Category: match preview

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.  

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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. 

Gazzaniga, Foyth, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Ndombele, Sissoko, Alli, Lo Celso, Son, Kane. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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!)

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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. 

Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Foyth, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Ndombele, Lamela, Son, Kane. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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Spurs fans are not a happy bunch at the moment. 

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. 

Must win but will they? Who knows anymore??

Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Foyth, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Ndombele, Alli, Moura, Kane. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

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. 

Possible line-up : Lloris, Sissoko, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Ndombele, Lamela, Dele, Moura, Kane. 

Prediction – Well, Spurs must win. There’s no other choice. 

Spurs have no time to rest on their laurels, after their hard-fought win over Southampton as they face German giants Bayern Munich at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the 2nd game of the Champions League campaign. 

While Spurs were disappointed not to register a win in Greece after taking a two-goal lead, at least Spurs are in a slightly better position than they were last season. However, Bayern will prove a proper test of their Champions League credentials. 

Spurs and Bayern have already met in pre-season in the Audi Cup which Spurs won on penalties but that will count for nothing of course. Bayern as usual are on top of the Bundesliga, undefeated in six games and with Philipe Coutinho in the side, will pose a significant threat. 

As the injured Giovanni Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon remain unavailable, Mauricio Pochettino’s options remain the same as before the Southampton game. I would imagine that Pochettino would retain the bulk of the team with key changes to freshen up the lineup for the Bayern challenge. I expect perhaps Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela to come in to do exactly that. Spurs to edge this. 

Possible lineup : Lloris, Sissoko, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Ndombele, Alli, Lamela, Moura, Kane. 

Seems hard to believe but there are some Spurs ‘fans’ parroting the media narrative that it’s time to replace manager Mauricio Pochettino as he has “taken the club as far as he can”. 

Not only is this disloyal but also non-sensical. 5 months ago, Pochettino led Spurs to an unprecedented Champions League final, and after a couple of poor results, Poch has to go? Ridiculous! 

Sure, the euphoria of the Palace thrashing has evaporated with the last 3 away games, and even though that sequence included an embarrassing defeat (on pens) to League Two side Colchester United, there is no reason to panic yet. 

Spurs have the players to get things on track again, against Southampton today at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Like Spurs, Southampton have had patchy league form, though the Saints registered an emphatic 4-0 Carabao Cup win over local rivals Portsmouth in mid-week. Saints striker Danny Ings grabbed a brace that night and will certainly be one of the danger men for Southampton. 

But in all likelihood, the main focus for Spurs will be to start well with intensity, pace and clinical finishing, like we did against Palace. In that respect, it makes sense them to play a similar system as we did that day. 

Giovanni Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon remain unavailable for Premier League action and considering the importance of this game, I expect Pochettino not to take any chances with his selection. 

Possible lineup : Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Sissoko, Alli, Lamela, Son, Kane. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

Make no mistake about it – this is a difficult fixture for Spurs!

After the feel-good vibes of the Palace thrashing, Spurs were brought back down to earth in the Champions League with another away draw after being two goals ahead. 

Sloppy performance that once more drew the ire of the Spurs trolls with their litany of “Poch Out” and “Levy Out” hashtags. Of course, that is all an over-reaction BUT there is some truth to the unease that has permeated the squad throughout the season thus far. 

For me, it’s really all about Christian Eriksen, Spurs purr when he is on his A-game and sad to report that that has seldom happened since he wanted away and the failure of selling him in the last transfer window is taking its toll on us. 

One can argue the team rotation against Olympiacos just did not work – especially with Davinson Sanchez playing at right back over Kyle Walker-Peters – and that the likes of Ben Davies and Tanguy NDombele are still not up to speed but Pochettino needs to balance the fixture crunch one way or another. 

Leicester is in good form overall and Jamie Vardy poses a significant threat to us, with our full-backs being a cause of concern, I expect Leicester to target our flanks as a potential weak spot but with Serge Aurier and Danny Rose expected to return it will be a keen test for both players’ commitment to the cause. 

I predict another draw, or at best Spurs scraping a narrow win but it all depends on whether Eriksen turns up or not. I would rather not play Eriksen at all but with Giovanni Lo Celso still injured, I don’t believe Pochettino has much of a choice, with Erik Lamela a wild card in this respect. 

Possible line-up : Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. 

If recent match-ups have been any indication, then this London derby is going to be one-way traffic for Spurs but with very little end product. 

Crystal Palace have proven themselves experts at parking the bus on our home patch in hopes of sneaking a smash-and-grab on our sometimes wayward defence. 

That strategy worked well for Newcastle and almost did for Aston Villa recently and for Spurs fans, this fixture is certainly stress-inducing. Much will depend on how Mauricio Pochettino and the team he selects deal with this tricky challenge. 

Selection-wise, the bad news is that Giovanni Lo Celso is out till end October at least due to a hip injury picked up on international duty and that is a huge blow to the Argentine’s settling into the Premier League. 

Spurs are also without Juan Foyth and possibly Davinson Sanchez but at least the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Ryan Sessegnon, Tanguy Dembele, Serge Aurier, Dele Alli and Eric Dier are available to either start or be on the bench. 

Which somewhat lessens Pochettino’s headaches BUT he will need to get his tactics spot-on, if we are to avoid a poor result like the last time out at home. However, based on past matches, Spurs should just about edge it! 

Possible lineup : Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Lamela, Son, Kane. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!