Match Preview, Tottenham vs Partizan Belgrade.

Match date & time: Thursday 27th November 2014. 8:05pm GMT KO.

Competition: Europa League Group C.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on ITV4 in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Tottenham’s Europa League campaign continues with the visit of Partizan, with an opportunity to proceed to the knockout stages with a win. We are level on points with Besiktas, 4 points ahead of 3rd place Asteras Tripolis, and 7 points ahead of 4th placed Partizan. With a win, we will qualify, and then we go to Besiktas fighting for top spot in the group, whether we will need a win or draw is yet to be decided, but first of all, we need to be qualified so that game against Besiktas doesn’t become a ‘must win’. There are a lot of permutations, but in the penultimate game in Group C, a lot will be decided. Hopefully, it will all go in our favour. After our win late on away at Hull, we have to change our focus quickly onto the Europa League and winning at White Hart Lane. Our form is good in the competition; winning our last 2 games against Asteras Tripolis, and now, back at White Hart Lane, it’s important we get the win again. At home, we are more than expected to get a result, but we have to deliver against a side which we struggled against away from home, I’m sure they’ll look to make it as difficult as possible for us, but I’m sure we will have enough to break them down, and secure qualification to the knockout stages.

Partizan are top of the the Serbian Super Liga, winning 11 of their 13 games and losing only 1. They’re used to winning, they know how to win and they can cause problems to sides, but, their League form hasn’t transferred into their Europa League games, and they sit bottom of Group C, with only 1 point and scoring only 1 goal, but that point came against Spurs in our visit to Belgrade, a frustrating & disappointing 0-0 draw. What was the unknown has become known, though. We have played them, and seen them play both Besiktas and Asteras Tripolis, knowing what they are, their threats, weaknesses and tactics, and with the opposition scouting system in place at Tottenham, I’m sure that makes it much easier for us to deploy a team that can win this game, and win it well. In the last game – we did draw 0-0 – and Partizan managed to completely nullify our offensive threat, so we have to make sure we are able to get through this time and pose much more of a threat to their goal, and at home, I’m very confident that we will.

Partizan only have a couple of injury concerns, Darko Brašanac (illness) is out, while fellow midfielder Nikola Drinčić (back) is a doubt for the game, and hasn’t featured in the Europa League this season since the play off rounds. Despite only scoring once in the Europa League so far, they do have a goal scoring striker in the League in the form of Petar Škuletić, who has an impressive 12 goals in 13 league appearances. So, given chances, he will be a threat to our goal, but those chances will most likely and hopefully be hard to come by for the Serbian outfit. Chances will be at a premium, and I think if they do get any, it will be Škuletić that they will be heavily relying on. Last time out against Besiktas, it was Saša Marković who got the goal from midfield, but as a more holding midfielder, they can’t rely on him for goals. For creation, it’s in the hands of captain Saša Ilic, and secondary striker Danko Lazović who has 8 goals in the Super Liga so far this season, their second highest goalscorer. It’s our hope that their creative, goalscoring players continue not to click in the Europa League and we will be able to qualify in relative ease.

The team news for Tottenham is that captain Younes Kaboul (knock), Emmanuel Adebayor (back), Nacer Chadli (knee), Andros Townsend (ankle), Danny Rose (Chest), Etienne Capoue (knock), Kyle Walker (match fitness) and Federico Fazio (suspended) won’t feature, while Nabil Bentaleb makes an overdue return to the squad after an ankle injury, thankfully. It’s a good thing we have a big squad, because I think any other team in the Europa League would struggle to field a competitive team with 8 first team absentees. The absences represent a chance for the fringe players to come in and make an impact. Pochettino has hinted at Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Aaron Lennon getting a chance after their performances from the bench away at Hull, and I would agree, I think they deserve a chance, and if Pochettino doesn’t reward good performances from the bench with starts, then we would have a problem in the squad – hopefully the fringe players deliver.

