Tottenham Hotspur Season Review 2014/15

We as a fan base came into this season with low expectations. Mauricio Pochettino had only just come in, had one pre season and not brought in game changing signings. It had the look of another transition season plastered all over it. The only thing we really wanted was an improvement on a disastrous 2013-14 season under Andre Villas Boas and then Tim Sherwood, where there was a complete divide between the club and the fans for the first time in a long while – so Pochettino’s first order of business was to turn that divide into a connection once again, and that includes beating some of the big sides, the team showing that they care and playing some good football – our position at the end of the season was of course cared about, but I think this season, there wasn’t the pressure on the shoulders of the players and club that Champions League football was a must – because with the sides around us, and the squad we had at the start of the season it simply didn’t look feasible and that is the way it turned out in the end. Next season is where we can judge Pochettino more objectively – with what we hope is a good summer transfer window with the keeping of key players, the introduction of good players and the leaving of the players that aren’t in Pochettino’s plans – then, with a squad that looks more like his, we can push on and hopefully have a very good season under the Argentine.
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Premier League

Overall our League form wasn’t fantastic. Losses to West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane are what really dragged us down; all games we could have won, and if we had there would be no doubting we would be in the Champions League places. 12 points unnecessarily dropped, and with those points we would have hit 76 points, and finished in third, ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United – which is frustrating to say the least. But looking back at games we could and maybe should have won is frivolous, we didn’t and on the day every team that rocked up to White Hart Lane and beat us, deserved it – and brilliant performances came from struggling sides (and Stoke). Hopefully we can learn from these mistakes at the Lane and make sure they don’t happen again – teams lower in the table seem to be able to shut us down too easily and make it really difficult to create, and that has happened for a while now, even under Harry Redknapp. Even though our home form improved as the season went on, we still looked a little vulnerable against the lower opposition sides at the Lane and that needs to change next season – White Hart Lane needs to be a fortress.

The positives of the season in the Premier League come in the form of victories over Chelsea and Arsenal – the most memorable moments of our season, and definitely the best performances. On January 1st 2015, something must have clicked in the minds of the players because they didn’t look afraid of the big sides any more – they looked confident and controlled coming up against a giant of the game in Chelsea – and even going a goal down, when last season that would have led to a three or four goal defeat against a team like Chelsea, we rallied and performed to an even higher standard – and to demolish a side like Chelsea 5-3 was absolutely magnificent, something I will never forget about this season. Of course winning a North London Derby will always get into the positive side of the season, but this one was special – once again going a goal behind, we put in a performance possibly even more spirited than against Chelsea and outplayed Arsenal entirely, with crunching tackles, great defending and looking threatening up top – it was brilliant and I believe that the players understand what the derby matches mean to us, possibly because of the youth we have through the core of the team that gave us that tenacity and spirit when we needed it, and the quality of the Vertonghen, Lloris’ in the side looked even better because of the performances of your Mason’s and Bentaleb’s in the side. It was even more special because Harry Kane was the player that won us the match, a tap in from a corner and then a beautiful cross from Nabil Bentaleb found Kane and he produced one of the best headed goals I’ve seen at White Hart Lane late on for a 2-1 win. A great day neither the fans nor Kane will forget very easily.

Fifth place in the end was secured, meaning Europa League football next season. Finishing above Liverpool and Southampton who would have looked odds on to breeze ahead of us earlier in the season – but didn’t, while also being just six points off Manchester United in fourth. This isn’t a Premier League season I will look back on in distain, hopefully it’s one that I can look back on knowing it was a building block to future success. The rise of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb – the emergence and improvement of Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli, while discovering another talent in Eric Dier. Our wins over Chelsea and Arsenal – and in the end securing fifth place. I’m not complaining; a good first Premier League season for Mauricio Pochettino – but the he and the players, along with the fans know that this isn’t enough – and next season there will be an expectation for more. Hopefully we can get even further improvement.
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Europa League

Not a Europa League campaign to remember. We qualified with wins home and away over AEL Limassol. Taking us into a group stage along with Besiktas, Partizan and Asteras. We started that group stage off with an enthralling 0-0 with Partizan away from home, and then a frustrating 1-1 draw with Besiktas at the Lane with Harry Kane scoring a great goal, but Vlad Chiriches giving away a silly penalty in the last seconds for Demba Ba to slot home. We then got our first win in the competition quite emphatically, a 5-1 drubbing over Asteras Tripolis, with Erik Lamela getting a brace and treating us to the most amazing goal of the season, a rabona from outside the box into the top of the goal – an incredible piece of skill that will be a contender for UEFA Puskas award for best goal next year I’m sure. Along with that Lamela brace Harry Kane scored his first hat trick for Tottenham and also had a go in goal, which brought upon another memorable moment in our season from this game. Another win over Asteras away from home and then a 1-0 victory over Partizan at the Lane secured our place in the round of 32, but we didn’t top the group as we lost to Besiktas away from home which was a disappointing night in which the lights didn’t even work!

We went on to face Fiorentina in the Round of 32 but could only muster a 1-1 draw at the Lane before falling to a 2-0 defeat at the Artemio Franchi Stadium, which saw us knocked out of the Europa League. This Europa League campaign was fairly poor really, but when drawn against a side of Fiorentina’s quality with a Capital One Cup final to think about just a few days later; it wasn’t to be our year in Europe. There has been a lot of debate as to whether Europa League is more of a hindrance than anything else and you have to admit that it does take a lot out of the players, with long trips to smaller clubs and a format of Thursday – Sunday which doesn’t really help the players when they have to make long trips, and it can be an excuse that the players use not to perform, sadly. We are in the Europa League next season, but as we aren’t likely to win it, I see it as an opportunity to introduce young players into the first team and give them a chance; the likes of Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks & Kyle Walker-Peters. A change of philosophy in the Europa League from trying to win it, back to Harry Redknapp’s way of playing youth players is probably the most diplomatic answer to the Europa League next season.

POLL:

Should we try to win the Europa League as if it were the Champions League, should we use it to breed young talent, or would you just focus on the Premier League and domestic competitions, and sack off the Europa League?


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FA Cup

The FA Cup was a bit of a non-starter really in terms of domestic cups for us this season. With the Capital One Cup, Europa League and Premier League another competition was not really going to suit us, and despite getting past Burnley after a replay – we fell to Leicester at the Lane due to a Michel Vorm mistake. Despite all of the tradition around the FA Cup and the history Tottenham as a club have with it, it wasn’t the year to go and win it – but I would like to see us go and really have a go next term, because it is a special trophy in connection with Tottenham.
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Capital One Cup

A massive positive in our season was our performance in the Capital One Cup. After beating Nottingham Forrest 3-1 at the Lane, with Ryan Mason scoring a cracking goal, with the other two coming from Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane – we booked a date with Brighton in the fourth round at home once again, and got a convincing 2-0 win thanks to goals from Erik Lamela and Harry Kane once again which sent us into the quarter finals. Here is where you start to think we could be having a date at Wembley if the draw is favourable – and it was, yet another home tie this time against a struggling Newcastle side, and we breezed past them at the Lane 4-0 thanks to goals from Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane and our semi final place was sealed, and it would be either Chelsea, Liverpool of Sheffield United in the semi final, obviously hoping for Sheffield United to be pulled out of the hat, and it was. A two legged tie with Sheffield United awaited and we could already taste Wembley. In the first leg, thanks to a penalty from Andros Townsend we won 1-0, not convincing, but hard fought and a good building block for the second leg at Bramall Lane, which turned out to be a magnificent match – Christian Eriksen with a stunning free kick goal which looked like it would be enough to secure a place at Wembley, before United youngster Che Adams suddenly struck for 1-1 and then two minutes later for 2-1 Sheffield, and we were shell shocked, and Wembley looked like it could slip away, but Harry Kane played through Christian Eriksen who finished it beautifully for 2-2 and to send us to Wembley to take on Chelsea.

The build up to Wembley was great, we felt good and confident having beaten them earlier in the season, but we knew it would be tough – the now Premier League champions wouldn’t let us just walk all over them again like we did at the Lane, and that is the way it went. Despite a decent performance, Chelsea put in a fantastic performance – both offensively and defensively. We couldn’t break them down and when they attacked they always looked threatening, in the end it was John Terry and Diego Costa scoring to inflict a 2-0 defeat at Wembley. No repeat of the 5-3, or our 2-1 win back in 2008 unfortunately, but we lost to the team that went onto be Premier League champions, with a young team. Hopefully we can learn from the experience and make sure we don’t lose our next final!
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My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Harry Kane

Young player of the season – Harry Kane, again

Most improved player of the season – Shared between Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli.

Goal of the season – Erik Lamela rabona vs Asteras in the Europa League, or Harry Kane’s second goal against Chelsea in the 5-3 win.

Assist of the season – Harry Kane to Christian Eriksen vs Sheffield United, or Ryan Mason to Danny Rose vs Hull

Individual performance of the season – Harry Kane vs Chelsea

Win of the season – Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea

Signing of the season – Eric Dier
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Building for the future. That’s how we have to treat this season. All the mistakes that were made, loses we endured and annoyances that occurred will all hopefully be so that we don’t have to sustain them any further. I believe in Mauricio Pochettino, I think he has the right ideas and I hope that Daniel Levy will back him on the back of this season, for him to create a side that is competitive at the top of the Premier League. Thank you all for following and reading throughout the season, now onto pre season! Follow me for it all @AddictedToSpurs. As always, up the Spurs and COYS!!
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All 31 of Harry Kane’s Tottenham goals this season:

Hugo Lloris’ best saves from the season:

Tottenham season review in video from YidVids:

What has been your favourite moment of the 2014/15 season? Let me know in the comments!

I spoke to @TurnstyleSport about the 2014/15 Tottenham season. Read HERE
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Also, check out my full review of all our loaned out players in the 2014/15 season, HERE.
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Match Preview, Everton vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 24th May 2015. 3pm Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule can be found HERE.

The last game of the season is upon us – Everton away from home is how we will finish what has been a positive season overall, although one with it’s problems. We have had our ups and downs but overall, in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge we have done what was expected of us – not at the standard of Champions League, but we have had good results this term and coming into the final day of the season we can still hit 5th place, so we do have something to play for heading to Goodison Park – maybe it’s not the most prestigious or important of things to play for, but it includes pride and well, finishing above Liverpool and Southampton would be a nice thing to finish on – as well as a win over Everton at Goodison Park, which is a difficult place to go. A convincing and good performance would be great to finish this season on and head into what is going to be an important summer and an even more important 2015/16 campaign.

Everton have had an erratic and inconsistent season – they are 10th in the Premier League and that is the highest they can get, with Stoke City four points ahead of them in 9th. But, Everton still have to cement a place in the top 10 – with West Ham just behind them on goal difference in 11th. Both Everton and ourselves still have to secure the highest positions possible in the Premier League, and although it’s not the most amazing of prizes, a place higher or lower in the Premier League, it is still important to finish as high as possible and finish the season on a high, so I’m sure both sides will be fighting hard for the victory. Last time we faced Everton, it was at White Hart Lane earlier this season, a 2-1 win with Christian Eriksen scoring as well as a rare goal for Roberto Soldado giving us one of our most important wins of the season, which gave us a massive lift for the rest of the season, and it definitely helped our confidence through the season – hopefully we can finish the season in similar fashion. The last time we travelled to Merseyside, was back in 2013 when we drew 0-0 under AVB – we will be hoping for a more exciting match, and hope that we can get the victory this time on our visit to Goodison Park. Last time out Everton scraped past West Ham at Upton Park 2-1 thanks to a Romelu Lukaku late goal that secured the three points for the Blues, let’s hope we can avoid late disappointment this Sunday!

The team news for the Toffees is that Aaron Lennon is of course ineligible for Everton because he is on loan from us, and has therefore returned to Spurs, but won’t feature for Tottenham either. Everton are suffering from seven possible absentees – Steven Pienaar (muscular), Antonio Alcaraz (muscular), Leighton Baines (ankle), Bryan Oviedo (metatarsal), Darren Gibson (metatarsal) and Tony Hibbert (knee) are ruled out, while Sylvain Distin (illness) faces a late fitness test. Romelu Lukaku is Everton’s most obvious threat – their powerful Belgian striker has 10 goals in the Premier League and 20 goals in all competitions; although he has had an inconsistent season in the League, his numbers overall have been fairly impressive and I’m sure he will be looking to improve on his League form next season. Alongside Romelu Lukaku, Belgian teammate Kevin Mirallas is another goal scoring threat, with his pace and skill can cause problems for any defence and with the lack of pace in our central defence he could be a real menace – and Mirallas scored in our last meeting, a stunning goal from range – so he is one to keep an eye on – with seven goals in the Premier League this term, and 10 in all competitions. Ross Barkley is without doubt an exciting talent for the future, with his dribbling ability and composure on the ball, as well as his shooting and eye for goal at just 21, but this season he has faltered and only hit 2 goals and 2 assists, which Barkley would be disappointed with for such a talented player – I’m sure he will still be quite the handful though this Sunday.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Michel Vorm (illness) is a doubt and will have a late fitness test, which opens the door for Brad Friedel possibly making the bench in his final game as a player before retirement. Ben Davies (shoulder) and Kyle Walker (foot) remain out injured. Vlad Chiriches returns from suspension but doesn’t look likely to earn a place in the squad. Emmanuel Adebayor has been released on compassionate leave to help sort out family problems in Togo so won’t feature in our final game of the season.

Our final game of the season and we want to go out in style. We will be looking to our attacking threats to produce in what is going to be a tough game up in Merseyside. Harry Kane is going through a little dry spell, looking fairly tired which is expected after the full on performances he has put in throughout the season – but I’m sure he will like to finish his incredible season with a goal, and make 30 goals at least 31. He will need help from his offensive support who need to do exactly that – support. Christian Eriksen has been disappointing of late, looking burnt out and I’m sure he will be relieved that the season is coming to an end and he can get some rest to come back even better next season; however I would like to see Eriksen and Kane combine well before the season is out, as their partnership really looks to be the future of our attack. But I do think that Eriksen needs a little bit of competition, as although he has been poor, he has still kept his place so he could feel irreplaceable at the moment, so that could be an area for Pochettino and co to look at. Nacer Chadli has been one of the triumphs of the season – his goal scoring and much improved performances have been a great part of this campaign and he hasn’t let up on his goal scoring, now hitting 13 for the season and I’m sure he will be looking to strike once again in our final game of the season. The final piece of our attacking force this season has been Erik Lamela, our top assister this campaign, and despite disappointing for a large part of the season, coming into the final games he has impressed with his tenacity and effectiveness in the final third – hopefully he can further improve next season. Defensively, Danny Rose has been one of our best players this season and without doubt our most improved player this season, contributing defensively and offensively, and he has brought balance to our side, making sure we have an outlet on the left hand side who has been able to provide crosses and this season goals – he has cemented himself as our number one left back and become a crucial player for us.
Our last game of the season! Let’s go out in style. Everton at Goodison Park awaits and we will be hoping to finish the season strongly, with the possibility of moving ahead of Liverpool into 5th, which would be nice to finish the season on. You can of course get updates on the game including photos, videos and more from my twitter account, follow me there @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Everton have gone seven games unbeaten at home to Tottenham in the Premier League, winning three (D4).

– Spurs have won consecutive PL games against Everton for the first time since April 2006 (a run of four wins).

– Tottenham have won on the final day in each of the last four seasons, the longest current run in the Premier League.

– Harry Kane has won his team more points than any other player in the Premier League this season (22).

– Everton have won six of their last seven final day games, including the last four at home.

– Four of Erik Lamela’s seven PL assists this season have been for Nacer Chadli.

– Leighton Baines needs one more assist to reach double figures for only the second time in his Premier League career.

– Romelu Lukaku has scored at least 10 goals in each of the last three Premier League campaigns.

– Harry Kane has failed to score in his last four Premier League games, his longest drought since October.

My predicted/preferred side to face Everton at Goodison Park:
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Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Here what Mauricio Pochettino had to say before the Everton match on Spurs TV, HERE.
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Match Review, Tottenham vs Hull City.

Match: Saturday 16th May 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-0 Hull City.

Tottenham goalscorers: Nacer Chadli 54’, Danny Rose 61’.

