Tag Archives: spurs

Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur Preview

This weekend will see an in-form Tottenham Hotspur side travel to Wales to take on Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City. The Swans are arguably a better team than their recent results suggest but they are in need of some Premier League points to put a bit of distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Things are really tight at the foot of the table and there are only six points separating Hull in tenth spot and Crystal Palace at the bottom. It will make for an exciting climax to the season, but could also cause a side to get sucked into the battle unexpectedly.

It’s also tight at the top of the Premier League, particularly amongst the clubs that look to be in a battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot. A lot could change between now and the end of the campaign, but it would appear that Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Man Utd going to be fighting for a European place rather than the title. Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal are beginning to draw clear of the chasing pack and I expect that trend to continue.

Considering an indifferent first half of the season for Spurs, the fact that they sit just eight points off top spot is pretty satisfying for me as a Tottenham fan. Although Tim Sherwood has seen his side get knocked out of both domestic cup competitions, they are unbeaten in the league thus far under his guidance. What may cost Tottenham when it comes to the Champions League places is their poor goal difference following a number of big defeats during the Andre Villas-Boas reign. Their last away game saw Spurs win at Old Trafford by two goals to one, a scoreline which Swansea also won by at Old Trafford in the FA Cup recently.

Spurs are favourites this weekend to continue their fine run of form under Tim Sherwood, according to sports bookmaker bwin. Tottenham can be backed at odds of 2.3, Swansea are priced at 3.1, while the draw is available at 3.2. While they are worthy favourites on recent form, I don’t think this will be a walkover for the away side and the draw looks the most likely result for me.

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.

Can it still be done?!

One of the worst feelings in football is having to rely on another team doing you a favour in a game you’re not involved in. That’s exactly what we need from Newcastle this weekend as our nervous battle for a Champions League place reaches its conclusion. Tottenham have what is arguably the easier fixture on paper as they face Sunderland at White Hart Lane, while bitter rivals Arsenal travel to the Sports Direct Arena to take on Newcastle. Should both London sides manage to secure three points in their respective games, it will be Arsenal and not Tottenham competing in the 2013/14 Champions League.

The bookmakers have Spurs as the strong 3/10 favourites for their match against Sunderland. Arsenal are put in at a best price of 4/7. If you’re having a bet this weekend, you can check out available odds at Topbet.eu. Everything points to both of the Champions League hopefuls getting the job done against their Northern opponents, with both Sunderland and Newcastle having nothing to play for after they managed to avoid the dreaded relegation zone. Arsenal are long odds on favourites to take this season’s final Champions League spot and only the brave will be backing Spurs as things stand.

Following the unfair way in which Tottenham Hotspur missed out on Europe’s elite competition last season, it would be awful for Andre Villas-Boas side if they one against end up in the Europa League. The financial implications are one thing, Gareth Bale moving on is another and possibly most important of all, Spurs qualifying would mean Arsenal do not! In a way, Tottenham only have themselves to blame. A top four finish looked to be in the bag following the excellent 2-1 victory over the Gunners back in March, but poor results since, particularly at home, mean that Arsenal fans are more the more likely to be bragging come Sunday evening. I’ll live in hope until just before 6pm that day, but confident I am not.

Tottenham v Southampton Preview

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.

George Graham Should Stick to the Horses

Former Tottenham and Arsenal boss George Graham is apparently a huge horse racing fan and perhaps he should stick to trying to predict the finishing order of the 2013 Kentucky Derby horses rather than voicing his unwanted opinion on Spurs in the press as he has been recently. Graham believes that both Chelsea and Arsenal will finish above Tottenham this season, meaning that we will once again miss out on Champions League football by the narrowest of margins.

“Tottenham will be the ones to lose out.

“They have a difficult run-in and they have played a game more than the others.

“But I want to stress that it would be anything but a disaster for them to make it a poor season. In fact, I would say the opposite.