Aaron Lennon performed really well against Hull coming in off of the bench, he was a different attacking force, bringing what he has done for years on end, which is using his pace, stretching opponents, getting to the byline and creating opportunities for his team mates. Our attacking force has lacked raw pace at times, and definitely lacked width – and if Aaron Lennon offers you anything at all, it’s width! Playing in the right wing I think Lennon does have something to offer us this season, in both the Premier League and the Cup competitions. In defence, as rotation is a common factor in the Europa League, it’s hard to really say who will get the nod, whether it’s Jan Vertonghen and Vlad Chiriches for a more experienced look, or giving confidence to Chiriches, and partnering him with the less experienced Eric Dier, while playing Kyle Naughton out at right back. I’d really like to see Eric Dier at centre back, he’s natural there and as a young player I would like to see him in his most comfortable position, especially before we judge him; at right back it is evident he lacks confidence and I think comfort, which makes it difficult for him to show people his talents – it’s time for his chance at centre back. Up top, with the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor, I would be inclined to continue the partnership of Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane, that’s our best chance for goals, I think, and building that partnership and understanding can only help in the long term. With Chadli, Townsend and Adebayor absent, I think it’s even more likely that Soldado and Kane will get the nod up front for this game, and possibly again on Sunday against Everton. Youth could also be introduced – with midfielder Harry Winks, attacking midfielder Cristian Ceballos and central defender Dominic Ball in the squad, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one get a run somewhere in the game, if not one actually start the game.

Qualification is just around the corner! At White Hart Lane, we have a big, big chance at putting in a really good display for the fans, and to get through in style would be really comforting. The game is live on ITV 4, and I’ll be attending the game so I will update as much as possible from the stands at the Lane! Follow me on Twitter for much more Spurs, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Partizan at the Lane:
Naughton – Dier – Chiriches – Davies
Paulinho – Stambouli
Lennon – Kane – Ceballos

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of Partizan (2 videos):

Christian Eriksen speaks to the press ahead of Partizan:

How would you line up the Tottenham side to face Partizan? Is it time to give the youth a chance?

Match Review, Manchester United vs Tottenham.

Match: Wednesday 1st January 2013.

Venue: Old Trafford.

Competition: Premier League.

Result: Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham.

Tottenham scores: Emmanuel Adebayor 34′, Christian Eriksen 66′.

Manchester United scorer: Danny Welbeck 67′.

Wow! What a way to start 2014, a second win on the trot at the place we used to dread, Old Trafford. If Tim Sherwood stays on the path he currently is on, the fans will begin to love him. He put on a master class in management and that is no word of a lie, the tactics he put out to try and contain United, but also stay offensive were nothing short of genius! I’m not getting carried away, there is a lot of work to be done, but this definitely points to a bright future, as this win was without key members of the starting 11. Our first half performance was gritty, we couldn’t put passes together, but neither could United really, it was a sloppy game of football in which not many chances came about, both teams could have led though, us through Aaron Lennon, and United through Nemanja Vidic. We were playing counter attacking football, and that is where the goal came from, a great move that fell to Christian Eriksen’s feet, and he delivered a delightful ball into the box for Emmanuel Adebayor to rise high above Chris Smalling and head across De Gea into the bottom corner. 4 goals in 5 games for Adebayor under Sherwood now. In the second half, we raised our game and played very well, our passing game was good and precise. Another counter attacking move through Adebayor got Lennon on the ball, and he drove into the United box and delivered a great ball in which Christian Eriksen pounced on with his head ahead of Antonio Valencia, De Gea couldn’t keep it out. Disappointing that not even a minute later Manchester United were back in the game, three passes and they were in, Danny Welbeck finishing well. Tim Sherwood has admitted that was a disappointment, we need to keep switched on, even if we have just scored possibly the winner at Old Trafford. We showed grit, determination, passion and a love for the shirt in the minutes remaining to grind out a win after Adebayor went off injured, and the youngsters were introduced they all showed character and it was brilliant to see the lads playing like a team again instead of individuals. Tim is doing a great job.

The whole team was incredible, but my man of the match was definitely a split between Vlad Chiriches who played a blinder in defence alongside Michael Dawson, getting stuck in but also playing some fabulous passes into the midfield and attack which started off many attacks, also, Christian Eriksen is right up there as he played a massive part in both the goals and out of position on the left he did a great job working for the team and his passing was very impressive, especially in the second half. Third candidate for man of the match was Hugo Lloris, who kept us in the game with some stunning stops, even if he was a bit nervy at points. Emmanuel Adebayor put in another good performance and his goal was superb; he’s back and long may he continue this form, hopefully his injury isn’t too bad, we need him for the Arsenal game! Aaron Lennon is surely one of our most important players at the moment, he skinned Evra down that right hand side constantly and should have scored himself, but got an assist for the winner, plus, his tracking back as always was brilliant. Honorary mention also for Roberto Soldado who’s link up play was excellent, although his finishing is very disappointing at the moment he did very well because he was chasing the ball for 95% of the game, and he put in a real shift. He’s just got to keep working and I have no doubts that he can be brilliant and score a lot of goals for us. Laugh all you want!

A brilliant win, Tim Sherwood’s start to his reign at Tottenham and long may it continue. We are just 2 points away from the Champions League places and I’m becoming more and more confident we can challenge, especially when our main players come back from injury. Our next game is another big one! Arsenal at the Emirates in the FA Cup third round on Saturday 4th January 2014, kick off at 5:15pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Manchester United at Old Trafford:
Lloris – 8.5 – Shaky start, but made some crucial saves which were as big an impact as goals for us!
Walker – 8.5 – Brilliant once again. Defensively he dealt with Janujaz very well, and offensively always a threat.
Dawson – 8 – Yes, he was caught napping for their goal, but other than that, I thought he was brilliant.
Chiriches – 9 – Man of the match. Classy, composed, quality. Brilliant performance and contained Rooney superbly.
Rose – 6.5 – Rating a little harsh, but he was very very shaky, not a good performance. He can do better.
Lennon – 8.7 – Quality once again. Evra will have nightmares of his tiny speedy legs.
Dembele – 7 – Was difficult for him at times, Cleverley did well to stop him getting time on the ball.
Capoue – 7.5 – Thought he was good, sloppy passing but made good clearances and defensive contribution was good.
Eriksen – 9 – 1 goal and 1 assist at Old Trafford. Brilliant.
Adebayor – 8.5 – A great goal and his link up play was decent, although could have been better. What an engine he’s got!
Soldado – 8 – Great link up play, terrible finishing. And I’m running out of superlatives.

Chadli – 6 – Did his job well.
Kane – 7 – Did his job well.
Bentaleb – 6.5 – Did his job well.

Tim Sherwood’s match reaction to our 2-1 win over Manchester United:

Match highlights from Tottenham vs Manchester United:

Match Review, Fulham vs Tottenham.

Match: Wednesday 4th December 2013.

Premier League

Fulham 1-2 Tottenham.

Goal for Fulham: Dejagah 56′

Goals for Tottenham: Vlad Chriches 73′, Lewis. Holtby 82′

Yes! What a vital win! The performance wasn’t good enough, yet again, but this time we got three points on the board and moved up to sixth place from ninth. Fulham were always going to be up for it, a London derby at Home, with a new manager in place, a new era beginning, it was a big occasion and they turned up, putting in a brilliant performance, full credit to them, they were fantastic. We, on the other hand, weren’t good, sloppy in possession, defensively shaky and wasteful up top; yes we were unlucky on a few opportunities but it certainly wasn’t what we wanted to see after an inspiring performance on Sunday against Manchester United. First half was a right off, not good at all and had Lloris to thank we weren’t 1-0 down sooner. In the second half, we did improve, but a Michael Dawson mistake led to the opening of our defence and Dejagah finished really well and Fulham were flying. More frustration, more sloppiness followed, but we got back in the game after Vlad Chiriches’ wonder strike, his first goal for Spurs, made it 1-1, then the game was ours to win. And in the 82nd minute we did exactly that, Lewis Holtby with a screamer, and his first ever Premier League goal, what a time to get it! All the worries of the performance out the window with that one. Flashes of Bale in the strike.

