Premier League | Fresh Spurs - Part 5

Premier League

Early Season Woes And Transfer Window Analysis

Four games into the Barclays Premier League season and Tottenham Hotspur are yet to record a win. The transfer window has closed and Spurs are going to have to make do with what they’ve got until at least January. The two key questions at this point are ‘What hasn’t quite clicked for Tottenham so far?’ and ‘Have they done enough in the transfer window to fix that?’

Spurs may not have won a game as yet but they are unbeaten in 3, having not lost since the opening day away to Manchester United. The problem identified by most it seems, has been the ability to manage a game, and to be able see it out when in a strong position. The signs of this problem were present on the opening day. Having dominated the opening 20 minutes, Spurs were unfortunate to concede to a Kyle Walker own goal.

However, after that, Spurs went into their shell and never looked threatening again at all until the final 5 minutes of the game (although we did defend very well and United also didn’t look particularly dangerous). The second half was a drab affair but fans were waiting for Spurs to truly commit men forward and search hard for an equaliser. By the time it did happen there wasn’t enough time left. 10-15 minutes earlier and the result may have been different. However this game was by no means a horror showing, and it was the next game to truly reveal Spurs seeming inability to manage the opposition.

Spurs once again started well but this time had a reward for it, with the Lilywhites 2-0 up at home to Stoke. We looked exceedingly comfortable until the final 15 minutes , when one goal from the penalty spot was all that was needed for Spurs to capitulate and end up drawing the game. For a club supposedly challenging for the Champions League to be 2-0 up at home with 15 minutes to go against a ‘lesser side’ to draw was not deemed acceptable. Spurs had demonstrated a soft underbelly. All the hard work of the previous 75 minutes was undone, and fans were disappointed we weren’t off the mark for the season. Any questions that were raised from this result were only reinforced in their relevance when after going 1-0 up away to Leicester City, Spurs conceded seconds after kick off.

Once again we had shown a lack of concentration and were punished for it. In regards to our last game against Everton, we were simply unlucky not to score thanks to some fine Tim Howard goalkeeping. However the team undoubtedly needs to be better in these situations. It’s no secret that this is young developing Tottenham side, a mirror image of its manager, and that we may have to accept some lapses, naivety and just plain bad luck at times. However if it continues to happen, it will pose the question as if to if there is a serious mentality problem within the minds of the players. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

In terms of issues with the team and whether the club has done enough to rectify them, it’s a mixed bag. Defensively Spurs are seemingly much stronger, Toby and Jan at the back has all the signs of a promising partnership. Both have been guilty of lapses in the opening four games but I am sure they will only get better and Toby will prove to be a great signing. Other aspects of our play that have been criticised in the opening games has been a lack of pace and dynamism in the attacking areas, but I think it is fair to say this is also an issue that has seemingly been addressed.

Clinton N’jie is a raw but pacy youngster who will be a thorn in any oppositions side but the signing that has everyone excited is that of Heung-Min Son. A proven goal scoring winger at the top level, with pace, trickery and versatility, Son has all the makings of a true difference maker in the final third. Despite the this, the window certainly didn’t see all problems addressed.

A Defensive midfield player was expected to come in to bulk up the position after several departures, however despite efforts to capture Axel Witsel and Victor Wanyama, nothing materialised for Spurs. Will this be a problem as the season goes on? Is Dier good enough to play the role? Time will tell. However the glaring problem is lack of options up front. It is genuinely staggering Daniel Levy was not able to sign a single striker to assist Harry Kane.

It’s well documented how we made at least three bids for Saido Berahino, with the player himself going to Twitter to seemingly express his desire for the move to happen. A move for Alexander Pato was touted but never happened on deadline day. The reality is that Spurs have only one striker for four cup competitions, with Emmanuel Adebayor frozen out from the squad. If Harry Kane is to pick up a serious injury, the versatility of N’jie and Son may not be enough. Kane’s fitness could truly make or break Tottenham’s season, and unfortunately for Harry, the pressure now is truly on him for perform. The summer window has provided plenty of answers, but not without raising a fair few  questions.

Tottenham Predicted Line-Up To Face Everton

We take our 2nd home game of the season against Everton with only 2 points to our name so far so a first win of the season is needed on Saturday. But it’s encouraging because Everton at home last season was one of our best performances of last season, coming from behind to win 2-1, but also we showed how good Mauricio Pochettino’s system can be when it works well, which it will need to this weekend.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

Rescued probably another point last week given how many chances Leicester had and he’ll need to be on game to keep out the likes of Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley.

Defenders: Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Kyle Walker

Walker has started very well, considering his position is under threat by Trippier and should continue with his good form so far. Alderweireld overcame a bad game vs Stoke with a solid display against Leicester and is already showing his quality. Vertonghen needs to respond today after a poor showing last week which included allowing the shot for Mahrez to score last week. I think we need Danny Rose back, not that Davies has under-performed

Defensive Midfielders: Ryan Mason, Eric Dier

The temporary partnership of Dier/Mason has worked reasonably decently so far, Mason’s running energy and getting forward with Dier’s calm passing on the ball has had moderate success, and right now it appears to be our best choice considering Bentaleb’s drop in form at the start of the season.

Attacking Midfielders: Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele, Alex Pritchard

With Christian Eriksen injured it’s a big opportunity for the players on the brink to make a claim for a starting place. Dele Alli’s showing from off the bench last week, including his goal and energy should place him in the starting line-up this weekend, his pace on the move should be a huge benefit in our attacks. Alex Pritchard has now fully recovered from his ankle injury and should also, in my view be selected to start, his creative touch and passes and chances to score in the final third that he demonstrated brilliantly last season at Brentford, should be a great help to us. Meanwhile Mousa Dembele should keep his spot in the line-up after three solid showings so far this season.

Striker: Harry Kane

Even when he doesn’t score he always makes sure he provides help to our attacks, evident when his run, powering past two defenders set up our goal last week, but we’d love to see him get his account for the season open this weekend.

A lesson for the future…

The transfer season used to be a time in the season where Tottenham Hotspur, and in particular Daniel Levy, became notorious for doing the best pieces of business. In stark contrast, Tottenham have done next to no business whatsoever, and the fans want an answer as to why we haven’t been able to secure more than 3 players, despite seemingly being linked to the entire footballing universe.

The media will always find links and rumours to Tottenham Hotspur, because the fans love a good rumour. We use our imagination and picture how things could be if we signed the player in the papers. The media also feature Spurs a lot, because no one really knows what is going on, and for all we know, these rumours could be true. The lack of transparency is a concern for some fans, but in legal terms, if Spurs were to announce every player they wanted, it would scupper any chance of the transfer. The price of the wanted player would probably triple because everyone knows that we have the money. I mean, we have the 3rd richest owner in the Premier League!

But it isn’t the owner who is in charge of the transfers; it’s the chairman. A certain Daniel Levy. Now, Levy is arguably one of the most polarizing characters in English football, not quite controversial, but on the borderline. He splits opinion amongst the supporters, and whilst he has done some good things for Tottenham, you could easily come up with reasons as to why he is a negative influence on the club. Anyone who can get £10M for Paulinho is a genius in my eyes, but a man who drives a hard bargain rather than just get business done is a frustrating character. Fans don’t like him because he doesn’t want the best for the club. It’s something that only Levy himself can answer, but as a businessman, he looks for the money first, hence why it took so long for the Gareth Bale transfer to go through. Mainly, because Levy knew that if Tottenham had £85M in the coffers, and players’ prices would go soaring. Just a shame of who we bought with that money.

This is why Spurs hardly make any noise when it comes to transfers, because we have money to burn. Saido Berahino has had about 4 different price tags in the past week, Victor Wanyama suddenly became pricier than Bastian Schweinsteiger once we announced our interest, and that effectively ruled out the move. Berahino looks most likely, but if it doesn’t then West Brom have pulled a Levy on Levy himself.
But what Levy needs to realize is that in modern football, you need to spend money to do well and then make money because you’ve done well. It’s a vicious cycle that Tottenham know all to well. Something needs to change, we know that, but the people who make the changes don’t understand that.
Business needs to be done early on, as Chelsea showed last season. Jose Mourinho claimed in his first season back that he was one striker away from winning the league. The next season, he went out and bought Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas before the World Cup, and guess what? They won the league. Who’d fancy that, a team doing business early does well!

 

It’s too late to say that Tottenham need to do their business early, but it’s a lesson that we should really take on board.

Player Ratings: Leicester 1-1 Tottenham

Sunday, Tottenham and Leicester faced off at the King Power Stadium, and played out a 1-1 draw, with Dele Alli opening his account for, before immediately conceding to an in form Riyhad Mahrez. Some may say that it was a typical “spursy” performance, but some may see the positives. Nevertheless, many agree that Spurs need new signings, and fast.
In the 3rd game of the season, the team looks to be taking shape, and now is where we as fans start to look at, and essentially judge, the squad. This week, Joe Whitehead takes a look at the squad, and sees where we did well, and not so well this weekend against Leicester.
Lloris (3.5/5)- Had next to nothing to do in a dour first half. Pulled off a great stop to deny Morgan in the second half but could do nothing to deny Mahrez’s well struck equaliser.
http://gty.im/484116812
Walker (3/5)- A familiar story to many of his performances in recent times, as he got forward to good effect and offered an outlet, but struggled to cope defensively with the threat of Shlupp and Albrighton a constant thorn in his side.
http://gty.im/484854088
Alderwiereld (3.5/5)- Probably our most convincing defender. Strong in the air and as ever calm on the ball,dealt relatively easily with the threat of Okazaki.
http://gty.im/484876598
Vertonghen (2.5/5)- Not his day. Looked a tad of the pace from the beginning as he sliced a routine clearance towards his own goal, giving Lloris an unexpected problem. Was beaten with far to much ease by Mahrez straight for Leicester’s immediate leveller.
http://gty.im/484853310
Davies (3/5)- Mahrez caused him a problem with his direct and tricky style in the first half, but Davies grew as the game went on. A solid performance but he isn’t the outlet that Spurs fans are used to seeing flying down the wing in Rose.
http://gty.im/484895164
Dier (2.5/5)- Still doesn’t look entirely convincing in the DM position. Effective at breaking up Leicester attacks as you may expect but poor in possession, struggling when surrounded and under pressure. By no means a bad performance but doesn’t seem to posses the cool head his position often requires.
http://gty.im/484872726
Mason (3/5)- Energetic as usual, picking out Kane on several occasions and putting in his usual hardworking midfield performance.
http://gty.im/484872670
Lamela (2/5)- A poor display from the Argentine. Didn’t offer a threat going forward and despite some decent corner deliveries his passing was inaccurate and he couldn’t find a way past Leicester’s defence. Needs a performance and soon to give Spurs fans hope he can still come good.
http://gty.im/484853404
Dembele (3.5/5)- Our best player in the first half, getting in some shots on goal and keeping hold of the ball well. As the game went on he faded however and was replaced by Carroll. Seems to be very much in Pochettino’s plans however.
http://gty.im/484848058
Chadli (2.5/5)- Was having quite a poor day until our opening goal. Created very little and sliced a guilt edged chance wide soon after half time. However his excellent chipped pass that found its way to Alli meant he left a mark on proceedings.
http://gty.im/484895502
Kane (3/5)- Couldent get into the game in the first half as he was extremely isolated up top on his own. Hardly easy away from home and when we were missing our main creator Christian Eriksen. Played a part in our goal but will still feel frustrated at his inability to have a real impact on the game.
http://gty.im/484872208
Substitutes
Alli (4/5)- Massively impressive after coming on to replace the ineffective Lamela. It was great to see him get his first Tottenham goal and he may have given Pochettino something to think about in regards to his starting line up next week.
http://gty.im/484872172
Carrol (3/5)- An average performance with no real time to make an impact.
http://gty.im/482567358
Bentaleb (NA)- Came on with a few minutes to go.
http://gty.im/483402900

What is wrong with Tottenham Hotspur?

On Saturday, Tottenham drew at home 2-2 against Stoke City, a team we didn’t get a single point off last season, and if you didn’t know any better, judging by the social media reaction, you would have thought the world was about to end.

Twitter went into complete and utter meltdown, and many people went on to point the proverbial finger to blame many aspects of the whole club of Tottenham. Now, I’m not suggesting for a second that these fans are wrong, because you can’t call an opinion wrong. Seeing these tweets, and seeing the outrage of fans made me think about what is wrong with Tottenham? Is it the players? Maybe. Is it the manager? What about the board?

 

The worst thing about this weekend wasn’t actually the result; it was the fact that Tottenham Hotspur fans were arguing with each other about what is wrong with our club. Seeing fans arguing about what they want wrong with the club, and seeing the language that they were using against each other was enough to make me abstain from social media for a good 4 hours. Even then, the conflict remained. It’s understandable that people were upset, but the first rule of being a fan is that you never argue with your own fans.

Now that I got that out of my system, time to evaluate the “problem”. Firstly, lets talk about the players. We know that a large portion of our squad isn’t good enough to make our expectations, but saying that, the players that match our expectations play for the teams that are directly above us every season. We expect these players to deliver us something that in reality we will not attain unless someone messes up and a gap opens.
We are quick to throw the book at certain players, in particular Erik Lamela, and they just aren’t good enough. It isn’t his fault that we paid £30M for him, but a lot of people seem to forget that fact. The kid clearly isn’t physically cut out for the Premier League, and whilst we may hold onto the hope that maybe he can come good. But it’s not going to happen. We realized that half way through last season, but people are claiming that only now, 2 games into the new season, that his time is up. Only now? Kyle Walker is another one who is basically a younger version of Glen Johnson (if he isn’t now, then eventually he will be), Nacer Chadli isn’t consistent, Ryan Mason is on and off and I personally don’t rate Nabil Bentaleb (shoot me now). The only player in our team who is legitimately a top, top class player is Hugo Lloris, and you know that if he puts in another great season, he will probably be off. It’s the nature of Tottenham that our star players are sold on and lesser players are brought in to fill a gap that is crying out for a different type of player. That’s just how the board at Tottenham work.

Speaking of the board, it’s a tricky place at the heart of our club. Let’s first of all take a look at the positives. We are one of the only clubs in the country that doesn’t have any outstanding debt, at least until the stadium is built. They have created a stable situation (financially) at Tottenham, and have increased our name around the world. On the negative side, they sell our best players over and over again, and then reinvest the money into above average players, then wonder why we aren’t very good. On the football field, the board has no idea what’s going on. Managers axed at a whim, players coming and going. It’s not how to run a club. I don’t personally mind Daniel Levy, because if anyone is going to save the club money, and buy someone on the cheap, he’s the man. He’s a businessman; he’s made a living off of saving money for companies. Tottenham are a company, and Levy is not a football man. If you want a football man who wants to splash millions on players, I point you in the comedic direction of Queens Park Rangers. Now what do you prefer?

Mauricio Pochettino, no matter how good or bad he is, will suffer the same fate as every other manager we have had for many years. He will be sacked, unless of course he delivers the impossible and wins the league. We know the end of this story, Ladies and Gentleman, Tottenham Hotspur is the impossible job.

But what we have to remember is that, football is just a sport. We need to remember, that football is just a ride, and when you choose to go on the ride, you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. That’s what it feels like to support Spurs. It’s just a ride. Not always a good one, but hey, it’s only a ride.

A game for the youngsters?

This Saturday afternoon, Tottenham returns to White Hart Lane for the first time in the new campaign, and when we play Stoke today, we only want one thing. A win.

 

Cast your minds back to last season when Spurs played Stoke at home, and you will remember that we weren’t great. We were worse than that, and it was the typical Spurs performance. We were sloppy in every department, and Stoke took advantage of this. Fast forward to now, and we have improved and jumped leaps and bounds to avoid being that team again.

Since then, Mauricio Pochettino has implemented his style (or at least tried to) and in some games it seems to have work. The only thing that has been missing is that without Harry Kane, we probably wouldn’t have got as many points as we did. Sure, Eriksen and Chadli both got into double figures, but the lack of a second striker hurt us last season. A striker and defensive midfielder is needed, but I’d actually give Dele Alli a game today. No Spurs fan would be against seeing Charlie Adam being nutmegged.

As I write this, Clinton N’jie has officially been confirmed as a Tottenham player on his birthday (Happy birthday by the way), and this could be a good sign for fans, and it shows that the club is prepared to spend. N’jie has bundles of pace and is very similar to someone like Jay Rodriguez, and N’jie will most likely play on the wing once his work permit is completed.

After the opening games last week, we learnt a fair bit about the two sides, and judging by the two games, Spurs looked better than Stoke. It helped that Stoke were awful against Liverpool, but Spurs didn’t play as badly against Man. United. There were signs that things weren’t bad, and Toby Alderweireld played extremely well, and he looks the real deal next to Jan Vertonghen, but today could be a game where a few new boys, in particularly Alex Pritchard and Dele Alli, get a run around.

