Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Saturday 17th January 2015. 3pm GMT kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

The games are coming around very quickly at this moment in time, and we are in a crucial period of the season in which we have the opportunity to go to Wembley in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield United, as well as progress in the FA Cup against Leicester, and all the while we have big games in the Premier League, where we will be looking to pick up maximum points away to West Brom, but first, our full attention must be on the game at the Lane against Sunderland, and pick up to the three points to keep us well in the hunt with the top sides in the League. Our home games against lower opposition are absolutely vital, with all points in the Premier League so valuable, we need to capitalise on all of our opportunities, and this struggling Sunderland side is a good opportunity to get three points on the board, even though it’s never an easy game. After losing away at Crystal Palace, in what was a very frustrating and unfortunate game, with a buoyant Palace side able to fight back – and in the end it was a big three points dropped; and now we need to try to make up for it and keep momentum going and beat Sunderland to get points on the board, but also to get back to winning ways heading into some massive games this month. After beating Burnley 4-2 in the FA Cup, we gained back a little bit of momentum, but in the cup it is different to the Premier League, and our importance in performance and results is mostly judged on our League form, which has been good up until our slip up to Palace – and we will be hoping that it is just a slip up, and we can get right back up and on track with a win against the Black Cats.

Sunderland sit 16th in the Premier League table, and are in the relegation battle this season, with former Spur Gus Poyet in a little bit of a situation after winning only once in ten games and twice in 13, with 20 points from 21 games, which certainly isn’t setting the world alight, and they have developed a reputation for being the draw specialists of the Premier League, with only 3 wins this season, and 11 draws, which I am sure would be frustrating for the Sunderland fans, and Gus Poyet will be hoping he can get some more wins on the board to help guard from criticism and release the pressure on Poyet and Sunderland. The Black Cats have had some tough fixtures recently, and haven’t picked up any points in the last two games against Liverpool and Arsenal, and if they go three games without any points on the board, I’m sure Poyet’s job will be in jeopardy. But, from a Tottenham perspective, it’s a real chance to finish off what is already a wounded animal. The last time we faced Sunderland, earlier this season, we drew 2-2, with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen scoring in a game where we just couldn’t get the three points despite going ahead twice. The last time we faced Sunderland at the Lane, was last season, where despite going behind, we came back to win comfortably 5-1, with Emmanuel Adebayor getting two goals, with Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson also getting on the scoresheet in the emphatic victory. A repeat scoreline would be most welcome.

The team news for Sunderland is that former Spur Jermain Defoe, who made his move to Sunderland on Friday, is eligible to face his former club at his former home stadium for Sunderland, but as he hasn’t played competitive football in four months, and after only one training session with Sunderland, it is difficult to see him starting and playing the majority of the game. With Defoe, eligible, Liam Bridcutt (suspended), Steven Fletcher (groin), Lee Cattermole (groin) and Anthony Reveillere (calf) are out, with Jack Rodwell (hamstring) an injury doubt, and will undergo a late fitness test. Sunderland have some good players, and after obtaining Jermain Defoe they hope that they have signed a player to bring them goals and experience, and after his time at Tottenham, we know that he can, when on form, cause havoc to any defence, and he has a great eye for goal… Especially when it’s a debut, and he has scored on every debut that he has had, so betting on a Defoe goal seems like easy money! Along with Defoe, Connor Wickham is another goal threat where goal threats are scarce; he runs the channels well and can cause problems and make himself a nuisance, but he only has 2 goals, and that isn’t the return he would have wanted with the threat he poses; the young striker can play on the flanks as well and puts in a good shift for the side. Winger Adam Johnson is probably Sunderland’s biggest outlet for pace and effectiveness, and he has 5 goals so far this season in all competitions, but hasn’t been able to register an assist for his team mates, which is probably a bad stat for his team mates, rather than Johnson himself, as he has created 20 chances, the second highest after Sebastian Larsson with 39, who is their set piece specialist. There are some really good players in this Sunderland side, and if they get some momentum in their play I am sure they can cause us problems.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 22.46.49
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf) and Ryan Mason (hamstring) remain out, while Nabil Bentaleb is with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations. Federico Fazio (illness), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Younes Kaboul (illness) are doubts, while Emmanuel Adebayor is still available, despite not playing since early November against Stoke at the Lane. New signing DeAndre Yedlin doesn’t seem to be ready to make his debut as of yet, and is definitely unlikely to be thrown into Premier League action. With Fazio, Chiriches & Kaboul doubts, it seems we are a little short on centre backs, and that could mean Eric Dier being put into central defence, after not starting a game since the home draw to Crystal Palace in early December. Hopefully he isn’t rusty!

There is no doubting that Harry Kane has been phenomenal in recent times, and we will be looking to him once again to provide the finishing touch against the side he scored his first Premier League goal against, last season in the 5-1 win at the Lane; it was definitely the first of many and he is on his way to becoming indispensable to the side, and he has already cemented himself as one of the best strikers in the League at the moment, on form and on quality. I believe Kane is consistently improving under Mauricio Pochettino, and I hope that this development will continue and he will become an amazing asset for us. The man who makes us tick, and the person we need to perform to find gaps in tight games at home is Christian Eriksen, as he has two goals in his last two games against the black cats, it seems he has made quite the habit of performing against Sunderland; hopefully he can grab another goal and help us break down their defence and find those gaps again! The three musketeers of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen is completed by Nacer Chadli, who is a constant goal threat in every situation, from corners, with his right and left foot, as well as his ability to score from outside the box, he has become a crucial player to us and he has been a big improvement from last season. After the Burnley game, Paulinho and Andros Townsend received plaudits, and both are pushing hard for first team berths, with Townsend already cementing a place ahead of Aaron Lennon while Erik Lamela remains out, and Paulinho returning from the abyss to reclaim what seems to be a bit of his old form, and improvement means opportunities, even for someone who looked as though his Tottenham career looked unstable to say the least, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason out, it could be an opportunity for him to prove his worth in the Premier League after some decent performances in the cups and from the bench, and he has been very patient and not made a fuss, which I think is very honourable. Andros Townsend performed really well against Burnley and hopefully he is finding form once again as well and can become very effective on that right flank for Tottenham in the absence of Erik Lamela.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Christian Eriksen has netted in both of his Barclays Premier League appearances against Sunderland.

– Sunderland managed to net two goals despite only having one shot on target in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier this season against the Londoners.

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games against the Black Cats (W6 D3).

– Defeat last time out against Manchester City (2-3) ended a run of five on the road without loss for the Black Cats in the Premier League (W3 D2). It also ended a run of four consecutive clean sheets away from home.

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League home games (W3 D2).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered 12 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the most in the top flight.

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games for Spurs.

– Nacer Chadli has provided an assist in four of his last five league appearances for Tottenham.

– Spurs have given away six penalties in the Premier League; two more than any other side in the division.

– Sunderland have scored a higher proportion of their goals in the final 15 minutes of Barclays Premier League games than any other side (33%).

A big game to get back on track and return to winning ways in the Premier League, and one in which we will be welcoming back an old friend and now a new foe in Jermain Defoe; but let’s hope it isn’t a happy return for him on the pitch! The game isn’t being shown live on TV, but I will be providing match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account; follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Paulinho
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Tottenham Hotspur players at the 2014 Brazil World Cup – Review.

After a disappointing club season for Tottenham, the World Cup has certainly taken that off the minds of the fans, as well as the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino and the positive direction the club is seemingly taking. This World Cup has been superb, the best that I can remember, twists, turns and everything in-between, goals, mistakes, saves, assists. Everything; really sublime. For Tottenham Hotspur players representing the club on the biggest stage in sport, it was a mixed bag. 7 players of varying ability travelled to Brazil, none going all the way to the final, but there were some good performances which is positive, but there were also some incredibly disappointing displays. Here, I will review the performances of our seven representatives…

Paulinho – Brazil – Semi Finals. – Paulinho made 6 appearances for Brazil in the World Cup out of their 7 games, once from the bench. He failed to score or assist a goal in those games. Any way you try to sugar coat it, Paulinho had a very poor World Cup with Brazil. He was unable to make an impact in an uninspiring Brazilian team, who despite making the semi finals, have been dubbed the worst Brazilian team in memory. Sluggish, tired and average is the way Paulinho looked, after a disappointing season for Tottenham he didn’t improve and if anything got worse. He needs a break after 2 years of constant football, and hopefully he can come back in a fairly refreshed way. But, the worry is that his confidence will yet again be knocked by this poor Brazilian display, especially in the now infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany. I still have confidence that Paulinho can find form in a Tottenham shirt, after quite a few glimpses of his quality. It’s in there, I hope.

Paulinho rating – 4.5/10.

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Nabil Bentaleb – Algeria – Round of 16. – Bentaleb appeared in all of Algeria’s group games, but a slight injury deprived him of a game in the round of 16 against Germany, but in those three games against Belgium, Russia and South Korea he started and played 90 minutes, and played very well for a 19 year old, looking really competent in the midfield. After starting the last season in the reserves, he got his chance in the second half of the season and became an ever present, really impressing most of the fan base, and at just 19 years old I believe he has an extremely promising future both at Tottenham and with Algeria. Algeria created history at he World Cup in Brazil, and Nabil Bentaleb will always be remembered for his participation. I truly believe a star has been born at this World Cup. Lots of hard work, a good pre season and I think Bentaleb can continue to be a big part of our season and first team. Hopefully Pochettino can hone in on his potential and develop him further.

Bentaleb rating – 6.5/10.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Cameroon – Group Stage. – Assou-Ekotto played twice for Cameroon in their 3 games, and it was a tournament to forget for both Cameroon and Benoit. No assists and no goals contributed from Assou-Ekotto. Assou played a solid game in the first fixture against Mexico, losing narrowly 1-0, but losing 4-0 to Croatia in the next game was terrible and Assou-Ekotto performed equally as bad, and to top it off at the end being involved in head butting his team mate, which then succumbed him to the bench in the final loss against Brazil. Benoit in my view was guilty of poor positioning, being mentally fragile and acting like he was too good for his team, when they needed big performances most. It’s difficult to see how Benoit Assou-Ekotto can return to Tottenham and not be transfer listed.

Assou-Ekotto rating – 3/10.

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Hugo Lloris – France – Quarter Finals. – Hugo Lloris started and captained all of France’s 5 games in this World Cup, getting 3 clean sheets in a decent campaign for the French national side. Throughout the games Lloris played really well, not tested too much, but when he was he was up to anything thrown at him. It was the usual Hugo Lloris we see week-in-week-out at the Lane, commanding in the box, a sublime shot stopper, quick off of his line and a leader on the pitch. Sadly Germany were an obstacle too far for a young French side, but in my eyes they are now the favourites to win Euro 2016 in France. A new 5 year contract at the end of the World Cup for Hugo was another cracking decision! Lloris is World Class and without a doubt one of the best goalkeepers in World Football.

Lloris rating – 8/10.

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Mousa Dembele – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Mousa Dembele only made 2 appearances for Belgium in their 5 World Cup games not being able to score or assist. In the 2 games he didn’t show his best form, some saying that’s down to long term injuries still bugging the player. I’m sure Dembele would have wanted more from his World Cup, as would the Belgian fans. In the 90 minutes he played against South Korea, I think he put in a decent performance, showing glimpses of his ability on the ball to glide past players and get the play moving, but he didn’t set the World alight. Hopefully a short break can help Dembele return to the form that we know he’s capable of, because he hasn’t reached that for quite a while.

Dembele rating – 4/10.

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Nacer Chadli – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Nacer Chadli’s World Cup was similar to Mousa Dembele’s. Chadli featured in 4 of Belgium’s five World Cup games, but only started once, again failing to score or assist. In the 3 other appearances were very late substitute displays, to give Belgium hight and a target up front. In the time Nacer did play, he wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either. He made some good runs, found some good passes, but was unable to impact on the game as I’m sure he would have liked to. The criticism of Chadli is harsh in some cases, as I think he always gives his all for the team, doing the job he’s instructed to do, but I think it’s when he’s given the licence to attack he shows his best form, and in this World Cup he wasn’t given that opportunity, but that was probably down to the fact better players were ahead of him in the pecking order. Disappointing overall, but not given a massive chance.

Chadli rating – 3.5/10.

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Jan Vertonghen – Belgium – Quarter Finals. – Jan Vertonghen featured in all of Belgium’s five games starting 4 and coming on as an early substitute in the other. Jan was the scorer of the only Tottenham World Cup goal, but didn’t get an assist. In my view, Vertonghen was the best Tottenham performer of the World Cup, and certainly put in the performance of the World Cup for Spurs against the USA, where he was absolutely sublime at left back. He showed composure in defence, but also was very handy when in attack, putting a lot of great crosses into the box all tournament and of course getting the winning goal against South Korea. After a difficult season for Jan at Spurs, he put that to the darkest and deepest place in his mind and performed to the level we know he can, which fills me with a lot of excitement for how he can play when he returns to Tottenham for the new season, under a manager that can motivate him. The World Cup will enrich Vertonghen’s game with experience and hopefully give him the motivation and confidence for the new season. A good World Cup display from Jan!

Vertonghen rating – 8.5/10.

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What a World Cup it was. Unfortunately, no Spurs player got the pleasure of playing in the final, or winning the remarkable trophy, but I’m sure the experience of Brazil will stay with them forever. It’s a sad thing that it has finished, but I’m so happy that I got to witness the greatest show on earth in a country that lives and breathes football. Germany were deserved winners in the end, but nearly every team contributed in some way to the excitement of the tournament. From a Tottenham aspect, I hope the experience of being involved in the biggest footballing occasion there is will push them on to better themselves at club level, especially 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb. The new season can’t come soon enough. New manager, new season, new era. Let the adventure begin. COYS!

Tottenham at the World Cup – ratings:
1st) Vertonghen 8.5.
2nd) Lloris 8.
3rd) Bentaleb 6.5.
4th) Paulinho 4.5.
5th) Dembele 4.
6th) Chadli 3.5.
7th) Assou-Ekotto 3.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match: Sunday 11th May 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Paulinho 14′, Baker OG 35′ and Adebayor (pen) 38′.

The season comes to a close in fantastic style. We know it’s not been a season to rejoice about, but it’s extremely nice to finish it on a high and now put it behind us and move on, becoming stronger next season and fighting even harder than ever before to finish where we want to be. This win means that we finish 6th, with 69 points ahead of Manchester United and securing our place in the Europa League for next season. I’m already looking forward to next season!

In the first half, we were electrifying. Aston Villa couldn’t deal with the quality we had running through the team and to top off our dominance, we got our first goal in the first 15 minutes of a Premier League game, through Paulinho, who got his 8th goal of the season after Gylfi Sigurdsson slid through a pass and Harry Kane knocked it on for the Brazilian, who then saw his shot saved but on the rebound slotted home to make it 1-0. We continued our dominance after the goal, with Villa looking like they were on the beach already. We passed the ball well and found pockets of space continuously and then in the 35th minute we doubled our lead, Danny Rose smashing the ball across the goal and it inadvertently hit Aston Villa’s Nathan Baker and diverted into the goal for 2-0, and now we were cruising. Only 2 minutes later, a Sandro shot was sent flying through a group of players and then hit Gabby Agbonlahor’s arm in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up and finished expertly into the roof of the net. Game. Set. Match. The second half was like a training session, there weren’t many chances, but we controlled the game and played some good stuff, and getting some youngsters on the pitch to top it all off. Veljkovic, Pritchard and Bentaleb all made it out and played well after coming on.

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For me, man of the match goes to Paulinho. He played with freedom, intelligence and also got his goal. He has been given a lot of stick this season, unfairly in my eyes, and today he showed why we have to keep hold of him and build with him in the team next season. The main reason we saw Paulinho at his best is the inclusion of Sandro in the team alongside him, they both have a connection, they know when one is staying back and the other going forward and they both cover for each other. Sandro gave the midfield some much needed stability and strength. One reason we’ve had such a disappointing season is that we haven’t had Sandro, Paulinho and Dembele fit together enough or at all. They are the core that drive this team on, and we haven’t had that. Next season I want those three together more often, under Sherwood or not. Along with Sandro and Paulinho, I think Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches played very well today, they are players I am really looking forward to seeing in the shirt next season.

It’s been a difficult season but we must put it behind us and push on into the new season! Thank you all for sticking with the team and reading my posts, on the web, on twitter, on Instagram and vine! It’s been a pleasure and I wish you all a great summer and get ready for the 2014/15 season! We’ll be here though, with transfer news, our season review, loan watch review, kit launch and managerial stories and announcements! Join me there at @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that beat Aston Villa:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 7
Dawson – 8
Chiriches – 8
Rose – 6
Sigurdsson – 7
Paulinho – 9 – Man of the Match.
Sandro – 8
Eriksen – 8
Kane – 7
Adebayor – 8.

Subs:
Veljkovic – 7
Bentaleb – 6
Pritchard – N/A.

Match highlights from our 3-0 win:

Tim Sherwood’s post match thoughts:

Match Review, Hull City vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 1st February 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: KC Stadium.

Result: Hull City 1-1 Tottenham.

Hull goal: Shane Long 11′.

Tottenham goal: Paulinho 60′.

Frustrating and disappointing. We didn’t get going in the first half at all, sloppy passing, never creating many clear cut chances and looked incredibly weak in the challenge, Hull almost winning every 50/50 challenge. Hull deserve credit for a great performance with a lot of grit and determination but we were so poor, we made it easy for them in many ways, we didn’t stretch their defence enough and we lacked width, even with Lennon on the wing, everything was too narrow and too tight. Shane Long put Hull in front with just 11 minutes gone, poor defending from Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen let the Irish striker through on goal and he finished well, and they deserved to be in front. In the second half, we improved, Emmanuel Adebayor the one pushing us forward, along with Christian Eriksen, a goal was bound to come and it did through Paulinho with an hour gone, Danny Rose fired a ball into the Brazilian and he turned impressively to fire a shot into the top of the net, a great finish from a great player. We did push for a winner and got a couple of chances, but I don’t think we deserved to win the game. We didn’t do enough.

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As for performances, my man of the match for Spurs goes to Emmanuel Adebayor, he worked his socks off and was the player to push us forward and try to make chances, but he didn’t really get the service to score, Hull did well to keep our chance making to a minimum. Nabil Bentaleb, despite a lot of criticism from fans, I thought was one of our better players, his passing was crisp and made openings quite often, especially in the first half weirdly, because that’s when we created less. Despite a decent performance, once Dembele and Sandro come back he really shouldn’t get a look in. Christian Eriksen did well. It’s his first game under Sherwood where he hasn’t been involved in a goal in the Premier League, but he still created openings, sadly without any end product. It’s great to have Jan Vertonghen back, he was very impressive, and his partner Dawson was solid, but as soon as Jan returns, Chiriches goes missing from the squad! We can’t catch a break! It’s the same with Paulinho, he comes back, Dembele gets injured. So so frustrating. Poor performances too. Roberto Soldado continued to be very disappointing, he really is low on confidence but doesn’t even look like scoring, he is low on confidence, but I’m even lower on confidence in his ability. Surely you don’t just lose your scoring touch, because he certainly had it at Valencia!! Kyle Walker has had a great season, but recently he has seen a dip in form, needs to step it up again because I haven’t been impressed with him.

Difficult to take, two disappointing results in the space of a few days. Massive game next week against Everton at the Lane, Sunday 9th February with kick off at 1:30pm. We need a result to keep in the top four race. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Hull at the KC:
Lloris – 6
Walker – 5
Dawson – 7
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 6
Lennon – 5
Paulinho – 8
Bentaleb – 7
Eriksen – 7.5
Soldado – 4
Adebayor – 8 – Man of the Match.

Subs:
Kane – N/A.

Hull City 1-1 Tottenham, Match highlights:

Tim Sherwood’s post match interview:

Match Preview, Hull City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 1st February 2014. 3pm Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: KC Stadium.

TV: Not televised.

Another Manchester City capitulation, it’s cliche but it’s the truth, we need to bounce back instantly with a big performance, the players will be down because they know things went against them on Wednesday, but it’s in the past and the positive is we don’t have to play them again! Too good, they’ll win the league. Against Hull City it’s going to be difficult, but our away form has been brilliant and I hope we can continue our good form away from the Lane, we’ve won 5 on the bounce away, a club record, so with that stat I’m confident we can go and win. Last time out against Hull City we won 1-0 at the Lane, a late Roberto Soldado penalty getting us the win in a difficult game with Hull City’s tactics spot on, we had no space. Different times now! We’ve been in great scoring form and with Hull City at home I’d expect them to try and attack us and create opportunities, which would leave space for us to counter attack, which we’ve been extremely good at recently. I am glad we get back into action so soon after the defeat to Manchester City, now we can get back to winning ways instantly against another City, Hull!

Hull City have been great this season, but have recently hit troublesome results and with them, have been dragged back into the relegation battle. They’ve lost 4 Premier League games on the bounce and have only won once in 10 matches, so they’re under a little bit of pressure to perform, especially from their home fans. They are 4 points off the relegation zone while being in 13th place, so it tells you just how tight it is down at the bottom! The team news for Hull City is that Figueroa (muscle) and Brady (groin) are doubtful for the game, with Chester (hamstring), Aluko (achilles) and goalkeeper McGregor (suspended) all out of the match on Saturday. Plus, Jake Livermore is unable to play because he is on loan from Tottenham and can’t play against his parent club. The players that will be key for Hull start with our former midfielder, Tom Huddlestone, he’s been crucial to their team this season and makes them tick, given time he can hurt us with his brilliant range of passing, we have to close him down and make him rush! Also, Shane Long is a good player up-front, he will harry our defence and work hard for chances, we need to keep him quiet, too. Finally, Elmohamady is a flyer on the right hand side, he’s got energy and pace, with the ability to put in a good cross too, with Jelavic and Long in the middle it could cause problems, so Danny Rose will have to be on his game to deal with him.

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The team news for Spurs is good news, after being close to a return against Manchester City, Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho and Younes Kaboul are now fit and in contention to start against Hull. Also, Mousa Dembele is fit after a knock against Manchester City and included in the match day squad, with Danny Rose’s red card that he received being rescinded, so he is available for the match. The bad news is that Andros Townsend, Erik Lamela and Sandro remain out and will not feature against the Tigers. With the news of Jan Vertonghen coming back, I’d put him straight into the team along with Paulinho, the two that I would drop out would be Michael Dawson and Nabil Bentaleb, even though I rate Nabil highly I just don’t see a place in the team once Paulinho and Sandro are back, but you never know, Tim seems to love him! Dawson is a great captain, but the reality is, football wise, he is not as good as Jan Vertonghen or at the moment Vlad Chiriches at the back, as for the captaincy, we have good leaders on the pitch, but I’d give it to Jan Vertonghen or Hugo Lloris. Up front, I’d give Roberto Soldado back his place up top with Emmanuel Adebayor, this would see Eriksen go back out to the left hand side, I think Soldado needs game time to show his quality and if he can get a goal it would be a massive boost for us and most importantly him, confidence wise. With two strikers up front we could be able to stretch The Hull back line because the Tigers play three at the back with two flying wing backs, so I’d like to see that tried to start with!

Match Stats and Facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Only one of the last six meetings between Hull and Spurs in all competitions has ended as a home win (three away wins, two draws).

– Tottenham have won their last five Barclays Premier League away matches, their best run since 1960.

– Hull City have been level at half-time in their last six home matches.

– Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick on Spurs’ last visit to the KC Stadium.

– Tottenham are in fifth place in the Premier League table but have a negative goal difference (-1) – the only side in the top nine places to do so.

– Hull City have not had both teams scoring in their last five matches.

– George Boyd is the most used substitute in the division this season (15 times).

– Tottenham’s last Premier League clean sheet away from home came on November 3rd and they have failed to keep one in their six road trips since.

– Spurs have had Over 2.5 goals in their last six away matches.

– Spurs have scored at least once in every Premier League game under Tim Sherwood.

– No team has hit fewer shots on target than Hull this season (71 – level with Cardiff).

– Hull City have conceded first in their last four matches.

– Hull have received a red card in each of their last two Premier League games – this after going 19 PL games without one.

– Since putting six past Fulham; Hull City have gone four league games without a goal.

It’s a big ‘bounce back’ game for Spurs, we need the three points to keep up with the teams above us, the game is not televised but I’ll be sure to provide you with a stream, as well as updates on twitter at @AddictedToSpurs where I’ll give you match updates, pictures, videos and even vines! Let’s get a win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Hull City at the KC Stadium:
4-4-2
Lloris
Walker – Chiriches – Vertonghen – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Dembele – Eriksen
Soldado – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s thoughts previewing our clash with Hull:

Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013.

Premier League

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland goal: Adam Johnson 36′.

Tottenham goals: Paulinho 43′, John O’Shea OG 50′.

Another great win away from home! Our December month has started with a bang, 7 points from our last three difficult matches is exactly what we needed, our comeback is complete from our Manchester City mauling, what was looking bleak is now looking rather bright. Three points off second, after other teams dropped points, now we need to beat Liverpool and stake our claim for those Champions League places. In the first half, it wasn’t great by any means. We were sloppy and didn’t look threatening to Sunderland, slow and unimaginative. Sunderland didn’t have a lot of chances, but they only needed a bit of luck when the usually reliable Hugo Lloris made a mistake and gifted a goal for Adam Johnson, typical of the Spurs of this season. We got back very quickly, taking their goal as a kick up the backside and we didn’t look back, a great ball from Walker found Chadli, who headed the ball back in well for Paulinho to poke in. After half time, we dominated, made the game our own, showed determination, desire and offensive quality to go for the win and get it! Early on we got the goal to put us in front, Mousa Dembele took his man on and made it happen, then putting the ball in the box for John O’Shea to expertly finish it into his net, great goal! Haha. After the goal, we didn’t sit back we went for the third to kill off the game, but it didn’t come, I don’t know how. We got to 90 minutes and we won the game, so I’m happy!!

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The players all played very well, our second half performance was some of the best football we played this season, we created opportunities, passed the ball brilliantly and quickly, looking like the good old Tottenham again! My man of the match was Kyle Walker, what a player he has been for us this season so far, he’s improved so much from last season, taking the responsibility on his shoulders and thriving off of it. He was defensively outstanding, strong, aware of danger and making the right decisions. Offensively, his partnership with Lennon down the right is proving to be extremely affective. Very happy he’s back to his best. Aaron Lennon was also outstanding; since he has returned from injury he has been a breath of fresh air, giving us that width we have needed. Brilliant again. Mousa Dembele is one of the most technically gifted players that has played for Spurs in recent times, the way he glides past players like they aren’t there is incredible; the only thing you can criticise him on is his final product offensively, if he were to gain that, he’s up there with the best in the League.

Great win! We move on to the Europa League on Thursday 12th December against Anzhi, even though it doesn’t mean much, we want to maintain that 100% record! Then, we return to action in the Premier League in a massive game at the Lane! Liverpool on Sunday, 15th December. Let’s get a win!! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
Lloris – 7 – Certainly not his best performance, that mistake was disappointing, but still solid.
Walker – 9 – Man of the Match. Outstanding again.
Dawson – 8 – Saved us a couple of times. He may not be the most talented, but gives 100% every time.
Capoue – 8 – He fit in at centre back brilliantly! Great option to have in the future.
Naughton – 7.5 – Proved to a lot of his critics (including me), that he is a capable left back.
Paulinho – 9 – Top class performance, good goal. If he can control his finishing, world class!
Dembele – 9 – Very happy he’s Spurs.
Lennon – 9 – Breath of Fresh air!
Holtby – 8 – Worked his socks off, created opportunities and showing his class recently.
Chadli – 6 – He’s not found his feet in the Premier League, but I have confidence.
Defoe – 6.5 – He makes some good runs, unlucky on a couple of occasions, but should be finishing those chances…

Subs:
Sandro – 7 – Beast.
Townsend – 8 – On the left, he is outstanding. Keep him there Andre.
Sigurdsson – 6 – Didn’t make a massive impact, did his job!

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Sunderland:

AVB’s reaction post Sunderland victory:

What is Tottenham’s best 11?

Tottenham’s squad is undoubtedly one of the strongest and deepest in the Premier League, the amount of international regulars we have throughout the entire squad is staggering and holds us in good stead for the rest of this season and beyond, but what is the best starting 11 that can be put out in our biggest and most important games? It’s a difficult choice that will most likely differ in choice from one person to the next, but here is my choice and my reasons for picking them in my 11:

Formation

Early on in pre season it looked as though a change of style could occur, and we could go to a 4-3-3 formation, similar to Porto when AVB was in charge, but the addition of Eriksen who plays in the hole and also Lewis Holtby, means that we have stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation, which adds more guile and creativity to the team than the 4-3-3. An easy choice. 4-2-3-1.

GK – Hugo Lloris

Most likely the easiest choice I have to make in the line-up. One of the best ‘keepers the Premier League has to offer. Fits our style of play with the high-line perfectly with his pace, agility and sharpness. Saved us numerous times so far this season, our nailed on number 1.

RB – Kyle Walker

Kyle certainly has his critics. Defensively he can be vulnerable, and his positioning is quite poor for a right back, but he is the best we have in the position and is still learning the game at 23. He will continue to improve defensively. Offensively, I think Walker is a real asset to the team, given the freedom to attack the right flank he can create for the team and cause threat to the opposition. Hopefully he improves more as the season continues.

RCB – Younes Kaboul

I think Younes is a quality centre back, who fits in with the way AVB plays. Pace, power and defensive composure. Two seasons ago he was arguably our best player, a rock at the back. Sadly, Kaboul really struggles with injuries, wether he can recover fully from these injuries is a definite question mark. I really hope he can, because if he becomes fit again, he will in my opinion start alongside Jan Vertonghen. While Younes isn’t fit, club captain Michael Dawson should get the nod.

LCB – Jan Vertonghen

Another easy decision. Vertonghen has cemented his place in our starting 11 from more-or-less day one. Commonly known as ‘Super Jan’, he performs consistently as one of the best centre backs in the league. On the ball he plays like a midfielder, off the ball, he plays like a world class defender, certainly one of our best players. Sometimes can be caught a little flat footed, but that’d be a very harsh judgement from myself.

LB – Danny Rose

Danny Rose proved himself in the Premier League with Sunderland on loan last season, being awarded player of the year. He’s come back, and he’s been very solid. An unsung hero so far this season. Offensively he has been good, but I’ve been disappointed with his final ball, hopefully it improves as he continues the season. Where I’ve been very impressed with Danny is defensively. Some picked him out as a ‘defensive liability’, but I don’t think this is the case at all. Sometimes he can be caught out while pushing up the pitch, but not too often as Jan Vertonghen is usually there to cover. When he is in defensive situations, he deals with them very well, he’s also made some extremely important blocks so far! Hopefully he continues his good form when he comes back into the team.

RCM – Paulinho

I’ve been very impressed with how Paulinho has settled into life at Spurs, he’s been one of the stand out players. Defensively he is strong and offensively, he’s even better! A true box to box midfielder that adds another goal threat to the team, but also a player who can pick a pass when needed. I believe he has to start, even with the fierce, and I mean FIERCE competition he is getting for his position from players like Capoue and Sandro.

LCM – Mousa Dembélé

My toughest decision in the team. Dembele, Sandro or Capoue. I was really tempted to put Sandro or Capoue in there, as they can add the defensive toughness to the team that Paulinho and Dembele possibly don’t have, certainly not like Capoue or Sandro do. Dembele makes us tick, I rate him very highly, his ability to glide past players and bring the ball out from defence to start attacks. To take him out could be a big mistake, but to leave him in could be a mistake in itself. Capoue has been phenomenal since coming in, and Sandro has been a rock for a while now. The toughest decision AVB will have to make is this one, in my opinion.

CAM – Christian Eriksen

Eriksen has been a great signing so far, bringing a creative touch to our powerful midfield. Controlled the game on his debut against Norwich and has already scored a beauty for us in the Europa League against Tromsø. It is still a tough decision to decide between Eriksen and Lewis Holtby. Both have been excellent so far this season, but Eriksen just tips it at the moment. Good competition for places in this area, with Erik Lamela able to play here as well.

RW – Erik Lamela

Erik hasn’t set the Premier League, or the Europa League by storm so far this season, and some may doubt his £30 million price tag, but I can assure you he will come good. 15 goals last season for AS Roma in Serie A, and at only 21, I truly believe he’ll be a star in the future. He hasn’t adapted to the physicality and pace of the Premier League just yet, and he also doesn’t speak English, but in time, when he does settle and maybe beef up a little, I believe he will gain his place in the Spurs side. The competition on the right flank is high, with the Premier League experienced Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend both fighting for the spot, but I think Erik will take it after he settles properly into the team.

LW – Andros Townsend

Having played right wing this season for both Spurs and England, it may be a bit of a surprise that I’ve placed him on the left. This would be my choice, to fit in two very very good wingers into the Spurs team, Lamela and Andros. Andros has lots of experience on the left, having started his career in the position, so I’d give him the left wing slot over Lamela. Townsend has shown he is very capable with both feet, he can come inside and shoot with his right, or have more of the option to go to the by-line and get a dangerous cross in. I believe this would get even more out of Townsend. He’s has a great start, hopefully he starts banging the goals in for Spurs like he has for England!

ST – Roberto Soldado

There is no doubt that Soldado has struggled to adapt to the Premier League’s pace and physicality, a bit like Erik Lamela. With only 2 goals in 7 games, which were from the penalty spot, it hasn’t been a great start for the Spaniard. It takes time, and I have faith in him to score the goals to help us reach the Champions League. His 24 goals last season in La Liga for Valencia show that he’s more than got it in his locker. His conversion rate in Spain was extraordinary, and when he finds his feet and gets the confidence back, I’m sure he’ll be banging them in for fun. His link up play has been excellent, despite not scoring, he’s made 11 chances for others in 7 games, which shows he helps us out in more ways than just goals.

Conclusion

It is very difficult to pick just 11 players, when the squad is so vast. Leaving out players like Sandro, Capoue, Sigurdsson, Chadli and Defoe is difficult, but it shows you the quality we have. I could name a second team quite easily, so the cup competitions should be quite an experience this season! It’s going to be a long season, and I think our squad will be right up there this season. Blips like against West Ham happen to the best teams, it’s how you respond that makes you a top team. COYS!!

Thanks for reading! What team would you play? Comment and SHARE!

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Match Preview, Tottenham vs Chelsea.

Match: Saturday, 28th September 2013

Premier League

What a game we have in prospect here. A London derby between two sides who are expected to be challenging for the coveted Champions League spots, and maybe even the Premier League. The game is being built up as ‘The Master vs The Apprentice’, in other words Jose Mourinho vs Andre Villas Boas. They both go back a long time with similarities in their approach to the game being made constantly. They are phenomenal coaches, but there is a sense of a rift between the two, it doesn’t seem that they are friends anymore, for us fans it’s great to see rivalry and for the coaches it’ll add a little tension into the game, if you can fit any more in to a game of this magnitude that is! We’ve had a great start to the season and a win against our fierce rivals would make it even better. I’m very much looking forward to the task ahead.

Chelsea are a very solid team with exceptional players. Their start hasn’t been great, with criticism coming from the media about Jose Mourinho’s style of play and decisions to leave out quality players like Juan Mata and David Luiz. Despite all the critical views, they sit in fourth place with ten points out of a possible fifteen, two points behind ourselves in second. The threats they have to try and hurt us are strong. Eden Hazard hasn’t impressed this season so far, but he’s a gifted player who can cause defences lots of problems with his skill and trickery, how Kyle Walker deals with him on our right hand side could be crucial. Juan Mata, if he plays, is another player who in the whole can create chances and be a nuisance to defenders. Our defensive midfielders are key to stopping him, or Oscar if he gets the nod. Defensively I feel we have the quality to contain them, but we need to be fully concentrated. Great team, but their striker situation will be a worry as no striker has scored for them this season.

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Midfielder Paulinho has been in sensational form, scoring two goals in the last two games against Cardiff in the Premier League and Aston Villa in the League Cup. He’s shown so far that he’s certainly worth the £17 million price tag, hopefully he can continue his scoring form and general domination of the midfield against Chelsea. There are a few selection headaches that AVB will have for this one. Jermain Defoe and Lewis Holtby have been in scintillating form, scoring goals and creating chances for others. Lewis Holtby gained three assists against Aston Villa and has shown why we brought him in last January window, the way he can spot a pass is great to watch and his passion something all the fans love him for, it’s hard to fit him in though with Eriksen one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment. Hopefully André can find a place for him. Jermain Defoe is unlikely to start, with Soldado ahead of him in the ranking, he’s in good goalscoring form but I do prefer Soldado as he helps the team out more with his link up play, it will be hard to keep Defoe out if Soldado doesn’t hit goal scoring form soon though… I think Sandro has been very good in the games he has played this season, whether to play Dembele or Sandro is yet another decision to make for Villas Boas, both give so much to the team, I fancy Sandro as he gives us more defensive security. Erik Lamela should get his first Premier League start this weekend, this will bring us a lot of creative talent and he scored last time he faced them in a pre season friendly, hopefully he can do the same at the Lane! Danny Rose has a 90% chance of making the game as he recovers from his injury, would be a big boost to have him back.

An exciting game awaits. I’m sure the Lane will be absolutely rocking. The match is being shown live on BT Sport 1, with kick off at 12:45pm. Let’s get this win that would mean so much to everyone involved to the club. COYS!!

Match Facts provided by Opta from tottenhamhotspur.com

Chelsea have not failed to score in three successive Premier League away games since April 2002.

The last three competitive meetings between Tottenham and Chelsea have produced a total of 16 goals in total (an average of 5.3 per game).

Tottenham have conceded more Barclays Premier League home goals to Chelsea (38) than any other team.

Chelsea have only conceded 22 goals in 21 Premier League outings at White Hart Lane.

Five of Tottenham’s last six Barclays Premier League games have ended 1-0 (W4 L1).

No team in Europe’s top five leagues has conceded fewer goals than Spurs this season (1).

Spurs have fashioned more goal attempts from open play (60) than any other team this season but have scored only three of them.

None of Chelsea’s strikers have scored a Barclays Premier League goal yet this season.

If this game is a draw then Chelsea will have made the same start as they did in 2007-08 when Jose Mourinho departed after six Premier League matches.

Chelsea haven’t scored more than two goals in any of their last 11 Premier League games.

My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at White Hart Lane:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro
Lamela – Eriksen – Holtby
Soldado

Match Review, Cardiff City vs Tottenham.

Sunday 22nd September 2013.

Cardiff City 0-1 Tottenham. Paulinho 92′

Wow! Nerve wracking game. We dominated the match from start to finish but just couldn’t get the ball in the net! Chance after chance came, but Cardiff City’s goalkeeper kept us at bay time after time. It looked as though we were bang out of luck. We were not at our best, actually far from it, but we grinder out a result and three points is all that matters. Our passing was okay and we dominated possession, but it just wasn’t penetrating the solid Cardiff defence. A few subs from AVB changed that, and finally we got the winner through Paulinho! Happy Days!

Cardiff were holding on so well. All credit goes to them for making it really difficult for us and still having a threat at the other end. Steven Caulker had a solid game handling Soldado, kept him at bay really well and was good on the ball. At the other end, Peter Whittingham caused us problems when he got on the ball, really good player that gave Naughton problems. Unlucky for them, but they looked good and if they perform like that every game they will stay up.

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I don’t think we were very good to be honest. Frustrating evening for our players. The substitutions from AVB were spot on. Probably easy decisions to make with the players he had available but he made them perfectly. Lewis Holtby and Erik Lamela gave us a different look and in the end, they both had a key part in our winning goal. Soldado’s link up play with Eriksen was great, they were just unfortunate not to make a few more clear cut chances. Hugo Lloris saved us a few times too, another clean sheet for him! Kyle Naughton had a poor game, mistake after mistake and made the wrong decisions in the final third when he attacked, was a frustrating day for him. Christian Eriksen couldn’t really get going today, but his passing was sharp and quick, difficult when he’s got a lot of Cardiff players tracking his every move, still needs to adapt a bit more to the pace of the Premier League.

Very good win that takes us up to second, level on points with our North London rivals Arsenal. We need to improve, but with time the team will continue to gel and get better. Very excited about what’s still to come! Our next game is against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday 24th September. Our next Premier League game is against Chelsea on Saturday 28th September. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Cardiff City:
Lloris – 7 – Slightly shaky game from Hugo, but when called upon made some key saves.
Walker – 8 – I thought Walker really improved. A threat down that right hand side, and solid defensively.
Dawson – 6 – Made some silly decisions, but also some crucial interceptions! Dealt with Campbell well I thought.
Vertonghen – 6 – Not his best game at all, but always good on the ball. Looked a little off the pace.
Naughton – 4 – Defensive liability. Really poor and doesn’t look Spurs standard after his two seasons back from Norwich.
Paulinho – 8 – Man of the match. Good on the ball and got the all important goal to get us the three points!
Dembele – 7 – Mousa and Paulinho dominated possession. He also made some key tackles.
Townsend – 6 – Very selfish. A real threat, but needs to pass a lot more. His shot really didn’t trouble Cardiff’s keeper.
Eriksen – 7 – Passing was sharp, and looked a threat but was crowded out a lot and didn’t make a massive impact.
Sigurdsson – 7 – Unlucky is his middle name! Thought he was good otherwise, but didn’t get into many goalscoring positions.
Soldado – 6 – A few chances to score, but Cardiff’s keeper was sensational. He’s getting into the positions which is good!

Subs:
Holtby – 8 – Was superb when he came on. Such passion and a real creative spark!
Lamela – 7 – Got they assist after getting into a great position on the right. Very good when he came on.
Kane – 7 – Thought he was good when he came on! His touch was good and came close to scoring!

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Swansea.

The new Premier League season continues with our first game back at White Hart Lane against a strong Swansea side. Our home form last season wasn’t great, especially at the start of the season, so we need to improve this, starting against Swansea! Started very well against Crystal Palace, and to get another three points is as important as ever. Swansea will be a threat, they’ve signed some great players, and their existing side is already very good, and I really think they’ll have a great season. Defensively, they can be vulnerable, as shown in their 4-1 loss to Man United in the first game of the season, but their attacking style will cause us problems! The ones to watch out for being Wilfried Bony, Wayne Routledge, and of course Michu. Goals are their forté, so our defences ill have to be alert and on top form!

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Our side is looking very good at the moment. With more transfers in the offing, we look set to have a great season, with or without Gareth Bale. Our main goal threat being Roberto Soldado. Roberto makes his competitive home debut against the Swans, and I’ll be tipping him to be in the goals once again! Clinical! A surprise starter could come in Andros Townsend, he really impressed in our Europa League play of against Tbilisi, being involved in almost all of our 5 goals. Deserves a chance at White Hart Lane for sure! Capoue, Paulinho and Chadli could also get their competitive home debuts, and they’ll be exciting to see how they do. Coming off an impressive two performances at Palace and in Tbilisi, I expect us to push on even further, and hopefully get another 3 points under our belt! Holtby could even get a place on the bench after he returned from injury for the Under 21’s, and impressed thoroughly getting a goal! Bale is still out with an injured foot, but his move to Real Madrid could be confirmed soon, unfortunately. Hope for another good performance today and get our first home win of the season! Sadly the game is not televised, but kick off is on Sunday 25th August at 4:00pm GMT. COYS!!

My predicted line up to face Swansea at White Hart Lane:
(4-3-3)
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Vertonghen – Rose
Paulinho – Capoue – Dembele
Townsend – Soldado – Chadli