Premier League | Fresh Spurs - Part 10

Premier League

Lamela Starts! Tottenham Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Aston Villa

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.

Team News:

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.

Player Ratings: Burnley 0-0 Tottenham

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.

Substitutions:

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.

THREE Players Key To Tottenham If They Are To Win At Burnley

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.

Watch Out! THREE Burnley Players To Look Out For On Sunday

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.

Townsend Starts! Tottenham Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Burnley

It’ll be over two weeks since Spurs last played when they kick off against Burnley at Turf Moor. Our last game, a 4-3 win over Leicester showcased Harry Kane’s continuing rise but also our incredibly vulnerable defence. Nacer Chadli this week described our final 8 games as ‘8 finals’ and although a Champions League spot looks next to impossible, a strong finish to the season for Spurs can only do us good going into the next campaign.

 
In Burnley, we face opposition who are in a relegation dogfight, but certainly don’t look as doomed as our last opponents Leicester. Burnley will fight to the last for a place in this league next season and despite a loss against Southampton last time out, the last time they played at Turf Moor they defeated champions Manchester City 1-0, enforcing the point they should not be taken lightly. Spurs will need to be ready for a battle. Here is the team news and predicted line-up.
 
Team News:
The injury Hugo Lloris suffered against Leicester last time out keeps him out, whilst the only other doubt is Roberto Soldado.
 
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
 
Goalkeeper- Michel Vorm
After the injury suffered by Lloris against Leicester, Vorm will come in and take his place in the starting line up. Hugo is a huge miss and Vorm has looked shaky when he has played recently, but he will be hoping to prove his is more than able to help the team to victory when called upon this weekend.
 
Defenders- Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose 
 
Walker- He has had his fair share of criticism lately, but his confidence can only hand risen after keeping his place in the England squad. Walker needs to work hard and begin to show form as the season comes to a close, hopefully starting with a positive performance on Sunday. 
 
Eric Dier- Still young, still learning the game, but will be the best option to cope with a very mobile Danny Ings.
 
Jan Vertonghen- Both he and Dier will have to keeping a close eye on Ings, who may be looking to impress possible future employers. Jan has been our main CB for some time and will continue on Sunday.
 
Danny Rose- An incredible season has been recognised with an England call up for Danny Rose and despite having to drop out of the squad due to injury, it still shows that his progress is finally starting to be recognised by not just Spurs fans. Has improved his game no end since the signing of Ben Davies, and will keep the Welshman out again this Sunday for sure.
 
Midfielders- Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb 
 
Ryan Mason- Mason is another player who had his superb season recognised with an England call up. He assisted the screamer scored by Andros Townsend and his confidence will be sky high going into this one. His tough tackling and energetic style will be needed in the middle of the park.
 
Nabil Bentaleb- Cool, calm and composed. The Algerian will be hoping to keep things ticking over on Sunday. A superb season, his place in the team assured.
 
Attackers- Andros Townsend, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli
 
Andros Townsend- Considering both he and Lamela haven’t had the best of seasons, I would imagine Pochettino will start with Andros after his stunning goal midweek. He will be hoping his confidence will have shot up with (yet another) goal for England. If he could replicate his England form at club level , Andros would be some prospect. Hopefully it all starts on Sunday.
 
Christian Eriksen- After a landmark week for Denmark, Eriksen will be hoping to get back to his best at club level. He’s entered a bit of a quiet patch since his stunning form from November to January, and he will be hoping to get back to his best and start scoring and creating again. Our most creative player, will be hoping to be the difference maker against Sean Dyches men.
 
Nacer Chadli- Another man who has suffered a mild lapse in form, although after the unfortunate death of his father, it is understandable that Nacer may have lost a step a recent weeks. On his day however, he is a very dangerous player, as we have seen against the likes of Chelsea this season. He will be hoping to get at Burnley’s back line.
 
