Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match date & time: Sunday 22nd February 2015. 12pm GMT Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

It’s big game after big game at the moment, cup final after cup final. After losing to Liverpool in frustrating fashion, then a difficult draw to Fiorentina in the Europa League, we now need to get back on track with a good win in an important London derby with West Ham. The Cup final should be put to the back of our mind, and our only focus must be on the next game, and making this season a success with the attitude that our only challenge is to win the next match, not to finish ahead of Arsenal, not to finish in the top four, only to win our next match. Our defeat to Liverpool was difficult to take, we weren’t amazing, but probably deserved a point, which would have been considered a good result, but now we have to respond with a win in a massive game in terms of the League standing, and for the fans who after a 3-0 and 2-1 defeat to West Ham last season at the Lane, need to take revenge, for sure. We sit 6th in the Premier League table, and need to keep winning games to put pressure on the teams ahead of us, and this is a good opportunity at home to get another three points on the board. At home, we’re confident, and hopefully we can return to winning ways in great fashion in a big London derby.

West Ham have had a good season so far, and sit in a respectable 8th position in the Premier League, just behind Liverpool and Tottenham, and hold the title of ‘best of the rest’ that aren’t battling it out for European places, although I am sure West Ham would like to think they have a chance of gaining a European spot, as it isn’t fully beyond them yet. Their recent form has not been fantastic, with only 3 wins in 12 games, and in their last fixture, in the FA Cup away to West Brom they fell to a 4-0 thumping, so they will be looking to make amends, but on the flip side we will be looking to take advantage of what could be seen as a slump in form. Their last three games, against Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton saw the Hammers amass only 2 points, with draws to the Saints and the Red Devils, which could be seen as a good two points, but after only beating Bristol 1-0 in the FA Cup, along with dispatching struggling Hull and winning on penalties to Everton, it is only 2 wins in 10 Premier League matches, with 5 draws and 3 losses. Their form is dropping and they’ll need to improve rapidly to have a chance of keeping up with the teams ahead of them who are all hitting a good run of form.

Andy Carroll (knee) is the only definite absentee for the Hammers, while Chiekhou Kouyate (arm) and Diafra Sakho (back) are slight doubts, but along with Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins are expected to be in the squad that travels to White Hart Lane, and as key players for West Ham, would be likely to be involved from the start. New signing Nene is also set to be absent due to a lack of match fitness. West Ham have quite a few good players, and up top Diafra Sakho is the Hammers’ top scorer, with 10 goals in all competitions, and his strength and finishing prowess have been very impressive in his first season in English football. He will be the main threat for the Irons, and they will be looking to get the service that he needs to be effective. The player that will be looking to provide that service will be Stewart Downing, who has 5 goals in the Premier League, but also has a notable 7 assists, cementing himself as a very effective player to West Ham this season, which has earned him an England call up this season, so we will be looking to contain his threat from either the wings or from his more central position. In midfield, the man that has made the Irons tick has been former Arsenal player and now on loan from Barcelona, Alex Song, who has proven himself a valuable and experienced man in the midfield for West Ham, earning a lot of plaudits from fans and journalists. Along with Song, Sakho and Downing, Enner Valencia has the pace and energy to cause problems, he has 4 goals this season, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally.Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 15.34.26
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a clean bill of health, with no suspensions either, and it’s so pleasing that this has been the case for quite a while. Only DeAndre Yedlin is the definite absentee having been with the USMNT. There will definitely be rotation from the side that drew with Fiorentina at the Lane, Harry Kane replacing goalscorer Roberto Soldado, with Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason expected to return as well, hopefully fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game with West Ham. Obviously you would expect Eric Dier and Danny Rose also to come back in to replace Ben Davies and Federico Fazio.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane will once again have the eyes of the public on him, to see if he can continue his remarkable form, with 23 goals in 36 games, in another really big game against another London rival. He has come into this big patch of games in stunning form and we need him to continue that coming into the last part of the season, including our humungous Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1st; hopefully the January player of the month can continue his February performances. Harry Kane has been joined in his good form by Mousa Dembele, who as well as hitting the net away at Liverpool in our 3-2 loss, was arguably our best player with Harry Kane; on the ball Mousa is phenomenal and he has improved drastically recently in the position just behind the striker, it enables the big Belgian to be more involved in the match and increase his effectiveness in the game, which can only be positive for Tottenham because of his ability to hold onto the ball and bring his team mates into the action. Mousa’s Belgian team mate Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic so far this season, and is showing his class at the back alongside either Fazio or Dier, showing his leadership qualities but also his ability in defence to keep opponents quiet. His tackling talent is second to none in our side, but also his composure to pick a pass and start attacks from the back. I have been extremely impressed with his performances this season after being poor last term, he has rediscovered his best form, and credit goes to Jan for working hard, but also Mauricio Pochettino for re-motivating the Belgian defender after looking disillusioned at Spurs last season. In midfield, we rely on Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb to provide the energy and tenacity in midfield, and they have delivered magnificently recently. Hopefully though, both players can tighten up their passing after a sloppy display against Liverpool, but to be fair that applies to the whole team who were slightly sloppy. Christian Eriksen has been fantastic this season, but in recent games he has been slightly ineffective and had a poor game against Fiorentina, so we need him to pick up his performance levels, because he is so important to Tottenham playing well; hopefully he can find his passing range again and maybe find the net again, as he has a little bit of a dip in form, but there’s no doubting he’ll come back into form very soon.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham.

– There have been three red cards in the last two Premier League meetings between West Ham and Spurs.

– Prior to West Ham’s win at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham had won seven and lost none of the previous 11 home games against the Hammers.

– Tottenham have conceded 497 goals in Premier League history at White Hart Lane.

– Eight of Spurs’ last 10 Premier League victories have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Tottenham Hotspur have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

– Spurs have recovered the joint-most points from losing positions of any team in the Premier League (15 along with Palace).

– West Ham have scored more headed goals (14) than any other Premier League team this season, also accounting for a divisional high 39% of total scored.

– The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W1 D4 L3).

– Injured striker Andy Carroll has scored in two of his three Barclays Premier League games for West Ham against Tottenham.

Another big game, bringing us back into Premier League action with a bang in another London derby against a definite rival where revenge is definitely on the cards after our previous losses to the Hammers. The game is live on BT Sport, but I will be sure to provide updates for goals, photos and videos from my twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get back to winning ways in another big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Ham at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the West Ham match:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match: Saturday 7th February 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal.

Tottenham goalscorers: Harry Kane 56’, Harry Kane 86’.

Arsenal goalscorer: Mesut Ozil 11’.

What a game, what a win, what a performance and what a player Harry Kane is. Everything we wanted to happen in this game did. It was our day and we now own, rightfully, the bragging rights in North London. We had a game plan and we stuck to it, we played with incredible energy, desire and every time we lost the ball, we recovered it as soon as was humanly possible. The side never panicked, never stressed; there was always an air of belief around the stadium and in the players that we could get the job done and we did exactly that, it was sensational. The win further boosts our confidence going into a very tough February period, with Liverpool coming up next, we go into that game bouncing and buzzing, and hopefully, the win propels us into having a wonderful season, because a North London Derby victory can change your fortune in an instant. We need to take this feeling and buoyancy into the rest of the season, and continue to be consistent and keep working our way up the Premier League table, and I hope, we can win a trophy as well. Mauricio Pochettino has been magnificent and his tactics in the big games have been marvellous; and now I hope on Tuesday we can do it again at Anfield. It’s all begun to click at Tottenham; the fans and the players have that connection again, and White Hart Lane is rocking – the way in which we are playing, with intent, with creativity and guile as well as aggression and desire, is exactly what the fans and the whole club has craved for a long while, and under Pochettino we are starting to see it all come together, and the future really is looking bright on this side of North London. I am certainly excited to see how we can further develop on what is a really good squad and bunch of young players.

Back to the game, in the first half, we started really well, Harry Kane going close, Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose were causing a mountain of problems on that left hand side and we were looking the much more likely side to break the deadlock. But, it wasn’t to be us that struck first, as Danny Welbeck showed great pace to breeze past Danny Rose, and then delivered a good ball for Olivier Giroud, who scuffed his shot and it unfortunately it fell to Mesut Ozil, who on 11 minutes stroked the ball into the top of the net, past Hugo Lloris. 1-0, but it was an injustice considering the way in which we were playing, and after their goal, we retook the momentum, and continued our dominance of possession and we did create chances, with Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, and Ryan Mason going fairly close, but unfortunately we couldn’t get back on level terms in that first half, but there was still so much belief in all the players, and they knew they could get the goals needed. After Arsenal got their goal, they did sit back, try and frustrate us, but it didn’t work, we kept coming and kept coming and were never stressed about when the goal would come, but you could see that we knew that it was coming. In the first half there was a definite feistiness about the game, with tackles coming in from every angle, and normally it was Ryan Mason who was doing the challenging for Tottenham! He was everywhere.

The second half was all about Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur, we dominated, made the game our own, and one of own, Harry Kane, was the man who made it happen for us, along with fellow Tottenham youth products Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason in midfield who showed incredible tenacity and energy to push us onto victory. After going close with Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason, with shots from outside the box, inside the box, free kicks, chances coming from corners as well; we were dominant. And, on 56 minutes, after Erik Lamela whipped in the corner, and it was Jan Vertonghen who got his head to it and guided it towards goal, with David Ospina parrying the ball into the path of Harry Kane, who composed himself before caressing the ball into the back of the net for 1-1, and then, our belief sky rockets, our performance level increases, and the noise level around White Hart Lane becomes deafening, and this North London Derby became electric. After Kane’s equaliser, we pushed so hard for that winning goal, and came close with Mousa Dembele who was brilliant throughout the game, hit a shot with his right foot and it was parried by Ospina and we were so unlucky not to get our second then and there, but, we still had many more opportunities to come, with Mason from long range straight at Ospina, Erik Lamela who skied the ball from close range and Christian Eriksen who had a chance from the free kick, but, it wasn’t going to be any of them to get the winner, but instead, our beautiful Harry Kane was destined for the winning goal, and in the 86th minute, he got it as Nabil Bentaleb lobbed a wonderful ball from deep into the box and Harry Kane rose highest and directed a peach of header past the despairing David Ospina and buried into the back of the net and White Hart Lane erupted in joy, and it looked clear that we were destined for victory in what was a brilliant performance and we had that finishing product from the magnificent Harry Kane, and he adds Arsenal to his list of clubs dismantled. Kane now has 22 goals in all competitions so far this season, and his 4th goal in 2 games. Excellent. At the end of the game, you could see what it meant to every Tottenham player and every fan. Fantastic feeling. Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Arsenal+Premier+League+TjKPRt3HeT5x There were so many fantastic displays all over the pitch for Tottenham, but there is no disputing who has to have the Man of the Match award – Harry Kane was sensational, the way he took his goals was brilliant, but the way he ran with the ball with intent, found spaces on the left, right and centre of the pitch, and used his energy and strength so well to disrupt the Arsenal defence. It was a complete display, and the only thing that was missing was the match ball, but he deserves every award that could come his way, as he was astonishing. He has shown time and time again that whoever the opposition is, he will score goals and cause problems for the opposition, and his never give up attitude is one that brings confidence to the players around him, he inspires the team with his work ethic and there is no doubting that the fans get motivated when he picks up the ball anywhere on the pitch, and the decibel level raises. He can only get better, and at 21 it really is flabbergasting how much more he can do within his career, as he isn’t the finished article, but there’s no doubt he is on the way to being just that. He in my view is producing World Class displays, week in, week out at this moment in time. Along with Harry Kane, the midfield duo of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason were outstanding, and dictated the pace of the game in the centre, spraying passes across the turf, long, short, forwards, sideways, back – everything a central midfielder should do. As well as they’re great work on the ball, they’re work off of it was just as impressive, if not more impressive. They held their positions really well, made crunching tackles, interceptions and showed incredible energy and desire to win, that no doubt pushed us to victory, with Nabil Bentaleb producing the quality assist for Harry Kane’s winning goal. At left back, Danny Rose was also brilliant, especially in the first half where Hector Bellerin was out of his depth against an in form Rose, running at him with pace and purpose, and getting crosses into the box, but unfortunately he wasn’t as accurate with his crosses as we would like, but he still showed great intent and in defence, he made great tackles and kept Danny Welbeck quiet, except unfortunately for their goal! But, he has come on leaps and bounds so far this season and it’s great to see. Young Eric Dier has been given the opportunity at centre back recently, and has risen to the occasion majestically today, being calm and composed with and without the ball, keeping Olivier Giroud at bay throughout the game and he passed the ball really well out from the back, and he is creating a very fruitful partnership with Jan Vertonghen at centre back. The final mention goes to Mousa Dembele, who was majestic in the number 10 role; he is so difficult to get the ball off of, and he passed the ball with purpose, and spread the play really well. He has hit form once again and he could become a massive player this season, as when on form he is such a different and intriguing player to watch.

What a win! It’s always a pleasure to win a North London Derby, but having a home grown talent dispatch the club from Woolwich is something special, and it puts us ahead of Arsenal in the table, which makes it further sweet for everyone at White Hart Lane. We were superb, and now hopefully we can further improve and take this confidence into our next fixtures this season, starting with Liverpool on Tuesday 10th February at Anfield. He’s one of our own and he’s the King of North London. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for everything Tottenham! Up the Spurs! COYS!!

My player ratings from the side that beat Arsenal at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 8.5
Dier – 9
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 9 (Chadli 75’ – 6.5)
Mason – 9 (Paulinho 90’ – N/A)
Bentaleb – 9
Dembele – 8.5
Lamela – 7.5 (Stambouli 89’ – N/A)
Eriksen – 8
Kane – 9.5 – Man of the Match.

Mauricio Pochettino reaction:

Ryan Mason and Harry Kane reaction:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Arsenal.

Match date & time: Saturday 7th February 2015. 12:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be seen HERE.

It’s the North London Derby! The match that both Arsenal fans and Tottenham fans look out for first when the season’s fixtures are released to the World; and I certainly can’t wait for the contest to begin. Both sides that are in good form, with no obvious winner, with players in incredible form too, doing brilliant things, and it really is going to be a phenomenal competition between two really good sides with high confidence. Goals are always expected – drama and aggression a certainty, with a pinch of guile and creativity. There have been so many fantastic North London Derbies, and I think there is a big chance that we get another high scoring, but extremely competitive match with the sides having such high confidence, I don’t think either side has even contemplate that they could lose and so it is a very intriguing match. Despite the bragging rights being on the line, this is also a really massive came because of the context of the Premier League table, Tottenham sitting 6th and Arsenal lying 5th, with just 2 points between the sides, so a win could do a lot not only for confidence, but for our position in the League, as we could go 4th depending on Southampton’s result. I am always excited for these derby games, against the ‘big’ sides where the foundations of White Hart Lane are rocked and you can feel the tension and nerves lying on palms; it’s time to do the business, Tottenham!

Arsenal have had an very inconsistent season so far, but sit 5th in the table after hitting a real good run of form in the last five matches, winning all five, scoring 15 goals in these 5 games and conceding only 2, in 1 game against Brighton in the FA Cup. So, they come into the derby in good form, hitting a run of consistency and playing with confidence, but in the North London Derby, whatever your prior results are can’t be an indication of what will happen in the match, as simply anything can happen, from red cards, injuries, stunning strikes and so many other anomalies within the game, that can stray so far from the norm. Arsenal’s last clash was against Aston Villa at the Emirates, a 5-0 win, and they come into the game assured of their quality and ready to compete, and will try to take solace from their last visit to White Hart Lane, where they grinded out a 1-0 win after an early Thomas Rosicky strike, despite pressure from a Tim Sherwood guided Tottenham, but a lot has changed since then, and in our trip to the Emirates earlier this season, we put on a really good show, we were great on the counter attack and very solid at the back and managed a 1-1 draw; Nacer Chadli getting our goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain got the equaliser. Now, we’ll be looking to go one step further and turn a draw into three points, but I am sure Arsenal will be trying everything to do exactly the same. Hopefully, we get a game that lives up to the build-up and hype around the fixture. A classic, but one that turns out as a Spurs win!

The team news for Arsenal is that star man Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) is a major injury doubt, while goal scorer last time out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), captain Mikel Arteta (foot), right back Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) and injury connoisseur Abou Diaby (calf) are all ruled out of the match, while Danny Welbeck (hip) is expected to return to the squad after his injury. Despite the absentees that arsenal seem to always have, they still possess some real talents, and at the moment creative midfielder Santi Cazorla is in a rich vain of form, and has really contributed to his sides recent upturn in performances, he has 6 goals and 6 assists so far this Premier League season, and was vital in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over the champions Manchester City, providing the spark that guided them to victory. And, with Sanchez ruled out, they will be relying on the Spaniard for inspiration in attack, along with record signing Mesut Ozil who has returned to the side and provided a great performance against Aston Villa and will be looking to build on his displays in the coming games, but hopefully he doesn’t continue to influence games in the way Arsenal fans would like! As well as their creative options; in midfield Francis Coquelin has added some steel, organisation and aggression to Arsenal’s team and they will look to utilise his qualities to attempt to control our own creativity, with Lamela, Eriksen and Chadli, as well as Ryan Mason in central midfield. The battle in midfield, I think, will determine the outcome of the match; the energy and tenacity of ours and the guile and creativity of theirs. It will be quite a match up.
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 16.16.12
The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb is back in the frame after the African Cup of Nations with Algeria, and Mauricio Pochettino says that the 20 year old, energetic midfielder is ‘100%’ and ready for the game, and I would not be surprised to see the passionate youngster thrown straight back in along Ryan Mason, as both work very well together and know the importance of this sort of match, and I am sure they could run the midfield, even if it would be harsh to take Mousa Dembele out of the line up. With Nabil Bentaleb back from international duty, new signing DeAndre Yedlin is still with the USMNT, and not available for the match.

There are so many key battles, including Theo Walcott vs Danny Rose, Olivier Giroud vs Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane vs Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin vs Nabil Bentaleb. All of these small battles within the match are so interesting, and so close, these individual clashes will determine the final outcome; whether it’s Harry Kane bossing Laurent Koscielny or Giroud getting the better if Vertonghen; these things are so important. In my view, the player that makes us tick is Christian Eriksen, he’s the one that finds the space in midfield, spreads the play, and when he plays well, the team revolve around him; if he can step it up and get to top form, we’ll be in very good shape if we’re able to contain the threat from Arsenal – I am sure we will be able to find the space to hurt this Arsenal team, with Eriksen finding the gaps. Plus, if we can get a free kick in the final third of the pitch, I’d definitely bet on him converting! Harry Kane has been a revelation so far this season, and as he’s a Spurs fan, he knows exactly what this fixture means to the fans, to the club and everyone around the club and now it’s his chance to affect the game himself and score the goals to win the game, it would complete the fairy-tale, of the youth product coming up through the ranks, becoming a key player, and then destroying our bitter rivals. It’s perfect, no? Hopefully our dreams can come true. His performance at West Brom was excellent, and his display against Chelsea was electric, now, he has the chance to make his impact on the North London Derby, and in the form he’s in, with his confidence so high, I have no doubt that he will. He’s a machine. In midfield, Mousa Dembele has had a good couple of games, but in this game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nabil Bentaleb partner another Spurs fan in Ryan Mason, and in this game, you need the players to understand what it means, to have that fight in their belly, to go into the tackle without fear, but with aggression and desire – and Bentaleb and Mason have that sort of attitude and can make this derby feisty and exciting, as it should always be. On the wing, Nacer Chadli has been brilliant, and in the last North London Derby, he was excellent, and got the goal for Tottenham and cemented himself as a cult hero for Tottenham when he shushed the Arsenal fans at the Emirates and sent the Spurs fans into delirium; hopefully he can do the same at White Hart Lane, he’s certainly got the appetite for it!

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Spurs have lost just one of their last six Premier League home games against North London rivals Arsenal (W3 D2 L1).

– Theo Walcott has scored four and assisted three goals in his last six Barclays Premier League appearances against Tottenham.

– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals in North London derbies than any other player (10 – eight for Arsenal, two for Spurs). Adebayor is one of only two players to score for both sides in a North London derby along with Jimmy Robertson.

– Spurs and Arsenal have drawn 18 times in the Premier League, making it the most drawn fixture in the history of the competition.

– Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 32 Premier League matches against the Gunners.

– Arsenal have not managed back to back away wins in the Premier League this season and have only managed it once since January 2014.

– Tottenham have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League (6) while Arsenal have won the most (6).

– Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last six Premier League appearances.

– David Ospina has as many clean sheets in the Premier League this season as Wojciech Szczesny (3).

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last six Premier League home matches (W4 D2).

There’s no bigger home Premier League fixture than Arsenal. All fans can put to bed their differences on opinion and unite in their desire to beat Arsenal. It’s a magical fixture, and one in which the best players shine, and crave success. Hopefully, this Saturday can be one of success for Tottenham Hotspur, because the fans are craving this result with all their hearts. I certainly am. The game is live on BT Sport 1, and I will be giving live updates with goals, photos, videos and more; follow me on twitter for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Arsenal at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Arsenal press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sheffield United. (1st Leg)

Match date and time: Wednesday 21st January 2015. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Semi Final. 1st Leg.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

Our biggest two games of the season so far await, with an opportunity to go to Wembley and face one of Chelsea or Liverpool to battle for a domestic trophy, we have to treat our opponent with complete respect, and not misjudge their threat to what Tottenham and the fans have been craving since 2008, some silverware. The Capital One Cup is a massive opportunity for us to bring glory back to the Lane, after going six years trophy-less, the pressure is on to get trophies back to White Hart Lane, and instead of overly focusing on getting a top four spot, I think winning trophies is what football is all about, as Danny Blanchflower famously said, ‘The Game is about Glory’, and it is a quote that is bounded around every time a trophy is even slightly possible, because of the truth to it, and how much it means to Tottenham fans, we are proud of our rich history in Cup competitions, and to add another piece of history to our collection would be most welcome. Being at home in the first leg isn’t ideal, but we are perfectly capable of finishing off the tie in the first leg, if we are able to perform to our maximum, I am sure we will be able to see off a, with respect, inferior League 1 Sheffield United. Of course this game will not be ‘easy’ to say the least, as I am sure Sheffield United will come into the tie, especially at Bramall Lane, driven to succeed and perform what can only be seen to be a miracle Cup upset, for a side that sit 7th in League One. At the Lane, I can only be confident that we will be able to come out as victors, if we can perform as we did against Newcastle in the Quarter Final, I am sure we will be in a good position heading into the second leg at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United sit 7th in League One, with their Cup form being incredible, but their League form, recently, has been average as they sit just outside the play-off places. Focusing on their League Cup run, they have been the upset kings, beating West Ham, Leyton Orient and MK Dons, while in the quarter finals beating Southampton at Bramall Lane; so it has been quite the run, and I am sure they will be very confident of continuing their Capital One Cup journey, even if the odds are stacked upon them. In their last game, they lost to MK Dons in League One, by one goal to nil, and this may give you confidence, but we have to remember that Cup games, in particular Semi-finals, can invigorate opponents of lower Leagues, and I am sure they have had one eye on these games with a chance to go to Wembley, so you can’t blame them for dropping points. If you think it is just their Home form that has helped them get to this stage of the competition, you are mistaken; early in the Capital One Cup, they got through against West Ham at Upton Park, and in the last round of the FA Cup, they thrashed QPR at Loftus Road 3-0, proving that this Sheffield United side is not one to be misjudged and underestimated. The last time we faced the Blades, was at Bramall Lane in 2007, while Sheffield United were in the Premier League, and it was the team in red and white that came out on top, winning 2-1, Hulse and Jagielka scoring for them, while Jermaine Jenas netting for Tottenham. The last time Sheffield United visited White Hart Lane, was back in 2006, where we triumphed 2-0 in the Premier League fixture, with Jermaine Jenas again finding the net, along with the artist Dimitar Berbatov getting his first Premier League goal for Tottenham.

The team news for the Blades is that James Wallace and Ben Davies (Not that one!) are expected to be out of the game, along with back up goalkeeper Ian Turner with a hamstring problem and Ryan Flynn feeling the pain in his Achilles. The good news for the team in red and white is that defender Chris Balsham is expected to return, and I am sure they will need all the defensive help they can get if Tottenham can turn up the heat enough. The offensive threat will be coming from forward Marc McNulty, who has netted 10 times already so far this season in all competitions, including big goals against Premier League sides Southampton and QPR, and he will be looking to be adding to his list of goals against teams from the top flight. Along with McNulty, Jamie Murphy is another threat up top, even though he only has 4 goals this term, he is an ever present in the Sheffield United side and on form, the Scotsman can be a menace to our defence, but I am sure we will be capable of containing the two Scotsmen.2trophy800x450304-589123_1600x900
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf), Federico Fazio (illness) and Vlad Chiriches (back) remain out, along with Nacer Chadli who is dealing with the loss of his father, and is being allowed time with his family, and we all wish him the best. The good news is that captain Younes Kaboul returns after suffering from illness, and midfielder Ryan Mason is back in contention after a hamstring problem, and that is a massive boost for us in the middle of the park, and I am sure he can make a big impact for us in this game, if he is selected.

In a semi-final, I think that playing our strongest, or near strongest side is essential. Being at Home, we will be looking to finish off the tie as soon as possible, so that we can go to Bramall Lane with the pressure off, or close to it anyway! This is arguably our most important game of the season so far, and that is how we have to treat it in terms of the side we put out; we can’t have a shock start like against Burnley in the FA Cup, and will have to be completely respectful of the Sheffield United side. The crucial player for us recently, apart from the phenomenal Harry Kane, is Christian Eriksen, and it feels like I talk about him every time I write a Preview or Review, and that is because he is so fundamental in everything good that comes to us in attack, with his beautiful way of playing, but also effective way of scoring goals, and notching assists; this Sheffield United side will not be used to facing a player with so much vision and intelligence on the football pitch, and if he can get on the ball and find space inbetween the midfield and defence, he will cause all sorts of difficulties for the Sheffield defenders. The formally mentioned Harry Kane is also vital to how we will achieve victory; his power and clinical edge have been phenomenal this season, as well as his work rate and energy, and if he can continue to perform in the Capital One Cup, I am sure Wembley will be very close. Andros Townsend has been finding a little bit of form recently, and his pace, directness and recently, his crossing of the ball and has been notching assists too, with 6 assists so far this season; if he can continue to get minutes, and improve his decision making I am sure he will be able to find that form he was showing regularly at the start of last season.

It is a massive opportunity to put us one step closer to Wembley, and if we can put in a good display and score some goals, while keeping tight at the back, we will go to Bramall Lane in high spirits and full of confidence. But first, we have to do the job at the Lane; and it is live on Sky Sports 1, but I will be providing match updates, goal updates, photos and much more live from the Lane, follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. Lets hope we can get a good result going into the second leg! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Sheffield United at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Townsend – Kane – Eriksen
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s full press conference ahead of Sheffield United:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Burnley.

Match date & time: Saturday 20th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

It’s been a good week for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. A good win away at Swansea, and then an emphatic win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals, which has led us to a winnable tie against Sheffield United in the Semi Finals. It’s a good opportunity for us now to create some momentum, and what better chance than another home win against newly promoted Burnley. A game that we should win, but one that must not be underestimated, as we know our form at the Lane in the Premier League has been shaky at best. It’s about time we transferred our cup form and consistency into our League form, as we have the makings of a good season evolving. To win a trophy would be incredible, but it’s no excuse for not being successful in the Premier League; we have high expectations, with the squad that we have, to attain a respectable top 5 League position, and if we can get top 5, and possibly win a trophy, this would be an incredibly good first year in charge for Mauricio Pochettino, and hopefully give us a good foundation for improvement next season. But, there are a lot of games to play and a lot of things to be decided, and the key to us having the good season that I preach, is to improve our home form and start to win the games that we should, and win them well. Consistency is key and if we can put a good run of results and performances together, we will look very good for the second half of the season. We will be hoping for no slip ups at the Lane against Burnley, and a recreation of the performance and result that was procured against Newcastle. Last time we faced Burnley, we lost 4-2 at Turf Moor back in 2010. And the last time we faced them at White Hart Lane, we won 5-0, with Robbie Keane grabbing four along with a Jenas goal. We’ll be hoping for a repeat of that, step up Harry Kane for the hat trick!

Burnley, after a very difficult start to life in the Premier League, have found their feet, slowly. After 10 games without a win in the Premier League, it was looking very bleak for the boys in claret and blue, but to their credit, after a slow start they are starting to adapt to the Premier League, work very hard and start to grind out good results. The side did not spend big money at all after coming up from the Championship, and are relying on what is a Championship standard squad to try and grit their way through the Premier League with the lack of funds available, and it is not a surprise that they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th with 15 points, ahead of QPR, Hull and Leicester. In their last 6 games though, since their 10 game drought ended, they have picked up 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, which suggests a bit of form is starting to develop. Their only loss coming to QPR at Loftus Road, 2-0. In their last game though, at Turf Moor, they triumphed against Southampton 1-0, and so come into this game high on confidence. At home, it looks as though they could gain a lot of momentum – but they do struggle on their travels, with only 1 win in 7 attempts, but that came on a difficult journey to Stoke City. It seems definite that Burnley, with their lack of offensive creativity, will try to sit deep and soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter attack and from set pieces, relying on the pace and goals for Danny Ings. It’s our job to make sure we are efficient on the ball, and score an early goal to quash the Burnley resilience.

The team news for Burnley is that Stephen Ward (ankle), Michael Duff (shin), Sam Vokes (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Ben Mee (illness) is set to return for the Clarets. There is one key factor you need at the bottom of the table if you want to survive, and that’s goals – and Burnley have potentially got a player that can bring that factor to fruition. The England U21 striker has pace, desire and an eye for a goal – and he’s Burnley’s main hope of survival, if he can stay in form and start to consistently get goals. In 13 appearances so far this season in the Premier League, he has 4 goals and is Burnley’s top scorer, which isn’t a brilliant record by any means, but it shows that recently he’s been finding his feet in the world’s most competitive League. If Burnley want a result at the Lane, they’ll be hoping Ings will be bringing his A game, as he can worry defenders and stretch the opposition with clever runs, as well as his more than decent ability on the ball, as well as off of it. Although Burnley don’t have an abundance of talent running through the veins of their squad, they have some decent players that can score goals and create opportunities – one of those players is George Boyd, who after being signed from Hull in the summer, has scored 2 goals and has been able to show his quality just off Danny Ings. Another offensive player, who managed to win the game for Burnley against Southampton, is former Brighton man Ashley Barnes. The versatile forward can score goals from the wings and from central positions, and after scoring 2 goals so far this season, he’ll be looking to add to his tally at the Lane. Those two Ashley Barnes goals have both been winners, so he’s been a valuable player for the Clarets in times of need.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor has returned and is in contention to play in this game, meaning that we have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season and what seems to be many years! Despite his marmite persona, Emmanuel Adebayor, is an important option to have upfront for Tottenham. He’s a different type of striker to Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado; as he is completely accustomed to playing in the lone striker role and can hold the ball up with his strength and height. It’s a different type of striker to have, and one who when feeling good about himself can score all types of goals. I’m glad he’s back and hope he can have a good impact in our form.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christian Eriksen is set to become a World Class player. He’s not quite at that level yet, but he’s well on his way. He has the ability to win football games, with his creativity and goals, and now, after a slow start, he’s found his feet and will be an essential player to keep fit and inform for the rest of the season. Against Burnley, it’s important that he performs as we will need his eyes for a gap to breakdown what is expected to be a tight and well compact Burnley defence. His shots from outside the box and set pieces could well prove the difference as well. Nacer Chadli bagged his 7th goal of the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, and proved a constant threat to the Geordies – and he’s proving to be a very important player so far this season for Tottenham. He has the eye for goal, and it’s crucial that he keeps up this form and after returning from injury, recreates the performances that he was producing earlier in the season. Chadli is a player that I really like and I think he’ll pass the 10-15 goal Mark with ease this season, which is fantastic for a midfielder. Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in 26 appearances for club and country so far this season, and he’s been outstanding in not only his clinical finishing but his work rate and link up play too; he has the full package and I hope he can continue to develop in the way that he is, not only this season but in the future too. In midfield, Ryan Mason has looked fairly weary and hasn’t been as influential as his early season form, so personally I would rest him for Benjamin Stambouli, who I think has proved Pochettino that he is worthy of a start in the Premier League after his performance in the Cup competitions, and after his partnership with Nabil Bentaleb was so fruitful against Newcastle, it seems natural to keep the two together for this game. But, with the quality that we do have in the centre of midfield, I’d be happy to see Mousa Dembele, Bentaleb, Mason, Stambouli or Etienne Capoue start and I really wouldn’t react badly, I think we’ve got a good calibre of player in that position. Kyle Walker could be set for his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bomb down that right hand side once again; he’s been sorely missed and will be essential to the balance of the side.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– There have been 21 goals scored in the last four meetings in all competitions between Spurs and Burnley, with at least five in each game.

– Those last four meetings between Spurs and Burnley have all been home wins.

– There have been 55 goals in the last 12 meetings between Spurs and Burnley at White Hart Lane; an average of 4.6 per game.

– Tottenham have won three Premier League games that they have been behind in this season; only Chelsea have won as many.

– Spurs have won a league-high eight points from goals scored in the 85th minute or later in the Premier League this season.

– Burnley have played the highest proportion of passes long this season in the PL (20.4%).

– The Clarets have also made 30 more long throws than any other team in the PL this season (164, Tottenham are joint second on 134).

– This is only the eighth time that Spurs will play a Premier League game on a Saturday at 3pm since the start of last season (it’ll be their 55th PL game since Aug 2013 overall).

– Burnley have won just one point in their eight previous Premier League trips to London (D1 L7).

– The Clarets have failed to score in six of these previous eight Premier League away games in the capital.

A match in which we must continue our winning form, and end the home drought for a win in the Premier League. It’s a great opportunity to grab three points! The game isn’t televised, and I’ll be attending the game. But I’ll be sure to post a stream and update when I can on Twitter. Follow me there for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted team to face Burnley at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Burnley press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Everton.

Match date & time: Sunday 30th November 2014. 4pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings, HERE.

A few seasons ago, when we saw a home game on our fixture list, confidence would flow through our veins. ‘We’re always good at home’, would be the cry pre-game, and most of the time we would deliver, especially under Harry Redknapp and possibly Martin Jol. But, at this moment in time, our home crowd has become a curse to the players, struggling to find any sort of form at home and wins coming at a premium. As a fan, you always want to win at home, that’s where your team should feel more comfortable, having the backing of the fans, and being able to make the pitch suit your style. But, it seems the fans support can sometimes, or most of the time at White Hart Lane, turn sour very quickly if things don’t go Tottenham’s way, but that’s no excuse for lacklustre performances the fans have had to endure at White Hart Lane this season. Now, we need the players to give us something to cheer about in the Premier League at White Hart Lane, go out onto the pitch and play with intensity, drive and show the flair that runs through our team. The players prior to the game have been speaking about the need to win at home, and how driven they are to win for the fans – but now, it’s time for them to put words into action and perform like they want it more than the opposition. Everton are a very tough team in prospect, with top players and a talented manager who has imprinted his philosophy in his team very well. We will need to find our form very quickly this Sunday to combat a well directed side in Everton.

Everton have had a difficult season so far, and sit in 9th, level on points with ourselves in 10th. Everything points to this being a very tight and tactical game, but hopefully with attacking style that Everton have, there will be space for Tottenham to imprint our style onto the game. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of teams coming to White Hart Lane, sitting back, and grabbing a goal on the counter attack. With Everton, although I don’t expect them to be silly and leave heaps of space for our attacking players, it should be easier for us to find spaces, and create chances. But, it will mean defensively we will have to be more aware of the Evertonian outfit. Despite only winning 4 games in 12 so far this Premier League season, in all competitions, the Toffees are unbeaten in 8 games including the Europa League, and come into this game off the back of a good 2-0 win away at Wolfsburg. Whether the Europa League will affect their form more than us is another question, as they had to travel to Germany, and we had a nice Home game. In games after a Europa League fixture, Everton have lost twice, drawn once and won only once, and that came against a struggling Burnley side. Our record isn’t much better! Having lost four times, drawn none and winning twice. So it’s the battle of who can deal with Europa League commitments more! Last time we faced Everton, we came out victorious at White Hart Lane last season, a 1-0 win, Emmanuel Adebayor scoring the winner in a tight and tactical game. I’d expect a similar match this time around. Hopefully we get a similar scoreline!

The team news for Everton is that Steven Naismith (hamstring), Leighton Baines (hamstring), Gareth Barry (ankle), Steven Pienaar (knee), and Arouna Kone (knee) will all be looking to be part of the squad for this one after injuries, but still face late fitness tests. But, John Stones (ankle), Brian Oviedo (leg), Antolin Alcaraz (shoulder), Darren Gibson (knee) and James McCarthy (hamstring) are all expected to miss the game at White Hart Lane, which is the bad news for the blues! Everton have many threatening, offensive players that can cause problems for defences and score goals. The attack is lead by big Romelu Lukaku, the young Belgian has proved himself in the Premier League as one of the best strikers in the League, and Everton did well to sign him this season, although only getting 6 goals this season in all competitions, he looks like he’s finding his feet lately and is coming into this game 2 goals in 2 games. Jan Vertonghen, his Belgian team mate, will be well aware of what Romelu Lukaku can do and will have to be at his best to control him! After returning from injury, Kevin Mirallas is back and back in form, he’s a really threatening player and whether played on the left, right, or through the middle can be a thorn in any defence with his pace and skill, another Belgian as well! It’s well documented about how important Everton’s full backs are to their style of play; offensive, hard working and with final product as well. Seamus Coleman at right back and Leighton Baines at left back will create chances, and have chances themselves, it’s important we can keep tabs on them otherwise they will cause us problems.

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The team news for Tottenham is that Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose are all in contention after returning to training. Andros Townsend (ankle), is a major doubt for the game. With Federico Fazio available after missing the Partizan game through suspension and Nabil Bentaleb fully recovered after his ankle problem. Although, Kyle Walker (groin) and Kyle Naughton (suspended) are out of the game. It’s unknown as of yet if the first 5 names will be fit enough to start, but Nacer Chadli is a big boost after his brilliant goalscoring form so far this season, and hopefully he can come back into the squad and make an impact once again, but I’d probably say it’s from the bench rather than starting.

After impressing against Hull City, and performing well against Partizan in his 400th career appearance, Aaron Lennon has put in a major shout to start against Everton in this game, and I would start him, not only for his pace, width and ability to beat a man, but his defensive qualities as well against Everton, who rely heavily on their attacking full backs. With Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker unavailable, we will have to rely on either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier at right back, so they will need support on that right flank and I think Aaron Lennon is the best man for that job. As we have lacked width and pace in our attack, he has to enter into the mind of Mauricio Pochettino to start this game. In that right back slot, I think it should be given to Vlad Chiriches, as I think he offers more agility and pace than Eric Dier, who suits the centre back role a lot more. Offensively, Harry Kane was rested in midweek, which heavily suggests he’ll be in the starting line up once again in the Premier League, and his goalscoring form is incredible at the moment, but hopefully Sunday is the day that he gets his first Premier League home goal of the season, especially in a game as important as this, his finishing of chances will be crucial, he needs to hit top form. Christian Eriksen was outstanding against Hull City, especially in that second half, because there was more space in key areas around the oppositions penalty area, so if we can get Eriksen into the key areas in-between the Everton midfield and defence, he will cause problems and be major threat to Everton, in my view, when he plays well, Tottenham play well, hopefully he can continue to improve as the season goes on. At left back, despite Danny Rose expected to be back from a chest injury, I would continue to play Ben Davies and give him his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane; he’s done very well against Partizan and Hull City and doesn’t deserve to be dropped in my eyes. He’s better defensively than Rose, so against possibly Mirallas and Coleman, I’d have more confidence in Davies than Rose.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games against Everton at White Hart Lane (W3 D2 L0).

– Everton have made a league-high six errors leading to goals this season.

– Three of Tottenham’s five Premier League wins this season have come via 90th minute goals.

– This will be Tottenham’s 31st Premier League game on a Sunday since the start of last season.

– Spurs have conceded five goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season (29% of their total).

– Two of Samuel Eto’o’s Premier League goals for Everton have come away from home (all nine of his PL goals for Chelsea came at Stamford Bridge).

– Leighton Baines has already assisted six goals in the Premier League this season, two more than he managed in the whole of 2013-14.

– Before this game, Everton’s last six Premier League games against London sides have all taken place at Goodison Park.

– Everton have kept just two clean sheets in their last 21 Premier League visits to London.

– Tottenham have conceded more goals from the penalty spot than any other side in the Premier League this season heading into matchday 13 (3).

A big game, with the Tottenham players having a lot to prove at White Hart Lane in the Premier League! A tough opposition, with a talented manager. I’m expecting a tight game, but hopefully we’ll get some excitement and quality throughout the game with some real talented players on both sides. I’m looking forward to this one! I’ll be attending the game, but I’ll update as much as I can from the stands at White Hart Lane! You can watch the game live on Sky Sports 1, but remember to follow me on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs.! Let’s get three points!! COYS!

My predicted/preferred team to face Everton at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Chiriches – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Stambouli – Mason
Lennon – Eriksen – Lamela
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino targets focus on tough game vs Everton (3mins forward):

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.

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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:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Naughton – Dier – Chiriches – Davies
Paulinho – Stambouli
Lennon – Kane – Ceballos
Soldado.

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 Preview, Tottenham vs Stoke City.

Match date & time: Sunday 9th November 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

The Premier League returns to the hallowed pitch of White Hart Lane. Stoke City are the visitors in what is a crucial game for Tottenham Hotspur. If ever a win was needed at White Hart Lane, it’s needed here. After our disappointing form at the Lane, with losses to Newcastle and West Brom the most disappointing, it’s crucial we don’t slip up again to a team that we should be beating, even though we all know that no game in the Premier League is a guarantee, but, it’s the players job to make sure it is going to be our three points. When you’re in a sticky patch, you need a bit of luck, a gritty win or a last minute goal, and we got all of that against Aston Villa last week and hopefully it’s what we need to take a bit of confidence and push further on in the League, and hopefully our performance level can increase and the players who we expect a lot from, step up. Stoke always provide a threat and always try to make themselves hard to beat, especially at the Lane in recent years, but it’s Mauricio Pochettino’s job to set the team out to counter that and get the three points. We have to rely on our more creative players, too, to really unpick the Stoke team which will most likely sit quite deep.

Stoke City sit 13th in the Premier League, with 12 points. 3 wins, 4 losses & 3 draws. A so-so start to the season for Mark Hughes’ men, with a win away to Manchester City the highlight so far. They sit in a position I’m sure they would be happy to be in at the end of the season, but it is still only 3 wins from 10 without facing any teams destined for the top 6 apart from Manchester City, and I think they’ll be left disappointed by their results in certain games. Focusing on the recent history between Stoke and Tottenham, it’s Tottenham that come up trumps, as we are unbeaten against Stoke in our last 5 fixtures, winning 3 and drawing 2, and at White Hart Lane, in our last 6 games we have won 3, drawn 2 and lost just 1 time. But, we all know how hard to breakdown Stoke have been in the past to break down and complacency this time out has no place in the thoughts of Mauricio Pochettino, the players and even the fans. Mark Hughes sets his team out well, and has evolved their style of play into a more offensive, counter attacking unit, that is sometimes not as compact or strong as in previous years, but it holds more of a threat going forward and is much more competent on the ball. There is no doubt this will be a big challenge for Spurs, and not as easy a result to come by as it was last time at White Hart Lane, in which we won 3-0.

The team news for Stoke is that Marco Aurnautovic (wrist) faces a late fitness test ahead of the game, while four of his team mates are ruled out of the game this Sunday. Those include Peter Odemwingie (knee), Robert Huth (calf), Greg Whelan (broken leg) & Dionatan Teixeira (ankle). Just looking at that, you can see some extremely big misses for the Stoke side, most notably Robert Huth who has been a phenomenal partner to Ryan Shawcross over the years in the centre of defence. The main threats for Stoke come up front; former Spur Peter Crouch spearheads the attack, but it’s Mame Biram Diouf who has been a big goal threat for them so far this season with his pace and power as well as composure in front of goal. In midfield, it’s Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi who pull the strings both defensively and offensively, although not being the most cultured players of all time. The offensive midfielder comes from the wing; Chelsea loanee Victor Moses has such incredible pace but great power and in this Stoke side, has proved a thorn in many defences being the main man. Not good enough for Liverpool or for Chelsea, but he’s a great mid-table player and we have to be aware of his talents.

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The team news for Tottenham is that it’s only Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) that have been ruled out of the game, with Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) expected to be completely fine for the test at the Lane. Kyle Naughton, Hugo Lloris & Younes Kaboul all return to the frame after being left at home for the trip to Tripoli, which is of course, very welcome news.

Despite all of the big signings, the international players & worldwide stars in our squad, it’s a boy from Enfield that is gripping the imagination of Tottenham fans. Harry Kane, who has 13 goals in 18 appearances, has been in incredible form, but hasn’t yet pushed his way into the Premier League first 11, which is even more incredible. Kane is Tottenham’s goalscorer at this moment in time and deserves a sustained run in the Premier League side, because he has this confidence that he is going to get a chance and score, and I think Tottenham fans and players have that confidence in him to. A scoring striker is a somewhat rare for teams in this day and age, and now we have seemingly got one, we have to play him! For me, the key to creating chances for Tottenham is Christian Eriksen; he has the vision, technique and ability to create chances and with Harry Kane in front of him, he could well create the chances for him and if he can do that, Harry Kane can finish them. When you have a player of the ilk of Christian Eriksen, he can find gaps in teams you didn’t think were there; he just needs to find his groove once again in his creative ability. Ryan Mason has been our best player in recent games, moving the ball quickly, making tackles and spreading the play where we need it. A breath of fresh air in that midfield that I think was thoroughly needed. In these sort of games at home; players that can find space where there isn’t any, find a pass you didn’t think was on, and score those half chances are absolutely crucial and Mason, Eriksen & Kane can certainly be those players for us at White Hart Lane.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Tottenham have won six and lost just one of the last nine Barclays Premier League games against Stoke City.

– The Potters have only won one of six trips to White Hart Lane in the Premier League (D2 L3).

– Spurs have lost three of their last four Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W1).

– Stoke have won none of their last six Premier League away trips to London (D1 L5).

– Tottenham have kept only one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League outings.

– Stoke have lost only one of their last nine Premier League games in November (W4 D4).

– The Potters have scored only two goals in the last 30 minutes of games all season.

– Only four players (Fabregas, Sigurdsson, Tadic and Baines) have assisted more Premier League goals than Erik Lamela (4) this season.

– No player has been caught offside more times than Emmanuel Adebayor this season (10 times, level with Berahino).

– Hugo Lloris has parried more saves back into a dangerous scenario than any other goalkeeper this season (12).

A tough, tight and possibly frustrating, if things don’t go our way, game in prospect at the Lane. But, we are always confident of a win at White Hart Lane, and if we can build on the results away at Aston Villa and Asteras, and improve on the performances, the three points is in sight against a somewhat average Stoke City team. On paper, we should have enough quality to pick Stoke off, but the game is played on grass and we have to go out there and perform. The game isn’t televised in the UK, but you can follow me on Twitter here, @AddictedToSpurs, for all the match updates, videos, photos & more. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Stoke:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Eriksen – Soldado – Chadli
Kane.

Match Review, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match: Wednesday 29th October 2014.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-0 Brighton.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Erik Lamela 54′, Harry Kane 74′.

Tottenham progress to the Quarter Finals of the Capital One Cup! Just three games away from Wembley and the thought of winning it is just about dropping into Tottenham fan’s dreams. We have been drawn to face Newcastle United at White Hart Lane in the quarter finals, a team that has just beaten us, and Manchester City away from home, so not easy but it could have been a lot worse with Liverpool and Chelsea still in the competition, despite Newcastle beating us before hand, we still remain clear favourites to progress to the Semi-Finals. Now, to look more closely at our highly contested victory over Brighton at the Lane:

In the first period, we dominated the ball, Brighton were confined to their half for 90% of the time and we were probing and poking away at their defence. The ball was played into the box numerous amount of times but we couldn’t get the breakthrough; Roberto Soldado, Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon going closest. A frustrating first half, but one in which the Seagulls didn’t threaten us and we looked comfortable in possession of the football. The problem is, although we look comfortable in possession, we don’t look threatening enough. It’s important to take advantage of that pressure and find the killer pass, or go in behind the Brighton defence. We didn’t do that enough, but it was a solid first half and you can’t complain too much when you are creating chances, and there were a few clear cut opportunities which should and could have been goals.

In the second half, we introduced Erik Lamela for Aaron Lennon who was playing well, but had a slight hamstring problem. Lamela changed the game from the outset, and we looked much more threatening and creative with the ball at our feet. And, that’s where our goal came from. The understanding between Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado is very impressive; they are two very intelligent and creative players when the ball is at their feet and when two intelligent players combine, you will create chances and in this instance, that chance was a goal. Erik Lamela on 54 minutes played the ball into the feet of Roberto Soldado, who headed it up slightly before playing a delightful pass into the path of Erik Lamela, who slid the ball into the net with his right foot for 1-0. A much needed breakthrough that put us in firm control of the game, with Brighton not offering a lot offensively. Despite being 1-0 down, Brighton didn’t try to attack us in the way that was expected – they still sat fairly deep, let us have possession of the football and tried to play a counter attacking game, even though Tottenham had men back and were not pushing all out to get a second goal. I’m sure Sami Hypia will be disappointed with his team’s attacking performance, but pleased with how they shut Tottenham out for the most part. The game continued to be a little scrappy, without the real quality of the players shining through, and that is how our second goal came about, in a scrappy fashion. Andros Townsend for what must have been the first time in the game, got to the byline and whipped in a good ball for Roberto Soldado, which hit his leg and then the keeper parried into the path of Harry Kane, who wanted it more than any other defender on the pitch to stick the ball home to make it 2-0. Job done.

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There were some very good performances from the Spurs players in this game, we passed the ball well, created a good amount of chances, scored two goals and kept a clean sheet and that is all we can really ask from the team. We’re in a bit of a sticky patch of form but you could see that the players really put a shift in and worked until the result went our way and that is pleasing. Hopefully we can get the three points at Villa Park on Sunday, too. The man of the match for me was Benjamin Stambouli, I think in the middle of the park he worked really hard, he went into every challenge committed and passed the ball well. In the cup games he’s played, Stambouli has really impressed me and I think it’s only a matter of time, if he continues with these performances, that he will be pushing for a Premier League start. Another player that deserved man of the match probably equally as much as Stambouli was Kyle Naughton, he has been very good all season and coming back from injury, he was stellar once again. He put in some fantastic crosses and defended well when Brighton attacked with pace on the counter attack. In the absence of Kyle Walker, Naughton has really stepped his game up and as a right back is showing why he’s still a Tottenham player. Erik Lamela changed the game when he was entered into proceedings; he was direct, full of energy and had the finishing touch as well for his goal. He also isn’t afraid to chase back, make a tackle and work for the team and that’s always a good trait to have. Harry Kane scored again, another decent performance, but when he is scoring like this he simply must start in the Premier League, he is on fire! His strike partner Roberto Soldado also did really well, with two assists (sort of) and a very fine performance but his goal that he did deserve didn’t come, but he’s getting closer and you can see how hard he’s working and how much he wants it.

A good win, and into the quarter finals. Cup runs are always fun and hopefully, we can continue to win when we face Newcastle. A trip to Wembley would be fantastic. Not looking too far ahead, this Sunday we travel to Villa Park for an away Premier League tie against Aston Villa. A tough game but it’s crucial we return to winning ways in the Premier League. Remember to follow me on Twitter: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Brighton at the Lane:
Vorm – 7
Naughton – 8.5
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 7.5
Davies – 7.5
Stambouli – 8.5 – Man of the Match.
Dembele – 7
Lennon – 7.5
Townsend – 6.5
Kane – 8
Soldado – 8.

Subs:
Lamela – 8
Chadli – 6
Paulinho – 5.

Match highlights from our 2-0 win over Brighton:

Pochettino speaks to the press following our 2-0 win:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Brighton.

Match date & time: Wednesday 29th October 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.

Competition: Capital One Cup Round 4.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

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

Capital One Cup action returns to White Hart Lane with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors. A big game with a place in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final’s up for grabs for the winner. It’s always difficult to take when you lose; especially when it is at home, throwing away a 1-0 lead to a team that we should really beat, but it’s got to be forgotten and it can’t effect our performance against Brighton, but be an inspiration to the players – to fight harder and silence doubters. A win this Wednesday won’t make everything Rosey – but getting to the Quarter Finals would be really good, hopefully leading to a good draw, and if that happens, who knows, we could go all the way to Wembley! For me, winning a trophy is well and truly overdue at Tottenham, whether it’s the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or Europa League, winning a major trophy is the lift that Tottenham needs, with top four in the Premier League looking out of reach. Hopefully, we can get through on Wednesday with very little difficulty, and a few goals wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Brighton sit 21st in the Championship, just 2 points off of the relegation places. In 14 League games, they have won just 2, drawn 7 and lost 5. New manager Sami Hypia has struggled to find the winning formula on the South coast, with a lack of goals a big problem for the Seagulls, with only 13 goals scored in 14 games, drawing too many games and not being able to get a run of good results together. The Capital One Cup has been a welcome distraction from their League form, winning both their 2nd and 3rd round games with relative ease against Cheltenham and Burton, winning 2-0 & 3-0 respectively. But of course, they haven’t faced a test of the magnitude of Tottenham, especially at White Hart Lane under the lights. The last time we faced Brighton was in 2005, an FA Cup 3rd round tie at White Hart Lane in which Tottenham triumphed 2-1, courtesy of Ledley King and Robbie Keane goals. There’s no doubt that Brighton will be well up for the game, just like Nottingham Forest before them, and they will be carrying the support of 4100 Brightonians alongside them, who I’m sure will sing until the very end for their team and attempt to give them an extra level. Whenever a lower league team comes to a big Premier League team’s home, the want to win and score is large and we must act in a professional manner to get the job done.

The team news for Brighton is that Craig Mackail-Smith (hamstring) will be unable to start for the Seagulls, but will be in the 18 man squad, with Sam Baldock (cup tied), Solly March (back) and Dale Stephens (ankle) are out of the game. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is available for Brighton after his suspension, which will be a big boost for the Seasiders. Brighton do have threats – but their top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk, he has 5 goals and is a definite threat from set pieces, which will probably be Brighton’s biggest chance to score, despite our height at the back with Federico Fazio. Kazenga LuaLua is one of those players that can bring a bit of magic to the game, be it a cross or a goal from range, he has that little bit of quality, but doesn’t show it often enough. LuaLua is Brighton’s top assist maker this season with 3, 2 in the League and 1 in the Capital One Cup. He also has 2 goals so far this season. In the centre of midfield, young Rohan Ince is a talented player, he’s big, strong and competent on the ball, he can get Brighton playing if given time and space, but if we pressuring him and get in his face when on the ball, I’m sure we’ll be able to stop his flow. Another talented young midfielder is England U21 international Jake Forster-Caskey, less powerful, more agile and able to get Brighton moving; just like with Rohan Ince, we should be looking to pressure them early and disrupt their passing rhythm.

IMG_2525.JPG The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the game against Brighton, but Kyle Naughton returns from an ankle injury, while Federico Fazio is available again after his 1 match suspension. Emmanuel Adebayor had an upset stomach after the game against Newcastle, but he has recovered and is available for selection against the Albion.

Harry Kane has been in stellar form so far this season, he’s got the goalscoring touch and I’m sure he’ll get the nod upfront again in the cup competitions, possibly alongside Roberto Soldado who scored in the last round of this competition. It seems Pochettino sees Harry Kane as a second striker, someone who needs to play with a partner, and even if I disagree and believe he can and will become a leading striker, he has been performing extremely well in this position and I hope his understanding with Roberto Soldado or Emmanuel Adebayor develops more so that both Kane & his partner can benefit. In midfield, Benjamin Stambouli and Mousa Dembele are expected to partner each other, a partnership that could start in the Premier League for many, many teams, with their ability on the ball, especially Mousa Dembele, with Stambouli’s toughness and ability to win the ball back and pass it efficiently, both are very good players and I think have the makings of a good partnership, with a good balance in their midfield pivot. On the wing, it’s another opportunity for Andros Townsend to show his worth and effect a game in a positive way with his pace and direct running style with the ball, he needs to be more efficient, to score more goals and make more assists, at the moment he still looks like a raw talent but hopefully he can continue to improve and effect the games he plays more. To add width to our play, I’d play Aaron Lennon on the right hand side and Andros Townsend on the left, to get them whipping crosses into the box for Harry Kane, and Roberto Soldado. I think we’ll score more goals like that. Almost a direct 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 system. We can do that at home against ‘weaker’ opposition and still dominate the midfield.

A game where a win brings us just 2 games away from a final at Wembley. If that isn’t inspiration to victory for the players, I don’t know what is! A cup game under the lights at White Hart Lane awaits and Brighton I’m sure will try to make it as difficult as possible for the Tottenham team, but I’m confident, as always, that we can get the job done. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll try to update as much as I can from White Hart Lane from my Twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Brighton at White Hart Lane:
4-4-1-1
Vorm
Naughton – Chiriches – Fazio – Davies
Lennon – Stambouli – Dembele – Townsend
Kane
Soldado.

Mauricio Pochettino previews our game against Brighton: