Match Preview, Tottenham vs Manchester City.

Match date & time: Sunday 3rd May 2015. 4 pm Kick Off (UK Time).

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After a good win away at Newcastle, and a decent point shared at St Mary’s with Southampton, our attention turns to Manchester City back home at White Hart Lane. Last season’s Premier League champions visit the Lane knowing that the title is out of their reach this season, and are fighting for second place in the League with Arsenal and Manchester United, with top four places looking sown up for the Gunners, United and City, it’s just the internal battles that have to be decided for who eventually does finish second, third and fourth. Our form has been patchy recently and our football hasn’t been mesmerising but it has been effective at times and results have come our way, but heading into a match with a side that has the quality that Manchester City do, we’re going to have to step it up to the next level; we have made quite a few individual errors defensively recently which has lead to goals, and against a side like Manchester City who already create lots of good chances to score themselves, helping them do that is the opposite of what we need to be doing. If we can become more decisive on the ball in midfield, and less ponderous in the final third, then we can cause a sometimes-shaky Manchester City defence problems. It’s just our own ability in defence to keep out the likes of Sergio Aguero that will be questioned.

Manchester City sit second in the Premier League heading into this weekend’s fixtures, level on points with Arsenal and just two ahead of neighbours Manchester United. Their talent is well documented and ability to dismantle teams evident – they have fantastic individual players, but at times those individual players don’t come together as a functional team, and this season the Sky Blues haven’t hit the heights that a side spending the money they are, should and settling for second place and no trophies simply isn’t good enough for them, and they know that – well, the fans certainly do. Coming into this match Manchester City haven’t set the world alight, with six wins and four losses in their last 10 Premier League fixtures, those disappointing losses coming against Liverpool, Burnley, Crystal Palace and rivals Manchester United – these results show that this current City side is more than beatable, and if you can impose your game onto them they can crumble even against the likes of Burnley and Crystal Palace. Hopefully we can add another loss to Manchester City’s current form at the Lane this Sunday.

In their last game, City were once again unconvincing; scraping past Aston Villa at the Etihad 3-2. After going 2-0 ahead, the Blues lost a grip on their lead and allowed Villa back into the game 2-2, before scoring a late and scrappy goal to secure victory despite a lack of concentration and professionalism – this is just another example that Manchester City are beatable this season. In our last match with Man City, we fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Etihad despite playing a decent game – Sergio Aguero was on fire and hit all four goals, while Christian Eriksen scored ours and Roberto Soldado missed a crucial penalty. At the Lane the story isn’t much better as we lost by even worse score line. A 5-1 thrashing, with Sergio Aguero on target once again, as City had five different scorers that night – Edin Dzeko, Vincent Kompany, Stefan Jovetic, Yaya Toure and of course Aguero. A dodgy penalty decision and a frustrating red card to Danny Rose that definitely shouldn’t have been given, just added to our misery aiding the Sky Blues. It wasn’t a nice night by any means. Manchester City have lost all of their last four Premier League away games, and we have the potential to make that five, taking advantage of City’s poor away form!

The team news for Manchester City is that three of the scorers in City’s last visit to the Lane Yaya Toure (hamstring), Vincent Kompany (thigh) and Stefan Jovetic (muscular) are out injured – while two former Arsenal men Samir Nasri (muscular) and Gael Clichy (muscular) look set to return to action for City. This just shows the strength of their squad, and why our task to beat them at White Hart Lane isn’t an easy one – although I am sure that they will miss the strength and guile of Yaya Toure in midfield as well as they leadership of captain Vincent Kompany in defence. The threats that Manchester City have are in attack – with Premier League top goalscorer Sergio Aguero the top dog in Manchester – with his clinical nature and work rate he is a nightmare for defenders, with his mind working that one second quicker than anyone else’s on the pitch, making him that bit better than anyone else. He’s the favourite for the golden boot ahead of Harry Kane, so I’m hoping we can keep him out while getting Kane to knock some in! It’s not just Aguero that makes defences squeal, it’s his partner in crime David Silva – who has cemented himself as one of the Premier League’s best in recent years, and the way he runs with ball and passes it is a joy to watch – but hopefully he can’t hit full gear against us this Sunday.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Ben Davies (shoulder) and Kyle Walker (foot) have both been ruled out for the remainder of the season. But the good news is that Danny Rose (hamstring) has recovered from his knock and is back in contention to play against Manchester City – which is great news for us defensively and offensively – have a read about my thoughts on Danny’s impressive season HERE. This means that other than Davies and Walker we have a full squad to choose from and it gives Mauricio Pochettino the chance to really go for it in this match, and play with real freedom. We’re not playing for much in terms of League position, so it would be good to see us go out and give it all for the pride of the football club – to be able to boast victories over the soon to be elected Champions Chelsea, bitter rivals Arsenal and star studded Manchester City would be fantastic – and highlight a real change in mentality around the club in these big matches.

