OPPONENTS Norwich City at Carrow Road
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 28th December 2019
PREVIEW Norwich's local derby game comes on the Saturday after Christmas and finds them sitting at the bottom of the Premier League table on their return to the top flight.

The Canaries are a little bit of a conundrum, as they flew up on the back of flowing, attacking football and an avalanche of goals, but they have hit the buffers so far.  The goals have dried up and they are finding that the Premier League strikers are quite ruthless to result in them conceding a lot of goals and finding points hard to come by.

Among their squad there are plenty of young, up and coming players, with good technique and ability.  The likes of Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Jamal Lewis, Emiliano Buendia and Ben Godfrey have all been linked with clubs higher up the table, but their residence at Carrow Road relies on their final position in the standings.  Other players, such as Teemu Pukki, who scored the bulk of their goals to gain promotion, have been eyed by clubs at home and abroad.  Daniel Farke used his knowledge of the German leagues to bring in players who have done well, with Marco Stiepermann, Tom Trybull, Buendia, Pukki, Marco Vrancic, Christoph Zimmermann, Timm Klose and Moritz Leitner all playing their part in the success of last season.

The midfield of Norwich are primarily forward looking, with only Alexander Tettey shaping up as a defensive minded player, although Stiepermann could be classed as more defensive.  The gaps left when they are piling forward might leave the vulnerable to being hit on the break, so Tottenham moving the ball through the thirds could give them opportunities to test Tim Krul.

Defensively, the full backs also like to push on and try to provide crosses into the forwards, leaving the central defenders to stem to the tide if they turn over the ball.  On the plus side of them Vrancic can strike the ball cleanly from distance, Buendia is very good on the ball and Onel Hernandez is a skilful striker, who can't be given space to run at defenders.

With the situation becoming critical for the Norfolk side, Farke may be drawn into re-arranging his side to shore up the defence, but playing at home, the onus will be on them to get forward.  Spurs have been slow to get going and when they have started off on the front foot, they have been able to control games when scoring early on.  If Tottenham are playing without urgency again, that could play into Norwich's hands to build pressure and get the crowd behind them.

With Winks, Sissoko and Son all suspended, Mourinho will have to make changes.  Hopefully, Ndombele will feel ready to play, Giovani Lo Celso will get a start after his peppy performance on Thursday and the team will be able to shift the ball with some accurate passing (Better than Boxing Day) and finish the chances that come their way.  Using the breakaway, Spurs could hurt Norwich, but will need to be tighter at set-pieces, as some of the Norwich defenders are dangeorus from free-kicks and corners.

Having said that, Tottenham are capable of losing to anyone on their day and with Norwich struggling, it would not surprise me if they sprang a surprise to end their 2019.  However, should Mourinho get the team going from the start, they should be able to travel back down the M11 with three points in the bag.

PREDICTION Norwich City    1        Tottenham Hotspur    3
Spurs are without the injured Hugo Lloris (elbow) and Ben Davies (ankle), but will assess Dele after the Boxing Day win over Brighton, when he complained of leg stiffness.  Suspensions for Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son (2nd of 3) mean Spurs will have to re-shuffle the side that won on Thursday.

Grant Hanley will face a late fitness test after picking up a Boxing Day knock.  Ben Godfrey (knee), Timm Klose (knee) and Josip Drmic (thigh) are all ruled out of Saturday's game.


Sky Sports Premier League - live coverage
Sky Sports Premier League - Game of the Day  20.30
Sky Sports Premier League - Highlights  Saturday 23.30; Sunday  03.00, 07.30; Monday 03.00, 13.30
Match of the Day BBC 1  (Highlights) Saturday 22.30; Sunday 07.40
Match of the Day 2  (Highlights)  Sunday 22.30
Sky Sports - Goals on Sunday  (Highlights)  Sunday 11.30; Monday 08.00

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 17:30
Norwich City  2 (1)  
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0)

Vrancic  17m 39s
Aurier (o.g.)  60m 35s


Eriksen  54m 14s
Kane  (p)  82m 04s

Crowd :   27,072 Weather :  Chilly, dry
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Eddie Smart; Mr. Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official :  Dean Whitestone  
Video Assistant Referee :  Chris Kavanagh Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Andy Halliday
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Barclay Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 11 minutes.
Vrancic (foul on Ndombele)  22 
Lewis (handball)  54 
Krul (dissent)  55 


Moura  (foul on Aarons)  69
Alderweireld (foul on Cantwell)  90+3 
Eriksen (foul on McLean)  90+6    


Norwich City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Tim KRUL

  2  Max AARONS
  5  Grant HANLEY
  Christopher ZIMMERMANN
12  Jamal LEWIS

27  Alexander TETTEY  (14  Todd CANTWELL  86)
  8  Mario VRANCIC         (19  Tom TRYBULL)
18  Marco STIEPERMANN  (23  Kenny McLEAN  70)
17  Emiliano BUENDIA

22  Teemu PUKKI

Unused subs: 
  Michael McGOVERN
  Ibrahim AMADOU
  Derek SRBENY

  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

21  Juan FOYTH  (  6  Davinson SANCHEZ  46)
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (27  Lucas MOURA  46     )

28  Tanguy NDOMBELE

24  Serge AURIER  (o.g)
18  Giovani LO CELSO  (11  Erik LAMELA  74)
Christian ERIKSEN      

10  Harry KANE   (p)
20  DELE Alli 

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
  Oliver SKIPP

Manager :  Daniel Farke Manager :  Jose Mourinho
Sponsor :   Dafabet Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Errea Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

After the come from behind win over Brighton at the Lane two days ago, it was hoped that a similar haul from this game would propel us above Chelsea into fourth place, but some lazy finishing by Spurs and a massive slice of luck saw Norwich hold Spurs 2-2 at Carrow Road.  There appears to be some cracks appearing in Mourinho's facade, as he referred to the same mistakes being made every week, so, whether this is a reference to the team playing out from the back in the manner Pochettino wanted them to and giving the ball away to let goals in, we will see when he gets the team playing the way he wants.

Norwich had the first shot with Lewis firing an effort from outside the box wide of Gazzanigaís left hand post and while Spurs looked in control, but then began getting to the ball second. When Ndomebele was crashed into by Eriksen, Stiepermann was left to run forward and shoot at goal. It  was more of a toe-poke and Gazzaniga got to the ball with his left hand on the dive to push the ball wide. Zimmermann was at fault as he dwelt on the ball allowing Ndombele to block his pass and Kane was suddenly free on goal. But with players back covering, he played the ball to his right to give Dele a clear shooting chance but with only Krul between him and a goal, he side-footed it well over the bar with time to make sure he got into target.

Taking a corner at his near post, Paulo started a move that let Toby Alderweireld play a long, straight ball to Harry Kane. He took his first touch to the right, but Krul was out to meet him as he shot and block it. Then Aarons was alert to block Sessegnonís shot from Eriksenís square ball after Hanley gave the ball away. The move continued as Spurs recycled the ball and Dele had a low shot straight at the keeper.

Buendia won the ball off Juan Foyth, with Vrancic picking up the ball as it ran free and moved forward to put it past  Gazzanigaís right hand as the Spurs defence backed off him. It was against the run of play, but it was of Tottenhamís own making, as they were far too open once they lost the ball. Norwich were determined not to allow Spurs time on the ball and Vrancic caught Ndombele late and got a booking. Spurs had possession but failed to get dangerous balls into the box and when Norwich broke, they found Hernandez in space on the left to run at Foyth and luckily, he screwed his shot wide.  When  Aurier lost the ball in the Norwich half, nothing looked on, but Vrancicís crossfield ball from the left saw Pukki get in front of   Vertonghen and stuck the ball past Gazzaniga to give Norwich a 2-0 led. VAR was looking at it and gave it offside as an armpit was ahead of Jan.

There was little more noteworthy action before half-time other than a crunching late challenge on Lo Celso by Tettey, which was worse than Vrancicís that he got booked for and all Friend did was have a word with him.

At the start of the second half, Jose brought Moura and Sanchez on for Vertonghen and Foyth, switching to a back four and it seemed to have an immediate benefit, as we broke up a Norwich move and Eriksen played a long, low pass inside Tettey for Dele to run at goal, but Stiepermann caught him up to block his shot. The defender caught a knee on the head and after treatment had to go off and when the corner came in, we had a man advantage. It didnít show as the ball was cleared and by the time we looked like we could get the ball back in the box, Stiepermann was back on the pitch. A clash of heads between Lo Celso and Vrancic led to lengthy treatment for the Norwich midfielder, who managed to carry on after going through the concussion protocol.

Lucasí introduction caused a mistake by Lewis, as taking on two yellow shirts, the Brazilian looked for Kane and Lewis knocked the ball away with his hand to stop it reaching Harry. It looked as though it would be stopping a goal-scoring opportunity but only a yellow card was given. Luckily, Christian Eriksen punished them more harshly with a perfect free-kick at the top of the D that beat Krulís dive to his right off Tetteyís head and Vrancicís arm. Level within ten minutes of the restart, could Spurs go on to win this game ?

Suddenly the home crowd went quiet, as they felt every decision was going against them. They got one when Lo Celso lifted the ball over the Norwich defence for Dele and he scooped the ball over Krul as he came off his line.  It was a tight angle, with Dele to the left of the goal, but he was off-side and it didnít need VAR to spot that. The home crowd were then ecstatic every time they got an offside and when Hernandez went down the left side and pulled it back to Pukki, the Finnish forward got it stuck under his feet and Sanchez took it off him.  Pukki got all the luck in the world shortly afterwards when Alderweireld tackled him, but the ball went in past Gazzaniga off Aurier to hand the home side the lead once again. It was against the run of play, as it had been all Spurs since the start of the second half and now we had to start again.

Spurs were back in possession, but apart from a Lo Celso shot that hit Dele as it looked like being on target and then Giovani putting a weak shot to Krulís left that he saved easily, they had little to show for it. Lucas got a yellow for blocking off Aarons, off the pitch, which was not as bad as some of the Norwich fouls that Friend had let go. It was a booking, but so were some of the home teamís.

Eriksen put in a 25-yard drive that Zimmermann missed diverting past Krul by inches, but it went through to the keeper to save. Lamela replaced Lo Celso with the view to running at the Norwich defence, but so packed was it that there was little space to run through. Eriksen picked out Kane on the left and his first-time volley across the face of goal was missed by Dele, as he tumbled in the box.  As it was, it was Lamela who won the ball and knocked it to Dele, who passed right to Kane. Harry cut the ball back as Zimmermann slid in and took Harryís legs. Penalty according to the ref and to VAR too.  Kane had a long time to wait and Krul was trying to psyche him out, but as the keeper went right, Kane struck the ball to his left and it was 2-2.  Norwich were naÔve in their defending and so were their fans in thinking it wasnít going to be a spot-kick and Harry dispatched it with his usual efficiency.

Lamela struck a dipping shot straight at Krul, but the movement on the ball forced the keeper to push it out for a corner. From it, Ndombele rabonaíed a cross that Kane tried to overhead kick, but only clashed with Hanley, so a free-kick went to the Canaries as time ticked down to the 90 minute mark. As Spurs worked the ball forward, every time a player touched the ball, the home supporters wanted a handball. However, seven minutes were to be added on for stoppages. Toby was booked for a foul on Cantwell on the half-way line, Aurier miscued a cross with time and space, putting it into the crowd and Krul tried to shield a ball off but ended up wrestling with Kane and looked to have conceded a corner, but it was only a throw-in. From it, Eriksen slipped and turned his back as he bumped into a yellow shirted player, as Friend deemed this a booking too ! With Aurier winning a late corner, Eriksen failed to beat the first man and that was that.

Two points dropped or one gained ? Although Norwich had beaten Manchester City at Carrow Road, too many sides have gone there and won. One mistake and one moment of bad luck meant we were always chasing the game but could have been 1-0 ahead before Norwich scored had Dele hit the target when clean through. Easy to say I know but failing to convert our chances will cost us against the lowest of teams.

