November 27, 2011

Analysis of the goal conceded against West Brom (26/11)

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Youssuf Mulumbu’s goalA long ball down-field is held up by Long – we seem to have cleared the danger but Brunt finds Gera, who holds off Assou-Ekotto, and waits for support from Reid, who crosses for Mulumbu to score with a header across Friedel.

A long ball is played forward and Younes Kaboul, who has been a man-mountain in the air this season, looks set to clear away.

Long, however, is deceptively strong, and manages to not only hold Kaboul off, but chest it down and bring a team-mate into play. Personally I think Kaboul should do more to stop this happening.

West Brom now have useful possession in our defensive third. Note Mulumbu making the break forward from his defensive starting position, un-tracked by either of our strikers, who should be picking him up (when playing 4-4-2 against 4-2-3-1, one of the strikers has to take responsibility for the deepest lying player).

Gera tries to thread a reverse pass through for Mulumbu, but King blocks, and Sandro clears…

…but with Defoe and Adebayor not picking up Brunt, either, he has the opportunity to play a first-time pass to Gera, who has made an intelligent run into the left-back area. Also worth noting that West Brom actually have four other options, all unmarked, with too many of our players ahead of theirs – especially considering that we’re the away side!

Gera beats Assou-Ekotto to the ball easily…

…but as he slides in to control it, Assou-Ekotto has an opportunity to get tight and make a challenge.

He doesn’t, though, and Gera has the time to hold the ball up, and wait for support from Reid, who has not been tracked by Bale, who has other concerns.

Due to the nature of the two formations, Spurs are a man light in midfield – in this image, I have circled the midfield players (although Mulumbu is in the box, and Long has pulled wide to their left, you can still see the nature of the problem). Due to Defoe’s position centrally (not near a West Brom player), Bale is left with two players to keep an eye on, plus Reid, who is out of shot.

Reid, in space, whips in a superb first time cross…

…and Mulumbu heads expertly across Friedel and into the far corner, but is afforded the space to do so by King and Kaboul.

In the first half there were numerous examples of West Brom using the extra man in midfield to their advantage, with Mulumbu causing havoc with some of his movement and his high-energy pressing. He was winning the ball back frequently, and then making bursts forward, with our players unsure of who should pick him up. Many of us were calling for a change to a 4-3-3 at half-time but, credit to Redknapp, he stuck with his side and played to our strengths.

In the second half, Defoe worked harder to stick with Mulumbu and we worked harder to get the ball forward quickly into the wide areas, where Bale and especially Lennon were finding space and using the ball brilliantly. Both created numerous chances and, on another day, Adebayor may have scored four.

The game was a little too open for my liking and, despite our dominance of possession and chances, it could have easily gone either way, but Redknapp’s positivity was there for all to see, and for that he should be applauded.

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November 24, 2011

23/11/11 Tottenham Hotspur U19s 1-0 FC Basel U19s, Spurs Lodge

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Jonathan Miles (18)
Jack Barthram (18) Milos Veljkovic (16) Jake Nicholson (19) Kevin Stewart (18)
Massimo Luongo (c) (19) Laste Dombaxe (17)
Kudus Oyenuga (18) Harry Kane (18) Alex Pritchard (18)
Souleymane Coulibaly (16)

Subs:

Ronnie Hawkins (17) for Laste Dombaxe, 60.

Not used:

James Yeboah (17)
Billy Granger (16)
Cameron Lancaster (19)

Spurs secured qualification to the quarter-finals of the NextGen Series with a 1-0 win over FC Basel. The result was not as comfortable as the previous two home games – 7-1 against Inter and 4-1 against PSV Eindhoven – and, in truth, we made quite hard work of this against a physical and talented Basel team.

Spurs set up in what was effectively a lop-sided 4-2-3-1 formation, with the right-footed Stewart at left back, Luongo and Dombaxe in deep midfield, Pritchard towards the left, Oyenuga primarily on the right but very advanced, and Kane playing in behind the Ivorian Coulibaly.

The opening to the game was quite frantic, with a lot of congested play in the middle of midfield, and a few hefty challenges from Basel players. Our first chance came after just a couple of minutes, when Luongo broke forward and swung in a shot from the right hand side of the penalty area which flew just wide of the far post. Soon after this, Alex Pritchard darted through and rounded the goalkeeper, only to be pushed wide and the shot to be saved.

