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Showing posts with label Spurs vs Newcastle United. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spurs vs Newcastle United. Show all posts

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0


Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0


Tottenham took on Newcastle United at Wembley today, a ground where we have never been awarded a Premier League penalty.

Newcastle under Rafa Benitez played his usual brand of defensive counter-attacking football which had seen them beat Manchester City in their last game.

Playing our 7th consecutive game in London (we have two more before we travel to Burnley) Pochettino picked a side that looked to be a back three on paper.

It soon became clear that Jan Vertonghen was playing a wing-back with Moussa Sissoko often dropping back into the right side in place of Trippier, who like Vertonghen held a high upfield position.

Against Watford, Danny Rose provided a decent cross for Fernando Llorente to head home a late winner. The rest of his crossing was petty poor.

Jan Vertonghen, however, provided a string of decent crosses from the left, but Llorente was sitting on the bench.

Lucas Moura had the glorious chance from a header but he headed wide. Erik Lamela hit the bar with a header and Spurs went into the break 0-0.

That was the first game in six that we had not been behind at half-time and the 6th game on the trot that we had not scored in the first-half.

We had most of the ball as you expect against a team who play park the bus football.

Llorente came on after an hour and he didn't get one decent cross from either wing, just one from deep.

We had scored more headed goals than anyone else (13) Newcastle have conceded most headers, our previous game against them was won by two headers to one and we have scored more goals from crosses from wide than anyone else in the Premier League so it always looked as if a header would settle it.

The chance came to Llorente for a looping header over the goalkeeper but it was way off target and he immediately blamed the sun.

However, he came up with an assist, giving the ball to Son, who had been moved up alongside him,

Son has now scored 10 goals in his last 12 Premier League games and this goal inside the last 10 minutes was the third league game on the trot that we have rescued the game in that time period.


Spurs have now set a new record, 29 games without a draw in the Premier League beating Bolton's former record.



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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Is Newcastle fixture our biggest game of the season

Sunderland thumped Everton last night to secure Premier League status in front of their own fans and in an added bonus sent their fierce rivals Newcastle United into the Championship.

That is good news for Tottenham, given our last game is away to the Rafa Benitez trained team who have become defensively more solid. Tottenham, of course, need a point to finish above Arsenal and we didn't really want to play a team who were fighting for their survival.

Now there may be a negative reaction to already being relegated, just as Spurs players mentally were not at the races after finally conceding the title at Chelsea. Nobody knows how they will react and neither do we know if the Spurs players have grasped the importance of finishing above Arsenal, one or two certainly do, but do they all?

For our system to be successful it requires everyone to be mentally on their game. We rely on off the ball running and mental anticipation. When component parts, especially in midfield are not fully committed to the game then it affects everyone else's game, the passes they expect to make are not possible if a player hasn't anticipated where the pass is going to go.

You can't play slick one-touch football at the angles we play it at without committed movement, half-hearted hopefulness is n no good at all. Without complete commitment you react slower, you make decisions slower so the motivation has to be found, the players have to react after the last performance.

For Spurs fans, this last game is one of the biggest games of the season now, is it for the players?


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Monday, 14 December 2015

Weakness returns to haunt us

Well, there was the defeat some crazy Spurs fans were hoping for. Against Chelsea, we visibly tired in the second half, against Newcastle United we have now just witnessed the same thing.

In the first half, we were hungry, like a pack of wolves when we were hunting down the ball. We played with a pace and intensity Newcastle simply couldn't match. As ever when a side is in the ascendancy you have to score, we did. However apart from the goal we were looking good without being clinical again. 

Their keeper made a number of saves, particularly from Lamela, but in honesty. they were saves he should have made. There was a slow curling left-footer from a ball pulled back from the byline, exactly what we weren't doing against WBA. The shot needed more pace though. Then a smart move put Lamela through again, but, this time, it was only a toe poke the keeper had to save and it was probably going over the bar anyway.

The best chance fell to Danny Rose, but he showed a complete lack of composure in front of goal. He simply tried to blast the ball as hard as he could, hit and hope tactics. His technique went all wrong. By attempting just power, he pulled his leg off the right line and thus didn't connect with the ball correctly. The result was the ball was pulled and went for a throw-in on the other side.

The second saw Newcastle make adjustments, as you would expect them to do, and Tottenham ran out of energy. Tom Carroll had a good first half but disappeared in the second. It was his first Premier League start and he played Thursday night. You can do all the training you like but until you play in games you don't get that match fitness. It is no surprise he tired, the others are more hardened to it, just.

There was a Lamela drag onto his right foot and cross which was, while good, fruitless as the cross was far too high. Had Lennon done that people would complain he never finds a man. Wingers cross balls into areas, it is for the striker to get to that area. On this occasion, the ball wasn't played into the a dangerous area. It looked good but wasn't threatening at all. He should have either played the ball along the floor hoping the striker gets the first touch or at head height for an on-rushing forward to beat his man to the ball. In those situations, you can't pick out a man, but you can pick out an area and play it into that.

It is just that little bit extra, the fine margins that separate the very good players from the absolutely top notch players. There isn't a great difference, but they are important differences. That is the next step our players are looking to make. During the way will be trial and error as I wrote in an earlier piece. There will be ups and downs as we look to build a squad we can develop.

It is understandable people want the finished article now, but Tottenham are not the finished article, we are in a growing process. We have assessed, thrown out those we don't want, brought in those we do, with more to come, and are developing.

We take the lessons from the game, take the positives and move on. A lack of composure in front of goal is down to mental training, it is something you have to teach the brain. If you don't the same thing will keep occurring.

The other lesson is again mental. We lost intensity which suggests the players mentally relaxed when we were 1-0 up. Instead of striving to win a game, to score, we look as if we change mindset slightly. It is almost as if we decide we don't have to charge about, or play quickly. Our play slows down, our faster attacks become rarer and we resort to slower build-up and more prolonged build-up in advanced midfield and around their box. We seem to search for the perfect chance rather than a chance and the perfect chance is a rare beast. 

As I say this is a mindset thing, the players have to learn how to react when we go 1-0 up. Too many times we have failed to see out a 1-0 win or increased our lead. 

I have discussed clinical finishing many times for situations just like this, these are the times when it is needed. It has to be ingrained, not, as it is now, hit and miss. You can not keep turning a switch when you want clinical finishing, the body will revert to default, which for Danny Rose is to simply blast the ball. I use Rose merely as an example, I'm not putting him forward as the reason for defeat, that was a failure to cope with the required mentality change.

It is easy to write when things are going well and to assume all is right. Regular readers will know mentality has been a theme of mine since before Pochettino joined us and I have advocated the use of sports psychologists in varying roles. This game was an example why. Making those little mental differences are the keys to the next level. It's why they are used to a far greater degree in other sports with telling effect.

Pochettino has done wonders with our mentality to date, but he isn't a specialist, he can only do so much. Yes, he can build a winning team without a brain training regime, but not without brain training. For me, it should be a compulsory part of training, every day for 15 minutes. If it changes our mentality in situations like this, if it changes a players mentality, and Rose is an example, in front of goal they will have done their job, if they change the mentality when we are 1-0 up they will have done their job.

Complain all you like when I suggest we need to be more clinical when we have won, this game demonstrated why. Three points dropped, a Top 4 spot rejected. Look for all the scapegoats you like but train the brain and you train the body. Take the lessons, look forward and change the future, you can't change the past.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Will Pochettino be able to change Spurs mentality?

The Pochettino mantra is the same as regular readers have been hearing for a while now and brings back to the mind my Spurs Need To Go Mental series around April time. I spoke about it when AVB was appointed and how it had to change, still nothing has happened.

Will Pochettino be able to change Spurs mentality?


Mentally Tottenham flopped again and those who thought they saw a good performance last week had a reality check. I strongly suggest watching a game like that with the sound off and with concentration, you'll see a different game.

Sammy Ameobi's goal 7 seconds after coming on isn't the quickest substitutes goal ever, no that was Nicholas Bendtner after 6 seconds in 2007, against who? Tottenham Hotspur!

"After half-time, within five seconds we concede - it's true, a stupid goal."

Unfortunately stupid goals are common at Tottenham, lose concentration and we concede an easy goal, it happens again and again and again, it has nothing to do with being unlucky and everything to do with having the wrong mentality. Mentality can be changed but it needs specialist help and a manager or head coach is not a specialist.

Until we give the players over to a sports psychologist, who can give them 15 minutes of exercises a day, they will keep making the same mistakes. Just 15 minutes a day that's all and we would see a different Spurs. With the millions we spend it's crazy we don't maximise what we can get out of each individual asset, that's all players are, a business asset.

"It was a shock because it all changed in this minute. Six or seven seconds earlier, all was happy in the stadium with a good energy and our supporters were happy and believing we were going to get a good result. 
"But in this moment I think it was difficult to manage in our head. Our heads [had] gone and we started to take rash decisions on the pitch and it was difficult. At 2-1, it was difficult."

Exactly, mentally you have to be ready, switched on, not, as I've said before about substitutes, trying to get yourself ready after you are on the pitch, by then it's too late. It's frustrating because it's so obvious to anyone who has a winning mentality themselves.

I repeat what I said in that Spurs Need To Go Mental series, Tottenham have to become world leaders at assessing a player mentally and then they need to work on them mentally when they are at the club. We need to be the trailblazers, the club players want to come to because we can improve an aspect of play others aren't. We can't spend what other clubs spend but this is an area we can beat them and make our club attractive to players.

"It's impossible to go to the pitch and not be ready to play. I think [there was] a lack of concentration from us and we need to work on our mentality because it's not tactical or physical, it's concentration and mentality. 
"This is our challenge to improve. It's not easy and we need to be more strong and like a team. We need to speak, to create a different situation on the training ground and work. We know how but you need time to work in this area."

Pochettino can see where previous managers haven't been able to. Mentality is not just something you can tell a player to improve, he has to change the way he thinks and without mental training that won't happen. Under pressure they will revert to default and default for most of them isn't good enough.

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Is Hugo Lloris ready when he is called into play or does he go to sleep? He is class because of his mentality, it's his mentality that makes him stand out. I'll repeat two players of the same ability will play at totally different level if one has the mentality and one has normal Tottenham mentality.

I would introduce a sports psychologist into the transfer committee and have him mentally assess any potential purchase, which can be done through studying tapes, picking up body language, habits etc. What we do now doesn't work so simply having different people do the same thing just means different people and making the same mistakes all over again and basically crossing their fingers. We are not learning from our mistakes and that is criminal.

"I know we lost 2-1 but this is difficult to explain because in the first 45 minutes we played very, very well. I think this was the best 45 minutes we play in the beginning of the season. 
"The lack of concentration in the second 45 minutes makes that all change. We need to improve our mentality like a team. 
"I am not concerned about the table because we have a lot of time to recover the points. Now, our challenge is improve our mentality, to create a winning mentality."

Well it's not difficult to explain to a Spurs fan, he or she expects it, former players expect it, our opponents expect it, managers expect it. You hear old pros saying it all the time, Tottenham play nice football but are soft and you can always beat them. It's true.

It's frightening the number of players that need to leave if we are not going to improve them mentally because if we don't we will never win anything.

Before anyone asks, no I'm not a sports psychologist but I know the mental side of sport is absolutely everything at the top level. Tottenham players are not top level though, we have bought mental mediocrity so we get mediocrity on the pitch.



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Show pony Lamela must be dropped

It was another let's look pretty but not do anything performance. Mentally weak lacking that scoring is everything mentality when attacking.

Show pony Lamela must be dropped


Tottenham were not at their best in the first half but didn't have to be against a Newcastle United team playing with no belief. Tottenham used some nice interplay but a times this intricate football fails, just as it kept doing at Manchester City last week and that gave the ball away to give Newcastle their chances.

The players just seem more interested in looking good in midfield without creating much. The killer instinct is missing and turning this squad around is no easy task. Pochettino is under instruction to get the best out of Lamela who can shine against weak opposition but against Premier League teams is simply a show pony. The odd pass for an assist is not good enough.

Lighweight Lamela was being carried by Tottenham, which with a centre-back learning the right-back role is making us very weak down the right side. As Danny Murphy was pointing out in the NBC coverage Dier looks tired, too tired to overlap like he started out in the role doing. He is in need of a rest, which is why Chiriches should have played against Asteras Tripolis at right-back on Thursday.

That was a mistake and it was a mistake leaving Lamela on the field so long, it then became too late for anyone to affect the game as we panicked and just started running with the ball or players trying to do it all themselves.

Mason was bullied out the game by Sissoko in the second half having looked good in the first. Our front four were not interchanging again but simply playing with inverted wingers and we have seen these Spurs players can't play that system effectively. Eriksen had a poor game again, overplaying everything.

If you want to judge by top four standards, which you should be doing, there are too many who wouldn't get near the team. People didn't like me saying this is a mid table team but today showed that is what it is. I'll say again Eriksen and Lamela can not be played in the same team, it makes the midfield too lightweight, one or the other has to play and at the minute that's Eriksen.

Lamela was taken off after 77 minutes, far too late, Lennon should have been brought on at least 15 minutes earlier if not at half-time. Newcastle simply made a substitution to put two players on him but Spurs didn't play Lennon the ball. Danny Rose was the best player for us by a distance, Kaboul was error prone again, Capoue was bought as a box-to-box midfielder, not as he is being okayed now as a defensive midfielder, he's not good enough for the role.

European football next season is a long way off and we have no chance of winning the UEFA Europa League. Fans better start getting used to the idea of finishing mid table because this is not a team, it's a side of individuals and there were too many on the field who aren't good enough.



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Kane waiting for his chance

Harry Kane is hoping his form will eventually give him a chance, which he knows he will have to take. Hugo Lloris has been preferred in goal and Emmanuel Adebayor in attack.

Kane waiting for his chance


“I have just got to keep doing what I’m doing when I get the chance and we’ll see what happens. I proved last season with three goals in three starts that I can do it in the Premier League. 
“It is just about waiting for my chance. You have to be patient in football and we have three top strikers here. 
“This season I have scored seven goals in five starts and I have to continue that when I get chances. This is a big game at home against Newcastle and we want to get the three points.”

The Tottenham XI to play Newcastle is Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Capoue, Mason; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor.

Kane makes the bench along with the unfortunate Roberto Soldado who has been given a slap in the face by being named substitute. Not picked to play on Thursday in a must win game he wasn't trusted with the task of scoring goals suggesting he is no nearer displacing the vice-captain whose contribution has to be called into question.

Tottenham Subs: Vorm, Chiriches, Davies, Dembele, Lennon, Kane, Soldado



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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Newcastle 0 Tottenham 4

Another away triumph away from home in an entertaining and open game of Premier League football.

Etienne Capoue played as the defensive midfielder which freed up Nabil Bentaleb to play play further forward and he is just as comfortable there, if not even better. This boy is turning out to be quite some footballer. At 19 years of age he ran the midfield assisted by Paulinho and Dembele who both put in excellent performances.

Spurs should have gone behind but Lloris was given the chance to make a point blank save which he duly did. The game was end to end attack in the first half with both teams creating chances but it was Spurs through Adebayor who went in front.

Excellent work from Bentaleb on the left and a superb cross along the deck curling between defenders and keeper across the 6 yard box. Tim Krul could only palm the ball and there was Adebayor in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball into an empty net.

The action continued until half-time with Lloris making saves and Younes Kaboul making a fantastic tackle to deny Ameobi after a crazy Naughton pass across field direct to the unmarked Ameobi 30 yards from goal. Kaboul ushered him wide and then put in a superbly timed tackle.

Newcastle have not come back from a half time defecit since 2006 and Tottenham have not lost when taking the lead this season so the signs were not good for Newcastle in the second half. Spurs tightened up and again played neat passing football. With the ball coming from the left a neat flick from Paulinho saw Adebayor have another shot which Krul could only parry again and it was Paulinho the first to react to tuck it in the corner of the net.

That was the signal for Spurs to shut up shop and defend it seems. Attacking intent went out the window for 20 minutes as we took the foot off the gas the way that is so annoying. Hugo Lloris was called upon to make two or three great saves to keep Newcastle out so it was with some relief that we started to attack again on the break.

Our passing had Newcastle at sixes and sevens as we worked an opening for Townsend, who had come on as a substitute for Dembele to have a shot. Yet another parry from Krul went to Adebayor near the penalty spot. His shot into the deck bounced over the diving Krul for number three.

There was still time for more, a sublime goal from Nacer Chadli, on as a sub for left winger Aaron Lennon. Nabil Bentaleb back heeled him the ball, he cut inside clearly intent on curling the ball into the far corner. Even knowing what was coming Tim Krul had no chance. Four nil.

It could have been five but Townsend had a late shot blocked by which time most of the Newcastle fans had left the stadium. Another good night for the boys in blue.




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Who plays on the left?

Tottenham Hotspur line-up for the game against Newcastle United kicking off at 7.45pm is:
Hugo Lloris
Kyle Walker
Younes Kaboul
Jan Vertonghen
Kyle Naughton
Mousa Dembele
Nabil Bentaleb
Etienne Capoue
Paulinho
Aaron Lennon
Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham substitutes tonight are:
Brad Friedel
Michael Dawson
Nacer Chadli
Christian Eriksen
Andros Townsend
Harry Kane
Roberto Soldado

Good to see Younes Kaboul finally able to start a game but we have Naughton at left-back which is often a danger signal for us.

It's clear Nabil Bentaleb will start every game unless injured, at least until Sandro returns then we'll have to see what Sherwood's plans are. Etienne Capoue presumably will play as a link player with Mousa Dembele and Paulinho having a greater licence to attack.

We'll see when they take the field who is going on the left, could be one of three.




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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Spurs vs Newcastle United

So it's Newcastle at the Lane today and time to guess the team.

Hugo Lloris was given extra recovery time so he'll be fine, Naughton was given a game against FC Sheriff and had a decent game but I can't see him moving into defence today. Newcastle play with forwards who prefer it on the floor which should suit Chiriches so I'd expect to see Vertonghen at left-back again.

Younes Kaboul had a very lazy game midweek almost as if he was trying not to overdo himself and pick up or aggravate an injury. He is not yet ready for the Premier League so at the moment with Rose out injured their is little competition for places.

Sandro shielded the central defenders brilliantly last week and prevented the through balls into Lukaku reducing him to a minimal threat. If fit I'd expect him to start again alongside Paulinho. Capoue had an hour on his return but AVB has a policy of easing players back into the fold so I'd expect to see him on the bench today.

We then have a straight choice between Dembele, Holtby and Eriksen. With the need for a creative number 10 Dembele misses out. Holtby is the current incumbent but I have issues with he and Townsend together and the fact they are both left footed. That wouldn't be the case if Townsend attacked on the outside but that is rare.

Newcastle are not a sit and park the bus team, tey prefer to play themselves so that should open up space between the defence and midfield lines for Eriksen to operate in the hole. He would be my choice but I expect we'll see Holtby who will fit better with Lamela than he does with Townsend. The articles below will explain why.

The wide men will be where the main debate is but anyone who has read my previous few articles will know that although I don't like him there Lennon will start on the left if Vertonghen is behind him. Sigurdsson and Vertonghen don't work together whereas Lennon provides width and creates the channel for Vertonghen to attack, as he did at Everton.

On the other side we need Townsend to do the same thing and also to play the ball across to Soldado. Erik Lamela had an excellent game in the Europa League with a weight being lifted off his shoulders. While his confidence is high and while his family are over here it would make sense to remove Townsend and give him some game time on the right for the last 30 minutes.

He will provide a greater variety of threat than Townsend's one dimensional play. Again to understand this further and the difference between the two, you can read the last few article listed below.

Soldado of course starts up front. All we have to do is pass the ball more than the one time we did against Everton to him in the penalty area!

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VIDEO: Lamela vs Sheriff helps show the greater threat Lamela poses
A look at what Townsend can learn from Lamela
Lennon's unseen contribution and how he works with Vertonghen
The problem with Holtby and Townsend together





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