Tottenham will be fighting on four fronts during their 2014/15 campaign with the Premier League, Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup all on the agenda for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Daniel Levy appointed the Argentinian with a main objective of returning to the top four of the Premier League in mind. To me, that looks a very tall order as Tottenham’s last result against Liverpool clearly shows, they are still some way off the very best sides in the country. bet365 have put Spurs in at odds of 3/1 to finish in the top four this season but that does not appeal to me as a value bet at this stage. I realise that things could change once the top teams have Champions League fixtures to cope with, but it could be argued that Tottenham’s Europa League travels are going to be just as demanding.
At slightly bigger odds of 10/3, to win a major trophy is a more attractive bet as far as I’m concerned. Both the League and FA Cups, and to a lesser extent the Europa League, are within Tottenham’s capabilities given a bit of luck with draws and such like. I would imagine that Pochettino will be taking the Europa League extremely seriously, with the winners now receiving a spot in the following season’s Champions League. While there are a number of matches involved, it’s a very winnable competition for a team such as Tottenham. On paper at least, there are probably only a couple of sides taking part who have a squad to match Tottenham’s and as long as none of the real big guns drop out of the Champions league at an early stage, Spurs should have a solid chance of making the latter stages. Tottenham can also be backed at 16/1 to lift the trophy which isn’t the worst bet in the world.
I believe the realistic target for Tottenham Hotspur in the premier League this season is a top six finish, and the bookies clearly agree. bet365 make us odds on at 2/5 to end the campaign within the first six places in the league and given a bit of improvement throughout the season under Pochettino, that’s achievable. Finally, the top goalscorer market would appear to be very competitive with Costa, Falcao and Aguero just a few of the likely candidates for that honour. Tottenham’s best hope would appear to be Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor who can be backed at 33/1. However, Adebayor will likely be representing Togo at the African Cup of Nations which means he will miss a number of league games. I think he could have a small each way chance even with his international commitments, but nothing more.
Here is a round-up of the various Tottenham Specials available at bet365
Although Tottenham bossed possession during Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, the home side never really looked like they were going to get anything from the match. One shot on target against Liverpool’s eight tells the story and a goal from Raheem Sterling after eight minutes quickly killed the feel good factor generated from the win over QPR just seven days previous. Two goals better than last year you might say but results such as this are still a reminder that Spurs are very likely to be fighting for 6th place in the Premier league and nothing more. Had Mario Balotelli been more clinical in front of goal, this result could have turned embarrassing, and Mauricio Pochettino now has two weeks to reenergise his troops for a tricky trip to Sunderland.
With Liverpool having come to White Hart Lane off the back of a disappointing result at Manchester City, I expected Brendan Rodgers to set them up not to lose and give this new Tottenham side plenty of respect. How wrong I was. Liverpool were very positive from the outset and gained reward with the early goal which meant that Tottenham had to chase the game, and were constantly vulnerable to their opponents rapid counter attacks. Spurs’ first four results under Pochettino were positive however and at least the new manager can draw on this when working with the players over the next couple of weeks between their international commitments.
The slightly depressing realisation for me following Sunday’s result was that Spurs are basically going to finish no better than sixth in the Premier League for the foreseeable future. Manchester United have spent a serious amount of money in the transfer window, and it’s very difficult to see them not forcing their way back into the top four this season with such an array of talent at Luis van Gaal’s disposal. Chelsea and Manchester City are shoe-ins and the Liverpool result illustrates that we are still a long way behind them also. Does this mean we are in a fight with Arsenal and Everton for 5th? I hate to say it but the Gunners squad looks good enough to secure 5th spot at worst. Realistically, 6th or even 7th is the likely finishing spot for Tottenham this season and it is going to be very difficult for us to improve on that anytime soon without massive investment, no matter who is manager. It is a long shot, but Spurs’ best chance of playing Champions League football again may well come via the Europa League, as winning that competition looks less challenging than breaking back into the Premier League’s elite.
Can Spurs Become True Title Contenders On Saturday?
I saw a stat on Twitter earlier which I quickly passed on to my WhatsApp group, which is full of Gooners, Chelsea and Millwall fans. Basically, they all hate Spurs.
@BBCSport: Spurs have conceded the fewest of any team in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.
I was quickly shot down, ‘You’ve played Cardiff and Palace and a load of teams with made up names that aren’t even proper football clubs in the Europa League.’
While that all may be true, Tottenham have started the season in impression fashion. The defeat at Arsenal, a game which arguably came too soon for this new group of players, is the only blip on Spurs record thus far this campaign. With Arsenal sitting top of the table, it doesn’t seem like such a terrible loss, albeit a painful blow for any Spurs fan to take.
So this Saturday at 12:45pm we kick off against Chelsea. This is the first time that I can remember the top online bookmakers putting Spurs in as favourites for a match against the Blues. Tottenham have a woeful overall record against Chelsea in the last couple of decades but, things have certainly improved in recent times with the home side having lost just five of the last fourteen encounters.
Although Chelsea returned to winning ways against Fulham last time, they aren’t exactly on fire. Jose Mourinho’s men have scored just six goals in their opening five matches which is their joint-lowest return at this stage during the last eighteen years. Admittedly, they are only two points off Tottenham and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table and a win at White Hart Lane would see them reach the helm at least temporarily.
This could be one of the defining games of Tottenham’s season and Andre Villas-Boas career as a manager. No matter what he is telling the media in the run up to this game, victory over Mourinho and his former club Chelsea would mean everything to him. Spurs have had a number of false dawns before but this is for me the best squad of players we have had since the Premier League began. Whatever the result, I just hope the players go out there with no fear and play with the freedom, passion and ruthlessness they have shown in recent weeks.
One of the biggest games in Tottenham’s season this Saturday as Southampton visit White Hart Lane. With the Saints now looking safe from relegation, all the pressure is one the home side to secure the three points and make the most of their game in hand over Arsenal. The Gunners could only manage a draw against Manchester United this past Sunday and although that would have been a good result in normal circumstances, neither side can afford to be dropping points at home.
Spurs go into the match with Southampton on the back of a fairly positive result after gaining a point away to Wigan. Andre Villas-Boas side should arguably have won that match when you look at the league table, but Wigan are fighting for their Premier League lives at the moment and will be very difficult to beat for the remainder of the campaign. Southampton arrive in London off the back of one of their worst defeats of their season, a 3-0 home reverse at the hands of West Brom. Spurs fans will be hoping that their opponents this weekend already have one eye on their summer holidays and that the Lillywhites can take full advantage.
Although Spurs have had their injury list eased somewhat in recent weeks, they do have a couple of fresh concerns following last weekend, with both Mousa Dembele and Younes Kaboul picking up knocks. The Tottenham manager is hopeful that both players can be involved in this Saturday’s all important clash. Danny Fox and Gaston Ramirez are both suspended for the remainder of Southampton’s games this season and will be a big miss for the South Coast club.
Bookies seem to be strongly favoring Spurs at the minute, with odds at $1.44 – (£.95) at time of writing (TAB). It’s understandable that Spurs have been been in as favourites, but I personally don’t think it will be as straightforward as the bookmakers believe. Tottenham have struggled at home at times during Villas-Boas first year in charge and they have often looked more relaxed and clinical on the road. I’m hopeful that Bale and co can run out winners and I fancy a hard fought 2-1 victory for Spurs.
Is the Europa League actually a good thing for Spurs?
I’ve always felt the Europa League is a bit of a nonsense competition. Having to fly out to various distant parts of Europe to play in the cold on a Thursday night must have a negative effect on Premier League results. The taste of Champions League action probably hasn’t helped and neither did the fact we finished fourth last season only to be cruelly denied another tilt at that elite contest. Seeing Real Madrid and Manchester City play out that classic last night also reminded me exactly what we are missing out on as Tottenham fans.
I do feel that in our current situation, the Europa League could well be a positive thing. Our squad is extremely healthy at the moment and a number of top players are sitting on the bench getting very little game time. While playing in this competition may not keep them all happy, it will maintain their match fitness and also give Andre Villas-Boas the opportunity to assess their talents on the pitch. With Defoe in fine form, it might be a while before Adebayor and Dempsey get a start in the current system so I’d expect them both to play a part in the Europa League.
Andre Villas-Boas also appears to have a strong passion for the Europa League. As Porto manager, Villas-Boas became the youngest ever manager to win a European competition when his team took the 2010–11 Europa League. Although the Premier League and a top four finish will be the manager’s priority, he will also be keen for his new side to do well in this competition, beginning with Lazio this Thursday night. Villas-Boas has been quoted in the press this week saying that he ‘wants to do something special’ in this season’s Europa League and sounds very keen on winning the trophy for a second time.
I expect Spurs to have a successful European campaign this season and while it may not be the Champions League, I think we will be in for some exciting Thursday evenings over the coming months.
There is always much debate surrounding the merits of Jermain Defoe. Twitter is awash with comments about him being a flat track bully and is nothing more than an impact sub. While I agree with some of the criticism levelled at him, I don’t think Defoe has had enough opportunities at Tottenham to judge him without some level of doubt. If given the chance to lead the line for a full season, would he be able to produce sufficient quality performances and ultimately goals?
Defoe scored the winning goal for England last night and was well backed by the betting public to get on the score sheet. Sportsbook reviews and more sports information on Defoe’s chances of scoring against the Toon Army this weekend tell us he is amongst the favourites to net again. However, I’m sure a large proportion of the Spurs faithful wouldn’t dream of backing him to get the winner away from White Hart Lane.
While some aspects of his personal life are questionable, Defoe has suffered multiple personal tragedies over the last few years but he has continued to be a model professional where Tottenham are concerned. Jermain has never quite hit the heights expected of him earlier in his career and at 29 years of age, it’s now or never as far as fulfilling this promise is concerned. With Spurs light on strikers currently, Defoe has the perfect opportunity to prove all the doubters wrong and become AVB’s main man. It will be interesting to see whether Villas Boas gives him the opportunities that Redknapp did not.
I accept that some of his all round play is lacking, but what Jermain Defoe is all about is goals. If he’s finding the back of the net with enough regularity, the rest quite simply won’t matter. Given a decent run in the side this season, I’m confident that the man who is arguably the best finisher in the Premier League can play a key role in helping Tottenham to achieve great things.
After a campaign of both joy and despair, it has come to this. Spurs are within touching distance of an automatic Champions League spot and although I would have been devastated by the prospect had you told me this is where would would end up back in January, it is only thanks to a resurgence in the last few games that we have any chance of playing against Europe’s elite next season. Following a run which saw Tottenham win just one league game in nine, the players have shown a lot of spirit to take seven points from a possible nine in the last three fixtures.
Just two points separate Arsenal in third place and Newcastle in fifth, with Tottenham sandwiched in between. Any two of the three sides can still fill the remaining two Champions League places depending one how results go on Sunday and on paper at least, Spurs would appear to have the strongest claims. Ignoring the fact that Chelsea winning this season’s Champions League final could throw a spanner in the works, it is third place that is all important as it will guarantee automatic progress into the Champions League group stages.
Although I hate to say it, credit must go to both Arsenal and Newcastle for the form they have shown in the latter part of the season. It had looked as though both sides had lost their chance of a top four finish but they managed to close the huge gap Spurs had built up in the early part of the campaign to set up this dramatic climax. Newcastle have arguably the toughest task come the weekend with an away game against Everton, but neither a trip to West Brom for the Gunners nor a home clash with an in form Fulham side for Spurs, are going to be easy.
If Chelsea do manage to beat Bayern Munich, then the team finishing in fourth spot in the Premier League will go into the Europa League rather than Champions League. So basically, Spurs need to win and hope that Arsenal don’t to secure third place. Personally, I think Arsenal will likely draw at the Hawthorns, Newcastle will get something from their game at Everton and Spurs should be able to beat Fulham at the Lane, but who knows! There are bound to be a number of twists and turns on Sunday but hopefully, the football Gods will be on Tottenham’s side this once…
Saturday’s live lunchtime kick off on Sky Sports is the match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. With both sides in the running for a Champions League place this season, this could be a very important result as far as a top four finish is concerned. The upcoming European Championships could be in the backs of some players minds and could be having a negative affect on some while encouraging others to play well to try and force their way into the final squads. The Euro 2012 odds are sure to change on the back of these performances. Until recently, Tottenham were certainly in the driving seat being well clear in third place and even making a brief challenge for second spot, but following just three bad results in a row, the top of the table now has a completely different complexion to it.
Although there isn’t much between the two sides as far as their last six games are concerned with Chelsea having taken 8 points to Tottenham’s 7, the Blues definitely come into this match with the upper hand. Chelsea have won two of their last three Premier League games but also have momentum from victories in the Champions League and the FA Cup where striker Fernando Torres rediscovered his scoring touch. If Torres can continue to find the net for the remainder f the season, it will be like having a new signing for Chelsea. Spurs on the other hand look a bit flat and have lost their last three league games. The difficult FA Cup clash with Bolton this past weekend certainly won’t have helped matters.
Spurs do have a chance to pick themselves up on Wednesday night with a home game against Stoke City, while Chelsea travel to the fortress that is the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. Depending on those two games, there could be a very different feel to Saturday’s match as a win for Spurs and a defeat for Chelsea would give the Tottenham a seven point cushion. As things stand currently however, Chelsea are the strong favourites to take all three points. The Blues were victorious in this fixture by two goals to one last season, and a similar result would not surprise me. I’m hoping Spurs can surprise though and get their season back on track.
Chelsea v Tottenham Head to Head
Chelsea Wins 60
Tottenham Wins 49
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Current Form (Last Six Games)
A huge game for Tottenham here as far as their Champions League aspirations are concerned. Three straight defeats in the Premier League have seen Tottenham’s grasp on third place slip to just one point and bitter rivals Arsenal are now within touching distance of taking the automatic qualifying place for themselves. Chelsea have also closed the gap to just four points and although Spurs looked to have things sewn up a few weeks ago, the picture is a very different one now.
The circumstances surrounding the abandonment of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final is bound to have some kind of affect on the players but hopefully the positive news regarding Fabrice Muamba in the last couple of days will have gone some way to easing the mental state of the Spurs squad.
While Tottenham might not be on their worst run of the season, they have still only lost one of their last six home games while Stoke have just one win and five defeats from their last six games on the road. Spurs also have a very good record against Stoke in the Premier League, having won five of the last six encounters between the two clubs.
Tottenham v Stoke Head to Head
Tottenham Wins 40
Stoke Wins 23
Tottenham 3-2 Stoke
Current Form (Last Six Games)
So, it feels pretty good to be a Spurs fan at the moment right?! Six points off City with a game in hand and possibly even more satisfying, six points in front of Arsenal with that same game in hand. I’m looking forward to the FA Cup this weekend and I’m hoping we will make short work of Cheltenham even if most of the first eleven are given what would be a well overdue rest. I do have a soft spot for Cheltenham because of the amazing racing entertainment the town provides me with in March but their football team, not so much.
Even the bookies are starting to take our league form seriously as you can now see quotes as short as 8/1 for Tottenham to win this season’s title. I still personally think we have to much to do to overhaul Man City and I’m sure Utd will bounce back after two straight defeats but what has really impressed me this season is our winning mentality. The game against West Brom this past Tuesday night really illustrates that fact. Roy Hodgson had a few injuries to key players and basically set up his team to take a point. They were very hard to break down and until Sisqo scored, it was looking like being one of those nights. In season’s gone by, that is the sort of game we would have ended up losing through a lack of concentration or determination but Harry now appears to have the players instilled with a belief that they can win every game, no matter the circumstances.
Some fans were saying the point against Swansea was a disappointing result but I definitely would have taken a draw before the game. Only one team has managed to go to the Liberty Stadium and win this season and when you consider it was our third game in quick succession, avoiding defeat was a good result. The performance against Norwich was sublime and Gareth Bale showed once again why he is one of the very best players in the Premier League. While one of the positives of us not being involved in the Champions League this season is our excellent domestic form, Bale not being able to show what he is capable of against the European elite is certainly a negative.
Now the January transfer window is upon us, I expect to see Spurs linked with the usual infinite fictional targets. Samba and Cahill are the most realistic names for me but with Dawson apparently set to start against Cheltenham, our centre back injury problems are easing slightly. A number of my close friends are Millwall fans, so it’s nice to see a couple of our younger players being loaned to the Lions. Hopefully it will be a win win situation, with Ryan Mason and Harry Kane getting some much needed first team action, while also helping Millwall stay in the Championship.
This could well be the key month as far as our title hopes are concerned. Homes games against Everton, Wolves and Wigan with a trip to Man City in there for good measure. City have tough Cup games against Man Utd and Liverpool which could well work in our favour. Is January 2012 going to be the month when Tottenham actually sit on top the Premier League? I bloody hope so!