Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City Preview: The Real Harry Winks

Fresh off a harsh 1-0 loss to Man United there’s talk around Claude Puel losing his job. To most outsiders this seems odd, but ask Leicester supporters and they might tell you how hard to watch their team have been at points this season.

That on and off the ball defence first style that Puel will be looking to frustrate Tottenham with on Sunday has been having a similar effect on Foxes fans themselves.

Still, the general trend of long-term focus at the club, evidenced by the youthfulness of the squad, means he’ll likely be afforded at least the rest of the season to improve the mood.

Rumoured to be a date originally planned for the opening of the new stadium, this game was moved by Sky to a Sunday only for the move-in to be delayed once more. The Sunday fixture remains and so, for little reason, Spurs will face Dortmund in first knockout round of the Champions League just three days after this match. Read More

Leicester City vs Tottenham

Leicester City vs Tottenham Preview: The shifting press

It’s funny how the momentum seems to shift from game to game in the Premier League this season. Of course, in part, this comes from the media need for interest to be generated across a 38-game season. But in this case, the artist formerly known as the Top 4, now imaginatively titled the Top 6, has something of a turbulent feel to it.

Take Spurs, for example. Going from a 3-1 win over London rivals Chelsea to a 4-2 loss to London rivals Arsenal (via a 1-0 win over Inter in the Champions League), it’s hard to know exactly how we should be viewing Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Not that a team is only as good as it’s last game. In many respects, Tottenham’s loss to Arsenal can be traced to a failure in its ‘diamond’ pressing system to account for Arsenal’s ability to use width. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Midfield Missing

Central midfield has not stopped being the overarching theme all season and the most recent games are no exception. Last time we checked in things were looking up with Mousa Dembele and also Harry Winks finding fitness at the same time. This was shortly followed by both defensive midfielders, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama, becoming injured and then Mousa Dembele going down in some pain during the opening two minutes against Wolves.

All this combined to lead Pochettino starting a midfield duo of Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen against PSV midweek, a midfield thinness not seen since Tim Sherwood infamously played Nacer Chadli in the role.

Often, when mentality is discussed, and it is discussed often, it’s perceived as a singular aspect. “He was mentally strong”, “He was mentally weak”, “They had a winning mentality”, “They had a losing mentality”. Tuesday night’s victory over PSV seemed to showcase some of the complexity and nuance around the psychological side of the game. Read More

Tottenham vs PSV Eindhoven

Tottenham vs PSV Eindhoven Preview: Spurs struggling with fixture pile up

Despite their best ever start to a Premier League season Spurs have found it difficult to get going especially with the recent fixture congestion.

Tottenham’s Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night will be their fourth game in the space of eight days and after not adding to their squad in the summer, Spurs are struggling to keep their players fit. With injuries to Dembele, Danny Rose and Eric Dier, Spurs will be relying on less favoured players over this tough period.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were unconvincing in their 3-2 victory over Wolves, having nearly blown a 3-0 lead. Goals from all three of Spurs’ attackers (Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane) put Tottenham in a very comfortable position after 68 minutes. However, after conceding two penalties in the space of 11 minutes Spurs endured a very shaky last 10 minutes trying to hold onto the lead. Read More

PSV Eindhoven vs Tottenham Hotspur Champions League Preview

PSV Eindhoven vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Containing Chucky

In Tottenham’s first two games of the season Pochettino fielded a creative but lightweight midfield. In the opening 45 minutes Spurs created enough chances to gain a lead and in the second half the opposition realised they should take advantage of Spurs’ somewhat soft midfield and press back. On both occasions Pochettino brought Mousa Dembele off the bench to calm the game down and see out the win.

Saturday’s victory over West Ham was much the same affair, only with Harry Winks and Mousa Sissoko in place of Eriksen and Dele to form the initial midfield trio with Eric Dier. Read More