Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

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

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

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

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

The team news for Villa is that Scott Sinclair (hamstring), Ashley Westwood (hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Chris Herd (herd) & Libor Kozak (broken leg) are all ruled out of the match, while Philippe Senderos (calf) is expected to return, as Carles Gil (hip) is to undergo a late fitness test for the Villains. That’s quite a backlog of injuries for Tim Sherwood to deal with, but he’ll be hoping that players like Christian Benteke to step up like he did against QPR, with the big Belgian striker netting a hat trick against the Hoops, and after a slow season, he seems to be picking up pace and showing some of his old form, at just the right time for Aston Villa in their fight for survival. With our defensive frailties on show to the world lately, I am sure Villa will be looking to Benteke to make us pay – hopefully we can contain the threat that the Belgian has to offer as much as possible. Along with Benteke, the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat, stretching and working the defences of opponents and running the channels, he will definitely be hard to contain. I think we have had a distinct lack of pace in our team recently, so Agbonlahor could really be a thorn to our hopes of winning the match.
Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 01.58.25
The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) are ruled out of the match, while Jan Vertonghen (illness) is a doubt. With our number 1 still side-lined, it paves the way for Michel Vorm to continue in goal after his solid performance against Burnley, ending in a clean sheet for the Dutch international. As Kyle Walker is also on the injury list, it means that either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier will deputise for the England international, with DeAndre Yedlin not expected to be close to the first 11, but it would be nice for him to be in the squad. Federico Fazio wasn’t included in the match day squad against Burnley, but with our defensive woes, I think the big Argentinian could be reintegrated into the side, possibly replacing Vlad Chiriches in the centre of defence to allow Eric Dier to fill in at right back, where he has experience from the start of the season.

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

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My predicted/preferred side to face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane:
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend

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

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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:


Match Review, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match: Sunday 11th May 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match highlights from our 3-0 win:

Tim Sherwood’s post match thoughts:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Sunday 11th May 2014. Kick off at 3pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK.

Well here we are! The last game of the season. I can’t really tell whether it’s flown by or if it’s dragged, but what it has been is frustrating and disappointing, with a lot of change and a lot of failure. But also I think we’ve had sparks of brilliance, hope and glimpses of a great future. It’s time to put the bad things behind us and focus on moving into next season with a clear vision and a team hungry to succeed. Aston Villa at the Lane, a chance for the players and Sherwood to give us a nice send off into the summer, hopefully we see some goals, good football and a nice three points! We are fighting for something, the Europa League and to finish above Manchester United, we need a point to guarantee we finish 6th and gain European football next season.

Last time out, we lost to West Ham 2-0 at Upton Park, a dark day. We played with 10 men for a long time after Younes Kaboul was sent off, and after they scored very quickly after the sending off it was inevitable that we would lose. I don’t think we were terrible. With 11 men I think we would have won the game, but it was a difficult day with frustrations running high between the fans and throughout the club. But, we move on, as always, and look to just finish the season on a high. Our recent form against Aston Villa is exemplary, we have won 4 in a row and are 11 games unbeaten, since 2008, 8 wins and 3 draws. It’s a great record we have against them and having won 4 in a row, not conceding a goal in that time, I think we will make it 5 in a row this Sunday. Last time we faced them was earlier this season, at Villa Park, a 2-0 win with Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado scoring in a very good win with a lot of positives back then. A lot has changed since then, but I still think we will come out on top again, just like we did last time we faced them at the Lane, Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon scoring in a 2-0 win.

Aston Villa are safe from relegation, so they can class that as a success, but I think the fans will be disappointed that they didn’t push on this season after avoiding relegation last season as well. Villa are a big club and should be much higher up in the table, and now they need to push on next season for a top half finish. Of course it’s been difficult being without their best player, Christian Benteke, through injury for a lot of the season, but they have good players and are under achieving at the moment in my opinion. They sit 15th, with 38 points and are safe, so maybe we can take advantage of them being on their holidays, so to speak.

The team news for Aston Villa is Christian Benteke (knee), Jores Okore (knee) and Libor Kozak (broken leg) are ruled out, with Marc Albrighton (groin) and Gabby Agbonlahor (knee) are doubts for the game. The main threat for Villa is Andreas Weimann, the forward is full of energy and is a good finisher, he has 6 goals this season and recently got a brace against Hull City which consolidated Villa’s place in the Premier League, Weimann is a very competent footballer and at 22 has a big future. Another big player for Aston Villa is Fabian Delph, the central midfielder has had a great season and is a very talented footballer, he is a workhorse but also has a lot of skill and talent, he’s still 24 and has 4 goals this season and 2 assists.

The team news for Tottenham Hotspur is that Erik Lamela (back), Andros Townsend (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin), Nacer Chadli (hip), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (suspension) are all out of the game against Aston Villa, with Jan Vertonghen (ankle) a doubt but Etienne Capoue will be returning from injury and is in contention to play.

Our outfield player of the season, Christian Eriksen. He’s been absolutely outstanding this season and he’s key to us winning this game, once again. He’s got 10 goals and 10 assists this season and I don’t think anyone doubts that he will be adding to that tally against Villa. Everything good offensive usually comes from the Dane, and I think he’ll be the star of the show once again against Aston Villa. With Younes Kaboul ruled out, I think Vlad Chiriches will play in his place alongside Captain Michael Dawson, at full back, I wouldn’t mind seeing young Ryan Fredericks play at right back in Kyle Walker’s absence and Zeki Fryers play at left back ahead of Danny Rose, I think those full backs give us pace but also both have big futures and I’d like to see that used by Sherwood, even if it would probably mean he’s lambasted by the fans, how much worse can it get! Youth has to be given a chance and he’s been great for that. Sherwood spoke in his press conference (below) about playing a team who want to win and want to play for Tottenham in the Europa League next season. It’s going to be very interesting to see who he believes those players are.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta.

– Against no Barclays Premier League side has Emmanuel Adebayor scored more Barclays Premier League goals than he has against Aston Villa (six).

– The Villans are without a win in 10 league games against Spurs, drawing three, losing seven and scoring just five times.

– Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

– Tottenham Hotspur have won on the final day of the season in each of the last three Premier League campaigns – all of which have been played at White Hart Lane.

– Should Spurs win this match, they’ll equal their highest number of wins in a single Premier League season (21 in 2009-10 and 2012-13).

– Spurs have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against bottom-six teams.

– Spurs are the only side to not score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

– Only one team in Premier League history (Crystal Palace in 1994-95) have gone through an entire season without scoring in the opening 15 minutes.

– Aston Villa have had Over 2.5 goals in their last 10 away matches against top-six teams.

– 21 of Spurs’ 37 Premier League games this season have been played on a Sunday – no side have ever played 22 in a single season on a Sunday.

– Aston Villa have currently won 497 points away from home in the Premier League. If they win this match, they’ll be the fifth side in Premier League history to have won 500 away points.

– Spurs have won their last four home matches against bottom-six teams.

– Tottenham have seen more players net a Premier League goal for them than any other side this season (18).

– In contrast, Villa have seen the smallest spread of players score a Premier League goal for them this season (10).

The last game of the season is always a special occasion, and I’m looking forward to it massively. The game is live on Sky Sports 3, but I’ll be giving you live match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos, vines and much more! Give me a follow – @AddictedToSpurs. Thank you all for reading my match previews this season, I will be back next season, it’s been a pleasure! Please leave a comment down below telling me what you like and how you think I could improve for next season! Lots of love, and COYS!

My predicted/preferred team to face Aston Villa at the Lane:
Fredericks – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Lennon – Bentaleb – Sigurdsson – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre Aston Villa press conference:

Match Preview, West Ham United vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 3rd May 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

TV: Live on BT Sport in the UK.

A fierce London derby, a massive encounter between two teams extremely full of hate for each other, lots of passion, adrenaline and ferocity running through the veins of the fans, players and everybody connected with each club. It’s a match that means so much, not so much in terms of League position, but in terms of pride. And for Tottenham, on Saturday at Upton Park, it’s a chance to restore the pride taken off us in the last two encounters. A must win game for Spurs, losing is simply not an option.

Our recent form has been at a high level, we have found some consistency in our results and in our performances. Ever since the 4-0 drubbing at Anfield, our form has picked up and we are playing some great football, with players starting to stand up and be counted. In April, we did not lose a game, and only dropped points in one game against West Brom at the Hawthorns, drawing 3-3. That’s 3 wins out of 4 games, and I’d say I’m very happy with that. Now we need to continue in the same fashion as we did in April, with 2 games left against West Ham and Aston Villa. Winnable games, as were the games in April, so hopefully we show the same resolve and desire we did last month and finish the season on a high! Our recent form against West Ham is non-existent. I try to block the last two results out of my mind, mostly because of how ashamed I am of them. Last time in the League, we lost 3-0 at White Hart Lane, arguably the worst result of the season, and that’s from quite a long list of bad results. We were dreadful, but we have the chance to make things slightly better with a win at Upton Park. We blew the opportunity for some pride in Sherwood’s first game as Head Coach at the Lane in the Capital One Cup, losing 2-1, even after going 1-0 up.

West Ham have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster this season, struggling to put together a good run of results, apart from a brilliant run in February, which has looked to be the month that has kept them up, I think they’ve been rather dreadful. It looks as though West Ham are now safe from relegation, they sit 14th with 37 points, they need another win or a draw to be completely sure of survival, though, and we’re here to try to drag them back into trouble and cause their 5th successive loss in the Premier League.

The team news for West Ham is that striker Marco Borriello has been ruled out through a hamstring injury, but other than that the Hammers have a full squad to pick from. The players that West Ham rely on most are, first of all, Andy Carroll, the big money record signing. Carroll is a target man, who feeds off crosses and long balls in which to get his fellow team mates into the game; he’s incredibly important to West Ham, and when he’s on form he’s a definite handful. Another important player for West Ham is Mo Diame, the big midfielder gets West Ham moving, he’s quick, powerful and can kick start attacks, he can float onto the wing or play as the deep lying powerhouse. Finally, Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis on the wings are relied upon to provide the ammunition to Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, and so stopping them on the wing is the key to stopping West Ham get chances.

Now to the team news for Tottenham Hotspur, the injuries are still there, as they have been all season. This time out, it’s Erik Lamela (back), Kyle Walker (groin), Andros Townsend (ankle) and Mousa Dembele (ankle) who have been ruled out of the trip to Upton Park, with Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue both doubts through match fitness, with the game possibly coming a ‘bit too soon’ for them, even after training for a full week, according to Sherwood.

Michael Dawson was arguably man of the match against Stoke City, he dealt with Peter Crouch’s height and hold up play expertly, and now he’s going to face a very similar proposition in Andy Carroll. Carroll is the sort of striker that Michael Dawson loves to face, competing in the air and not very quick to get in behind him like the Aguero and Suarez type of player. A game against West Ham suits Dawson down to the ground, a game with passion and rivalry, mixed with the ‘route 1’ approach that Michael relishes facing. The partnership with Younes Kaboul against Stoke was exceptional, it seems as though both players have an understanding with each other, and I think Kaboul looks much more comfortable with the experience of Dawson alongside him. Aim of the game on Saturday is to get the ball to Christian Eriksen, get him involved in the game where it matters and try to effect the game in the final third. Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen are so important to the team in terms of creating chances and pushing the team forward, so we need them to be on form and getting in the right areas, for Aaron it’s the position to get the ball into Adebayor and Harry Kane, and for Eriksen it’s the position to feed Lennon, Kane and Adebayor with whipped in crosses and intricate passes. In the centre of midfield, I really do hope we see Sandro come into the team to play alongside Paulinho, Sandro has the bite to play in these kind of high intensity derby games, whereas Nacer Chadli, who has started the last few games, is much more technical. The partnership between Paulinho and Sandro could be one that really flourishes.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– 10 of West Ham’s last 16 home games have had at least 3 goals.

– 8 of West Ham’s last 12 home matches against top-half teams have had at least 4 goals.

– Spurs have won 12 of their last 19 trips to bottom-half teams.

– Spurs have drawn the first half in 10 of their last 17 away matches against bottom-half teams.

– Andy Carroll has scored in both previous meetings with Tottenham as a West Ham player, but has ended up on the losing side both times.

– Tottenham have won nine and lost just two of their last 13 Barclays Premier League meetings with the Hammers (D2).

– West Ham have had over 2.5 goals in their last eight home matches against top-six teams.

Big game for so many reasons. A London derby, and one that we can’t afford to drop any points in. You can get in depth updates on the game from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including goal updates, videos, pictures, vines and much more! Get following! COYS!!

My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
Naughton – Dawson – Kaboul – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Adebayor – Kane.

Tim Sherwood speaks to the press prior to our game against West Ham:

Match Review, Stoke City vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 26th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Britannia Stadium.

Result: Stoke City 0-1 Tottenham.

Goalscorer for Spurs: Danny Rose 33′.

Delighted with the three points. We move just 3 points behind Everton in 5th and 6 points clear of Manchester United in 7th, and we are only 4 points off the top four and Arsenal, which I find quite funny, even if they do have a game in hand. The football we played wasn’t pretty, but we hung on and got the result, which is what you have to do at places like Stoke, a place which has taken points off Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Now only 2 games left and I’d love to win both for a great finish to the season.

In the first half, I thought we played some nice football, but we lacked cutting edge and were wasteful with the ball, despite finding spaces in the right areas we were too slow at releasing the ball to the wingers or finding the killer pass to the strikers, and when we did find the wingers the crossing wasn’t hitting the right areas. Breaking the Stoke defence down was something we found difficult throughout the game, but we did find the killer touch on one occasion, Aaron Lennon flicked the ball towards Emmanuel Adebayor wide on the right hand side, who controlled the ball well and poked it past the Stoke defender Marc Muniesa and showed a good turn of pace and then delivered a delightful ball into the danger area for Danny Rose who jumped highest to nod home in the 33rd minute to make it 1-0, his first Premier League goal of the season. The second half was very difficult for us, early on the Potters were awarded a red card for Ryan Shawcross for a late tackle on Danny Rose, his second yellow card, and it was deserved. You’d think that this would help us take the game away from Stoke, but it meant that the home side sat back and made it even more difficult for us to break them down again, despite still having some space in the midfield. We held on in the end for a good three points.

The defensive back 5, including Hugo Lloris played very well. For me, Michael Dawson was man of the match, he returned to the side after a hamstring injury and he played superbly, making crucial tackles and winning headers all game, a great decision from Tim Sherwood to re-include the skipper in the starting 11 ahead of Vlad Chiriches and Zeki Fryers. Alongside Dawson, Younes Kaboul was very solid, the same as Dawson he made some great tackles and looked much more comfortable with an experienced head next to him, he looked much more free to run with the ball and take it out from defence and I think that was his best performance since his return from injury. The full backs Kyle Naughton and the goal scorer Danny Rose also played great games, and hopefully they can continue this form in the last two games of the season. In midfield I though Paulinho played well, but other than him I thought we were very sloppy, even Christian Eriksen wasn’t on form. Upfront, Harry Kane had his first bad game in a Spurs shirt and Emmanuel Adebayor continued his average form of late.

You can’t complain with 3 points! We are 6 points from our record points tally in the Premier League, 72 points, so 2 wins is the aim! Our next game is against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday 3rd May. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Stoke at the Britannia:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 7.5
Dawson – 9 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 8.5
Rose – 8
Lennon – 5.5
Paulinho – 7
Chadli – 6
Eriksen – 6.5
Kane – 6
Adebayor – 6

Townsend – 6
Sigurdsson – 6
Fryers – 6.

Match highlights from our 1-0 win over Stoke:

Tim Sherwood talks to the press after the Stoke victory:

Match Preview, Stoke City vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 26th April 2014. Kick off at 3:00pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Britannia Stadium.

TV: Not live on TV in the UK.

We’re in to the last three games of the season! It’s been highly documented that our season has been thoroughly underwhelming, but we’re in a position that means we’re able to gain a lot of pride. We’re battling for 5th place, which isn’t really the glamour battle of the Premier League, but it’s something and something is always good. We have scored many more goals recently and played some very good stuff, and now dare I say it, we’ve hit some very good form! Now to continue it against Stoke.

Our recent form as I say has been good. 3 wins in 5 games, with 1 draw and a loss. Obviously the loss to Liverpool was very disappointing, and the West Brom draw was displeasing, but the wins against Southampton, Sunderland and Fulham were great, with 11 goals scored in those three games and 14 goals scored in our last 5 games. Defensively, it’s been atrocious though, we have not worked as a unit and although it’s not cost us heaps of goals, against better opposition, we look like we would get torn apart, but I guess Sherwood has decided for the Liverpool approach of out scoring the opposition.

Our form against Stoke in recent times has been mediocre or inconsistent, in with the great results there are some real stinkers. Starting with the good results; our last two games against them have been very successful, in our last visit to the Britannia we won 2-1 late last season, Clint Dempsey scoring from range with an instinctive effort, and then Emmanuel Adebayor late on got the goal to win us the game in AVB’s tenure. More recently, at the Lane under Sherwood we put in a complete display, winning 3-0, three goals and a clean sheet in a great performance from the lads, Soldado, Dembele and Lennon got on the scoresheet in that one. Now onto the stinkers (sorry); in our last 5 games with Stoke we’ve been unable to win on 3 occasions 2 draws at home and a loss at the Britannia, so it has always been a difficult time except for the game this season. The good news is our form at the Britannia is good, winning our last 4 Premier League games up in Stoke.

Stoke have had a good season this year, there has been a transitional period during the take over of Mark Hughes, in which he has implemented a much more attractive footballing philosophy compared to Tony Pulis’ effective but route-one style. For the most part, it has worked for Stoke, they sit in 10th place and are safe from relegation, and it’s a good position for Stoke to now push on next season. The Potters have been in outstanding form recently which has made sure that they will stay in the Premier League, in their last 8 games they have won 5, with 2 draws and only 1 loss, and that was to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In those 8 games they have beaten Arsenal at the Britannia, so we know what to expect! The thing that is in our favour is that Stoke are now safe and don’t have anything to play for, which may lead to the minds of the players wandering, possibly to the beaches of a holiday.

The team news for Stoke is that winger Oussama Assaidi, on loan from Liverpool, is back, along with full back Erik Pieters. Former Spur Matthew Etherington (back) and defender Robert Huth (knee) have been ruled out of the clash at the Britannia. The players to look out for, for Stoke start with striker Peter Odemwingie, who has hit real form after his career majorly stuttered with West Brom and Cardiff, he has 4 goals in 12 appearances for the Potters this season. Another player who has done very well for Stoke is forward Marko Arnautovic, only 4 goals this season but he has 6 assists which is a decent tally in his first season. I really like him as a player and he’s a definite threat from Stoke. In midfield, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi look to bully the opposition, and it’s up to our midfield to counter their aggression.

The team news for the Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Etienne Capoue (foot), Erik Lamela (back) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) have been ruled out of the game, with Mousa Dembele (ankle) a doubt. Although, skipper Michael Dawson is available again after an ongoing hamstring injury, which is a big plus for the squad. It’s also good news that Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue have returned to training and are in contention to play in the last 2 games of the season, along with Kyle Walker who is scheduled to return to training next week.

I don’t expect much of a change in terms of the team, although personally I’d replace Nacer Chadli with Sandro in that central midfield role, simply because of the midfield pair that Stoke have, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi are known for their big challenges and strength, so I think the best way of dealing with it is counteracting it with the strength of Sandro, especially as we are away from home. Alongside Sandro I’d stick with his Brazilian partner Paulinho, who played a good game against Fulham at the Lane, and was sublime in the home leg against Stoke. In defence, I’d replace young Zeki Fryers and place Vlad Chiriches in alongside Kaboul; although he has been shaky in his last two games against Sunderland and West Brom, I think he should be given the chance to redeem himself and rediscover his form that he had earlier in the season. Upfront, there is no doubt that Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor keep their place; Harry has been in great scoring form and I think the time has come for Adebayor to rediscover his.

Match stats provided by Opta.

– All five Barclays Premier League meetings between these sides in Stoke have ended 2-1, with the Potters winning two and losing three.

– Tottenham have won five and lost just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with the Potters (D2).

– Stoke have been level at half-time in their last seven home matches against top-six teams.

– Tim Sherwood has the best win percentage of any Tottenham manager in the Premier League (58%).

– Mark Hughes’ Stoke have picked up four red cards this season; Hughes has seen his various teams collect 40 red cards in Premier League history (in 305 games).

– Stoke have had Over 2.5 goals in their last five home matches against Spurs.

– Tottenham have the fourth highest points total (30) away from home this season despite having a goal difference of -2 on the road.

– Spurs have conceded a total of 11 goals in their last three Premier League away games.

– Spurs have had both teams scoring in their last five away matches against Stoke.

– Tottenham Hotspur have failed to score in three of their last four away games.

– Stoke have won their last four Premier League home games, three of them ending 1-0 to the Potters. They have never won five home games in a row in the Premier League.

– Stoke have had draw/draw results in their last four draws against top-six teams.

– Only two teams (Liverpool and Palace) are on longer current unbeaten runs than Tottenham (three games).

– Tottenham have come from behind to win a league-high 17 points from losing positions this season while Stoke have the second best total (15).

We want to win our last three games! Starting at the Britannia. Expecting a difficult game, as always, but if we play how I know we can, we’ll have no problems. I’ll be providing match updates from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including goal updates, photos, videos and vines. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to take on Stoke at the Britannia:
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Adebayor – Kane.

Tim Sherwood’s press conference prior to our trip to the Britannia:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Fulham.

Match: Saturday 19th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

GoalScorers for Tottenham: Paulinho 35′, Harry Kane 48′ and Younes Kaboul 62′.

GoalScorer for Fulham: Steve Sidwell 37′.

What a great three points! Three goals and three points, so we have nothing to complain about. We showed great fight and determination to overcome a Fulham side who are battling for points at the bottom of the table. We couldn’t afford to drop any more points, and I think we showed some real quality in our play at the Lane, performing with confidence and a lack of pressure on their shoulders, it’s a big result and hopefully we can finish the season with 9 points from our last 3 games, which are quite ‘comfortable’ on paper.

In the first half, for the first 35 minutes, the game was a real drag, both teams were lacklustre and didn’t convincingly pressurise the opposition, with Fulham dropping deep, waiting for the counter attack, and Tottenham not being able to find the final pass or pick the lock through the Cottagers defence. Defensively, Spurs looked shaky as usual, with it taking a long while for players to really settle into the game and find their feet, both with their passing accuracy and defensive decisions. Finally, with the game being in desperate need for a goal, Christian Eriksen whipped in a delightful ball from a free kick on the right to find an unmarked Paulinho for an easy tap in to make it 1-0, his 7th of the season. Only 2 minutes later, Fulham got very lucky, when Steve Sidwell somehow scrambled through the defence after a couple of unfortunate deflections off Tottenham players, and then through on goal Sidwell poked it past Lloris to make it 1-1 at half time.

In the second half, Spurs started to really find their feet, after a good talking to from Tim Sherwood the players sparked into life and came out of the blocks very quickly, moving the ball from central to the wing quickly to the players who can affect the play. In this case on 48 minutes, that player was Aaron Lennon. Lennon received the ball on the far right from Naughton, shimmied right and then turned back onto his left foot and swung a nicely weighted ball into the box for Harry Kane to jump highest and divert the ball into the goal to make it 2-1, and confirm the game in our favour. We withstood a few Fulham attacks, including a bullet header from Hugo Rodallega, which was phenomenally stopped from nestling into the top corner by Hugo Lloris, one of the best saves of the season. We were playing with a swagger about us, players trying tricks they wouldn’t have weeks previously and wanting to get on the ball and impose themselves on the game.

Later on, in the 62nd minute, Christian Eriksen was gifted with another free kick, but this time on the left hand side. Christian, as he did for the first goal, spun the ball across the box at knee hight, and it was Younes Kaboul who was there to stab the ball into the roof of the net and secure the three points. On 75 minutes, the ball was bouncing around the edge of Tottenham’s penalty area, and as the ball snuck into the box, Christian Eriksen subtly moved his arm towards the ball, and handled, with the referee awarding a penalty to the West Londoners. Steve Sidwell, a scorer in the first half, stood up to take the penalty, and struck it between middle and inside netting, allowing Hugo Lloris to get down smartly and parry the ball away from danger, that cementing any danger of dropping points. We could have had more, but it wasn’t to be and the three points stayed at the Lane.

I thought the team played really well, especially in the second half. Even though the defence continued to look shaky with a high line and some suspect decision making. Man of the match for me is an easy choice, Hugo Lloris in goal was nothing short of incredible. Hugo failed to keep a clean sheet through no fault of his own, and then made 2-3 phenomenal saves that are as good as goals in my view. Lloris has cemented himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Tottenham’s history, and for me, he’s the best currently in the Premier League and right up there in the tables for best goalkeeper in the World. Right behind Hugo for man of the match for once again, Christian Eriksen, the way he plays football is a delight to watch and it is brilliant to see him grow every single game he plays. We always see something new that we didn’t see in the last game, for instance an instinctive swivel and sweep pass, which failed to come off but the technique and cheek to try it was laudable in itself. In the last three games we have seen the emergence of a future star in Harry Kane. Three goals in three for the 20 year old striker, but goals is not the only thing that Harry brings to the table, he can hold up play extremely well for a learning young striker, his touch is almost surprisingly good, and his work rate is excellent, he runs with purpose and plays for the shirt and that’s exactly what you want to see from a young striker. I predict a big future with Spurs for Harry Kane! Other players who were very impressive in my humble opinion, were Aaron Lennon, who got his second assist in 2 games, Danny Rose, who had a much improved game to some of his previous & the midfield pairing of Nacer Chadli and Paulinho, who worked very hard and passed the ball quickly out to the wings and the players who can affect the game.

I’m very impressed and happy with the team performance, and now I’m excited about the last three games of the season; I’m hoping for 9 points and some bragging rights over Everton, Manchester United and West Ham! Our next game is a toughy against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 26th April with kick off at 3:00pm. Difficult game, and a potential banana skin but we go into the game with confidence. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Fulham at the Lane:
Lloris – 9 – Man of the match.
Naughton – 7
Kaboul – 7
Fryers – 7
Rose – 7.5
Lennon – 8
Paulinho – 7.5
Chadli – 8
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 8
Adebayor – 7.5.

Townsend – 6
Soldado – N/A
Dembele – 5.5.

Match highlights from our 3-1 victory over Fulham:

Tim Sherwood speaks to the press after the Fulham win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Fulham.

Match date & time: Saturday 19th April 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1 in the UK.

We come into the final 4 games of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. A roller-coaster of a season if there has ever been one. Normally, our end to the season is full of tension and knife edges, but this season we have a slightly more mellow finish. Don’t get me wrong; the expectation is still well and truly there on each and every one of the players, but we aren’t playing for the Champions League anymore, sadly that ship has sailed, but what we are fighting for is a spot in Europe, whether that be 5th place or 6th place, and we are also fighting for pride. After the season we’ve had, all the ups and downs, but mostly downs, to finish above Manchester United would be just brilliant. That’s my aim. But, also, being in Europe. Although it has it’s many flaws, I still believe the Europa League is a good competition and maybe we have a chance of lifting it next season. I’d certainly like to be facing the likes of Benfica again next season.

Our form in recent games has been very up and down. We have beaten Sunderland and Southampton well, but then have dropped points to West Brom when it looked as if we could push on. There was a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in there too, which we haven’t redeemed ourselves for at all. These last 4 games are all must win. Our recent record against Fulham is very good, except for the major blip that came last season, at White Hart Lane, when our Champions League hopes were dashed significantly after losing to Fulham 1-0, thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov goal. It’s a game that sticks in my head for all the wrong reasons; a turning point. This season, we beat Fulham at Craven Cottage 2-1, after falling behind, we fought our way back into the game thanks to a great long drive from Vlad Chiriches in the second half, and then after many Hugo Lloris saves, in the 81st minute, Lewis Holtby, now on loan at Fulham, struck the winning goal and sent Spurs into ecstasy. A vital win, but it wasn’t enough to save Andre Villas Boas from the sack a few games later. In our last 10 Premier League meetings with Fulham, we have only lost once, and drawn twice, which makes for good reading for Spurs fans, but records mean nothing, because every game is different and is under different circumstances.

Fulham Football Club have had a dismal season. They have now had three managers this season and it has been a right mess in trying to keep the West London Club in the Premier League. Former Spurs manager Martin Jol was sacked in November, being replaced by Rene Meulensteen, and then only 2 months later, Meulensteen was sacked in February to be replaced by current manager Felix Magath, who in all fairness, is now doing a very decent job. Fulham sit in 18th, still in the relegation zone, behind Norwich by only 2 points, with Norwich having a much more difficult run in to the end of the season. After being rock bottom for a long time, it’s looking much brighter for Fulham.

The team news for the Cottagers is that Kostas Mitroglou (knee) and Lewis Holtby (ineligible) are the only players that will be missing, but although only a couple are unavailable, the impact of Lewis Holtby not being able to play is large. He has become a key player for the Whites while on loan from Spurs, and to lose his creativity will be a big loss. Fulham will be hoping for other players to step up. A player that has stepped up recently is Hugo Rodallega, with 2 goals in 2 appearances, the striker appears to have regained the form he showed at Wigan, and will be a big threat for Fulham. Another big player for Fulham is Ashkan Dejagah; the winger has been used off the bench recently, but he always has a big impact, and with Lewis Holtby not able to play I expect Dejagah to step in. Defensively, in midfield, it’ll be a welcome back to former Spurs player and Spurs fan, Scott Parker, he’ll be a crucial player for Fulham this Saturday.

The team news for Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Erik Lamela (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) will be missing for the game against Fulham. However, there will be returns for Mousa Dembele, Roberto Soldado, Sandro and Michael Dawson after injury, with Vlad Chiriches remaining fit after his return 2 weeks ago.

The team news is good news in my view; it’s great to have Sandro and Dembele back, they give us steel and quality in the middle of the park, and I think Sandro should definitely start when fit, but against Fulham at Home I expect to see a much more attacking set up by Sherwood, possibly excluding Dembele and Sandro from the team for Paulinho and Chadli. Roberto Soldado is back, but I don’t see him starting anytime soon with the emergence of Harry Kane, bagging 2 goals in 2 appearances and working like a maniac. Think it’s time for Roberto to put this season behind him and concentrate on settling more in England, learning more of the language and coming back next season fit, hungry and ready to score goals. The biggest blow from the team news is that Kyle Walker remains injured, and will be for the foreseeable future this season. He’s been a massively important player for us and is a big miss. We lack his pace and experience on the right hand side of defence. I expect Tim Sherwood to play an unchanged side from the last two games against Sunderland and West Brom. The team worked very well against Sunderland and also well in the second half of the West Brom game. With all three teams around a similar level in quality on paper, I think Sherwood will see no need to change things and we will have a bit of continuity.

Match stats provided by Opta.

– Tottenham have won seven of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Fulham, losing the other.

– No side has taken fewer points from Premier League London derbies this season than Fulham (six).

– Spurs have conceded first in their last six matches.

– Tottenham have made 19 errors leading directly to a goal this season, more than any other side.

– Fulham have drawn only three games all season. The Premier League low for draws in an entire season is three by Chelsea in 1997-98.

– Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last five home matches against Fulham.

– None of Fulham’s last 46 Premier League games have ended 0-0 – the longest current run of all Premier League teams.

– Christian Eriksen has scored four goals and assisted three more in his last four Premier League appearances for Tottenham.

– Fulham have had loss/loss results in their last five away defeats against Spurs.

– With 93 goals, Emmanuel Adebayor is the current Premier League player with less than 100 goals nearest to reaching that landmark.

– Fulham have conceded 17 goals in London derbies this season, more than any other side.

– Spurs have had Under 2.5 goals in their last five home matches against Fulham.

– Tottenham have scored only six goals in eight London derby games this season.

– Three of Tottenham’s last five Premier League goals have come in the 86th minute or later.

I’m looking forward to this one; it promises to be a hard fought, end to end game with both teams fighting for the points. Fulham will need to be at their very best to get a point and so will Tottenham. I will be at the Lane for this game! So that means I will try to update from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible, with live pictures of White Hart Lane being posted. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Fulham at the Lane:
Naughton – Chiriches – Kaboul – Rose
Townsend – Paulinho – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood previews of game against Fulham in his press conference:

Match Preview, West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 12th April 2014. Kick off at 3:07pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

TV: Not on live TV in UK.

Just 5 games to go until the end of the season, and the aim is clear, to win all five games and see where it takes us. The Champions League places are not out of reach completely, and so we have to play with the intention of getting into the top four, but, it’s a difficult task if there ever was one. We have to rely on others to drop points, at least 6 for both Everton and Arsenal, but even then we have to win all of our games. Not impossible, but incredibly difficult to believe we can do it. The five games we have to go are winnable, for sure, so going into every game one at a time, we start with West Brom.

In our last game, we beat Sunderland at the Lane 5-1, playing fast flowing, attacking and effective football. Something that has been scarce this season, but we got a comfortable win and now we have to try and springboard off of it with another good performance at the Hawthorns. Last time we got into the ring with the baggies, we drew 1-1 on Boxing Day, Christian Eriksen got a stunning goal but the performance in general wasn’t good enough and we were left feeling like 2 points were dropped instead of 1 gained, but a lot has changed and we’ve seen better from the team since then. Our form against West Brom in general is good, they haven’t beaten us in 3 seasons and only beaten us once since promotion, so we are 7 games unbeaten and let’s hope that record continues to grow after this game. When we last visited the Hawthorns, last season Gareth Bale popped up again with a stunning game to give us a 1-0 win, now we’re looking for an Eriksen or an Adebayor to pop up and do the same to give us a massive three points.

West Brom are fighting relegation with both hands and both feet, scraping away for points in desperation. They sit in 16th, with 32 points from 32 games, only 5 points off the relegation places. Their season has been difficult and they’ve seen a managerial change, just like Spurs, with the popular Steve Clark, who led West Brom to a top half finish in the 2012/13 season, sacked because of poor results with a weakened West Brom team with Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea after a loan spell and then loaned to Everton. Pepe Mel has taken charge but has only managed 2 wins from 12 games, and because of that, they’re in trouble.

The team news for West Brom is good, for them, both James Morrison and Claudio Yacob are returning to the frame after injury, but Zoltan Gera is ruled out with a hamstring injury, but other than that, they have a fully fit squad. A player I believe to be a danger man for West Brom is Morgan Amalfitano; he has scored some incredible goals in his first season in the Premier League, and has been a key figure for both Steve Clark and Pepe Mel, he has 2 goals in his last 2 games, and seems to be a player for the big occasion, scoring at Old Trafford too early on in the season. Another player who I like, is Stephane Sessegnon, he is quick and has a low centre of gravity so he glides past players with great technique. He lacks a cutting edge but he is a definite threat on his day and one we need to be wary of. In midfield, Claudio Yacob gives the Baggies stability, but we should have enough in our midfield to over power them.

The team news for Spurs hasn’t really changed at all from Monday. Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Erik Lamela (back), Mousa Dembele (hip), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) are all ruled out of the trip to West Brom, with Sandro (calf) a doubt after a calf injury in training, but Vlad Chiriches, Michael Dawson and Emmanuel Adebayor are fit and ready for the challenge after returning recently from injuries.

After his Sunderland performance, Harry Kane has already been confirmed by Tim Sherwood as starting against West Brom. Harry was excellent, and he’s hungry to play more and score more goals which is exactly what we need. He worked his socks off and his partnership with Emmanuel Adebayor was very fruitful for us. We’ll see it again at the Hawthorns and hopefully we see the same results we did against Sunderland. Goals. The provider of the goals and contributor to them is Christian Eriksen; he’s had a marvellous first season and he gets better every game, and now we’re looking at him as the superstar he is. I think it’s a safe bet to say Eriksen will score or assist once again against West Brom. In the centre of midfield, we saw Nacer Chadli partner Paulinho at the Lane, but away from home I don’t think that partnership is strong enough or defensive enough, so I am calling for Nabil Bentaleb to be reinstated into the team instead of Chadli, as to see a natural partnership. On the right hand side, I believe Andros Townsend deserves more game time, with Aaron Lennon having a dip in form. Andros is hungry for success and desperate to go to Brazil with England, so I think he could be a big player for us in the remaining games.

Match stats provided by Opta.

– West Brom have drawn five of their six Barclays Premier League home games under Pepe Mel, losing the other. Four of these games have ended 1-1.

– Spurs are unbeaten in eight Barclays Premier League meetings with the Baggies (W4 D4), scoring exactly once in six of these games.

– WBA have had both teams scoring in their last seven home matches against top-six teams

– Tottenham (25 from 14 games) have won more points than north London rivals Arsenal (22 from 14 games) in the Premier League in 2014.

– Since Tim Sherwood first took charge of Spurs in the Premier League, the only player to have scored more goals in the competition than Emmanuel Adebayor (10) is Daniel Sturridge (11).

– WBA have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

– 10 of Adebayor’s 15 Premier League goals for Spurs since the start of 2012-13 have come away from home, including seven of the 10 this season.

– 11 of West Bromwich Albion’s goals have been netted by substitutes this season; more than any other side – this includes five of their last 10 goals in the Premier League.

– Spurs have been level at half-time in their last seven away matches against bottom-six teams.

– Victor Anichebe has had more impact than any other substitute in the Premier League this season, scoring or assisting five goals as a replacement (three goals, two assists).

– Tottenham currently have a goal difference of 0. Just four sides in Premier League history have finished the season with exactly the same number of goals scored as they have conceded.

– WBA have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against top-six teams.

– This will be just the seventh time that Tottenham have played a Premier
League game on a Saturday this season – every other team have already played at least 12 PL games on a Saturday in 2013-14.

– Christian Eriksen has scored three goals and assisted three more in his last three Premier League appearances for Tottenham.

The last five is here and we have to win them all! It’s a massive game as always. The game is not live on TV, but I’ll be sure to provide a stream on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, as well as match updates, photos and videos. See you there! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face West Brom at the Hawthorns:
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Paulinho – Bentaleb
Townsend – Kane – Eriksen

Tim Sherwood’s pre West Brom press conference: