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OPPONENTS Norwich City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 14th September 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane
PREVIEW

 

 

 

 

 

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.
TOTTENHAM 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 :
COVERAGE :

TV
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:00 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

 
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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                           Norwich City  0 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 14th September 2013                                                                                            Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Goal-scorers  
Sigurdsson 28
Sigurdsson 49
None
Cards  
      
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
25  Hugo LLORIS      

  2  Kyle WALKER
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

  8  PAULINHO
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (11  Erik LAMELA 83)

17  Andros TOWNSEND
23  Christian ERIKSEN  (14  Lewis HOLTBY 71)
22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON      (30  SANDRO 79)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO
 

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
16  Kyle NAUGHTON

  4  Younes KABOUL
18  Jermain DEFOE
 

    1  John RUDDY

  3  Steven WHITTAKER
  5  Sebastien BASSONG (c)
 
6  Michael TURNER
18  Javier GARRIDO        

  7  Robert SNODGRASS
  4  Bradley JOHNSON       (  8  Jonny HOWSON 64)
10
  Leroy FER
22  Nathan REDMOND  (12  Anthony PILKINGTON 74)

16  Johan ELMANDER       (27  Alexander TETTEY 74)

  9  Ricky van WOLFSWINKEL

Unused subs: 
13  Mark BUNN
  2  Russell MARTIN
23  Martin OLSSON
11  Gary HOOPER

 
Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Chris Hughton
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  Aviva
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Arrea
Match report

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.

There was one worrying moment, when the Spurs midfield and defence allowed new signing Johan Elmander to run a long way from halfway to hit a shot at goal that a sliding challenge from Jan Vertonghen took most of the power out of, allowing it to dribble through to Lloris.

Christian Eriksen's movement was creating problems for the visitors and he popped up to play a low cross in, which was hacked away by Bassong and then when he got the ball in the box on the left with two defenders around him. Despite there being little room, his close skill saw him nutmeg both players within the space of a yard or so, then hitting a low shot that Ruddy saved, but couldn't hold onto. Soldado managed to nip in front of the keeper to get to the loose ball first and with his back to goal, he back-heeled it from about two yards out, just wide of the goal. The 12th minute effort hit the post.

As Tottenham pushed forward, it was direct running that created chances. Townsend blazed over form long range after cutting infield, then Paulinho travelled a long way before his shot was desperately blocked away for a corner. It wasn't all power, as the artistry of Eriksen that lit up the afternoon shrouded in drizzle. Not everything was spectacular, but it was all positive and his running with the ball and movement mark him out as a player to savour.

Norwich were reduced to desperate tackles and Johnson's clattering of Soldado from behind saw the Gooner supporter go into the book. On the other flank Whittaker was suffering at the quick feet of Rose, who made an outrageous dummy to let the ball go across him and the Scot fouled him, not knowing where the ball was. From the free-kick, Eriksen's effort came back to him and his shot was deflected for a corner. An Eriksen corner in the 25th minute saw Mousa Dembele hit a shot at goal that found Sebastien Bassong there to clear the ball off the line.

It was only stemming the tide momentarily, as a well-crafted goal scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson put Tottenham ahead. Danny Rose found space on the left and played a low ball in to Soldado, just inside the penalty area. The Spanish striker took the ball down and laid it off to Eriksen moving forward. The Dane's pass to his left to play in Sigurdsson was perfectly into the winger's path and he took a touch and then played the ball wide of Ruddy's left hand to hit the bottom corner of the net.

The space on Norwich's right flank was being utilised by Rose, who had a cross hacked clear, then hit as shot miles wide and almost picked out Soldado's run with a dinked ball over the top that shot off the wet grass to be too far in front of Soldado. On the other flank, Townsend's running could not be stopped and when it found him space cutting inside, he hit firm shot, but it was straight down Ruddy's throat and he held it well. Ten minutes before the break, Norwich should have scored, but whether it should have been allowed if it had gone in was another question. Nathan Redmond's cross from the left wing saw Ricky van Wolfswinkel (of Dicky Dogsdick as I prefer to call him) got across Dawson to meet the ball at the near post, but put it wide, despite desperate claims for a corner. But the reason there was so much space in the box was that Elmander had pulled Vertonghen down off the ball, but Mason hadn't seen that. The Swedish striker, on loan from Galatasaray, seemed to be concentrating on the man rather than the ball for much of the game and it took a long time for the referee to book him for a succession of fouls and dissent when free-kicks were awarded against him.

As the half came to a close, Spurs continued to push on and Walker's cross was met by Soldado's head, but it went straight across goal and Rose came in at the far post, but from a narrow angle, his effort flew too high into the Park Lane end. When Townsend tried his luck from outside the box and the ball went over the bar, it was just about time for the break.

Steven Mangan was the guest at half-time and Lewis Holtby also provided entertainment with shin-ups as he ran out to warm up during the interval.

With no changes during the break, Spurs once more set about going at Norwich. Eriksen tried his luck, but was too high with his shot and then, four minutes after the break, he played a pass out right to Paulinho. The Brazilian got wide and played in a low cross across the six yard box. John Ruddy showed that the future of England goalkeeping is in shaky hands, as he failed to do anything as the ball passed his dive and left Gylfi Sigurdsson the easy task of knocking the ball in from a yard out at the far post. It was a simple goal and was well delivered.

From that point on, Spurs turned on a show of touch and style, as they played the ball with supreme confidence and this will build as the team get more familiar with each other the longer the season goes on.

Sigurdsson almost got his hat-trick on the hour, when Walker's run infield ended with a ball played to the Icelander, who unleashed a shot from 25 yards that Ruddy made a meal of in getting his palm away wide of the goal as it was heading into the top right hand corner of the keeper's goal.

Spurs were going all out for more goals and two low crosses into the box were cleared, the second by Turner, who did well not to turn it into his own net. Paulinho and Soldado linked up to provide Townsend with a shooting opportunity on the right side, but his angled effort was blocked by the keeper's feet. At the other end, a wayward volley by Redmond was blocked and dropped to Dogsdick, whose hesitancy allowed Danny Rose to throw himself in the way to avert the danger.

Lewis Holtby came on for Eriksen, who left the field to great applause, with the German adopting a more aggressive version of the man he replaced, dumping Whittaker on the running track within seconds of coming on. He showed his skill and movement and prompted good moves with some instinctive play. Norwich's changes of Tettey and Pilkington for Redmond and Elmander was an indication that they had given up and showed a bit of a yellow streak in not going for it.

Townsend was trying to get on the score-sheet and had two efforts, one straight at Ruddy and the other blocked, before he fired another shot on goal that flicked off Garrido's foot to take the ball over the goal.

The visiting fans thought they had been hard done by by the referee all afternoon, so they were absolutely apoplectic when Lloris came a long way out to punch a cross, with him ending up being outside his area. It looked like he was going to head it initially, but went for it with his hand and the Norwich support were all howling for a red card for the keeper. Well, there were two major points as to why it wasn't going to be red. Firstly, he wasn't the last man and the ball was going away from goal before he handled it. Secondly, it was hardly a goal-scoring chance when Norwich hadn't looked like scoring all afternoon and looked like they wouldn't know what to do if a goal-scoring opportunity presented itself anyway.

Erik Lamela's introduction brought a show of just what he can do. Displaying good close control, a trick here and there and an ability to bamboozle defenders, his inclusion in the side may well affect how Spurs take the game to the other side. His brief cameo was in stark contrast to the darker side of the game exhibited by Robert Snodgrass. He did well to come out of the game without a yellow card, as he threw the most outrageous dive, which people elsewhere in the country were getting booked for; he claimed that little Danny Rose managed to elbow him in the head when jumping for the ball and wanted him booked for it and finally, wanted a penalty when he hit a late free-kick into the wall.
At the end of the game, it was a good three points, won against an off-colour Norwich side in which Tottenham controlled play, with Eriksen having a major say in that. There was not a duff performance by a Spurs man, with them looking a good unit considering that they have had little time together. This only bode well for the future and sitting second after this win, it could mean success is on the horizon all we have to do now is get there !!
 

Charlie Mason

 

 
 
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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 2 Saturday
Everton 1 Chelsea 0 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
Sunderland 1 Arsenal 3 Saturday
Southampton 0 West Ham United 0 Sunday
Swansea City 2 Liverpool 2 Monday

 

 

League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 4 3 1 0 5 2 10 +3
2 Arsenal 4 3 0 1 8 5 9 +3
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 3 0 1 4 1 9 +3
4 Manchester City 4 2 1 1 8 3 7 +5
5 Manchester United 4 2 1 1 6 2 7 +4
6 Chelsea 4 2 1 1 4 2 7 +2
7 Stoke City 4 2 1 1 3 2 7 +1
8 Newcastle United 4 2 1 1 3 5 7 -2
9 Everton 4 1 3 0 3 2 6 +1
10 Southampton 4 1 2 1 2 1 5 +1
11 West Ham United 4 1 2 1 2 1 5 +1
12 Cardiff City 4 1 2 1 4 5 5 -1
13 Swansea City 4 1 1 2 5 7 4 -2
14 Fulham 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
15 Norwich City 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
16 Hull City 4 1 1 2 2 5 4 -3
17 Aston Villa 4 1 0 3 5 6 3 -1
18 Crystal Palace 4 1 0 3 4 6 3 -2
19 West Bromwich Albion 4 0 2 2 1 4 2 -3
20 Sunderland 4 0 1 3 3 8 1 -5

 

Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  3rd

 

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