PFA Young Player of the Year – Harry Kane – it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? There are no more words to describe the season he has had this year so I’m just going to repeat myself. Amazing, remarkable, wonderful. Earning the golden boot ahead of Aguero would be the cherry on top of the cake that’s already been scattered with sprinkles and rainbows in the chapter of Harry Kane’s personal season – it’d be brilliant and he most definitely deserves it – and a few goals against Manchester City would be just perfect, I mean, come on Harry you didn’t score in your last game, your standards are slipping! I’m hoping we can get a couple more Harry Kane shows in before the end of the season – they’re great. With two goals in his last two games, Nacer Chadli is back in form and back in the goals, which is great news for us. He may not be the most agile and fast winger in the world but he’s effective and he does add yet another important goal threat to our side, really improving on his finishing this season. I’ve been very impressed with the Belgian and it’d be great if he could make that two in two, three in three against City! In midfield, Nabil Bentaleb has earned himself two man of the match awards in a row as voted on the official Spurs website, and he has been brilliant – his passing, tackling and enthusiasm as always has been there for all to see and if he can continue to perform the way he has and improve even further, we have a real talent on our hands – and at the moment, in the absence of Yaya Toure for City, Bentaleb could be the key to controlling the midfield and therefore the game for us this Sunday. Defensively, Bentaleb and Mason are going to have to be very aware of David Silva and not allow him to get in behind them and cause us too many problems – because a player like Silva only really needs one chance to tear defences apart with his passing.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League outings.

– Manchester City have won seven and lost just one of the last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Spurs.

– Manuel Pellegrini has seen his side score 15 goals in their last three Premier League games against Spurs and at least four in each match.

– Sergio Aguero has netted nine goals in six Premier League appearances against Spurs.

– Edin Dzeko has scored six goals in six Premier League matches against Tottenham, though four of them came in one game, a 5-1 win at White Hart Lane.

– Samir Nasri has scored four Premier League goals against Tottenham Hotspur, more than against any other opponent in the competition.

– When these two sides met back in October, four penalties were awarded in a Premier League game for only the second time (Bradford v Derby, April 2000).

– Christian Eriksen has scored the most winning goals in the Premier League this season (7).

– Spurs have taken fewer points than any other team in the head to heads between the top six teams going into this weekend (8).

– City have lost their last four Premier League away games in a row. They haven’t lost five on the bounce since April 2006.

Prediction data collected through the Forza Football app:

Tottenham Hotspur win: 39%.

Manchester City win: 51%.

Draw: 11%.

It’s an intriguing match. With recent form firmly in Manchester City’s favour, we’ll be hoping to change that with a win at White Hart Lane. We know it won’t be easy but I think it will be a much tighter game than in the past – I really hope I’m right! The game is live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing updates including fast goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account, follow me here @AddictedToSpurs! Also, get the best Spurs images with my Instagram account, follow me here: addictedtospurs. I’m looking forward to this one. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Manchester City at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks ahead of the match against Manchester City:

I spoke with the official Manchester City site about the big game, read my thoughts in this Q&A HERE.
POCH MANUEL

Another article to have a read of is on my site, and it’s about Danny Rose’s impressive season, find it HERE.
rose 2

And finally, I had an exclusive interview with rising Tottenham star Joshua Onomah on his development, Tottenham and more. Read it HERE.
onomah

Exclusive Interview with rising Tottenham star Joshua Onomah!

I spoke with rising Tottenham star Joshua Onomah about his development, his Tottenham first team debut, England and much more. The 18 year old central midfielder is considered one of the most promising talents within the Spurs youth set up at the moment and I got to know more about his love for Tottenham, and just how much he wants to become the next big thing that comes out of the youth academy under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino. Have a read of what he had to say in my exclusive Q&A:

Q: Do you take confidence from the rise of the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend to the first team?

Joshua: “Of course! They have set the pathway for all the youth players at Tottenham. Evidently we hope to follow in their footsteps because they have proven it is possible to come through the youth set up which brings a lot of motivation for me.”

Q: You’ve had White Hart Lane sing your name, can you put into words how much that means to a young player like yourself?

Joshua: “Made me speechless when you hear the fans singing your name! It gives me so much confidence because it shows that the fans believe in you, which is a good sign for me.”

onomah

Q: What do you feel is the strongest aspect of your game?

Joshua: “I believe the strongest aspect of my game is running with the ball.”

Q: Is there any aspect you feel like you want or need to improve?

Joshua: “I need to score more goals and also improve my longer passing.”

Q: With a Head Coach that prides himself on integrating youth players into the first team, do you feel like chances of youth breaking through to the first team are higher than ever?

Joshua: “Definitely! I believe they are higher than they have ever been. When you hear the head coach say things like that it just makes you want to train harder until you become the best you can be and hopefully be good enough for the first team.”

poch onomah

Q: You have the privilege of training at one of the best training centres in Europe, how do the facilities on offer aid a young player like yourself?

