Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Tottenham

Kane

Harry Kane has hit twenty goals in both of the last two seasons, and he scored one of the goals of the season against Arsenal last season. Image: The Independent

At the beginning of the season, third place would have been seen as a success for Spurs, but given the nature of their late collapse it seems a bit of a disappointment. But with a squad of young, hungry players, Maurico Pochettino’s team will be looking to improve this time around. Spurs haven’t gone crazy with their signings, only adding Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen. Wanyama adds a real presence in midfield, being the ball winner in a holding midfield duo with Eric Dier. Janssen was the joint top scorer in the Eredevisie last season with 27 goals, so will look to ease the goal scoring burden on Harry Kane. Having to compete in both the Premier League and the Champions League could really test Spurs this season, as it is unlikely that Pochettino will be able to completely change his side in Europe like last season. The defensive trio of Lloris in goal, with Alderweirald and Vertonghen in front of him is one of the best in the Premier League, whilst the creative talents of Lamela, Eriksen and Alli behind Harry Kane will mean that Spurs will again be one of the most exciting teams to watch.

Key Man: Toby Alderweirald. The Belgian defender has been very solid since moving to the Premier League. He was a key reason behind Spurs’ 13 clean sheets last season, and having a partnership for both club and country with Jan Vertonghen means that they will know each other’s game inside out.

One to Watch: Harry Winks. The young midfielder is yet to play for Spurs in the league, but has featured in the Europa League over the last two seasons. He signed a new deal in March and will look to follow Deli Alli, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb in breaking in to the Spurs midfield. With the pressures of European football on Spurs’ squad, you can expect Winks to break through in to the team this season.

Last Season: 3rd  

Prediction: 5th

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England roar back from 2-0 down

An inexperienced England side battled back from two goals down to beat world champions Germany 3-2 in Berlin. An injury time header from Eric Dier sealed the victory after Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy had cancelled out goals from Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez.

vardy eng v ger

Image: BBC Sport

England started the brighter of the two teams, but failed to really test Manuel Neuer. The bright Deli Alli had the best chance, latching on to a lobbed through ball only to see his tame long-distance header pick out the German keeper. Germany should have taken the lead, as the experienced Gomez took advantage of an unfamiliar England defence and finished well, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. However, replays showed that Nathaniel Clyne was actually playing Gomez onside.

It didn’t take long for the Germans to take the lead though, capitalising on a poor clearance by Butland. The ball was worked through to Toni Kroos, who, lacking any other options, tried his luck from 25 yards. Somehow the ball squeezed past Butland at his near post, and to make matters worse, the England stopper was forced off with an injury that he picked up clearing the ball.

It could have been 2-0 early in the second half, as Marco Reus’ long range free kick deceived everyone and had to be helped over by Fraser Forster. Gomez made up for his earlier disallowed goal with a perfectly placed header just before the hour, converting Emre Can’s deep cross.

dier eng v ger

Image: Daily Mail

It seemed that conceding spurred England on though, as Harry Kane turned his man in the box after Germany failed to clear a corner and finished just inside the post. Just minutes after coming on Jamie Vardy scored his first international goal, audaciously flicking Clyne’s low cross past Neuer.

England were now truly in the ascendency, and should have wrapped the game up earlier. Jordan Henderson saw a long-range effort curl just wide, and Deli Alli somehow blazed over from ten yards after Vardy stole possession on the edge of the German box.

But the winner did come in stoppage time, with Eric Dier beating his man to nod home a Henderson corner. The result gives confidence to a young and inexperienced England who showed none of the traits of the side who were embarrassed in Brazil two years ago.

England ease to Euros spot

England have booked their place at Euro 2016 thanks to a comfortable 6-0 win against San Marino. Wayne Rooney joined Bobby Charlton on 49 England goals, whilst there was also a brace from Theo Walcott as well as goals from Ross Barkley and Harry Kane. This will be a relief for Roy Hodgson, as this squad in particular has been described by many as England’s worst ever. Despite this, England have qualified with three games remaining, a feat that no England team has previously achieved.

Rooney's goal leaves him on an identical record with Bobby Charlton, 106 caps, 49 goals

Rooney’s goal leaves him on an identical record with Bobby Charlton (106 caps, 49 goals)

England started brightly, with Jonjo Shelvey demanding plenty of the ball and dictating play. Only eleven minutes had been played when they broke through, albeit in controversial circumstances. San Marino players were left bewildered after the referee awarded England a penalty, despite John Stones handling from the free kick. However, both Stones and Phil Jagielka appeared to have been held back, so the hosts could have no complaints. Captain Wayne Rooney stepped up, and sent the keeper the wrong way to become England’s joint top goal-scorer.

England went two up through an own goal, as Luke Shaw delivered an inviting cross, which Brolli could only glance past his own keeper. San Marino’s keeper Simoncini managed to keep the score at 2-0 going in to the break, first denying Rooney his second, and then producing a fantastic save just before half time, diverting the ball over when Oxlade-Chamberlain looked certain to score from six yards.

It didn’t take long after the break for England to extend their lead, just fourteen seconds in fact. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reached the byline before delivering a cross straight to an unmarked Ross Barkley, who headed home his first England goal from six yards. It would not be a record breaking evening though, as Rooney was brought off with half an hour remaing. After the game, Hodgson confirmed that it was just a precaution given the state of the pitch, but the striker would have been confident of adding to his early strike.

Harry Kane produced a magnificent chip to open his account this season

Harry Kane produced a magnificent chip to open his account this season

The game was well and truly sealed as England added three more goals in just over ten minutes. Theo Walcott, less than a minute after coming on, met a driven cross from Fabian Delph to convert at the far post. Harry Kane produced a delicious finish to open his account for the season, breaking the offside trap to latch on to Shelvey’s ball through and chip over the onrushing keeper. Walcott added his second a minute later, placing in to the bottom corner after a being set through by Ross Barkley.

Walcott should have completed his hat-trick with ten minutes left, shooting wide after latching on to a gallivanting John Stones’ pass. Harry Kane could also have added to the scoreline, but he struggled to control the bouncing ball as he tried to round the keeper, who dealt with the danger well. Joe Hart was forced in to a late save, as Della Valle cut in on to his left foot but curled it straight to the England stopper.

Although it’s hard to gauge a performance against San Marino, there were some shining lights. Jonjo Shelvey continued his club form, proving a competent replacement for Jack Wilshere, whilst Ross Barkley also showed glimpses of quality through the middle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked a lot stronger when he stuck to the wing, whilst Luke Shaw’s performance will do his push to be first choice at left back no harm. However Jamie Vardy did not look England quality. Although a willing runner, he was never heavily involved, with his only real involvement being two clashes of heads with Brolli.d

Player Ratings:

Hart 6; Clyne 7, Stones 6, Jagielka 6, Shaw 8; Shelvey 8, Milner 7 (Delph, 58, 7), Barkley 8; Oxlade-Chamberlain 8 (Walcott, 67, 8), Vardy 6, Rooney 7 (Kane, 58, 7)