Spurs versus APOEL Nicosia: (match preview)

Spurs versus APOEL Nicosia: (match preview)

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Having already secured top spot of in our group from what has been an exceptional UEFA Champions league campaign for Spurs, there final group game at home to APOEL who are still fighting for third place and a spot in the Europa league is a bit of a dead rubber from Spurs’ perspective. With our recent dip in form in the league, Pochettino will view this game as a chance to boost the players confidence ahead of a crucial league game at home to Stoke on Saturday. With wide spread rotation likely for this game, I would personally love to see some of our Academy startlets included in the squad as oppose to some fringe members of the senior team. The visitors who will need no motivation going into this game, are in fine form winning six of their last seven games in all competitions. Spurs will need to be on their game, whatever side Pochettino fields. To win this would be a big morale booster for this set of players! COYS

Absent: Alderweireld, Wanyama and Oakley-Boothe (not 100% sure on that).

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Vorm(c), Walker-Peters, Sanchez,Foyth, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Lamela, Edwards, Nkoudou, Llorente.

Subs from: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Georgiou, Dier, Skipp, S.Shashoua, Sterling.

My score prediction: 4-1 to Spurs courtesy of goals from Llorente x2, Edwards’s and Lamela.

One to watch: APOEL’s experienced striker Mickael Pote.

Spurs versus Watford: (match preview)

Spurs versus Watford: (match preview)

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After suffering a slight dip in form Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side have slipped down to seventh in the table, though no Spurs fan ought to be concerned in the slightest. A draw against an extremely defensive West Brom side following on from a narrow 2-1 defeat away to Leicester in midweek, our visit to Watford on Saturday will take on further significance. After watching Sky Sports ‘the debate’ show last night, I took away a very intriguing comment from Danny Higginbotham who discussed our recent struggles against sides who are letting us have the majority of possession, whilst catching us on the break. He also thought that coming up against an attacking team such as Marco Silva’s Watford would much better suit our style of play, expecting us to win tomorrow. That was an interesting point, and I tend to agree I feel like we have struggled against very deep lying sides, whilst tending to produce our finest displays against more open teams, e.g Real Madrid, Everton and Dortmund. However I’m putting our recent blip down to the absence of the world class Toby Adlerweireld. Watford sit one place below us in the table, a total contrast to last season the Hornets have been playing fluent attacking football under Silva picking up 21 points from their opening 14 games. They have talent in abundance going forward with the likes of Richarlison, Hughes and Gray but they are vulnerable to leaking in goals, conceding 25 already this campaign, Im expecting us to do them on the break. COYS

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Lloris(c), Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks, Dembele, Rose, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Davies, Foyth, Aurier, Son, Llorente, Sissoko.

Absent: Wanyama and Alderweireld.

My score prediction: 4-1 to Spurs, courtesy of a brace from Eriksen, a goal from Kane and one from Son.

One to watch: At just 20 years of age Watford’s new Brazilian signing Richarlison is proving to be one of the buys of the season, the former Fluminense forward has taken the premier league by storm. Already playing his part in 8 goals this campaign, the wide man is pacy, highly skilful and intricate in his play and has already won himself many admirers including myself.

 

Spurs versus Leicester City: (match preview)

Spurs versus Leicester City: (match preview)

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The disappointment of the 1-1 draw with West Brom on Saturday, will if anything be used as a motivator by Pochettino for his Spurs side, ahead of their midweek league visit to Leicester City. The performance against West Brom on Saturday wasn’t necessarily a bad one, but it lacked the intensity that we so often implement on games, I’m sure squad rotation will be likely for the Leicester game, to ensure some fresh legs on the pitch. Leicester have had an eventful season, after a poor start Craig Shakespeare was sacked, with Leicester opting for the more defensive former Southampton boss Claude Puel to take his place. And the Frenchman has made a positive impact, with the foxes picking up five points from his first four games in charge. Leicester are likely going to try and frustrate our forwards much like West Brom did, whist trying to catch us out on the break, with the pace of Jamie Vardy up top and the skill and creativity of Riyadh Mahrez, Demarai Gray and Marc Albrighton likely to be there most creative players. Pochettino’s lads will have to come out off the blocks fast, and play that fast attacking football which we are so used to seeing, if we are to prevent a similar outcome to the West Brom game. COYS

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Lloris(c), Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Sissoko, Dembele, Rose, Son, Alli, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Davies, Eriksen, Trippier, Foyth, Llorente, Oakley-Boothe.

Doubtful: Harry Winks (illness).

Absent: Wanyama, Alderweireld.

My score prediction: 3-1 to Spurs, courtesy of goals from Aurier, Kane and Dele.

One to watch: Speedy winger Demarai Gray who was once linked with Spurs, has been in fine form of recent, his pace skill and shooting ability will be something that Pochettino’s side will have to deal with.

Spurs 1-1 West Brom: (My post match thoughts)

Spurs 1-1 West Brom: (My post match thoughts)

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Spurs and West Brom, two teams with two completely different footballing ideologies, many thought our quality would outwit the struggling visitors who were without a win in there previous 11 games. That however, was not to be the case, Pochettino’s side didn’t produce an energetic attacking performance much like the one that saw us beat Dortmund away in midweek. Instead it was a slow and at times lethargic display, Spurs looked tired our players running out of options to carve through an impeccable West Brom defence. West Brom’s long ball game is something that were used to, it’s seen us come unstuck in recent seasons. Even though West Brom sacked their long term manager Tony Pulis last week, Gary Megson took temporary charge of the baggies though the tactics seemed identical to those of Pulis, long ball with a particularly defensive stance. That’s why it was such a big blow to our lads when West Brom took a surprise lead four minutes into the game. Spurs got caught in possession in there own half, former Spurs man Jake Livermore’s long ball setting the powerful Rondon through on goal, the Venezuelan internationals strength saw him shrug off Sanchez to advance into the box, before placing a shot inside the far corner of Lloris’ net, 0-1. West Brom had struck early and weren’t going to look for a second, they sat deep as Spurs looked to stamp their authority on the game but it was to no avail. Our attacking forays and crosses into the baggies area were meat and drink to the visitors, Jonny Evans and Ahmed Hegazy frustrating our forwards with their defensive prowess (especially in the air).

Eric Dier tested Ben Foster with a decent header late on in the half, but the intensity from Spurs was not there going into the interval. The second half saw a rejuvenated Spurs side take the game more to Megson’s side. We were dominating possession against a very deep lying side, we started to pass the ball around with a bit of zip and started to test Foster. But West Brom continued to hold firm, Trippier’s testing effort was blocked. Before Spurs produced a defence splitting move to finally breakthrough the baggies brick wall, Alli winning the ball off McClean before advancing down the right and whipping the ball across the face of goal. It was a fine cross which was met by Harry Kane to prod home, giving Spurs faith that they could get the winner in the remaining minutes. Sadly that winner never came, Spurs pushed the visitors far but still Pochettino’s team were just lacking a bit of creativity in front of goal. Kane and Alli came close to finding that winner towards the latter stages of the game, but it was the baggies who were to have two more golden opportunities of their own. First through substitute Hal Robson-Kanu’s powerful effort across the face of the goal. And then through the influential Salomon Rondon in the 95th minute after he met a promising cross, inside the Spurs penalty area but the striker could only hit the ball inches wide of Lloris’ goal, it should have been the winner!

