Spurs, AEF Limassol and beyond

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Image: SpursWeb

Instead of the Greeks bearing gifts it was the Cypriots. Their first lot of gifts were in the first leg, in the second match – with a further 4 gifts being offered – we rebuffed the first (a penalty; taken by Kane and sent straight to the substitute keeper), however we took the other three in the spirit they were presented to us and scored. This put us through to the next round, and we were grateful. In the process – this being Pochettino’s 4th match for Spurs – he became the first Spurs manager to win 4 in a row.

Harry Kane showed, however, that he needed to brush up on his penalty taking. But he made up for it by getting our first goal of the evening. This was followed by Paulinho who got our second – scoring three in a row in three matches in which he previously had played – by firing a low across. Townsend took over from Kane in taking the penalty and scored from the spot.

We had 66% of the match (the same as the QPR match), and 13 goals on target to their one. This two leg-victory means we’ve only lost one match in our 12 outings in Europe. Townsend scored his first goal in 29 appearances for Spurs and country. He last scored against Aston Villa in October when we won 2-0. Pochettino made 9 changes for this match. This tells us that, apart from his main 11, he has good quality to back up any injuries we should have over the season. That should give Spurs, manager and fans alike plenty to be confident about. Another statistic is that Spurs have scored 21 goals in their last six home games.

By beating Limassol we are now in Group C of the Eruopa league competition and we’ve been drawn against Besiktas (who the Gunners knocked out), Partizan Belgrade and Asteras Tripoli. These won’t be easy matches.

Our manager’s comments after the game: “I have always believed in Harry since the first day. I think it is possible to miss penalties, but it is not important. He found a way to score, to play and did not let it affect his performance. He showed character and personality. He has a very strong mind and is a very good player. I am very pleased with the team. It was a very good performance. There are no easy games because the Europa League is difficult to play, but we played very, very, very well. We are very happy.” Not only is he happy, but so are we; the supporters of this great club.

Over the four matches we’ve grown steadily and patiently. We’ve seen good signs from the players, the manager’s style and the bonding together of the team. Now to test that resolve and our manager’s working philosophy we play host to Liverpool this Sunday. It won’t be an easy match, but it will show us how we can deal with tougher competition. We were beaten – or should I say stuffed – by the Reds last season (conceding 9 goals over two games). It might be interesting to note that while Pochettino managed Southampton they were beaten 3-0 on Southampton’s ground. But earlier that season Southampton travelled to Liverpool and beat them 1-0. Two contrasting results. I am sure Pochettino will take some very important lessons from those two matches when thinking about how to use his philosophy/ formation when coming up with a game plane in how to tackle the Liverpool threat this Sunday.

The talk – for Liverpool – this Sunday will be about Mario Balotelli. Brendan Rodgers regards him as a risk to the club, but a “risk worth taking.” Rodgers paid £16 million for him (he spend a further £84 million on replacing Luis Suarez).

This time around, against Liverpool, it will be a lot different for both teams. Spurs are better organised and seem to have a shared intelligence/ formation of purpose compared to last season. Liverpool last season had their biter player giving them their goals that helped them propel them up the league; he is now gone and replaced with the many (plus one controversial figure replacing another). For Spurs Lamela and Eriksen, both improved this season will cause the Liverpool midfield and defence problems. While Balotelli could be an unknown force for this match, as he will be getting to know his teammates thinking.

While we are at the top of the league, undefeated and haven’t conceded a goal yet, Liverpool is currently 9th. Their first league match this season was against Southampton at Anfield and they beat Pochettino’s former club 2-1. However, they came unstock against the current Premier League Champions Manchester City and lost 3-1 at City’s ground. In my last article I predicted that City will be battling with Chelsea for the Premier league title. So that match, this early in the season, was a hard testing one for Liverpool.

Whichever way this match goes it will be a high talking point. We both will have a little glimpse in how things COULD pan out for the rest of the season. Of course a defeat from either side doesn’t mean the end, as both teams have potential to grow. I am predicting Spurs to win either 2-1 or 1-0.

Until we’ll meet again: #Don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day. Keep smiling through, just like Spurs fans always do. Till the Cockerel Chorus drives the dark clouds, far, far away and we finally claim our position with the elite teams of the world# Come on you Spurs!!

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.

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