COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 24th August 2014
VENUE White Hart Lane






So, QPR are back in the big time and their manager brings his play-off winning team to White Hart Lane, with Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle as first team coach. 

While the West London club returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking, there is a lot for them to do.  Some has been done during the summer, signing up Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker stiffening up the defence, while Norwich City midfielder Leroy Fer will put some metal into engine room of the side and Chilean defender Mauricio Isla and winger Eduardo Vargas is on loan from Napoli and will line up alongside former Cardiff City's Jordan Mutch.  With a lot of loan players returning to their parent clubs at the end of last season and a lot of Rangers players being released and a couple sold, it is the usual revolving door transfer window for their boss.

With a first day home defeat by Hull City, it proves that Rangers have a lot to improve on and they will want to do that quickly, to ensure they donít get cut off at the bottom of the table. And that will start by stopping Tottenham from playing the way that they want.

Stationing Joey Barton and Leroy Fer in the middle of a midfield five, Rangers will seek to prevent Spurs having space to play in. Their wide midfielders in Faurlin/Isla and Hoilett/Mutch will seek to stop our full backs pushing on, while the back three of Ferdinand, Traore and Simpson/Onuoha. With the leggy Matt Phillips used as a first line of defence and the attacking strength of Charlie Austin, they will hope to tie up our central defenders to stop them bringing the ball out of the back line.

But the drawback of this plan could be that they lack the ability to create chances themselves. Last week Barton was their key playmaker, but that was at home against a team they thought they had a chance of beating. In this match, there will be more caution, as that is the way their manager plays, meaning that Tottenham will have to break down a resilient side.

The plus side for Spurs is that their two games so far have featured similar situations, while QPR have had one match in which the game moved from end to end. With Tottenhamís Pochettino inspired and improved fitness, the only failure in keeping going until the end of the match would be a mental weakness. With two games under their belts and with personnel being rested, it is hoped that the ideas will still keep coming. The use of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela to probe areas around the opposition penalty area allows them to float and drag markers away from other Spurs players, giving them space to operate in.

There will be a conundrum for Rangers if they concede, as they would then have to change their system, but that is the challenge for Spurs; to open up the visitors defence and force them to come out some more.

Our new attacking force will be up against the new QPR defence, using the management knowledge of our players and ours using theirs of the way that Rangers may set-up and how Caulker can be circumnavigated. The need to pull the QPR players out of their set positions will be the key to any success we might have.

Having seen the lax marking employed in the Hull game, Rangers might find it a busy afternoon, with the new Spurs Head Coach looking to start off his career with the club on a good note in his first outing at the Lane.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3        QPR    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.

Spurs will be without Kyle Walker (pelvis), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Kyle Naughton (suspended).  The rest of the squad are up for consideration.


New signing Leroy Fer may start on the bench, having played only as a sub ion one game since the World Cup and only having trained with the team for a few days following his move from Norwich City.  Winger Eduardo Vargas has not had his work permit through yet, so will sit the game out, but compatriot Mauricio Isla could feature.


Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

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BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  4 (3)                                                                        QPR  0 (0)
Premier League
Sunday 24th August 2014                                                                                                                             Kick off 13:30
White Hart Lane
Chadli 11m 15s
Dier 29m 31s
Chadli 36m 24s
Adebayor 64m 17s


Fer (foul on Capoue) 64  


Crowd :   36,109 Weather :  Warm, sunny with some cloud
Referee :  Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. G. Beswick; Mr. D. Cann
Fourth Official :  Roger East -
THFC kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 3 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit QPR : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS

15  Eric DIER 
  4  Younes KABOUL (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

29  Etienne CAPOUE
42  Nabil BENTALEB  (19  Mousa DEMBELE 59)

11  Erik LAMELA
22  Nacer CHADLI      (18  Harry KANE 69)
23  Christian ERIKSEN

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR    (  9  Roberto SOLDADO 80)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
  7  Aaron LENNON
14  Lewis HOLTBY

    1  Rob GREEN

14  Mauricio ISLA
  4  Steven CAULKER
22  Richard DUNNE  (15  Nedum ONOUHA 46)
  3  Armand TRAORE

  8  Joey BARTON
17  Jordan MUTCH
10  Leroy FER       (18  Alejandro FAURLIN 68)

19  Loic REMY
  7  Matt PHILLIPS  (25  Bobby ZAMORA 74)

Unused subs:
  2  Danny SIMPSON
23  Junior HOILETT

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Harry Redknapp
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Air Malaysia
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

The much feted return of a former manager and a former legend threatened to over-shadow the London derby with three points at stake, but Mauricio Pochettino ensured that Spurs focused on the prize and not the sideshow, as Queens Park Rangers were seen off with nothing but a hold up for the Notting Hill Carnival on their way home.  The 4-0 score-line did not flatter Spurs and for QPR, as often happened at Tottenham under their former boss, the score-line covered the cracks that appeared in their defence every time Spurs moved forward in a refreshing and simple display of attacking football.

With some Tottenham players missing from the squad - Townsend, Dawson,  Paulinho - and others stuck on the bench - Lennon and Holtby - it was a side selected specifically for the opposition and one intended to be comfortable on the ball and quick in changing defence into attack.  From the off, the white shirts swarmed around the red and black stripes to dispossess them on numerous occasions, making the Rangers players wonder what had hit them. And this wasn't just the Capoues, Vertonghens  and Kabouls of the Spurs side, but Lamela, Bentaleb, Adebayor and Eriksen were at it too.

As the sun shone down as the Bank Holiday weekend reached it's mid-point, the effect on the Tottenham players was obvious.  They were happy to knock the ball around, making the visitors chase the game.  Within the first minute, we saw Lamela drive at goal and have a shot deflected wide and then the speed on the break showed, with Eriksen freeing Dier on the right, with his low cross gathered by Green. The pace of change from back to front was in stark contrast to last season.  When Erik won the ball in midfield, played a one-two with Ade and then passed wide left to Chadli, Spurs were starting to move smoothly.  Nacer knocked it back to Bentaleb, who put in a first time cross that found Adebayor's head, but the ball passed a foot over Green's crossbar.

However, in the 12th minute, Christian Eriksen broke up a QPR move in midfield and played the ball to Nabil Bentaleb, who played Adebayor in on the left wing.  Too wide to shoot, Emmanuel turned inside into the box and knocked a cross to the far post, where it evaded Richard Dunne's attempt to clear (as he was badly positioned and did not know who was behind him), leaving Chadli to chest the ball down past him, then delicately knock the ball over Green with the outside of his right boot from close in as the keeper went low at his feet.  It was a well made and well taken goal, giving Tottenham an early lead and forcing QPR to re-think their strategy.

Luckily for Spurs, the West Londoners thought they could carry on playing the same way and it handed Tottenham more scoring chances.  When Lamela stood on the ball, Vertonghen was there to run it forward and tried to find Adebayor, but Traore was there, although he fluffed his tackle and Ade had a prodded shot at goal, but it was easy for Green to save.  Rangers finally found some attacking intent and Phillips hit a weak shot dragged well left of the goal before getting on the end of a move and drifting beyond Kaboul to sneak in to hit a shot that should have brought the equaliser, but only brought the Paxton Road crowd into action. 

Rio Ferdinand may have wished he had stayed in the capital of the same name, as he experienced an uncomfortable afternoon, which you imagine may become a regular event throughout this season.  His rash lunge into the back of Lamela, just 20 yards from goal in the 24th minute, brought Christian Eriksen to do what he does best and dipped a free kick over the wall, curling away from Green, who was only saved by the underside of the bar, with the ball bouncing out pitch-side and away.

Five minutes later, Spurs had doubled the lead, with a corner on our right being sent in to the near post area by Lamela, with Eric Dier finding space by getting away from Fer to meet it with a powerful header that beat Green from the corner of the six yard box.  The young defender is becoming a bit of a star down at the Lane, with his modest style and impressive work on and off the ball.  Fitting in at right back today, in the absence of the two Kyles, he was assured, good on the ball and always looking to attack.  His goal saw him swamped by team-mates to celebrate and he looks a very good acquisition at £4 million.

If anything, Rangers disappeared into their shell when they needed to get on the front foot, but Spurs were happy to keep the ball and in the 37th minute went further ahead with a bit of magic from Erik Lamela.  Having hassled QPR into giving the ball away, Eriksen played it into Erik, halfway into their half.   He turned to run at goal, but drifted across four defenders on a run to the left side of the penalty area and then cut back a lofted cross into the middle of the box, where Chadli met it with a header that went past Green from the edge of the six yard box in a central position, without a red and black shirt near him.  The way the Argentinian midfielder moved across the pitch and produced an accurate ball to create the goal was indicative of the way he feels this season, being fully fit and having a free role to take the game to the other side in areas they don't expect him to pop up in.

Only a couple of late interventions by lumbering centre-half Richard Dunne prevented Tottenham getting in for more efforts on goal before the half-time whistle blew.  It was one of the most pleasing 45 minutes of football I have seen Tottenham produce in a long time.

The same eleven came out for the second half, while Rangers brought on Onuoha for Dunne, but I only found out on the internet after the game !!  QPR did make one other change, reverting more to type with a 4-4-2 set-up that stopped Spurs scoring as freely, but that was more down to our finishing than their good defending, because the chances kept coming.  And Tottenham also made a change, with more play coming up our right than on the left, as the first half featured.  Leading the way a lot of the time was Eric Dier.  Not only did he often win the ball, with sometimes crunching tackles, but he looked to advance into Rangers' half at every opportunity.  ONe run took him from deep in our half to the QPR dead-ball line ... and he can put a decent ball in too !!

One pull back by the England Under-21 defender set up Lamela, but his shot was driven over the top.  This preceded the visitor's first chance of the second half, when Caulker jumped high to head Barton's corner wide.  The Rangers support cheered Barton wildly when he went over to take the corner.  He has said on one of the few outlets which will give him oxygen - Twitter - that he would "destroy both the midfielders Spurs have wasted money on and I'm a Championship player. Albeit, an exceptional one..."  Apart from one neat bit of skill to get out of the corner at his own end when penned in, he was mostly chasing shadows.  As one response to him on Twitter put it later, he will soon enough be back being an exceptional player in the Championship !!

Leroy Fer was making his debut and apart from losing Dier for the second goal and giving the ball away for the third, he got booked for a crude tackle on Capoue.  This was just before Tottenham went 4-0 ahead with an incisive break.  Rose played the ball up the left touchline to Chadli.  With two defenders around him, the Belgian looked like he had nothing on, but threaded a pass between them both to send Rose away on the over-lap and the left back delivered a perfect first time ball across the box for Adebayor to finish first time past Green's left hand.  4-0 with 25 minutes left and this could have turned into a cricket score.

While there had been some "ole's" in the first half, as Spurs kept possession, they now started to show some back-heels and nut-megs as QPR's re-introduction to the Premier League firmly put them in their place (which ended up bottom of the table after the game).  When Kaboul did a Cruyff turn in their box to create space for a shot, I thought I had seen everything !!

Right on the 78th minute, Steven Caulker had QPR's first shot on target which was deflected and took a  lot of the sting out of the effort, leaving Lloris time to change direct and flop to save.  An effort earlier had gone a hundred feet up in the air and as it came down, Lloris took the ball easily, with no Rangers player challenging.  This angered the few Hoops fans who had made it across London.  One gent got very irate and began abusing the Spurs fans in the Lower West Stand, which led to him being asked to leave the ground.  At that stage, he was probably pleased to go

Eight minutes from the end, Rangers did get the ball in the net, with the shot going in off Rose, who had been pushed as the corner came in anyway, so it was chalked off by referee Taylor, much to Remy's disgust.  With a couple of minutes left, they should have got on the scoreboard, with Remy driving into the box, but was blocked and the ball ran to Bobby Zamora, who blazed high over the goal from a tight angle on the right.  Remy did the same a minute later, as he tried to salvage at least some of his reputation and earn a release form playing with this shower.

Substitute Harry Kane set up Lamela for a shot, but he couldn't keep it down.  If Spurs players could have got their knee over the ball, Green would have had much more work to do.  The chance came in added time and there was enough left for Faurlin to send over a corner, which Caulker rose to win again, but his header glanced wide of the far post and that was about it, as Spurs took the big win, with the fans impressed by Poch's style and more so that the side are top of the league !!

A few times Spurs got into promising positions in and around the area, but either ran out of space before deciding what to do or, in Mousa Demeble's case was in two minds as to what to do as he got to the edge of the box and chose neither of them.  For Nacer Chadli though, it was a fine exhibition of getting into positions he should to use his assets to their best.  His first finish was deft and it was good to see a Spurs player score with his head with his second goal.  Eriksen and Lamela were both unlucky not to finish with a goal, but their midfield play was a delight and I can imagine Glenn Hoddle in his QPR tracksuit inwardly purring over the way Spurs took his current side apart.  It was difficult to decide if we had played exceedingly well or QPR were just pants, but the truth was somewhere in between.  I am hopeful that if we play like this for the majority of matches, we will reap the rewards.

A good start with two derby wins and six points with no goals conceded, putting Spurs top of the league.  Getting there is easy and staying there is the hard part.  How we get on next week will show how the side can face up to one of the supposed top four.

James Martindale




The number of stripes on QPR's shirts reflect the number of years their club has ever spent in the top flight of English football.

Joey Barton has been voted head Twitter of the Year.  No, sorry, that should have been Twit of the Year.

Harry Redknapp takes charge of the third London side in his career, ensuring he is equally as disliked in the capital as he is on the South Coast.

So superstitious is the QPR manager, he always ensures that the shirt numbers on the players in the starting eleven add up to his age.


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What you thought
East Stan I didn't hear the usual "Welcome back to our old ..." prior to the game for Harry Redknapp.  So, I don't know if they didn't because of the grudge that he doesn't hold against Daniel Levy or whether it was they feared that the old man wouldn't get the reception that he thought he was due form the Spurs fans.

As it was, he was more likely to get a chorus of "Sacked in the morning" at the end of the game !!

Benny The Ball Most unusually for an opening game at the Lane, I failed to hear anyone moaning about the display.  The closest that came to it was amazement that someone never thought they would see Nacer Chadli score twice in a match.
Gary Sampson Whether it is the signing of Ben Davies or Poch's ability to make the most of full back's talents, but Danny Rose has stepped up his game this season so far.  Maybe like Lamela, he is playing without carrying an injury, but his attacking play was a major factor of opening QPR up on their right side and he barely lost a ball in the air.  In fact, he made Loic Remy look a bit ordinary and might have shaved a bit off his asking price, if we are still interested after that display that is.
Sparky Marky Any other team who put together 48 passes to create a goal (as in Chadli's second), which, as they pointed out inn Match of the Day 2, involved all 11 Spurs players, then pundits would be creaming themselves over the football that was being played.  But then Spurs are not Barcelona or Arsenal, so I am happy that we are flying under the radar and we can just get on with what Poch is doing at the club.
Burton Coggles I don't wish too much ill on QPR, but after they have played eight games, I hope they have two points and then we will either see a new face in their manager's seat or it will be the opportunity to assess how good the existing incumbent really is.
Pete Stachio The 48 passes that lead to Nacer Chadli's second goal have been broken down by a newspaper and here is how they shape up ...

Etienne Capoue 14
Jan Vertonghen 10
Nabil Bentaleb 6
Younes Kaboul 4
Erik Lamela 3
Danny Rose 3
Nacer Chadli 2
Eric Dier 2
Emmanuel Adebayor 2
Christian Eriksen 1
Hugo Lloris 1

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 0 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Leicester City 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 West Ham United 3 Saturday
Everton 2 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Southampton 0 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Burnley 0 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Hull City 1 Sunday
Sunderland 1 Manchester United 1 Sunday
Liverpool - - - -day
Manchester City - - - -day




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 2 0 0 5 0 6 +5
2 Chelsea 2 2 0 0 5 1 6 +4
3 Manchester City 2 2 0 0 5 1 6 +4
4 Swansea City 2 2 0 0 3 1 6 +2
5 Arsenal 2 1 1 0 4 3 4 +1
6 Hull City 2 1 1 0 2 1 4 +1
7 Aston Villa 2 1 1 0 1 0 4 +1
8 West Ham United 2 1 0 1 3 2 3 +1
9 Liverpool 2 1 0 1 3 4 3 -1
10 Everton 2 0 2 0 4 4 2 0
11 Sunderland 2 0 2 0 3 3 2 0
12 West Bromwich Albion 2 0 2 0 2 2 2 0
13 Leicester City 2 0 1 1 2 4 1 -2
14 Manchester United 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 -1
15 Southampton 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 -1
16 Stoke City 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 -1
17 Newcastle United 2 0 2 1 0 2 1 -2
18 Crystal Palace 2 0 0 2 2 5 0 -3
19 Burnley 2 0 0 2 1 4 0 -3
20 QPR 2 0 0 2 0 5 0 -5


Position before match :  9th
Position after match :  1st
Position after the weekend :  1st


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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