Match Preview, Besiktas vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Thursday 11th December 2014. 6pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: Ataturk Stadium.

TV: Live on ITV 4 in the UK. Worldwide TV listings, HERE.

The games come thick and fast in the Christmas period, and managing your squad, keeping players fresh and hungry, while picking up as many wins as you can along the way. With our place secured in the knockout rounds of the Europa League, we now have to battle it out with Besiktas for top spot, away from home, with only a point required after the Turkish outfit dropped points to Asteras Tripolis in a 2-2 draw, while we triumphed at home to Partizan 1-0. Now, it’s in our hands to finish off the job in style by making our lives a little bit easier and topping Group C. With so many big games coming up, it is important to prioritise, and manage the squad well, using the talent we have through the core of the squad and using them effectively, and making sure that nobody is burnt out, and we keep fresh through an incredibly tough and demanding time in the season, with the importance made twice as much for Tottenham, trying to claw back points in the race for a successful and respectable league position. But right now, we’ve got to focus on the Europa League, which I hope will be a big part of our season, because with a bit of luck in the draw, we could go a long way! It’s a very prestigious competition and to win it would be magnificent, but to succeed and play some big teams in the knockout faces would be very exciting, hopefully bringing White Hart Lane to life. Away from home, in Turkey, it’s going to be very difficult to take a result back to London, but hopefully we’ll be able to continue our unbeaten record in the Europa League and top the group.

We all know of Besiktas’ quality. When they came to the Lane earlier in the season they were very impressive, and a 1-1 draw was all we could manage, even under the lights at White Hart Lane. Currently, Besiktas are top of the Turkish Super Lig, and are in great form, especially at Home, where in 11 games, they have only lost 1, winning 5 and drawing 4 in all competitions, including holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw at the Ataturk Stadium in the Champions League. Last time out, in that 1-1 draw at the Lane, I thought it was an incredibly talented Besiktas side that graced the pitch, and they passed the ball crisply, created chances and were solid in defence and midfield. They are a well drilled side with decent, hard working players and at home, I’m sure they are going to be even more of a threat, even though like Tottenham, they are qualified as well. In their last game, they would have been disappointed to be held to the Greek side Asteras Tripolis 2-2, away from home – this was them throwing away an opportunity to get top spot with only a point in this coming game, so hopefully they throw away the opportunity to top it this Thursday evening!

The big team news for Besiktas is that star man Demba Ba (broken toe) is out of the game, after being a scorer in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane. Other injury concerns are goalkeeper Cenk Gonen (knock), defender Tomas Sivok (hamstring) and midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup (calf) go into the game as doubts, while fellow midfiedler Ugur Boral (knee) and Mustafa Pektemek (cheekbone) are definitely out of the game. With Demba Ba out of the game, a massive hole in their side needs to be filled, and they will be relying on attacking midfielder Gokhan Tore to provide the inspiration and goals – having scored three goals in five games in the Europa League, and they’ll be hoping that Ba’s potential replacement Olcay Sahan can step up after 4 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions up top, they’ll be hoping he can fill the shoes to the level of Demba Ba.

IMG_3048.JPG
The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor (personal issues) is out, while Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen and Kyle Naughton all being left in London – rested ahead of the weekend tie with Swansea. The big news is that Kyle Walker is finally back in the first team squad for the game, and will be looking to get minutes on his road to full fitness. Youngsters Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks are in the squad, while Younes Kaboul, Andros Townsend, Etienne Capoue, Danny Rose and Vlad Chiriches are back in the squad, along with Federico Fazio, who has returned after a one match suspension. I think it’s great that Pochettino has seen the need to rest Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Ryan Mason especially – as they have looked very drained recently and we need them to be reinvigorated ahead of the tie against a good Swansea side. Using the talented Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks would be great to see, as I see them both having big futures if nurtured in the correct way, and it’s clear Mauricio Pochettino sees the talent that runs through our academy sides, and deserves opportunities with the first team.

With Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor not involved, the baton is to be handed to Roberto Soldado to lead the line and hopefully, get the goals we need to top the group. Isolation is a problem when he is up top on his own – so to help him out, I would play Nacer Chadli just in behind the Spaniard to give him the support, and with the Goalscoring record he has I think he could be a massive player – and it’s a great opportunity for Nacer to get some more fitness and minutes to get back to the top of his game once again. In the centre of midfield, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason have taken the position in the Premier League, which means Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Benjamin Stambouli will be hoping to get some minutes under their belt and try to show that they deserve a place in the starting line up in the Premier League. In defence, Vlad Chiriches is fit again after missing the Crystal Palace game and he’ll be looking to start at centre back, and I’d start him alongside young Eric Dier, who will be keen to show his qualities at centre half with the return of Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and the likely addition of DeAndre Yedlin in January – I think he has a massive future in that central position for us.

A big game, with top spot on the agenda. A point will do – but a win would be extremely good for confidence, going to a great side, away from home and getting a result would be brilliant. The game is shown on ITV4, but I’ll be providing match updates, videos, photos and much more on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Looking forward to it! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Besiktas:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Chiriches – Dier – Rose
Stambouli – Dembele
Lennon – Chadli – Townsend
Soldado.

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Crystal Palace.

Match date & time: Saturday 6th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Looking back to our brilliant win over Everton at White Hart Lane, putting our Chelsea defeat to the back of our minds, we have to continue to win games at the Lane, and create a good run of results coming into the busy Christmas period. Home form is always crucial to any success in the Premier League, and for a team fighting for a place close to the top of the League, beating the teams below you at home is absolutely vital to toting up the points needed to attain your goals. So far this season, it has been well documented that we have struggled at home, losing four games already at White Hart Lane, against Stoke, West Brom, Newcastle and Liverpool – which simply isn’t good enough, but after our scintillating victory over Everton, showcasing our ability at Home, it’s crucial we build on the win and as I say, transform White Hart Lane back into the fortress that it once was, with fast, offensive football, scoring goals, pressing high and winning games – that’s what we all want! Along with home form, consistency is key to building a good season, and after beating Hull City, then Partizan and Everton, but we fell to Chelsea and now we have to get back to winning ways, with games against Palace, Swansea, Newcastle and Burnley – we have the possibility of driving our way up the table in this winter period, and starting the New Year in a good way. Crystal Palace are known for working hard and trying to be hard to beat in their battle to stay in the Premier League, so it’s going to be important that we start fast and attempt to get the first goal early on to break Palace’s possibly negative way of playing early on – and then I would be confident of winning comfortably. It sounds easy, Eh?

Crystal Palace 15th in the League, but are still only one point from the relegation zone. It’s extremely tight down at the bottom, and the key games for Palace are the ones at home, against the teams around them. That’s when the pressure is on and results need to be found. Up against a team like Tottenham, away from home, anything they get is a bonus and they have nothing to lose in coming to White Hart Lane – which puts less pressure on their shoulders, and could come to help the Eagles, and hinder Tottenham. It’s always the case when the underdog comes to town, and Palace will try to take solace from the performances and results of Newcastle, Stoke and West Brom, and I’m sure they will try to adopt a similar, counter attacking style of play in order to frustrate Tottenham. I would hope that Spurs have worked on dismantling teams that sit deep and to start fast, and destroy the oppositions game plan early in and entice them into attacking more so that we can pick them off and hopefully, score a few more goals. In recent fixtures against Crystal Palace since their promotion to the Premier League, we have won both games, last season, without conceding. With the last game being at White Hart Lane, winning 2-0. Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe scoring to secure the win in an emotional game, with Defoe getting his final goal for Tottenham Hotspur. And going back a bit further, on the first day of last season, we beat Palace 1-0, Roberto Soldado getting his first goal for Tottenham to give us the win. Hopefully we can continue to win against Crystal Palace, and get a clean sheet in the process!

The team news for Crystal Palace is that Dwight Gayle (illness) is set to return to the Palace line up, while Joe Ledley (groin) is a 50/50 doubt. Damien Delaney (calf), Adrian Mariappa (knee), Kevin Doyle (knee) and Andrew Johnson (knock) are all out. The key player for Palace so far this season, capturing the imagination of their fans and the praise of the pundits is Yannick Bolasie; he has only 1 goals and 2 assists, but, his ability to run with the ball, create chances and cause havoc to defences and full backs. He is an outlet on the attack with his pace, and can drive the Palace side forward on the counter attack, and his performance against Liverpool, on the counter attack, was frightening for defenders and Palace will be hoping he can replicate that form at the Lane. As well as Bolasie, upfront Dwight Gayle has the pace to stretch a defence and can be a perfect player for the counter attacking game. His clinical nature could be questions, and hopefully we’ll be able to starve him of service and support upfront; it’s key for Palace that they don’t let Gayle get isolated, and break quickly on the counter – it’s our job to nullify their pace and threat. In midfield, Mile Jedinak is the key player, he is their top scorer in the League with 5 goals, but it’s not his goals that make him so important for Palace, but his leadership, composure and ability to create a tempo in the Crystal Palace midfield, as well as being able to put his body in the line with blocks and tackles; I think he is the Eagles’ most important player.

