly managed. Now though, it’s a different story and we will be looking to put the record straight after our poor displays in recent times against the Reds. We both had a derby on the Saturday, and we came out on top while Liverpool couldn’t get on the scoreboard in a 0-0 draw, and now we’ll be hoping we can keep Liverpool at bay and grab another three points within three days.

The team news for Liverpool is that key man Phillipe Coutinho have recovered from knock in the game against Everton to be fit for this game, but Lucas Leiva (groin), Brad Jones (hip), Raheem Sterling (foot) and John Flanagan (knee) are out, while Adam Lallana is in line to return to contention after a groin injury, which will be a big plus for the Reds. There is no doubting that having Phillipe Coutinho fit for the Reds will be a God send for Liverpool, who rely on him for creativity, goals and their overall ability to impact games and change them in Liverpool’s favour. Coutinho, recently, has been brilliant, and has 3 goals and 5 assists so far this season, which isn’t spectacular, but recently he has upped his game and become a more integral part of the Liverpool side, and has a similar effect on the side that Christian Eriksen has to our side, with his ability to see passes and gaps, as well as spread the play and contribute with goals and assists. Unfortunately for Liverpool, England and Daniel Sturridge, the striker has been side lined for a long period of time, but is now starting to get back into his stride, and returned against West Ham with a goal, and made an appearance from the bench against Everton at the week-end and will be hoping he can get back into the starting line up as soon as possible, but youngster Jordan Ibe may have something to say about that! The 21-year-old attacker was electric in the Merseyside derby and will be hoping he can get a sustained period of time in the side, and have his effect on Liverpool’s fortunes, he has pace, good technique and can cause problems for defenders. He is certainly one to watch out for in a dangerous Liverpool attacking group.
Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 23.09.11
The team news for Tottenham is that DeAndre Yedlin is the only absentee from the squad due to international duty with the USMNT, but other than that our side is 100% fit, healthy and raring to go, and long may it continue! Nabil Bentaleb returned to fantastic effect against Arsenal, but it was Andros Townsend who missed out on the 18 man squad who will be looking to fight his way back in, along with Younes Kaboul, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue and Emmanuel Adebayor, who’s futures don’t look bright at Tottenham at this moment in time.

There seems to be only one man who I can talk about at the moment and that man is Harry Kane. He is beyond unbelievable and is in nothing short of World Class form, hitting the 22-goal mark against Arsenal and continuing to silence any doubters he has left. Now, another big game is looming large and we are looking to the 21-year-old man in form to deliver once again and outshine the other English firepower in the ranks of Liverpool. You can see that he is enjoying himself on the field, and is relaxed about his chances, as he knows that when he gets one, he will take it, and he is being brilliantly clinical in front of the two posts. His all round game is the best in the Premier League at the moment, and every pundit across the land is running out of superlatives for the man who performs beyond disbelief. Now, after dismantling Arsenal and Chelsea, I am sure Harry Kane’s eyes are lighting up at the prospect of adding another side to his collection of goals. I don’t think anyone would put it past him! Mousa Dembele is along with the rest of the side who have been overshadowed by Kane’s greatness, as quietly in the background the powerful Belgian has been performing admirably just behind the striker, holding the ball and moving it beautifully, and really making the side tick over nicely, and against Liverpool, with the absence of Lucas Leiva, the grit in midfield, I think Mousa could have a big impact on the outcome of this game, and if he can get into his stride and effect the game in a similar way that he did against Arsenal, then I think along with Harry Kane, Mousa could be a vital part of any success. In the engine, it’s Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason who are putting in the work, and we will need them to be at the top of their games, to harass the creative spark of Liverpool’s midfield and take control of the game with their energetic and positive way of playing the game, and Nabil Bentaleb’s more offensive nature could be key as well, being the player who provided the inch perfect cross for Harry Kane’s winning header in the North London Derby. He really is a bright prospect for the future, and I look forward to seeing him develop even further. In defence, the partnership of Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen is looking very fruitful, with the defenders not only building a good understanding between themselves, but also their fullbacks, with Dier and Walker interchanging and helping each other well, and the same for Vertonghen and Rose. Dier has really showed his maturity in that centre back position, and showed how much better suited to that role he is than at right back.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League home matches against Spurs (W13 D6 L1).

– Spurs managed just one shot on target when they entertained Liverpool at White Hart Lane earlier in the season.

– Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur in the fixture with the most own goals in Premier League history (9), with three of them being netted by Jamie Carragher.

– The Reds have scored 15 goals in the last four Premier League meetings with Spurs, while the Lilywhites have failed to register on the score sheet in any of the last three.

– Liverpool have won just four of their last 11 Premier League home matches (W4 D5 L2).

– Liverpool scored their 10th Premier League penalty against Tottenham in the reverse fixture last August. This took them clear of Manchester City against Aston Villa as the team with most penalties against a single opponent.

– Spurs have won five of their last seven Premier League away games.

– All seven matches in that run have seen exactly three goals scored and finished either 2-1 or 3-0.

– Jordan Henderson has scored in two of his last three Premier League games against Spurs.

– Harry Kane has now scored 22 goals in all competitions this season; more than any other Premier League player.

– Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 14 appearances for Spurs in all competitions.

Another massive game looming large! A trip to Anfield after a North London Derby, and we have to put the win to the back of our minds and focus fully on gaining another big win against a fellow top 4 competitor. It’s another chance for the players to show that this side is one that can compete for the Champions League positions this season, and hopefully we are able to complete what would be a brilliant couple of weeks, securing our place at Wembley, triumphing in the North London Derby, and then winning at Anfield is what dreams are made of for Spurs fans! The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, but you can follow me on twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs, for all the match updates including goals, videos, photos and much more. Give us a follow and let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Liverpool at Anfield:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the trip to Merseyside:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match: Saturday 7th February 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal.

Tottenham goalscorers: Harry Kane 56’, Harry Kane 86’.

Arsenal goalscorer: Mesut Ozil 11’.

What a game, what a win, what a performance and what a player Harry Kane is. Everything we wanted to happen in this game did. It was our day and we now own, rightfully, the bragging rights in North London. We had a game plan and we stuck to it, we played with incredible energy, desire and every time we lost the ball, we recovered it as soon as was humanly possible. The side never panicked, never stressed; there was always an air of belief around the stadium and in the players that we could get the job done and we did exactly that, it was sensational. The win further boosts our confidence going into a very tough February period, with Liverpool coming up next, we go into that game bouncing and buzzing, and hopefully, the win propels us into having a wonderful season, because a North London Derby victory can change your fortune in an instant. We need to take this feeling and buoyancy into the rest of the season, and continue to be consistent and keep working our way up the Premier League table, and I hope, we can win a trophy as well. Mauricio Pochettino has been magnificent and his tactics in the big games have been marvellous; and now I hope on Tuesday we can do it again at Anfield. It’s all begun to click at Tottenham; the fans and the players have that connection again, and White Hart Lane is rocking – the way in which we are playing, with intent, with creativity and guile as well as aggression and desire, is exactly what the fans and the whole club has craved for a long while, and under Pochettino we are starting to see it all come together, and the future really is looking bright on this side of North London. I am certainly excited to see how we can further develop on what is a really good squad and bunch of young players.

Back to the game, in the first half, we started really well, Harry Kane going close, Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose were causing a mountain of problems on that left hand side and we were looking the much more likely side to break the deadlock. But, it wasn’t to be us that struck first, as Danny Welbeck showed great pace to breeze past Danny Rose, and then delivered a good ball for Olivier Giroud, who scuffed his shot and it unfortunately it fell to Mesut Ozil, who on 11 minutes stroked the ball into the top of the net, past Hugo Lloris. 1-0, but it was an injustice considering the way in which we were playing, and after their goal, we retook the momentum, and continued our dominance of possession and we did create chances, with Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, and Ryan Mason going fairly close, but unfortunately we couldn’t get back on level terms in that first half, but there was still so much belief in all the players, and they knew they could get the goals needed. After Arsenal got their goal, they did sit back, try and frustrate us, but it didn’t work, we kept coming and kept coming and were never stressed about when the goal would come, but you could see that we knew that it was coming. In the first half there was a definite feistiness about the game, with tackles coming in from every angle, and normally it was Ryan Mason who was doing the challenging for Tottenham! He was everywhere.