“He (Villas-Boas) has been assembling a squad and has done well to be in such a high position in the league and still be involved in the Europa League.

“He can build on that. And I hope he can keep Gareth Bale – for the club’s sake and the player’s sake.

“It is unfair on Bale to compare him to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He would really benefit from another season in England.”

Although Graham isn’t completely negative about the club, he has always had a problem with Tottenham since his sacking back in March 2001. While some of what he says is true, Spurs have been improving throughout the campaign. A couple of bad results does not mean that our season is over and I’d be fairly confident that Graham was singing a different tune a few weeks ago. I truly believe it could well go down to the wire and with Spurs having Sunderland at home on the final day of the season, I’d say that would put AVB’s men in the driving seat. There is still a lot of football to be played before May 19th and many twists and turns still to come.

For more information on the Kentucky Derby visit www.kentuckyderbyonline.com

Maribor

Hopefully this won’t be as Mariboring as the game two weeks ago in Slovenia, as Spurs host Europa League opponents Maribor at White Hart Lane in the return fixture this evening. On that occasion, Tottenham laboured to a 1-1 and actually went a goal down to a side they shouldn’t have any problems seeing off at home, but will it be as easy as that?

The atmosphere at the Lane is sure to be electric tonight thanks to The Fighting Cock boys and their 1882 movement taking over block in the East Upper. I was lucky enough to go to their first stab at this which took place at Charlton. Basically, you just sing and jump around for 90mins, no matter what is happening on the pitch. No booing, no jeering, just support the shirt. It’s a fantastic idea and a great experience if you can get to the game.

As far as tonight’s match is concerned, it would be a real shock for me if Tottenham can’t get the job done in convincing fashion. While it does appear to be home matches where Spurs have struggled most this season, Maribor don’t realistically present much of a threat, especially if their performance in our previous encounter is anything to go bad. Yes, we did concede a goal but it was totally against the run of play and even though it was one of their worst games of the campaign thus far, AVB’s side still looked head and shoulders above their opponents.

Tottenham are the overwhelming favourites with the bookmakers at a general price of 3/10, Maribor are on offer at a best price of 11/1, while the draw is available at 5/1. I’d personally be looking at Tottenham on the half time/full time market or to cover the handicap. Before placing a bet, it’s a good idea to check sportsbook reviews to get the best odds and bookmaker offers.

Is the Europa League actually a good thing for Spurs?

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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.

Is Jermain Defoe up to the Task?

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.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

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…

Tottenham v Chelsea FA Cup Semi Final Preview

A huge game for both clubs here as Tottenham and Chelsea battle it out at Wembley for a place in this season’s FA Cup final. Neither some comes into the match in outstanding form but Chelsea should arguably be the favourites when you consider Tottenham have only managed one victory in their last seven league games and looked woeful in the defeat at the hands of Norwich City on Monday. Will Harry Redknapp be able to pick his players up and get them playing the brand of football that was so engaging earlier in the campaign?

I was at the game on Monday and it was painful viewing. We did have opportunities and enough of the ball to have at least got a point but we just weren’t at the races. I really thought we had turned the corner after the results against Bolton, Swansea and Sunderland but this was nothing like the Tottenham that was mounting a realistic challenge for the title just a few months ago. Maybe some of the players had their minds on this upcoming semi final encounter, maybe they are jaded after a long season, or maybe this is the same old Tottenham we have know for the past couple of decades, flattering to deceive.

The one thing that may work in Tottenham’s favour is the fact Chelsea have a massive game at Stamford Bridge against Barcelona just a few days after this match. I’m not saying they will be looking past us but the thought of facing Messi and co with a Champions League final place at stake will likely be a lot more important to the majority of their squad than the FA Cup. None of them are going to want to get injured and this could well prove all important in what is likely to be a tight and nervy contest.

As far as a bet on the game goes, I’d struggle to part with my hard earned cash to back Tottenham on their current run but if I had to have a wager, it would be backing Spurs to win inside the ninety minutes.