Match Review, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 25th April 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

Result: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham.

Southampton goalscorer: Graziano Pelle 28’, 65’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Preview, Southampton vs Tottenham.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match: Sunday 5th October 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 1-0 Southampton.

Tottenham GoalScorer: Christian Eriksen 40′.

Three points! Hurrah! A brilliant victory, hard fought, nail biting but all in all, extremely positive. Southampton are a good side, who are in terrific form and we shut them out and got all three points, even if we did have to hold on and sit back a little bit more than we wanted to at the end. We worked hard and offensively we were threatening, even if we didn’t finish off the chances we had and make more of the possession game that we played. Both teams played fairly well, and in the end, it was the quality of Christian Eriksen that split the teams. There is a lot more that we could have done, but it is all positive signs to improvement in the future. One thing that still isn’t quite there is our clinical nature in front of goal. We have to finish off our chances and finish off teams when we get the chance, otherwise we take the risk of losing 2 points, or maybe even 3. I can’t complain with three points though, and even better that we did it as a team – together.

In the first half, I thought we played really well, passed the ball around, pressed high and showed some of our best form of the season. When we pressure teams we force mistakes and get chances. We saw that against QPR and now against Southampton & Arsenal. We need to press as a team and this will come in time. Erik Lamela didn’t stop all game, fighting for every ball available and when he was dispossessed, he fought for the ball back again. The same goes for all the midfield, in all honesty, which is very pleasing. After creating a few chances, we were getting closer and closer before the deadlock was broken – good work from Emmanuel Adebayor bombing down the left hand side, who then found Nacer Chadli, with a cute flick out to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box who took a touch and rifled the ball low into the bottom left corner, 1-0, close to half time and we were playing some great football. Almost straight after that, we found another opportunity. Nacer Chadli went through on goal and threaded the ball low, but it hit the post and came back out instead of creeping in. That was a little frustrating and unfortunate, but we were creating, and looking threatening.

In the second half, it was more difficult, we didn’t create as many clear cut chances, and let Southampton into the game a little bit more than we would have liked. They improved, worked the ball a little bit more, earned more free kicks and the ball was in our half much, much more. Defensively, we were compact though and kept them at bay. We limited their chances and when they did get opportunities, Hugo Lloris was to thank. I thought Kaboul and Vertonghen worked very very well together, limiting the in form Graziano Pelle to next to no chances. We worked well as a team but the game got more tough as time ticked away, the ball seemed to be constantly in the air and we couldn’t get it down and bring the ball out of the danger areas, giving away silly free kicks, no thanks to the referee, though. We did manage to see the game out, thankfully and got a vital Premier League three points after a little bit of a shaky few games. Now hopefully we can push on and gallop up the table as far as possible!

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The team played well as a whole, and it’s difficult to pick one outstanding player. Defensively, we were very strong again, and I hold that to the partnership between Vertonghen and Kaboul, they both compliment each other very well and this leads to a balanced, well organised back line who look very comfortable together with good understanding. I think Jan Vertonghen has severely improved his form in recent games and I think we can finally say that he is completely back to his incredible best, especially alongside an in-form Younes Kaboul, and even an in-form Danny Rose, who was brilliant in this game – defensively and offensively. In midfield, Etienne Capoue and Ryan Mason played fantastically well together, chasing, tackling, pressing and moving the ball quickly when they had possession. Etienne especially was formidable once again and he is becoming invaluable to the team, and for sure once of the first names on the team sheet. It was great to see the three players behind the striker – Lamela, Eriksen & Chadli – all linking well and creating chances, as well as making chances for themselves. Their partnership and understanding can only improve and when it is in full flow they can become an incredibly frightening proposition for the opposition. My only disappointment was Emmanuel Adebayor, who I thought again had a shocking game, and I would call for either Roberto Soldado or Harry Kane to be given the chance to lead the line instead of Adebayor.

A good win and a decent performance. It was a tough game in which we did well to defeat an in-form Southampton side. We did well and now we have to improve further, our next opponent being the easy challenge of the Premier League Champions away from home, Manchester City! That game falling on Saturday 18th October at the Etihad. Looking forward to it after the international break. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris – 9
Naughton – 7 (injured in first half)
Kaboul – 8.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 8.5
Capoue – 9 – Man of the Match.
Mason – 8
Lamela – 7
Eriksen – 7.5
Chadli – 8
Adebayor – 5.5.

Subs:
Dier – 8
Dembélé – 6.5
Kane – 6.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post math press conference:

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match interview:

Christian Eriksen’s goal against Southampton:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 5th October 2014. 2:05pm KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

This game has become very important. At White Hart Lane, against a well drilled, offensively exciting team, we have to be on top form to get the full three points. This match has become a must win after we have failed to win a Premier League game since the thrashing of QPR in just our second game of the season. Since then, we have lost twice and drawn twice, which is not up to Tottenham standard with 6 games gone. Mauricio Pochettino knows we have to improve – to be more clinical in front of goal when we get the chances, more creative & purposeful when we have possession and defensively solid when under pressure. We showed a lot of good, positive things against Arsenal last week, but now we need to turn that form into a winning formula again in the Premier League, and not be left playing catch up on the rest so early in the season. It is important, though, that if things don’t click, that we remain behind Mauricio Pochettino, because he needs time to build & mould this squad into his team, and only then can we judge him objectively. Knee-jerk reactions help nobody, we have learnt that the hard way. We have a very talented manager, who our players have warmed to magnificently. Now we – the fans – have to give him the time to succeed.

This will be the first time Mauricio Pochettino has faced his former side, he was replaced by Ronald Koeman, who has done a fantastic job in the hot seat, when everything was looking so bleak for Southampton, he has turned it into a very positive, forward thinking club that nobody expected it would be this season after so much upheaval. Southampton have started this season spectacularly and sit in second place in the Premier League. After Liverpool beat them 2-1 at Anfield on the opening day of their season, they are unbeaten in all competitions, with just 1 draw (to West Brom) against their name. They have won 4 Premier League games on the trot, scoring 10 goals and conceding just 2 goals, which has led them to second in the table, only 3 points behind the supposedly unstoppable Chelsea. Tottenham sit in 8th place, 5 points off Southampton in second. At this early stage in the season, the table can change dramatically with just a couple of wins or a couple of losses, and hopefully Tottenham can get a few wins under the belt now and push in from that Arsenal result. In our last 2 meetings with Southampton, the scores have been 3-2 in favour of Tottenham. Hopefully, we see a great game like that, with a similar result for Tottenham.

The team news for Southampton is that James Ward-Prowse (foot), Maya Yoshida (ankle), Lloyd Isgrove (knee), Sam Gallagher (knee) and Jay Rodriguez (knee) are out of the game at the Lane, with Florin Gardos (calf) a doubt. Southampton have some extremely talented players going forward; their wingers/attacking midfielders are their biggest threat in my opinion. Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mané are both really creative, exciting players that can make things happen in the final third. Tadic has 3 assists in 6 appearances in the Premier League, and has created many more chances, while Mané has 2 assists in his first 2 games with Southampton. These players are making an instant impact after coming into the squad in the summer window, which is what you want from new signings after a lot of your best players have departed. In the middle of the park, the man that makes Southampton tick round and does the dirty work is Morgan Schneiderlin, from his deep lying role in midfield, he makes Southampton move the ball quickly, and when they don’t have the ball he is trying to win it back, making tackles and interceptions all over the park. I think Schneiderlin is Southampton’s most influential player and there’s no guessing as to why Tottenham were sniffing around in the summer window. The finisher of the team is Graziano Pelle, he has been in great form since coming in from Feyenoord scoring 5 goals in 8 appearances in all competitions, but it’s not just his Goalscoring form that has impressed, it’s his ability to bring the ball down and play in his midfielders around him. His hold up play is very good and he is a strong, imposing player, who is a good outlet for a Southampton team that play very nice football across the floor.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, and that is our only injury for this game. A fully fit and ready squad, which is extremely pleasing, but also very rare in Tottenham’s case! For the Besiktas game, Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue had knocks but they are ready and fit for the game against Southampton. After making 10 changes to the team in midweek, the team will be fresh and hopefully ready to get three points at White Hart Lane.

The team picks itself mostly, I think. But the one position that divides opinion throughout the fan base is up top. Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane are the options, with Emmanuel Adebayor starting every Premier League game so far this season, only getting 1 goal and disappointing in his work rate and ability to get into the position to finish chances, and when he gets the chances, isn’t finishing them! Roberto Soldado would be the likely replacement, with 2 goals in 3 starts so far this season, but his work rate, in my opinion, isn’t much better than Emmanuel Adebayor and isn’t getting himself into the areas to score goals when he plays. With all that said, I would start with the younger option, Harry Kane, up top on his own. He has showed his ability on numerous occasions to score goals, all sorts of goals, and he works his socks off every time he gets onto the pitch, so I think Pochettino should put faith in Harry Kane and give him a chance to start in the Premier League. If there was a finishing competition between Adebayor, Soldado and Kane today, I think Harry Kane would win. Kane’s performance against Besiktas in midweek was outstanding from the rest and for that, I think he deserves a start. However, if I were to predict the starter, I think Emmanuel Adebayor will again get the nod. Nacer Chadli has been brilliant so far this season, scoring very important goals, and hopefully he can continue that this Sunday against Southampton. If Nacer can keep fit, I’m sure he can get 10+ goals this season and be very useful to us, playing either on the left, or as a second striker.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Two Spurs players scored braces in 3-2 wins over Southampton in last season’s Barclays Premier League games (Adebayor and Eriksen).

– Mauricio Pochettino comes up against his former club who he coached for 54 Premier League games with a record of W19 D18 L17.

– Tottenham have won all four Premier League games against Saints since the south coast club’s return to the top flight.

– Southampton’s total of 13 points from six games is their best since claiming 14 in 1983-84.

– Spurs have lost their last two home Premier League games. The last time they lost three in a row on home soil was in September 2008 under Juande Ramos.

– Southampton have won three of their last five Premier League away games (W3 D1 L1).

– Graziano Pelle has scored four goals in his last four Premier League outings.

– Since August 2012, Pelle has scored 54 goals in 63 league appearances.

– Sadio Mane has made five assists in five league games this season (Premier League and Austrian Bundesliga).

– The 19 players to have made a Premier League appearance for Southampton this season are made up of 14 different nationalities; the most diverse of PL teams.

A massive game is on the horizon! Although I’m sure it’ll be tight, nervous and tough, I am confident we can build on the performance against Arsenal and get back to winning ways. The game is not televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane and find everyone a stream. Follow me on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs.

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Lamela – Chadli – Eriksen
Kane (preferred)/Adebayor (predicted).

Mauricio Pochettino previews Tottenham vs Southampton:

Who do you think should start up front against Southampton? Comment below!

The Ins and Outs at Tottenham in the Summer Transfer Window 2014.

The season is over, we’ve got a new manager and the World Cup is about to start. Time to relax, right? Far from it. The transfer window is fast approaching, with the window officially opening on July 1st, but all throughout June deals will be rumoured, proposed & some will be done all ready for pre-season. It’s a long window in the summer. July 1st until August 31st, so plenty of time for Tottenham Hotspur to get their squad sorted all ready for a massive Premier League season for the club. In this article I’ll be discussing the ins, outs & what I think the club has to do during what will be a busy summer for Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini & Mauricio Pochettino.

Firstly, I believe that during this summer window it’s crucial that we keep the core of the squad we have. That includes most of the 7 new signings and our longer serving players, this is because I have a lot of faith in the individuals we have and think the road to success is making the current squad click, not change it all up and starting again. Before last season, I was extremely excited with the signings and the structure of the squad we had, with a lot of depth, experience and young flair, but it didn’t work out as we wanted, the team failed to gel and in the end it cost Andre Villas-Boas his job. But, after having this first season in the Premier League, they are much more experienced and have learnt a lot, ready for them to hopefully, make the impact that we first hoped they would, especially with the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino who has a long history of getting the best out of his players. But, there are definite weaknesses in the squad that we have to address as to push on next season.

INS.
As I said; I don’t want an overhaul of the club and another 7-8 signings, we have extremely strong foundations of a World Class squad, but, in specific places we have to be aware of getting new players to possibly replace some fringe players & some that could unfortunately be sold to raise funds.

Centre Back – We currently have 4 senior centre backs, 5 if you include the promising Zeki Fryers, but Michael Dawson is now 30 and did not have a good season in my view, along with Younes Kaboul is the wrong side of 25 and is extremely unpredictable in both performances and injuries, so I think adding one could really be good for the team & add a bit of youth to the position.

There are a lot of options for centre back, but my favourite would be Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, who had a very good season for the Saints and has the connection with Mauricio Pochettino who brought him into the Premier League. A partnership between Lovren and Vertonghen would be great, wouldn’t it? Lovren is just 24 years old, the same age as Vlad Chiriches, so he also has a big future. In terms of price, I think he’d be worth around £12 million – £15 million, a reasonable price for a player of his age and level after Southampton paid £8 million for his services. I’d also be very happy if we could bring Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld to the Lane, the 25 year old ex-Ajax defender knows Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen well & we have been heavily linked, both last summer & this year, after he has expressed his disappointment with his game time in Madrid. I think he’d be a stellar option at the back, with his ability to bring the ball out of defence and with his pace. He can also play at right back, so has versatility too.

Other options could include free agent Joleon Lescott, who would be a much less exciting signing, but he has Premier League experience and it’s always a bonus that he would be free, although I’m sure his wages would be quite high. Another, would be Ezequiel Garay, but he would be a much more difficult signing because of the interest he already has from Champions League clubs, but he’s a 27 year old with incredible pedigree, but unlikely I think. Some would suggest Steven Caulker, but personally, I do not think he is at our level and is only being suggested because he’s a product of our academy, plus, I don’t think he’d be willing to play second fiddle again.

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Left Back – Probably the most important position that we strengthen this summer. Danny Rose had a torrid season and although he is only 23 years old, it’s difficult to believe that he will improve to the level that we need him to. So, I believe we should turn to either Swansea City’s Ben Davies, who is just 21 years old & now has 2 years of Premier League experience, performing extremely well & showing incredible promise, & I believe he’d be a brilliant addition, but difficult to obtain because of his personal connection to Swansea City, but it’s certainly someone we should enquire about, I’d speculate that his worth would be around £10million – £15 million.; the other is Ricardo Rodriguez of Wolfsburg, a 21 year old Swiss left back who has been incredible in the Bundesliga, but has a lot of admirers around Europe, so if we could get in early and show strong interest you never know what could happen, he’s an incredible player with a lot of potential, his value would be higher than Davies’, and I’d say the investment would be around £15 million – £20 million.

Other options could be Ajax’s Daley Blind, who is a 24 year old Dutch left back/midfielder who currently plays for Ajax, and his versatility and quality could be a really good addition to the club, but, is again, unlikely because of admirers from clubs in the Champions League. Finally, one other player who maybe, just maybe be possible is Luke Shaw, who although looking highly unlikely, his connection with Mauricio Pochettino could sway the deal in some way, at just 18 years old it would be a fantastic addition but he would be extremely expensive, with Manchester United rumoured to be offering £27 million for his services. As you can see, there are definitely players out there that could fill a gap in our team, & they are young players too who could grow under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino.

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Left Midfield – We do have quite a few options on the left, Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen & Andros Townsend can all play there, but we lack someone who is an out-and-out left winger who can bring pace and a crossing ability to the team. Eriksen and Sigurdsson both prefer central positions, with Townsend growing into a right midfielder, this leaves Nacer Chadli, who at times last season also looked more comfortable in the centre or the right, but I think over time on the left is where he’ll play. There is a gap. This gap can be filled by quite a few really talented players who I’d like to see at the Lane.

My first & realistic choice would be 24 year old Dnipro & Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, who has consistently been linked with a move to Tottenham and has a confirmed buy out clause for foreign clubs such as ourselves of £12 million, which in this market is an absolute bargain for a player who has a high pedigree of talent. Konoplyanka is known for his pace and ability to score a goal, as we saw when we faced Dnipro in last season’s Europa League, he was Dnipro’s outstanding player both home and away, giving our full-backs a torrid time. Of course, there are other options if this deal were to go pear-shaped or Liverpool decide to move for his services, & one of the options could be another Southampton player, Jay Rodriguez who was transformed by our new Head Coach into a goal scoring left forward last season, bagging 17 goals. Jay is 24 years of age, so has plenty of time ahead of him to improve, but the thing that obviously holds back this deal is his injury, in which he will be out until October because of a torn ACL. Surely this would put the deal into jeopardy, as paying big money for a player that’s return is unpredictable is something Daniel Levy normally wouldn’t do, although maybe this injury could force Southampton to sell at a lower price, I’d say he’d be worth around £10 million.

Other players that could tempt Baldini or Pochettino’s fancy could be Mauricio’s former captain at Southampton, Adam Lallana, who has been heavily tipped with a move away from the Saints, & of course speculation is rife that his relationship with Pochettino could sway Lallana’s decision to leave Southampton for Tottenham, instead of Liverpool. The 26 year old midfielder can play on the left, the right and through the middle and is rumoured to have an asking price of £20 million and rising, possibly close to £30 million depending on his performance for England at the World Cup. Last summer, we were heavily linked with Brazil winger Bernard, who eventually moved to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine for for £21.5 million, but recent quotes suggest it’s not exactly his dream to play in Ukraine and would be interested in a move to the Premier League, possibly sparking our interest.

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Striker – In January, we agreed to sell Jermain Defoe to Toronto, and he left the club in March, so we decided not to buy a replacement at the time, and stuck with Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane. Now, with rumours and speculation of the sales of Emmanuel Adebayor possibly to Monaco, & Roberto Soldado a possibility to leave for Atletico Madrid, it seems we’re going to be in the hunt for a new striker once again. Personally, I’d like to keep hold of both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, but if we want to sign a new striker funds may need to be amassed, and that could mean their sales, or one of their sales.

My number one target for the striker position is Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, the 25 year old Ivorian scored 25 goals last season in all competitions for the Swans, cementing himself as one of the best signings of last summer, & I believe he could be the striker we’ve been missing for a long time, with his link up play being exceptional and having that clinical touch which is now proven in the Premier League after being outstanding in Holland. A right handful for any defender and can grow at just 25 years of age, it’s said Bony has an expensive price tag on his head, though, with some reports saying only £25 million would prise him away from the Welsh club. Another option, although seemingly unlikely has to be Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who has had a good season with Everton on loan, it could be time someone took him off Chelsea’s hands and he can have a permanent club who love him very much. At just 21 years of age, Lukaku has a massive future ahead of him, being Belgium’s number 1 striker and scoring 35 goals in 2 Premier League seasons, proving his suitability to the Premier League, the question is, after proving himself, do Chelsea want to let him go? It seems after the expected signing of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku could be up for grabs, & I reckon we could, just could have a shot for around £20 million.

Other options up front include 20 year old Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, who plays at Standard Liege, with comparisons between himself at Lukaku, & a reported £8 million fee wanted from Standard Liege, he could be a striker that could grow eventually into our first striker, & is someone I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to taking an ever so slight gamble on, plus he has a definite resale price, which is right up Daniel Levy’s street. Another player who has been constantly linked with Tottenham over the years is Loic Remy, the 27 year old QPR striker had a very good season with Newcastle on loan and I know some would be very happy to see the Frenchman who’s going to the World Cup this summer, grace the Lane next season. I am unsure on Remy, but if we could get a deal at around £8 million, I wouldn’t have many qualms.

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There is a lot of talent up for grabs, & without a doubt Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Mauricio Pochettino will be searching throughout the market for the players to improve the Tottenham squad, so if you’re reading Franco, have a little look at the players I’ve mentioned, eh?

OUTS.
In every transfer window, especially for a big club like Tottenham, players need to be let go. The reasons are differ but the fact is it’s ruthless, because you have to make difficult decisions for the best of the whole squad, which may mean getting rid of fan favourites, good quality players & those that could have a big future. In other cases, it’s the fact the players just aren’t good enough, or don’t fit into the way you want your squad to look. In this transfer window, I hope that we won’t be too ruthless, & I hope we keep what I have already said is the core of a World Class squad, but there are some players that can be let go, to help the team improve, not in depth, but in quality.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – I think time is up on Benny’s adventure with Tottenham. He’s had great years at the club, but now, he’s not at the level we need him to be, to be our number 1 left back, or even a back up at the age of 30. I’m sure a Premier League club would be willing to buy him permanently, and for £5 million or so I would say goodbye and thank you without hesitation.

Danny Rose – It’s been a difficult season for Danny Rose, after a good loan move with Sunderland he’s found it difficult to adapt to the level we would have wanted him at. A new left back is in order, & some may say, getting rid of Assou-Ekotto and Danny Rose leaves us dry, but I believe Zeki Fryers could well be a very good back up for a new left back at the age of 21, and with Mauricio Pochettino’s emphasis on youth he could well turn to Zeki Fryers. I’m sure Rose would have a host of buyers, at a Premier League level, and I’d let go happily for around £6 million – £8 million.

Jake Livermore – It’s more of when than if with Jake Livermore leaving Tottenham. He’s had a great year at Hull City and deserves to play regular first team football, and it’s a simple fact that he won’t get that at Tottenham. Hull City could well buy him after his loan spell there, & he has said he would be more than willing to make his move to the KC Stadium a permanent one. Reports suggest Tottenham will ask for around £8 million for the 24 year olds services.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – I say this with a heavy heart. I like Sigurdsson a lot and believe he has tremendous ability, technique and mental attitude, but it hasn’t really clicked at Tottenham, as he hasn’t been given a sustained place in the starting line up in his favoured central role. It could be possible that we loan Sigurdsson, to se how he does playing regular football at a Premier League team, but at 24, I think Tottenham could look for a permanent sale, and I’m definite he’d have a host of teams interested in his signature. I like Gylfi a lot, but it is a choice between him, Holtby & Chadli on who goes and I think I’d prefer Sigurdsson to go than the previous two.

Roberto Soldado – I’m undecided on this one. Part of me says, get rid, get the funds and buy a striker that seems to suit us better, but another side of me thinks that we should keep him, as with all our new 7 signings, & let him have another season in the Premier League to prove himself. Although, he is 29 and I can’t see him improving too much. I’d put Soldado down as a possibility of leaving, with Atletico rumoured to be interested in his services, and I’d probably let him go at the £15 million – £18 million mark.

Other players I’d let go include Jonathan Obika, Iago Falque, Ryan Mason & Grant Hall after their loan spells last season – read about our loan player’s last season HERE. Players that I don’t want to leave who you may think aren’t good enough, or it’s time to get rid include Kyle Naughton, who I think being on the bench is fine as a good back up to Walker and at left back, Michael Dawson, our captain who I think deserves more respect from our fan base, and I’m sure he’d be happy to stay and sit on the bench too, playing in the cup games; Aaron Lennon who I believe still has something to offer Tottenham, and again, is a good back up player for the squad & Lewis Holtby who I think deserves a season with Tottenham to prove his worth to the fans and the new manager.

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It’s simply crucial that Tottenham hang on to their best players this summer. It is paramount to any sort of success that the club want to get this coming season and it will make Mauricio Pochettino’s job ever so easier.

Hugo Lloris – Our best player. World Class and my player of the year last season. It’s so important that Mauricio gets Hugo on side in his project and pushes on with him as an integral part of the squad and dressing room. We have to do everything to keep hold of Lloris, as in my opinion he is our only irreplaceable player and earns the team at least 10 points a season, he’s that good. Thankfully, it seems Lloris is happy to stay and doesn’t want a move back to France, so that holds us in good stead ahead of this summer. Part of me doesn’t want him to do well in the World Cup, just so the interest dies down! I truly believe Hugo will stay.

Jan Vertonghen – Thankfully, Jan has confirmed that he will ‘definitely’ be staying at Tottenham, which is fantastic news for the club. Jan is a leader & a wonderfully gifted player who brings so much to the team. He didn’t have a good season last season, but I truly believe without injuries he’ll further improve, & he can become a crucial part of the team once more. Get him a new contract.

Christian Eriksen – Along with Vertonghen, Eriksen has confirmed he doesn’t want to leave Tottenham after just 1 season, which is excellent news for us, although I never doubted that he would leave as he’s not the type from my eyes to just give up at the first hurdle. Obviously, Eriksen is going to only improve next season and I can’t wait to see him in Pochettino’s team. Hopefully, we will build the team around him for years to come.

Erik Lamela – An injury hit season for our record signing. At just 22 years of age, Lamela has a massive future at White Hart Lane and it’s of paramount importance that we don’t let him go after one disrupted season. Under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino I really believe Lamela could be one of our most important players next season on the right hand side. It’s important Lamela has a good pre-season and goes into next season fit and raring to go.

Others who are going to be crucial that I really want the club to keep are most of our summer signings last season, including Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue & Nacer Chadli. I believe all have big roles to play at the club.

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Conclusions.
It’s going to be busy, unpredictable and extremely exciting. It always is with Tottenham in transfer windows, but I hope we can get our business done swiftly and have an undisrupted pre-season in which Pochettino can implement his ideas on the team and we can start the season ready with a team that compete with the top. It will always be the aim to get top four, but, this season, all I want is for the team to play with dignity, passion & good football, & if they could win something that would be fantastic.

What are your thoughts? Who should we sign, who should we sell and who should we keep? Leave a comment below, subscribe and follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

Welcome to Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino!

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that our new Head Coach will be 42 year old Mauricio Pochettino on a 5 year deal after he resigned from his post as First team manager at Southampton. He is joined by assistant coach Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino as First team coach and Toni Jiménez as goalkeeper coach, who all worked with him closely at Southampton & Espanyol.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s Career.

Mauricio Pochettino is a 42 year old manager, who was born in Murphy, Argentina. He is a former centre back who has played for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, before moving to Espanyol in Spain, before joining Bordeaux in France, Paris Saint Germain in France again, & then returning to Espanyol. His career spanned from 1988 until 2006, in that time he played 578 times, scoring 29 times. He also played 20 times for Argentina scoring 2 goals.

Mauricio Pochettino started his managerial journey in 2009, when he was appointed Espanyol manager, the club were at the bottom of La Liga when he took charge in January, but under his guidance managed to escape relegation by a long way, finishing 10th. Mauricio then guided a young and inexperienced Espanyol side to 11th in 2010, but then secures a wonderful season in 2011, when he took Espanyol to 8th just one place outside a place in Europe, which with the team he had there, is remarkable. He spent another full season in 2012, but couldn’t replicate the same sort of season, but as others improved their teams ahead of his, Espanyol’s team continued to be using youth players, the club finished 14th, only 5 points off the relegation spots.

Espanyol then had horrible financial problems, forcing the club to sell their best players & these off the field problems were directly effecting the results on the pitch, & Pochettino’s efforts weren’t enough to stop a land slide in results & saw his team at the bottom of La Liga, and then, the club and Pochettino decided to terminate his contract by mutual consent with enormous regret and disapproval among the fans. During his time at Espanyol, Pochettino had to sell all his star players that were developed through his youth system, including Dani Osvaldo, Jose Callejon and Victor Ruiz. The club didn’t replace these stars due to financial problems, and could only use youth, much older players with short contracts & loan signings. Pochettino brought through 20 youth players to the Espanyol first team in his time there, a spectacular amount. Pochettino managed 161 games for Espanyol, winning 52 games, drawing 38 and losing 70 times. This looks poor, of course, but in the circumstances he was under his time there has to be seen as a success, on his part, but the club above him failed in their duty.

After leaving Espanyol in Late November, Pochettino landed a big Premier League job in late January with Southampton. Saint’s Chairman Nicola Cortese saw the potential in Mauricio, who replaced the highly popular Nigel Adkins who got Southampton into the Premier League, but the club were only 3 points off of the relegation places and Mauricio Pochettino was brought in with a history of making teams a regular in the top devision & threatening the European places. He did exactly that in his first season, securing 14th place, and recording wins over Chelsea and Manchester City. He impressed with his high tempo football, with an emphasis on attacking football, building from the back and getting the best out of his individual players, while creating an ethos that the team didn’t need to be afraid of the big clubs, inspiring the victories at St Mary’s to Chelsea and Manchester City. In that time, Pochettino visited White Hart Lane and lost 1-0 due to Gareth Bale’s late goal. I thought that day Southampton were outstanding, they restricted us and frustrated us and Gareth Bale really was the only difference between the sides.

In what turned out to be his last season at Southampton, Pochettino had his best season. They started the season wonderfully, and the football Southampton were playing was delightful to watch and at the time many of our fans were jealous of the football Pochettino was bringing to St Mary’s. During the first half they were there to be shot at, playing with no fear with a core of young, talented Englishman throughout the side, which were promoted through the youth system, such as Lallana, Chambers and Shaw as well as Rodriguez and Lambert. Southampton were 4th in November, but dropped off that pace after a run of playing very difficult games. But, the Southampton team were consistent in playing extremely attractive football and getting good results which in the end guided them to their best ever Premier League finish, 8th.

You may say that Pochettino underachieved with a good squad at Southampton, but I disagree. He built Southampton into a good squad, adding Dejan Lovren & Victor Wanyama who played vital parts in the Saints’ season, along with the new youth prospects Callum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse. Also, Pochettino brought out the best in Adam Lallana who was absolutely incredible and earned an England World Cup call up through Pochettino’s influence, as well as Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez who scored a remarkable 17 goals and his game was really well suited to Pochettino’s system. Pochettino’s strength is getting the absolute best from what he has at his disposal.

The Future under Pochettino.

Mauricio Pochettino has signed a long term, 5 year deal at the club, and prides himself on seeing out projects with clubs, he said that the project that he had with Southampton had come to an end, and so now he is looking to start a new journey, and I think we are fortunate to be the club in which he sees a future with. 5 years is a long time in football. A long, long time in football. It’s paramount that we give Pochettino the time to integrate his type of football into the Tottenham squad and bring in his own players to create ‘Pochettino’s Tottenham’.

We can’t predict what the future will hold. Nobody can. But we can show hope, belief and expectation in what we want and think it will be like. Under Pochettino I expect the future to be bright. Brighter than it has been since Harry Redknapp took us to the Champions League quarter finals. The project we had with AVB prospered in the first season of his 3 year deal, but, was halted with poor football and bad decisions. What we could get, is the project we ever so wanted under Andre Villas-Boas. To get the team playing attractive, yet effective football.

Mauricio Pochettino’s style of play includes high pressurising, lots of possession & effective swash buckling counter attacking football. That, in itself, is the way Tottenham strive to play. We lacked discipline in defence last season, and Pochettino, as well as being effective offensively, makes his teams strong and hard to break down in defence. Tottenham’s current squad suits Pochettino’s style. One of the many reasons I believe Daniel Levy decided to opt with Pochettino, to see his investment on the young, talented players he brought in fit into his system and get the players playing to the best of their abilities.

It’s difficult to say whether Pochettino will see out his contract. A lot of things can happen which are unforeseeable & the history would suggest Daniel Levy is not too patient with managers and giving them time to implement their ideas, but also the fans, not being willing to see out long term projects because of impatience and extremely high expectations, which some would say are completely unrealistic. What we have to do as fans is unite behind the new Head Coach and support the team through the thick and the thin.

My opinion.

I am extremely happy with this appointment. I think Pochettino suits our club and I believe that he will prove those who don’t believe he is the person to take the club forward wrong in due course, but he could use a good start! Having a person with ambition, passion and classiness take over at the club is lovely to have. His ability to get the best out of the team he manages is exciting, and I can’t wait to see how he adapts to Tottenham and how the players perform under his leadership. Having his Assistants come with him is a big bonus for us, he can build something as a group and I believe strongly, that after waiting so long for things to ‘click’, we could have our wishes come true under Mauricio Pochettino.

We are going on another adventure. We will learn to love Pochettino, just like the Southampton fans did after meeting his appointment with disdain. I am extremely excited to see what the future holds under Mauricio Pochettino. Wishing him all the best of luck, and of course, COYS!!

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Match Review, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match: Sunday 23rd March 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-2 Southampton.

GoalScorers for Spurs: Eriksen 31′, Eriksen 46′, Sigurdsson 92′.

GoalScorers for the Saints: Rodriguez 19′, Lallana 28′.

What a victory! After probably one of the worst first halves I have seen at the Lane, we fought back in the second half and played some of our best football to date. It showed our resilience and never say die attitude, which a lot of people had doubted in the past, rightly in some cases. The victory probably doesn’t mean that our Champions League hopes are back on track, but it gives us a platform in which we can build a good end to the season, after not achieving what was expected, with a lot of change and a lot of difficult results, if we can finish strongly, as I say, we can build a platform for next season and next seasons challenges. We can still cling onto some hope that Champions League will materialise this season, but it’s a very slim hope. What we have to do is simply win as many games as possible.

The first half was terrible, we didn’t have any urgency; clueless on the ball, and clueless off of it. Early on we looked really shaky, and then with only 19 minutes gone, Kyle Naughton misjudged the bounce of the ball and Jay Rodriguez cooly slotted away into the bottom corner, a terrible goal to give away. Only 9 minutes later, after no response from the lads at all, Kyle Naughton again touched the ball when he shouldn’t have, and gave it to Lambert, who slid the ball to Adam Lallana, and he finished in a calm fashion, another horrible piece of defending, and at this point, only half an hour in, it looked all over. But, after Southampton’s second, we saw the team respond. Only 3 minutes after their second, we got one back; Kyle Naughton slightly redeeming himself with a dangerous ball into the box, which Roberto Soldado flicked on to a waiting Christian Eriksen who composed himself, before smashing the ball past Boruc, a lifeline.

At half time, Tim Sherwood must have given the team a right bollocking, they came out of the traps fast, showing urgency, quality on the ball and composure in defence. Straight away, the ball was played up field which Roberto Soldado chased, and harried Dejan Lovren, before nudging him off the ball, lifting his head and firing the ball across the box for Christian Eriksen to get his second goal of the game, and Soldado with his second assist. The game was ours; we had the momentum, and the confidence to go ahead and win the game. But, Southampton dug in, and Boruc in goal made some good saves to deny Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado. Time was running out, and we weren’t finding the finishing product, to the fan’s and Tim’s frustration. But then, to everyone’s delight, the ball fell to Christian Eriksen, who laid it off perfectly to Gylfi Sigurdsson, who struck an absolute peach of a shot and it nestled into the bottom left hand corner. A stunner on 90 minutes. Three points.

20140323-194840.jpg There is one player that stood out above the rest in this game, and took man of the match by a mile. Christian Eriksen. What a player. Simply incredible; he took the match by the scruff of the neck and changed it in our favour. He has the touch, the vision and the end product to become one of the best players in the world; for Premier League football, he may have to bulk up a bit, but to be perfectly honest he’s got the skill to get him past that obstacle. At the age of just 22, he’s going to hopefully be an incredible player for us, for many years. He’s been saving us recently, and has cemented himself as the first name on the team sheet. 2 goals and assist against Southampton, meaning he now has 8 goals and 8 assists this season in all competitions, which is a brilliant return in his first season, taking into account he has missed a lot of games. The match winner, Gylfi Sigurdsson, came into the game at half time for Mousa Dembele and helped massively to change the game in our favour, he played with passion and determination in the middle of the park, helping move the ball quickly and working hard to get back and help out the defence. And also, of course the small matter of scoring the winning goal too! Gylfi never complains, he gets on with his job quietly, and always puts a shift in. Lots of respect to him for that. Roberto Soldado has had a torrid time at the start of his Tottenham career, but today was his best performance in a Spurs shirt, he ran, he worked and he delivered. No, he didn’t get a goal, although he deserved one, but the interplay between the Spaniard and Eriksen was incredible, they have a real understanding because they are both such intelligent football players. The finishing touch is missing from Roberto, but not much else is, he is a quality player in his approach play. Other good performers were Nacer Chadli and Younes Kaboul. Nacer played with confidence, showing good touches, but didn’t have a real chance to score, while Younes put in a captains performance, and deserves a new contract. Now.

A hard fought win, in which we showed the ‘character’ which Tim demanded after the Chelsea defeat. Let’s go into the end of the season on fire, and see what happens. Our next game doesn’t come much more difficult, Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday 30th March 2014, with kick off at 4pm. I guess we need a bit more than character to get a win there! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris – 7
Naughton – 5
Kaboul – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Rose – 5.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 7.5
Dembele – 5.5
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the Match.
Chadli – 7.8
Soldado – 8.5.

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 8.
Townsend – 7.

Full match highlights from our 3-2 win over Southampton:

Tim Sherwood’s full post match press conference:

Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s post match interviews:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Southampton.

Match date & time: Sunday 23rd March 2014. Kick off 1:30pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Sky Sports 1.

The final run in to our 2013/14 season starts here, only 6 more games before we can say goodbye to what has been a disappointing season, but, we have a job to do before the end of the season, and that job is to try as hard as possible, getting as many results as possible to get into that top 4, however difficult it is, if it’s not impossible then there is still a chance. We have 2 more difficult games on paper, Southampton at the Lane and Liverpool at Anfield, but excluding those we have a very kind end to the season, so you never know what could happen, and who in the top four might lose form. We have to take what happened in Benfica as a positive, the players can take confidence from their performance and hopefully we can end the season strongly, that’s the aim.

We have a great record against Southampton in recent games; since their return to the Premier League two seasons ago, we have beaten them 3 times out of 3, once at home and twice away from home. So we’ve got a good history against them, and last time we faced them it was the return of Emmanuel Adebayor to the Premier League, and he set it on fire with 2 goals, so we’re hoping for another of those sort of performances from the big man. At the Lane last season we squeezed past them, Gareth Bale with a stunning late effort from outside the box that nestled into the bottom left hand corner, on 89 minutes it was a sigh of relief! Our last game in the Premier League was against Arsenal, which we agonisingly lost 1-0, but we can take positives away from the game, like we can against Benfica; we dominated the game, but we couldn’t find an end product, so the hope is we get a bit more luck and ruthlessness in front of goal against Southampton.

Southampton are a great side, well organised under the talented coach Mauricio Pochettino, he has got the Saints playing flowing attacking football, with an end product. They’ve been the team that I have enjoyed watching in the Premier League the most, other than Tottenham. Southampton sit in 8th place, just behind Manchester United and Everton, so they are the best of the rest. They haven’t quite made the push for European football, but they are the best team behind the ‘big 7’ this season. The team news for the Saints is that Morgan Schneiderlin (muscle), Guly Do Prado (knee) and Kelvin Davis (knock) all doubts for the game, with Victor Wanyama (calf) and Jack Cork (ankle) out of the match, but the good news for Southampton is that Dejan Lovren is expected to return. The danger men for Southampton are their English boys, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez are both having fine seasons, earning both England call ups recently. Lallana is skillful, quick and can pick a pass or a gap in the defence, plus he’s not too shabby in front of goal with 7 goals this season in the Premier League. Jay Rodriguez is a different sort of player; he likes to come from the left, using his pace and strength to run past people and often makes things happen, with an impressive 12 goals this season.

20140322-120256.jpg The team news for Tottenham is good news, after missing 11 players for the trip to Benfica through injury, suspension and leaving people behind, we are back up to a respectable compliment. Mousa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor and Younes Kaboul are all set to return from injury, with Jan Vertonghen back after completing a suspension against Benfica, and Hugo Lloris is also back after being left in London for the Benfica tie. Other than that, Kyle Walker (groin) and Paulinho (calf) are labelled as doubts for the fixture, and Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Vlad Chiriches (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) all remain out. Although Kyle Walker might not make it, Kyle Naughton has performed very well recently, especially against Arsenal and Benfica; he’s showing he’s a more than capable back up for Walker, and doesn’t actually deserve to lose his place at the moment, I’m glad he’s finally showing that he does deserve to wear the Tottenham shirt. The player that has to start this game is Nacer Chadli, two goals against Benfica on Thursday and he played very well even without those goals, his performance, a bit like Naughton, has improved in recent games and has shown he deserves to start games either on the left, or behind the striker. The return of Mousa Dembele is massive, I believe we have missed him hugely in the middle of the park, he helps us move the ball more quickly and his ability to move us forward, through passes or through gliding past the opposition is crucial, and with the lack of central midfield options Southampton have, it could be his day to shine, he needs to shoot more through! I’m looking forward to the possibility of Dembele and Sandro partnering each other once again, they compliment each other very well.

Match stats and facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Tottenham have won four of the last five Barclays Premier League meetings with the Saints, including the last three in a row.

– Southampton have won three of their last four Barclays Premier League away games, keeping clean sheets in all those victories.

– Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last six matches.

– The last four Premier League meetings between Spurs and Saints have been decided by a one-goal margin, the last three in Spurs’ favour.

– Spurs have conceded fewer headed goals than any other team in the Premier League (1).

– Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last five home defeats against top-half teams.

– Tottenham are the only Premier League side yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season – the last time that managed this was on April 27th 2013.

– Tottenham have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League games and netted just one in the other match.

– Southampton have scored first in their last five away matches.

– This is Tottenham’s fourth highest points haul after 30 games of a Premier League season (53), just two points short of their best (55) and one point fewer than at this stage last term (54).

– 45 points is Southampton’s best total after 30 games of a Premier League season, while they have also scored more goals than ever before at this stage (43).

– Spurs have won their last three matches against Southampton.

– Spurs have kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League home matches with only Man City and Arsenal breaching their defences in that run.

– Tim Sherwood has already lost four of his 10 competitive home games as Spurs manager – Andre Villas Boas has lost three of his 13 at White Hart Lane this season before he was sacked.

Looking forward to this game, hopefully we can start this end of the season period well and give the fans something to shout about! I will be at the game, but will update at my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Southampton at the Lane:
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Sandro – Dembele
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Match Review, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 22nd December 2013.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: St Mary’s.

Result: Southampton 2-3 Tottenham.

Southampton goals: Adam Lallana 13′, Rickie Lambert 59′.

Tottenham goals: Emmanuel Adebayor 25′, 64′, Hooiveld OG 54′.

What a win!! A dismal week for Tottenham fans, bad news after bad news, but we’re all happy again and most importantly back to winning ways! Coming into the game, negativity surrounded the game, not exactly thinking we could get a result against a well drilled Southampton team under Pochettino, well we did, and we scored three goals in the process. A very disappointing start to the game, sloppy passing and then after 13 minutes going down 1-0 to a well finished Adam Lallana goal, which should have been defended better by our boys, but the response was good, we pressed and equalled their passing game which I must say they will be disappointed. A Roberto Soldado cross got Emmanuel Adebayor stretching and getting his first goal of the Premier League season, and our first of the match! Our second half performance was brilliant, we got in behind and both Soldado and Adebayor put in great shifts up top, we went ahead after a great move, Danny Rose getting to the byline and getting it into the box where it deflected of Hooiveld into his own goal, sending the Spurs faithful mad. Still in the craziness of celebration, we settle down and straight away Southampton are level, Hugo Lloris making the wrong decision to come and get the ball, and Lallana squared the ball to Rickie Lambert who had an easy tap in for 2-2. Very disappointing as we were in the ascendency. Our passing game and our ability to create chances increased in the second half, and we made loads of chances to get the third and it came after good work from Nacer Chadli, the ball ricocheted into the path of the man on fire, Emmanuel Adebayor who finished superbly. Chance after chance fell after the third goal, but we couldn’t take advantage and therefore we were on the edge of our seats almost waiting for it all to go tits up and we lose what is a crucial lead. Lots of action, in the final minutes but we held on for what is one of our most important victories of the season. Glad I was there!

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What a performance from Emmanuel Adebayor, man of the match, two goals and an outlet that we have lacked all season. A dreadful mistake not to use him from AVB, but hindsight is a wonderful thing; on his day he is a world class striker and he showed that again. A brilliant player and long may his good form continue, after all, this is the best club he’s ever played for. Adebayor’s partnership with Soldado brought loads of chances for both players, Soldado’s finishing touch wasn’t there, his confidence is low, but he showed glimpses, a bit of shooting practice needed, but the support for him in the away end was great. That’s what we’re there for, to support, not to expect. Christian Eriksen was brilliant on his return from injury, playing in an unfamiliar position he was great, passing the ball beautifully and feeding Soldado and Adebayor very well. Erik Lamela again showed glimpses of what he can bring to our team, he needs a run of games, his confidence is on the floor and only playing and getting a goal or two is going to help that, it’s difficult for him but it’s necessary. Nacer Chadli’s doubters were eating their words, a top class performance, beating players and showed he’s actually more affective on the right hand side than he is on the left, where he could cross and find the strikers more easily, more performances needed from him in coming games. A shock performer, 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb came off the bench too many people’s surprise, over more experienced Etienne Capoue, and he was phenomenal with his one touch passes, going on either foot, Dembele-Esque, and he was showed potential to be a real star.

Extremely pleasing second half, with three points in the bag, let’s get some momentum going into this Christmas period, two home games coming up, our next game is against West Brom on Boxing Day (Thursday 26th December) at White Hart Lane! We go in to Christmas on a high, happy days. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team who faced Southampton at St Mary’s:
Lloris – 6.5
Walker – 7
Dawson – 7.5
Chiriches – 7
Rose – 6
Lamela – 7
Dembele – 6.5
Eriksen – 8
Sigurdsson – 7
Adebayor – 9 – Man of the Match.
Soldado – 7

Subs:
Bentaleb – 9
Defoe – N/A
Chadli – 7.5

Full highlights from our 3-2 win over Southampton:

Tim Sherwood’s post match reaction:

Match Preview, Southampton vs Tottenham.

Match: Sunday 22nd December 2013. Kick off 1:30pm.

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium.

Competition: Premier League.

A roller coaster ride of a few weeks for Tottenham. The departure of Andre Villas Boas, and now the search for a new manager, without any luck so far. Tim Sherwood takes charge of this game against Southampton, he has been giving his case for getting the permanent job at the Lane, against most fans wishes, but he’s in charge and he’s got my full backing while he is. What Spurs fans are craving is good football and a decent result, and if Sherwood can get that out of our talented group of players, then he should be considered for the job. Last time out in the Premier League we lost 5-0 at White Hart Lane to Liverpool, leading to AVB’s sacking, then in the Capital One Cup quarter final, we lost 2-1 again at the Lane to West Ham under Tim Sherwood, not a good week. Getting away from the Lane could be a blessing, going to Southampton with full support from the away crowd could get the best out of our players, a relief of a bit of pressure! We’ve won our last two away games in the Premier League, although that was under AVB, you can see we are definitely better away from home.

Southampton had a great start to the season, although they have had a dip in recent times, without a win in their last five fixtures. They sit in 9th place which will be a disappointment to them as they were flying and looking good for a spot in Europe! Southampton have played fluid, great football this season under Pochettino, pressing high and working very hard has been something associated with the Saints, and I expect more of the same from them against ourselves. It’s going to be really tough, especially if our form is anything to go by, we have to be on top form! Southampton are without Artur Boruc (hand), Victor Wanyama (leg), Danny Fox (hamstring), Kelvin Davis (back), Guly do Prado (head), and Nathaniel Clyne (pelvis), so they are very light at the moment and this is possibly a good time to play them! Some good news for Southampton fans is that Morgan Schniederlin returns to the midfield.

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We sit in 7th place entering the game, three points ahead of Southampton and a win would put us right back in the mix for the Champions League! Our team news is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Younes Kaboul (quad), Andros Townsend (hamstring) and Paulinho (suspended) all miss out. Sandro is a doubt. Michael Dawson returns after suspension, with Vlad Chiriches, Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen ready to return to Premier League action. The decisions Tim Sherwood has to make are whether to play Jermain Defoe, Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor play, or play two up top. My opinion is that Emmanuel Adebayor should start up top on his own, with Holtby or Eriksen behind him. With Andros Townsend injured, it’s time Lamela had a good run in the team on the left of right hand side, with Lennon on the opposite wing. This could give us a real goal threat, getting crosses into the box for a target man in Adebayor, he showed he has the ability to score from crosses throughout his career, and against West Ham in the week. Defensively, with Vlad Chiriches and Michael Dawson returning we have actual centre backs available and a left back in Danny Rose, which is great stuff. Need top performances from all of the back four.

The match is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, with coverage starting at 1pm! You can also follow @AddictedToSpurs on twitter for slight updates, from St Mary’s!

Match stats provided by FourFourTwo

– Jay Rodriguez has scored Southampton’s first goal in three of their last four Barclays Premier League games.

– Tottenham have won three of the last four Premier League meetings with the Saints, including both matches last season.

– Southampton have had both teams scoring in their last four matches.

– Tottenham have hit more shots on target away from home than any other Premier League team this season (47).

– Only Arsenal have picked up as many away points as Tottenham in the 2013-14 Premier League (16).

– Southampton have had win/win results in their last four home wins against top-half teams

– The Saints have collected only two points from their last five league games (L3 D2).

– Tottenham conceded only five goals in their opening 10 Premier League fixtures this season but have leaked 16 in the subsequent six.

– Spurs have had Over 2.5 goals in their last five matches

– Southampton conceded only five goals in their opening 11 Premier League fixtures this season but have conceded 10 in the subsequent five.

– Excluding penalties, Roberto Soldado has hit only eight shots on target in 14 Premier League appearances for Tottenham.

– Southampton have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four draws

– Jay Rodriguez (3) and Pablo Osvaldo (2) have scored all of Southampton’s Premier League goals in December.

– No striker has scored for Tottenham in the Premier League since October 27th.

My predicted team to face Southampton at St Mary’s:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lennon – Holtby – Lamela
Adebayor

Tim Sherwood’s preview: