· November 2014 figures
· Last Year's figures
Definite progess recorded
Louis van Gaal complained about the English Premier League schedule after the game at White Hart Lane on 28th December.This comes as some surprise from a manager whose team has played 10 less games than Spurs so far this season, and two less games in the month of December. Yet, I don't recall any such gripes from Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who has reason to be happy with the progress made by his team, and by himself this month.
There was marked overall improvement for both the team and the manager this month. The exception for the team being score ratio, which is unsurprising as we failed to score in the first three games, two of which were lost. The defeats came at Stamford Bridge and in Turkey, but we had already qualified for the knock-out stage of the Europa League. The goal-less draw against United was worthy of credit being given to the team and coach, whose fitness regime has proved invaluable as the season has progressed. The only area of slight downturn for Pochettino was over use of substitutes in the 8 games we played. In particular voters felt more impactive changes were needed against Palace and Besiktas.
It is pleasing to report the return of Kyle Walker, who is looking fit, but still prone to the od error or two. He has also already picked up 2 yellow cards!
Danny Rose suffered some enforced absence through injury in late November and early December, and that has allowed the emergence of Ben Davies, perhaps now first choice left back. Davies made a noteable saving tackle at his former stomping ground - The Liberty Stadium.
Club captain Younes Kaboul has only made one start, at Besiktas. A positive stat has emerged regarding Spurs record with Fazio and Vertonghen playing together. They have started 14 games, won 10, drawn 3 and only lost at Chelsea.
Aaron Lennon has also only had one start this month, as has Paulinho. Paulinho's overall grade for the season so far remains below 5. One suspects that Spurs might try and move him on in the January window. There are clues as to who might go, when you look at those not getting involved too much this month. Lennon, Paulinho, Capoue, Kaboul, and even Adebayor could be candidates to leave.
We've seen nothing of Adebayor this month, and in fact he's missed Spurs' last 11 games. He is back in training though, after he was permitted home for family reasons. It remains to be seen whether he has the favour of the head coach, whereas Harry Kane certainly does have Mauricio Pochettino's full support.
Kane has continued to fly this month, with a goal in each of our consecutive four wins, and bags of effort and commitment to add to his goals. Harry Kane is almost the only outfield player, who has played, and not been shown a card this season. Sandro, who only played one early season game, before crossing London to Loftus Road, is another, along with Mousa Dembele. Neither have played anywhere near the number of minutes as has Kane.
Another player to have the full support of the head coach is Erik Lamela, who this month scored his first Premier League goal, and what a goal it was too, against Burnley. Most observers remain tentative about Lamela though, and he has yet to capture the hearts of all.
Michel Vorm has proved an able stand-in for Hugo Lloris, who sat out two games in December, but of course, Lloris continues to shine like a beacon. Hugo has been responsible for most of Spurs' points, with saves that have kept us in games; enabled us to snatch away wins; and preserved our pride - most of the time. Hugo is the player of the month, but Kane was very, very close.
The return of Walker and the use of Vlad Chiriches to cover at right back has put Kyle Naughton and Eric Dier on the back seat this month. Chiriches deserves more credit than he receives from the fans, making a great goal-line clearance in the Man Utd game, for example.
Christian Eriksen continues to be a mainstay in Pochettino's team, with another 7 starts this month; two goals, and an assist or two!
Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb continue to hold their own as defensive midfielders, but both have an eye for goal, with Bentaleb getting his first senior goal in the Capital One Cup game against Newcastle. Benjamin Stambouli has made his first Premier league starts now, and shows signs of settling in well, as a combative midfielder. I thought he and Mason played very well, particularly in the second half against Man United, breaking up the play effectively.
We've got another seven (possibly eight) games to play in January, starting with the quest for a degree of revenge against Chelsea. Our other league games, against Crystal Palace, Sunderland and West Brom look, dare I say, winnable? The 4-0 win over Newcastle in the League Cup gave us a favourable semi-final draw agains Sheffield United from League One. Let's not count any chickens, but Wembley could be on the horizon, and that could mean Chelsea - again!
Don't forget to check out the players' current figures re. appearances, cards, goals scored and accumulated ratings to date below.
...if you want to read reports of the matches played during this season, then links are on the Spurs Odyssey Fixtures/Reports page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over 14 years!