You can question his dress sense, but not his footballing sense. Kyle Walker’s return to form.

Kyle Walker has been criticised for quite a while now for his poor form, defensive insecurities and lack of a ‘footballing mind’. These criticisms have been correct in some cases, but this season Walker has shown that he has more than just ‘pace’, he is a footballer that is learning and becoming one of the best right backs in the League, I can’t think of many better.

After a poor 2012/13 season, Walker has come into this season playing really well, looking like he’s back to the heights he set in the 2011/12 season, when he won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. His offensive qualities are already known throughout the footballing world, but it is his defensive qualities that have been severely questioned by Spurs fans, and footballing pundits, as a right back being defensive is pretty much key, otherwise you’re just a winger. What Kyle Walker has shown this season is improvement, he has worked hard at his game and it has paid off, he looks a different player from last season.

Silly mistakes. A good performance would be completely overshadowed by a mistake last season, the stand out mistake being his dreadful back pass to Hugo Lloris against Liverpool at Anfield which cost a goal in our 3-2 defeat. He put in a good performance that game, but that isn’t going to be remembered. This season, he has cut those mistakes out of his game *touches wood*, making only ONE defensive mistake this season according to Squawka, against Manchester City, in which every player made a mistake at least once. He’s been consistently brilliant, and he deserves lots of credit.

The things Kyle offers us offensively are now key to us, his pace causes problems for opposition defenders. His power to beat players to the ball and get a corner out of nothing is important to us, something we had with that Gareth Bale guy last season, the raw pace to get past players and win a throw or a corner to relieve pressure on the rest of the defence. The responsibility that he has taken on his shoulders, after our best player left is great, he’s been brilliant.

At just 23, Walker is still learning, building his game. He’s becoming a top player and we’re lucky to have him at Spurs. Kyle now needs to continue his hard work, win over his critics, perform well for England and become a player to remember for Spurs fans! This season, he has been our most consistent player, putting in good performances, and Man of the Match performances, my best player of the season so far is Hugo Lloris, but Walker comes very close to that award with his performances and it shows in the clean sheets he has helped the team to this season so far.

A few Kyle Walker stats provided by Squawka

– Kyle has a pass accuracy of 84% so far this season, up from last season’s 83%.

– Walker created 53 chances last season in 36 games, this season he has already created 27 chances in just 15 appearances.

– He wins on average 59% of his duels during matches, up from last season’s average of 57%.

These little improvements are making a big difference to his performances this season. Long may it continue!

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Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013.

Premier League

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland goal: Adam Johnson 36′.

Tottenham goals: Paulinho 43′, John O’Shea OG 50′.

Another great win away from home! Our December month has started with a bang, 7 points from our last three difficult matches is exactly what we needed, our comeback is complete from our Manchester City mauling, what was looking bleak is now looking rather bright. Three points off second, after other teams dropped points, now we need to beat Liverpool and stake our claim for those Champions League places. In the first half, it wasn’t great by any means. We were sloppy and didn’t look threatening to Sunderland, slow and unimaginative. Sunderland didn’t have a lot of chances, but they only needed a bit of luck when the usually reliable Hugo Lloris made a mistake and gifted a goal for Adam Johnson, typical of the Spurs of this season. We got back very quickly, taking their goal as a kick up the backside and we didn’t look back, a great ball from Walker found Chadli, who headed the ball back in well for Paulinho to poke in. After half time, we dominated, made the game our own, showed determination, desire and offensive quality to go for the win and get it! Early on we got the goal to put us in front, Mousa Dembele took his man on and made it happen, then putting the ball in the box for John O’Shea to expertly finish it into his net, great goal! Haha. After the goal, we didn’t sit back we went for the third to kill off the game, but it didn’t come, I don’t know how. We got to 90 minutes and we won the game, so I’m happy!!

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The players all played very well, our second half performance was some of the best football we played this season, we created opportunities, passed the ball brilliantly and quickly, looking like the good old Tottenham again! My man of the match was Kyle Walker, what a player he has been for us this season so far, he’s improved so much from last season, taking the responsibility on his shoulders and thriving off of it. He was defensively outstanding, strong, aware of danger and making the right decisions. Offensively, his partnership with Lennon down the right is proving to be extremely affective. Very happy he’s back to his best. Aaron Lennon was also outstanding; since he has returned from injury he has been a breath of fresh air, giving us that width we have needed. Brilliant again. Mousa Dembele is one of the most technically gifted players that has played for Spurs in recent times, the way he glides past players like they aren’t there is incredible; the only thing you can criticise him on is his final product offensively, if he were to gain that, he’s up there with the best in the League.