Striker- Harry Kane
 
Harry Kane- After taking only 79 seconds to score on his England debut, Harry Kane’s confidence will have gone up another level (if that’s even possible). Kane is in the form of his life and would be feeling confident against any back line in the world right now. Obviously our main threat, and one that Burnley will have spent some time working out how to contain. Many have tried. A lot have failed.

Lamela Starts! Tottenham Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Leicester

Spurs were deeply disappointing last week as we were humbled by Manchster United at Old Trafford. Now, a week on, Spurs need to be ready to react against a rock bottom Leicester side. Nigel Pearson’s team have not on a match in any competition since they shocked Tottenham in the FA cup at White Hart Lane with two late goals in January. Now, Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to stop them repeating the trick and guide us to all three points in a game we really should be winning if we intend to finish the league season on a positive note. Below is the team news and my predicted line up. Come on you Spurs!

Team News:

Mauricio Pochettino has reported that Roberto Soldado is likely to be the only absentee for Spurs.

Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

Our captain, our saviour on many occasions, Hugo will obviously be starting and will hope to keep a first clean sheet since our 3-0 win over West Brom in January.

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose

Kyle Walker- Lucky he doesn’t have stiffer competition at this moment in time with Deandre Yedlin still adjusting to life in England, otherwise he may have found himself out of the team. Walker was all over the place at Old Trafford and will be hoping to put in a performance to convince Pochettino he is the permenant solution at RB.

Eric Dier- Like most of our defence, Eric also struggled to contain Manchster United’s attacking play last week and will be one of the many looking to react. He is still young and clearly very talented and I expect him to continue ahead of Federico Fazio at CB.

Jan Vertonghen- Probably our best CB, Jan will be hoping for a much more comfortable afternoon than last week. He will have to keep an eye on Ulloa, who scored in our last Premier League outing against Leicester.

Danny Rose- Tottenham fans can consider themselves lucky that our best defender on current form will be facing then most dangerous player Leicester have to offer in Mahrez. Rose gave the best account of himself out of anyone in a Spurs shirt at Old Trafford and will be disappointed not to have earnt an England call up in midweek.

Midfielders: Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb

Ryan Mason- Another player who may feel he did enough to earn an England call up midweek , Mason will be hoping to drive Spurs forward against Leicester, as when he is on his game Spurs are a much more positive and pressurising force going forward.

Nabil Bentaleb- After a rare error that gifted United their third goal last week, it should not be forgotten how much Nabil has improved and contributed this season. He will surely start and look to shake off last weeks dip with a composed and assured midfield performance.

Attackers- Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli

Erik Lamela- He’s been out of the team for the last few weeks but after Townsend was hauled off after only half an hour last week i see this as a good opportunity for Erik to step back into the team and try and nail down a place with a good performance.

Christian Eriksen- Seems to be taking his time getting going in games lately after subdued first half performances against Swansea and QPR only to improve as the games went on. However he certainly has been a lot quieter recently and will be looking to rectify that this weekend, after he proved to be the matdh winner last time out against these opponents.

Nacer Chadli- I have said a fair few times already but Nacer is another player who will be looking to bounce back after a difficult outing at Old Trafford. He has massively improved this season with 10 goals to his name, a goal return he will be confident off adding to this weekend.

Striker- Harry Kane

Harry’s rise has been monumental and this was recognised midweek with a first ever England call up. All Kane can do now is continue to perform as he looks to close out a remarkable breakthrough season by passing the 30 goal Mark. Leicester will not be looking forward to seeing him running at them.

Spurs v Leicester: Match Preview

This Saturday, Spurs will go head to head with bottom club Leicester City at White Hart Lane, with both teams looking for three vital points. Tottenham are looking to bounce back from the embarrassing 3-0 away loss last Sunday at Manchester United, whilst Leicester are looking to bounce back from 2 points out of their last 6 Premier League games, which shows just how deep into the relegation dogfight Leicester find themselves in alongside QPR, who Spurs beat 2 weeks ago, Burnley, Sunderland, and Aston Villa, led by “Mr. 59% win ratio” himself, Tim Sherwood.

Leicester will need to pick up maximum points this Saturday to stand any chance of a survival push, with winnable games with West Ham and West Brom coming up. Spurs, on the other hand, are looking to edge themselves back into the race for the top four after suffering a setback with the loss to Manchester United, as well as rivals Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal all picking up points in the last round of games. With key games against many of the relegation threatened teams, and an away trip to Southampton coupled with a vital home tie against Manchester City, this weekend is one of the most vital for both teams, as the season could potentially be settled for the team who misses out on the three points.

The significance of this match cannot be understated. Tottenham need to pick up three points in order to retain any hopes of Champions League football next season, whilst Leicester need the three points to have a chance against their rivals if they want  second season of Premier League. The remaining games of season will really show whether this has been an improvement on last season, where the club finished 6th in the league, and whether the fans will question in their mind if the quality of the squad is actually improving compared to recent years. Leicester, on the other hand, may want to repeat their FA Cup victory and nick a win to catapult the confidence of the squad in time for the most crucial game of their season against Burnley.

In terms of team news for Tottenham, the only absentee is striker Roberto Soldado, and with all respect to Bobby, he was never going to start ahead of the new England striker Harry Kane. The squad is more or less the same for Spurs, as with Pochettino’s new fitness regime keeping the players fitter and healthier probably for the first time since the old days of Juande Ramos, the players rarely seem to tire in game or even get muscle injuries, which has been the common enemy for Spurs players for as long as I can remember.

Hopefully for the Spurs fans, this game can spark a resurgence for the top four, as everyone knows how much the fans want to bring back the “glory glory nights” we all experienced a few years ago. It mean so much for the club to return to the competition, as Tottenham are the last team from North London to reach the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League in 2011 (yes, every Gooner I know has been reminded of that this week, makes me proud.) Those days would bring so much to the club and with victory this week against one of the teams that are rather unlucky to be in the relegation fight, as Leicester haven’t been poor, but more unlucky in front of goal, despite Leonardo Ulloa grabbing 9 goals for himself this season, and possibly providing the shock of the season by beating Manchester United 5-3 early on in the season. Both teams would benefit from victory this Saturday, but lest just hope its for the mighty lilywhites!!

Player Ratings: Manchester United 3-0 Spurs

Shambolic defending was the main Tottenham downfall from the loss to Manchester United, as we look back at the players’ individual performances at Old Trafford.

Hugo Lloris – 4 – One save, one claim and conceded three. An all-too familiar case of being let down by those in front of him. Otherwise, didn’t have much else to do in the game.

Kyle Walker – 2 – One of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from Kyle in our colours. Walker looked like he’d never seen Young play before, and this is after struggling against him once or twice before too. He even got beaten for pace a few times and fouled the winger, while Rooney, Fellaini and Blind all tried to test him out and had success.

Eric Dier – 2 – Seemed to lose every header. Fellaini dominated and was the centre of Utd’s attacks. Slow to react to Carrick’s through ball for the first goal, while Fellaini set up the second goal by getting airborne ahead of Dier at the corner kick. Weak challenge on Rooney for the third goal.

Jan Vertonghen – 3 – Poor performance considering his role as a senior player. Despite winning four aerial duels, like Dier – failed to win a single tackle. Had to step out in the build-up to the first goal, but that was a symptom of our lack of pressing more than a mistake by him.

Danny Rose – 4 – Probably our best player in a mistake-ridden defence. At least there was a few times where he got physical while he also made a goal saving challenge when the Spaniard was waiting to tap in at the back post. Made a few decent crosses in the second half that an attacker should really have gotten on the end of.

Ryan Mason – 3 – Unable to assert any authority during the game and was chasing shadows during the opening 45. That being said, worked hard. Had maybe our best chance when he shimmied past a player but dragged the shot wide. Was near the ball along with Walker when Carrick headed home and could have reacted quicker.

Nabil Bentaleb – 3 – An uncharacteristically nervy game from Nabil today. Only made one tackle and was woeful his passing. Given a real masterclass by former Spurs Michael Carrick. The game passed him by today as he only had the space to pass backwards or across, and it was one of these that led to the third goal.

Andros Townsend – 2 – Sacrificed early on due to him and Walker getting mauled down the right. Runs and works hard, but seems to be no precision in his pressing. there was at least three times that there was a loose ball to be won and he watched as a Utd player earned it back each time, not on.

Nacer Chadli – 2 – Often a bystander who can get you a goal, today he was just a bystander. Tried a few dribbles that were dealt with without fuss, while his reaction to the header for the second goal could have been a lot quicker and led to a clearance.

Christian Eriksen – 3 – Unable to get on the ball and make things happen. Too easily marked/crowded out of the game by United, which has become a feature in recent games with Eriksen. Will have to make himself harder to shut out in future.

Harry Kane – 4 – Got very little service today, that being said – when on the ball, Kane was wasteful at times. Didn’t trouble Smalling or Jones, despite a surge and shot late on. Decent shot towards the near post that almost squirmed through De Gea’s legs.

SUBS

Mousa Dembele – 3 – You could argue that Mousa came on when the game was already lost. Didn’t power-house through the United midfield as he’d done in past fixtures. Only had one successful dribble, but made three fouls.

Erik Lamela – 3 – Worked hard when he came on. Made three tackles and had one successful dribble. Couldn’t make an influence.

Emmanuel Adebayor – N/A – Had little time to influence the game.

THREE Reasons Why Tottenham Can Beat Manchester United

This Sunday, Spurs travel up north to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United team fresh off the back of crashing out of the FA Cup after losing 1-2 against our arch-rivals Arsenal, whilst Spurs are coming off a tremendous victory away at QPR. Goals from Harry Kane secured the victory for us, and the recent performances from Nabil Bentaleb provide fans with hope of having the first complete midfielder since Luka Modric or Scott Parker.

Tottenham go into this game full of confidence of knowing that a win this weekend will make it three wins in three years at Old Trafford, a feat not achieved for many years, whilst victories against Arsenal and Chelsea this season fuel hope that the rather good record against the big clubs can continue this season. United haven’t been at the races in terms of performance this season, but Louis Van Gaal’s team have apparently found a way to win vital games without playing fantastic, a key part to a sides place into the top four, a trait Tottenham are starting to pick up gradually throughout the season.

Is It Possible For Spurs Reach The Dreamland Again?

We’re into the home stretch of the season. Just 10 games of the Premier League season to go and Spurs are still in the thick of the action in the race for the Top 4 and the possibility of Mauricio Pochettino guiding us into the Champions League in his first full season is not out of the question. With Spurs currently on 50 points, with 30 still available, we’re right in the hunt for a place in Europe’s elite competition.

Here are our final 10 fixtures:

Man Utd (Away)
Leicester (Home)
Burnley (Away)
Aston Villa (Home)
Newcastle (Away)
Southampton (Away)
Man City (Home)
Stoke (Away)
Hull (Home)
Everton (Away)

Looking at that run-in, all of those are winnable matches and out of the other Top 4 contenders, Man City/Man Utd/Liverpool/Arsenal/Southampton, we probably have the most favourable end to the season out of all of them. Also given that the only team who are in better form than us right now are Liverpool, everyone is fighting for these places and anyone can still take them if they put together a great run to the end of the season.

Realistically, I feel we need to take a minimum of 24 points out of those 30 points in order to assure us of a Top 4 finish. There’s a few crucial encounters. Not least Southampton & Man City back-to-back, which will define our season and where the future of the Club is heading under Pochettino but regardless if we do or don’t make Top 4, we can certainly feel a sense of pride in how far we’ve come this season and we will make it back to where we all want to be once again.