The second half was all about Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur, we dominated, made the game our own, and one of own, Harry Kane, was the man who made it happen for us, along with fellow Tottenham youth products Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason in midfield who showed incredible tenacity and energy to push us onto victory. After going close with Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason, with shots from outside the box, inside the box, free kicks, chances coming from corners as well; we were dominant. And, on 56 minutes, after Erik Lamela whipped in the corner, and it was Jan Vertonghen who got his head to it and guided it towards goal, with David Ospina parrying the ball into the path of Harry Kane, who composed himself before caressing the ball into the back of the net for 1-1, and then, our belief sky rockets, our performance level increases, and the noise level around White Hart Lane becomes deafening, and this North London Derby became electric. After Kane’s equaliser, we pushed so hard for that winning goal, and came close with Mousa Dembele who was brilliant throughout the game, hit a shot with his right foot and it was parried by Ospina and we were so unlucky not to get our second then and there, but, we still had many more opportunities to come, with Mason from long range straight at Ospina, Erik Lamela who skied the ball from close range and Christian Eriksen who had a chance from the free kick, but, it wasn’t going to be any of them to get the winner, but instead, our beautiful Harry Kane was destined for the winning goal, and in the 86th minute, he got it as Nabil Bentaleb lobbed a wonderful ball from deep into the box and Harry Kane rose highest and directed a peach of header past the despairing David Ospina and buried into the back of the net and White Hart Lane erupted in joy, and it looked clear that we were destined for victory in what was a brilliant performance and we had that finishing product from the magnificent Harry Kane, and he adds Arsenal to his list of clubs dismantled. Kane now has 22 goals in all competitions so far this season, and his 4th goal in 2 games. Excellent. At the end of the game, you could see what it meant to every Tottenham player and every fan. Fantastic feeling. Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Arsenal+Premier+League+TjKPRt3HeT5x There were so many fantastic displays all over the pitch for Tottenham, but there is no disputing who has to have the Man of the Match award – Harry Kane was sensational, the way he took his goals was brilliant, but the way he ran with the ball with intent, found spaces on the left, right and centre of the pitch, and used his energy and strength so well to disrupt the Arsenal defence. It was a complete display, and the only thing that was missing was the match ball, but he deserves every award that could come his way, as he was astonishing. He has shown time and time again that whoever the opposition is, he will score goals and cause problems for the opposition, and his never give up attitude is one that brings confidence to the players around him, he inspires the team with his work ethic and there is no doubting that the fans get motivated when he picks up the ball anywhere on the pitch, and the decibel level raises. He can only get better, and at 21 it really is flabbergasting how much more he can do within his career, as he isn’t the finished article, but there’s no doubt he is on the way to being just that. He in my view is producing World Class displays, week in, week out at this moment in time. Along with Harry Kane, the midfield duo of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason were outstanding, and dictated the pace of the game in the centre, spraying passes across the turf, long, short, forwards, sideways, back – everything a central midfielder should do. As well as they’re great work on the ball, they’re work off of it was just as impressive, if not more impressive. They held their positions really well, made crunching tackles, interceptions and showed incredible energy and desire to win, that no doubt pushed us to victory, with Nabil Bentaleb producing the quality assist for Harry Kane’s winning goal. At left back, Danny Rose was also brilliant, especially in the first half where Hector Bellerin was out of his depth against an in form Rose, running at him with pace and purpose, and getting crosses into the box, but unfortunately he wasn’t as accurate with his crosses as we would like, but he still showed great intent and in defence, he made great tackles and kept Danny Welbeck quiet, except unfortunately for their goal! But, he has come on leaps and bounds so far this season and it’s great to see. Young Eric Dier has been given the opportunity at centre back recently, and has risen to the occasion majestically today, being calm and composed with and without the ball, keeping Olivier Giroud at bay throughout the game and he passed the ball really well out from the back, and he is creating a very fruitful partnership with Jan Vertonghen at centre back. The final mention goes to Mousa Dembele, who was majestic in the number 10 role; he is so difficult to get the ball off of, and he passed the ball with purpose, and spread the play really well. He has hit form once again and he could become a massive player this season, as when on form he is such a different and intriguing player to watch.

What a win! It’s always a pleasure to win a North London Derby, but having a home grown talent dispatch the club from Woolwich is something special, and it puts us ahead of Arsenal in the table, which makes it further sweet for everyone at White Hart Lane. We were superb, and now hopefully we can further improve and take this confidence into our next fixtures this season, starting with Liverpool on Tuesday 10th February at Anfield. He’s one of our own and he’s the King of North London. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for everything Tottenham! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings from the side that beat Arsenal at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8.5
Dier – 9
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 9 (Chadli 75’ – 6.5)
Mason – 9 (Paulinho 90’ – N/A)
Bentaleb – 9
Dembele – 8.5
Lamela – 7.5 (Stambouli 89’ – N/A)
Eriksen – 8
Kane – 9.5 – Man of the Match.

Mauricio Pochettino reaction:

Ryan Mason and Harry Kane reaction:

Match Preview, West Brom vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 31st January 2015. 3pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings shown HERE.

After making it to Wembley in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, our attention quickly turns back to the Premier League, and a challenging fixture against a reinvigorated West Brom side under the guidance of Premier League survival specialist Tony Pulis. Our confidence is high, our form is good and we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Wembley is on the horizon and we are in good positions in the Europa League with the knockout stages close and Premier League, where we sit only 3 points off of 4th spot, and 5 points off 3rd. It hasn’t been the perfect start under Mauricio Pochettino, but you offered this situation to him at the start of his reign as Tottenham boss, I am sure he would of snapped your hand off and said thank you very much. There is no doubt that we have seen significant improvement under the Argentinian, not only in our fitness, but in the side’s mentality and will to win; there is a certain toughness that wasn’t here 6 months ago, and self belief is most definitely running through the veins of the players. What we want to see now is further improvement; more comfortable victories, a more fluid style of play and consistency in our performances over all three competitions that we are still involved in. But, at this moment in time, I don’t think I can complain at all, because as seasons go, this is shaping up to be quite a successful one!

West Brom have had a turbulent season, starting under the unpopular manager choice of Alan Irvine, who lost his job after a run of only 2 victories in 14 matches, the club turned to Tony Pulis, who was manager of the year last season with Crystal Palace, and now things look more rosy for the Albion, having now gone unbeaten under Pulis in 5 games, winning 3 and drawing 2. A January unbeaten is what the Baggies will be looking to achieve, and it will be a tough test at the Hawthorns to stop that. Last time we faced West Brom was at the Lane, and the Albion triumphed 1-0 thanks to a James Morrison header in a gloomy day in North London, and now we will look to retaliate with a victory of our own on their home turf. Last time we visited the Hawthorns, it was a six-goal thriller, with West Brom taking a three goal lead in the first half an hour, before we clawed it back in the second half to 3-3 thanks to goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and an own-goal from Jonas Olsson. It was late heroics from Christian Eriksen that acquired us the point, hopefully this time he can help us claim all three. Tony Pulis will make sure his side is well disciplined, difficult to break down and at full concentration throughout the 90 minutes, so it will be very challenging to score the goals we want to, and we will have to rely on Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli to spot the small gaps, or pounce on small mistakes and make them pay, as well as keeping our guard up to what I am sure will be a team set up to counter attack with pace, with the likes of Saido Berahino and Stephane Sessegnon able to use that speed to stretch defences and cause problems.

The team news for the Baggies is that back up keeper Boaz Myhill (finger) is facing a late fitness test, while Jonas Olsson (calf) and Youssef Mulumbu (hamstring) are ruled out. The good news for the Albion is that new signing from Wigan Callum McManaman, who scored against Spurs in his last appearance against us, is available and in the squad to face us, and he could use his craftiness to West Brom’s advantage for sure. As well as McManaman, West Brom will look to young striker Saido Berahino, who has been in great form so far this season for the Baggies, bagging (pun intended) 14 goals in 27 appearances, which has earned him interest from clubs such as Liverpool, and even Tottenham, so there is no doubt who will be down as West Brom’s danger man in the Spurs dressing room. A player who I enjoy watching a lot, is Stephane Sessegnon, and he is without doubt West Brom’s most skilful and intelligent player in the final third, as he can contribute with goals and assists, but probably not as much as he could do, with only 1 goal this season, and 3 assists, which I must say is not as impressive as it should be for a player with a great footballing mind. Along with Berahino and Sessegnon, in midfield they will look to the craft of Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and James Morrison to move the ball around and create chances, with the Albion relying on Yacob to be the holding man in midfield, and most likely stick like a fly to honey on Christian Eriksen. There is no doubting that this West Brom side will be set up really well, and will work their socks off in defence and midfield.Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 21.13.48
The team news for Tottenham is that Nacer Chadli returns after compassionate leave, while Hugo Lloris returns after a short break and Mauricio Pochettino reports no injury concerns, while DeAndre Yedlin and Nabil Bentaleb are away on international duty for the USA and Algeria respectively. It isn’t often that we can boast a fully fit squad, and with the heavy fixture list it is important that we take full advantage, but we must make sure the side isn’t rotated too much, so that it doesn’t alter our rhythm or the team’s understanding. The return of Nacer Chadli and Hugo Lloris is vital, and I hope they can make a big impact to help us achieve victory at the Hawthorns this Saturday.

Against Sheffield United, Mousa Dembele was fantastic, on the ball he was positive, imaginative and inventive and he gave us control in the game when he got on the ball. He is such a brilliant talent, and when he turns it up, he can be as good as any player in the Premier League, which makes it so frustrating to see him as a bit part player in our side, when if he could take games by the scruff of the neck, he could quite easily cement a place in our starting eleven. I would like to see him given a chance to start in the Premier League, as another chance to be consistent in his performances and hopefully he can give us control of the game against West Brom in the centre of the park if he is given the opportunity by Mauricio Pochettino; he definitely deserves it after his midweek performance. He speaks for himself with his performances and goals, but I am going to mention him again, especially after his incredible, match winning brace in midweek – Christian Eriksen is wonderful, on the ball, from set pieces and in front of goal, and he has been crucial to any success we have had so far this season, and we will be trusting him again to deliver in another important game, after notching 10 goals already this season. Nacer Chadli is back in contention, and we have missed his effectiveness in front of goal, as well as his link up play with Eriksen & Kane, and general wing play on the left hand side. Hopefully Nacer can pick up where he left off before the tragic passing of his father, and he can continue to generate such great form, but if he isn’t quite fit enough, then I hope he can make an impact from the bench. Up front, Harry Kane is enduring a slight goal drought by his standards, and I am sure he will be eager to end that barren spell with a goal or two, but even if he doesn’t, he still produces such a fantastic work ethic, and his link up play has been superb.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– West Brom’s win over Spurs earlier this season ended a run of nine Barclays Premier League games without a win over the Londoners (W0 D5 L4).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last four Premier League trips to the Hawthorns (W2 D2).

– Christian Eriksen has scored in two of his three Premier League games against West Brom.

– Seven of Tottenham’s last eight Premier League wins have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Spurs’ record after 22 games this campaign is worse than each of the last five seasons.

– Tottenham have won 10 points with goals scored in the 88th minute or later this season; four more than any other side.

– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other team in the Premier League this season (6).

– No player has scored more winning goals than Christian Eriksen this season (5- level with Yaya Toure).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League appearances.

– Tottenham have lost just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W5 D2 L1).

Our concentration levels have to be up to scratch if we want to avoid West Brom doing the double over us this season. Hopefully, we will be professional and get the job done at the Hawthorns – it is important that we get some consistency, not only in our results but in our performances, and I would like to see us try and take control of the game early on and score an early goal, and build on that to kill the game off! It will no doubt be very tough though, and we will have to be at our best to break down a well drilled Pulis side. The game isn’t televised, but I will be providing goal updates, photos, videos and more at my twitter account, follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Brom at the Hawthorns:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Brom press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match date & time: Wednesday 29th October 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Capital One Cup action returns to White Hart Lane with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors. A big game with a place in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final’s up for grabs for the winner. It’s always difficult to take when you lose; especially when it is at home, throwing away a 1-0 lead to a team that we should really beat, but it’s got to be forgotten and it can’t effect our performance against Brighton, but be an inspiration to the players – to fight harder and silence doubters. A win this Wednesday won’t make everything Rosey – but getting to the Quarter Finals would be really good, hopefully leading to a good draw, and if that happens, who knows, we could go all the way to Wembley! For me, winning a trophy is well and truly overdue at Tottenham, whether it’s the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or Europa League, winning a major trophy is the lift that Tottenham needs, with top four in the Premier League looking out of reach. Hopefully, we can get through on Wednesday with very little difficulty, and a few goals wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Brighton sit 21st in the Championship, just 2 points off of the relegation places. In 14 League games, they have won just 2, drawn 7 and lost 5. New manager Sami Hypia has struggled to find the winning formula on the South coast, with a lack of goals a big problem for the Seagulls, with only 13 goals scored in 14 games, drawing too many games and not being able to get a run of good results together. The Capital One Cup has been a welcome distraction from their League form, winning both their 2nd and 3rd round games with relative ease against Cheltenham and Burton, winning 2-0 & 3-0 respectively. But of course, they haven’t faced a test of the magnitude of Tottenham, especially at White Hart Lane under the lights. The last time we faced Brighton was in 2005, an FA Cup 3rd round tie at White Hart Lane in which Tottenham triumphed 2-1, courtesy of Ledley King and Robbie Keane goals. There’s no doubt that Brighton will be well up for the game, just like Nottingham Forest before them, and they will be carrying the support of 4100 Brightonians alongside them, who I’m sure will sing until the very end for their team and attempt to give them an extra level. Whenever a lower league team comes to a big Premier League team’s home, the want to win and score is large and we must act in a professional manner to get the job done.

The team news for Brighton is that Craig Mackail-Smith (hamstring) will be unable to start for the Seagulls, but will be in the 18 man squad, with Sam Baldock (cup tied), Solly March (back) and Dale Stephens (ankle) are out of the game. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is available for Brighton after his suspension, which will be a big boost for the Seasiders. Brighton do have threats – but their top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk, he has 5 goals and is a definite threat from set pieces, which will probably be Brighton’s biggest chance to score, despite our height at the back with Federico Fazio. Kazenga LuaLua is one of those players that can bring a bit of magic to the game, be it a cross or a goal from range, he has that little bit of quality, but doesn’t show it often enough. LuaLua is Brighton’s top assist maker this season with 3, 2 in the League and 1 in the Capital One Cup. He also has 2 goals so far this season. In the centre of midfield, young Rohan Ince is a talented player, he’s big, strong and competent on the ball, he can get Brighton playing if given time and space, but if we pressuring him and get in his face when on the ball, I’m sure we’ll be able to stop his flow. Another talented young midfielder is England U21 international Jake Forster-Caskey, less powerful, more agile and able to get Brighton moving; just like with Rohan Ince, we should be looking to pressure them early and disrupt their passing rhythm.

IMG_2525.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the game against Brighton, but Kyle Naughton returns from an ankle injury, while Federico Fazio is available again after his 1 match suspension. Emmanuel Adebayor had an upset stomach after the game against Newcastle, but he has recovered and is available for selection against the Albion.

Harry Kane has been in stellar form so far this season, he’s got the goalscoring touch and I’m sure he’ll get the nod upfront again in the cup competitions, possibly alongside Roberto Soldado who scored in the last round of this competition. It seems Pochettino sees Harry Kane as a second striker, someone who needs to play with a partner, and even if I disagree and believe he can and will become a leading striker, he has been performing extremely well in this position and I hope his understanding with Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor develops more so that both Kane & his partner can benefit. In midfield, Benjamin Stambouli and Mousa Dembele are expected to partner each other, a partnership that could start in the Premier League for many, many teams, with their ability on the ball, especially Mousa Dembele, with Stambouli’s toughness and ability to win the ball back and pass it efficiently, both are very good players and I think have the makings of a good partnership, with a good balance in their midfield pivot. On the wing, it’s another opportunity for Andros Townsend to show his worth and effect a game in a positive way with his pace and direct running style with the ball, he needs to be more efficient, to score more goals and make more assists, at the moment he still looks like a raw talent but hopefully he can continue to improve and effect the games he plays more. To add width to our play, I’d play Aaron Lennon on the right hand side and Andros Townsend on the left, to get them whipping crosses into the box for Harry Kane, and Roberto Soldado. I think we’ll score more goals like that. Almost a direct 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 system. We can do that at home against ‘weaker’ opposition and still dominate the midfield.

A game where a win brings us just 2 games away from a final at Wembley. If that isn’t inspiration to victory for the players, I don’t know what is! A cup game under the lights at White Hart Lane awaits and Brighton I’m sure will try to make it as difficult as possible for the Tottenham team, but I’m confident, as always, that we can get the job done. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane from my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Brighton at White Hart Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Lennon – Stambouli – Dembele – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our game against Brighton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Asteras Tripolis.

Match date & time: Thursday 23rd October 2014. 8:05pm KO BST.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV 4. Full world wide TV listings HERE.

Match day three of the Europa League group stages is at our doorstep, and we need to step up our performances & increase our points tally if we are to avoid a shock group stage exit. In two games, we have accumulated just two points and that isn’t good enough, despite two difficult games away at Partizan and at home to Besiktas. It’s important we aim to take full points from our next four games in the group, especially our home fixtures, starting with Asteras Tripolis. Our start of season form has stuttered at times, and we lack consistency from game to game, so that is something we must put right really early before it starts to take an effect on the team, manager & fans. In the Europa League, we are expected to go out, get a few goals and breeze the group, but also make a real go of the knockout stages. We all know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but our players must perform better than they have done so far and aim to win what is a great & prestigious competition. At home to Asteras Tripolis, the expectation is that we will get our first win of the Europa League campaign; it’s now up to the players to deliver that and hopefully with some style.

Asteras Tripolis, despite being the somewhat unknown quantity of Group C, currently top it and are the only team in the group to record a win in the competition so far, beating Partizan Belgrade 2-0 at home. The Greek outfit also managed to get a 1-1 draw away at Besiktas, a team we struggled with at times at the Lane. The unknown aspect of their game could play into their advantage and therefore it’s important the players don’t underestimate the opposition and try to play the game our way, with an early goal, otherwise this team could cause us problems if they decide to sit back, frustrate & then counter attack us. Being group leaders at this moment in time doesn’t mean too much, and you would still expect Tottenham and Besiktas to be going through once the fixtures are all played, but the assumption of having an easy group is wide of the mark and we must take this game seriously and Pochettino has to get the point of professionalism across to the players as best as he can. Asteras will have a game plan, and they will work hard to stick to it; it’s our job to break the team down early and dictate & control the game in the way we want it to be played.

Asteras Tripolis have a couple of injuries heading into the game; striker Ziguy Badibanga (thigh), defender Dorin Goian (ankle) and midfiedler Eric Tie Bie (knee) have been ruled out of the game, with midfielder Dimitris Kourbelis (thigh) a doubt. The main threat for Asteras lies with strikers Jerónimo Barrales, who has 4 goals in 7 games, and Manuel Parra who has 3 goals in 9 games, but 2 in 2 Europa League games. The creator for Asteras is Martin Rollé, the Argentinian attacking midfielder on loan from San Lorenzo has 5 assists in 9 games so far this season, bagging 2 goals as well, he can cause defences problems and can play the incisive pass or deliver the dangerous cross. He either plays on the left hand side or as a number 10. Despite having these threats, we will hope that they won’t be getting many opportunities and we can focus on our attacking prowess.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal), Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) have been ruled out of the game. Other than them, we have a full squad to chose from and it looks as though this will be another opportunity to change the team around and give ‘fringe’ players a chance to express themselves and push for a starting place in the Premier League. As always it’s an opportunity to put their names into Mauricio Pochettino’s thinking with a good performance, and hopefully that can lead to a good, hard working and prosperous squad.

The debate all around the Tottenham fans at the moment is which striker should lead the line. Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane, or Roberto Soldado. In this game, I would start with Harry Kane; he offers the most of any striker we have in my eyes, he works hard, holds the ball up well and can finish chances, which both Soldado and Adebayor are struggling with at this moment in time. It is another opportunity for Harry Kane to prove to Pochettino that he is the option for the Premier League games and can lead the line on his own; so far, Mauricio looks to favour Emmanuel Adebayor over both, but I think Kane has staked a better claim than both so far this season, with 3 goals in 4 starts, the same amount of Adebayor & Soldado in 12 starts combined. In midfield, I expect Mousa Dembele and Benjamin Stambouli to start, with Nabil Bentaleb out injured. Mousa has lost his place in the Premier League starting line up, but has an opportunity to fight for his place in this game. I think Dembele is an incredible player, with talent coursing through his veins, but of course he needs to show it more regularly and also contribute a little more in the attacking third of the pitch. Stambouli and Dembele could provide a very balanced combination; I hope they both show their quality on the pitch. Defensively, Federico Fazio and Vlad Chiriches look the likely partnership, with Fazio suspended from Premier League duty, Jan Vertonghen looks like he will be rested. In goal, it will be interesting to see whether Hugo Lloris or Michel Vorm gets the nod; I wouldn’t be surprised to see either start, but I would personally like to see Vorm get a chance.

Important game! Important to get back to winning ways after losing to Manchester City, and also put our first win on the board in the Europa League Group Stages. The game is being shown live on ITV4, but I will be providing game updates, videos, photos and more on my Twitter account, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Asteras at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Stambouli – Dembele
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Asteras press conference:

How would you line up against Asteras?

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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