I’m sure Mauricio Pochettino will be bitterly disappointed with how today’s game panned out, especially with all the possession (73%) his side had during the game and the gulf in class. As a fan sat high up in the stands at Wembley it was without doubt a hugely disappointing result for a number of reasons, big players such as Eriksen had an off day and didn’t manage to influence the game. We lacked a sharpness in our play especially in the final third which let us down on a number of occasions. Winks also had a bit of an off day, and the midfield partnership of him and Dier didn’t seem to propel us going forward, we lacked the physicality and skill of Dembele in the midfield areas. In all truth we looked tired, maybe the exertions of our performance against Dortmund in midweek took its toll. Anyhow we weren’t at the races today, but no one can expect us to grind out these results all the time even against struggling sides, our players gave there absolute all, but it just wasn’t to be on this occasion. Kudos to West Brom, who I thought were very good against us, they were well structured and defended brilliantly throughout the game, they were deserving of there point and I’ve no doubt they’ll stay up this season with performances like the one today. We go again on Tuesday with a league fixture away to Leicester, a similarly tricky game but one that I’m sure Pochettino’s lads will perform well in. COYS

 

2017/18 statistics:
Senior goal scorers: Alli-6
Davies-2
Kane-15
Eriksen-4
Son-4
Sissoko-2

Assists Eriksen-3
Trippier-7
Davies-2
Kane-4
Alli-5
Alderweireld-1
Sissoko-1
Son-2
Dier-1

 

Spurs versus West Brom: (match preview)

Spurs versus West Brom: (match preview)

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Without a win in 11 games managerless West Brom seem like the perfect team for Pochettino’s side to face on Saturday. However, that is on paper and as we all know no game in the premier league can be taken for granted. Following the sacking of struggling Baggies manager Tony Pulis last Monday following their 4-0 home thrashing to Chelsea, Gary Megson who will take temporary charge of the baggies for their trip to Wembley will be in the dugout. As Spurs look to carry on the momentum from there glorious champions league outing in Dortmund, in midweek. It’s been almost three months since Spurs last played a game at there temporary home, the 2-0 Derby day defeat to Arsenal still fresh in the memory, Pochettino will be desperate for his side to pick up maximum points on Saturday, to keep up with the high flying Manchester City who’s lead at the top of the table currently stands at 8 points. I was sorry to see Pulis leave West Brom, his a manager who I have a lot of respect and he managed to build the baggies into a really solid and structured side during his three year tenure. Salomon Rondon is the baggies target man whilst the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Matt Phillips provide the creativity with in the side. In addition winger James McClean who has only started two league games this season, is a real handful down the left flank with his searing pace and energy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player with a better stamina. If we start well and play with confidence then I think there will be only one outcome from the game. COYS

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Lloris(c), Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Trippier, Dembele, Winks, Davies, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Foyth, Aurier, Rose, Son, Llorente, Nkoudou.

My score prediction: 5-0 to Spurs courtesy of a brace from Kane, a goal for Son and one for Eriksen.

Absentees: Alderweireld, Wanyama.

One to watch: Jay Rodriguez is a player who Pochettino holds in high esteem, having managed him at Southampton he’ll know what the talented forward is capable of going forward with the ball and creating, a very talented player who Spurs will have to be wary of.

Spurs 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: (some post match thoughts)

Spurs 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: (some post match thoughts)

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Not many people thought that we’d top a champions league group containing Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Well it happened, Pochettino’s side needed a win to do so, and they achieved that objective in a hard fought and deserved 2-1 win in Dortmund. It was a solid tactically astute showing from Pochettino’s side who were looking to respond following their disappointing 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend. Dortmund piled the pressure on us in the first half and looked the better team, Pochettino chose a very strong Spurs team which included Harry Kane upfront, he wanted us to secure that top spot on the night. The clever attacking football from Dortmund especially in the final third caused our defence some early problems which culminated in Aubameyang converting Yarmolenko’s pass just after 30 minutes. That goal seemed to spring Spurs into life, they showed more energy and craft and started to take control of the game, Harry Winks’ role as a holding midfielder key in this shift of play. Harry Kane’s trademark finish after receiving a Dele Alli pass shortly after the restart changed the complexion of the game and from that moment on it looked like there was only going to be one winner. Pochettino’s side were mature and went about things smartly, they passed the ball around well and created good openings, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son the most creative in the final third. Spurs found the winner in the 76th minute, Alli finding Son whose brilliant curling effort nestled into the top corner of Roman Burki’s net to secure the 3 points.

I’ll keep it brief, Sanchez was immense at the back, Winks dictated play, Alli created when it mattered and Son was phenomenal his workmate top class as was his finish. All eyes will be on manager less West Brom now who we face at Wembley on Saturday. COYS

Statistics: Senior: goal scorers: Alli-6
Davies-2
Kane-14
Eriksen-4
Son-4
Sissoko-2

 

Assists Eriksen-3
Trippier-7
Davies-2
Kane-4
Alli-4
Alderweireld-1
Sissoko-1
Son-2
Dier-1

 

Spurs versus Borussia Dortmund: (match preview)

Spurs versus Borussia Dortmund: (match preview)

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Moving on from our North London Derby day defeat to Arsenal at the weekend, Spurs have champions league football to look forward to. Having already secured qualification to the knock out stages, Pochettino will likely make widespread rotation for the Dortmund game, even though top spot is still up for grabs. It is to my understanding that, if we achieve a win in the final group game with APOEL then that would see us secure top spot, on the head to head rule. Bearing that in mind there’s not a lot of pressure on the players shoulders ahead of this game. I would doubt Pochettino would risk the likes of Alli, Kane and Dembele against Dortmund, that could mean a couple of youth players get a spot on the bench. Despite their poor start to the campaign Peter Boz’s struggling Dortmund team will still go into this game as favourites, the intimidating Westfalenstadion the setting for what should be a highly intriguing game of football. There has been a bit of talk on social media that academy starlet Oliver Skipp (17) could make the squad, I would love that to happen but we’ll just have to wait and see what the team is. COYS

 

A recent piece I wrote on Oliver Skipp: https://superhotspur.com/2017/08/13/a-piece-on-oliver-skipps-remarkable-performance-against-sunderland-under-23s/

 

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Lloris(c), Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Winks, Eriksen,Rose, Son, Dele, Llorente.

Subs from: Vorm, Davies, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Sissoko,Skipp, Georgiou.

My score prediction: 3-2 to Spurs courtesy of a hat trick from Son.

One to watch: Dortmund’s pacy and agile American winger Christian Pulisic, he really impressed me in the reverse meeting at Wembley.

Spurs 0-2 Arsenal: (some post match thoughts)

Spurs 0-2 Arsenal: (some post match thoughts)

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I wouldn’t have wanted to have been sat inside the Spurs dressing room during Mauricio Pochettino’s post match talk on Saturday. After our lads fell to a massively disappointing 2-0 Derby day defeat to bitter rivals Arsenal, at the Emirates stadium. It was for many a bit of a surprise result in a game in which many thought we would get something from. Playing Arsenal straight after a two week international break was the worst possible time, with little preparation and time for the Spurs players to get back in the groove it wouldn’t have made the game any easier. But I know that’s not an excuse for our lacklustre performance and certainty isn’t one in which our manager Mauricio Pochettino would use to justify our performance. Arsene Wenger’s team were the sharper of the two, although we had Kane and Alli back from injury the former of which was not right. They failed to make a positive impact on a game where for a large part of the first half, we gave a good account of ourselves. Despite our possession Arsenal seemed the potent team through out the game, energised by the creative Mesut Özil who formed a formidable front three along side Lacazette and Sanchez. Wenger’s side capitalised on the lack of energy that Spurs brought to the game, in particular they tried to target our defence which was missing the key figure of Alderweireld. For all the talk of an Arsenal on the decline our arch rivals are still one of the finest sides in the league with one of the best front threes. Arsenal passed the ball around quickly and with intent they carved openings through our midfield and defence and looked dangerous with the ball.

Christian Eriksen’s low effort on 35 minutes could have been a game changer but the Danes fine strike ended up ricocheting off of Cech’s near post. The real game changer occurred a minute or so afterwards, when what I thought was a good piece of defending by Sanchez, was deemed a foul by Mike Dean. From that set piece came Arsenal’s opener, Shkodran Mustafi getting on the end of Özil’s precise cross to loop the ball into the far corner of Lloris’ net. From that moment on Arsenal took control of the game they defended well, created numerous good chances and were fast paced in their play. Pochettino’s side never really recovered, his players looked a bit leggy with the exception of centre half Davinson Sanchez who was absolutely fantastic. Arsenal doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time through Alexis Sanchez. And comfortably went on to see out the second half picking up all three points from the first North London Derby of the season. Our players may have lost in hugely disappointing fashion but as always they gave their all against an Arsenal side who were on top of their game. Pochettino’s side could easily have ended up with the win had events taken a different turn, the first half decided the game. Moussa Sissoko put in a good shift in midfield whilst Sanchez was without doubt our man of the match. We may not have been at the races against Arsenal but in the end it just wasn’t to be our day. Up next for Pochettino’s side is a trip to Dortmund in game week 5 of the champions league. COYS

Spurs versus Arsenal: (match preview)

Spurs versus Arsenal: (match preview)

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The North London Derby, the most anticipated game in the Spurs calendar will take place on Saturday afternoon. Spurs versus Arsenal, the rivalry of all rivalries sees Mauricio Pochettino’s side make the short trip down to the emirates looking to see how his side will return from a two international break. Spurs are unbeaten against the gunners in the premier league under Pochettino’s tenure, but he’ll be desperate to see his side win on Arsenal’s turf for the first time in over seven years. Despite the constant uncertainty around Arsene Wenger’ position as Arsenal manager, along with the fact that the gunners missed out on champions league football last season, shows a contrast between the two sides. However in saying that you cannot undermine the quality that Wenger has at his disposal. After picking up 19 points from their first 11 league games, arsenal sit in sixth position, still unbeaten at home this campaign. Form means nothing going into this Derby, both sets of sides have a plethora of talent, but I reckon this one will come down to who wants it more, I cannot wait for this one! COYS

 

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Vorm, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks, Dembele, Davies, Alli, Eriksen, Kane(c).

Subs from: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Foyth, Sissoko, Son, Llorente, Nkoudou.

Absentees: Alderweireld, Wanyama, Lloris.

Doubtful: Erik Lamela.

My score prediction: 2-1 to Spurs courtesy of goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

One to watch: In fine form for France over the international break, Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette is a striker who is clinical in front of goal. The former Lyon man has six league goals this season, and his pace and power up front will cause a real threat to our defence especially with the absence of the instrumental Alderweireld through injury.

Spurs versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

Spurs versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

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Following on from one of Spurs’ most famous wins of recent years after our 3-1 victory over Real Madrid in midweek, Pochettino’s side will have no time to celebrate. His side host London rivals Crystal Palace later today at Wembley Stadium, and he’ll be desperate for us to return to winning ways in the league against Roy Hodgon’s bottom of the table ‘eagles’ side. Pacy forward Wilfred Zaha and former Spurs man Andros Townsend will probably both start up front, providing us with our biggest goal threat. I’m confident we’ll carry on from our spectacular result in midweek, with another dominant display against Crystal Palace. COYS

My predicted lineup:(3-4-2-1) Vorm, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Dembele, Dele, Eriksen, Son, Kane(c).

Subs from: Gazzaniga, Winks, Davies, Sissoko, Walker-Peters, Nkoudou, Llorente

Absentees: Alderweireld, Lloris, Wanyama, Lamela.

My score prediction: 4-0 to Spurs courtesy of a brace from Son and Harry Kane.

One to watch: One of the most skilful players in the premier league Ivory Coast international Wilfred Zaha is a player that Pochettino will know well. Having been strongly linked with the pacy winger in recent seasons, Zaha has the ability to take on and beat any player on the pitch, he also has a fine goal scoring record. Due to injury problems in Hodgons’s side, Zaha will likely feature as an out and out striker.