In our final home game of the season, we have managed to send the fans home happy; which is always good. A decent performance, with some great football and good goals while keeping a clean sheet is all you can ask for as we now start to look forward to the summer and then starting the rollercoaster up again for another season. This win keeps us one point ahead of Southampton, who sit in 7th and one point behind Liverpool in 5th heading into the final match of the season. It’s not a grand stand finish, it’s more about pride and bragging rights than anything else – it looks as though European football in the form of Europa League will be at the Lane once again next season, and it’s nothing to moan about – I quite like the competition, and although we will not be real contenders for the trophy, it’s a chance to try more youth players and give fringe players a chance to show what they can do. We played our strongest 11 quite often this season in the Europa League and it did hurt us, but I’m sure in Pochettino’s first season managing in a European competition, he will have learnt how much it does affect the players playing Thursdays and Sundays. Focusing back on a good win over Hull City, after a forgettable first half the players refocused and produced a very respectable performance against a fighting Hull City side, who certainly didn’t have a bad game.

In the first half, there really wasn’t too much to shout about for either team – chances were created, but there was only one clear cut opportunity that fell to Hull, as Nikica Jelavic smacked the crossbar from inside the box. The only notable chances that Tottenham created were from Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane; Christian Eriksen slid in Kane even though he probably should have had a go himself and the young player of the year slid the ball across the face of goal, when he probably should have had a go as well. Hull were very organised and solid defensively in the first half, but we didn’t test them like we should have, our passing was too obvious and predictable, and we weren’t penetrating the back line of Hull enough, partly or mainly because of the poor form of usually our most creative player Christian Eriksen, who quite simply looks like he has his suitcases packed already and sunglasses on, which after a long season like we have had, you can’t really blame him for – he has after all played in every game so far of our Premier League season, plus domestic, European and international duty. Improvement needed for the second half, especially in our play with the ball, probably going fro left back to centre back to right back about 100 times within the first half, which was a little frustrating. The best passing I saw in the first period was thanks to Tom Huddlestone, who on his return to Spurs made some pinpoint cross-field balls.

The second half was much better, despite Hull threatening from some set pieces which we looked a little nervous defending within the first five minutes of the restart, we settled and on 53 minutes opened the scoring through the impressive Nacer Chadli. He has to thank Erik Lamela for his goal, who has in the last three games been impressive; the Argentinian pounced on the ball in midfield before darting towards the final third and playing a delightfully weighted ball into the path of the onrushing Belgian, who took a tough round Steve Harper in the Hull City goal and finished with ease, 1-0 and the pressure lifted on Spurs and put firmly on the Tigers. After the ball the players looked more at ease, and it showed in the way we were moving the football, it was with more purpose and confidence and this confidence was evident in our second goal which came only seven minutes later on 60 minutes. Former Spurs captain Michael Dawson gave it away on the edge of the box and it fell to Ryan Mason, who played a one two with Rose, then lifted his head and lobbed a wonderful ball through to Danny Rose who had found himself in the penalty area, and he volleyed the ball first time with his weaker right foot into the roof of the net – another brilliant goal, which would surely seal the points for Tottenham and condemn Hull to what now seems like relegation. Hull City did push us despite the 2-0 margin, with Abel Hernandez going close in a goalmouth scramble where he should have really pulled the game back to 2-1 – but it was a lack of clinical nature within the Hull side which deserted the Tigers, with Jelavic, Dame N’Doye and Hernandez all having a match to forget. Despite some pressure from Hull, it turned out to be quite a routine victory for Tottenham in the end and one that we are thankful for in our last home game of the season. 2-0 – thank you very much.
review pic Our final home game of the season and a win! A decent performance and a good send off for the fans, showcasing the new kit heading into what I hope will be a good summer and then a good 2015/16 season, we are in need of a good year! If you have any comments, put them below and don’t forget to follow me on twitter at @AddictedToSpurs. Next up is the final game of the season, and we travel to Merseyside to face Everton as we look to secure European football, and hopefully finish 5th. Up the Spurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Hull at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Dier – 7.5
Fazio – 6
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 9 – Man of the Match.
Mason – 8 (Stambouli 79’ – 5)
Bentaleb – 7
Lamela – 9
Eriksen – 6 (Dembele 58’ – 6)
Chadli – 7.5
Kane – 7 (Soldado 89’ – N/A)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to a win in our penultimate game of the season:

The tradition lap of honour footage:

Danny Rose reacts after the 2-0 win over Hull City:

The new 2015/16 Tottenham Hotspur home kit created by Under Armour is OUT NOW! Get it now, click HERE!
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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

Danny Rose, Left Back to the Future!

After what can only be described as a difficult and unfulfilling 2013/14 season for Danny Rose personally, not showing any of his best form, looking uninterested and at times uninspired. But Great Scott, we have seen a complete transformation into one of our best players throughout this season. The left back has earnt two England call ups and at 23 years of age, and if he can continue to peform, then you wouldn’t put it past him to gain even more. We the fans have been desperate for a consistent left back for many years, with several having small flourishes in the position such as Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale before moving further forward and even new signing Ben Davies was thought to be the man to cement the position; but after all of that, it was the man from Leeds, that has come through Tottenham’s academy and now reached the point of being for now, Spurs’ number one left back – and at 23, he could yet cement himself as that left back for many years to come.

Watching the England man last season, you couldn’t see much hope – and I am sure he would be the first to admit he was under par. With the season Tottenham had, looking back you couldn’t blame Rose for looking disillusioned with the game and I am sure football became insipid for the left back at times, being critised after every little mistake by the not so faithful supporters; Tottenham was not a very happy place, and it wasn’t very stable last season, making it difficult for the players to feel comfortable I would assume, and it looked as though that affected Rose – who looked nothing like the player that scored a wonder goal on his debut against Arsenal – that player had passion and excitement when playing. I think Danny Rose lost interest, meaning the way he played suffered. But, alas, Rose has risen from the dead this season under Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine reigniting the fire within Rose and he looks a new man; he tackles with conviction, runs with purpose and is determined to win – becoming a vocal character on the pitch with his team mates. Yes, he has still made mistakes this season, and yes he can be a little bit naïve defensively, but that is the same with all offensive full backs throughout the game, and I would say that the balance that Rose has got between defence and attack is very good, and will only improve we hope.
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After Ben Davies signed for Spurs from Swansea for £10 million, it looked as though he would push on to replace Rose at left back, and that Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t keen on the Englishman – but it turned out that this investment in the 21 year old Welshman has had a good effect on both players – pushing eachother to improve throughout the season. Danny Rose started off the season as number one left back, but injury allowed Ben Davies to stake a claim, and he did impress, with a great performance against former side Swansea at the Liberty Stadium sticking out in my mind, and that looked like a turning point – Ben Davies replacing Danny Rose who had been good, but there were still doubts over his long term future as Tottenham’s left back amongst the fans. But, the tinking was premature and probably the most impressive thing about Danny Rose’s season is that he fought hard and regained his spot as number one left back from Ben Davies; perfoming in the Cups and I am sure he impressed in training and all of a sudden, Rose was establishing himself as one of Tottenham’s most impressive players.

Rose has a big impact on the way the Lilywhites play, with not much width on the left hand side with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen; the usual operators on the left flank always looking to cut inside and make an impact through the middle; they have been reliant on Rose to give them that pace and width with crosses, and it gives the creative players in the middle a good wide outlet. Without the pace of Rose, Spurs have had real problems down the left hand side, notibly against Southampton, where the Tottenham side was crying out for a player to bomb down the left hand side. Rose has contributed with 5 assists this season, a good tally from left back, and also seen himself poach 4 goals, which is no mean feat – with a goal against Chelsea to his name. I am sure he will be looking to increase that tally next term.
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The impact Mauricio Pochettino has had on Danny Rose cannot be underestimated, with Mauricio seeming to put an arm around Rose and as I have said, reignite that passion for football within him, and his quality has shone after that; he has deserved the plaudits he has got – but there are still doubts about him from some, but other than Harry Kane, he has arguably been Tottenham’s best player this season and Rose will be hoping that this form can continue for a long time yet and he can prove those few doubters left, wrong. COYS!! Remember to follow me on twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs. And also check out my instagram page, here: addictedtospurs, to keep up with everything Tottenham!
poch rose

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 Review, Tottenham vs Swansea.

Match: Wednesday 4th March 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Swansea.

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

Swansea goalscorers: Ki 19’ and Sigurdsson 89’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match highlights from the game:

Ryan Mason post match reaction:

Capital One Cup Final Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

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

Competition: Capital One Cup Final.

Venue: Wembley Stadium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mauricio Pochettino previews our Cup Final against Chelsea:

Read my Q&A with Turnstyle Sport HERE.462425722.0

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

Match 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: