Match Review, West Brom vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 31st January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

Result: West Brom 0-3 Tottenham.

Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 6’, Kane 15′, 64’.

A really, really good win. You can’t get much better than 3-0 away from home, scoring great goals and keeping a clean sheet makes it the perfect win. The whole occasion was very comfortable, we passed the ball swiftly and accurately, and constantly looked a threat to the Albion goal, with the interplay between Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele & Erik Lamela. Going ahead early made it much easier to keep West Brom at bay, hold the ball and play at our own pace, able to up the speed of play when we wanted to, and slow it down also. West Brom weren’t able to get their foot into the game and affect it in the way they would have wanted to; we were just too powerful, too intricate and too good for what is a side that don’t have the sheer quality in their ranks that we do. This win is crucial, going into a very tough February, we needed to pick up three points and now we go into these difficult fixtures with conviction and confidence, and we certainly will not fear any fixture, with the form that we have hit. Facing Arsenal, Liverpool and Fiorentina in this form is a good thing, and we will look to win all of those contests. After securing a spot at Wembley, and winning comfortably against West Brom, it hasn’t been a bad week to be a Tottenham fan. Now let’s hope February and March top January!

In the first half, it was Christian Eriksen who commenced the scoring, with his 11th goal of the season from a free kick. He has become an expert from the dead ball, and it was another scrumptious curling effort, which alluded West Brom’s Ben Foster and nestled into the back of the net for what was a picture-perfect start to the game. We controlled the tempo after that, with Mason and Dembele shifting the ball around with relative ease, and then we picked up the pace, and the ball found it’s way into the path of Mousa Dembele who dribbled with the ball before releasing it into the quick feet of Harry Kane, who took two touched before smashing the ball past Ben Foster before he could say ‘goal’, and the scoreboard showed 2-0, with just 15 minutes played and it was looking healthy for Tottenham and rather miserable for the Baggies. After the second goal, it’s natural, although frustrating for Tottenham to just take their foot off the pedal and try and control the possession, but we couldn’t really contain West Brom, who settled into the game and started to have more possession, be more threatening and create good chances. And they forced two magnificent saves out of Hugo Lloris, first from long range from James Morrison and then Claudio Yacob from just outside the six-yard box. Saved by our captain Lloris, once again. After these chances, we wanted to see half time come about quite quickly, as the pressure mounted, but we saw this spell through to half time and at half time, we looked in a fantastic position to win the game, if we could build on our two goal lead in the next period.

The second half was not all guns blazing by any means; West Brom created a few chances here and there but were never overly threatening, and apart from Christian Eriksen going extremely close from outside the box, we didn’t create a hell of a lot either, but we were still a threat on the ball; we were patient, and we probed with the ball in midfield, with Harry Kane always moving in front of the midfield, looking for an opening, and after Hugo Lloris making another brilliant save, this time from Victor Anichebe, it was Tottenham who got the vital third goal to kill the game, the goal which Mauricio Pochettino has been craving for so long, to kill a game and be comfortable, and not have to rely on a late goal, and it was Harry Kane who got it from the spot, Kyle Walker fizzing a ball low into the box and hitting a hand of a West Brom defender, granting us the penalty, and Harry Kane converting with ease on 64 minutes, finishing off the game. And that penalty wasn’t just Kane’s second of the match, it was his 20th of the season for Tottenham, a simply magnificent achievement for a player who has come on leaps and bounds this season, and will no doubt continue to develop, and cement his place as one of the best strikers in the Premier League at the moment, I am not over exaggerating when I say he is on his way to becoming a complete player, he can do everything. We continued, after the third goal, to hold the ball well, but West Brom tried to get the ball a bit more and succeeded, but they simply couldn’t get the ball into the net, and past the unbelievable Hugo Lloris, as well as Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio, who were very assuring at the back, and kept Saido Berahino very quiet. We strolled into the final whistle with the three-goal lead and three points secured, being a brilliant performance and result.West+Bromwich+Albion+v+Tottenham+Hotspur+Premier+JB9pNzcfvZvx
There’s no doubt who the man of the match award goes to; Harry Kane scored twice, worked extremely hard and linked up really well with his fellow attackers, he kept Dawson and McCauley ever so busy all through the game until he was replaced by Roberto Soldado to cheers of ‘He’s one of our own!’ from the travelling support. As I have said, he’s now at 20 goals for the season and there is no doubt that he will go on to get around 30 this season, even more, because he is so lively, in every game he plays, even when he isn’t scoring he’s affecting games, making space, assisting team mates and working hard – he is without doubt the most improved player in the Premier League this season, and being 21, there is still so much more he will learn, and he will continue to improve throughout this season, and throughout his long Tottenham career. As well as the phenomenal Harry Kane, you have the magnificent Christian Eriksen, who seems to just continue to produce, game after game, after game, and he did that once again in this match, with a perfect free kick, and he threatened throughout the game as well, with his intricate passing and ability to run with the ball and effect the game; he is a joy to watch and his class from the dead ball is something you can never get bored of, he is such an intelligent player, and I am so glad that he is Spurs. After being in the peripheral of the Spurs team, Mousa Dembele’s performance today, especially in the first half was very good; his ability on the ball is second to none, and recently, he has been able to provide that killer touch too of an assist, key pass or chance created, which is exactly what we have always wanted from Dembele, and you have to credit Pochettino, as he has put him in a more offensive position and it is paying dividends, as he notched the assist for the second goal, and also won the foul that led to Christian Eriksen’s wonder free kick. Consistency in his performances is key, and with two good performances in a row, hopefully he can kick on and become a big and important member of the squad, like he was when he first joined the club. Hugo Lloris, what can I say? He makes crucial, phenomenal saves time and time again and is the indisputable best goalkeeper in the Premier League in my opinion; he is unbelievable and there aren’t enough superlatives in the world to describe him, so I will make one up, he’s ‘fantabuloumazing’! Special mention for Paulinho, who after being the forgotten man earlier in the season, has worked hard to regain fitness, to regain his touch and form, and then regain his place as part of the squad, and he played really well today, and I am hoping there is further improvement to come for the Brazilian, as his graft to get back in the side is commendable. Another mention as well for Jan Vertonghen, who I believe has been Mr Consistent at the back this season, and he has certainly rediscovered his best form alongside Eric Dier and Federico Fazio; he’s been brilliant and was again in this match, containing Saido Berahino and Victor Anichebe with relative comfort.

A magnificent three points! Next up is the North London Derby at White Hart Lane in the Premier League, and let’s hope we start February in a similar way to how we started January, with a comprehensive victory against a top 4 London side. The first month of January has been very kind to Tottenham; let’s hope the rest of the year is just as good, and we can be very successful. Follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!

My player ratings for the side that faced West Brom at the Hawthorns:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8
Fazio – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 8
Mason – 7.5 (Stambouli 72’ – 5)
Dembele – 8.5 (Chadli 62’ – 6.5)
Paulinho – 7.5
Lamela – 7
Eriksen – 9
Kane – 9.5 Man of the Match. (Soldado 88’ – N/A)

Mauricio Pochettino’s reaction to our 3-0 win over West Brom:

Harry Kane’s post match reaction:

Match Preview, West Brom vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 31st January 2015. 3pm GMT Kick Off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: The Hawthorns.

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

After making it to Wembley in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, our attention quickly turns back to the Premier League, and a challenging fixture against a reinvigorated West Brom side under the guidance of Premier League survival specialist Tony Pulis. Our confidence is high, our form is good and we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Wembley is on the horizon and we are in good positions in the Europa League with the knockout stages close and Premier League, where we sit only 3 points off of 4th spot, and 5 points off 3rd. It hasn’t been the perfect start under Mauricio Pochettino, but you offered this situation to him at the start of his reign as Tottenham boss, I am sure he would of snapped your hand off and said thank you very much. There is no doubt that we have seen significant improvement under the Argentinian, not only in our fitness, but in the side’s mentality and will to win; there is a certain toughness that wasn’t here 6 months ago, and self belief is most definitely running through the veins of the players. What we want to see now is further improvement; more comfortable victories, a more fluid style of play and consistency in our performances over all three competitions that we are still involved in. But, at this moment in time, I don’t think I can complain at all, because as seasons go, this is shaping up to be quite a successful one!

West Brom have had a turbulent season, starting under the unpopular manager choice of Alan Irvine, who lost his job after a run of only 2 victories in 14 matches, the club turned to Tony Pulis, who was manager of the year last season with Crystal Palace, and now things look more rosy for the Albion, having now gone unbeaten under Pulis in 5 games, winning 3 and drawing 2. A January unbeaten is what the Baggies will be looking to achieve, and it will be a tough test at the Hawthorns to stop that. Last time we faced West Brom was at the Lane, and the Albion triumphed 1-0 thanks to a James Morrison header in a gloomy day in North London, and now we will look to retaliate with a victory of our own on their home turf. Last time we visited the Hawthorns, it was a six-goal thriller, with West Brom taking a three goal lead in the first half an hour, before we clawed it back in the second half to 3-3 thanks to goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and an own-goal from Jonas Olsson. It was late heroics from Christian Eriksen that acquired us the point, hopefully this time he can help us claim all three. Tony Pulis will make sure his side is well disciplined, difficult to break down and at full concentration throughout the 90 minutes, so it will be very challenging to score the goals we want to, and we will have to rely on Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli to spot the small gaps, or pounce on small mistakes and make them pay, as well as keeping our guard up to what I am sure will be a team set up to counter attack with pace, with the likes of Saido Berahino and Stephane Sessegnon able to use that speed to stretch defences and cause problems.

The team news for the Baggies is that back up keeper Boaz Myhill (finger) is facing a late fitness test, while Jonas Olsson (calf) and Youssef Mulumbu (hamstring) are ruled out. The good news for the Albion is that new signing from Wigan Callum McManaman, who scored against Spurs in his last appearance against us, is available and in the squad to face us, and he could use his craftiness to West Brom’s advantage for sure. As well as McManaman, West Brom will look to young striker Saido Berahino, who has been in great form so far this season for the Baggies, bagging (pun intended) 14 goals in 27 appearances, which has earned him interest from clubs such as Liverpool, and even Tottenham, so there is no doubt who will be down as West Brom’s danger man in the Spurs dressing room. A player who I enjoy watching a lot, is Stephane Sessegnon, and he is without doubt West Brom’s most skilful and intelligent player in the final third, as he can contribute with goals and assists, but probably not as much as he could do, with only 1 goal this season, and 3 assists, which I must say is not as impressive as it should be for a player with a great footballing mind. Along with Berahino and Sessegnon, in midfield they will look to the craft of Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and James Morrison to move the ball around and create chances, with the Albion relying on Yacob to be the holding man in midfield, and most likely stick like a fly to honey on Christian Eriksen. There is no doubting that this West Brom side will be set up really well, and will work their socks off in defence and midfield.Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 21.13.48
The team news for Tottenham is that Nacer Chadli returns after compassionate leave, while Hugo Lloris returns after a short break and Mauricio Pochettino reports no injury concerns, while DeAndre Yedlin and Nabil Bentaleb are away on international duty for the USA and Algeria respectively. It isn’t often that we can boast a fully fit squad, and with the heavy fixture list it is important that we take full advantage, but we must make sure the side isn’t rotated too much, so that it doesn’t alter our rhythm or the team’s understanding. The return of Nacer Chadli and Hugo Lloris is vital, and I hope they can make a big impact to help us achieve victory at the Hawthorns this Saturday.

Against Sheffield United, Mousa Dembele was fantastic, on the ball he was positive, imaginative and inventive and he gave us control in the game when he got on the ball. He is such a brilliant talent, and when he turns it up, he can be as good as any player in the Premier League, which makes it so frustrating to see him as a bit part player in our side, when if he could take games by the scruff of the neck, he could quite easily cement a place in our starting eleven. I would like to see him given a chance to start in the Premier League, as another chance to be consistent in his performances and hopefully he can give us control of the game against West Brom in the centre of the park if he is given the opportunity by Mauricio Pochettino; he definitely deserves it after his midweek performance. He speaks for himself with his performances and goals, but I am going to mention him again, especially after his incredible, match winning brace in midweek – Christian Eriksen is wonderful, on the ball, from set pieces and in front of goal, and he has been crucial to any success we have had so far this season, and we will be trusting him again to deliver in another important game, after notching 10 goals already this season. Nacer Chadli is back in contention, and we have missed his effectiveness in front of goal, as well as his link up play with Eriksen & Kane, and general wing play on the left hand side. Hopefully Nacer can pick up where he left off before the tragic passing of his father, and he can continue to generate such great form, but if he isn’t quite fit enough, then I hope he can make an impact from the bench. Up front, Harry Kane is enduring a slight goal drought by his standards, and I am sure he will be eager to end that barren spell with a goal or two, but even if he doesn’t, he still produces such a fantastic work ethic, and his link up play has been superb.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– West Brom’s win over Spurs earlier this season ended a run of nine Barclays Premier League games without a win over the Londoners (W0 D5 L4).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last four Premier League trips to the Hawthorns (W2 D2).

– Christian Eriksen has scored in two of his three Premier League games against West Brom.

– Seven of Tottenham’s last eight Premier League wins have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Spurs’ record after 22 games this campaign is worse than each of the last five seasons.

– Tottenham have won 10 points with goals scored in the 88th minute or later this season; four more than any other side.

– Spurs have conceded more penalties than any other team in the Premier League this season (6).

– No player has scored more winning goals than Christian Eriksen this season (5- level with Yaya Toure).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League appearances.

– Tottenham have lost just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W5 D2 L1).

Our concentration levels have to be up to scratch if we want to avoid West Brom doing the double over us this season. Hopefully, we will be professional and get the job done at the Hawthorns – it is important that we get some consistency, not only in our results but in our performances, and I would like to see us try and take control of the game early on and score an early goal, and build on that to kill the game off! It will no doubt be very tough though, and we will have to be at our best to break down a well drilled Pulis side. The game isn’t televised, but I will be providing goal updates, photos, videos and more at my twitter account, follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs!! COYS!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Brom at the Hawthorns:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Brom press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Crystal Palace.

Match date and time: Saturday 11th January 2014. Kick off 3pm.

Competition: Premier League

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised.

After a disappointing defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup third round, we return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace. Our Premier League form has been great under Sherwood so far, and last time out we beat the Champions at Old Trafford 2-1 which was a great win and we’d like to continue our unbeaten run under Tim Sherwood on Saturday. Our 4-4-2 formation against the lesser teams has been working well (yes that includes Manchester United at the moment), so I wouldn’t expect anything different against Palace. Our home form has been improving, in our last outing we beat Stoke City 3-0 in a convincing win and performance, so we’ll be hoping to repeat that and get a good win. With Jermain Defoe off to Toronto, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play over Roberto Soldado who picked up a knock against Arsenal. Jermain Defoe linking up with Emmanuel Adebayor could be quite a combination, even though Soldado’s and Adebayor’s has also been quite profitable.

Crystal Palace have had a topsy turvy first half of the season, still sitting in the relegation zone, but have improved quite a bit with Tony Pulis in charge instead of Ian Holloway. In the Eagles first games they only won once in eleven games, but under Pulis their form has improved and I think their chances of survival have improved with it, with 2 wins in their last 4, and unbeaten in 3 I think we have a real challenge on our hands to win this game, I hope the players don’t underestimate the threat Crystal Palace posses, they showed against Manchester City at the Etihad that they can dig deep and put up one hell of a fight, only losing 1-0 on the day in which they could have easily got at least a point, it was very impressive. The team news for Palace is that Adlene Guedioura could return, while Glenn Murray, Jerome Thomas and Jack Hunt are out. The players to look out for are Mouranne Chamakh, previously of Arsenal, who, laugh all you want, is in good form, with 4 goals and his great work rate means he’s a real asset for Crystal Palace. Also, Jason Puncheon is a decent player who can make things happen for them, he was great against Manchester City.

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The team news for Spurs is that Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe are all back in contention for the Palace game, which is great news, while Younes Kaboul (thigh), Sandro (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Paulinho (ankle) all remain out. Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado are expected to be fit, but remain doubts after knocks. It is expected that the team remains similar, even with key players like Andros Townsend returning, Eriksen and Lennon should continue playing as they have been doing a brilliant job, and changing them would be a mistake I think. Roberto Soldado has been brilliant with his link up play, but his finishing abysmal, part of me wants to drop him, but a bigger part wants to stick with him. For now, the little part wins and I think Jermain Defoe will get the nod, probably just because he is leaving soon and needs a proper send off, maybe knowing that it is his last 9 games, he’ll up his game! Capoue and Dembele should be our central midfield partnership, I believe that’s the best option we have with Sandro and Paulinho out. I would love Lamela to get a game, but as I said, dropping a Eriksen and Lennon would be unjustified.

Match Stats and facts provided by FourFourTwo

– This game will see Tottenham become the first team in Barclays Premier League history to play 200 London derbies (P199 W62 D63 L74).

– The Whites have claimed 249 points in the previous 199 games against London sides.

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

– Crystal Palace are unbeaten in four previous Barclays Premier League games at White Hart Lane (W1 D3).

– Indeed, Palace are the only side to have played more than once at White Hart Lane in the Premier League and remained unbeaten.

– Spurs have had more goals in the second half in their last five matches against Crystal Palace.

– Only two Tottenham managers have taken 10+ points from their opening four Premier League games: Tim Sherwood and Harry Redknapp.

– Since Tony Pulis has taken over, Palace have conceded just eight goals in eight league games (three clean sheets). They conceded 21 in the first 12 of the season (two clean sheets).

– Crystal Palace have conceded first in their last five matches against top-six teams.

– Eight of Crystal Palace’s 13 goals this season have been scored by their strikers.

– In Premier League history, only five teams have scored fewer than 13 goals through their first 20 games of the season.

– Spurs have had draw/win results in their last four home wins against bottom-six teams.

– Tottenham have scored nine goals in four league games under Tim Sherwood; the same number that they scored in the last 10 games under Andre Villas-Boas.

– Christian Eriksen has been involved in three goals in his last three PL games (two goals, one assist).

– Tottenham have hit more shots off target than any other Premier League team (139).

I’m really looking forward to this game! I’m confident we can get the win!! With the game not televised, I’ll be sure to provide a stream for you all on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, as well as match updates, photos, videos and much more on the game. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane:
4-4-2
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Lennon – Capoue – Dembele – Eriksen
Defoe – Adebayor

Tim Sherwood’s preview of our game with Crystal Palace: