In a week where rumors of player exits have been running through the club, the team will need to put some smiles on the supports faces and give them a reason to be happy this weekend. In a game with multiple subplots, the game itself is one of the most exciting and intriguing fixtures of the weekend as it pits two sides that have been battling for a Champions League place consistently throughout the season.
In a game where Tottenham were very relaxed and Newcastle had other issues on their mind, it was never going to be pretty. But Spurs played their game from the first minute and capitalized on a wandering Newcastle team who are still without a win in 5. Even Paulinho got Man of the Match! Plus Harry Kane became the first Tottenham Hotspur player to score 30 goals in a single season since Gary Linekar in 1991-1992, so despite the dire game, there are some positives.
Michel Vorm- 6
Newcastle hardly threatened the Spurs goal and when they did, the scored, but Vorm had a solid game, despite the goal. It’s nice to know that even when Lloris isn’t able to play we have a good keeper who can organize a defense and keep the fans positive that we have a good backup on standby.
Eric Dier- 6
Similar to Vorm, Dier dealt with the danger of Perez, Cabella and Obertan well enough when called up and showed that he is slowly developing into a good central defender, as well as a good right back who is defensively more competent than Walker, more experienced than Yedlin and just flat out better than Chiriches. Some maybe calling for an England call up for Dier, seeing as he is already an integral part of the under 21 set up.
Federico Fazio- 6
Fazio was better than last week, which to be fair wasn’t exactly hard to better. He was part of a pretty solid defensive performance, and dealt with Perez’s threat with ease and showed how strong his and Vertonghen’s partnership is. In a slow game, the pace and style of the game really suited him and his style of play.
Jan Vertonghen- 6
Similar to Fazio, he returned with style as the attack of Newcastle was stifled with relative ease. Our best partnership at the back is most likely Vertonghen and Fazio and it showed here today. Not much to comment on except from the fact this man is the vice captain and not Harry Kane.
Danny Rose- 6
Again, another great showing from Rose as he bombed up the left flank and supplied Chadli with a good outside option. His development over the course of the season shows how far he has come from “that goal” against Arsenal. Maybe a starting place ahead of Leighton Baines in the England squad?
Nabil Bentaleb- 8
Had a good game overall, yet again, showing why he is one of the first names on the team sheet. Simple passes coupled with subtle moments of pure class show why he should have been nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year. One of the players who really showed his worth in the match.
Its true It’s true, Paulinho did get Man of the Match and did have an absolute blinder, but one thought that seemed to come up a lot was whether a move was on the horizon. Either way, it was refreshing to see him put in such a good performance.
Nacer Chadli- 7
Sporting his new Samurai hair bun, Chadli repeated his feat from last season by scoring against Newcastle at St. James Park. His strike from outside the box was the pinnacle of his game as he was rather subdued in the second half before being replaced for Mousa Dembele.
Christian Eriksen- 7
In the first half, Eriksen started off brightly but never did much in terms of creativity, but when the second half came, he seemed to wake up. His goal from the free kick managed to fly past everyone including Tim Krul and capped off a good game for the Dane.
Erik Lamela- 4
There is only so much time that Spurs fans can defend this man. Time after time, they stick up for him whilst he does near enough nothing in every game except give away the ball and run around. I think his time Is up at the club, as he isn’t getting any better, and for £30 million, he shouldn’t need time to settle in no matter his age or price tag.
Harry Kane- 7
The first striker since Gary Linekar to reach 30 goals for Tottenham, Harry Kane is proving to be an icon similar to what Robbie Keane was to kids my age. His strike this afternoon capped off a great week where he was voted both PFA Player’s Player and Young Player of the Year. Lets just hope we keep hold of him for a couple a years and hope he becomes a legend at the club.
Ben Davies – 6
Added a solid full back performance to his young career and showed that he can be a useful back up if Rose was to ever get injured.
Mousa Dembele- 6
Showed that he is one of the creative midfielders that the club needs whenever the team need a genius late on in games.
Ryan Mason- 5
Came on late on in the day to sure up the midfield and add some solidity towards the end. Also was up in support with Kane prior to Kane’s strike for the third goal.
Tomorrow we travel to St James Park as we aim to break our recent run of bad form. Newcastle themselves are in a rut of bad defeats so both sets of fans will be demanding a performance and a win from their teams. Here are the 3 Key players that could lead Spurs to victory in the North on Sunday.
With it reported that he’s recovered from his illness and is back in the squad, he should start on Sunday and we need him back. Our defence has been lacking a leader since his absence and for the criticism he sometimes receives for his attitude and manner in the pitch he is the best defender at our club by a way. He’ll need to keep the back 4 in shape and organised against a side that regardless of form will come and attack every chance they get so ‘Super Jan’ will need to lead efficiently on Sunday if we’re to win.
Our best performer over the last month by some distance, the improvement in Danny Rose this season has been nothing short of incredible. He’s become as effective defending and tackling as he has at going forward on the wing to set-up an attack. He’ll be required to do plenty of both on Sunday against a aside that’ll come forward and they’ll be opportunities for him to use the wings o the counter-attack.
The Danish maestro has been off colour for a few weeks now and the architect of our midfield needs to rekindle his magic spark if we’re to win again on Sunday and hit form as we near the end of the season. He’s looked very lethargic and legged in recent games but he should make the difference with his creative touch which always has helped us throughout the season with the last-minute winning goals he has scored for us this season.
Newcastle United are in desperate need of a win. John Carver hasn’t guided them to a single win in 5 games, and he recently described the Newcastle job as the “hardest job in the world”. Tottenham drew a dire game away at Burnley and lost last week at home to Aston Villa, so as per usual for Tottenham, the play the out of form team in the league who are in need for a win. It makes me think of the intro to “The A-Team”, “If you have a problem, if no one else can help and if you can find them, maybe you can hire, the Spurs team”.
Regardless of the lack of hope shown by fans on Social Media, the team can pick up the 3 points up at St. James’ Park similar to last year where a 4-1 victory was enough to take home the point. With a few players missing such as Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, and Jan Vertonghen, it seems that a few players will be able to showcase their ability in front of the Sky Sports cameras this Sunday.
Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker all remain doubts for the trip to Newcastle.
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm:
With Lloris a doubt yet again, it seems likely that Vorm will keep his place in the line up. Despite not picking up a win In his 2 games in goal, he has put in relatively good performances that kept the score down against Villa last time out and picking up Spurs’ 7th clean sheet in the Premier League season. With a misfiring Newcastle strike force I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Spurs picked up any points this weekend, Vorm would most likely keep another clean sheet.
Defence: DeAndré Yedlin, Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, and Danny Rose:
Providing that Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen are still out, it is possible that Yedlin would make his full debut for Spurs after what seems like forever. Fazio will most likely continue to deputize for the missing Vertonghen, despite his poor performance against Villa last week. With Eric Dier and Danny Rose growing into their roles, the only thing to do is to have them continue in the defense.
Defensive Midfield: Nabil Bentaleb; Ryan Mason:
After making this position their own this season, it is down to them to show why they deserve to retain it for next season. After some shaky and lifeless showings recently, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to show their class and their tough mentality that has reared its head rarely this season.
Midfield: Christian Eriksen; Moussa Dembele; Andros Townsend:
These three could prove to be the key if Tottenham are to win this Sunday, as each possess that spark that is a handful to deal with at the best of times. With Townsend putting in a Ok performance against Villa, it is vital he puts in a good performance to keep up his England place. With Eriksen seemingly one of the first names on the team sheet each week, the final place could go to Moussa Dembele. Without a start recently, being dropped for Paulinho and Lamela, Dembele would love to show everyone his true ability with a key role in the center of the park.
Striker: Harry Kane:
The “HurriKane” would love to cap off a brilliant week in which he was nominated for both PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by scoring at St. James Park. Missing the previous fixture, being dropped for Emmanuel Adebayor, he will be looking to show the Geordies what its like to be on the back end of a “Kaneing”.
Throughout this season, Spurs have had great highs to celebrate about; however there have also been some crushing disappointments in amongst those highs. Altogether we’ve lost 10 games this season but theіr have been 5 defeats especially that have really dented our hopes this season and here they are:
Frustration. It’s a word that is associated with Tottenham Hotspur too often this season. After today’s match with Aston Villa, it almost shows that no matter who the manager is, or who the players are, it seems to be something that will always be with the club. Christian Benteke won the game for Villa, which is a monumental victory for them, but from Spurs’ point of view, it’s two poor performances in games we should’ve won. The game was rather sloppy from Spurs, and in the second half there was a distinct lack of effort, which was the main gripe for the Twitter fans.
Michel Vorm: 6-
Despite conceding, he was very good with certain distribution, good commanding of his area, and stopped the result from being even worse by saving a Fabian Delph effort late on. Vorm’s performance was one of the shining lights of the game.
Vlad Chiriches: 4-
Chiriches is just plain awful! I hate being so negative about our players, but it doesn’t seem like he has the ability to pass the ball 5 yards. Not up to it at all today and doesn’t seem to be up for the pace and power of the Premier League, and will most likely be sold in the summer if anyone actually comes in for him.
Federico Fazio: 4-
Again, another player who doesn’t seem capable of cutting it in the Premier League. Failing to mark Benteke properly in the build up to the goal, he looked to be capable of slipping up at any second. Fazio never has looked to be able to get to grips with the style of English football and always come across as if he’s constantly playing in slow motion.
Eric Dier: 5-
Rather ineffective throughout the game. Whenever called upon, dealt with the pressure with relative ease, but didn’t show any signs of promise for the future. Maybe he just plays better with Vertonghen, but Dier doesn’t seem to be the player he and the club thought he would be by this time.
Danny Rose: 7-
Yet again, Danny was our best player. He showed the most energy, passion, drive and wanted to get forward and create for the team. Unfortunately, no one was on the end of his crosses and was unable to affect the others. My Man of the Match for the third game in a row.
Ryan Mason: 4-
Poor performance when a midfield general was really needed today. I had to double check to see if he was even on the pitch he was that quiet. Ryan seems to have gone way off the boil a of late, and if his performances don’t improve quickly, then maybe it’s time to ask whether he is good enough to be a starter at the club.
Nabil Bentaleb: 5-
Similarly to Mason, a very quiet performance and very ineffective. Nothing creative at all from Nabil, and showed signs of fatigue throughout the second half. Maybe it’s time to shuffle that midfield around, to freshen things up.
Christian Eriksen: 5-
Tried to create for Harry Kane in the first half and had some shots of his own, but the passes never made it through, and the shots were high, wide and not at all handsome. The midfield area shows how desperately Tottenham need some capable bench players, as Eriksen was a little bit tired towards the end of the match. It seems that Pochettino’s fast pressing style is really affecting the players in the final run in of the season.
Nacer Chadli: 5-
No determination or desire at all today. Chadli, who is often accused of being inconsistent and not tracking back, was invisible for a period in the first half and the majority of the second half until he was subbed off.
Andros Townsend: 5-
Andros tried to take on players in the first half, but once he realized he was in for a tough game, he almost looked to give up. He tried to up the tempo, but didn’t fancy a challenge today, so gave in. Townsend’s performance sums up the whole game for Tottenham quite frankly.
Harry Kane: 5-
Kane is in desperate need of a rest. He is clearly worn out, but is forced to play, as we don’t have anyone capable of replacing him. Relies heavily on service from the three behind him, but when that services isn’t there, then he can’t win games, and cant boss around defenders like he wants.
Roberto Soldado: – N/A-
Subbed on for Chadli, did nothing at all and was forced out wide where he clearly isn’t comfortable. Whether it was his personal choice to go out wide so Kane is the lone striker, or instructions from the manager, it should never, ever be done again.
Erik Lamela: – N/A
Subbed on for Andros Townsend, immediately drifted out of the game and was useless in his 11 minute cameo.
DeAndre Yedlin: – N/A
Subbed on for Chiriches, Twitter hyped up Yedlin for months and months, and when he finally came on, he was out muscled and floored by Kieran Richardson. Maybe after a few games he will show his potential, but today wasn’t his day.
Spurs return to White Hart Lane this weekend after last Sunday’s snooze fest at Turf Moor. However, they won’t be the only ones making a return, as Tim Sherwood will be returning to the dugout on Saturday, admittedly in the opposition dug out. The former lilywhite midfielder endured an interesting reign to say the least at Tottenham last season, his 59% win ratio something that everyone is now fully aware off. However, with that win ratio came rumours of dressing room bust ups, cringe worthy press conferences and a massive loss of identify for the club. This season , we appear to be getting that identity back.
Villa arrive at White Hart Lane in a very similar shape to Sherwood’s Spurs team last season in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Pacey and dangerous in attack, but suspect defensively, and to be fair it’s been a similar story for Spurs this season. It promises to be an open game. Villa are desperate for points, while Spurs are all but out of the top four race after last weekend. However, as we know, things can change very quickly in football and Pochettino won’t want his team letting up at this stage, he will want a fight to the finish. It should be an enthralling contest, with Sherwood desperate to get one over on the home team.
Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker are out, whilst Jan Vertonghen is a doubt with illness
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper- Michel Vorm
Vorm- The former Swansea man kept our first clean sheet in two months last time out, one of the few positives to take from Turf Moor. Another one against Villa and he will be making his case to Mauricio Pochettino about how good a back up keeper he is (its unfortunate for him who is in front of him in Hugo Lloris)
Defenders- Vlad Chiriches, Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, Danny Rose
Chiriches- Despite the clamour for Deandre Yedlin to start this game, I still feel Poch will go with Chiriches, who was decent enough last week after a position change. If he is to have a Spurs future, he needs to take the chances he gets.
Dier- He was solid and composed last weekend and looks to have the ability to develop into a truly classy centre back. Will be hoping to keep a dangerous Villa attack quiet
Fazio- I feel Fazio will be brought in to try and cope with the strong and powerful Benteke, who (much like Adebayor last season) has been rejuvenated under Sherwood. He’s been out of the team for a while, and it will certainly be a tricky test for him on his return if he does get the nod.
Rose- One of the first names on the teamsheet, another solid performance last weekend. Consistency is key, and at the moment, he is showing it.
Midfield- Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason
Bentaleb- Will be looking to get back to his best on Saturday, his position certainly doesn’t seem under threat at current
Mason- Made a few mistakes in the Burnley game and like Bentaleb will be looking to get back to form after a stagnant performance last weekend
Attackers- Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli
Lamela- Looked much sharper than Chadli when he came on last time out and in an open game like this he can be dangerous on the counter. He’s taken some justified and unjustified criticism this season but I feel this a chance for him to shine again.
Eriksen- A massively quiet last month or so for the Dane, could use a performance boost, but if the game is as open as it promises to be, his passing and vision could be the key to winning the game.
Chadli- It’s been a testing time for Chadli post Christmas, unfortunate events in his personal life have clearly caused his performances to suffer. But once again this is the sort of game where he will find space to get back to his best, and on the left, there really isn’t many other natural options.
Forwards- Harry Kane
Kane- Couldn’t get in the team at the start of the season, now, he’s team captain (in the absence of Hugo Lloris at least) his rise continues and he will be licking his lips at coming up against an attack which doesn’t seem equipped to contain players of his form and confidence.
When I sat down today in front of my TV eating the Easter egg my girlfriend got me, I didn’t expect to see the type of game I saw today. The pace of the game was slow, the crowd at Turf Moor didn’t seem up for the midday kickoff, and even the commentators seemed to be a bit bored after a while. Quite frankly, the only good thing of note was the sunshine! But nevertheless, the loyal Spurs fans stuck by them, and Twitter was as colourful as always, and the players lined up to play Burnley on Easter Sunday.
With very little to talk about, Tottenham controlled in large parts of the game, but occasionally looked vulnerable at the back. In hindsight, both teams will look back at the game infuriated that neither side could take the initiative and lead on the front foot. Both sides lacked the cutting edge in the final 20 yards, and whenever Spurs broke on the counter or had a decent spell of possession, it was wasted by laughable incidents like ‘that’ Paulinho shot.
Both teams will have to look at this game as a point earned rather than any lost, or even any gained for that matter.
Michel Vorm: – 6-
In dire matches, the goalkeepers need to always keep focused and not be swayed by the tempo of the game, and Vorm did that exceptionally well today. When he was called upon, such as the Danny Ings effort minutes before halftime showed that even with our club captain Hugo Lloris out, we can rely on our backup, and he even got a clean sheet!
Kyle Walker: – 2-
I try to be as positive about Spurs as I can, but when I see a player put in a performance like Walker did today, it makes me wonder how he got into the England squad this week. Everything he did today didn’t work, and really showed his lack of positioning and knowledge of defending. Walker does frustrate sometimes, but his substitution due to injury was probably the best thing that happened to Spurs in the game.
Eric Dier: – 6-
Dier performed really well against a potentially tricky attacking unit from Burnley and continues to show his worth to the squad. It’s refreshing to see a top quality English Centre back really work on his trade constantly, especially at Tottenham where the habit of buying average/poor defenders is becoming strong.
Vlad Chiriches: -5-
Chiriches didn’t really make any mistakes, yet at the same time, he never really had anything to, or was ever troubled, similarly to Dier. When the team was announced that Chiriches was starting, I have to admit I wasn’t too happy, but after his display today, it proved to be the right decision.
Danny Rose: (My Man of the Match)- 6/7-
Yet again, Rose shined as the best player of the game, as he dealt with any danger exceptionally well, as well as attempting to start any attacks on the left, and bringing others into play. It was hard to choose a Man of the Match, but Danny was one of few to really put in a good shift today.
Ryan Mason: – 5-
After getting his first England cap in midweek, Ryan Mason was probably full of confidence, but unfortunately it didn’t show in his performance today. He didn’t really control the game at all but put in some good challenges, but continues the recent trend of seemingly running out of steam early on in games.
Nabil Bentaleb: – 5/6-
If it weren’t for his ghost-like showing in the second half, Bentaleb would have been my Man of the Match. He showed in the first half why I named him as one of the key players for Tottenham this weekend by controlling the game, spreading the play and trying to force Eriksen and Chadli to get more involved.
Nacer Chadli: – 5-
Yet another player who didn’t do much wrong, yet didn’t do much at all. He tried to force himself to attack, but it became apparent he just didn’t feel up to it, and further adding to the claim that he needs to add more effort into his game.
Christian Eriksen: – 5-
Similarly to Chadli, Eriksen didn’t seem mentally up for it today, and it showed through the first half, however he did show signs of positivity with efforts that either flew over the bar or hit a defender and really didn’t offer much consistently in the match.
Paulinho: – 4-
Paulinho is a sign as to why Franco Baldini shouldn’t be in charge of transfers. ‘That’ show showed how poor he really was today. He was invisible in the first half and whenever he did get the ball he either passed it sideways or gave it away. Not much to say about his performance apart from him being a proven waste of money.
Harry Kane: – 5-
Despite captaining the side today, Kane never really showed any signs of scoring, mainly due to a lack of service from the supporting attack. On any other day, he probably could’ve have pouched a goal or two, but today just wasn’t his day.
Ben Davies: – 4-
Apart from a few nervous moments towards the end of the game, Davies put in a solid shift at Centre back after coming on for Kyle Walker just after the half time break.
Andros Townsend: N/A
I’ve decided not to give Andros a mark, simply because he wasn’t on the pitch long enough to make any sort of impact.
Erik Lamela: – 4-
I actually felt this game was made for Lamela, as he is capable of a spark of magic, despite how rare it is for Tottenham. But unfortunately, he wasn’t able to create anything of any note and almost withered into the bleakness of the game.
This Sunday, Tottenham travel up north to Turf Moor to face relegation threatened Burnley this Easter Sunday. The team travel up their hoping to remain unbeaten against Burnley this season after beating them 2-1 in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane, a 4-2 win at home in the FA Cup following a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor in the first game prior to the replay. The major loss for Spurs this week will be the absence of captain and arguably the best Goalkeeper in the League, Hugo Lloris who is still recovering from his knee injury. Roberto Soldado looks set to miss out again, but again he wouldn’t have replaced Harry Kane no matter what.
Easter Sunday gives us the clash that seems to have been almost been a bogey side for Tottenham. Having played them 3 times already this season, a draw and 2 wins is the best record Spurs have had against Burnley in recent memory, with our last two visits to Turf Moor resulted in two losses, albeit one in the second leg of the Carling Cup and on the last day of the 2009/10 season. Similarly to a fortnight ago at home to Leicester, both teams are in need for some 3 points, both for different reasons, but need them nonetheless.
Despite being down in the relegation battle, Burnley have put in some good performances this season, and have a couple of danger men in their squad and vital players that could cause Spurs a couple of problems and in terms of team news, Burnley have the potential to field a full first team against Spurs.