Mystic Mawky – Week Seven

Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal: An exciting game at the Etihad which will end in a draw as two strong teams show signs of weariness after tough away trips in the Champions League during midweek.

Can Koscielny stop the in-form Sergio Aguero?

Cardiff 1-2 West Brom: Two sides sat side by side in the table meet in Cardiff and I can just see the baggies coming away from this one with an away win. Shane Long will get one of the goals and this is the sort of match where I can see an own goal being scored.

Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis’s reign at Palace has started well but Chelsea are near invincible at StamfordBridge and should turn them over fairly easily.

Everton 2-1 Fulham: Everton come into this game on the back of taking four points away to Manchester United and Arsenal and should do the same here, Fulham are rubbish away from home and Everton should win fairly comfortably.

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton: Both teams have been in good form this season and they should play out an entertaining game at St James’s park, Southampton’s style of pressing high up the pitch should secure them a point at least.

West Ham 1-0 Sunderland: Two sides struggling near the bottom of the table will play out a dull game at Upton Park with only one goal which will most likely be scored from a set piece, seen as West Ham seem to think they’re Spain at the moment and don’t play with anyone up front.

Hull 1-0 Stoke: Home advantage will be the key in this one with Hull just sneaking all three points against Stoke, who will be one of the poorest sides in the league this season but will just manage to stay up.

Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United: United will put a halt to their losing run, only just though with a stagnant performance at Villa Park. United really need to buck their ideas up or they won’t even make Europe this season.

Norwich 2-2 Swansea: Norwich and Swansea will give the fans a treat at Carrow Road with a four goal thriller, a game that will prove that it’s not just the top teams in the Premier League who can create a classic.

Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool: Liverpool go to White Hart Lane to face a Spurs side who have been struggling lately, having said that I can’t see Spurs losing this game and think that they will grind out a draw.

How to Concede Goals for Dummies // Tottenham F.C. – November

Tromso 0-2 Tottenham:

November ended with a Europa League game to try and avoid a City hangover, with a game in the Arctic Circle in Norway against Tromso. Spurs knew they’d topped the group by half-time as Anzhi had drawn 1-1 with Sheriff. Despite that Spurs still managed to notch their third and fourth goals of November in the second half. An own goal and a good finish from Dembele gave Tottenham the points.

Performance Rating Grade B; the trademark Europa League performance  Tottenham  have come to know under Andre Villas-Boas, despite the lack of a Jermain Defoe goal. It was nice to top the group with a game to spare and come through unscathed in freezing Norway on an artificial pitch.

Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham:

The worst defeat I can remember supporting Tottenham Hotspur. Diabolical, literally from start to finish, with the first goal coming after just 13 seconds after an awful mistake from Hugo Lloris. Spurs were 3-0 down before half-time; City’s partnership of Aguero and Negredo taking full effect and cutting our “Best defence in Europe” apart. It only got worse in the second half, City looked like scoring whenever they went forward, and the introduction of Adebayor, taking us to a 4-4-2, made us capitulate. It was a complete non-performance from pretty much every single player in an admittedly beautiful navy blue shirt.

Performance Rating Grade U; where do I start? Spurs looked scared from the first minute to even have a go at City. No shape, no rhythm, no service, no chances, no goals, no anything to actually remember in a positive fashion for us. Without a doubt the most shocking performance of any team this season.

AVB’s lowest point at Spurs; could it get any worse?

Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle:

The 10th of November shall forever be Tim Krul day at White Hart Lane. The amount of saves he made in this game was ridiculous. Although Tottenham made it easy for him at times, 14 saves is an achievement in itself. Loic Remy settled the game with a neat finish past Brad Friedel (in for the “recovering” Lloris), and fans begin to grow restless against AVB and the new squad.

Performance Rating Grade E; it was just awful from start to finish. No real cutting edge, despite the amount of saves Krul made, and another labouring, dull performance that kept the atmosphere near-silent.

Tottenham 2-1 FC Sheriff:

Back to the Europa League, sponsored by Jermain Defoe, with another solid victory against Sheriff guaranteeing a place in the Europa League knockout stages. Erik Lamela played his best performance in a Spurs shirt so far, intricate little play from the Argentinian getting him a goal and winning a penalty. The spot-kick was subsequently converted by Defoe, who now becomes Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer in Europe.

Performance Rating Grade B; it was good to see Lamela hitting some form. Bit of a disappointment to concede our first European goal of the season however. A decent enough performance against a side better than some may believe.

Everton 0-0 Tottenham:

November began with the same theme as October, a trip to GoodisonPark providing few chances for either side. Everton in particular struggled to break the defence down, but that was not to say Spurs had anything at the other end. The talking point from this game became the Hugo Lloris issue after he collided with Romelu Lukaku. Personally, I feel the referee should have sent him off once he started going against medical advice. He did pull off a smart save near the end of the game, though.

Performance Rating Grade C; while a draw away to a rejuvenated Everton side is never a bad result, the sluggish play and lack of service to Soldado really left me and other Spurs fans wanting here.

Overall rating: Grade D; overall not good enough from us, four goals over an entire calendar month is poor beyond belief. Any month that ends with speculation over the manager’s job can never be considered a success, a vast improvement in league form is needed immediately for the pressure to be lifted off of AVB and some of the new signings.

George Pacitto 

Mystic Mawky – Week Three

Aston Villa 2-1 Cardiff: Home advantage will be the key when Villa take on Cardiff at Villa Park. It will be a tight game but I predict Villa to come out on top.

Chelsea 4-1 West Brom: Stamford Bridge is a tough place to go for any team and wins over Manchester City recently and Schalke in midweek will ensure Chelsea confidence is high, making it all the more tougher for West Brom. Easy Win for Mourinho’s side.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Everton: Having lost their last seven league games and being without a manager, the crisis at Palace continues and Everton should come away from Selhurst Park with a comfortable win.

Liverpool 3-0 Fulham: Fulham are another side struggling for form near the bottom of the league and a bad result here could seal Martin Jol’s fate as manager. Having said that Liverpool should walk it, Suarez and Sturridge will have too much class for Fulham’s defence.

Southampton 1-1 Hull: Two sides who have both overachieved so far this season with both sitting in the top-half of the table. I think this will be a typical mid table clash with both sides cancelling each other out in a boring stalemate.

Norwich 1-0 West Ham: Norwich have struggled so far this season and pressure is growing on manager Chris Hughton, however I can see them pulling off a performance and emerging victorious at Carrow Road.

Tottenham 0-0 Newcastle: A clash at White Hart Lane between two sides who are bad to watch, I can see it being another boring game with both sides cancelling each other out and playing  a game of football chess.

Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City: Despite beating Newcastle in Tyne-Wear derby, Sunderland remain firmly rooted in the relegation zone and Manchester City won’t even have to be at their best to beat them.

Aguero and Manchester City have been scoring for fun.

Aguero and Manchester City have been scoring for fun.

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: A game which could go either way, United have underachieved so far this season while Arsenal have been in outstanding form. A trip to Old Trafford will be another test for them and if they win they’ll have proved everyone wrong who said they would falter in November. A win for United will reignite their title challenge. However, I can see the game petering out into a draw as both sides will be desperate not to lose.

Swansea 1-1 Stoke: A standard clash between two sides in the bottom-half, I think struggling Stoke will take a valuable point away from the Liberty Stadium.

Boring, Boring Tottenham Hotspur? // Spurs – October

Anzhi Makhachkala 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)

Until a few months ago, this game would have been viewed as a real test in the Europe League group stages. However, it’s a struggle to describe just how bad Anzhi have become since the likes of Willian, Eto’o, Diarra and Samba departed the club. This could easily have been more, AVB deciding to keep it nice and smooth for the second half especially. We played decent stuff, but had we been bothered a bit more, this one could have been five at least.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Overall, a much easier game than expected, was disappointed not to see more goals.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 West Ham United

As bad as Anzhi were in the previous game, this game put that in the shade. This was an abject performance, and nobody in a white shirt could hold their head high at the final whistle. Not that we deserved to lose 3-0, but it was almost hurtful to watch our continental, European trophy-winning manager getting completely tactically outplayed by Sam Allardyce. Without doubt Jan Vertonghen’s worst game in a Spurs shirt, and a game that should be showed to any Spurs fan wanting Defoe up top on his own. Selfish to the end, no link-up play whatsoever, and he must have frustrated most of the midfielders he’s played with in his entire career. All in all, sombre reality checks for the, “best defence in Europe.”

Performance Rating: Grade U; The worst home performance I’ve seen since we lost 1-5 to Man City. Everything went wrong, and gutting that it came against West Ham.

Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Coming back after the international break, a certain Andros Townsend was now flavour of the month after some remarkable performances for England. He returned to the Spurs fold with his first goal of the season at Villa Park, ironically a cross after previously having the most shots in the league without scoring. We controlled large parts of the game, Villa had chances but never anything that worrying, and Roberto Soldado managed to get a small monkey off of his back with his first Spurs goal from open play.

Performance Rating: Grade B; After being worried the West Ham game would open our defensive floodgates, the main positive was keeping a clean sheet. Was never worried about losing this after we scored, controlled the game very well.

FC Sheriff Tiraspol 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)

Back to the Europa League this time, travelling to Moldova (not Northern Ireland, as Lewis Holtby for some reason believed) to play one of the best named teams in football, FC Sheriff Tiraspol. Who, to be fair, were better than most Spurs fans had been led to believe.

Lewis Holtby thought Tiraspol was a city in Northern Ireland.

Lewis Holtby thought Tiraspol was a city in Northern Ireland.

They really gave us a game, for the first 20 minutes especially, and Vertonghen’s goal from Eriksen’s cross really helped us settle. Defoe added a routine second, and we now only need a win in the reverse fixture to qualify with 2 games to spare.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Good to keep a 100% record in Europe, without conceding. It’s hard to judge how happy I should be with a Europa League group stage win, but 3 points is 3 points.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Hull City A.F.C:

A game that will never be remembered for the footballing reasons by fellow Spurs fans. It was dreary, nearly sending me to sleep on my birthday, and it took a very fortunate penalty decision to give us the breakthrough. The game was followed by criticisms of the atmosphere by our own manager, and Andre has been lucky to avoid too much of a backlash from that, despite me agreeing with him to an extent. Andros Townsend managed to give a Daily Mail reporter a cut to the head though, which is always nice.

Performance Rating: Grade C; While it’s 3 points on the board, it’s worrying that this isn’t enough for most Spurs fans. We like to be entertained, as do I, but I’d take 25 1-0 wins if we won the league at the end of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Hull City A.F.C. (Capital One Cup, AET) (Tottenham win 8-7 on penalties):

We had a bit of a Hull marathon in the last week, getting drawn against them in the Capital One Cup, playing the same fixture only three days previously. A game in which history was made, as Tottenham, finally, won a penalty shootout for the first time since 1994. Another sluggish performance, but this time with the White Hart Lane crowd in healthy voice. It’s not ideal to go the distance in a cup tie, with a tough game against Everton to follow, but winning that penalty shootout was the most satisfying part of this season so far. The major disappointment of the shootout being from Erik Lamela, whose confidence has been visibly low since his arrival from A.S. Roma for £30million, and his miss will have done him no favours.

Eric Lamela has struggled to settle at Spurs since arriving from Roma.

Eric Lamela has struggled to settle at Spurs since arriving from Roma.

Performance Rating: Grade C with extra credit; Happy to have won a penalty shootout for the first time, when you follow Tottenham and England it’s a painful existence when it comes to that. But it should never have gone that far, and more than likely will have impacted on our game at the weekend, playing 120+ minutes.

Overall Rating: B for boring; We must try harder. Spurs fans, myself included, like and respect AVB, but if really wants to build something at Tottenham, it’s going to take a little bit more high-tempo. He knows he needs the fans onside, and we are for now.

George Pacitto