|DATE||Saturday 14th September 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Spurs welcome back one of their own in Chris Hughton, but he will
not be too welcome after pinching a point here last season with his
Norwich City side equalising Mousa Dembele's debut goal near the end
of the match. But the side that arrives at White Hart Lane
from Suffolk on Saturday has changed in that year and 13 days, as
has the Tottenham team, which will be almost unrecognisable from the
team that ran out on 1st September 2012.
For the Canaries, Grant Holt has gone (to Wigan Athletic), but incoming have been Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Johan Elmander, Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer. With most of their signings they were trying to rectify last season's failing of not enough goals at the right end as far as they were concerned. Hooper was a former Spurs trainee, but has made a name for himself in Scotland scoring hatfuls for Celtic, while van Wolfswinkel has been prolific in Holland and then had a spell in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon before journeying to Carrow Road. Elmander was at Bolton Wanderers before joining on loan from Galatasaray, with Nathan Redmond capable of scoring, as Hughton well knows from his time with the winger at Birmingham City, but he is more of a creator, with pace on the flank and a good delivery.
With a hard-working midfield, including former Leeds United stars Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson, as well as Wes Hoolihan and Leroy Fer, they will be a difficult proposition to get past. Fer was known as "the Bouncer" in Holland and this refers to his height and strength, indicating his role in the side. Hoolihan is a dynamo, while Snodgrass tends to play wide, as does Anthony Pilkington, if Hughton wants to stretch Spurs across the middle of the park. Other options include the 'enforcer' role for Bradley Johnson, who may have been eased out by Fer and Nathan Redmond can also play wide in midfield, as Norwich will probably play with one up front, with another forward just off them. Wolfswinkel is good in the air and can hold the ball up, so a mobile midfield is necessary to get up to support the lone striker.
The man in charge of the gloves is John Ruddy and with reserve keeper Declan Rudd moving on to Preston North End, they have brought in the experienced Carlo Nash from Stoke City as cover. Ruddy has made England squads and his promotion has been rapid with some good performance sin the Premier League, but consistency and an improvement in his decision making are the two areas he needs to improve on to make further progress in the international goalkeeping ranks.
At the back, Blackburn Rovers' Swedish full back Martin Olsson was signed in the summer, to cover the loss of Elliott Ward, as well as brining in Javier Garrido from SS Lazio. With Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker offering attacking options from full back. Our former centre-half, Sebastien Bassong also offer a goal threat at set-pieces. However, their defensive abilities will be tested with Spurs looking for a win to keep the good start to the season going and to gain an element of revenge for last season's result.
It would be interesting to see Lamela and Eriksen in the same Spurs team, but whether AVB would start both from the kick off is unlikely, as he is usually a bit more cautious in the first 45 minutes, but some creative spark in midfield could well bring out the best of Soldado and with the defence looking sound, it could send a message to the rest of the league that we are going to pit out attacking array of stars against whatever they have.
Despite our lack of goals so far this season, Spurs have had the most shots of any Premier League side. So, this time, I expect goals and I hope can out-do our old defender/coach/assistant manager .. albeit, I think Norwich will come to keep it close and there may not be as many goals as AVB might like.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will once more be without Aaron Lennon (foot) and Etienne Capoue (ankle), but welcome Christian Eriksen to the squad, as well as those returning from international duty unharmed. Gylfi Sigurdsson will be available after getting a dead leg in international week, but Emmanuel Adebayor is still back in Togo for personal reasons.
|NORWICH CITY TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Norwich City 0 (0)
Saturday 14th September 2013 Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Lloris (handball outside the penalty area) 85
Johnson (foul on Soldado) 20
Garrido (foul on Townsend) 60
Elmander (foul on Rose) 70
|Crowd : 35,952||Weather : Drizzly rain, mild|
|Referee : Lee Mason (Bolton)||Assistant Referees : A. Garratt; D. Eaton|
|Fourth Official : D. Drysdale||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Norwich City :||kit|
Johan ELMANDER (27
Alexander TETTEY 74)
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Chris Hughton|
|Sponsor : Hewlett Packard||Shirt sponsor : Aviva|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Arrea|
It was a day for firsts at White Hart Lane. The club's first offside of the season when Soldado strayed past the last defender. The club's first goals from open play this season - two good team goals. And most importantly, Christian Eriksen's first appearance in a Spurs shirt; the first of many many more I hope, as he showed skill and experience that made Tottenham a more enterprising outfit.
In a match that Tottenham controlled, Norwich failed to play their part and were poor. They could not string passes together, seemed ill-at-ease with each other and failed to put up much resistance, with Hugo Lloris mostly untroubled in the Tottenham goal. With the added dimension of Eriksen in the Spurs side, they looked an attacking threat every time they went forward, whereas the visitors looked a shadow of last season's side, which was resolute if not exciting. Having added fire power to their side, they failed to create many chances (only one shot on target) and ceded 68% of possession to Tottenham, who now have the players who are comfortable enough to hold onto the ball when they get it. While I get the fact that Norwich's resources are sparse compared to those of Tottenham, who got a big windfall this summer, but there is little to harvest from performances like this for the Canaries and a season of struggle lays ahead if the side are content to sit back and be dominated throughout this campaign.
But from the start of this match, Spurs played at a bit of a higher tempo and with more forward movement than of late in the Premier League. With Mousa Dembele and Paulinho breaking forward from their positions in front of the back four, the movement of the Spurs team pulled Norwich players all out of position. Sigurdsson, playing on the left in place of Nacer Chadli and Eriksen, in for Capoue, both made the defence's life miserable, as they continued to probe at the back four from mobile positions. Gylfi had an early effort dip over the top from outside the area, while Andros Townsend was shooting on sight ... mostly off target to start with.
Norwich were trying to rough Spurs up at the start of the game, with Belgians Dembele and Vertonghen the targets, but they stood up to it well, but Roberto Soldado had little option than to hit the ground when Bradley Johnson went right through him from behind. A yellow card to match his short and one which is almost expected in this fixture, with Johnson being a Gooner.
As it was, Tottenham's neat
short passing game and pace left Norwich not being quick enough to
react to the moves they were putting together. With Spurs
lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, there was sufficient adventure to
keep Norwich pushed back with both full backs getting forward to
ensure that the Canaries' wide midfielders were more concerned with
defending than attacking.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||1||Newcastle United||2||Saturday|
|Fulham||1||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Hull City||1||Cardiff City||1||Saturday|
|Manchester United||2||Crystal Palace||-||Saturday|
|Stoke City||0||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Southampton||0||West Ham United||0||Sunday|
|11||West Ham United||4||1||2||1||2||1||5||+1|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||4||0||2||2||1||4||2||-3|
Position before match :
Position after match : 2nd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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