IMG_3009.PNG
The team news for Tottenham is that Vlad Chiriches (knock), Kyle Naughton (knock) and Danny Rose (chest) are doubtful, with the latter expected to finally return to the squad, but Ben Davies has seemingly secured his first team place at left back. Emmanuel Adebayor (virus), Kyle Walker (match fitness), Etienne Capoue (knock) and Andros Townsend (ankle) remain out though.

After his goal against Everton, and then being banished to the bench against Chelsea in favour of an extra midfielder, Roberto Soldado will be hoping to return to the first eleven and to continue with another goal! He’s got a fantastic chance against a leaky Palace side. Getting another goal would do him the world of good, and I really hope he can do it to help us to victory. If we can get the Roberto Soldado of Valencia back, it would be like a new signing for us, he just needs that confidence to be ruthless and clinical again, then he can be a massive player for us this season. It’s crucial that he doesn’t go on another goal drought. Just behind him, Harry Kane has been a revelation this season, and with his great performances, work rate and energy, I think he will want to add even more goals to his Premier League tally, and in the games against Palace and the like, I think he can prove to be very effective. A goal from outside the box from open play is coming for him with those darting runs, trust me! In midfield, Nabil Bentaleb since his return from injury has been brilliant, and he’ll be looking to continue that form in the middle of the park, and drive our play forward in his box-to-box role in the midfield pivot alongside Ryan Mason, who I’m hoping ups his game a little after a disappointing performance against Chelsea – even though he was up against two of the better central midfielders in the League – Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. I really hope the Mason-Bentaleb partnership can flourish and improve as the season goes on.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have won their last two league clashes against Crystal Palace without reply; they’ve not won three in a row since November 1989.

– Bit-part Palace player Kevin Doyle has scored four goals against Tottenham, his joint-highest tally against any Barclays Premier League opponent (along with Fulham).

– Mauricio Pochettino has lost twice as many Premier League games at White Hart Lane (4) as Tim Sherwood did (2), despite taking charge of four games fewer there (7) than his predecessor (11).

– Christian Eriksen has created more goalscoring chances without actually providing an assist than any other Premier League player this term (28).

– Tottenham have conceded a season-high five penalties in the Premier League this season.

– Spurs are kings of the short corner, having taken 24 – more than any other team this season.

– Crystal Palace have not claimed a single point from any of their three London derbies so far this season (level on zero with QPR).

– Mile Jedinak has scored three of Crystal Palace’s last six Premier League goals.

– Palace have won only one of their last eight Premier League games (L5 D2).

– Crystal Palace have won 99 points from their previous 106 Premier League games away from home (W23 D30 L53).

They’re all big games in the Premier League, but our home games against the lower sides is where we need to procure the most points, and we have a good chance against a struggling Palace side, even if they did defeat Liverpool in emphatic style, they won’t have the backing of their fans, and I think we’ll have enough to dispatch them if we produce a performance with the sort of energy that we did against Everton. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be providing match updates, videos, photos and much more from my Twitter account, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Palace at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Mason – Bentaleb
Chadli – Kane – Eriksen
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino press conference pre Palace:

Match Preview, Chelsea vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Wednesday 3rd December 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stamford Bridge.

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

If you look at every fixture in the Premier League, the most difficult game on the list is probably Chelsea away from home. In the form that Chelsea are in, it is difficult to see them losing at any point, especially at home, where their form is nothing short of spectacular so far this season, both in the Champions League and the Premier League. So, what are the chances of Tottenham going to the Bridge, and bringing home the three points? I’m not going to lie to you; they’re slim, but we can take hope in the last two results of both clubs. Chelsea looked rather unspectacular as they drew 0-0 with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, whereas Tottenham are coming into the game after arguably our best performance of the season, beating Everton 2-1 at White Hart Lane. This is a different prospect, though, Chelsea are at home, and with this being a London Derby, the desire to win will be even higher, with Chelsea wanting to quickly eradicate any sort of bad form with a win, and Tottenham being eager to create a run of results and good performances, and with a win in a London Derby, against the League leaders, could really kickstart our season, if the Everton performance didn’t do that already. Consistency is key to any success in any season, and at this moment in time, looking at the start to the season, we have really lacked the ability to create a good run of results – but there is a good opportunity for us, with 3 wins on the bounce against Hull City, Partizan and Everton, coming into the Christmas period we may even be classed as in good form if we can get a result at the Bridge and then a win against Crystal Palace. At that moment, our season is looking much more rosy and confidence is much higher. It’s easier said than done, though, and coming into the busiest time in the football calendar, we have a massive challenge ahead – going to Stamford Bridge, and walking out with something to show for it.

Chelsea are top of the League, unbeaten, scoring the most goals and conceding the second fewest. Not only are they unbeaten in the League, they are unbeaten in the Champions League and also are still in the Capital One Cup. As Jose Mourinho has said, it’s the makings of a perfect season. But, while unbeaten, and in this electric form, they are a target to shoot at, nobody expects anyone to beat them, everyone is the underdog when facing them, so with that tag, the pressure lifts and possibly the freedom to attack and play well is easier to come by. Hopefully Tottenham can revel in the underdog status rather than crumble. In past times, Chelsea have got the best of Tottenham, our record is dire and getting a result has been nothing short of impossible at times. But, with every game there is a new opportunity to break the cycle, and change our Chelsea fortune. Last time out against the Blues, it was a torrid evening at the Bridge. A 4-0 defeat, goals coming in the second half from Samuel Eto’o, Eden Hazard (penalty), and a two minute brace in the 88th and 89th minute from Demba Ba. It was a difficult night, in which we capitulated as a team, even though our performance was good until the first goal, which came from an individual error. A debatable penalty was then given, an even more debatable red card, and then the game was gone with more individual errors from Sandro and Kyle Walker making the defeat emphatic. In hindsight, we were probably a bit unlucky to be beat in the way we were, but it’s in the past and I think as a club, we have moved on from last season, and are very focused on the future. After the Everton win, I think a lot of fans have seen fighting spirit, ability to dig in, and also quality defensively, in midfield and offensively. It was a great result and performance and hopefully we can take the momentum of that victory into starting fast against the League leaders and getting some sort of result. At this point, if you offered me a draw, I’d still definitely take it though! What is most important for this game is that we stay tight at the back, limit individual errors to an absolute minimum, and put in a big, big shift in order to try and force a result. The Arsenal performance and Everton performance are the way we want to see the team play – as a team.

The only injury concern for Chelsea is that only young Nathan Ake (hamstring) is out of the game. While top scorer Diego Costa (suspended) won’t feature, which is a big deal, as his form this season has been magnificent, and with him in the Chelsea side, they become even more difficult to contain. They will miss his strength, prowess and finishing, but Didier Drogba or Loic Remy will come in, and we know they provide a big threat as well – but neither are World Class like Diego Costa. Eden Hazard is a wonderful player; a truly magnificent talent that can win you a game in an instant. He can score goals, assist, create attacks and everything else you’d expect a fantastic flair to provide you – I think he’s up there with the best players in the Premier League, and maybe even the world. Creative, talented players are right through the core of the Chelsea side, and the player that makes it all tick is Cesc Fabregas – he only has 1 goal this season, but he has a massive 10 assists and that is top of the assist charts. He is the focal point of the Chelsea attack and can cut any defence open with killer passes – he is incredibly dangerous, especially in the final third. Defensively, Chelsea are just as impressive as they are in attack – which is why they are at the top of the League. Sweeping up in front of the back four is the formidable Nemanja Matic, who in my opinion, is one of the best defensive midfielders in the League, and his ability on the ball is great; he’s composed, and creative when he needs to be. He can command a midfield, too, which is what you want from a holding player. The centre back partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill is extremely tight, and the understanding between the two defenders is massive. They can make it very difficult for an opponent to score, and when they do let a chance through, Thibaut Courtois is in goal, who is a massively talented ‘keeper, who can dominate his area and make some spectacular saves.

IMG_2971.PNG
The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (match fitness) remains out, with Etienne Capoue, Emmanuel Adebayor, Andros Townsend and Danny Rose doubts after missing the last three games, and now joined by another doubt in Vlad Chiriches who was subbed against Everton after picking up a knock. Kyle Naughton returns from his two match suspension, and Nacer Chadli and Younes Kaboul look fully ready after being on the bench against Everton on Sunday. After the performance on Sunday, I wouldn’t anticipate many, if any changes to line up, except ones that are forced, with Kyle Naughton replacing Vlad Chiriches.

After the team’s fantastic display against Everton, it’s all about keeping that standard of performance up, delivering an even better performance at the Bridge and then hopefully coming away with a result! The hard work put in on Sunday was massive, we fought for every ball, second ball and loose ball there was and now Mauricio has the challenge of rallying the troops once again, bang the drum, and push hard once again in what is a difficult challenge with the games so close together. One of the stand out performances was that of Nabil Bentaleb; who’s energy and enthusiasm was a massive part of the victory, with composure and elegance on the ball as well to top it off. Alongside Ryan Mason, they have a very good understanding of each other, and one that brings a load of energy to the side. As the heart of the team, it’s important that the centre of midfield is ticking, moving the ball quickly and snapping at the heels of the opposition when it’s lost. Against Chelsea, with the intricate abilities of Fabregas, and the brute strength of Matic, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get a hold of the ball and be positive with it. It’s a massive ask of two fairly inexperienced players, if picked to do the job again. Some would call for an Etienne Capoue or Benjamin Stambouli to come into the side, and guard the back four, but after the performance on Sunday it’s going to be very hard for Pochettino to drop anyone. Offensively, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane look likely to continue their striking partnership, with Harry Kane dropping a little deeper. It’s Kane’s job to drive the attack forward centrally and cause problems for the Chelsea defence, and Soldado’s job to find space, use his technical ability to bring Kane, Eriksen and Lennon into the game, and hopefully, score more goals! I think Harry Kane will be asked to drop deeper still, and then act as another midfield player at times, while Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon will need to execute their defensive jobs just as well as their offensive jobs with the quality that Chelsea have on the wings and in the full-back positions. It’s difficult not to bring in Nacer Chadli after his incredible start to the season, and even though he’s probably more suited to the left hand side than Christian Eriksen, you can’t take Eriksen out because he’s in such great form himself. It’s a nice situation to be in, though!

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– Chelsea have won 28 and lost just one of the last 34 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

– Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3 D2 L1).

– Tottenham have not won away at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).

– Jose Mourinho’s side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches.

– Chelsea have lost only one of their last 17 Premier League London derbies (W12 D4); this coming in a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in March.

– Chelsea have won all three Premier League games that they have conceded the first goal in this season.

– Chelsea and Spurs have both won the most points from losing positions in the Premier League this season (9).

– Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight Premier League games against Spurs.

– Chelsea are now unbeaten in all 20 of their competitive matches in 2014-15 (W15 D5).

– Spurs have won three of their last four Premier League games (W3 L1); this after winning just three of their previous nine in the competition under Mauricio Pochettino (W3 D2 L4).

A big London Derby! Our record against the top four isn’t good, so I think it’s time we changed the record! It’s a massive, massive game and call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to it! Being the underdog gives you endless possibilities of joy and success at the end of it. Hopefully we’ll be the ones celebrating this Wednesday evening. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be providing updates on Twitter, follow me there at @AddictedToSpurs for photos, videos, goal updates and much more during the big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Mason – Bentaleb
Lennon – Kane – Eriksen
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the Chelsea game:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Everton.

Match: Sunday 30th November 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane,

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Everton.

Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 21′, Soldado 45′.

Everton goalscorer: Mirallas 15′.

Well – in my Match Preview, I touched upon my desire for the team to show intensity and drive throughout the match. What was delivered was far more impressive – as a team, we were magnificent, we worked, pressed, defended and attacked as a team, which is a breath of fresh air for Tottenham this season. I’m incredibly pleased with how the team was set out; we didn’t have a hell of a lot of the ball, but our performance off the ball is what was so pleasing, we didn’t give away many chances, and we fought hard to win the ball back while maintaining a good shape in defence and midfield. Pochettino set out the team in the right way, with loads of energy and enthusiasm in midfield with Bentaleb, Mason, Lennon & Kane, to work, fight and drive with and without the ball, while having the quality of Eriksen, Soldado, Lennon & Kane to push hard on the counter attack. It was truly fantastic to watch from the stands, and I thought every player on the pitch did their duty brilliantly. Overall, our best performance of the season by far. Hopefully, this is only the start of what can be a great season if we fight like we did in the game for every match this season. We’ve shown that we have got that fight in our team, but what we need now is consistency and a run of results!

In the first half, we started well, we pressed high, harried Everton and looked fairly threatening on the counter attack, but we did concede the first goal on 15 minutes – we struggled to clear the ball, and it fell to Kevin Mirallas, who i signalled out before the game as a big threat in front of goal, and he proved me right as he perfectly curled a beauty into the top corner that Hugo Lloris had absolutely no chance of getting to. Sometimes you just have to accept an opponents goal as unstoppable and pure quality, and that it was. When you concede the first goal, the reaction is important, making sure you not only stop the opponent from scoring again, but taking the initiative, going onto the front foot and attempting to get straight back in terms, and that’s exactly what we did, we pushed hard and it was Harry Kane who showed that initiative and ran hard at the Evertonian defence, burst through their midfield and got his shot away, which was parried by Tim Howard, but Christian Eriksen was running in and with a delightful chipped finish, put Spurs back on level terms and that really sparked the team into action on 21 minutes, and the pressure was more intense, the attack was quicker and and chances were more frequent. It was our best spell in the match by a long way, and on the stroke of half time, it was Harry Kane again who’s determination was key in winning the ball back from Gareth Barry, and Aaron Lennon picked it up and drove hard at Silvan Distin, before laying it off to delightfully to Roberto Soldado – and in that moment, the stadium was silent, a gasp of air was taken, and then probably the biggest cheer of the season was heard as Soldado smashed the ball past Tim Howard to give Tottenham the 2-1 lead. Relief, delight and absolute elation swept through the stadium. Chants for Roberto Soldado were ringing out at half time, and it was an incredible moment – one of the most heart warming moments of the season. Hopefully Roberto can push on from this. It’s his platform to transform his Tottenham career; I think he’s got what it takes, if he can drag this confidence and relief into more and more goals.

The second half was all about managing the game, seeing it out and getting the crucial three points, and we were able to do that brilliantly. We took our chances in the first half, and now we fought to preserve our hard work with even more, even harder work off of the ball with grit, determination and drive. In some ways the way we worked in the second half was more pleasing than how we scored and created in the first half. The game plan was to stay compact, press as a team, and when we did have a chance to get on the ball, we pushed forward at pace, but didn’t commit ourselves too much, and were able to stay solid in defence. The team was working properly, and in a system that was working, we were able to see the best of our players and that was the winning formula in this game. Late on, we had a few good chances to extend our lead, but it wasn’t to be, and despite it being quite nervy at the end, our fantastic team performance was rewarded with three points. Three, glorious, points.

IMG_2947.PNG
The team performed very, very well together. I can’t single anyone out as playing badly, but I can name a fair few that played brilliantly! For me, Jan Vertonghen was immense at the back, showing the quality we know he possesses; he dominated Everton’s Romelu Lukaku when he got the ball, timed his challenges to perfection, and was able to set the team into attack very well with his composed passing. Alongside the very solid Federico Fazio, he looked back to his, in my opinion, World Class self. We’re going to need a similar performance from Super Jan against Chelsea on Wednesday. Ben Davies at left back put in his best performance in a Spurs shirt so far on his full Premier League home debut, he was tough in the challenge, focused in his defensive duties and produced some very threatening crosses from the left flank. He’s made the left back spot his own since taking over from Danny Rose. In attack – it was Harry Kane that grabbed the imagination of the fans; every time got the ball he looked to drive at the Everton defence, the buzz came through the crowd and expectation and excitement swept the arena. He worked so, so hard for the team – he gave every ounce of his being during the game and the fans appreciated that – I certainly did. The moment of the game was Roberto Soldado’s goal; it was great, and a fantastic finish from a man that has stuggled in front of goal. His performance was very pleasing, he worked hard, moved the ball well and got his goal – which is all we can ask from him. A match winner! In midfield, the partnership between Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb was one that I thought could be a little bit exposed, especially if Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o could get in behind them – but my concerns were unfounded, and the performances of both were brilliant. Energy, enthusiasm, fight and composure – it proved to be a very balanced midfield pivot, and one that could prove to be very fruitful in the future. Other shouts go to Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon, who on the flanks, worked hard in defence to combat Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, while in attack were very effective, with Eriksen getting the first goal, and Aaron Lennon got the winning assist.

What a great win. We have built on our away win against Hull City with a fantastic, much needed home win. Now, we have to build on it again, bring this confidence, momentum and team work into our next fixtures and really build a good run of results. This starts with the easy task of the Premier League’s unbeaten leaders, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on Wedneday evening. Hurrah. Let’s do the impossible and defeat the undefeatable! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Chiriches – 6.5 (Dier 70′ – 6.5)
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the match.
Davies – 8.5
Lennon – 8 (Lamela 61′ – 6)
Mason – 8
Bentaleb – 8.5
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 9
Soldado – 8.5. (Paulinho 81′ – 6)

Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 2-1 win over Everton:

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Everton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match date & time: Wednesday 29th October 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Capital One Cup action returns to White Hart Lane with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors. A big game with a place in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final’s up for grabs for the winner. It’s always difficult to take when you lose; especially when it is at home, throwing away a 1-0 lead to a team that we should really beat, but it’s got to be forgotten and it can’t effect our performance against Brighton, but be an inspiration to the players – to fight harder and silence doubters. A win this Wednesday won’t make everything Rosey – but getting to the Quarter Finals would be really good, hopefully leading to a good draw, and if that happens, who knows, we could go all the way to Wembley! For me, winning a trophy is well and truly overdue at Tottenham, whether it’s the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or Europa League, winning a major trophy is the lift that Tottenham needs, with top four in the Premier League looking out of reach. Hopefully, we can get through on Wednesday with very little difficulty, and a few goals wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Brighton sit 21st in the Championship, just 2 points off of the relegation places. In 14 League games, they have won just 2, drawn 7 and lost 5. New manager Sami Hypia has struggled to find the winning formula on the South coast, with a lack of goals a big problem for the Seagulls, with only 13 goals scored in 14 games, drawing too many games and not being able to get a run of good results together. The Capital One Cup has been a welcome distraction from their League form, winning both their 2nd and 3rd round games with relative ease against Cheltenham and Burton, winning 2-0 & 3-0 respectively. But of course, they haven’t faced a test of the magnitude of Tottenham, especially at White Hart Lane under the lights. The last time we faced Brighton was in 2005, an FA Cup 3rd round tie at White Hart Lane in which Tottenham triumphed 2-1, courtesy of Ledley King and Robbie Keane goals. There’s no doubt that Brighton will be well up for the game, just like Nottingham Forest before them, and they will be carrying the support of 4100 Brightonians alongside them, who I’m sure will sing until the very end for their team and attempt to give them an extra level. Whenever a lower league team comes to a big Premier League team’s home, the want to win and score is large and we must act in a professional manner to get the job done.

The team news for Brighton is that Craig Mackail-Smith (hamstring) will be unable to start for the Seagulls, but will be in the 18 man squad, with Sam Baldock (cup tied), Solly March (back) and Dale Stephens (ankle) are out of the game. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is available for Brighton after his suspension, which will be a big boost for the Seasiders. Brighton do have threats – but their top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk, he has 5 goals and is a definite threat from set pieces, which will probably be Brighton’s biggest chance to score, despite our height at the back with Federico Fazio. Kazenga LuaLua is one of those players that can bring a bit of magic to the game, be it a cross or a goal from range, he has that little bit of quality, but doesn’t show it often enough. LuaLua is Brighton’s top assist maker this season with 3, 2 in the League and 1 in the Capital One Cup. He also has 2 goals so far this season. In the centre of midfield, young Rohan Ince is a talented player, he’s big, strong and competent on the ball, he can get Brighton playing if given time and space, but if we pressuring him and get in his face when on the ball, I’m sure we’ll be able to stop his flow. Another talented young midfielder is England U21 international Jake Forster-Caskey, less powerful, more agile and able to get Brighton moving; just like with Rohan Ince, we should be looking to pressure them early and disrupt their passing rhythm.

IMG_2525.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the game against Brighton, but Kyle Naughton returns from an ankle injury, while Federico Fazio is available again after his 1 match suspension. Emmanuel Adebayor had an upset stomach after the game against Newcastle, but he has recovered and is available for selection against the Albion.

Harry Kane has been in stellar form so far this season, he’s got the goalscoring touch and I’m sure he’ll get the nod upfront again in the cup competitions, possibly alongside Roberto Soldado who scored in the last round of this competition. It seems Pochettino sees Harry Kane as a second striker, someone who needs to play with a partner, and even if I disagree and believe he can and will become a leading striker, he has been performing extremely well in this position and I hope his understanding with Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor develops more so that both Kane & his partner can benefit. In midfield, Benjamin Stambouli and Mousa Dembele are expected to partner each other, a partnership that could start in the Premier League for many, many teams, with their ability on the ball, especially Mousa Dembele, with Stambouli’s toughness and ability to win the ball back and pass it efficiently, both are very good players and I think have the makings of a good partnership, with a good balance in their midfield pivot. On the wing, it’s another opportunity for Andros Townsend to show his worth and effect a game in a positive way with his pace and direct running style with the ball, he needs to be more efficient, to score more goals and make more assists, at the moment he still looks like a raw talent but hopefully he can continue to improve and effect the games he plays more. To add width to our play, I’d play Aaron Lennon on the right hand side and Andros Townsend on the left, to get them whipping crosses into the box for Harry Kane, and Roberto Soldado. I think we’ll score more goals like that. Almost a direct 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 system. We can do that at home against ‘weaker’ opposition and still dominate the midfield.

A game where a win brings us just 2 games away from a final at Wembley. If that isn’t inspiration to victory for the players, I don’t know what is! A cup game under the lights at White Hart Lane awaits and Brighton I’m sure will try to make it as difficult as possible for the Tottenham team, but I’m confident, as always, that we can get the job done. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane from my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Brighton at White Hart Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Lennon – Stambouli – Dembele – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our game against Brighton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Besiktas.

Match date & time: Thursday 2nd October 2014. 8:05pm KO BST.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV4 in the UK. Full worldwide TV listings HERE.

The Europa League is here again! And I’m really, really looking forward to this game. We’re coming up against a good team, with fantastic away support that will bring an electric European atmosphere to White Hart Lane. I always enjoy the European games at the Lane – there is something special about watching Tottenham under the lights, donning that all white strip with the Tottenham faithful hopefully belting out songs and getting behind the team in a difficult game. The game will be tight, fiercely contested and full of tension, and I hope that we can come away with a much needed three points, helping us to progress in the group. If we can get past Besiktas, who are without a doubt the toughest team in the group, I think coming out on top in the group will prove much easier.

Besiktas are a good side – with good players that compete at the top of the Turkish Super Lig. They are part of 4 teams that compete for the title, Fenerbahce, Champions Last Season, Galatasaray, Besiktas and Trabzonspor, who are all good teams who are consistently in Europe, whether the Champions League or Europa League. For the past 5 seasons, though, Besiktas haven’t been able to finish above 3rd place in the Super Lig, seemingly unable to push on further after every season, with their last title coming in 2009. This season, Besiktas have started well, unbeaten from their first 4 games in the League; 2 wins and 2 draws, sitting in 2nd place behind Akhisar Belediye, who have came out of nowhere after coming 10th last season. In the Europa League, Besiktas drew 1-1 with Asteras Tripolis in game week one away from home, so we’ll take heart from that I’m sure. Last time we faced Besiktas we came out on top in 2006 in the previously named UEFA Cup, a 2-0 victory in Istanbul – Dimitar Berbatov and Hossam Ghaly getting the goals under Martin Jol’s guidance. A similar result in this game at the Lane would be glorious!

The team news for Besiktas is that Mustafa Pektemek is the only doubt for Besiktas with injury, with the rest of the squad fit. The important players for Besiktas starts with midfielder Gokhan Tore, who was the GoalScorer in their game against Tripolis; at just 22 he is a very good player, and can grab the odd goal from midfield. Another midfielder who can make the impact is Olcay Sahan, he’s Besiktas’ top scorer in the League with 3 goals in 4 games and from the wing he’s very threatening. Sahan will be feeding their new striker who is very familiar to English football, Demba Ba, going to Besiktas from Chelsea after having previous spells at Newcastle and West Ham, he’s a very good striker who can produce a finish in the box when you need it; he’s a big player for Besiktas and endeared himself to the fans with a hat-trick in a Champions League qualifier against Feyernoord. We know his threat and it’ll be tricky to contain.

IMG_2081.JPG
The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, while Danny Rose (knock) and Etienne Capoue (knock) are doubts, and will probably be rested even if they are fit. The team will change, that’s for sure. Ben Davies, Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend & Roberto Soldado look to be in line to feature and they need to perform as I’m sure Besiktas will put out a strong team away from home, putting in a strong performance.

For me, it’s important that we are strong in midfield for this game, close Besiktas down early and keep the ball well, and when we have the ball, be effective in attack, with pace and intensity. I expect the midfield duo to be Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli, and we need them to avoid being ponderous otherwise they will be caught out and give pressure to our back line. When they have the ball, they must find the right pass quickly and effectively to more advanced players so they can hopefully create chances and goals. Up front, Roberto Soldado is the likely option to start and after his good goal against Nottingham Forest he has 2 goals in 2 starts so far this season, and hopefully he can continue this against Besiktas, and if he does I think he deserves a chance to start up top in the Premier League against Southampton. In defence, new signing Federico Fazio should start and he has impressed me so far. For what he lacks in pace, he makes up for in intelligence and positioning, with the ability to play the ball out of defence as well. He has a fight on his hands to displace Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen though, who were colossal against Arsenal at the weekend.

A big game is on the horizon! It’s going to be tough, hard fought and hopefully full of exciting football. The game is to be shown live on ITV 4, and I’ll update as much as possible from White Hart Lane. I’m very much looking forward to the game, and I hope we can get the win! Three points and a good win is needed! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Besiktas at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Chiriches – Davies
Stambouli – Bentaleb
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino pre match press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match: Wednesday 24th September 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-1 Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Mason 72′, Soldado 83′ & Kane 91′.

Nottingham Forest GoalScorer: Grant 61′.

Well, it took us a long while to get started but we got there in the end! We’ve cemented our place in the Capital One Cup Fourth Round. We lacked penetration, passion & that little bit of quality in this game, but we got the job done, scored 3 goals and now we have a clear focus on the match against Arsenal on Saturday evening, which I’m sure was in the minds of all the Spurs players against Forest; or I hope it was. We can’t overshadow the performance with the result; we didn’t play well, looked shaky, slow and uninspiring. That is cause for concern, even though I never like to moan if we have won, I’d like to see much, much, much more on Saturday against Arsenal, albeit with a completely different starting 11. We have to show pace, passion, intensity against Arsenal if we are to stand any chance at all.

The first half was completely irrelevant to the game in the end. We didn’t show any threat whatsoever, and Nottingham Forest looked more dangerous, but we went in 0-0 at the break, with improvement needed in the second half, otherwise we may as well have run a replay of the West Brom game instead of this one. We can’t ignore Nottingham Forest’s performance in the first half though, they nullified any threat we had and worked tirelessly, with a definite threat on the counter attack. This continued for most of the second half.

In the second period, we didn’t start well, Pochettino didn’t make any substitutions and the players on the pitch just didn’t look at all capable of hitting the back of the net or showing that intensity that we lacked in the first half. We got what we deserved in the 61st minute, Nottingham Forest got in behind our defence, got the ball into the box and Grant slotted home for 0-1, way too easily. This though, kickstarted Tottenham into action, at last! Mauricio Pochettino made two substitutions, Ryan Mason & Harry Kane. Tottenham fans were a little wary with these two subs, instead of Erik Lamela & Christian Eriksen, but Pochettino’s choice was justified when Ryan Mason, in just his 5th appearance for Tottenham and 1st of the season, received the ball from Ben Davies about 30 yards out from the goal, took a touch and smashed the ball into the net, an incredible goal with brilliant technique. Then, it flowed from there. 10 minutes later Andros Townsend got the ball from Ryan Mason outside the box, with only one thing in his mind – a shot – he took his chance but his disappointing effort found Roberto Soldado, who stuck out a boot and the ball flew into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 Tottenham over a now tired Nottingham Forest team. We were controlling the game, as we had all match, but, this time there was an incredible difference in how much more threatening we were in the final third. The introduction of Erik Lamela furthered the pace we had up front, and it was he who found the killer pass to Harry Kane in the 91st minute, who secured our place in the 4th round with a calm finish into the far bottom corner. Game over.

IMG_1963.JPG
There were some really frustrating performances in this match, with players capable of more not showing their true ability. In a game which gives you a platform to show what you can do, ahead of a North London Derby, I was expecting more from our fringe players, you’re fighting for your place, show the boss and everyone at Spurs what you can do! A few players did exactly that; and none better than substitute Ryan Mason, who showed everything you’d want from a Tottenham player coming on – passion, desire, enthusiasm and that bit of quality you need in difficult situations such as this match. It’s always great to see an academy product be involved in the first team, and I hope we can see Mason more and more as the season goes on. He was my man of the match, even though he didn’t start the game. It wasn’t just only his goal, either, he showed composure on the ball and got his head up, always looking forward, which is exactly what you want from a Tottenham midfielder. Another who did well was Kyle Naughton, he gets his fair share of stick but he is a decent right back who has been played out of position at left back far too often. In his favourable position on the right, he 8 times out of 10 puts in a good shift, so he is a valuable squad player. It’s great to see Roberto Soldado get a goal at White Hart Lane, it was a quick thinking finish and we pray to God it is one of many he can get this season.

A good win, in the end! Improvement needed in our performance but we got the job done and are into the 4th Round of the Capital One Cup, where we will face Brighton and Hove Albion at White Hart Lane. Next up though is the big one, the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium, Saturday 27th September, an evening kick off in the Premier League. Anything can happen, keep faith and support the team. Let’s get this season off and running once and for all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Nottingham Forest:
Vorm – 6
Naughton – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 6
Bentaleb – 5
Stambouli – 6.5
Lennon – 7
Townsend – 6.5
Paulinho – 4.5
Soldado – 6.5.

Subs:
Mason – 8 – Man of the Match.
Kane – 6.5
Lamela – 6.

Match highlights:

Pochettino’s reaction:

Townsend & Mason reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest.

Match date & time: Wednesday 24th September 2014. 7:45pm KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Our Capital One Cup campaign starts here; with a tough match against the Championship league leaders. Tottenham Hotspur and it’s players have to want & fight to win every competition entered, but it’s always difficult to use the squad in a good way which doesn’t effect it too much in the Premier League, which is always the main focus, especially with the North London Derby coming up on Saturday. We have a strong squad, with a lot of depth and we have the gift of being able to rotate the starting 11 in the Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. We have to look to go far in every competition, but this takes mental & physical strength from the players. This game against Nottingham Forest is important for Tottenham, not just because it would be great to go far in the Capital One Cup, but because we need a win after a short drought. Especially ahead of a North London Derby, we need to go in with a win and possibly a little boost of the confidence.

Nottingham Forest have been fantastic this season. They are unbeaten in all competitions after 9 games, winning 7 and drawing 2. Under new boss Stuart Pearce the club have been very impressive, with the Forest legend reinvigorating both the players & the fans, which has now turned into a winning mentality. This team will be no push over, they have good players but it is their togetherness as a team that makes them so much of a threat and difficult opposition. For Tottenham, our form has dwindled since a loss to Liverpool at White Hart Lane, going 4 games without a win in all competitions; this game represents a chance to end that run dead before four difficult fixtures against Arsenal, Besiktas, Southampton and Manchester City. Having the game against Nottingham Forest at White Hart Lane makes me more confident, despite our loss to West Brom at the Lane the past weekend.

The team news for Nottingham Forest is that club captain Jack Cohen, Jack Hobbs, Jack Hunt, Matty Fryatt & former Spur Andy Reid will not feature for the Reds. The main threat for Nottingham Forest is their striker Britt Assombalonga; he has incredible strength and a clinical Goalscoring rate so far this season. In the Championship, Assombalonga has 8 goals in 8 appearances, which highlights his incredible ability to get goals, important ones too. Last season he was with Peterborough in League 1, scoring 33 goals in 58 appearances in all competitions. Now, he’s showing he can cut it in the Championship. Another very important attacking threat for Nottingham Forest is winger Michail Antonio; the pacey, direct and effective wide man has 5 goals in 10 games so far this season, which is a very good tally for a winger, he can provide but he can also contribute to scoring goals. He’s rapid, and alongside Assombalonga is a real threat in behind our defence, so we have to be on top of them from the start to nullify their threat.

IMG_1927.PNG
The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (abdominal) remains out, but Andros Townsend is expected to return to the squad after a dead leg that kept him out of the game against West Brom. Roberto Soldado is expected to start up front, with Michel Vorm also expected to get his debut in goal. We have a fully fit squad expect for Kyle Walker, which is a rarity in Tottenham’s case. Hopefully, we can take advantage and get some good results in the near, near future.

Everyone knows Roberto Soldado’s story. The clinical striker from Spain coming to Spurs and failing to live up to the billing in his first season. I still believe there is a player in there, somewhere, buried underneath his personal doubt and lack of confidence. Glimmers of hope have emerged throughout the season (and a bit) that he’s been with us, and every game he plays is a chance for him to score a few goals and regain at least some of that confidence and clinical nature. It’s another chance for him at White Hart Lane against Nottingham Forest. A player with a lot to prove is Andros Townsend – after an injury in the second half of last season, he hasn’t regained the sort of form he had in the first half. Every game is a good chance for him to get up to scratch, but he needs to be more effective with assists and goals to have a chance of gaining a regular place in the starting 11, I’m sure he knows that. In defence, Federico Fazio has a chance to get his first appearance at White Hart Lane; every game will help him bed in to the side and understand his team mates more, and I think he will be paired with either Vlad Chiriches or Jan Vertonghen for this match against Nottingham Forest. Personally, I’d prefer Vlad to play, and save Vertonghen to play in the North London Derby on Saturday evening after being left out of the side to face West Brom.

A return to winning ways is on the agenda. A tough task against a flying Nottingham Forest, but at White Hart Lane we have to be confident of earning a place in the 4th round of the Capital One Cup. The game is televised on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, videos, pictures and more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get to the next round.. COYS!!

My predicted/proffered team to face Nottingham Forest at the Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Fazio – Chiriches – Davies
Lennon – Bentaleb – Stambouli – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Short views from Mauricio Pochettino on Nottingham Forest;

Match Preview, Partizan Belgrade vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Thursday 18th September 2014. 6pm KO GMT.

Competition: Europa League – Group C.

Venue: Partizan Stadium.

TV: ITV4 in the UK. Worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After getting past the play-off round, we’ve made it into the Europa League group stage and been drawn with some tricky ties in the road to Warsaw. Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade and Asteras Tripolis are the opponents and we start the journey with a trip to Serbia, Belgrade for the first challenge of Partizan. We know that we are favourites in the group but this doesn’t make our job any easier; we still have to go to some difficult venues and try to get results, be professional and put some good performances in. The Europa League, as I’ve insisted many times before, is a great competition in which you can still face some very tough teams in Europe. Tottenham have a lot of history in the competition (UEFA Cup) and it’s important we do well, especially with the added incentive of Champions League football if we win the competition. It all starts in Serbia.

Focusing on Partizan Belgrade, last season they finished second in the Serbian Super Liga, behind Crvena Zvezda. They are the two teams out in front of the Serbian League and the teams were only separated by 1 point last season, Partizan only losing 3 games in the whole season, winning 22 out of their 30 League games, so they are used to winning, especially at home and their confidence will be high, being unbeaten in 20 League games at Partizan Stadium. This season, they sit top of the Super Liga after 5 games, winning all 5 of them, scoring more than 1 goal in each of those fixtures. So they have momentum, having won 10 of their last 10 League fixtures, Partizan are also unbeaten in their last 13 fixtures in all competitions. In their Europa League play-off, they defeated Neftçi 3-2 at home in the first leg, and 1-2 away from home in the second leg. They are a side that is used to winning, that will fight hard in this game and try to cause us problems, especially with the vocal backing of their fans in their home ground. We have to be professional and if we play our game and impose it on them, I’m sure we can come away with three points.

Their are a few good players for Belgrade that could cause us problems; upfront, Danko Lazović has 5 goals in his first 5 League games for Partizan and has established himself as their main goalscorer, as well as fellow striker Petar Škuletić, who has 4 goals in his first 5 League games. In midfield, 18 year old Andrija Živković provides the creative spark in midfield, playing as the offensive midfielder, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him. Also, in defence, highly rated 22 year old Nemanja Petrović is important for the Belgrade team, so we’ll have to get past him in attack.

IMG_1827.JPG
The team news for Tottenham is that Roberto Soldado is back in contention after disturbance in his neck and back, but Kyle Walker (abdominal) is still out. The players who haven’t travelled to Belgrade to face Partizan are newly appointed Captain Younes Kaboul, along with vice captain Emmanuel Adebayor. Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele have also been left in London for the Europa League fixture. It’s important that the players who have travelled take this game seriously & professionally, and come back with a victory and momentum going into the game against West Brom at the weekend.

In the team, it is a good chance to give game time to our new signings, helping them to bed in and understand how Tottenham want to play this season under Mauricio Pochettino, so I’d imagine both Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio will play and get their first starts for Tottenham, and first appearance in Fazio’s case. Another first appearance could come for Michel Vorm in goal after the player was registered for the Europa League & Premier League, finally, after being put on a strict fitness regime. This game will represent a good opportunity for either Roberto Soldado or Harry Kane upfront; if Roberto Soldado has had enough training time with the squad, I’d like to see him start, but I think because Soldado has had a while out of training, I think it’s more likely Harry Kane will start upfront, seeing as Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t travelled with the team. Mauricio Pochettino hinted in his press conference that young defender/defensive midfielder Milos Veljkovic could have the chance to play in his home nation; which is good to see a youngster break through after good work with the youth teams, he is a good player with big potential and I hope he can get some minutes this Thursday evening.

A new beginning to a familiar competition. Big expectations lie on the shoulders on Tottenham; we have to hope that the players rise to this occasion and play like the favourites, play in a professional manner and get the three points to take back to North London. It’s important for our Europa League campaign that we start with a win. The game is shown live on ITV4 for UK fans, but you can also follow me on Twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for all the match updates, photos, videos and more. The game kicks off at 6pm Thursday evening. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Partizan Belgrade:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Fazio – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Paulinho – Townsend
Kane.

Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Tottenham Hotspur Season Review – 2013/14.

20140515-200108.jpgIt’s been a topsy-turvy season at White Hart Lane, a season with expectation, hope and excitement at the start, having a middle of uncertainty, anger and disillusionment, ending with relief, hope and an ounce of positivity. We’ve been through it all, every emotion from elation to despair, and everything in between. Two managers, 7 new players and yet another transition season, with another one to come next season.

August – September.
Such promise. 7 new signings for a total of £110 million, but also selling Gareth Bale for a World Record £85 million, therefore from other sales such as Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker and Steven Caulker. It was out for the English men, and in with the European talent, with Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli (in price order). Mistakes were made in the way we brought these players in, that I say without a doubt, but I do not think we made a mistake on the personnel we brought in, except for arguably Roberto Soldado in hinds sight. In August, we started the season in fine form, beating Crystal Palace, Swansea and beating off Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League qualifying. We didn’t concede in August, scoring 10 goals in 4 games. Not bad at all, although we did scrape past Palace and Swansea.

In September, we started the month conceding our first goal, against Arsenal in a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates. The excuse was that we were in incredible uncertainty, and the sale of Gareth Bale was confirmed the same day, straight after the defeat. That was a really bad day. Really bad. The saying on the season ‘bounce back’ was then introduced and we did exactly that, beating Norwich convincing at the Lane, Christian Eriksen making his introduction brilliantly, and then beating Tromsø 3-0 in the Europa League and then one of the games of the season, beating Cardiff 1-0 away from home, Paulinho with a late back-heeled goal. After that, we beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park in the Capital One Cup. Then we drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Lane with a very good performance. Things looked very up, AVB had us well drilled and the club was together pulling in a good direction. We sat 3rd in the table. Respectable, eh? Our best player in the first two months, would be Gylfi Sigurdsson, he was playing really well with 2 goals at the time against Chelsea and Norwich.

20140514-203220.jpg
October – November.
It all went a bit sour in October, a long journey to Anzhi, but a good victory, winning 2-0, but we returned to arguably the worst result of the season, a 3-0 defeat in a London Derby to West Ham United, we were dreadful, a lack of commitment and having no idea what to do in attacking positions, and West Ham punished our nonsensical defending. A tough one to take, the toughest. We did it again, we bounced back, we showed what seemed to be ‘character’ to quote Tim Sherwood and beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park, Robert Soldado with his first goal from open play, and we all thought he’d kick on from there and expected the team to do the same. Another long journey to Sheriff followed, getting the win again 2-0 and then returning to the Lane, we beat Hull City 1-0, a Soldado penalty clinching it. It all went sour for Andre Villas Boas after that. He criticised the fans, right or wrong, the media didn’t need to hear it, and neither did the fans who were already writhing in anger at the performance against Hull. Only a few days later, we faced Hull again, and scraped through again, on penalties in the Capital One Cup. A very difficult month, and after all that we still sat 4th in the Premier League table, and still in all the competitions.

In November, it really turned bad. We didn’t manage a League win and failed to score a League goal, although winning games in the Europa League against Sheriff 2-1, record signing Erik Lamela’s first goal for the club and beating Tromsø in Norway 2-0. In the League, we drew 0-0 with Everton, a hard fought game but arguably a good result against a resurgent Roberto Martinez team. No complaints. Then, after a game against Sheriff in the Europa League, we lost to Newcastle at home 1-0, in one of the most frustrating games of the season, nothing would go in. Nothing. We were left frustrated and the fans’ pressure built on Andre Villas Boas. The next game didn’t help the pressure on AVB, an absolute rout through Manchester City at the Etihad. Of course, the Champions this season, but for where we wanted to be, and by that margin, it was embarrassing and despite a large amount of fans backing AVB to get out of this slump, there was serious media pressure and reported pressure from the board. All in all, pressure. We ended November with a Europa League win at Tromsø, but it didn’t help heal the scars from a dreary two months. Tottenham finished November in 9th, which is, no sugar coating, terrible. Although, still, we remained in all competitions, unbeaten. Our best player in that time would in my opinion, be Andros Townsend, he was electrifying, but not lethal. The best of a bad bunch.

20140514-222036.jpg
December – January.
December was without a doubt the busiest and most full of change month of the season. We started the month well, really well. A draw with Manchester United, but scoring 2 goals after not scoring in the League in November was a positive, as well as the team spirit shown. After that, we won two on the bounce away for home, but both, we scraped past relegation candidates Fulham through Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, then past Sunderland, through an own goal and Paulinho. Our final victory under Andre Villas Boas then was upon us, a 4-1 victory over Anzhi with Soldado grabbing a hat-trick, and then the darkest day of the season so far. A 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Lane. Humiliating. A lack of presence, fight and quality led to a terrible day, and one that saw Daniel Levy lose patience in the Portuguese manager and fire him that next day. Right or wrong, the decision ended our season. I truly believe that. The club then appointed Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand in charge and in the first game lost in the Capital One Cup to West Ham in the Lane 2-1, after returning Emmanuel Adebayor to the team and him scoring. We then had a ‘decent’ end to the Christmas period, with Tim Sherwood being confirmed as Spurs Head Coach on an 18 month contract, we beat Pochettino’s Southampton at St Mary’s through a resurgent Emmanuel Adebayor performance, but then drew to West Brom at the Lane on Boxing Day, a big disappointment, but we then performed to the highest level of the season, beating Stoke City 3-0 with free flowing football that had been missing for too long under AVB. We finally beat someone comfortably. We finished the month in 7th.

In January, we started the month in fine fashion, we went to Old Trafford and got the result in wonderful style, Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen on the scoresheet. That’s my favourite victory of the season, an amazing win despite Manchester United’s problems this season, we have not lost to them in 4 games and beat them on their own turf twice in a row! It was back to reality after that, we lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup 2-0 at the Emirates, and now it was Sherwood’s turn to feel the pressure of the fans, his honest press conferences splitting his opinion and his tactical approach of 4-4-2 against top sides split them even further. We then beat Crystal Palace, with Jermain Defoe’s last goal for the club after the announcement of his move to Toronto, a very emotional moment and then went into beat Swansea convincingly 3-1 at the Liberty stadium, Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his great form with a brace. We finished the first month of 2014 with a heavy defeat to Manchester City, in unfortunate circumstances, a goal disallowed, wrongly, and then a wrongly awarded penalty and red card against Danny Rose. Of course, we wouldn’t go onto have an effect the game, losing 5-1, with another heavy defeat to City, but you could feel a sense of what could have been without some horrifying decisions. Plus, Etienne Capoue got his first goal for the club! At the end of January, we sat in 5th place, just three points off Liverpool in 4th. There was a little bit of hope here. Our best player during this time, was most definitely Emmanuel Adebayor, brilliant.

20140515-003928.jpg
February – March.
It was a mixed bag of results in February, but we continued to be there or there abouts for Champions League football and some fans still had hope! We started the month of February with a draw at the KC Stadium to Hull City, it was an incredibly hard fought match but we couldn’t seem to break them down, although Paulinho scored a great goal to get us a point. Then, as it seemed to be the case many times this season, good results came in twos. We beat Everton at White Hart Lane 1-0, taking 4 points from them this season, somehow, through a sweetly taken goal from Emmanuel Adebayor. Then, we went up to St James’ Park to complete our most convincing win of the season so far, a 4-0 win, Emmanuel Adebayor getting another brace as well as goals from Paulinho and a fine strike from Nacer Chadli, his first Premier League goal for the club. Then, a low, as we lost to Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine in the first leg of the round of 32, and then we followed it up by being beaten by Norwich at Carrow Road 1-0, a terrible defeat with some extremely disappointed performances. The loss to Dnipro was then cancelled out, after a great 3-1 win at the Lane, Adebayor with 2 and a Christian Eriksen free-kick. A good end to a mixed month. Into the round of 16 of the Europa League.

I think March was the moment we realised that Tim Sherwood wasn’t the man to take us forward. Only 2 wins out of 7 and 4 defeats conceding 16 goals and only scoring 6. We started with a win, against Cardiff City, a 1-0 win, Roberto Soldado getting only his second goal from open play in the Premier League, but it certainly wasn’t free flowing football, we scraped past them as we had many times under AVB and under Sherwood. Then, we lost heavily to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after going in level at the break after a great performance in all fairness, the team capitulated after a Jan Vertonghen mistake. A tough result to take like many this season, and Sherwood then criticised the players, which was highly supported and scrutinised at the same time. Then, we lost two on the bounce, both extremely tarnishing to the club, a 3-1 defeat to an incredible Benfica team at the Lane, but then another loss to Arsenal, quite unluckily even though we dominated the game. Then we performed really well at the Estadio Da Luz, a 2-2 draw, but we were extremely unlucky not to go through, a Nacer Chadli brace and a Harry Kane double of assists! Our next game was against Southampton, with a lot of the support extremely disheartened supporters not expecting anything from the rest of the season except for disappointment. The Southampton game was great, though, after going down 2-0 to a highly talented Southampton team, we fought back valiantly and showed the ‘gut’ that Sherwood had been willing for. That ‘gut’ and determination deserted Tottenham as we took on Liverpool, however, a 4-0 defeat, and the less said about that day the better. We sat 8 points off of 4th on 56 points after March. Our best player in that time being Christian Eriksen, for sure!

20140515-013406.jpg
April – May.
I’d say we had our best month of the season in April, unbeaten, scoring twelve goals in 4 games and only conceding 4. Our great month started with our biggest win of the season, a 5-1 victory over Sunderland, Adebayor once again getting a brace, with Christian Eriksen running the show along with a Gylfi Sigurdsson goal too. Then, we went to West Brom and conceded 3 goals, but we came back in the second half despite Adebayor missing a penalty, an own goal, a Harry Kane goal and finishing off the comeback with a Christian Eriksen late equaliser. Fulham came next, another 3 goals, but this time we only conceded once. Paulinho, Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul got on the scoresheet as Christian Eriksen ran the show once again and cemented his place as a contender for player of the season, as well as an incredible performance from Hugo Lloris, who saved a penalty and made three or four incredible saves at least. World Class. The rumours on Sherwood’s future was as intense as ever coming into May, but the team ended April on a high after going to Stoke and dragging out a result. We were on track to equal our highest ever points tally in the Premier League.

In May, we only had two games and one of them was utterly horrible. West Ham. Again. This time, on their own turf. A 2-0 defeat and a Younes Kaboul red card. We weren’t terrible, a little unlucky with a few individual mistakes but a loss to West Ham is just unforgivable, and unfortunately it’s been unforgivable three times this season. But, we finished the season on a high, which was definitely needed. Tim Sherwood’s last game as Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach, a 3-0 win, some wonderful football and the youth being introduced. A wonderful way to end a difficult season. Paulinho, an own goal by Baker and then an Adebayor penalty. We finished the season in 6th place, with 69 points, securing a Europa League place for next season. Tim Sherwood sacked and now a manager search commences. My player of the two months was Christian Eriksen. Incredible.

20140515-021845.jpg
My player ratings for the 2013/14 season:

Hugo Lloris – 9 – My player of the season. He has been incredible for us, saving us on numerous occasions. I don’t know where we’d be without him in the team, but we wouldn’t be in the Europa League, that’s for sure! He brings a cool, professional head even when chaos strikes on the pitch. He finds a way to keep his consistency no matter how the team is playing, who the team is playing and who the team is being managed by. Truly World Class and a pleasure to have in the team. He managed 17 clean sheets this season from 46 appearances.

Christian Eriksen – 8.5 – My outfield player of the season. At just 22 Eriksen has been a revelation, and has been praised as the ‘best of a bad bunch’ by many in the press. Although I disagree, I believe that he has been a shining light in a dreary season, with the way that he plays, conducts himself and speaks all becoming increasingly important to the club and without a doubt, the team should be built around Eriksen next season, whoever the manager is. There is so much more to come from such a brilliant, but young player. Eriksen has 10 goals and 10 assists, our top provider this season in 30 appearances.

Emmanuel Adebayor – 8 – Adebayor only played half a season, but still was one of our best performers this season. He scored so many vital goals to carry us through Tim Sherwood’s reign, and he almost made Sherwood look good, just as Gareth Bale seemed to bail out Andre Villas Boas. There were some lacklustre showings from the big Togolese striker, but overall, I think Adebayor has shown AVB was wrong to keep him in the dark, despite Adebayor being in the wrong through standing up to Villas-Boas. Emmanuel Adebayor scored 14 goals this season and getting 4 assists, he ended the season as our top goalscorer.

Brad Friedel – 7 – Judging Brad through the games he played, he has earned a 7/10. His performances in the Europa League were top class, he showed his professionalism throughout the season, not complaining, instead hailing the manager and the team, boosting moral and acting as a calm head. At 42, he has a decision to make regarding his future, and if he does decide to retire, I would love Brad to stay at the club and become a coach. He’s that sort of person. Friedel played 9 times and kept 3 clean sheets. Respectable.

Kyle Walker – 7.5 – Many will feel I have ‘overrated’ Walker here. But I would like to remind you all that Kyle was absolutely magnificent before injury toyed with his season. Without a doubt he was our best defender, showing a maturity that was lacking last season, but also a work ethic like I have never seen from him before. He was concentrated and driven to succeed and I am gutted that his injury has kept him out of a World Cup that he deserved to go to more than any other English right back. Walker made 35 appearances this season, scoring once and assisting 3 times.

Kyle Naughton – 5 – Average. He is no Kyle Walker, but what Naughton has been this season is reliable. Not many clubs have a player that will sit there and be willing to fill in whenever possible. Needed a lot this season, he was exposed a lot as a left back that he wasn’t and his lack of pace and bad decision making cost him many times. But overall I don’t think Naughton did too badly, and would like to thank him for his efforts. He showed that he cared. Naughton played 31 times for Spurs this season as a stop gap, and assisted goals twice.

Michael Dawson – 6 – Harshly treated for the majority of this season, including by myself. Dawson has shown his fight and determination on a numerous amount of occasions this season, although he has been exposed way too often as slow and very one dimensional. He’s my captain though, and his desire and passion for the club do not go unnoticed in my eyes. Dawson played 38 times this season.

Younes Kaboul – 5.5 – A difficult season for Younes. The injuries in his career have affected him a hell of a lot and he is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has captained us this season, and played some really good games, for example against Newcastle and against Southampton. I would like to think Kaboul will stay and have a full pre-season behind him to prove his worth to the fans, but whether or not the club feel too much of a risk of having him here we can only wait and see. Younes played 18 times this season, scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Vlad Chiriches – 7 – One of the seven new signings arriving this season, and he’s been one of the best in my view. At just 23 he has a lot to learn and he can be very nervy at times, making him prone to mistakes, but he has also had incredible games this season and is showing why we decided to sign the Romanian and ditch Steven Caulker. Vlad can only improve next season, the captain of Romania and definitely one that can push to start every game next season. Vlad played 23 times this season, scoring 1 goal.

Jan Vertonghen – 6 – A strange season for Jan. He has been accused by fans of having a bad attitude, bad body language and not showing enough passion for the team, as well as taking a big step down from the level of performance that he was last season. We all know what Vertonghen is capable of, and despite these rumours of Jan wanting out, we should try to keep him at all costs, because he is a wonderful talent. I believe he will stay. I hope he will stay. Hopefully we can see an improvement in performs from Jan next season, possibly when we have a new manager in charge! Vertonghen had an injury stricken but played 31 games, scoring 1 goal.

Zeki Fryers – 6 – A breakthrough season for young Zeki Fryers, firstly at left back, but then later in the season being used as a centre back, and I think we found the perfect position for Zeki. At left back he lacked agility and an end product, but at centre back he is composed and strong. I’d like to see more of the 21 year old there next season. Zeki played 16 times, getting 1 assist in that time.

Danny Rose – 4 – Danny, at only 23, has a lot to learn. This was his first season as our number 1 left back, but he was exposed nearly every game for defensive insecurity, a poor end product and a lack of skill on the ball. Although Danny had 3-4 good games, he isn’t at the level that Spurs need. Whether that will come in time, I don’t know, but right now, we need better. Danny made 31 appearances this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 2 assists.

Aaron Lennon – 6 – Inconsistent would be the word to describe Lennon’s season. He has been on fire at times, beating players getting dangerous balls into the box, and he has been the opposite, unimaginative, ineffective and simply poor. Aaron is still 27, so I’d definitely keep him for next season, but I hope Lamela steps up and earns his spot ahead of our long serving winger. Aaron played 34 games this season, scoring just 1 goal and getting only 3 assists.

Andros Townsend – 7 – What a start to the season Andros had. Coming back from his loan spell at QPR he was electrifying, he had the confidence to take people on, take shots and break with pace. This earned him an England call up, and he made the impact of a lifetime, scoring on his debut. Unfortunately, injury played havoc with his second half of the season and his form dipped. And now injury has ruled him out of a World Cup he was destined to go to. Hopefully Andros improves massively next season and we can see him shine again. He played 34 games scoring twice, but getting no assists.

Erik Lamela – N/A- Our record signing, but we didn’t get anywhere near a season out of him. Mismanagement, injuries and poor ability to adapt have messed the Argentine’s season and World Cup hopes right up. Such promise, but such disappointment to see our Gareth Bale replacement not start a game at White Hart Lane this season in the Premier League. He did have 2-3 good performances but needed a sustained fun in the team, and due to a fractured vertebra, he didn’t get that. He will return though and I hope he will be better than ever! He played 17 times for Spurs, but only had 3 starts in the Premier League. He scored 1 goal and got 3 assists.

Paulinho – 7 – I think Paulinho has had a very good first season at the club. It has been blighted by some terrible, invisible performances but all in all I think he’s done well, especially in the goal scoring department. Playing higher up the pitch he is a joy to watch has immense skill, but playing in a deeper role next to a similar player, such as Mousa Dembele, Paulinho didn’t have the strength and grit to make tackles. That’s why his best performance came alongside Sandro, or next to Dembele when we were bossing the game. Hopefully he’ll push on next season and prove himself to more and more fans. He played 37 times for us this season and scored 8 goals with 2 assists, a good first season tally.

Sandro – 6 – Injury has struck Sandro’s season once again. This time muscular niggles that have kept him out of the team and stopped him from having, just like Lamela, a sustained run in the team. There have been some difficult matches for Sandro, not playing well or in good form, but I think mostly he has when he has started. He’s a crucial player for the team and I can’t wait to see him in a Spurs shirt next season. Sandro played 25 games and scored 1 goal.

Mousa Dembele – 6 – It’s like a broken record, but Mousa is another player who’s season has been seriously harmed by injuries. He looked as if he had been playing with injuries all season and that meant his form wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted it to be. He has a World Cup now so I hope he gains a lot of confidence from that and comes back to Spurs a better player. Mousa did despite injury play 42 games this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist.

Nabil Bentaleb – 7 – Nabil has had a great season. Promoted through the youth system at just 19 he has put in some stellar displays in the midfield role, as well as some poor performances, which are expected at just 19 years of age. His connection with Sherwood made it difficult at times, with fans pilling pressure on the young mans shoulders, but he dealt with it really well. Nabil played 21 times, getting 1 assist.

Etienne Capoue – N/A – Etienne started the season in outstanding form, our best player against Crystal Palace and Swansea, but he was hit by injury, another player, and after that never found the level he is capable of. He missed 50% of the season through, higher than any other player, so I really can’t give him a fair rating. It will be interesting to see whether Capoue is kept by the new manager, or moved on. Etienne played 18 times scoring 1 goal and assisting 1.

Lewis Holtby – 6.5 – Only half a season with Spurs before being shipped out to Fulham, but during that time he made it difficult to make a decision between Eriksen and Holtby, and I think he played well at times during his time at Spurs and was unlucky, but probably for the best of his development that he was sent out on loan. I hope to see him back in a Spurs shirt next season, pushing for a place. Lewis took part in 22 games for Spurs this season, scoring 3 goals and getting 5 assists.

Nacer Chadli – 6 – Chadli hasn’t set the world alight. Far from it. He has shown glimpses of why he is so highly rated in Holland and in Belgium, but as of yet hasn’t shown it to the Spurs faithful. Some very good performances, especially his 2 goals against Benfica, and his stunner against Newcastle, but he needs to improve. He played central midfield and behind the striker later on in the season which didn’t help, though. Although he played well behind the striker, in central midfield I don’t think it suits him. Nacer played 35 times, scoring 5 goals and contributing 4 assists.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6.5 – Gylfi’s start to the season was sublime, he had a goal scoring instinct and scored some wonderful goals as well as goals where he had to be in the right place at the right time. I think Gylfi is a great player, technically, mentally and physically. He lacks a lot of pace, which let’s him down, but he has such a great shot and a great footballing mind. It’s unfortunate Sigurdsson is forced out onto the left hand side so often. He’d be a real threat in the central position. There are things wrong with his game and there has been this season. Still, he’s only 24. Gylfi played 35 games this season, scoring 6 goals and getting 3 assists. Not too bad.

Harry Kane – 7.5 – I can only judge on the games that they have played, and Harry Kane has had a superb end to the season, as well as good performances against Hull City in the League Cup and Cardiff away earlier this season. Brought in by Sherwood to the starting 11 he has repaid the faith with goals, a hard work ethic and some real good performances. Harry has played 19 games this season for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and getting 2 assists.

Jermain Defoe – 6 – Defoe was outstanding in the Europa League for us this season, there’s no denying it. He scored goal after goal and played really well, but his Premier League performances, of which there were very few, were poor. Jermain was sent off to Toronto and we will miss a true Spurs legend, but I don’t think we’ll miss the player. Defoe played 22 games for Spurs this season, with 11 of those from the bench. Scoring 10 goals and getting 3 assists.

Roberto Soldado – 5 – Hard. Disappointing. Underwhelming. All words we’d use to describe Roberto Soldado’s first season at the club, and possibly his last. I want Soldado to succeed as much as the next but judging on this season he has been terrible in front of goal. It’s a mystery. He has lost his goalscoring touch through a flight from Spain to England and I don’t know why. Everything he touches he seems to miss. Although, his link up play and play with the ball is top notch, something he never really had in Spain. I’d call it weird other than anything. We’ll see what happens to him this summer. Roberto played 37 times for us this season, scoring 11 goals and getting 5 assists.

20140515-122749.jpg
My awards for the season:

Player of the season – Hugo Lloris.

Young player of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Goal of the season – Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Hull City. (League Cup).

Assist of the season – Eriksen vs Norwich to Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Individual performance of the season – Hugo Lloris vs Fulham.

Win of the season – Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham.

Signing of the season – Christian Eriksen.

Most disappointing player of the season – Roberto Soldado.

20140515-122844.jpg
Ups, downs and upside downs. All in all it’s been an eventful season, for sure! Expectation outweighed reality, and now as fans we have to rally again, support the team, the players and the whole club to try and do our bit to help the side on the pitch. And that starts by supporting our new manager, whoever it may be. I’m looking forward to a great World Cup, a brilliant pre-season, an uncertain Transfer Window and a new season of excitement! Thank you for reading, tweeting and debating with me on twitter and on the website. It’s been a pleasure and I can’t wait to do it all over again next season! Leave your comments down below, subscribe and follow my twitter account if you don’t already – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you and COYS!

All the goals from the 2013/14 season:

Season Review video:

20140515-123129.jpg