Basel were quick to press our midfield, often going to ground in the challenge, but our centre backs were having a fair amount of time on the ball, with Tim Sherwood encouraging them to bring the ball out from the back (“Take it forward, Milos”).

Coulibaly crossed well for Oyenuga, but he wasn’t able to bring it down cleanly, and it was cleared, whilst Miles made a solid save from an effort from left winger Vuleta. Luongo made a superb bustling run past a number of players, only for the final player to nick the ball away just as he was opening up to shoot.

With Basel keen to challenge, Spurs were winning a lot of free kicks in similar positions – first, Kane slipped as he looked to strike one, and then Pritchard picked out Coulibaly beautifully at the back post. Unfortunately it took an awkward bounce, and he could only knee it into the hands of the goalkeeper. At the other end, a dangerous cross narrowly evaded the Basel striker, before Spurs took the lead through another Pritchard free kick. He flighted it superbly to the back post, where former Basel player, Veljkovic had found some space, and powered a header in from close range.

Soon after, Harry Kane charged forward and was fouled from behind – Pritchard spotted the ball, paced out his run-up, and hit the target, but the goalkeeper saved well. The action moved straight to the other end, and Zarkovic played in Zwimpfer, but he was too close to Miles and the goalkeeper smothered. Zwimpfer had another great chances minutes later – a Veljkovic error let him through, and he rounded Miles, but Kevin Stewart anticipated brilliantly and slid in to clear off the line.

Dombaxe dummied cleverly on the edge of the box to create space to shoot, but his low left-footed effort was saved. I felt sure that Vuleta would go into the book after hacking down Barthram, but the referee gave him a final warning, before Pritchard had another effort saved after he was found by an excellent Kane pass.

Basel made a substitution at half-time with the imposing Sulejmani coming on, whilst Spurs made a slight adjustment, with Kane playing primarily from the left, Oyenuga more central, and Pritchard from the right (although they rotated). We started on the front foot, with Coulibaly shooting over from the edge of the box, and then Kane putting his effort well over after we’d worked the ball into a good position.

Jevtic got forward into a great position on the break, but his cross was fortunately wasteful. Miles made the first of his really top saves from Sulejmani, and the resultant corner was headed harmlessly over.

Harry Kane’s slide rule pass found Pritchard, who teed up Oyenuga, but he dallied and his shot was blocked. Sherwood made the decision to freshen up the midfield, bringing on Ronnie Hawkins (an excellent passer of the ball), for Laste Dombaxe, who was starting to tire.

Kane was the instigator again, this time picking out Stewart, who was arguably fouled in the box. The ball came back to him once he was back on his feet, but he put it over on the turn. Then came what could have been a costly miss – Kane was again the provider, getting free down the left and putting the ball on a plate for Kudus Oyenuga, who was about a yard out – he got his feet into a bit of a mess, and the ball came off his ankle and ran out to Luongo, who had a bit to do with defenders converging on him, and he blasted over when accuracy was required.

Basel’s nearest miss yet soon followed – Miles came out to claim a corner, but missed the ball and Corbaz headed beyond the keeper but on to the post. Barthram had an excellent chance to add to our lead at the far post, but put his shot wide after he was well found by the industrious Pritchard. Miles redeemed himself with a solid save from the impressive Nimely, before the substitute Sulejmani, who was a real handful, out-muscled Barthram, and powered beyond Veljkovic, only to be foiled by a fantastic save from Miles with his legs.

Kane won another free kick with a driving run, but it came to nothing, and Oyenuga had one final chance before the referee blew for full time. The first half was a fairly scrappy affair, with the second being much more open once Basel started chasing the game.

Jonathan Miles 8 – one error when he failed to claim a corner, but excelled with some great saves, especially the one with his legs towards the end of the match.
Jack Barthram 6 – had a tough time in the second half up against the very physical substitute Sulejmani, but coped well throughout and made constant bursts forward when Pritchard tucked in (although was rarely picked out).
Milos Veljkovic 7 – really strong, composed showing from a player who plays like he is ten years older than he is.
Jake Nicholson 6 – a steadying influence at the back, and someone who constantly talks to his team-mates. He made me laugh with one comment – Stewart had the ball at left back, and needed to play it forward with his left foot. Oyenuga tried to spin in behind, with Nicholson shouting “where you running to Kudus?!” Ferdinand (I think) chimed in – “it’s on his left foot, he’s hardly going to drop it in there!”
Kevin Stewart 6 – a solid display from a player who is not naturally left-sided.
Massimo Luongo 8 – if you’ve read my reports before, you’ll know that I enjoy watching him play. Breaks up play, has good one and two touch passing, gets forward well, and is a strong, calm influence in the middle of the pitch.
Laste Dombaxe 5 – having seen him play so well on Saturday morning, I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t keep up his performance levels – made a few early mistakes and looked nervous, but after the odd arm around the shoulder from team-mates, he improved as the game went on and used the ball much better.
Kudus Oyenuga 4 – as hard-working and strong as ever, but he still doesn’t quite know when to release the ball, and he does make some odd decisions – Sherwood and Ferdinand both focused a lot of their attention on him throughout!
Harry Kane 7 – he didn’t seem to have a particularly great match but, in writing my report, I realised just how many times he threaded others in with cleverly-weighted passes. He could have had three assists on another day.
Alex Pritchard 8 – a real clever, quick-footed, schemer, who had an excellent first half in particular. His set piece delivery caused a lot of problems, and he is very dangerous when cutting in from the flank.
Souleymane Coulibaly 5 – he is a work-horse, but not much came off for him – kneeing his best chance straight into the goalkeeper’s hands. Made good runs, but often chooses to shoot when he has better options. Didn’t get much change out of Kofi Nimely.

Ronnie Hawkins – came on and helped us to keep the ball, with some intelligent passing.

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November 20, 2011

19/11/11 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 3-3 Leicester City U18s, Spurs Lodge

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Jonathan Miles (18)
Ramil Sheriff (17) Alex McQueen (16) Oliver Modeste (16) Connor Ogilvie (15)
Laste Dombaxe (17) Ronnie Hawkins (17)
Jack Munns (18) 
Kenneth McEvoy (17) Lee Angol (17) Shaq Coulthirst (17)

Subs:

Dominic Ball (16) for Alex McQueen, 46.
Rueben Lameiras (16) for Lee Angol, 71.
Roman Michael-Percil (16) for Ronnie Hawkins, 80.

Oh so close! Leicester are a good side at this level – they consistently produce good teams that finish well in the FAPL (they’re currently a point above us), although last year we beat them in the home match, with Bostock scoring. Today we started with a very young defence (presumably saving the likes of Jack Barthram, Daniel Day and James Yeboah saved for the NextGen Series), although had some experience in “overage” goalkeeper, Jonathan Miles. Leicester, on the other hand, fielded the maximum of three overage players including the giant centre half, George Taft.

Spurs set up in a sort of 4-3-3, with both wide men very advanced, tight to the full-backs, and Munns just ahead of Hawkins and Dombaxe, who both sat deep. The away side played a definite 4-2-3-1, so the formations were pretty much matched up.

The match took some time to settle, but the first chance fell to the away side – Miles’ slip nearly proving costly, but the forward only able to prod the ball wide having got in.

Laste Dombaxe threaded Ken McEvoy through with an excellent pass – McEvoy showed good close control, but was only able to win a throw. Shortly after, McEvoy made strides again, and got a couple of crosses in in quick succession.

It was 0-1 on 13 minutes, when a long ball over the top caught our two centre backs out – the forward, Hopper, headed the ball into his own path, and finished well. Miles barely moved off his line, which led to a few of his team-mates questioning why he didn’t come out as soon as the ball was played over the top.

Three minutes later Spurs got level; as Coulthirst tried to make a yard of space in the box, the ball popped up and was handled on the edge by a Leicester defender (although it was from very close range), and the referee was quick to make a decision. Dombaxe calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, as he put it low into the bottom corner.

Alex McQueen picked up a booking for a challenge on 20 minutes which meant that he was walking a tightrope for the rest of the game. The resultant free kick was crossed, and Miles palmed it up into space, where he collected at the second attempt.

McQueen stepped out of defence calmly and found McEvoy with a clever pass inside the full back. McEvoy used his pace well to work a cross and Jack Munns, a late runner into the box, narrowly missed the ball.

At the other end, Sheriff conceded a free kick – the dangerous Jack Warburton, stood in a central area unmarked – his manager shouted “you can receive it there and shoot”. The free kick was duly played to him, he took a touch and his effort towards the corner was well saved by Miles, springing to his right.

Dombaxe gave the ball away n a dangerous area, and Hopper charged through only to put the chance wide. Again play changed to the other end and Coulthirst delivered a superb ball across the face with the outside of his right foot, but nobody was there to meet it. Connor Ogilvie then won a corner on the half hour mark when he made a strong run down the left, but it came to nothing.

Coulthirst had an excellent effort shortly afterwards from the edge of the box, before Munns had a tidy run before his shot was blocked and out for a corner. From the corner, the ball was played back out to Munns. His cute cross was controlled neatly by Coulthirst, who turned quickly and beat the goalkeeper low to his left. 2-1!

Ogilvie won a corner with another strong run from full back, and the second ball in was glanced on by Coulthirst, with the keeper making a good save.

On the stroke of half-time there was some controversy. A clear foul in the middle of midfield (possibly on Hawkins) was not given, and as the ball was played forward, there was a tangle between Alex McQueen and a Leicester forward on the edge of the box. The referee gave nothing, but the linesman continued to flag. The referee elected to go with his assistant (who seemed to be implying that McQueen had swung an elbow – I certainly didn’t see an elbow), despite having been quite close to the scene. He had a long talk with McQueen, who had been booked earlier. The resultant free kick was lifted over the wall by Steve Smith and nestled in the corner to Miles’ right – 2-2.

As the players walked off, Alex Inglethorpe had strong words with the referee, presumably questioning why he would let his assistant make the decision from a lot further away.

At half-time Inglethorpe made a change, with Dominic Ball coming on to replace Alex McQueen, who had been booked and was on a last warning following the incident in first half injury time. Ball is primarily a midfield player, but slotted into the centre back position. Spurs were straight on the front foot, with McEvoy flashing a cross/shot just wide, with a few players caught on their heels.

McEvoy had our next chance – played in with a diagonal ball he had the pace to beat the full back; as as he came inside to shoot, the keeper rushed out and he needed to lift the ball over him from close range. Unfortunately he didn’t get enough height on his effort on the stretch, and the keeper smothered it.

Leicester City took the lead on 56 minutes when Spurs again lost the ball in a dangerous area, and Jack Warburton scored from an accurate cross. 2-3.

Spurs were struggling to create anything clear cut – McEvoy had a good run down the line, but ran out of space, before a low Coulthirst cross was hacked clear on the line by a Leicester defender. Hawkins won a free kick with some neat footwork, although it came to nothing, before Coulthirst had a reasonable shout for a penalty – knocking the ball beyond the full back on the right flank, before being taken down – the referee told him it was “a coming together, nothing more”.

Spurs had a good spell of pressure, but were unable to find the elusive equaliser. At the other end, Leicester’s left back Jamie Anton, who had a good game, curled a lovely effort just over the angle of post and bar, before Spurs brought on Ruben Lameiras for Lee Angol and then Roman Michel-Percil for Ronnie Hawkins. McEvoy had another cross right across the face, before Spurs piled on the pressure again. First Connor Ogilvie won yet another corner through chasing a lost cause, before Lameiras found an equaliser – his shot deflected into the bottom right corner after some very neat interplay between Munns and McEvoy. 3-3.

Leiceste’s Joe Dodoo dragged a shot wide, before a superb piece of link-up play between Lameiras and Michel-Percil led to Coulthirst turning quickly on the edge of the box before being fouled for another penalty. With a minute to go, Laste Dombaxe stepped up for a second time, but this time the keeper guessed right – unfortunately it was placed at a nice height for the goalkeeper, and he parried it away.

Spurs still pushed for a winner, and Coulthirst got through, only for his clipped shot to smash the keeper in the face and bounce to safety – in fairness, a brave save from the goalkeeper, who spread himself well.

In the final seconds, the visitors won a corner and it was met by a Leicester City head – luckily for us the player was stretching, and it went harmlessly wide.

Jonathan Miles 6 – made a couple of decent saves, but questionable for both the opener (when he could have read the game and come off his line), and the free-kick (which was into his near post).
Ramil Sheriff 6 – a centre back playing at full-back, and he did a good job, often covering well. A little limited going forward, but he tried to provide an outlet.
Alex McQueen 6 – excellent on the ball, and consistently stepped out to start play. Had a bit of an issue once he’d received a yellow card, and was rightly taken off to ensure that he wasn’t sent off for a mistimed tackle.
Oliver Modeste 5- I gather that he’s primarily a full-back and, bearing that in mind, he did a reasonable job. He was caught out a couple of times against Warburton and Hopper, both considerably bigger than him.
Connor Ogilvie 7 – did exceptionally well at left-back for a player that I understand is normally a centre back. Made three or four solo raids down the left, winning corners or getting us into good positions each time. An imposing figure and, at just 15, he is one to keep an eye on.
Laste Dombaxe 8 – calm, strong, clever – an excellent performance from him. Always on hand to receive the ball when his team-mates were in trouble, and normally used it well. A few slack passes, but with the number of bodies and pressure in midfield, that was understandable. He took his first penalty well, and it was just a shame that he couldn’t get the winner that his performance deserved.
Jack Munns 7 – industrious as ever, and his short, quick passing helps the team get forward quickly.
Ronnie Hawkins 7 – uses the ball very well with his left foot, always looking to spread play and bring others into the game. If he could work on his right-foot passing, he could become Carrick-esque.
Kenneth McEvoy 7 – quick, lively, with excellent close control and a good awareness of others. It didn’t always come off for him, but that was more down to Jamie Anton sticking to his task well.
Lee Angol 5 – a little disappointing that he didn’t get on the end of one or two of the dangerous crosses we had, but his constant pressing and harrying was very useful and often forced Leicester to play the ball forward early from the back, surrendering possession.
Shaq Coulthirst 8 – looked really lively on the left – strong enough to hold the ball up successfully before producing either a shot or a cross. Also very good at playing on the last man and springing a counter. The best performance I’ve seen from him.

Dominic Ball 7 – played at centre back despite being a midfield player, and his ball-playing ability was very useful in the second half. Caught up-field a couple of times, but that was understandable.
Rueben Lameiras – his one and two touch passing game came at a perfect time, and he drew us level with a deflected effort from distance. Initially came on to play from the left, but replaced Hawkins in a central area when we made the third substitution.
Roman Michael-Percil – a very useful impact player to have on the bench – he has great acceleration and a low centre of gravity, and he got into some very useful positions down the left, cutting in and using his right foot.

The FA Premier Academy League table is now as follows:

From the Premier League website.

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November 13, 2011

Young professionals – progress check

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A number of players from Tim Sherwood’s “Development Squad” (this name seems to be catching on across the football world!) have made their first team debuts this season, so it seems a good time to consider the progress of some of them.

Jake Livermore, 21

Livermore is proving me wrong. I had totally written him off as a Spurs player, and was surprised when Redknapp started to use him in the first team squad in pre-season. I always felt that in the U18s and reserves that he lacked technique and genuine footballing ability, and was primarily making faster progress than others due to his physical attributes. Whilst he is clearly not the best technically, he has shown that he is, at the very least, competent and reliable in his Premier League and Europa League appearances. He is keen to get on the ball when we have possession, but also not afraid of puting in a shift and doing his share of the dirty work.

His main strength is still probably his physicality – he’s big, strong, and has good energy levels – but he has also shown good positional awareness and showed in his goal against Hearts that he does have some footballing ability too! I still don’t see him becoming a Spurs regular, but he should certainly be able to carve out a Premier League career for himself.

Tom Carroll, 19

There have been many comments from fans, the media and Harry Redknapp about him looking like a boy, but Carroll plays the game like a seasoned pro. His touch, movement and awareness are excellent – always looking to make himself available to receive the ball, and then quickly distributing it, before he again looks to find a suitable space. When he loses the ball (which has not been too often in his performances for the first team so far), he doesn’t recklessly dive into a challenge – instead, he puts the maximum effort into getting back behind the ball and stopping the opposition from playing.

