Champions League final

2019 Champions League Final Preview: Defence Key To Victory

The 2019 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur promises to be an intriguing encounter. Since Jürgen Klopp took over the reigns at Anfield, the two teams have met eight times in the league. The record reads three Liverpool wins, one for Spurs and four draws.

But despite the balance tilting towards the Reds, the goal difference between the two is only one in their favour. Only one of the Liverpool victories has been by more than a goal, while Spurs’ sole triumph was 4-1 in October 2017.

We can therefore expect it to be a close run thing. Only two of the six previous Champions League finals between two teams from the same country have been won in normal time, with one of those – with Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund on the wrong end of it – requiring an 89th minute winner.

With this in mind, which will be more important: attack or defence? Read More

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Preview

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Mané vs Kane

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur is the first fixture in the post-international break run-in for two teams who currently lead their respective races but can’t be confident of winning them just yet.

Jürgen Klopp’s team are two points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table, but have played a game more. Spurs currently lead the four team chase for two Champions League qualification spots, which is just as well as their league form has nosedived.

In their last five games in all competitions, the Lilywhites have scored a total of four goals with Harry Kane bagging all of them. Only the European game at Dortmund has been won, so the return of Tottenham’s talisman hasn’t had a particularly positive effect upon their results.

The natural assumption would be that Kane has done little other than score in these matches. His dashboard from the league games neatly puts that notion to bed. Read More

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

Tottenham vs Newcastle premier League preview

Tottenham vs Newcastle Preview: Can Magpies make Spurs’ injuries pay?

A day is a long time at Newcastle United. On Tuesday morning, ahead of their clash with Premier League champions Manchester City, Tyneside’s collective mood was as grey as the skies overhead. But the news that Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron was en route for a medical ahead of a potential club-record transfer lifted it before kick off.

Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie then turned the game on its head in the second half after Sergio Aguero gave City the lead just 25 seconds in. Suddenly, the Magpies head to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday with great confidence, especially considering Spurs’ growing injury list. As they close on another transfer window with no signings, at the time of writing, Mauricio Pochettino’s men will again be without top scorer Harry Kane and Dele Alli at the weekend.

Neither Spurs’ absentees nor Newcastle’s recent win should change the fact that a home win is most likely in this one. All of the pressure will be on the Champions League chasers, though, which will suit Rafael Benitez perfectly. As he so often does against the bigger sides, the Newcastle boss will set up to sit deep and look to frustrate, before looking for Rondon to bully the defence up front. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Preview: The Dominoes of Depth

It is up there with the very cruelest of realities that football has to offer. Once one player is absent the remaining players have to pick up their minutes to compensate. In doing so they increase their own fatigue and risk of muscular injury, creating further absences. Quickly the physio room stacks up it’s victims in a domino effect and everyone involved with the club feels particularly unlucky.

Twelve’s xG Timeline captures how tight Tottenham’s games have become over the winter period and the squad has only become thinner since, with Dele Alli’s hamstring tear at Fulham and the Chelsea game seeing Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko taken off too.

Tottenham Hotspur Expected Goals

With Sunday’s game sandwiched between a League Cup semi-final and a Premier League visit from Watford, such a situation at Tottenham gives way to the question ‘How do you rotate when you’re already starting your second choice players?’. Of course the answer that immediately presents itself, wide-eyed and very willing, is the academy squad. Read More

Harry Kane injured ahead of Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur

Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Injury turmoil to undermine Spurs?

Tottenham’s title hopes have all but vanished after their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley last week. In what can only be described as a game of two halves Tottenham will go into their match against Fulham feeling hard done by having not even taken a point.

The Red Devils made the most of Spurs’ slow start and threatened on the counter-attack before punishing Tottenham with a goal from Marcus Rashford just before the break. He coolly slotted past Hugo Lloris, who received criticism for his positioning as the shot came in.

In the second half the roles reversed with Tottenham taking control of the game creating chance after chance only to be denied by a spectacular performance from David De Gea. The Spanish international kept only his 4thclean sheet of the season, pulling off a number of excellent saves with his feet. Read More

Manchester United vs Brighton

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Solskjaer to sink Seagulls?

Manchester United have made it. Six wins from six games under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær was clearly enough to lift the dark clouds from Old Trafford. Sunday’s 1-0 win against Tottenham at Wembley was the final evidence that the Norwegian coach is very serious about getting the role permanently at the end of the season as he won the ‘audition for the Old Trafford job’ against Mauricio Pochettino.

The result against Spurs saw United move level on points with Arsenal in fifth place as Solskjær surpassed Sir Matt Busby’s record for the best start as Red Devils manager, while also seeing his side keep back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time this season.

The game with Tottenham was Solskjær’s first against a top side and a chance for United’s interim manager to show everyone that enthusiasm, a good atmosphere and friendly relationships with players wasn’t all he has brought to United. Solskjær had a chance to show he was able to outsmart the club’s first favorite to take over the Old Trafford job next summer. Was he successful? Yes, but only to some extent. Read More

Tottenham vs Manchester United

Tottenham vs Manchester United Preview: Competition and Congestion

Almost as quickly as the ‘Pochettino to Manchester United’ rumours appeared they have vanished again from the discourse.

Coverage of Tottenham games return to the games themselves and the Argentine’s initial vague dancing around the subject is replaced by expressing a will to remain in North London for as many as ‘twenty years’ – a similar statement of confidence to ones he has made in the past.

Perhaps the performances of the club under caretaker Ole Gunnar Solskjær, albeit against lesser opposition, has lead the United board to readdress and cool their interest?

Of particular note has been the improvement of Paul Pogba since Mourinho got the sack. Many wanted to see the Frenchman operating a role in a three man-midfield with less defensive responsibility. Jose dismissed those he sarcastically labelled ‘experts’ as a over-simplifying yet here we are witnessing the positive effects of such a move. Read More

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth Preview: No Showing Off Day

After crushing Everton 6-2 at Goodison Park, Tottenham Hotspur brought up a new sensation to the race. Now Mauricio Pochettino admits the title is a possibility, something he recently denied. Now he denies going to Manchester United, something he may admit within the next six months. But let’s enjoy the present.

No doubt Pochettino prefers his team with no burden on their shoulders – pretty much what we saw on Sunday, when Spurs’ fluidity outclassed Everton even in the face of a momentous disadvantage.

Spurs are no Manchester United, nor City. Nobody expects them to conquer the Premier League or the Champions League, since their expenditures in the last transfer window were not comparable to their rivals. Romantic as it may sound, Tottenham is a well-known tale about developing a way of play, instead of buying it out.

Read More

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Winning Badly

The last couple of weeks have been quite emotional for Spurs fans. Squeezing through the Champions League group stage via an impressive 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. A last minute 1-0 victory against a time-wasting Burnley (Twelve measured the ball to be in play for only 61 minutes). Mauricio Pochettino being very strongly linked with the newly vacated Man United job. And finally, north London derby-redemption in the League Cup.

That last twist in the rollercoaster was fairly indicative of the season gone. Pochettino’s model of play is based primarily upon a control of the midfield that has, for personnel reasons, been largely missing this season – something that we’ve talked about at length at Twelve. Yet Tottenham have, for the most part, found their way to results despite this lack of control. With Spurs enjoying only 45.6% share of possession at the Emirates, Wednesday’s game was no exception.

Sunday’s kick-off against Everton will present similar obstacles. The Toffees, under Marco Silva, are – forgive us Everton fans – not entirely different to their Merseyside neighbours in that they look to create their attacks via the way they behave out of possession. Read More