Once more, changes sparked a better effort in the second half, with Lucas and Lamela adding an energy to the team that helped win the ball and create both goals. The first goal in game seems vital to us and the fact that we are unable to keep a clean sheet makes the opener all the more important to make sure we score it. Having to chase games at this time of year when they are coming so soon after each other means that players may not have time to recover, so the games against  Southampton and Middlesbrough coming up need to be won from the start to prevent further tiredness among the squad.

Stanford Rivers

Match facts

Harry Kaneís 200th Premier League career appearance and his 150th career goal.

Black armbands were worn by both teams to mark Martin Petersí recent death.

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How the players did
Paulo Gazzaniga Exposed for the first goal and left flat-footed by Aurier's deflection for the second, there wasn't a lot else for him to do.
Serge Aurier Unlucky for the ball to strike him and past the keeper to give Norwich a 2-1 lead.  Did OK, but nothing spectacular.
Toby Alderweireld Put a good ball through to Kane early on, but had to concentrate on defending, with Norwich looking to hit on the break.  Unlucky with his tackle that led to the own goal, but caught between closing Vrancic and cutting out a pass to a Norwich player alongside him for the first goal.
Juan Foyth Robbed of the ball for the first goal, but little option to lay the ball off, so not entirely his fault.  Did OK apart from that, but subbed at half-time, which might not help his confidence.
Jan Vertonghen Looked good today, but isolated sometimes in a back three, so Mourinho changed it at half-time with Jan being replaced.
Christian Eriksen A performance from the Eriksen archive.  Passing to keep Spurs moving forward and stretching the Norwich defence and a goal from a free-kick.  A parting gift ?
Tanguy Ndombele Thought he looked good on his first start for a while.  Moved the ball well and made space to lose markers.  The more he plays the more he will be effetive.
Giovani Lo Celso Looked more involved and showed glimpses of the passing that could open defences.  Tackled back well to win possession.
Ryan Sessegnon Not used to the best effect and did not run at the Norwich defence when he had the opportunity in the second half.  Maybe under manager's orders to stay more defensive after he dropped back.
Dele Alli Looked lively taking a difficult chance well but offside.  Missed a straightforward shot in the early stages, but linked well and produced the ball through to Kane to be brought down in the box.
Harry Kane Had a god chance early on saved by Krul and at the end his running produced the tackle that earned the penalty.  Composed after a long wait to convert it to win a point for Spurs.
Davinson Sanchez Looked settled and did well coming on at half-time. 
Lucas Moura Again Lucas started the team going forward with some good running with the ball and chasing back.
Erik Lamela Looked energetic when he came on and won the ball to start the move that led to the penalty equaliser.
Michel Vorm Unused.
Eric Dier Unused.
Oliver Skipp Unused.
Japhet Tanganga Unused.



What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
Burnley 0 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Everton 2 Saturday
Southampton 1 Crystal Palace 1 Saturday
Watford 3 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Leicester City 2 Saturday
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Liverpool 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Sheffield United 0 Sunday


League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 19 18 1 0 47 14 55 +33
2 Leicester City 20 13 3 4 43 19 42 +24
3 Manchester City 20 13 2 5 54 23 41 +31
4 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 20 11 2 8 35 28 35 +7
5 Manchester United 20 8 7 5 32 23 31 +9
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 20 8 6 6 36 29 30 +7
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 7 9 4 29 25 30 +4
8 Sheffield United 20 7 8 5 23 19 29 +4
9 Crystal Palace 20 7 6 7 18 22 27 -4
10 Everton 20 7 4 9 23 30 25 -7
11 Newcastle United 20 7 4 9 20 30 25 -10
12 Woolwich Wanderers 20 5 9 6 26 30 24 -4
13 Burnley 20 7 3 10 23 32 24 -9
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 6 5 9 24 28 23 -4
15 Southampton 20 6 4 10 24 38 22 -14
16 Bournemouth 20 5 5 10 20 28 20 -8
17 West Ham United London 19 5 4 10 21 32 19 -11
18 Aston Villa 20 5 3 12 23 34 18 -11
19 Watford 20 3 7 10 15 33 16 -18
20 Norwich City 20 3 4 13 21 40 13 -19

Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :

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