Great win! We move on to the Europa League on Thursday 12th December against Anzhi, even though it doesn’t mean much, we want to maintain that 100% record! Then, we return to action in the Premier League in a massive game at the Lane! Liverpool on Sunday, 15th December. Let’s get a win!! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
Lloris – 7 – Certainly not his best performance, that mistake was disappointing, but still solid.
Walker – 9 – Man of the Match. Outstanding again.
Dawson – 8 – Saved us a couple of times. He may not be the most talented, but gives 100% every time.
Capoue – 8 – He fit in at centre back brilliantly! Great option to have in the future.
Naughton – 7.5 – Proved to a lot of his critics (including me), that he is a capable left back.
Paulinho – 9 – Top class performance, good goal. If he can control his finishing, world class!
Dembele – 9 – Very happy he’s Spurs.
Lennon – 9 – Breath of Fresh air!
Holtby – 8 – Worked his socks off, created opportunities and showing his class recently.
Chadli – 6 – He’s not found his feet in the Premier League, but I have confidence.
Defoe – 6.5 – He makes some good runs, unlucky on a couple of occasions, but should be finishing those chances…

Subs:
Sandro – 7 – Beast.
Townsend – 8 – On the left, he is outstanding. Keep him there Andre.
Sigurdsson – 6 – Didn’t make a massive impact, did his job!

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Sunderland:

AVB’s reaction post Sunderland victory:

What is Tottenham’s best 11?

Tottenham’s squad is undoubtedly one of the strongest and deepest in the Premier League, the amount of international regulars we have throughout the entire squad is staggering and holds us in good stead for the rest of this season and beyond, but what is the best starting 11 that can be put out in our biggest and most important games? It’s a difficult choice that will most likely differ in choice from one person to the next, but here is my choice and my reasons for picking them in my 11:

Formation

Early on in pre season it looked as though a change of style could occur, and we could go to a 4-3-3 formation, similar to Porto when AVB was in charge, but the addition of Eriksen who plays in the hole and also Lewis Holtby, means that we have stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation, which adds more guile and creativity to the team than the 4-3-3. An easy choice. 4-2-3-1.

GK – Hugo Lloris

Most likely the easiest choice I have to make in the line-up. One of the best ‘keepers the Premier League has to offer. Fits our style of play with the high-line perfectly with his pace, agility and sharpness. Saved us numerous times so far this season, our nailed on number 1.

RB – Kyle Walker

Kyle certainly has his critics. Defensively he can be vulnerable, and his positioning is quite poor for a right back, but he is the best we have in the position and is still learning the game at 23. He will continue to improve defensively. Offensively, I think Walker is a real asset to the team, given the freedom to attack the right flank he can create for the team and cause threat to the opposition. Hopefully he improves more as the season continues.

RCB – Younes Kaboul

I think Younes is a quality centre back, who fits in with the way AVB plays. Pace, power and defensive composure. Two seasons ago he was arguably our best player, a rock at the back. Sadly, Kaboul really struggles with injuries, wether he can recover fully from these injuries is a definite question mark. I really hope he can, because if he becomes fit again, he will in my opinion start alongside Jan Vertonghen. While Younes isn’t fit, club captain Michael Dawson should get the nod.

LCB – Jan Vertonghen

Another easy decision. Vertonghen has cemented his place in our starting 11 from more-or-less day one. Commonly known as ‘Super Jan’, he performs consistently as one of the best centre backs in the league. On the ball he plays like a midfielder, off the ball, he plays like a world class defender, certainly one of our best players. Sometimes can be caught a little flat footed, but that’d be a very harsh judgement from myself.

LB – Danny Rose

Danny Rose proved himself in the Premier League with Sunderland on loan last season, being awarded player of the year. He’s come back, and he’s been very solid. An unsung hero so far this season. Offensively he has been good, but I’ve been disappointed with his final ball, hopefully it improves as he continues the season. Where I’ve been very impressed with Danny is defensively. Some picked him out as a ‘defensive liability’, but I don’t think this is the case at all. Sometimes he can be caught out while pushing up the pitch, but not too often as Jan Vertonghen is usually there to cover. When he is in defensive situations, he deals with them very well, he’s also made some extremely important blocks so far! Hopefully he continues his good form when he comes back into the team.

RCM – Paulinho

I’ve been very impressed with how Paulinho has settled into life at Spurs, he’s been one of the stand out players. Defensively he is strong and offensively, he’s even better! A true box to box midfielder that adds another goal threat to the team, but also a player who can pick a pass when needed. I believe he has to start, even with the fierce, and I mean FIERCE competition he is getting for his position from players like Capoue and Sandro.

LCM – Mousa Dembélé

My toughest decision in the team. Dembele, Sandro or Capoue. I was really tempted to put Sandro or Capoue in there, as they can add the defensive toughness to the team that Paulinho and Dembele possibly don’t have, certainly not like Capoue or Sandro do. Dembele makes us tick, I rate him very highly, his ability to glide past players and bring the ball out from defence to start attacks. To take him out could be a big mistake, but to leave him in could be a mistake in itself. Capoue has been phenomenal since coming in, and Sandro has been a rock for a while now. The toughest decision AVB will have to make is this one, in my opinion.

CAM – Christian Eriksen

Eriksen has been a great signing so far, bringing a creative touch to our powerful midfield. Controlled the game on his debut against Norwich and has already scored a beauty for us in the Europa League against Tromsø. It is still a tough decision to decide between Eriksen and Lewis Holtby. Both have been excellent so far this season, but Eriksen just tips it at the moment. Good competition for places in this area, with Erik Lamela able to play here as well.

RW – Erik Lamela

Erik hasn’t set the Premier League, or the Europa League by storm so far this season, and some may doubt his £30 million price tag, but I can assure you he will come good. 15 goals last season for AS Roma in Serie A, and at only 21, I truly believe he’ll be a star in the future. He hasn’t adapted to the physicality and pace of the Premier League just yet, and he also doesn’t speak English, but in time, when he does settle and maybe beef up a little, I believe he will gain his place in the Spurs side. The competition on the right flank is high, with the Premier League experienced Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend both fighting for the spot, but I think Erik will take it after he settles properly into the team.

LW – Andros Townsend

Having played right wing this season for both Spurs and England, it may be a bit of a surprise that I’ve placed him on the left. This would be my choice, to fit in two very very good wingers into the Spurs team, Lamela and Andros. Andros has lots of experience on the left, having started his career in the position, so I’d give him the left wing slot over Lamela. Townsend has shown he is very capable with both feet, he can come inside and shoot with his right, or have more of the option to go to the by-line and get a dangerous cross in. I believe this would get even more out of Townsend. He’s has a great start, hopefully he starts banging the goals in for Spurs like he has for England!

ST – Roberto Soldado

There is no doubt that Soldado has struggled to adapt to the Premier League’s pace and physicality, a bit like Erik Lamela. With only 2 goals in 7 games, which were from the penalty spot, it hasn’t been a great start for the Spaniard. It takes time, and I have faith in him to score the goals to help us reach the Champions League. His 24 goals last season in La Liga for Valencia show that he’s more than got it in his locker. His conversion rate in Spain was extraordinary, and when he finds his feet and gets the confidence back, I’m sure he’ll be banging them in for fun. His link up play has been excellent, despite not scoring, he’s made 11 chances for others in 7 games, which shows he helps us out in more ways than just goals.

Conclusion

It is very difficult to pick just 11 players, when the squad is so vast. Leaving out players like Sandro, Capoue, Sigurdsson, Chadli and Defoe is difficult, but it shows you the quality we have. I could name a second team quite easily, so the cup competitions should be quite an experience this season! It’s going to be a long season, and I think our squad will be right up there this season. Blips like against West Ham happen to the best teams, it’s how you respond that makes you a top team. COYS!!

Thanks for reading! What team would you play? Comment and SHARE!

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Younes Kaboul, the return.

Younes Kaboul is back, we have missed him this whole season, he is perfect for our team at centre back. We play the high line, and Kaboul is the main player for that system, his pace to go with strikers, his tackling ability make him one of the best centre backs we have, and I’m so glad he is back. Younes makes the team stronger, he is a leader, his experience will be useful to our team, and he will make our other centre back Jan Vertonghen an even better player. Our best back four includes Jan and Younes as the centre back partnership, with Walker at right back, and Assou-Ekotto and left back. This back four is so strong, and will be extremely hard to get past with the player’s pace, and defensive ability.

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Younes should make his comeback this season, but next season, he will make a big impact, we have needed him, and urged for him to get back, but he is back now, and it’s a massive boost. He obviously has the ability, as we saw last season, he was our best player all season in my opinion. He has the ability to improve, and I think he will, it will take him time to get back to his best, but when he does, he will be better than even. The injury that happened to him was a bad one, the same sort of knee injury as Sandro, it is painful, and if the surgery doesn’t go well, it can ruin you for a while, but both Sandro’s and Kaboul’s surgeries went really well, and they will be back, stronger then before. He is going to be like a new signing, really happy he is back. Finally! Kaboom! COYS!!

Match Review, Tottenham vs Everton

Tottenham 2-2 Everton
Adebayor 1′. Jagielka 15′
Sigurdsson 87′. Mirallas 57′

Not the best of results, would have loved three points, but with all of our injuries, a point against a great team in Everton is a bonus. We went 1-0 up through a rare Adebayor goal, and we thought that it was going to be a good day, but we let it slip unfortunately and we had to claw it back, Sigurdsson scored late on to grab us a point. It was a decent performance, but we missed our best players, when Lennon, Bale and Defoe are all out, it isn’t the greatest of situations. Everton performed well, and probably deserved the point because of the way they fought back after an early set back.

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Emmanuel Adebayor was awesome today, finally put in a performance worthy of wearing the Spurs shirt, great goal, and he held the ball up well, really good, lets hope he can continue this form. Kyle Walker had a good game, his best for a while, and this is because of his ability to get forward when Lennon doesn’t play. Gylfi Sigurdsson was great, his crossing wasn’t great but he was always working hard and tackling well, played really well. Tom Huddlestone made a cameo performance and really played well, his passing was sublime and he looked really good, hope he has more of a role to play for the rest of the season as Parker isn’t looking good. Our next game is against Basel away from home, time to save the tie! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at White Hart Lane:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 8
Dawson – 7
Caulker – 7
Vertonghen – 7
Dembele – 8
Parker – 5
Holtby – 6
Dempsey – 4
Adebayor – 8 Man of the Match
Sigurdsson – 8

Subs:
Huddlestone – 8
Carroll – 7

Match Review, Liverpool vs Tottenham

Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham
Suarez 21′ Vertonghen 45′, 53′
Downing 66′
Gerrard 82′

Very disappointing to lose this game, after a good performance, we deserved much more, but this is the Premier League, and frustrating defeats are very common for most teams. We went 1-0 down, Luis Suarez with a goal, and it looked like it was going to be their day, but then just before half time, Jan Vertonghen headed home and we started to really threaten. Second half, we played very well, and went ahead with another goal from Super Jan, this time with his feet, this made it look as though we could get an extraordinary win. Then a Kyle Walker mistake led to Downing getting the equaliser at a moment where we were comfortable. Then disaster struck, another mistake, this time from Jermain Defoe, led to Luis Suarez gaining a debatable penalty, Gerrard dispatched, unfortunately.

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Mousa Dembele was absolutely brilliant, he played an unbelievable game, in a position where he isn’t comfortable, worked hard and pushed us forward really well, massive player for us. Jan Vertonghen was almost the hero, two really well taken goals, and he defended well all day, great performance. Scott Parker had a good game, tackled well, and when he had the opportunity to push forward, he did so effectively. It’s disappointing, but we still have third, and in a good place, a loss to a good Liverpool team isn’t that bad, we push forward and look to the next game. Our next game is against Inter Milan at the San Siro on Thursday 14th March, have to get through that. Then our next Premier League game is against Fulham at the Lane on Sunday, 17th March. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Liverpool at Anfield:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 6
Dawson – 8
Vertonghen – 9
Assou-Ekotto – 5
Dembele – 9
Parker – 8
Livermore – 6
Sigurdsson – 8
Bale – 8
Defoe – 6

Subs:
Holtby – 6
Carroll – 7

Match Preview, Aston Villa vs Tottenham

Aston Villa have a very young squad, but a very talented squad. They didn’t have the best start to the season but they slowly got into the rhythm of the Premier League, the set back was against Chelsea, a massive 8-0 thrashing that must have effected the mind sets of the young players. Aston Villa will want to bounce back after that defeat so if we underestimate them, with the attacking quality that they have, we will get punished. Benteke and Weimann are Villa’s biggest threats and if we control the service into them we should be able to get a clean sheet quite easily, but knowing us it will still be a big task to get the coveted ‘clean sheet’.

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Kyle Walker is going back to his club that we loaned him out to, and where he got the important Premier League experience that made him the player he is now. Gareth Bale is as always going to play a big part and hopefully hit the top form he was at before his hamstring injury. Scott Parker could start after Sandro’s disappointing performance against Stoke City. Clint Dempsey will hopefully come back into the team after returning to training after his groin problem, and this should be an improvement to Adebayor’s below par performances since his return after his three match ban. This game could go either way, it could be very tight, or there could be a thrashing in store for Villa. Hopefully we can get full points and get back to winning ways, the game is being shown on Sky Sports at 5pm. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Aston Villa:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Dembele – Parker – Bale
Dempsey
Defoe

Match Review, Tottenham vs Liverpool

What a brilliant win, a very important three points that sees us close the gap on Chelsea and move ahead of Arsenal. We started the first half extremely quickly and got two very good goals. We then dropped off the pace, and Liverpool started to attack us more frequently, to be honest, I was not very worried because I felt the attacking qualities that Liverpool had were very average. It took a very lucky own goal by Bale to put them in the mix for an equaliser, but thankfully it never came. Probably our best start to a game this season, very impressive.

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Gareth Bale was phenomenal, defensively he helped Jan Vertonghen double up on Sterling, and his attacking play was simply stunning, every time he got the ball it looked like a chance was on the horizon. Michael Dawson has now proved himself, and while Kaboul is out he should partner Caulker. Mousa Dembele was immense, he made crucial tackles and his passing was spot on, nice to see him gliding past players such as Gerrard with ease again. Kyle Walker has returned to form, no more silly mistakes, he looks solid and saved us the game with an outstanding goal line clearance. This was an amazing win and I’m looking forward to continuing this form against Fulham on Saturday at Craven Cottage. COYS!!

My player ratings for the game against Liverpool:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 8
Gallas – 6 1/2
Dawson – 8
Vertonghen – 8
Lennon – 9
Sandro – 9
Dembele – 9
Bale – 9 man of the match
Dempsey – 7
Defoe – 7

Aaron Lennon; Amazing Pace

Aaron Lennon has been phenomenal this season, he has been one of our most important players. We look extremely dangerous when Bale and Lennon line up together, and last season when Lennon was injured we did not look threatening from the right hand side. We played Rafael van der Vaart on the right and he was very ineffective, and if Lennon got injured this season we would be in a worse position as we don’t have the same sort of player and we would have to change the way we play dramatically. The only player that in my opinion could play on the right is Iago Falque, but he would not bring us the dramatic pace that we need on the right. Kyle Walker blossomed last season because Lennon wasn’t playing, this is because he did hardly any defending and did almost all the attacking on the right, this season, you could say he has been poor, but it may be that the return of Lennon has hampered his attacking play, but I feel Lennon attacking is so much more affective than Walker. Lennon is one of those players that when he gets the ball, you feel that a goal could come, the only other players that I have this feeling about are Gareth Bale and Mousa Dembele, when all three are bombing forward the whole stadium knows that a chance is coming.

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Aaron Lennon has been called back up to the England squad, which is definitely deserved as he could be one of England’s most important players. Lennon’s crosses have become so much better, he doesn’t cross until he is in the box and there is significant support, he then stands it up perfectly for one of our players to head in beautifully. Lennon has been criticised for not scoring enough goals, and this is fair but this season he has scored and has been very threatening on other occasions, this is very promising. He has matured as a player, and as a man which has made such an impact to his game, having captained the side is very good for him, and he deserves it after his loyalty to the club. This is a player that is loved by the fans, and has been backed continuously as ‘better that Theo Walcott’ this I feel is completely true. I hope that he continues to have a quality season and score and assist many more goals. ‘There’s only one Aaron Lennon!’. COYS!!

Match Review, Tottenham vs Chelsea

“Bad result, but a good performance” were the words AVB used after the game, and I agree. Our first half performance was sloppy, and Chelsea deserved to be ahead. Our showing in the second half was top draw. We came back strong and got ahead but then didn’t have the quality to finish the game off. We lacked the flair of Gareth Bale and Mousa Dembele tremendously. No doubt the result would have been different with them in the team. We worked tirelessly but with five top players out, we were never going to have a team good enough to beat a top class side like Chelsea.

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Some of our players had poor games, Clint Dempsey and William Gallas were lucky not to be taken off at half time. Good performances came from our biggest players. Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen were showing why they are in our starting eleven every week. Tom Huddlestone was a surprise contender for man of the match in my opinion, looked comfortable on the ball and almost everything creative was through a Huddlestone pass. I think the fans were too hard on Kyle Walker, he made a couple of mistakes but he wasn’t as bad as some people have made out. Obviously still has a lot to learn, but is in my opinion the best right back in the Premier League. The scoreline looks harsh, the fourth goal is almost irrelevant to the game, as we were pushing for the equaliser and they broke and scored an easy goal. Hopefully we can go to Stamford Bridge later in the year with our full team and show them who the best team in London really is. Our next Premier League game is against Southampton at St Mary’s, COYS!!

My Player Ratings vs Chelsea:
Friedel – 7
Walker – 6
Gallas – 5
Caulker – 8
Vertonghen – 8
Lennon – 9 man of the match
Sandro – 7
Huddlestone – 8 1/2
Dempsey – 6
Sigurdsson – 6
Defoe – 9