Preview: A game of high tempo expected
It is with a blend of disappointment and pride that the Black Cats enter Saturday’s late kick-off at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Scoring three goals against Europa League champions Chelsea is a difficult thing to achieve, so conceding one more strike to eventually lose is what hurts most.
Sunderland were on the brink of doing something great on Wednesday. If it wasn’t for Eden Hazard’s outrageous performance, the Stadium of Light would still be dazzling with euphoria by now. But the seven-goal thriller was split 4-3 with Bardsley’s 86th minute strike not enough to snatch a point for the hosts.
Preview: Two London sides desperate for a win
Fulham and Tottenham will both be looking to put an end to their winless streaks when they meet each other at the Craven Cottage on Wednesday. The Cottagers have lost all of their last four matches in the league and five in all competitions, their antics have resulted in Fulham dropping down into the relegation zone. The inevitable sacking of Martin Jol resulted in former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen appointed as the manager of Fulham and the Dutchman is set to take charge of an English team for the first time in the match against Tottenham.
Even though the manager might have changed, the players are the same and Meulensteen will have some task at hand to motivate players who have tasted defeat in five consecutive matches. But the former Man United coach has insisted that his experience with his former club has allowed him to gain the necessary attributes to deal with such challenges.
Preview: Spurs and United both fresh from midweek wins
This game is coming at the perfect time. Spurs will be out to prove that they have totally recovered – tactically and mentally – from their miserable 6-0 beating at the Etihad Stadium on Matchday 12. They used Thursday’s Europa League encounter away to Tromsø as an opportunity to boost their confidence.
This 2-0 way in Norway should help them to get back on track by avoiding a third straight loss in the English Premier League. Andre Villas-Boas sounded confident in his interview with Sky Sports.
Sirens increasing in volume for AVB
Spurs are definitely not firing from all cylinders and as a consequence, Andre Villas-Boas is under fire from all angles. The young Portuguese tactician was given a lot of cash to duly replace last season’s best player in the shape of Gareth Bale. And even though players who have arrived at White Hart Lane are all capable of taking the club to the next level, things have not gone according to plan and all the excitement about the new arrivals has vanished game by game.
Following a 6-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City last week, many reports suggest that AVB might become the latest managerial casualty this season if his side is unable to make home advantage count against Manchester United.
Preview: A good opportunity for disgraced Spurs to bounce back
What went wrong for Tottenham Hotspur in their latest match? Who saw it coming? They were humiliated at the Etihad Stadium last Sunday in the English Premier League as they conceded a surprising 6-0 defeat against Manchester City.
Until then, Andre Villas-Boas’ defence had been generally solid in all competitions. But now, the young Portuguese manager has much to think about, when it comes to tactical plans.
Preview: Two teams looking to keep up with their rivals
Losing to Newcastle United before the international break means that Spurs resume their English Premier League campaign in seventh position. However, travelling supporters will be buoyed by the fact that their team seats above Man City – even if it is only by one point and two ranks following the results of Saturday's matches.
Both sides share the ambition of breaking into the Top Four zone but the competition at the top of the table is so tight that the slightest mistake has a big impact on the standings. After Matchday 11, only six points separated 2011/2012 EPL champions City from current league leaders Arsenal but between this gap, there were six teams, including surprise package Southampton.
As per FIFA rules, clubs are allowed to seek compensation for their players injured while playing for the national team. The reimbursement is directly linked with the wages the player earns with his club.
However the payments will definitely serve managers no purpose who will have to make adjustments in the absence of their star players.
Let us take a look at some of the players who suffered injuries during the international week and how their respective teams will cope without them.
Preview: Magpies hoping to take advantage of low-scoring Spurs
Only Hull City have scored fewer goals in the top half of the table than Tottenham who are currently fourth in the league table and Newcastle who are at the back of a 2-0 victory over Chelsea will be hoping to continue the momentum in the match against Spurs.
The French duo of Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy scored goal apiece as Newcastle cruised to a victory over the Blues, with the latter scoring his sixth goal of the season since sealing his loan move from QPR.
Preview: Spurs poised to seal qualification with a win over Moldovan champions
The Lilywhites have made a perfect start to their European campaign, having won all of the three matches they have played so far in the Europa League. AVB’s men have been especially threatening at their own home turf where they have lost just two out of their last 22 European games. If they manage to record another victory at the expense of Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday, Spurs will seal qualification to the last 32 of the tournament.
The match on Thursday is Tottenham’s sixth in 18 days and understandably Villas-Boas is likely to shuffle things around ahead of their important match against Newcastle on Sunday. AVB has further reiterated that budding talent part of the Tottenham roster will be given their opportunities to shine at the big stage but only after the team has successfully earned qualification to the next round.
Preview: Spurs under pressure to end disappointments at Everton
The Toffees enter this game with a psychological advantage knowing that they have not lost any of their last five home games against Tottenham Hotspur. They will be keen to grab their fourth consecutive victory in six matches against this opposition at Goodison Park.
Everton supporters could have the last laugh this Sunday with bitter local rivals Liverpool losing away to Arsenal earlier on. The current English Premier League standings explain that the Toffees could end Matchday 10 in second position with 21 points.
Preview: Spurs to exhibit their large squad in the Capital One Cup
Andre Villas-Boas has vowed not to let Spurs end the season empty-handed. Last term, the club made of the UEFA Europa League title and a Top Four EPL finish its priorities. It failed to achieve both. In Europe, the London side suffered a dramatic exit against Switzerland’s FC Basel.
In the league, the pressure from Chelsea and Arsenal eventually proved too hot to handle. In the FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur lost out to Leeds. They also encountered defeat against Norwich City in the Fourth Round of the Capital One Cup.
While Tottenham have sprung off their peddle-stool to begin the first nine games of the Barclays Premier League in strong fashion, all media translation has concentrated on the new arrivals at the nest of the Golden Cockerel. As the media tells the tales, the future is of relevance and the past simply adds to a book of theoretical history which can be referred to should a story re-emerge.
Of course, Tottenham’s £100m-plus starlets have come under heavy investigation, with their impact on the side being compared to those who already sit within the first team. Whilst the likes of Christian Eriksen, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado have been awarded praise at varying levels, fellow new arrivals including Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue have not begun quite so merrily due to either injury, a lack of first team opportunities or simply taking longer than others to adjust to Premier League demands.
Preview: Spurs poised to get third-time lucky against injury-ravaged Hull City
Spurs begin this game in seventh position, behind Manchester City on goal difference. The hosts are two points above champions Manchester United and five ahead of upcoming opponents Hull City. Victory could take them up to third on the table above Southampton and Everton. That is, if Chelsea and Man City play out a draw in Sunday’s other 16:00 BST kick-off.
The Tigers, meanwhile, will be happy with leapfrogging the mighty Red Devils in eighth position. However, this would require them to record a big margin victory against Tottenham – which seems improbable given the strength of the opposition.
Preview: Spurs’ perfect record set to be extended
Spurs’ ride in Europe has been enjoyable for their fans so far. They seat at the top of Group K thanks to two dominating displays – at home to Tromsø on Matchday 1 and away to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala earlier this month.
With five goals and none conceded, Tottenham Hotspur have rightfully been tagged as favourites to succeed London rivals Chelsea as Europa League champions. Besides, they possess 36-year-old gem Andre Villas-Boas who led FC Porto to glory in the competition three seasons ago.
Preview: Spurs in bounce-back mission on AVB's birthday week
AVB’s men had been doing so well until they hosted West Ham United before the international break. They suffered destruction when the public least expected it. Before that 3-0 demolition in front of their own supporters, Tottenham had conceded only two goals – in a 1-0 loss away to Arsenal and a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea.
They ended Matchday 7 outside the European zone, prompting the media to question whether the club would suffer yet another Champions League qualification heartache this season. It is of course too early to predict anything. However, having narrowly missed out on the Top Four in May 2013, Spurs will be eager to put the shocking defeat to West Ham behind and resume their Premier League campaign with a bang.
Roy Hodgson’s bold call to bring Andros Townsend into the frame for England’s crucial World Cup 2014 qualifiers proved an impressive choice. Now the dust has settled on England’s eligibility for next summer’s international tournament in Brazil, Spurs fans have seen a huge advance on Townsend and his growth over the past twelve months. With his inspiring displays either side of the weekend, Townsend will be expected to continue to replicate his England form and become the next future star in Tottenham white and blue.
The 22-year-old, of Cypriot and Jamaican descent, joined Tottenham’s academy side at the age of eight but has had to wait an exhausting sixteen years to feature regularly for the first team. Before his break at Spurs, Townsend endured season-after-season loans from 2009 at Yeovil Town, Leyton Orient, Milton Keynes Dons, Ipswich Town, Watford, Millwall, Leeds United, Birmingham City and before starring for Queens Park Rangers under former Lilywhites coach Harry Redknapp last season.
Whilst Lamela broke Spurs transfer record for the third time in the summer the jury out with the 21-year-old. This is not because he is a bad signing. Nicknamed ‘Coco’ by his friends, he has a respectable record in Argentina and Italy with twenty-three goals in ninety-eight appearances from his days at River Plate and Roma.
The bemusement is with his new club, flashing almost £30m on a player who fails to strike regular starts in the first XI. The international has been subject to guest appearances within the last ten-fifteen minutes of games in the league whilst notably featuring behind Jermain Defoe in Tottenham's cup competitions.
Preview: Spurs poised to hammer relegation-threatened West Ham
The English Premier League is an amazing world this season with Manchester clubs’ dominance being strangled by the resurgence of London sides. Spurs are doing a great job and outstanding talisman Gareth Bale has already been forgotten.
Team play is key for Tottenham who boast of having the best defence in the EPL with only two goals allowed in over 540 minutes. Andre-Villas Boas’ men have not scored many (6 goals) but this does not appear to be a worry since they have managed to pick four wins from their six matches so far.
Preview: Tottenham poised to embarrass Anji in Russia
Tottenham Hotspur were given a tough time by Chelsea last Saturday in the Premier League. A John Terry equalizer denied them from getting all three points. Still, Andre-Villas Boas could smile about his team’s performance and ambitious approach. Playing Anzhi will be totally different from playing Jose Mourinho’s Blues.
All though it is an away fixture, Spurs are seen as favourites. In fact, the Russian club has failed over the years to transform into a force like big-money clubs Manchester City, AS Monaco or Paris Saint-Germain. The club’s crisis has taken its toll in front of goal with Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o leaving for Chelsea this summer.
Preview: London derby marked by AVB and Mourinho’s “broken” relationship
Tottenham Hotspur could easily brag about being the best team in London this season, although this might provoke outrageous comments from Arsenal fans who witnessed their team’s triumph in the North London derby about four weeks ago. However, Spurs can look upon their results with great satisfaction.
Numbers and records speak for themselves. Tottenham’s defence is enviable as it has managed four clean sheets out of five English Premier League games. If AVB has not celebrated too many goals (only five precisely) on the touchline, at least, he has created a team difficult to score against.