Make no mistake, Stoke are a good team, but the thing is, as is the same with many of Mark Hughes’ teams, and that is he can stabilize a club, but once he needs to push further something seems to stop him. Could this be different for Stoke? Probably not, so let’s just hope Tottenham make us happy today and pick up the 3 points this afternoon. If you’re wondering, the Tom Scholes prediction of the day is Tottenham 2-1 Stoke.

My top 5 Tottenham Premier League moments!

The Premier League opening weekend has been and gone, with Spurs falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United. We didn’t deserve to lose, but that is the brutal aspect of the Premier League. Tottenham have been on the hand of a few brutal moments in the past, but what about our greatest moments?

 

We’ve had our fair share of beautiful moments, and I sat my bed this evening wondering what are those moments that we will all remember in years to come. I thought of many moments, and I thought “why not share it on Fresh Spurs”? Remember, this is just my personal moments, so if you feel that I’ve missed any out, feel free to message myself at @TomScholes316 or the Fresh Spurs account.

  • Crouch and the goal that brought us Champions League.

At the time, I was a nervous wreck going into this game. All throughout the week, I was doing the armchair technique of believing that my tactical knowledge was more advanced that an FA Cup winning managers. What was worse was the fact all my friends agreed with me, which meant that when the Spurs team was announced I was shocked to learn that I may not be as tactically astute as I once believed. In hindsight, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be wrong in my life.

 

For 90 minutes, Tottenham played out of their skins knowing that a victory at the City of Manchester Stadium would guarantee at least a play off in the Champions League. High stakes indeed! Kaboul had a run down the right hand side, got the ball past Craig Bellamy, crossed it only for it to be parried by ex Spurs man Martin Fulop. Then enter the big man Peter Crouch to head home from around 5 yards to send the Spurs contingent into absolute madness. We had done it! Spurs had finally made it to the big time. I knew I was celebrating a bit too much when the neighbors complained. But they just understand.

  • Danny Rose hits a rocket on his debut:

In the exact same season as the Crouch goal, another landmark came Tottenham’s way. It had been 15 years since we had beaten our archrivals Arsenal, and in the season where every single one of our players seemed to be performing, we all felt that we could finally topple the Gunners.

 

10 minutes in, and Danny Rose, on his Premier League debut for Tottenham, fired home what can only be described as a rocket sent from NASA, into the back of the net. I was on the verge of making a cup of tea (nothing more English than that) and I just forgot about the drink, and cheering. It was that incredible.

 

When Gareth Bale scored, and at the end of the game when you see Ledley King and Michael Dawson feeling and sharing the emotion with the squad, and that sums up how much it meant for us Spurs fans.

  • Berbatov, Stalteri, Tainio & Defoe:

If you’re wondering why I have put these names here, just YouTube West Ham 3-4 Tottenham and you will understand why.

 

It was a Sunday evening at Upton Park, and Spurs found themselves 2-0 down in the first half. Could we find our way out? Of course we could, and when Aaron Lennon won us a penalty, Jermaine Defoe tucked it away to give us a lifeline. 2-1, not far to go. Teemu Tainio (remember him?) managed to score a great goal, which I still consider a classic.

 

West Ham replied with a goal from Bobby Zamora, before Berbatov drew us level again, and then, like an RKO, Paul Stalteri arrived from out of nowhere to snatch the points from the Hammers. In the long and short of it, this game didn’t mean much for us, but any time we beat West Ham is a good time.

  • 9-1 to the Tottenham!

It was a score line that I only thought would happen on video games. Wigan was deep in a relegation fight, and Spurs were fighting for a place in the Champions League, so they were in two complete different battles of their own. But surely, no one could have foreseen the next 90 minutes.

 

Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch, Niko Krancjar, Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and an own goal from Chris Kirkland gave Spurs their highest top-flight victory in history, and put them further ahead in the race for the top 4. It was one of them rare occasions where Spurs were absolutely amazing in every department on the pitch, and if anyone was in attendance that day, well aren’t you a lucky soul!

  • He’s one of our own!

This is my personal favourite moment of my lifetime, simply because it was one of the best days of my life. My girlfriend and I somehow managed to get tickets to the North London Derby at White Hart Lane, and that alone was good enough for me. But what happened next quite frankly is never likely to be topped.

 

In the car ride their, I decided to get into the swing of things by playing Hot Shot Tottenham, and reciting the names of every one in the song. We pulled up past the Bricklayers, and past the new Sainsbury’s, and that’s when we really started to get in the mood.

 

We got into the ground and we sat in the front row and ready for the action. Ozil scored, and then proceeded to disappear, because him and big games don’t go well. That’s when we really got into the game. Our boy Harry Kane equalized before nodded home a looping header into the far corner and it send the stadium into meltdown. I hugged a bald man behind me in a blue jacket (if you’re reading this, all is forgiven), and just couldn’t believe it.

 

There probably have been a lot more important Premier League moments, but for me nothing beats a local boy winning the derby for his team, with me in the crowd.

 

If you think I’ve missed anything, don’t forget to tweet @TomScholes316 or comment on the Fresh Spurs website.

Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Spurs

Despite dominating the opening 20 minutes at Old Trafford, Spurs still found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline come full time yesterday, thanks to Kyle Walker unfortunate own goal. However, it was far from a bad performance and there were still positives to take.

Michel Vorm (4/5)- Our Dutch stopper was virtually untroubled all match which goes to show how little Manchester United threatened with actual shots on target. Calm and efficient in dealing with whatever came his way, could do nothing about the goal.

Kyle Walker (3.5/5)- Would be easy to assume that because of his own goal Walker played poorly but the full back actually put in a thoroughly proffesional performances, winning his duel with Ashley Young comfortably on many an occasion. He showed incredible speed and commitment to get back to try and stop Wayne Rooney netting the opener and it was massively unlucky that he saw the ball roll in off of his own foot.

Toby Alderweireld (4.5/5)- An extremely encouraging debut. Consistent in his passing, including some superb long range cross field balls than found their target. Toby looked assured and confident and dealt brilliantly with whatever came his way. Hopefully a sign of things to come.

Jan Vertonghen (4/5)- Like Toby, did very little wrong over the course of the game. Was solid and reliable despite picking up a yellow card for a rash challenge. Spurs look to have a very promising centre back partnership on their hands.

Ben Davies (3-5)- A solid, if unremarkable performance from the full back. Did his defensive job well but seemed to take the safe option when going forward too many times, A solid option but Davies certainly lacks the attacking prowess that Rose does.

Nabil Bentaleb (2/5)- A day to forget for Nabil. Constantly misplaced passes in the middle of the park, including one that led to the only goal of the game. A performance unlike him and he was substituted soon into the second half.

Eric Dier (3.5/5)- The young player coped well enough in an unfamiliar modified role. Tidied up and played some nice passes, and although he failed to deal with the lively Depay at times it was still a solid performance. Solid enough to convince Poch we don’t need another midfielder? Time will tell.

Nacer Chadli (2/5)- Nacer struggled massively yesterday. Failed to create a meaningful impact on the game and on the one instance he did get in behind Smalling stopped him all to easy. Disappointing but hopefully another season to remember for the Belgian come May.

Christian Eriksen (3.5/5)- Was at the heart of all we did right in the opening twenty minutes. Missed a difficult chance after a glorious first time headed touch and played some lovely passes, one of which nearly led to a Kyle Walker goal in the right end. After the United goal he struggled for the majority of the game, but came alive again late on only to be denied twice by Romero.

Mousa Dembele (3/5)- Was willing to get stuck in and involved but never managed to get a firm grip on the game. Some nice touches didn’t contribute to a great end product. His whipped cross was unlucky not to find an unmarked Chadli midway through the second half.

Harry Kane (3.5/5)- Had some great moments in our best spell during the opening twenty minutes. Played a lovely scooped ball for Eriksen and also showed his workouts by refusing to give up on a ball he had lost which led to a corner. His decision making wasn’t always up to scratch and he was largely isolated after United scored.

Substitutes

Ryan Mason (3.5/5)- Came on for Bentaleb and was efficient with his passing and energetic in the middle of the park, without being able to create the breakthrough Spurs needed.

Erik Lamela (3/5) -Buzzed around with intent but didn’t have long enough to make a significant impact.

Dele Alli (3.5/5)- It was a great moment for the youngster to make his Premier League debut and he didn’t look overawed by the occasion, as he was tidy and accurate in his passing play.

Key Battles: Manchester United v Spurs

As the Premier League season starts yet again, there will be a lot of key battles between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, in the very first game of the new season.

With David De Gea out of the game, it raises a lot of questions of how Sergio Romero will react in the United goal. Likewise, a lot of questions on how the new United midfield will cope together, and how Harry Kane will react after his stunning goal scoring record last year.

Harry Kane Vs. Chris Smalling:

Chris Smalling looked risky at the back on occasion last season, but in some games he did look like he was improving, especially towards the end of the season. Harry Kane, on the other hand, looked outstanding for a large majority of the season. How these two match up offers a fantastic competition. Smalling could outplay Kane and keep him quiet, or Kane could take him to the cleaners and run him ragged.

 

Either way, it offers up and exciting prospect, and also allows fans to take a look at potentially the future of English football in their positions. I think it’s hard to predict how this one will go, as it depends on how both teams line up on the day. Kane may be on fire, with Smalling feeling a bit leggy. Or, it could be the other way round. You just never know.

 

Nabil Bentaleb Vs. Bastian Schweinsteiger:

I have a feeling this season that Nabil Bentaleb will be our version of Andrea Pirlo, just not as stylish or hairy. He is likely to run the park in most of our game, turning defense into attack with the flick of a switch. He probably would do that, if it wasn’t for the fact that a German legend would be in the opposite sides midfield. Yes, Bastian Schweinsteiger against Nabil Bentaleb will basically be the battle of who passes the ball the most.

 

However, if Bentaleb puts in a good, commanding performance, then we could be seeing the start of a great midfielder. But Bastian Schweinsteiger is a great player, and I don’t really know what else to say. It will certainly be an interesting battle.

 

 

Wayne Rooney Vs. Toby Alderweireld:

Now this could be a game changer. New signing Alderweireld could show his worth to us with a good showing against United captain Rooney in his very first game for Tottenham. Rooney will be keen to show how he can still be a top goal scorer in the Premier League and for Manchester United.

 

Similarly to Smalling and Kane, this could change depending on the game and the way it flows, but it will be a big one nonetheless. If Rooney plays well, then it will be up to Alderweireld to keep him quiet, and maybe he will need a helping hand from his best friend “Super” Jan Vertonghen.

Fresh Spurs Predicts: Manchester United v Spurs

The standout fixture in the Premier League on the opening weekend of the new season has to be Manchester United v Spurs, a tussle that we have all been looking forward to since the fixture were released on 17th June a couple of months ago.

Both sides will have new talent to showcase in the curtain raiser at Old Trafford, and while United have heavily invested in the attacking areas of the pitch and the midfield, Spurs have focussed on bolstering their defensive options so far in this summer window.

Memphis Depay could start for United, and we could see a new midfield partnership deployed by manager Louis van Gaal, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick. One of United’s other midfielders could be included, but after Carrick’s outstanding performances last term, you would think he will start on Saturday.

A new partnership could be displayed at the heart of the Tottenham defence on Saturday after the purchase of Toby Alderweireld from Spanish club Atletico Madrid. He could line-up alongside Jan Vertonghen, a partnership we have previously seen in two player’s times at Ajax.

It is a little unpredictable to tell whether Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker will start at right-back with DeAndre Yedlin seemingly out of the frame due to reports linking him with a loan move away in England.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcos Rojo will miss out for the Red Devils as they both lack match fitness and David de Gea will be left out of the matchday squad after Louis van Gaal said that the goalkeeper has been affected by speculation linking with a move to Real Madrid affecting him.

For Spurs, Hugo Lloris, Roberto Soldado and Ryan Mason will all face late fitness tests to see if they are fit to play in the season opener at Old Trafford.

Last season, the contest was over in twenty minutes at Old Trafford as Spurs were penned into their own half for the most part of the game. United raced to a 3-0 lead early on and stunned Spurs, who never recovered from the early blow. However, take last season’s defeat out of the equation, and Spurs have had good memories of visiting Old Trafford in the last few years.

It will be interesting to see how strong the defensive partnership of Toby Alderweirled and Jan Vertonghen will be should they start together, and they face one of the toughest tests in the league on the first day of the season. I think this will be a tight game, that will end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2