One criticism so far would be that he has perhaps kept it too simple – his passing range is such that he should perhaps look to be a little more ambitious at times but, on the other hand, it’s totally understandable that he would look firstly to play himself into a game with simple passing, and secondly, look to impress the manager with his ability to keep the ball.

Whilst I rate Carroll as an excellent prospect, we must be patient with him – look at Manchester United’s handling of Tom Cleverley (who is three years older than Carroll) as a comparison – he had lengthy loan spells before getting a chance in their first team.

Andros Townsend, 20

Having made a superb goal-scoring debut in the FA Cup match against Charlton last season, Townsend impressed on loan at Millwall and will certainly feel that he has earned his chance in our first team. He will be disappointed, however, that most of his opportunities have come at left-back, with Danny Rose out injured and Assou-Ekotto rested. However, he came on and really influenced the game when given his chance on the wing against Shamrock Rovers, getting an assist and generally looking lively.

I am not sure whether he will feel that he may have been better off going straight out on loan this season, or whether he will be pleased to have had first team football for Spurs in any position. There is plenty of the season left, so he should still get a loan move – hopefully to a lower-half Premier League team, or an upper-half Championship team – where he can continue to progress.

Ryan Fredericks, 19

Fredericks was on the bench for the first team in the 2009/10 season in the FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Leeds, but soon after he picked up a long-term injury, which meant him missing the majority of the 2010/11 season. To start against Hearts in the Europa League, then, must have come as quite a surprise – he was barely back to fitness! Fredericks is blessed with natural pace, and has good close control and crossing ability, although he didn’t really get much of a chance to showcase much of his attacking play in his second start (against Rubin Kazan), which came at right back, a position that he has occasionally played for the Development Squad.

He will be looking for more involvement in the Europa League, before heading out on loan in order to get some league experience and to build up his strength and fitness.

Harry Kane, 18

The youngest of all of our players who have been involved with our first team squad this season – he only turned 18 at the end of July, a month before his first team debut. He did OK in his debut, although was left wondering what could have been, missing a penalty that he had won himself. In his second appearance he was very unfortunate not to win another penalty and was instead incorrectly shown a yellow card for simulation.

Kane has an ungainly style, but his touch is good and he has plenty of strength for one so young. He has scored goals at youth and reserve level, and also had a reasonable scoring record for League One side Leyton Orient last year. I think a lot of fans were expecting more from him in his Europa League showings, but it is important to remember that he is still very young and inexperienced – time is on his side.

Dean Parrett, 19

Parrett made his debut against Shakhtar in February 2009 – he put in a very tidy performance in that game and will feel a little unlucky that he has not seen more first team involvement, making just three further substitute appearances. Parrett will hopefully get a chance in the remaining Europa League matches, but the emergence of Livermore and Carroll, plus injury problems of his own, have meant that he has found himself (rightly or wrongly) a little way down the pecking order.

An all-action player, Parrett possesses great drive and no little technique, with good all-round football ability. He turns 20 soon, and will certainly be looking for first-team football this year, be it for us in the Europa League or on loan.

Ineligible Europa League players

A number of fans have been questioning why the likes of John Bostock, Massimo Luongo, Cristian Cellabos and Souleymane Coulibaly are not involved in the Europa League. In order to qualify for the UEFA “B List”, a player must have been born after 1st January 1990 and have been registered with the club for two years since his 15th birthday. This obviously rules out the likes of Luongo, Ceballos and Coulibaly, all more recent signings, but also Bostock due to his loan spells away from the club. They could have been named in the main “A List” (as Iago Falqué, Giovani dos Santos and Jake Livermore were), but that would have to have been at the expense of first-team players. To illustrate, here is the squad list taken from the UEFA Europa League website.

To round-up, here is a line on the progress of each of our other young professionals (from the list on the official site):

Ben Alnwick, 24 – currently on loan at Leyton Orient as cover for the injured David Button. He has made five appearances so far.
Jordan Archer, 18 – on loan at Bishop’s Stortford and performing well – he is also a recently call up to the Scotland U21 squad.
David Button, 22 – was having a good start to life on loan at Leyton Orient until he picked up a shoulder injury in September.
Oscar Jansson, 20 – playing on a near-weekly basis for the Spurs XI (reserve team) following the completion of his loan at Bradford.
Mirko Ranieri, 19 – on a season-long loan at Italian side FC Esperia Viareggio, presumably with one eye on a permanent move.
Nathan Byrne, 19 – had started to settle after a tough opening spell at Bournemouth, but suffered a serious ankle ligament injury and will miss a couple more months of football.
Steven Caulker, 19 – was playing consistently well for Swansea City prior to his knee cartilage injury, but is due back soon.
Bongani Khumalo, 24 – having initially been a regular starter at Reading, he has found himself down the pecking order of late, and is fighting to get his place back.
Kyle Naughton, 23 – a regular starter at right-back for Norwich, with a decent level of consistency to his performances.
Adam Smith, 20 – has been performing very well for MK Dons, and recently picked up three MOTM awards in a row (one having scored a superb goal). He has recently been called up to (and played for) England U21s.
John Bostock, 19 – has been playing in some of the NextGen Series and for the Spurs XI.
Cristian Ceballos, 18 – scored the opener in the 4-1 win over PSV in the NextGen Series and for the Spurs XI.
Yago Falqué, 21 – on a season-long loan with an option to make the move permanent, he has been heavily involved in the Europa League and has shown flashes of good play without ever really influencing a match.
Massimo Luongo, 19 – made his first-team debut, coming off the bench in the League Cup game against Stoke, and unfortunately missing a penalty. I think he will get more chances this season – an impressive player, and one to watch.
Ryan Mason, 20 – on loan at Doncaster although he has again seen his loan spell disrupted by injury problems. Doncaster have changed their manager (with Dean Saunders taking over) and so we need to wait and see whether he’ll be involved in their first team on a regular basis.
Jake Nicholson, 19 – has played in NextGen Series matches, Spurs XI matches, and came off the bench in the Europa League – he will certainly be looking for a taste of league football this year.
Alex Pritchard, 18 – one of the stars of our NextGen Series team so far with some excellent performances, and he has also been an unused sub in two Europa League games.
Jesse Waller-Lassen, 18 – still getting over injury problems, although nearing full fitness – I’d expect that Jesse be given time to get up to speed with appearances for the Spurs XI.
Simon Dawkins, 23 – returned from a good spell with San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS – he finished an impressive 21st in the Castrol Index Player of the Season rankings (his team mate Chris Wondolowski was 1st, Thierry Henry was 3rd, Landon Donovan was 16th, Juan Pablo Angel was 25th, David Beckham was 69th).
Cameron Lancaster, 19 – scored a good goal for the Spurs XI last week, and was on the bench for the Europa League match with Rubin Kazan.
Jonathan Obika, 21 – still on loan at Yeovil, although just on his way back from injury.
Kudus Oyenuga, 18 – involved in some of the NextGen Series games, and  some Spurs XI games, Kudus will be looking for more league experience after he only got a few brief appearances at Bury.

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November 6, 2011

Analysis of the goal conceded against Fulham (6/11)

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Younes Kaboul’s own goalFulham were a threat from set pieces, but this goal was a gift – King heading against Kaboul and the ball trickling in.

Fulham caused us problems from set pieces all game, and Duff’s corner here is whipped into a decent area.

But ironically, with all of the Fulham efforts on goal, this one stems from two Spurs players. King gets to the flight of the ball…

…but he fails to get his header up or out, and it hits Kaboul on the back…

…and trickles over the line, just far enough away from Bale.

To say we rode our luck in this game would be a massive understatement – the Friedel/Modric double clearance, and the Walker handball (which looked unintentional, but was still a penalty by default in my opinion) were verging on the ridiculous. We were clinical in front of goal, though, and to score three goals away from home nearly always sees you on your way to three points.

A quick nod to Aaron Lennon – he has had the least touches of any of the 22 starters in both of our last two league matches, but was influential in both games. His cross for the first goal, and run and finish for the second today were both superb.

The Spurs go marching on!

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The winning U17 squad consisted of Jaden Brown, Ryan Loft, Armani Daly, Charlie Hayford, Charlie Owens & Keanan Bennetts amongst others.
36 mins ago