The pick of the bunch for me out of all the players, was Hugo Lloris. He is something else. The best ‘keeper in the Premier League by a mile, and our saviour like Bale was last season, his saves get better every week, his speed, agility and quick thinking make him one of the best in the world, and he’s showed it again at Fulham, stopping the Cottagers from running away with it. Vlad Chiriches has been the surprise package of our 7 summer signings this season, he’s been a breath of fresh air at the back and delighted for him that he got his goal, what a goal it was! Lewis Holtby out in a top performance once coming on, he brought fluidity and creativity to the midfield, bringing the wingers into play more, and got the goal he deserved. So much passion and desire to win from him, it was great that he was the one to get the goal to seal the three points, a belter of a goal and his first for Spurs in the Premier League. Disappointed with our first half display, but we improved in the second half and getting those two goals could be the most important so far this season. As for Defoe up front, I want Soldado back up top on Saturday in Sunderland.

Great to get the win that was crucial, hopefully this can spark us into some form starting on Saturday, we’re back in action very quickly at the Stadium of Light on Saturday 7th December, kick off at 5:30pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Fulham at Craven Cottage:
Lloris – 9 – Man of the match.
Walker – 8 – Very impressive, he’s improved massively this season.
Dawson – 5 – Love him, but when Rose is back, he should be the first to drop out.
Chiriches – 9 – Can I award two man of the match awards? Course I can, I’m writing the damn thing. Man of the match 2.
Vertonghen – 7 – Didn’t look up for this one, get him back at centre back.
Capoue – 6 – His first PL start in a while, sloppy, but I’m sure he’ll improve.
Sandro – 6 – Sloppy too, but gave 100%, looked tired really.
Lennon – 8/9 – Very impressive, been brilliant since back from injury.
Paulinho – 6 – Missed a sitter! Needs to move the ball quicker.
Lamela – 7 – Very bright in the first half, and unlucky not to score, but tailed off in the second half.
Defoe – 5/6 – Quiet most of the game, could argue he didn’t do worse than Soldado, but may as well sit on the bench if so. Soldado better at linking the play.

Highlights from our 2-1 win over Fulham:

Andre’s post match reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Hull City.

Match: Sunday 27th October. Kick off 4pm.

Premier League

We face Hull City in a game we are expected to win this Sunday, our first game back at White Hart Lane after our abysmal 3-0 defeat to West Ham, dropping points is simply not an option against Hull. We bounced back very well at Villa Park against Aston Villa last weekend, winning in the end quite comfortably 2-0, and continued to bounce back with another 2-0 away win in the Europa League to FC Sheriff. Hull will test us, but our attacking ability should be too much for a depleted Tigers side. While the result is crucial, the way we play in this game is extremely important too, we need to show our ability to attack, our quick passing and clinical finishing, it’d be really nice to see us play as well as we know we’re capable of. The team has had time to gel and form, now is the time 14 games in to show what we’ve been trying to become. A big win is what us Spurs fans need.

Hull City have had a very solid start to the season, they’ll be very pleased to be in the top half of the Premier League, level on points with none other than Manchester United! They sit in 9th with 11 points, which is only 5 points off ourselves in 5th with 16pts. They have been hit with six or seven injuries, which will be a massive blow to any slim chances they had to get points on Sunday. Jake Livermore is out as he can’t play against his parent club. Danny Graham and Sone Aluko also seem to be out of the game, these players are key to Hull’s attack, as their best strikers. Allan McGregor, their number 1 keeper, is also out of the game with injury. Another star player Robbie Brady is a major doubt as well, and that is probably their biggest blow, as one of their best players. James Chester and Robert Koren are also out. The players they do have available will still be a tough test for us. Tom Huddlestone returns to the Lane, where he spent eight years, a player who was quality for us, and is showing his quality at Hull City as their star player. It’s written in the script that he’ll score against us, isn’t it?

Andros Townsend has been exceptional for both club and country this season, he’s been the shock package, bringing creativity, flair and a ‘no fear’ style of play, constantly wearing down the left back he faces, a joy to watch. He faces up against Maynor Figueroa on Sunday, which will be a test for Andros as Figueroa is an experienced Premier League left back with quite a bit of pace and strength, although Figueroa is sometimes defensively fragile as he attacks a lot down the left, his job will be clear against Spurs, ‘Stop Andros’. Roberto Soldado got back to goalscoring ways against Aston Villa and he’ll be looking to get on the score sheet again against Hull up against a defence that can be quite leaky. A striker is only as good as his service, so Christian Eriksen or Lewis Holtby will need to be on top of their game to provide Soldado with chances, given the service, I’d be very confident he’ll score. I’d tip Christian Eriksen to regain his place in the number 10 role from Lewis Holtby, he showed good form against FC Sheriff with a few classy flicks and an assist so deserves his place. Vlad Chiriches doesn’t deserve to lose his place after two man of the match performances in his last two games getting two clean sheets, so I’d expect him to start at centre back alongside Michael Dawson, with Jan Vertonghen at left back as Danny Rose misses out once again through injury. Etienne Capoue, Danny Rose and Younes Kaboul miss out through injury, but Aaron Lennon, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker, Paulinho and Andros Townsend all available and in the squad.

Every game in the Premier League for a team striving for the top is a ‘must-win’ but games like this are an expected three points, the players need to play like a top team in the so called ‘smaller’ games, as these are the matches that get you top four. The game is not televised. COYS!!

Match Stats from Opta via FourFourTwo

– No side have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Tottenham (5).

– Hull have won just one point from their last six Premier League away trips in London (L5 D1).

– Spurs have not won their last two PL home games (D1 L1) – they haven’t gone three home league games without a win since May 2011.

– The Tigers have collected just one win from their last 28 Premier League matches away from home (L20 D7).

– Tottenham have never won more points from their opening eight games of a Premier League season than they have this term (16).

– Hull have used fewer players than any other Premier League side in 2013/14 so far (17).

– Hull are the only side yet to score the first goal of the game away from home in the Premier League this season.

– Tottenham have taken 81 long throws in the Premier League this season; 24 more than any other side.

– Tottenham have caught their opponents offside more often than any other Premier League side this season (33).

– Spurs have recovered a loose ball in the opposition half more often than any other side in the Premier League this season (108).

My predicted/preferred team to face Hull City at White Hart Lane:
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Vertonghen
Paulinho – Sandro
Townsend – Eriksen – Sigurdsson

Match Review, FC Sheriff Tiraspol vs Tottenham

Match: Thursday 24th October 2013

Europa League

FC Sheriff 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur. Vertonghen 12′, Defoe 75′.

Three points and a clean sheet as we sit top of our Europa League group with nine points. A good win, but not a good performance. We struggled in the game, with Sheriff’s pace in behind causing us significant problems defensively, but fortunately enough for us, their shooting was extremely poor, and hardly tested Hugo Lloris in the end, they’ll be very disappointed in their strikers. They applied a high amount of pressure in midfield, not giving our midfield an inch of space, it was very difficult to break through. Finally, through none other than a corner, yes you read that right, Tottenham Hotspur scored from a corner, Jan Vertonghen the man to take advantage of a great Eriksen cross on 12 minutes. We continued to find it hard to break through, and Sheriff continued to work our defence and midfield extremely hard. Our passing was not good and in truth we didn’t get going at all throughout the game, we tried to cruise it, and thank fully we managed to. Jermain Defoe’s strike late on secured the points and his equalled record with Martin Chivers as Tottenham’s top European goalscorer, and we are extremely close to qualifying for the knockout stages.

Sad to say there weren’t many stand out performances, sloppy work in midfield and not many chances created, and defensively we were shaky as well, even though arguably our best player was in defence. Vlad Chiriches is looking like a very classy central defender, good in possession, quick decision making and a great tackler. I really like him as a player. He was shifted out to right back when Ezequiel Fryers got injured, which wasn’t great for Vlad, but he dealt with it well, and attacked well on the right! Jan Vertonghen also did well, some key tackles in situations which could have been avoided, but at the end of the day, clean sheet and three points! It was good to see Aaron Lennon back, not very influential, but in the conditions he faced he did well, going to be important for us this season. Disappointed in Jermain Defoe, he didn’t offer anything up front, despite his goal the stats show he didn’t create or take his few chances well, maybe I’m being harsh, but he certainly didn’t do well in this game. Erik Lamela had a difficult game, had some sparks of brilliance with a few flicks but the game was very narrow and difficult for all the attackers.

Frustrating game, but we got the job done and now we can move on and get back into Premier League action. Our next game against Hull City at White Hart Lane is on Sunday 27th October. In our next Europa League game, we could clinch qualification to the knockout stages, we face FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane on Thursday 7th November. Both very big games! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced FC Sheriff at the Complexus Sheriff Stadium:
Lloris – 8
Naughton – 4
Chiriches – 8
Vertonghen – 8 – Man of the Match
Fryers – N/A
Sandro – 8
Dembele – 6
Lamela – 5
Eriksen – 6
Lennon – 6
Defoe – 5

Holtby – 6
Chadli – 7
Dawson – 6

Match Highlights of the game against Sheriff:

Welcome to Spurs, Vlad Chiriches!

Yet another signing in what is turning out to be a quite stunning transfer window. Vlad Chiriches has joined from Stuea Bucuresti in a Romanian record, £8.5 million deal. Chiriches is a 23 year old centre back, with 19 caps for the Romanian national side. Vlad has signed a 5 year deal with Spurs. His nickname in Romania was ‘The Impaler’, so you can already tell he’s a brute!

With the sale of Steven Caulker to Cardiff in a £9million deal, we were quite light at the back with only three first team centre backs available. AVB has stated his desire to bring in another centre back, because he believes you need at least four top class centre halves in a team challenging for honours such as Tottenham, and I must say I agree. We seemed to have captured Vlad from Bucuresti earlier on in the transfer window, but Stuea’s somewhat crazy owner cancelled the deal from his jail cell. Madness! We continued to pursue the big Romanian, and finally, although late on, have captured him. To everyone’s delight.

Compared to Caulker, Chiriches is much more of a modern centre back. He comes forward with the ball, and tries to set up attacks when he can, a bit like one of our current centre backs Jan Vertonghen. On the ball, Vlad is composed, and elegant, and this suits our style of play a lot. To say whether he is better than Caulker is still not known, as the Premier League is obviously a much harder league than in Romania. Vlad ‘The Impaler’ has been praised by a lot of the top clubs in Europe, including Jose Mourinho, who said if he were a couple of inches taller, he would have taken him to Madrid. High praise indeed. He will need to settle in quickly, and get his mind right, and his ability on the field will show.

I don’t think Chiriches will be a starter. He’s not yet at the level of Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul or Michael Dawson, but he will get games in the many competitions we are in such as the Europa League, Capital One Cup and the FA Cup. He is great back up, especially as Kaboul is coming back from a long term injury, and so may be a little fragile. Chiriches can also play at full back, he covers left back and right back, this can only be good for our squad depth. It will help out in the long run I’m sure.

Great to have Chiriches on board, and still more signings to come. Looking forward to a great season! COYS!