Match Review, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match: Wednesday 17th December 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 4-0 Newcastle.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Bentaleb 18′, Chadli 46′, Kane 65 & Soldado 70′.

What a win! An extraordinary result and fantastic performance that has left a beautiful taste in Tottenham fans’ mouths. We have progressed to the Capital One Cup Semi Finals, and will face Sheffield United over two legs for a place at Wembley, which is what dreams are made of! Throughout the game, we were composed on the ball, efficient in our passing and clinical in our finishing. Benjamin Stambouli has hailed it as the perfect performance, and it really was. We were just as good off the ball as we were on the ball, though, and we tackled well, kept compact and were set up magnificently to nullify the Newcastle threat – especially form Moussa Sissoko. It was a performance that shows we are learning from mistakes, growing as a side, and also showed even without all of our best players out on the field, if we are set up correctly, limit our mistakes and introduce the kind of energy & enthusiasm we had then we can be quite successful. The opportunity to win a trophy is massive, now, Sheffield United are a League 1 side, and with the team we have we should be picking them off, especially after two legs. We avoided Chelsea and Liverpool and it really is the perfect draw – a day out at Wembley is brilliant in itself, and would give the club and the fans a real boost which is what we need at this moment in time. It’s a massive opportunity!

Focusing back on the game; in the first half, we started brightly, passed the ball well, and created some decent chances which could have easily been our first goal in the first 15 minutes. Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen all looking very lively. In the end though, the deadlock was broken by one Nabil Bentaleb, who poached his first ever goal for Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a Christian Eriksen corner which was fumbled by the Newcastle ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, and Bentaleb was alert to pounce on his mistake and set Tottenham on the path to victory. Newcastle weren’t bad in the first half, they went close themselves to breaking even, but their finishing wasn’t crisp enough. Bursting runs from Moussa Sissoko were the main threat, and he forced Michel Vorm into a good save from outside the box. The Geordies were threatening, and it was obvious that another goal for Tottenham had to come to have any sense of comfort. 1-0 at the break, and very content with the performance, but last time Newcastle visited the Lane, that was the case, and they ran away 2-1 victors, so the fans, Pochettino and the players knew that an equally as fast start in the second half was necessary or history had the possibility of repeating itself.

And as the second half kicked off, we got what we wanted. We kept the ball, drowned out Newcastle’s early threat and looked comfortable and most importantly, focussed! And then our second goal was procured; Christian Eriksen being forced wide, and looking like the chance was dead, before he brilliantly found a reverse pass into the path of Nacer Chadli who controlled it, moved into a better shooting position and then picked his spot expertly form outside the box to double Tottenham’s lead and make it a much more comfortable scoreline. We were cruising into the semi-finals, and Newcastle didn’t seem to have the spark, clinical edge or collective quality to influence the game in the way they wanted. As time moved on, we got more comfortable and comfortable, on the ball and off of it. We were creating chances, finding space, passing the ball crisply and switching play very easily with both full backs high and Christian Eriksen involved in almost everything in the middle of the park. It was lovely to watch. The third goal was thanks to good play on the left hand side from Mousa Dembele, who held off a challenge and released the ball to Andros Townsend who’s quick, one touch pass found Harry Kane who got the better of the defender before expertly sliding the ball into the far right hand corner to put the game beyond doubt. 3-0, 65 minutes in. That was Kane’s final contribution to a wonderful performance as he was replaced by Roberto Soldado – who then quickly made his mark, as Christian Eriksen drove at the Newcastle back four and got his shot away which was poorly parried by Jak Alnwick, and fell into the path of Roberto Soldado, who adjusted his feet and easily poked the ball into the back of the net, in true poachers fashion. After that goal on the 70 minute mark, the game’s pace fizzled out and we had most of the ball, and looked relaxed in our position, even to the point where showboating was being cheered by the fans as Andros Townsend produced his latest back heel. Full time – and a fantastic victory which keeps the dream of silverware very much alive.

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There were great performances all over the field in this game. It was not our strongest team – but it shows the quality of the squad we have when we can bring in the likes of Michel Vorm, Vlad Chiriches, Andros Townsend and Benjamin Stambouli and they can perform like they did in this game. While first 11 players such as Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb producing their best and it was great to see a team performance, and not relying on individual quality to pull us through. For me, Christian Eriksen was our stand out performer, in the centre of midfield he pulled the strings, kept the ball expertly, and was extremely effective on the ball, being involved in 3 of the 4 goals and moving the ball quickly in midfield. Christian seems to have once again found his top form, after an admittedly slow start to the season, he has found not only his goalscoring form, but his creative side is starting to come through and that’s incredibly important to the team. He’s a player that can win you games single handedly and I can’t wait to see him develop even further, as Jan Vertonghen says, he has the potential to become a Tottenham great. In the centre of midfield, I was incredibly impressed with the performances of Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli; they were energetic, enthusiastic and composed; which was exactly what we needed to nullify the threat of Moussa Sissoko, who in all honesty couldn’t get any rhythm to his game due to always being surrounded by Stambouli and Bentaleb. This partnership has to be given an opportunity to flourish in the Premier League, in my opinion. It has balance, and both players have potential to become very important for the future. In defence, we were solid throughout. And the partnership between Fazio and Vertonghen is starting to grow and grow, and they are starting to understand each other’s games and I think it looks the makings of a good combination. There’s also a need to mention the performance of Danny Rose, who I thought had a really good game, and is definitely rising to the task of winning his Premier League place back from Ben Davies, who has been equally as good.

A massive result! In arguably our biggest game of the season so far, we came out on top in emphatic style and booked a place in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals, where we will face Sheffield United, and a chance to go to Wembley is on the horizon! Our next game is against Burnley at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Saturday, which is another big home game, which we need all three points! Join me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Newcastle at the Lane:
Vorm – 8.5
Chiriches – 7
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Stambouli – 8.5
Bentaleb – 8.5 (Capoue 81′ – 6)
Chadli – 8 (Dembele 61′ – 7)
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Townsend – 7.5
Kane – 8.5. (Soldado 68′ – 7)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 4-0 win over Newcastle:

Match highlights from our 4-0 win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Newcastle.

Match date & time: Wednesday 17th December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After our 2-1 away win against Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday, our focus quickly turns to the Capital One Cup Quarter Final at the Lane. For me, it’s our biggest game of the season so far. To make it into the semi finals would be a big achievement – and being three games away from Wembley is tantalising. At White Hart Lane, we have to be hoping that we will make the Semi-Finals, but, against a decent Newcastle side who have already beaten us at the Lane this season, we cannot underestimate the threat that they possess. Our home form has been difficult this season to say the least, but in the cups, we are unbeaten, so hopefully we can continue that form and triumph into the semi-finals. Realistically, it will be a very hard competition to win, but in one off games, anything can happen if we take it seriously. This close to the Final, it’s necessary to put out a strong, competitive side, even with the amount of games thrown our way during the Christmas period. A trophy is something that would give the club a lift like nothing else can. People have banged on about the top four and the Champions League for a long time, but I think fans are starting to realise that whether or not we get in, it’s almost impossible to win. So what’s the point? A trophy is a memory that can last a life time, and goes down in the history books. It’s what football fans crave – a day at Wembley. A glory, glory night. There is a long way to go, though, and first, Newcastle stand in our way.

Newcastle are a decent side, with good quality players. They sit 8th in the Premier League, and in 10 games they have only lost twice. Including wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. They cannot be underestimated, as I say. In the last round of the Capital One Cup, Newcastle travelled to Manchester City as big underdogs, but came away from the game as 2-0 winners at the Etihad and secured a place in the Quarter Finals. This just highlights how difficult the game will be for us – but we’ll be hoping that they won’t recreate the form showed against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, but instead recreate the result of when they last visited North London and faced our rivals – Arsenal – as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates. If we can find our form, if we are direct and show the quality that we possess, we can triumph and get through – but, if we are too relaxed, slow and complacent, then Newcastle will come to the Lane and steal the dream of Wembley away from us before it’s even been comprehended. In our last two games against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, we have lost both by one goal – so we’ll be looking to buck the trend before this becomes a habit!

The team news for Newcastle is that goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliott (hip) are both ruled out, while Ryan Taylor (knee), Gabriel Obertan (hip), Siem De Jong (thigh), Davide Santon (knee), Curtis Good (groin) and Rolando Aarons (hamstring) are all ruled out, while Mehdi Abeid (ankle) will undertake a late fitness test ahead of the game. Also, right back Daryl Janmaat (suspended) is out of the game. Newcastle have some good players, and none are better than driving midfielder Moussa Sissoko; he has power, pace and can effect games and change their momentum – and we saw the brute force of that the last time Newcastle made the journey to White Hart Lane, as he changed the game in Newcastle’s favour with his driving runs and quality on the ball. To deal with him, it’s important that we enforce our midfield upon them, and make sure that we are efficient on the ball and are energetic defensively to counter act Sissoko’s big threat. Another of Newcastle’s big threats, scored against us in our last fixture – Ayoze Perez has pace, technique and energy up front, as well as the ability to stretch a defence and run in behind – not forgetting his eye for goal, and he’s netted 4 goals in 8 games, including 3 against Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

IMG_3141.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness), is out of the game. And that’s it. Hurrah! Kyle Naughton has returned to the squad after injury and completes a full squad, excluding the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor. It really is important, coming into the Christmas period, that we have fully fit squad to choose from, and hopefully the players step up and play & train for their places in the first team. We’re very lucky to have a fully fit squad; and now we have to utilise that to our advantage and put a run of results together, building consistency.

It’s difficult to predict what sort of starting eleven Mauricio Pochettino will select in this game – as it is difficult timing in between extremely important Premier League fixtures, and we all know that Pochettino preaches his faith in the squad, and isn’t afraid to make changes and use his team – but, we also have to take into consideration that this is as big as a Premier League game, if not bigger – and the fans will want a performance as well as most importantly – a result. It’s a big game for our fringe players as well as our key players, as it is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents, as it is every time they step on the pitch. The players that I’m referring to are Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, Aaron Lennon and Benjamin Stambouli, who all in my opinion have the quality to be in the Premier League first team, but have a fight on their hands with the performances of the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen – which is a tall order for the fringe players. The key player in this game, excluding Harry Kane, who is likely to be rested, is Nacer Chadli who if he finds his form again, can win us a game with his goals and ability on the ball. It’s likely that Nacer will play just behind Roberto Soldado, which if they can form an understanding, could be quite a profitable partnership.

It’s a big game! I hope White Hart Lane will find it’s voice for a Quarter Final of a major domestic trophy. The game isn’t televised. I will be attending the game, but I will attempt to update as much as possible from the stands. Hopefully I’ll be reporting a win! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Newcastle at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Newcastle press conference: