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 Review, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 25th April 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

Result: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham.

Southampton goalscorer: Graziano Pelle 28’, 65’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Preview, Southampton vs Tottenham.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!
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Match Preview, Burnley vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Sunday 5th April 2015. 1.30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Turf Moor.

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

After the international break, we return to action with a tough away fixture at relegation battlers Burnley, where we continue to fight for a top four place, however unlikely that may be. Eight games left, in which we need to continue to have momentum with some really tough fixtures coming up. Top four is the aim, but all we should be focusing on is the next game; we have to stay focused on that mentality, otherwise we will fall like we have done many times before, where we have focused on the big picture, while the smaller parts of the puzzle have been messed up. That focus should now be on winning a very difficult game against a side with heart and determination that makes up for a lack of skill and quality. The Burnley side don’t give up and will be a stern test. That is for sure. After narrowly beating Leicester in a seven-goal thriller, we have to learn from that and understand the teams threatened by relegation are going to fight as hard as they can to stay in the Premier League, and coming into the ‘business end’ of the season, the fight within those relegation sides is only intensifying, which will make it even harder for teams coming up against them to get a result. We will have to rely not only on our quality to overcome Burnley, but our mentality. It will not be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, and we have to be prepared for that, and not underestimate Sean Dyche’s side.

Burnley sit 18th in the League, and when it takes you 10 Premier League games to register your first win, that’s the best you can really hope for, a chance of survival. But that survival is only a distant dream when Burnley only have 2 League victories in 10 fixtures, but that last victory came against none other that Manchester City, so that shows you the fighting spirit that this Burnley side has – you cant just rely on your quality to pull you through, you’ve got to be ready to fight alongside this Burnley side. But, we are Tottenham and they are Burnley, and despite having this fighting spirit, we are the favourites and even away at Turf Moor I am confident that we can come out on top, if we tighten up defensively from that Leicester match and our players are their creative selves. We have the pace and skill to dismantle this Burnley team, and we need to deliver. Last time we faced the Clarets, was in the FA Cup, a replay was needed after a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor with Nacer Chadli getting our goal, before at White Hart Lane we came out 4-2 winners thanks to goals from Paulinho, Ettiene Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Danny Rose. In the Premier League, our last meeting was at the Lane, and it was Spurs coming out victorious once again 2-1, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane with the goals, in what was a tighter victory than expected, and I expect another tight and tough test at Turf Moor.

The team news for Burnley is that Kevin Long (knee), Dean Marney (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Stephen Ward returns after an ankle injury. Burnley, despite only scoring 8 goals in 10 Premier League games, do have some really talented offensive players. In particular, Danny Ings who is Burnley’s top scorer this season with 9 to his name in the Premier League, he has the ability to stretch defences and find gaps between centre halves while also having the pace and finesse to cause problems and score the goals that Burnley so desperately need. Alongside him in attack, the likes of George Boyd, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes all know where the goal is on their day, as we found out with Barnes’ stunner at the Lane, so when they all work together it has the potential to be a very dangerous for defences, and if our defending is as bad as it was against Leicester, we will encounter problems. Ings, Barnes, Vokes and Boyd have 19 goals between them in the Premier League, which is an okay tally, but Harry Kane is equal to that tally, and he’s just one person, albeit a phenomenal one!
Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 02.47.30
The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) is out of the trip to Turf Moor, meaning Michel Vorm will continue in goal, while Roberto Soldado (knee) is a doubt, but it looks like he wont be making the match day squad. After Danny Rose (groin & hip) and Eric Dier (eye) pulled out of international duty with the England senior side and U21s respectively, they are back fit and in the squad to face the Clarets this Sunday at Turf Moor, which is very good news for us defensively.

Coming into a new month, after making his first appearances for the England senior side, and netting his first goal, Harry Kane must be on top of the world. He is the Premier League’s joint top scorer and is a shoe in for Player of the Year, and Young player of the Year. His season has been more than remarkable, with his goals, performances, drive and determination making him one of the Premier League’s new major stars, and a definite Tottenham hero of the future, and the present. Now, it’s simply coming into the back end of the season in style for Kane; he’s chasing top four with Tottenham, and on a personal level he’s looking to bag a golden boot award, a player of the year award and much more personal glory, all of which is fully deserved of course. But, he has to stay focused and not be drawn into the trap of the hype, press and exaggeration. A season is still in progress and we do have a lot to play for, Kane’s only focus football wise should be on the next game against Burnley and knowing him I am confident that it is. His potential is staggering on the field, but his mentality and work ethic off of it is something to admire in itself. Hopefully it stays that way, and after capturing his first Premier League hat trick against Burnley’s fellow relegation battlers Leicester, we shall be hoping that the now England number 9 can repeat the feat. To say I am confident he will score again against Burnley is a bit of an understatement.

At left back, Danny Rose has gone under the radar this season as one of our stand out performers, perhaps because of the incredible form of Harry Kane, but Rose has been, especially in recent games, sensational. Defensively he lacks concentration at times, but all other aspects of his game are really blossoming under the watchful eye of Mauricio Pochettino, and you can definitely say that our new boss has handed Rose new found confidence and in a less eloquent manner, a simple kick up the backside. He looks a new and improved version of himself in comparison with last season and has made that left back slot his own. He’s been suspect to criticism, but I think it’s time we all acknowledge the fact that Danny has and is becoming the left back we all hoped he would. Moving up the pitch, Christian Eriksen hasn’t had the easiest of times recently on the pitch, losing form and his effectiveness to the side, and after his time away with Denmark, in which he captained his country and provided a beautiful assist, I hope the break will be beneficent for Eriksen and he can come back firing, hopefully in the net of Burnley this Sunday. There’s no doubting his importance to the way we want to play and we play better when Eriksen is on song. After his England heroics, everyone is hopeful that Andros Townsend can reignite his form for club, and if he is in the starting line up to face Burnley, which I would expect, he needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck and really impose himself as he has been too much of a passenger in recent games – simply put, he needs to step up his game.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– The Clarets have scored just 14 goals in 15 Barclays Premier League home games this season.

– Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League away matches.

– This will be the fourth meeting between these two sides this season after Spurs won their home league fixture and also won at home in the replay after a draw at Turf Moor in the FA Cup.

– Burnley have only won six of their last 28 Premier League home matches (W6 D10 L12), but Spurs were one of their victims in a 4-2 win in May 2010.

– Tottenham haven’t lost back to back Premier League away games since March 2014.

– Burnley have been losing at half-time in 14 of their 30 Premier League games this season; more often than any other team.

– Harry Kane’s 19 Premier League goals this season have won Spurs 22 points – nine more than any other player in the PL has won for their side this season.

– Spurs have conceded seven Premier League penalties this season; more than any other side.

– The Clarets have conceded a league-high 17 headed goals in the Premier League this season.

– George Boyd has run a league-high 338.8kms in the Premier League this season, with Christian Eriksen just behind on 338.2kms.

Another big game is on the horizon once again! The race for top four is still on, but it’s getting more and more tough as each game goes by. Let’s go to Turf Moor and pick up a result that we can be proud of. It was a delightful site seeing all four of our English boys embrace as Andros Townsend found a way past Gianluigi Buffon in Turin in midweek, but now an even better site would be seeing the whole team embrace after gaining three points at Turf Moor. The game is live on Sky Sports 1, but I shall be providing live updates for you from my twitter account, including goal updates, videos, photos and much more, follow me @AddictedToSpurs for it all! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My predicted side to face Burnley at Turf Moor:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Bentaleb – Mason
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Leicester.

Match date & time: Saturday 21st March 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

After our disappointment in the Capital One Cup, our attention has quickly turned to making the best of the season we have left. Nine games left, with a chance, however unlikely it might be, of getting into those coveted champions League places. We sit 7th, six points off Manchester United in 4th, looking to take advantage of what looks like a favourable fixture against Leicester, while Manchester United travel to Liverpool on Sunday, and Southampton host the gutsy Burnley at St Marys. Our performances have varied since that Cup final disappointment; a great win over Swansea, then a solid victory away from home to QPR, and a very disheartening and disappointing 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, which was out of the blue in comparison with past performances both at Old Trafford and in general at this stage of the season. Now, after such an unacceptable and demoralising loss, we have to get back on the horse and attempt to elevate that performance level dramatically in a game against a struggling Leicester side, it is a real opportunity for a big and uplifting victory in front of the home faithful at White Hart Lane. A clean sheet and a few goals would do a world of good for the confidence and push to finish the season strongly and with purpose. We still have a lot to play for in these remaining nine games and I hope the players realise that, and believe that when taking the residual matches game-by-game, we can still be apart of that top four, but we would still need a mini miracle!

Leicester City are 20th, rock bottom of the Premier League, and manager Nigel Pearson is feeling the pressure with only 1 win in 10 Premier League games and no wins in their last 7 straight matches. It has been a struggle for the newly promoted Foxes, and it is looking nearly impossible for them to survive the drop, with Nigel Pearson’s job looking more and more uncertain after every lost match. Their last win, funnily enough, came against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup back in January, a disappointing 2-1 victory with a late winner for Leicester thanks to Jeffery Schlupp, and Michel Vorm. However, in the Premier League, in the reverse fixture at the King Power on Boxing Day last year, it was us who came out on top by the two goals to one, Harry Kane and a Christian Eriksen special getting us a great away victory. Hopefully we can repeat the feat at the Lane in the Premier League, and avoid a slip up like in the FA Cup. Our last Premier League fixture at White Hart Lane was back in 2004, a thrilling 4-4 draw, Jermain Defoe hitting the net twice, along with goals from Michael Brown and Robbie Keane. Goals has been an issue for Nigel Pearson and his team, only hitting more than 1 goal once in 10 Premier League games. A lack of firepower is the thing that could condemn the Foxes to relegation this season.

The team news for Leicester is that only midfielder Dean Hammond (calf) is out of the game, with Anthony Knockaert unavailable due to personal reasons, but other than Hammond and the unfortunate situation of Knockaert, Nigel Pearson has a fully fit squad to chose from, and I am sure that he will be looking for his team, fresh after a weeks rest and training, to perform to the standard he would want and recreate that FA Cup result. Leicester, although being out adrift at the bottom of the table, do have some good players offensively that can be a menace to defences, and one of those players is Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, he has the tricks and ability to cause problems for opposition full backs, with a decent delivery and goal threat. Although on scoring 2 goals and assisting 3, which is below what you would expect from a good player like Mahrez, you could put that down to how the team as a whole has been performing; but he has the individual quality to be a thorn in the opponent, hopefully we can contain him, though. As well as Riyad Mahrez, on the opposite wing, Jeffery Schlupp also has the pace and trickery to cause problems for the opposition, he was the scorer of the winning goal in the FA Cup and his tendency to cut inside will make him more difficult to mark, hopefully he doesn’t get an opportunity to repeat that achievement this Saturday. He has 4 goals and 3 assists this season, which is a decent tally for a winger, and we have to make sure we stop the threats from the wings, as if we can do that, I think we stop the service to the strikers, and their firepower diminishes. In midfield, the evergreen Esteban Cambiasso has been brilliant for the Foxes this season, and he is the dictator, sitting in the midfield scattering passes and making the Leicester side tick, as well as being able to sit back and help defensively. He has 3 goals this season, and coming in late into the box he is a goal threat. Up top, both Andrej Kramaric and Leonardo Ulloa have the ability to score goals, with 11 goals between them, and that partnership up top with support from the quick and tricky wingers could be quite the goal threat. Hopefully that doesn’t come to fruition this Saturday, though.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado (knee) is the only absentee from the squad, with Ryan Mason recovering from a thigh injury suffered at Old Trafford. It’s great to have an almost fully fit squad, and hopefully after a full week of rest and training, we can be raring to go and recover some of our pride after the defeat in Manchester.

There is no doubting that we had a very bad day at Old Trafford, in which nobody played well, and individual mistakes sneaked back into our game making us too easy to beat and overpower. We gifted a result to United, and now, with a great chance of securing three points against the side bottom of the Premier League, we will be relying on our players to step up and perform to the level required of them. One player I would like to step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck, as the saying goes, is Christian Eriksen. His quality isn’t doubted but he sometimes has the tendency to disappear in matches and not make the impact he really is capable of. We need Eriksen to get on the ball as much as possible, as when he does, he can run the game and impact heavily on the result. His performance level has dropped, but hopefully he can regain that intensity in a crucial part of the season. His performance levels will definitely have an impact on how successful we are at the end of this season. Improvement is also expected from Kyle Walker, who had nothing short of a nightmare game against Manchester United; he needs to cut out the mistakes and be more effective and efficient offensively with his crosses and interplay with his right wing partner. Against Leicester, we are expected to have most of the ball, so I hope that Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason can also be effective and we can create enough chances to really impact on the game. We have to be positive on the ball and hopefully that can lead to victory! Oh, and I couldn’t write an article without mentioning Harry Kane! The service to him and support must improve; as good as he is, he can’t do it on his own. Against his former loan side, he’ll be looking to strike once again and lead us to victory.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Five of the last seven meetings between Tottenham and Leicester in all competitions have ended with a 2-1 scoreline.

– There have been two meetings so far between these teams this season, both ending in 2-1 away wins (Spurs won the reverse Barclays Premier League game, while Leicester won in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane).

– Leonardo Ulloa has scored in all four of his starts against the two big north London sides Arsenal and Tottenham.

– Leicester City have won just one of their last 13 Premier League away games (W1 D2 L10).

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W6 D3) and have lost just one of the last 15 home games in all competitions (W10 D4 L1) but that was to Leicester in the FA Cup.

– Spurs have recovered 16 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.

– The Foxes have failed to score a first-half goal in any of their last seven Premier League games.

– Christian Eriksen has scored more winning goals than any other player in the Premier League this season (6).

– Esteban Cambiasso has scored three goals from just four shots on target for Leicester.

– Wes Morgan has blocked more opposition shots than any other Premier League player this season (39).

It’s another big game in the Premier League run in! Let’s get back to winning ways as fast as possible! It’s a great opportunity for us to get a good win over a struggling and under pressure Leicester side. A clean sheet and a few goals would do very nicely! The game is not televised live in the UK, but I will be updating as much as I can live from White Hart Lane, follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

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

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Leicester press conference:

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:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Swansea.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats provided by Opta:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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