Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s entry in The East Terrace blog.
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I have got some really exciting things coming up regarding Q&A’s with some YouTuber’s and Football Clubs. I am just waiting to hear back from them and I will let you all know when they are available to view.
Premier League Game week 7 Results.
Man Utd 1 – 1 Stoke
Leicester 0 – 0 Southampton
Tottenham 2 – 0 Man City
Burnley 0 – 1 Arsenal
Swansea 1 – 2 Liverpool
Hull 0 – 2 Chelsea
Sunderland 1 – 1 West Brom
Watford 2 – 2 Bournemouth
West Ham 1 – 1 Middlesbrough
Everton 1 – 1 Crystal Palace
The stand out result from this weekends fixtures come from White Hart Lane where Tottenham, fresh from a journey to Russia to face CSKA Moscow (won 1-0) in the Champions League last week, faced Guardiola’s Manchester City, who had won every single one of their Premier League games to date and had a significantly shorter journey in the Champions League by traveling to Glasgow to face Celtic (drew 3-3).
Tottenham blew Manchester City away in this one. Vibrant and energetic from the start, Pochettino’s young, direct side blew City away in the first 15 minutes and they found the breakthrough, courtesy of an Alex Kolarov own goal. In fairness, City were never really in this game. Pep said before the game that Pochettino was one of the best young coaches in world football and he showed why here. Wanyama, Son and Rose were the standouts for Spurs on the day, although an argument could have easily been made for any of the players to win the Man of the Match award. The match stats proved that Spurs thoroughly deserved their win, with Pep Guardiola admitting after the game that they had lost to the better team on the day.
Experts and Journalists alike purred at the Spurs performance, stating that a title challenge really could happen again this season. I am going to look at their strengths and weaknesses and give my opinion as to whether they can go all the way, or close.
When Mauricio Pochettino first joined the club, he inherited a squad which was assembled using the money which was received by selling Gareth Bale for around £100m to Real Madrid. In the space of just over 2 years, he has transformed the squad, selling big money signings such as Paulinho and Roberto Soldado and has strengthened throughout using a mix of home grown and foreign talent. Hugo Lloris is a contender for the best goalkeeper in the league, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker provide the pace and width from the full back positions, Toby Alderwiereld is one of the best center halves in the league and in Harry Kane and Dele Alli they have two of the most promising players in Europe, not just the Premier League.
As many big teams have proved in the past, the quality of the players does not necessarily mean you are guaranteed to win games. Pochettino has developed a style of football which is now feared by the majority of teams in the League. His insistence on making his players reach the required level of fitness to play his football was his top priority. The high intensity pressing, the pace throughout the team, the intricate passing and the goals from Harry Kane to finish off the sweeping moves have elevated Spurs to a level which they have craved for years, resulting in them finishing third and qualifying automatically for the Champions League group stages for the first time since the Premier League was introduced.
With a new stadium on the way and Pochettino appearing to look very relaxed at a club in which the fans adore him, it is hard to not intrigued to see where this side may go.
As with every club in world football, Spurs have their weaknesses. Their 5-1 defeat to already relegated Newcastle in the last game of the 2015-2016 season, in which they only needed a point to finish above their Rivals Arsenal for the first time in over 20 years, brutally exposed how much more work Pochettino has to do before Spurs are considered a real threat year in, year out in the Premier League.
As exciting as their current first team are, you cannot help but feel Spurs lack a couple of experienced players in key positions to help the team in times of a bad run of form and European nights. Chelsea have John Terry, Manchester United have Wayne Rooney, Manchester City have Pablo Zabaleta, the list continues. Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld are top class and are key players for Spurs, but both are under 30 years of age and their experience at the top european level is limited. Harry Kane has scored 51 goals in 88 games and has cemented his place as Tottenham’s center forward for many years to come, but there has been a feeling from many Spurs fans that an over-reliance on his goals could one day come back to haunt them if he is ever ruled out with a long term injury. As I write this, Heung Min Son has stepped up in Kane’s absence and scored some crucial goals whilst Kane recovers from an ankle injury. Vincent Janssen, a £12m signing from AZ Alkmaar in Holland in the summer, was expected to provide real competition for Kane, but looks to be struggling to adapt to the Premier League so far. Spurs will hope that the core of their team avoid any real long term injuries again this season if they are to challenge for the league.
A very exciting season for Spurs lies ahead and with a potential European Cup run also on the cards, fans will be hoping that Pochettino stays and keeps this promising batch of players together to challenge for top honours for years to come. I believe that a real title challenge is slightly beyond them this year, as the Champions League and domestic trophies may take it out of them later on in the season, but a top 4 finish is certainly on the cards, squad rotation and injuries depending. 3rd place finish for me.
Elsewhere in the Premier League
Francesco Guidolin was the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season after getting sacked by Swansea following their defeat by high-flying title challengers Liverpool – American coach Bob Bradley replacing him. Chelsea got back on track with an impressive 2-0 away win at Hull (Conte played his favoured 3 at the back formation for this one,interestingly). Arsenal scored with the last kick of the game to secure 3 points away at Burnley and Manchester United’s patchy form continues with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City.
Roundup of Results in Europe
Real Madrid’s recent poor form continued this weekend with a shock 1-1 draw at home to minnows Eibar, Atletico Madrid go top of La Liga with an impressive 2-0 win away to Valencia at the Mestalla, Barcelona concede 4 away to Celta Vigo in a shock 4-3 defeat on Sunday evening and miss the chance to go top of the table.
Bayern Munich drop their first points of the season in a shock 1-1 draw at home to in-form Koln, Borussia Dortmund miss the chance to make up ground on Bayern as they lose 2-0 away to Leverkusen and Schalke are finally off the mark in the Bundesliga this season after 6 games with an impressive 4-0 demolition of Gladbach at home.
Juventus go 4 points clear at the top of the league with an impressive 3-0 away win at Empoli, Napoli lose 1-0 away to Atalanta to lose ground on Juve and in the big game on Sunday night at the Olimpico, in-form Roma go 3rd with a 2-1 win over Inter Milan.
PSG get back on track after last week’s defeat with a 2-0 win at home to Bordeaux, with striker Edinson Cavani taking his goalscoring tally to 8 goals in 8 games this season. Mario Balotelli scores one and gets sent off shortly after to keep Nice top in a 2-1 home win against Lorient and Monaco stay 2nd with an emphatic 7-0 away win at Metz.
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