Joshua: “When you have facilities like Tottenham it is almost impossible to not improve. Unless you don’t train to the best of your ability. There are so many resources that can help you improve which is what you need as a young player.”

Q: You made your first team debut against Burnley in the FA Cup this season, has that experience made you even hungrier to become a regular part of the first team?

Joshua: “Of course! Making my debut was a dream come true and I wish I could re-live every second a thousand times. I loved the experience and I hope I can get a taste of it more and more.”

Joshua-Onohua

Q: At just 18 years of age, you have already captained Tottenham’s U21s, and made your first team debut. Do you feel your development is progressing even faster than you thought it would?

Joshua: “Yes definitely, but I’ve had little niggles that have held me back a bit.”

Q: This past summer you were part of the England U17 squad that won the European Championships. What was that experience like, and has it made you thirstier for more glory at both international and club level?

Joshua: “Winning the euros was the second best thing I’ve done in my career other than my debut of course. It was a fantastic achievement for me to win such a prestigious cup! Winning this has increased my thirst for wanting to win more silverware!”

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Q: Who is your favourite ever Tottenham player?

Joshua: “Gazza because of the way he plays & Ledley (King) because he is a true leader.”

Q: Is there any player playing today that you try to imitate or model your style of play on?

Joshua: “Paul Pogba!”

onomah cap (1)

Q: What is your favourite memory of Tottenham Hotspur?

Joshua: “Making my first team debut in January.”

Q: Finally, what is your ultimate goal in the future?

Joshua: “The ultimate goal in the future is to win major trophies with Tottenham & England.”

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VIDEO: Here’s a few clips of Joshua Onomah in action:

I’d like to thank Joshua for his time and answering my questions. I think I join everyone in hoping that he can progress to become a key member of the first team, and yet another young Tottenham fan to make the grade, while also wishing him good luck for the rest of the season! Make sure you follow both Joshua (@joshuaonomah10) and I (@AddictedToSpurs) on twitter. Come on you Spurs!!

Match Review, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 25th April 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

Result: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham.

Southampton goalscorer: Graziano Pelle 28’, 65’.

Tottenham goalscorers: Erik Lamela 42’ & Nacer Chadli 71’.

A fair result for both sides, with Southampton probably feeling the more aggrieved of the sides at not coming away victorious. The way we played was okay, but we lacked that offensive guile that was needed in the final third, not getting enough chances to really hurt Southampton before they could hurt us. This draw means we stay 6th, one point ahead of today’s rivals Southampton in 7th, and coming into a tough game against Manchester City, the result isn’t ideal, but away from home against an organised, well balanced, technically good side, we have done well to come out with a point – it’s not an easy place to go by any stretch of the imagination, so I think most would be somewhat happy with a point – but a little frustrated we couldn’t nick a win which would have been ever so sweet. Our passing was okay, we pressed the Southampton side quite well and didn’t let them have too much space both in midfield and in the final third, but they were the most accomplished on the ball, and created the most chances – all the while limiting our service to Harry Kane, with Christian Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli being swarmed and unable to get their heads up quickly enough. But, I don’t think we can complain too much at a point – as it reflects how tight in quality we both are, and have been this season. Watching the game, you could see that both sides were very close to each other on the table without looking at it.

In the first half, we were sloppy and unimaginative. We gave the ball away too cheaply in midfield and when we did have the chance to counter or mount an attack, we weren’t quick enough – which definitely pointed out our lack of pace within the team at the moment, especially without Danny Rose and Kyle Walker. It didn’t look as though we were in a position to concede, apart from Morgan Schneiderlin going close from a corner, but on 28 minutes after initially clearing the danger, we put ourselves into a position to concede with another individual error – this time, a terrible pass by Ryan Mason put Ben Davies under pressure, with Graziano Pelle breathing down his neck, and the Welsh defender not clearing his lines, and the big Italian poked the ball away from him, past Hugo Lloris for a frustrasting and avoidable 1-0. We reacted well to going a goal down, and started to control the football a bit more and create openings, and that led to our equaliser. Down the right hand side, Eric Dier whipped a great ball into the box, which missed Harry Kane and found Erik Lamela, who knocked the ball with his arm/shoulder/head past Kelvin Davis in the Soutampton goal for 1-1 on 42 minutes, to get us to half time at a respectable 1-1.

