Category Archives: Match Previews

Time to shut them up?

So we are a day away from the Premier League kick off and we start with a tricky game against West Ham, who we all know beat us three times last season (let’s not get started on their “treble” t-shirts… it puts Levy’s DVDs to shame)

With it being quite a big rivalry to start the season, we can’t expect anything other than an all-out attack from West Ham, who will be hoping to put the boot in on us before Pochettino can even get his feet under the desk. Like we did last summer, West Ham (at the time of writing) have made 7 new signings in the off season, and being in the position of knowing a few West Ham fans, they are excited by them.
Spurs being Spurs haven’t exactly been quiet in the transfer market, but what was refreshing was the signing of 3 young promising defenders, two who can make an impact this season (DeAndre Yedlin is staying at Seattle until the end of the MLS season and then getting a nice long break after a full MLS season and World Cup before joining us for the start of next season). We’ve also signed a brilliant goalkeeper in Michel Vorm, who will keep Lloris on his toes and make a brilliant deputy.

Our pre-season went very well, but as we all know pre-season can be very wrong for what happens once the League gets underway (anyone remember thrashing Roma 5-1? Yeah exactly), but it is still very promising, with the likes of Kaboul finding some form once again, Lamela looking good and Soldado actually scoring from open play. I believe that we will see a lot more from Lamela this season, with Pochettino being a fellow Argentinian it may help the young wonder kid settle better and find his feet after an injury plagued first season in North London. Soldado has to get better, a player with his scoring record doesn’t go bad overnight (unless their name is Torres… it might be a Spanish thing…) and as much as I don’t think we’ll see the volume of goals he got in Spain, I do expect him to be a lot more free scoring, as long as he gets the chance.
Lewis Holtby has played very well in pre-season, so I’d expect him to get the nod over Dembele and Paulinho to start the season, both who played in the World Cup anyway and could probably use a little longer rest time. I’m also going to go with Capoue starting ahead of Sandro, just as the Beast hasn’t played much of the pre-season and his apparent lack of fitness could hinder him against a rival team.
I would like to see Soldado start, as it would do his confidence the world of good and it would give Adebayor a little bit of a rest having not long recovered from a bout of malaria. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Adebayor starts ahead of Soldado

On the injury front, we have a couple missing. According to physioroom.com, we have Dawson, Walker and Chiriches missing for the trip to Upton Park.

My team to play West Ham would be:

lineupVsSpammers

Subs: Vorm, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Paulinho, Adebayor, Kane

I’m going for a 2-0 win with Soldado scoring both (we can dream about them both being from open play eh?)

I’ve also set up a fantasy football league for the blog on fantasy.premierleague.com. The league name is THFC1882.com and the code is 1246752-475148. Come join in the fun!

You can follow the blog on twitter and “like” our facebook page! If you want you can follow me on twitter as well (@chriswadds)

West Ham (h) Preview 13/14 League Cup

Wednesday 18th December, White Hart Lane, 19:45

So here we are, the first game post AVB. Everything is currently about how it was right to get rid of the Portuguese fella or who will come in next. The most common point I see banded about is that last season would have been totally different had a certain Bale not been there. That is true but it is true for any team! Take Ade out of Harry’s last team and the same point stands. In terms of who will come in next, I think the masses have realised that there really isn’t anyone available at the moment who would unite everyone.

So for now, and I would not be surprised if it is until the summer, we have the three wise men at the helm – Sherwood is clearly the lead but will be helped by Ferdinand and Ramsey. I am surprised the club made a point of announcing that all three of them are moving into the first team arena when essentially the only point people were really concerned with was who is now manager/head coach.

I don’t have an opinion either way about Sherwood at the moment given I have no idea how he will coach/manage the team. He did well with the U21 team last year and he appears to have the backing of the board. Even if I hated him though it wouldn’t matter, he is currently part of Spurs and will get my support. I hope he does well, it kind of goes back to it being better if success comes from and is built from within.

Sherwood, to his credit, has said the right things so far – essentially say that we will now do the reverse of things we were criticised about previously. Get in their faces, be quick and attack. Hopefully we see signs of this tonight.

Many would like to write this season off given the period of instability we are about to enter but why should we. We are a few points off the seasons league target and in all three cup competitions. Let’s get the optimism back and support the players while they go through these troubled times…

My Opposition opinion

Since their result against us at the beginning of October, West Ham have been in a bit of a slump. They have won twice since against Burnley in the cup and Jol’s final game in charge of Fulham.

They sit a point above the relegation zone in the league so you would think that their minds will be elsewhere but we need to remember how big a game this is for both clubs given the result earlier in the season. Had AVB still been in charge I think big Sam may have played a shadow team but given the recent changes we are there for the taking. It will be a strong team we will face.

Again had AVB been in charge then they would have turned up with a 4-6-0 formation but given the complete lack of knowledge around Sherwood (though I believe the U21s also played 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3) and our current injury/suspension problems in defence I would be surprised if they did not play a striker.

Expected line up

Well Sherwood’s first team selection will be interesting; we are not struggling in the league so I don’t think he will go with a shadow team. He should know how much Octobers reverse affected the fans and the Spurs hierarchy. It should be a strong team with perhaps the exception of a makeshift defence.

I suppose the main question is whether Sherwood will really take this game seriously. If not then there could be a load more young players in the line up – that may be the kick some senior players need. Paulinho and Dawson are suspended while Vertonghen is injured and Kaboul is probably still a doubt.

It was hard enough guessing AVBs teams and we had previous games to look at. I think we will stay with 4-2-3-1 given how little time Sherwood has had to change things. I have gone with:

v west ham - Football tactics and formations

Subs: Archer, Kaboul, Rose, Lennon, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Adebayor

Prediction

I wouldn’t be surprised if this game went to extra time but I am going for a 2-0 Spurs win for no other reason than we need cheering up.

So what do you think? Who will be Sherwood’s first choice striker? Inverted or natural wings? Team full of youngsters instead? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Anzhi (h) Preview 13/14 Europa League

Thursday 12th December, White Hart Lane, 20:05 live on ITV4

Back to European action in a dead rubber for both teams. We will win the group and Anzhi (or Anji depending on where you look – even the official Spurs site uses both) will finish second. Why bother playing at all?

Given that the game has nothing riding on it, aside from our 100% record in the competition so far, I cannot see how any of the first team players will be able to get truly ‘up’ for the game. They should be professional about it yes, see it as a way of forcing their way into the team if they are not already a regular etc etc… Hopefully the crowd generate an atmosphere that will push the players to perform.

AVB has said he will treat all competitions with respect and attempt to win them all but you have got to wonder how much respect will be shown to this game.

And with silly season around the corner, this Lamela loan story is about as silly as it can get. He needs to acclimatise to the English game – how will playing in Spain help?

My Opposition opinion

Anzhi are not the team they were a few seasons ago. They currently sit bottom of the Russian top division, 5 points from the relegation play-off positions and 10 points adrift of guaranteed safety with 11 games to go. While I am sure they do not want to play this game any more than we do, it could be seen as a release for them. A no pressure game to simply go for it – if that happens that could only play into our hands.

Almost all of their big names were shipped out over the summer, the majority moving to Moscow by the looks of it but also the two that have joined Chelski. They do however still retain a few decent players that can cause problems but in general it looks like the heart and soul of the club has been ripped apart by a billionaire owner who decided to drastically reduce funds for the club. If only that would happen in West London…

Expected line up

Honestly, I do not know how AVB will approach this game. Give the youth a run out or still a pretty much first team line up… I reckon the latter as he would really want 18 points, how else will we all have a meltdown about not protecting players given we have already qualified with an important game at the weekend. I have gone for:

v anzhi - Football tactics and formations

Subs: Gomes, Rose, Fredricks, Dombaxe, Eriksen, Coulthirst, Kane

In goal you would expect Lloris will sit this game out. Not even on the bench for me. Will Gomes get a farewell game? He may as well given the dud nature of the tie. He may even prove that he should be Lloris’ number two rather than Friedel!

Rose is back in training but I would not expect him to start this game with Liverpool at the weekend. Bench at most and perhaps a fifteen minute run out. I would expect Fryers at left back and Naughton on the opposite flank. Perhaps a youth player at right back given Naughton may be required at left back at the weekend but I don’t think AVB works that way.

Central defence is an odd one. We know Vertonghen, Chiriches and Kaboul are out meaning we are likely to see Dawson and Capoue paired again. Not a bad thing in my opinion if it is possible we will need to go with this combination come Sunday. Dawson though has pretty much been an ever present this season so it is worrying that he is our only recognised centre back available given he may be due a little rest. Fryers could play in the middle but AVB would not do that alongside Capoue given his inexperience.

One of the middle two picks themselves if AVB does go with a strong lineup, Sandro is that man. Who partners him will be interesting as it could be any of Dembele, Paulinho or Holtby. I have gone with Holtby as his tenacity will get in the faces of Anzhi.

I reckon the wings will be inverted for the game. Townsend and Sigurdsson to play for me given their last starts were in this competition four games ago. Kane has returned from injury but reckon he will take a spot on the bench with Rose and Eriksen. Lamela to play the number 10 but in reality all three advanced midfielders are interchangeable with each other…

I know, Soldado will probably play and we will probably revert to our inverted wingers. You never know though, he may thrive and gain some confidence if Anzhi decide they don’t want to be here… hopefully at some point, the wingers will switch to their ‘natural’ sides and we can see how he does.

Ade was left out of the squad completely, it must be curtains for him now come January. You would have thought that a game that really had nothing riding on it would have meant Defoe/Soldado or both left out of the squad. It’s a shame, I do like him (when he performs clearly) and people want to see us try two up front – this game was surely perfect for that!

Prediction

It is a hard one to call, dead rubbers are generally played at a snail’s pace and given our apparent slowly slowly approach in the main so far this season – it could be a very dire watch. Hopefully they prove me wrong… I’m going to be optimistic and say 5-0 Spurs given the troubles Anzhi find themselves in – Soldado must get a couple then!

So what do you think? Defoe to keep his place? Inverted or natural wings? Any of the three youngsters get a start? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Sunderland (a) Preview 13/14 Premier League

Saturday 7th December, Stadium of Light, 17:30 live on Sky Sports

You can sense it. The vultures are circling. The media cannot wait for it to happen. The vast majority of the football family want us to lose a game to see what happens at our club. Hell, even some of our own support would like to see us lose a couple if it meant AVB was kicked out.

56 minutes into the game on Wednesday night and the journo’s had what they wanted. We were behind and they could frantically write how AVB must be on his last legs in the eyes of the board. Vlad and Lewis save the day but they would not have deleted the texts they wrote, simply changed the date to this Saturday in the hope that it happens then.

Every game is being portrayed as a cup final, this increases the tension in the stands which will then rub off on the players. It is probably a blessing in disguise that these games against teams at the foot of the table are away from the Lane.

The media, in most cases, have been overly harsh on and pretty much against us this season. Whether it be the Yid debate, the atmosphere, AVB bashing or the new reports about Spurs banning the 1882 movement from games. Most have been to turn the tide of affection against the club from the neutrals. Surely they realise that we are not playing entertaining football at the moment, the neutrals don’t need any help turning away.

Is it a must win game? No, we are only three points off fourth and six off second – hardly a must win scenario. We were never title contenders, that was opposition managers trying to put pressure on us and you could argue it worked. Another point, if it wasn’t Woolwich sat top of the tree would our current predicament be portrayed as badly? I honestly do not think so.

My Opposition opinion

After the fireworks of Di Canio we now have the slightly less extravagant Poyet. It is good to see that Poyet was not too adversely affected by the Ramos stint at Spurs but I am sure we would all want his miraculous saving of Sunderland to wait another week.

The Chelski game during the week showed us that Sunderland will not simply fall over in front of us. So we shouldn’t expect free flowing football, Poyet will know that is how we want to play and will do anything and everything the prevent us playing our way. In your face pressing is what to expect when we have possession but when we don’t then Poyet will want his team to play the ball around rather than lump it forward.

Can Sunderland, currently sitting bottom of the table with 8 points, afford the luxury of playing football? We’ll have to wait and see. It is the holy grail of football at the moment, some would deem it more important than winning but I am sure Sunderland fans do not agree with this.

In Brown and O’Shea they have a Utd bread defensive partnership but you know both are prone to the odd major mistake, much like our own Dawson and Walker. Attacking wise you have the likes of Altidore as a bulldozer, Fletcher as an all rounder and Borini as the threat in behind.

Sunderland have a decent squad, much better than their league position currently leads you to believe. Having said that, at the beginning of the season I did put Altidore as my ‘WTF were they thinking?’ transfer, perhaps someone will enlighten me as to whether I was wrong…

Expected line up

It looks like this game is too early for Rose to return so he will join Eriksen as a definite no show. There are doubts over Dembele due to the hip complaint that kept him out of the Fulham game and Vertonghen who turned his ankle towards the end of the midweek game. I personally think Dembele will make the game given his midweek rest and AVB would want his midfield trio as it was against Utd so I have gone for:

formation

Subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Fryers, Capoue, Holtby, Townsend, Adebayor

I think Vertonghen may miss this game and given his recent less than great performances at left back, it may not be a bad thing. I know he doesn’t want to play left back but he had some very good games there last season so it strikes me as a little bit petulant with his ongoing outbursts at being a centre back. So I think Naughton will come in. Chiriches could play there with Kaboul coming in but I think AVB is still stung by the Dawson/Kaboul partnership used at City. I would prefer Fryers as we need to see if he has what it takes but I don’t think AVB will do this.

The midfield central trio would be as the game against Utd, this is despite Paulinho really needing a break. Holtby could come in and play as the number 10 given his performance midweek but I think AVB wants the Utd trio given the positive feedback from that game.

The wings I would keep with Lennon and Lamela. Lennon has provided some directness (when on the right) that was lacking with Townsend – not because Townsend was not direct but because Lennon will go outside more frequently, stretching the defence. If only he could put a decent ball in more often. Lamela needs game time and a run in the team.

Up front will be back to Soldado for me. Just really think Defoe is dead in this formation, AVB has teased that both could play but I don’t think that will work. Would be Ade and one of the other two…

Prediction

It is going to be tough but I am going for a 2-1 win again. Sunderland to take to lead so that the media can get excited but another fight back from Spurs.

So what do you think? Defoe to keep his place? Siggy back in on the wings? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Chelsea (h) Preview – Premier League

Saturday 28th September, White Hart Lane, 12:45 live on BTSport

The clean sheets keep coming and Spurs keep rolling on. Everyone realises how good a start to the season it has been given the changes made to the squad. Twenty goals scored and only a single conceded in nine games are the headline stats but league alone is a slightly different prospect, five goals and one conceded in five games. Still good but not as eye catching. I am quite happy to continue winning one nil though!

What is funny is that Andy Gray has come out saying Chelsea need to sort their scoring out given they have only scored six league goals in five games. I suppose using that logic means we need to sort ours out as well!
A lot of people are suggesting that this game will be a good gauge on our current progress. I could not disagree more! It is a single game of football and essentially proves nothing no matter the outcome (win or lose), it is a derby and anything goes. Gauge how we are doing come Christmas or Easter not a single game.

Having said that, lose and the media will be all over it. How Spurs cannot beat the top teams or back to ‘does AVB know his strongest team’ rubbish. Win and the media will be go to the other extreme, we will be contenders this year and will win everything!

There are a lot of people pushing for a start in this game, there are some who cannot really do anymore when they have been given the chance. I’m thinking really about Defoe and Holtby, yes the opposition have been poor or a second string but if that is all they get a chance to play against then what more can they do.

Our last two league games have shown that the team have started to understand each other and this is an encouraging sign. It needs to continue but this is probably the first game where the starting line up does not pick itself as easily as before…

The Opposition

We know what we are up against. They may not have set the world alight with Jose’s return but they are not a bad squad overnight. They will be up for the game, it is a derby and they will want to win. It is a massive surprise that he does not play Mata. I know Jose has said he needs to adapt but he has been the best player for the last two seasons, not someone you should leave on the bench. Jose clearly thinks he is surplus to requirements which is probably why he signed Willian.

I hope the fans do not goad Willian too much, it will come back to bite us. He’ll probably score a hat trick in injury time with Spurs leading 2-0. I am a Spurs fan after all, it is natural to have these pessimistic moments! Jose has changed his team quite a lot this season so who knows who will play (except Oscar, he’ll play). We do have a poor record against this lot, 3 wins in 42 Premier League games is beyond shocking but times are a changing.

Expected line up

Team news has come out a bit earlier than normal, Rose is pretty much back. Kaboul is a doubt while Lennon has only just rejoined the team so unlikely to be involved. Capoue is out until after the international break. We have a lot of players in some form at the moment, it will be hard for AVB to select a team. I have gone with:

formation

Subs: Friedel, Chiriches, Naughton, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela, Defoe

I said previously that this would be a hard team to pick but with Kaboul likely to be out, the back four picks itself. Now the controversial bit, I went with Paulinho and Dembele. I know Sandro is the obvious choice (to kick the Chelsea attacking midfielders) for this game (probably at Dembele’s expense) but I am not sure AVB will want to change that partnership at the moment. They dominated the midfield in the last two league games albeit against what you would normally class as weaker opposition in relation to Chelsea. Neither of them are traditional defensive types but both are not afraid of a challenge.

Again, with so many attacking options and the majority of them knocking on the door for a start the three attacking midfielders is a little controversial. Some are saying play Holtby and Eriksen together, but that would mean one of them will have to predominantly start from a wide position. They can both do that but are more comfortable being in the middle to start so this is not the game to try this out in. It will be Eriksen who starts for me, not because Holtby has done anything wrong (I wrote an article before Eriksen signed that he should be the number 10) but because Eriksen has the understanding with the other choices I have made.

The two wide midfielders are Townsend and Sigurdsson. Chadli has only just returned from injury so this game is probably a little too soon for him hence him not even making the bench. Lamela has been playing well it little bits (for me), clearly he is a classy player but he is still finding his feet at the moment. With Ivanovic likely to play at right back for Chelsea I want to see Townsend on the left at some point to take him on with pace, in my opinion he is a better centre back than right back and I think a winger can get at him.

The striker, along with Sandro, is probably the hardest call to make given Defoe’s current form. If you look at Defoe’s first goal against Villa it was made by him coming deep to get involved and then making a run from deep. From what I have seen from Soldado so far (and I admit it is little) I am not sure he is as willing to do this. I have gone with Soldado though because Chelsea will be playing more of a European style of football rather than British and that may well play into Soldado’s hands.

It is scary when you look at the bench and realise that Kaboul, Capoue, Chadli, Lennon and Adebayor are not there and all could easily be first team starters…

Prediction

We should not expect to roll these boys over handsomely but neither should we accept a draw as a good result. I am going for a 2-1 win, Soldado and a Townsend thirty yarder!

So what do you think? Sandro and Lamela in? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Aston Villa Preview (a) – League Cup

Tuesday 24th September, Villa Park, 19:45

Well the third game in the congestive fixture list is upon us and rotation is the key. Two good wins in the Europa and Premier league has kept the momentum going in the right direction. Tromso, albeit poor, showed that the squad can be rotated and still perform well. Cardiff showed again that the team is getting better at understanding each other and due to a good goalkeeping display, would have been a more comfortable score line.

There are still a few grumblings around. Naughton has been roundly slaughtered for his display in Wales. You have got to admit that in the MOTD highlights, all Cardiff’s chances came down our left hand side. It would be fair to say that being right footed really didn’t help. There was no easy ball up the line as he had to keep cutting back to his right foot however that does not explain the backpass. Cardiff knew what they were doing and when they did attack, they targeted the weakest part of the defence.

The other is Townsend’s shooting. It is a weird one, he does shoot regularly from outside the area but so do the rest of the team. There were 15 shots outside the area against Cardiff out of the 29 taken. Yes six of these shots were from Townsend but there were also a number of good passes in there as well, one in particular springs to mind when he turns the Cardiff midfield on the touchline, takes the ball forward at pace before playing in Walker who crosses for Soldado to get a shot on target. While I agree he does shoot a little too often I think the team currently needs his direct play, he is not content to play in front of the opposition.

Would Lamela do better? Perhaps but until AVB decides it is time to unleash the Argentinian on the Premier League we will never know. The key would be the fullback he plays with as so far his only full game was with Naughton at right back. But also look at the flip side, if Townsend had scored a couple of these long range efforts we would all be pining for him to shoot – my opinion is he just needs a little more composure when shooting and with composure will come better decision making.

The Opposition

Villa Park is generally a tricky place to visit. Last season was tough and you would not expect them to struggle to that extent this season. Having said that, this game will not be a priority for Villa and with the current injury list, Lambert may well be writing this game off before a ball has been kicked.

Benteke will be a big loss but their squad is not as deep as others, as such they may not rotate as much as is being predicted. They have not had as big a fixture pile up which means the need to rotate is lessened.

Expected line up

AVB has suggested that perhaps the majority of the starting line up from the weekend will not start tonight given the short time frame. But with a number of injuries you would question if AVB is willing to bring in some youngsters or whether some will in fact have to play. My line up is:

formation

Subs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Eriksen, Dembele, Townsend, Soldado

So there you have it, I don’t think any of the development squad will be involved, had it been league one opposition then it may be a different story. I think AVB wants to keep the wins coming and therefore will use the remainder of the squad. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Lloris in goal given he played against Tromso but you have got to think Friedel will want to play against his old employers.

Naughton has played two 90 minute shifts but who comes in to give Walker a rest? So I have gone with Walker, AVB has had chances to play younger members of the development squad in previous games and has chosen not to so I do not think it will change now. Went with Paulinho in the middle as he didn’t start against Tromso but would AVB want to disrupt the partnership he is forming with Dembele? He has to rest one of them with the derby game coming up at the weekend and given Dembele has started the previous two fixtures I went with him.

I have assumed that Defoe and Kaboul have only slight knocks and were kept away from the Cardiff game with this game in mind. Clearly if they do not make it then up front will be pretty simple, Kane will move forward, Holtby will move to the centre and Townsend will come in (he didn’t play against Tromso). However if Kaboul is still out then it is a little more tricky, who comes in out of Dawson and Vertonghen? I would go with Jan, controversial but Dawson has played a hell of a lot of football so far this season.

There may even be a surprise on the bench given Adebayors recent positive tweets…

Prediction

I actually do not think Lambert will rotate as heavily as suggested and it will be interesting to see how much rotation we do given the short space of time between games. I think that is the key factor, not the game coming up at the weekend! I am going for, wait for it, 1-0 Spurs with Lamela opening his account… Whatever happens, we really want to avoid extra time!

So what do you think? Wholesale changes and development squad game time? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Tromso IL (h) Preview

Thursday 19th September, White Hart Lane, 20:05 live on ITV4

After the slightly over enthusiastic reaction to beating a Norwich team that played to our strengths, we return to European action on Thursday night welcoming Tromso to the Lane . The reaction may have been slightly over the top (Eriksen was almost the second coming of the messiah) at the weekend but that should not detract from the fact that it was a very good Spurs performance.

We have made an excellent start to the season, conceding only a single goal and it cannot be taken for granted how important the midweek games are in keeping the momentum going. No matter who plays, it is a squad game now and the players mentality will rub off on others if games do not go well.

With a tricky game coming up in south Wales at the weekend, you would expect some rotation to occur. I have discussed how I think rotation could work in my previous post (here) and would hope that some rotation would be made for this game.

AVB has come out to give a little moan about the fixtures at the moment. I agree completely, if we play on Sunday after a Thursday European game so there is time to recover then why is the same rule not applied between Sunday and Tuesday. Now clearly there are some traditional exceptions to this if days fall at certain points (Christmas say) but don’t think September is one of those periods. However, we have all been banging on about how good and deep the squad is so we need to just get on with it!

Spurs released there third kit today, I honestly thought they were not going to bother with a third kit this season given the price increase on the shirts this year. It is better than the away kit though, wonder if they will wear it tonight to promote it… update, nope it will be worn at the weekend!

The Opposition

Tromso are currently struggling in the Norwegian league, sitting a place above the relegation playoff spot on goal difference. They are still in the competition because Besiktas got thrown out and therefore progressed despite losing to the Turkish team 3-2 on aggregate at the playoff stage.

Scandinavian teams generally seem to play football closer in style to the English game so we should expect them to play like a lower league club. However this is a big fixture for Tromso and provides a release from their disappointing league campaign.

It is a shame we were not playing this game in Norway, Tromso are the northmost top tier team in the world and the return fixture is in November – very cold in the arctic circle you would guess at that time of year.

Expected line up

With the trip to Wales coming up at the weekend, you would expect a fair amount of rotation for the game. Chadli, Lennon and Capoue are out injured with Adebayor working his way back to fitness. I have gone with the following 4-2-3-1:

formation

Subs: Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Sandro, Paulinho, Eriksen, Kane

You would expect some players to definitely start in a rotation sense. Friedel, Kaboul, Naughton, Holtby and Defoe fall into this category. Whether Naughton replaces Rose or Walker is anyone’s guess but given Walker had two England games I would go for him. You would expect Dawson to retain his place (unless perhaps Chiriches has a work permit now) for the same reason Rose will keep his, no international football. Defoe has to play some part in our season despite being second choice (currently) behind Soldado, he will find game time limited this year I think and wouldn’t be surprised if he disappears come January.

Against ‘weaker’ teams we should not have a need to play a holding midfielder hence Sandro only making the bench, he will probably start at the weekend. I went with Dembele and Holtby as the central midfield pair, I think Holtby is a number 10 really but has said himself he can play deeper. I picked Dembele over Paulinho as he has played less minutes than Paulinho, also if Sandro does come in at the weekend I would expect it to be at the expense of Dembele rather than Paulinho.

If there was ever a game that you could throw Lamela in and say ‘show us what you can do’ then this is it! We are a little short at the moment in the wing department so expect Townsend to retain his place or perhaps Siggy will move wide and Kane starting as the number 10…

Prediction

We should win this game and win it comfortably. I’m going to go for 4-0 with Defoe (2), Holtby and Kane scoring.

So what do you think? Wholesale changes? What is your line up and predicted score?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Norwich City Preview

Saturday 14th September, White Hart Lane, 15:00

Well the international period has finally ended and we have come out of it pretty much unscathed. I say pretty much as Walker’s performance for England in Ukraine perhaps showed that the recent media attention has affected him. He was stupid with what he did however it is not illegal so don’t really understand why the media went for it so hard.

It may be nothing to do with the media though, he came up against a very speedy winger. Perhaps he was quicker than Walker, not something he comes up against very often! Lloris also had a bit of a mare, something that given his form so far this season has come out of the blue. As everyone says though, a small mistake for a keeper usually has huge effects and it did for Lloris. Hopefully these two have got their funny turns out of their system before Saturdays game.

We are about to enter a busy time fixture wise, 5 games before the month is out and our squad depth will surely be utilised and tested. We should finally see if what we have all been saying is true, the squad is good and we have two very good teams!

The Opposition

We didn’t beat Norwich in either fixture last season, one of four teams we failed register a win against in the league (the others being Chelsea, Everton and Wigan) last year. Usually when an opposing manager has so much history in Spurs you worry that perhaps they may have a little inside knowledge given their time at the club but it has changed so much since 2008! Kaboul, Rose, Dawson and Lennon are the only players left from Hughton’s time at the Lane.

Norwich have made some good signings this summer and will always be tough to beat. Gary Hooper is in contention after returning from injury but I would not expect him the starting line up just yet, as such I reckon they will probably line up as they did against Southampton.

Expected line up

Before the international break I said that AVB would have a tough time selecting his first eleven for the Norwich game given the talent in the squad. Lennon, Adebayor and Capoue are out with Sigurdsson a doubt having returned from international duty with a dead leg. Will the new attacking options get there first starts? My line up is (4-3-3 at home):

formation

Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Dembele, Holtby, Lamela, Defoe

The back five did pick itself before given Kaboul was coming back from a long injury, with a further two full weeks under his belt I think he may now start in the league. Dawson has proven he can adapt so wouldn’t be surprised if he retains his position but he lacks in pace compared to Kaboul and Vertonghen, something that is crucial with a high line. Who is captain without him though? Perhaps another reason why he will start.

You could argue that playing Norwich should not require a Sandro type player, that is a little disrespectful however Norwich played 4-4-1-1 with Elmander behind the striker last time out. I very much doubt he will make it a five man midfield too often so we could be more attacking and play Holtby or Dembele in Sadro’s place. I think Paulinho picks himself currently given Dembele’s apparent failure to set the world alight so far this season, he has been the first player substituted in each league game this year so would expect him to lose his place with Eriksen and Holtby available.

I did toy with the idea that Holtby would start, I still really hope he does but think Eriksen will get the nod despite not having much time with AVB yet in training. It is a shame really as I think Holtby getting a proper run in the team would enable him to show his class but I think he will have to make do with the Europa League for a few more weeks yet.

Given AVB’s comments regarding Lamela (not speaking a word of English, needing time to adapt) and that he only arrived back in the UK Thursday morning, it will be Townsend and Chadli on the wings. I don’t see this as a particularly bad thing, not because I don’t think Lamela is any good but rather because I think AVB will replace Townsend with him rather than Chadli…

Prediction

We know playing Hughton’s Norwich are going to be difficult, we played them early last year at the Lane when AVB was still getting his points across which could be used as an excuse for the draw then. However, the return fixture at Carrow Road was when Spurs were starting to understand AVB’s way, also ended 1-1 – no excuses for that one then. I’m going for a 2-0 win, Eriksen to get off the mark and Paulinho to open his Premier League account.

So what do you think? Will AVB put the new boys in? What would your line up and predicted result be?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Arsenal Preview

Sunday 1st September, Emirates Stadium, 16:00 live on Sky Sport 1

What a week it has been. Well not so much the week, just Friday really. Was that our self-imposed transfer deadline day? We’ll have to wait and see.

An easy, if a little laborious, victory against Dinamo Tbilisi in midweek maintained the winning momentum. Another clean sheet to boot may start to suggest that last season’s lapses in concentration in defence may be becoming fewer. It was a little surprising that AVB chose to rest Dawson over Vertonghen, perhaps he felt that Dawson understands the importance of such a fixture better than Jan.

Walker starting was also a surprise but he was able to be substituted with plenty of time to spare. Have any of the players used on Thursday played their way into the team on Sunday? I doubt it given the level of opposition but they Holtby and Defoe will have put themselves further up AVB’s thinking.

I don’t want to say too much about the new signings but you have got to worry about Siggy’s future with Eriksen arriving. You would expect Carroll to go out on loan but it must be to a premier league club where he can play week in week out, like Townsend and Walker before him.

But it is North London derby weekend, the fixtures we always look for first (as do they) to see when the rivalry can be rekindled. Form prior to these games does not mean a thing, both teams will up their game come Sunday. As I know the travelling lilywhite fans will, the noise from our lot will be epic due to the transfer window dealings if not for anything else.

The Opposition

As much as we would like to think otherwise, Arsenal are still a good team. They may not have strengthened over the summer but the team is settled and should understand their roles. We know how Wenger likes to play, quick passing football. Wilshere will be the danger man, stop him and you almost completely stop Arsenal.

They have a number of injuries to deal with, I have always liked Podolski so the fact he is out is great. Arteta’s vision will be missed and despite Ramsey’s improvement, he is not as clever as Arteta. Oxlande-Chamberlain may not be the major threat but he would have been useful to throw on with twenty minutes remaining.

We should not be frightened of this lot but we should still respect the quality they have. Arsenal have been guilty of this in the recent past (4-4 and 2-0 HT to 2-3 FT) and we must not make the same mistake. The last two seasons 5-2 results were hard to take so we cannot allow that to happen again.

Expected line up

I don’t know if any of the Friday signings were done in time for the game. Even if they were though I would only expect them to make the bench if at all given the lack of time AVB will have had with them. I will go for:

formation

Subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Naughton, Sandro, Chadli, Lamela, Defoe

I have gone for 4-2-3-1 seeing as we are away from home. Lennon may be injured but if he is back I would expect him to play in place of Chadli, mainly due to being more defensively disciplined. The back four picks itself at the moment, but after the international break it will be interesting to see if Dawson keeps his spot.

It is similar to the holding midfielder role. At the moment it is Capoue but after the international break Sandro should be back to full fitness and it will all be up for grabs. I may be alone but I am not entirely won over by Chadli at the moment, a lot of people put him in their strongest team. He clearly has the ability but I don’t think he is any better than Townsend. I said in a previous post that I am not convinced by Dembele as the ‘number 10’ however Holtby is perhaps not ready for this sort of game so soon after injury and Eriksen only just signed. By playing Dembele though, we have a player who can drop back slightly to help if needed and who can cover Townsend when he drives forward.

AVB is going to have a difficult time choosing his starting eleven when all are available.

Prediction

I’m going for 2-1 to Spurs though a draw would still be a good result. Soldado (penalty again, why not?) and Paulinho to score.

So what do you think? Will AVB put the new boys in? What would your line up and predicted result be?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…

Spurs v Tbilisi (2nd Leg) Preview

Thursday 29th August, White Hart Lane, 20:05, Live on ITV4

After last week’s demolition of Tbilisi the tie should be done and dusted. Spurs have started in far better form than last year and even though the tie appears to be over we need to maintain the momentum. We should not take the tie lightly.

Last week showed that if the team put their mind to it then there are goals to be had. Townsend announced himself as a contender for a starting position with his performance in Georgia and was rewarded with a start against Swansea. I say rewarded because even though Lennon was injured, Sigurdsson could easily have come in and played on the right. His directness and willingness to beat his man had Tbilisi running scared whenever he got the ball.

Soldado proved that despite not being heavily involved, he will be in the right place at the right time when needed. His movement for the second goal was class in itself, it resulted in Paulinho pretty much being unmarked to head the ball home. This side of Soldado’s game should not be underestimated, trying to find space for yourself is just as important as creating space for others. Did he know what he was doing? For £26 million I would hope he did!

The Opposition

Last week they were poor. So poor that I would say that fans will be surprised by their performance tonight. They have nothing to lose so will be going for the jugular in an attempt to restore some pride in themselves. Clearly this could work in our favour with some quick counter attacking to put the tie to bed early.

Expected line up

I would expect there to be wholesale changes given the small matter of a North London Derby on Sunday. We don’t want a key player or players picking up knocks before a key tie – just look at Podolski. Bearing this in mind I have gone for:

formation

Subs: Lloris, Dawson, Rose, Capoue, Chadli, Coulthirst, Kane

Yup I have changed to 4-3-3. Formations are a funny thing given they can so easily mutate into something else but I think 4-3-3 is the formation used at home. Some of you are probably saying why is Townsend playing as he may pick up a knock. I don’t think he’ll be starting on Sunday, not because he doesn’t have the ability but because he perhaps lacks the discipline of Lennon who I would expect to start assuming he is fit. Also, given his performance a week ago, they will be targeting him which will provide space for others on the pitch. I am sure AVB will want to give Rose a rest and so young Stewart may get a run out, he is a full back just not entirely certain as to which side. Carroll needs to be given a chance like Townsend before him and this is the perfect game for that, Holtby and Sandro to join him as they continue their return from injury. I think most would love the see Kane start but you would think that Defoe has to play given his lack of playing time. He could come in for Siggy but, like Defoe, he will want some playing time. The only way I see Defoe not starting is if AVB wants to keep Soldado scoring or Defoe is off to pastures new.

Prediction

While the tie is already dead, an early goal will knock the stuffing out of the opposition and allow Spurs to play the naturally expansive football we wish to see. I’m going for 3-0 with Holtby and Defoe (2) scoring.

So what do you think? Will AVB change it up much if at all? What would your line up and predicted result be?

You can follow the blog on twitter, @thfc1882dotcom and “like” our facebook page! We are even on instagram. If you are really bored you can follow my ramblings about anything and everything on twitter (@waddiealex) as well…