Yet another opportunity to pick up points in this hectic Xmas season.
Whilst Norwich lie at the bottom of the league, Spurs would do well not to under-estimate the Canaries. After all, they have already beaten the champions, Man City, on home turf, so anything is still possible.
Once more, this is an away win on paper but Spurs have to consider the cost of the victory over Brighton on Boxing Day as yellow cards shown to Sissoko and Winks resulted in suspensions for this crucial game.
Which makes Mourinho’s selection quite tricky especially as apart from Dier, neither Ndombele and Wanyama have really started under the new head coach in the last month. I expect Mourinho to keep most of his favoured line-up intact save for the enforced absences.
A narrow win for Spurs wouid be the perfect end to 2019!
Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Dier, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Alli, Moura, Kane.
Spurs and Jose Mourinho were brought crashing down to earth in that lacklustre defeat to Chelsea, casting doubts on the sustainability of the mini-revival that the new head coach had engineered in his first month in the job.
That dire performance was compared to another – the awful 0-3 reverse on the South Coast that summed up Spurs’ woes this season. Fact is, these poor displays have typified the dilemma that Spurs find themselves in this season – too many matches in which our vaunted players do not bother to turn up!
Today’s Boxing Day fixture gives these same players the perfect opportunity to get revenge over Brighton and to get back on track for the Top 4 battle. However, problems with our defensive formation, central midfield, AND the absence of Son Heung-Min through suspension stand in the way of success.
Which is where Mourinho needs to come up with solutions to decisively handle these clear-cut problems. Son’s absence hopefully will lead to the return of Giovani Lo Celso to the starting lineup.
I say “hopefully” because there is every chance that Mourinho will start the wantaway Christian Eriksen, even though the Dane has done nothing to warrant inclusion. There is a certain perverse logic in Mourinho (and Pochettino before him) continuing to place faith in a player who clearly does not give a fuck about the club anymore.
But that’s the main issue with this Spurs squad – they are certainly good enough to beat any team but the winning mentality is sometimes not evident at all. Formation and tactics play their part as well and this is supposed to be areas in which Mourinho is the expert. Well, he demonstrated none of that in the Chelsea game which was particularly worrying.
On paper, this should be an easy win for Spurs but Spurs are notorious for making things difficult for themselves – Son getting red carded is the prime example of that – and so your guess is as good as mine.
Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Winks, Ndombele, Dele, Lo Celso, Moura, Kane.
Mourinho vs Lampard. Fourth vs Fifth. London rivalry.
Expect a cracker as points and pride are at stake with a few side narratives to consider as well.
Not much to say except that Mourinho has had another training week with the squad and they will be ready to have a go at Chelsea. Do not believe that Mourinho will make too many changes but would like to see Ndombele coming in for Dier. We will see! Spurs to edge the match!
With Chelsea and Leicester both dropping points yesterday, the need for points to cut the gap to a Top 4 place arises in a tough fixture away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves are a point ahead of Spurs and a win today will go a long way towards Jose Mourinho’s rehabilitation plan. Apart from the narrow victory at West Ham in Mourinho’s first game, there have been tepid performances in Munich and Manchester to take into account when assessing Spurs’ chances.
At this stage, I believe that a minimum of a point from Wolves would be fair but three points must be the target. By this time, Mourinho’s selection will be predictable – expect the same lineup as against Burnley, last Saturday.
Midweek Old Trafford defeat somewhat brought Spurs back down to earth after the semi-euphoria of Jose Mourinho’s first three matches. The team reverted back to type – tepid, lacklustre and indecisive, all hallmarks of this troubled season thus far.
Thankfully, there isn’t too much time to sulk over these issues as the December fixture crunch brings a competent Burnley side to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to provide another stern test.
The Lancashire club is only two points off Spurs in 12th place but have lost their last two games giving Spurs the chance to continue the Mourinho rehabilitation with another three points.
What has concerned Spurs fans – aside from our defensive frailties – is the relative lack of game time for Lo Celso, Ndombele and Sessegnon and the continued reliance on Eriksen, despite rumours that the Dane has set his sights on a transfer.
The Burnley encounter would be a perfect opportunity for Mourinho to declare his intentions regarding our trio of new recruits – do they have a place in Mourinho’s vision or will the Head Coach look elsewhere down the line?
Certainly, it was obvious that the players looked jaded in midweek and Mourinho might need to freshen the team and make full use of the squad available to him. Somehow I doubt it and would assume that Mourinho will continue to rely on the same group of players.
Possible lineup : Gazzaniga, Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier, Ndombele, Dele, Lo Celso, Son, Kane.
Whatever the selection, this is 3 points for the taking and anything less would be a massive disappointment.
It’s back to business for Tottenham Hotspur after days of shocks and reluctant acceptance of the new normal. Yes, Jose Mourinho is the new head coach of Spurs and he leads his charges into a traditionally difficult fixture – away to West Ham United.
Since his appointment, Mourinho has been making all the right noises publicly, paying tribute to the work of Mauricio Pochettino, praising his current squad and buying into the vision set out by chairman Daniel Levy.
Whether or not any of this is true or simply an excellent PR exercise, the real test is on the pitch and really that’s the ONLY thing that matters to Spurs fans. Despite our affection for Pochettino (and what he has achieved), there’s no escaping the fact that our form in 2019 has been poor. Relegation form, in fact. With recent games and results casting a pall over everything related to Spurs.
No more arguments over what might have been as all we have is the here and now with Mourinho and fingers crossed, we long-suffering Spurs fans will finally get the results that we deserve – Mourinho can talk all he wants, the irrefutable evidence of his impact will be seen in the upcoming games – with West Ham coming up first on Saturday.
Both Spurs and the Hammers have been having torrid times in recent games and so, this is a crucial match for both teams. It has to be noted that the last time Mourinho was at the London Stadium with Man Utd he lost 1-3 and the Hammers will be looking for a similar result, especially in the knowledge that their team typically raise their game for these fixtures, viewing it as some kind of cup final.
Will Spurs get the benefit of a new coach bounce – Spurs fans are entitled to expect nothing less, considering Mourinho’s vaunted reputation. Emotionally, the players may also want to do well as a tribute to the departed Pochettino, though it would be all too little too late. Thus, I fully expect Spurs to get all three points. Nothing else matters.
Starting line-up? Who knows. What is evident is that the likes of Lloris, Lamela and Vorm are out, with Ndombele and Vertonghen due for late fitness tests. Mourinho will probably keep faith with his favoured 4-3-3 formation but your guess as good as mine.
Was the midweek trouncing of Red Star Belgrade a sign of Spurs’ season turning the corner? Nobody can tell until Spurs navigate the next three away games against Liverpool, Everton and Red Star (again).
Honestly, there are quite a few factors working against Spurs getting anything out of this Anfield fixture. Our poor away form in 2019, our abysmal league form at Anfield and our overall stuttering start to the season.
So, nothing to lose, one might say. Spurs have everything to gain from a positive performance and result. It is time that they turned their poor away form around and begin to impose themselves on these kinds of games again.
The midweek game held so much promise based on the number of fresh players given an opportunity to prove themselves viz. Juan Foyth, Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and crucially, Erik Lamela in the playmakers’ role.
Thus, Mauricio Pochettino’s selection will be key. Poch truly needs to wean off reliance on the likes of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose – all players with their minds elsewhere and not on the club.
But of course, he cannot simply blank these players and has to take the squad in question considering the fixture congestion. However, that is his job description and once more he needs to prove that he is deserving of the accolades that come his way for what he has achieved at Spurs.
Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Foyth, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Dier, Sissoko, Ndombele, Lamela, Son, Kane. (Hopefully, we will finally see Ryan Sessegnon on the bench!)
As usual, the matches are coming in thick and fast and if the poor performance on Saturday was any indication, this home Champions League fixture may provide the perfect time for Mauricio Pochettino to freshen his team selection.
The main problem has been the defence, and surely it is time for Foyth and Davies to come in for Aurier and Rose, respectively. Then there are the centre backs. Time for Alderweireld to have a rest and bring in Davinson Sanchez to partner Jan Vertonghen.
Some good news on the injuries front as Lo Celso and Eriksen are available for selection. Personally, Eriksen should never be selected ever again and Lo Celso is probably not ready to start, so maybe a place on the bench?
It is also the moment for our record signing Tanguy Ndombele to start up and be counted. Push him into the playmaker role as he has the requisite skills to make it work.
It will be a very tough game and Red Star will see this as an opportunity to pick up away points from a Spurs side low in confidence. Once more, will Spurs turn up? If they do and play to their potential, then it will be an emphatic win. If not, then the crisis will continue.
All the excitement over a new season has been replaced with extreme angst and anxiety over the poor form displayed by the team recently.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has not helped with his seemingly contradictory statements at press conferences. One moment, promising to fix the squad problems in the January transfer window – presumably by buying and selling players – to the recent statement that he will not do anything in January as he has faith in his current squad of players!
Is the stress getting to the great man or does he feel that he is regaining the support of his squad? The persistent rumours of unrest amongst players might not be so easy to dismiss if the performances continue to be abysmal, as they were against Bayern Munich and Brighton.
Now, bottom club Watford can either be the perfect opportunity to get back on track and to prove the critics wrong or it will add fuel to the bonfire of crisis that currently surrounds the club. Which will it be? Your guess is as good as mine. That abject surrender at Brighton has drained away any confidence in this group of players to effect a change in team fortunes, with their minds elsewhere.
Pochettino must ring in the changes against Watford, to freshen the staleness that is so evident in the team. But will he? Pochettino can be very stubborn about team selection but surely he cannot continue to rely on players that have let down the team consistently so far this season.
The question on everyone’s mind is this – how will the Spurs players respond to the thrashing handed out by Bayern Munich in mid-week? Will their fragile confidence be able to handle a determined Brighton side on their own patch? Or will the humiliation serve as a wake-up call with Brighton the unfortunate victims of the Spurs backlash?
To be fair, if Spurs play tomorrow with the verve and commitment they demonstrated in that first half against Bayern, then Brighton might be in for a hard time. But seriously, how else can the Spurs players respond? That defeat must have wounded their collective pride and surely, there is no way these players would allow themselves to be let down again. Never mind their fans, their manager and their club!
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has made all the right noises in the press – keeping calm and trying to continue to take the positives from that awful loss. But Pochettino knows that even though he has asked for time to fix his squad, in the cut throat world of modern football, anything less than a win tomorrow will not be tolerated, surely.
Brighton themselves are one off the relegation places and have not won in five games, so perhaps they are the perfect opponents for Spurs to bounce back to. Spurs have shown this season that they have the right stuff to get the goals and the result but inconsistency and a fatal lack of concentration has been their downfall thus far.
Squad-wise, Lo Celso and Sessegnon continue to be unavailable while Aurier is suspended. Despite Walker-Peters being fit, Pochettino talked up Sissoko’s performance at right-back against the Saints and that appears to be Pochettino’s thinking heading into the game. Pochettino also mentioned resting players after the exertions of the last two matches, so changes will be made.