The second half saw us improve, pass the ball better and make less mistakes in the midfield while looking more solid at the back – but our service to Harry Kane still wasn’t good enough and we didn’t create an awful lot. Nacer Chadli had a couple of siters but nothing really that troubled the evergreen Kelvin Davis in goal, and frustration continued as we couldn’t break down a compact Southampton side, you have to be fair to the Saints – they didn’t give us many opportunites to score, but you could swing it the other way and say we didn’t do enough to test the defence when we had the ball! It was Southampton that got the goal to put them ahead once again, Saido Mane making the run and picking out Shane Long, who delivered and inch perfect cross onto the head of Graziano Pelle who got loads of power on his power and it flew past Hugo Lloris to make it 2-1 on 65 minutes. That lead was short lived for the Saints though, and six minutes later, a great ball from Eric Dier set Nacer Chadli on his way and he used his strength to fight off Maya Yoshida and side foot the ball into the back of the net for 2-2. The end of the game was very tense, and we did create a few chances, but it was Southampton that possibly could have pinched the three points, with Pelle, Davis, Mane and Long all looking dangerous. With seven minutes added on at the end, the tension levels rose, and we controlled the first five minutes of added time, looking as though we may get the winner, but suddenly, the pressure shifted and Southampton got free kicks and corners, leaving a few nails bare. But, we did well and got a decent point.
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A good point. We don’t have to be ashamed of that result or our performance, and hopefully we can perform even better in our next match, against Manchester City at White Hart Lane next Sunday on Sky Sports 1, that should be an interesting one! Coming into the last four games of the season, I would like to see us really go for it, as at this point we don’t have much to lose! Follow me on twitter for it all, here @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs and COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that faced Southampton at St Mary’s:
Lloris – 7.5
Dier – 8
Fazio – 7
Vertonghen – 7.5
Davies – 6 (Chiriches 75’ – 5)
Lamela – 7.5
Mason – 7
Bentaleb – 8.5 – Man of the Match (Soldado 86’ – N/A)
Chadli – 7 (Dembele 82’ – 6)
Eriksen – 7.5
Kane – 6

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the 2-2 draw with Southampton:

Match highlights of our 2-2 draw with the Saints:

Match Preview, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 25th April 2015. 12:45pm Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

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

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s for the first time since his switch from Southampton to Tottenham, with just one point between the sides, one position on the table, and the same amount of wins between them. It’s a match in the battle for Europa League – with Southampton probably the more enthusiastic about that prospect, but, nevertheless, we want to finish as high in the League as possible, so the fact that Champions League football is most likely out of the picture does not mean that the team, the fans and the whole club want to win and finish the season on a high. A tough task awaits us at St Mary’s; with Southampton showing consistently throughout the season how good they can be, and how many problems they can cause an opposing side. To beat the Saints on their home turf would be a great result, but Southampton have the quality to hurt any team in this League, meaning we’re setting up for a very tough game, where we have to be ready to match the offense, defence and energy levels of a confidence high Southampton side, with a lot of quality throughout their squad. After our much needed win over Newcastle at St James’ Park, we need to continue to win games to finish the season strongly, taking the confidence from a solid 3-1 win and turning it into an even better win against a really impressive Southampton side – putting the disappointing form we have had since the Capital One Cup Final behind us. Champions League may be out of the equation, but we still have to secure the highest League place possible – for pride more than anything.

Southampton sit 7th in the League on 56 points, just one point behind ourselves in 6th. They’ve had a great season after losing their manager, and five of their key players of last season, and they’ve reinvested well to create a really competitive side this season. Coming into the end of the season, the Saints haven’t been in the best of form, with four wins in their last ten games, and four losses. In their last match, Southampton fell to a 2-1 defeat up against Stoke City at the Britannia, Charlie Adam hitting the winner in the 85th minute for the Potters. In their last home game, Southampton breezed past Hull City 2-0, James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle scoring for the Saints, now Southampton will be hoping for a repeat result this Saturday! In our last five matches with Southampton since their return to the Premier League, we have come out winners in every single match, scoring 10 goals and conceding five. In our last match, we were 1-0 winners thanks to a lovely Christian Eriksen strike at White Hart Lane; Mauricio Pochettino getting the victory over his former club. The last time we visited St Mary’s; we won a thrilling game 3-2, Emmanuel Adebayor the hero with two goals, as well as a Jos Hooiveld own goal under the guidance of Tim Sherwood. If we can get six consecutive wins under our belt over an impressive Southampton side, it would do very nicely!

The team news for Southampton is that Victor Wanyama (suspended), Fraser Forster (knee), Filip Duricic (ankle), Emmanuel Mayuka (groin), and Jay Rodriguez (knee) have been ruled out while Toby Alderweireld (shoulder) could feature for the Saints, but is a doubt. Southampton have many talented offensive players to their name, and their top scorer this season Graziano Pelle has nine goals to his name in the League, and despite a disappointing 2015 so far, netting only once, he is still a massive threat with his aerial prowess, strength and finishing ability – and with supply coming from the creative brains of Saido Mane, Dusan Tadic and Eljero Elia, he should really be scoring even more goals. The way that Ronald Koeman sets up means his fullbacks have a massive impact on their offensive game; Nathanial Clyne has been superb this season at right back, with his partner in crime, left back Ryan Bertrand’s performances similarly impressive – they are key for the Saints, and if not properly dealt with, could cause major problems for us down the wings – especially the right hand side where we have looked particularly shaky, with and without Kyle Walker. In midfield, the partnership of Morgan Schneiderlin and James Ward-Prowse has really impressed me, with the pivot having a good mix between defensive cover and attacking help, bringing real energy to this Southampton side – meaning Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb, if picked to partner each other, will have a big task to quash the impact they have on the match.Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 20.29.38
The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) is close to a return, and could make this match, but Kyle Walker (foot) is ruled out for the next four weeks. Danny Rose after going off against Newcastle last week hasn’t encountered any problems and should be back at left back for this match, which is very good news for us. With Hugo Lloris looking likely to return to action, he would take the captaincy back from deputies Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane.

Coming into the end of the season, personal awards are some of the most talked about things, only being dwarfed by the results in the League table. And nobody is being talked about for awards more than Harry Kane – he’s entered for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, as well as in the hunt for Writers player of the year, a place in the Team of the Year, while all the while competing for the Premier League golden boot. He’s also got a club called Tottenham if you didn’t know! Everyone at Tottenham couldn’t be more proud of the rise that Harry has made throughout the season, and he deserves more than anyone to be recognised for his work this season – there arent enough positives in the English language to describe how amazing he has been, not just in his goal tally, but his energy, overall contribution and his breath of fresh air attitude to the game – you don’t captain Tottenham Hotspur at 21 years of age if you aren’t even a little bit special. Heading into the last games of the season, we’re all rooting for Kane to grab every personal award he possibly can, while helping Tottenham to their highest League position possible! Harry Kane beating Aguero, Costa, Rooney, Hazard and co to the Golden Boot was unfathamable at the start of this year let alone this season – now it would be a shock if he didn’t get it.

Against Newcastle, where we started to find a bit of form again, it wasn’t just Harry Kane that stole the show, there were important goals from Nacer Chadli – a goal he deeply needed, as well as another from Christian Eriksen which was also well over-due whether he meant to get it or not! Chadli and Eriksen are absolutely vital to the side and having them back in form would take a weight off the shoulders of Harry Kane, while making it much easier and fluid for us up top – an inform trio of Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane is a force to be reckoned with, and as we come into the back end of the season, hopefully we can see more good performances from them and much more goals! In midfield, Mauricio Pochettino has a decision to make regarding Paulinho – who did a good job in Newcastle, and so the Boss needs to make the decision whether to stick with the Brazilian, or bring in the fresh Ryan Mason to partner Nabil Bentaleb, who have quite the understanding. Personally, to battle with Schneiderlin and Ward-Prowse, I would revert back to the Mason and Bentaleb pivot, as it gives us more energy in the middle, and a bit more grit, despite Paulinho showing he can do the dirty work against Newcastle last weekend. Another decision Pochettino will have on his mind is one to either bring in DeAndre Yedin to make his full debut at right back, or stick with natural centre back Eric Dier on that right flank, putting Federico Fazio alongside Jan Vertonghen. I think Yedlin should be given a chance at right back from the start, with Dier partnering Vertonghen – I think this gives us a more balanced back four.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Southampton have allowed fewer shots on target against them than any other team in the Barclays Premier League (93).

– Tottenham have won their last five Premier League games against Southampton after losing four of the preceding five meetings.

– Christian Eriksen has scored three goals in three Premier League games against Saints.

– Robbie Fowler (twice) and Chris Sutton are the only two players to reach 20 goals in a Premier League season at a younger age than Harry Kane has this term.

– Southampton have both scored (4%) and conceded (8%, level with Liverpool) the lowest proportion of headed goals this season.

– If only second-halves of Premier League games counted this season, Saints would be second in the table behind only Chelsea.

– Southampton have scored just eight goals in their last 11 Premier League matches.

– 56 points after 33 matches is Southampton’s best ever Premier League performance, eight points ahead of the previous best which was 48 (2013/14 and 2002/03).

– Spurs have fewer points after 33 matches of this season (57) than they had in any of the last three seasons (2011-12 59, 2012-13 61 or 2013-14 59).

– Spurs have fired in more shots on target from outside the area than any other team (69) and scored a joint-division high 11 goals from long range (along with Man City).

Mauricio Pochettino returns to St Mary’s in a big game in the race for European football. It’s a tough challenge, but a sixth win on the bounce over Southampton is on the agenda. Hopefully we can get that victory! The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, and I will be at the game, but update you as much as possible live from St Mary’s! Let’s get three points! Follow me on twitter for updates here, @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Southampton at St Mary’s:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Yedlin – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the trip to Southampton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match date & time: Wednesday 4th March 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not broadcast live in the UK. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

After a very disappointing result at Wembley, being defeated 2-0 by Chelsea, our attention turns very quickly back to the Premier League, where we have to pick ourselves up and fight to secure a good finishing spot in the League. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, or use it as an excuse, because there aren’t any excuses, we have to take responsibility to improve and learn from the disappointment and make sure it doesn’t happen too often in the future! Our focus now has to be on an important game against Swansea, where we have a good opportunity to stop what can only be seen as a slump in form after our Arsenal heroics, with no wins in 5 games in all competitions. Losing the trophy is very hard to deal with but as a young squad, we can take the experience as a positive one and use the frustration and disappointment to our advantage in pushing for a place in Europe, whether that is in the Europa League or Champions League. Each game should be taken one at a time, as this season was always one of bedding into Mauricio Pochettino’s values, with next season being the realistic target to push for places in the top four, and to win trophies. The cup final this season was a surprise and winning it would have been exceptional, but we are still on the right track with the young squad and promising manager to make those Wembley appearances much more frequent. But, that’s in the past now and we have a season to concentrate on. Starting with a difficult but winnable contest with Swansea at the Lane. A win would do us a world of good.

Swansea are a good side with a good standard of players. They sit 8th, just one spot behind ourselves in 7th, with a 4 point gap, despite us playing a game less. They have been fairly consistent in their performances and under the guidance of the impressive Garry Monk, have continued to cement themselves as a competitive Premier League side that are hard to beat and pushing to be in contention for places in Europe. In their last 5 games, they have only lost once and drawn once, while winning the other three including an impressive 2-1 victory over Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium and an even more impressive 1-0 away victory over Southampton. They know how to win against good sides and are well organised defensively and in midfield, while offensively being able to get some goals too, despite the loss of star man Wilfried Bony. But, the impact of losing Wilfried Bony has meant that the Swans have only hit 1 goal in 9 of their 13 games without the new Manchester City man, but they have tightened up defensively, meaning that 1-0 wins have become enough for the Welsh boys, with credit going to Garry Monk for making them more compact, and their midfield becoming more goal threatening. Last time we faced Swansea was at the Liberty Stadium back in December, a dramatic 2-1 win, with Harry Kane and then Christian Eriksen late on securing us the win despite Wilfried Bony getting on the score sheet. The last time the Swans visited White Hart Lane was all the way back in 2013, when Roberto Soldado scored a penalty in a 1-0 win early on last season. In our last 6 games with Swansea, we have won all of them, scoring 12 goals and only conceding 4, which is fairly impressive for a very good side in Swansea.

The team news for Swansea is that former Gunner Kyle Bartley (knee) is ruled out, while current Spurs player, on loan with the Swans Tom Carroll is ineligible, and former Spurs man Gylfi Sigurdsson has recuperated from his hamstring injury and will look to replace Carroll in the side. The return of the dangerous Sigurdsson will be a big boost for the Welsh side, with his goal threat and silky touch on the ball will be greatly appreciated to Swansea, with 4 goals and 8 assists this campaign. Another big threat for Swansea is Bafetimbi Gomis; despite not hitting the heights that was expected of the Frenchmen, he still has the power, pace and goal threat to cause a stir in opposition defence, and in the absence of Wilfried Bony, he has the opportunity to shine, despite only having scored 5 goals so far this season. On the wings, Jefferson Montero, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer all have pace and skill to trouble full backs, and Gomis will look to profit off of their crosses into the box, as well as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s delivery from set pieces and also in open play. The Swans also have threats in the form of Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yeung, who have a definite goal threat and also the composure to turn provider. It will be a job to contain what is a very good Swansea side.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 09.44.06
The team news for Tottenham is that we go into this game without any injuries, and a full squad to choose from, which will be a plus for Mauricio Pochettino. But, after playing Thursday to Sunday, and then Thursday to Sunday again, and now a Wednesday to Saturday this week, with some massive games in there, you couldn’t be surprised if Pochettino makes some changes to the side to freshen things up a bit ahead of the visit of Swansea to the Lane. Hopefully whatever side we put out can help to end this 5 game winless drought we are on, because we don’t want to be dragged into some further bad form at this stage of the season. A win against Swansea wouldn’t erase the pain of losing a cup final, but I am sure it would be lovely to appease the fans just a bit.

Against a very good defensive Swansea at this minute in time, I am sure they are looking to oppress the talent of Harry Kane, and this will become a fixture in the games we play, that sides narrow the space that Kane has, and don’t allow him to run with the ball or get shots away on goal, just like Chelsea did, but it’s Pochettino, Kane and the team’s responsibility to create space for Kane, and let him play his game to the best of his ability up top, where if he can find space, you know he will punish the opposition. Christian Eriksen hasn’t been in flying form like he was earlier in the season, and his assist tally isn’t spectacular, so if he could pick his game up, and start to find Kane in the positions that he does get into with space, then I think this run of bad form would cease to exist. We have to let our key duo play their football freely and in space, because there is no doubting the fact that they both are our best chance for goals at all times. Allowing the Dane and the Kane to do their thing, you need to compensate for possibly what they don’t do in midfield, so it would be asking Mason and Bentaleb to do even more, and fight harder in midfield to allow Eriksen and Kane to have the freedom up top. If Mason and Bentaleb can do even more dirty work, then Eriksen and Kane will be more free to attack and hurt the opposition. On the wings, it was our full backs against Chelsea that looked the most threatening. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker bombed down their respective flanks at every opposition, but lacked that final ball too often; their work to get into crossing positions is brilliant but they need to be able to find that final ball for Kane, Chadli and even Eriksen to latch on to. If Rose and Walker can improve their crossing game I am sure their own personal value would rise significantly to both Tottenham and England, as I have been very impressed with both recently, especially Rose down that left side.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have won all three Barclays Premier League home games against Swansea, keeping a clean sheet in the last two.

– Indeed Swansea have lost their last six against Tottenham in the PL and are winless in seven (D1 L6).

– Harry Kane has scored 12 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances.

– No team has won more Premier League games from losing positions than Tottenham this season (5) in 2014-15.

– No team has lost more top-flight games from winning positions than Swansea City (4) this season.

– Spurs have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League this season (7).

– 40 points after 27 games equates to Swansea’s best ever return in a Premier League season.

– Swansea City have failed to score a first half goal in their last five Premier League matches on the road.

– The Swans have scored exactly one goal in seven of their last eight away from home.

– Seven of Swansea’s last eight Premier League goals have arrived in the second half.

The games are coming thick and fast, probably a little too fast for Mauricio Pochettino’s liking, but we have to get a win on the board now to keep this top four challenge alive. As Roberto Soldado said, we have 12 finals from now until the end of the season, and it’d be great to pick up at least 8 wins from those games, then we could have a chance of top four. But, we take every game as it comes and we’ll hope for the best, and first up it’s Swansea in a tough test at the Lane, and we have to win it, in honour of the great Dave Mackay. The game isn’t televised in the UK, so you can follow me on twitter for live coverage including, videos, photos, goal updates and more. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!!

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

Mauricio Pochettino pre match presser, paying tribute to Dave Mackay:

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.
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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, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match date & time: Saturday 7th February 2015. 12:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

It’s the North London Derby! The match that both Arsenal fans and Tottenham fans look out for first when the season’s fixtures are released to the World; and I certainly can’t wait for the contest to begin. Both sides that are in good form, with no obvious winner, with players in incredible form too, doing brilliant things, and it really is going to be a phenomenal competition between two really good sides with high confidence. Goals are always expected – drama and aggression a certainty, with a pinch of guile and creativity. There have been so many fantastic North London Derbies, and I think there is a big chance that we get another high scoring, but extremely competitive match with the sides having such high confidence, I don’t think either side has even contemplate that they could lose and so it is a very intriguing match. Despite the bragging rights being on the line, this is also a really massive came because of the context of the Premier League table, Tottenham sitting 6th and Arsenal lying 5th, with just 2 points between the sides, so a win could do a lot not only for confidence, but for our position in the League, as we could go 4th depending on Southampton’s result. I am always excited for these derby games, against the ‘big’ sides where the foundations of White Hart Lane are rocked and you can feel the tension and nerves lying on palms; it’s time to do the business, Tottenham!

Arsenal have had an very inconsistent season so far, but sit 5th in the table after hitting a real good run of form in the last five matches, winning all five, scoring 15 goals in these 5 games and conceding only 2, in 1 game against Brighton in the FA Cup. So, they come into the derby in good form, hitting a run of consistency and playing with confidence, but in the North London Derby, whatever your prior results are can’t be an indication of what will happen in the match, as simply anything can happen, from red cards, injuries, stunning strikes and so many other anomalies within the game, that can stray so far from the norm. Arsenal’s last clash was against Aston Villa at the Emirates, a 5-0 win, and they come into the game assured of their quality and ready to compete, and will try to take solace from their last visit to White Hart Lane, where they grinded out a 1-0 win after an early Thomas Rosicky strike, despite pressure from a Tim Sherwood guided Tottenham, but a lot has changed since then, and in our trip to the Emirates earlier this season, we put on a really good show, we were great on the counter attack and very solid at the back and managed a 1-1 draw; Nacer Chadli getting our goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain got the equaliser. Now, we’ll be looking to go one step further and turn a draw into three points, but I am sure Arsenal will be trying everything to do exactly the same. Hopefully, we get a game that lives up to the build-up and hype around the fixture. A classic, but one that turns out as a Spurs win!

The team news for Arsenal is that star man Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) is a major injury doubt, while goal scorer last time out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), captain Mikel Arteta (foot), right back Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) and injury connoisseur Abou Diaby (calf) are all ruled out of the match, while Danny Welbeck (hip) is expected to return to the squad after his injury. Despite the absentees that arsenal seem to always have, they still possess some real talents, and at the moment creative midfielder Santi Cazorla is in a rich vain of form, and has really contributed to his sides recent upturn in performances, he has 6 goals and 6 assists so far this Premier League season, and was vital in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over the champions Manchester City, providing the spark that guided them to victory. And, with Sanchez ruled out, they will be relying on the Spaniard for inspiration in attack, along with record signing Mesut Ozil who has returned to the side and provided a great performance against Aston Villa and will be looking to build on his displays in the coming games, but hopefully he doesn’t continue to influence games in the way Arsenal fans would like! As well as their creative options; in midfield Francis Coquelin has added some steel, organisation and aggression to Arsenal’s team and they will look to utilise his qualities to attempt to control our own creativity, with Lamela, Eriksen and Chadli, as well as Ryan Mason in central midfield. The battle in midfield, I think, will determine the outcome of the match; the energy and tenacity of ours and the guile and creativity of theirs. It will be quite a match up.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb is back in the frame after the African Cup of Nations with Algeria, and Mauricio Pochettino says that the 20 year old, energetic midfielder is ‘100%’ and ready for the game, and I would not be surprised to see the passionate youngster thrown straight back in along Ryan Mason, as both work very well together and know the importance of this sort of match, and I am sure they could run the midfield, even if it would be harsh to take Mousa Dembele out of the line up. With Nabil Bentaleb back from international duty, new signing DeAndre Yedlin is still with the USMNT, and not available for the match.

There are so many key battles, including Theo Walcott vs Danny Rose, Olivier Giroud vs Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane vs Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin vs Nabil Bentaleb. All of these small battles within the match are so interesting, and so close, these individual clashes will determine the final outcome; whether it’s Harry Kane bossing Laurent Koscielny or Giroud getting the better if Vertonghen; these things are so important. In my view, the player that makes us tick is Christian Eriksen, he’s the one that finds the space in midfield, spreads the play, and when he plays well, the team revolve around him; if he can step it up and get to top form, we’ll be in very good shape if we’re able to contain the threat from Arsenal – I am sure we will be able to find the space to hurt this Arsenal team, with Eriksen finding the gaps. Plus, if we can get a free kick in the final third of the pitch, I’d definitely bet on him converting! Harry Kane has been a revelation so far this season, and as he’s a Spurs fan, he knows exactly what this fixture means to the fans, to the club and everyone around the club and now it’s his chance to affect the game himself and score the goals to win the game, it would complete the fairy-tale, of the youth product coming up through the ranks, becoming a key player, and then destroying our bitter rivals. It’s perfect, no? Hopefully our dreams can come true. His performance at West Brom was excellent, and his display against Chelsea was electric, now, he has the chance to make his impact on the North London Derby, and in the form he’s in, with his confidence so high, I have no doubt that he will. He’s a machine. In midfield, Mousa Dembele has had a good couple of games, but in this game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nabil Bentaleb partner another Spurs fan in Ryan Mason, and in this game, you need the players to understand what it means, to have that fight in their belly, to go into the tackle without fear, but with aggression and desire – and Bentaleb and Mason have that sort of attitude and can make this derby feisty and exciting, as it should always be. On the wing, Nacer Chadli has been brilliant, and in the last North London Derby, he was excellent, and got the goal for Tottenham and cemented himself as a cult hero for Tottenham when he shushed the Arsenal fans at the Emirates and sent the Spurs fans into delirium; hopefully he can do the same at White Hart Lane, he’s certainly got the appetite for it!

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have lost just one of their last six Premier League home games against North London rivals Arsenal (W3 D2 L1).

– Theo Walcott has scored four and assisted three goals in his last six Barclays Premier League appearances against Tottenham.

– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals in North London derbies than any other player (10 – eight for Arsenal, two for Spurs). Adebayor is one of only two players to score for both sides in a North London derby along with Jimmy Robertson.

– Spurs and Arsenal have drawn 18 times in the Premier League, making it the most drawn fixture in the history of the competition.

– Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 32 Premier League matches against the Gunners.

– Arsenal have not managed back to back away wins in the Premier League this season and have only managed it once since January 2014.

– Tottenham have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League (6) while Arsenal have won the most (6).

– Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last six Premier League appearances.

– David Ospina has as many clean sheets in the Premier League this season as Wojciech Szczesny (3).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last six Premier League home matches (W4 D2).

There’s no bigger home Premier League fixture than Arsenal. All fans can put to bed their differences on opinion and unite in their desire to beat Arsenal. It’s a magical fixture, and one in which the best players shine, and crave success. Hopefully, this Saturday can be one of success for Tottenham Hotspur, because the fans are craving this result with all their hearts. I certainly am. The game is live on BT Sport 1, and I will be giving live updates with goals, photos, videos and more; follow me on twitter for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Arsenal at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Arsenal press conference: