Friday, 18 March 2016

Rival Lines: Only a win for Spurs will do against AFCB, says Spurs Stats Man

Riva Lines
Match Preview: Spurs v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Spurs Stats Man 
Twitter: @SpursStatMan

It has been a strange week with AFCB having to wait until Sunday to play their next Premier League game because they are playing Tottenham who were still involved in European competition. I don't think the match a against AFCB for Spurs Stats Man Jack Pettiford has any less meaning though as the Tottenham fans gear up for one more go at trying to close the gap on Leicester. The only problem is that an in-form Cherries team stand in their way.

CC: Do you think Spurs have lost a bit to much ground on Leicester especially after that amazing north London derby draw with Arsenal and defeat against West Ham?

SSM: Obviously the past two league results have slightly knocked our chances of winning the title, but there is still 27 points to play for so I wouldn't say our chances are over yet. Poch's decision to rest some of our key players vs. Dortmund shows he still believes we can do it and I tend to agree with him.

CC: Which league fixture of the remaining games are you most fearful of perhaps because of your record against a certain team or their current level of performance?

SSM: I think with the form Chelsea are our game against them away in May will probably be the toughest, but I still fancy our chances.

CC: Do you expect bids to come in for Harry Kane this summer and will you keep hold of him now that you'll have the extra TV money?

I'm sure the rumour mill will churn out its usual garbage, even if a bid does come in I genuinely can't see him leaving any time soon. He's one of our own after all.

CC: How good a player is Deli Ali - are we over hyping him?

SSM: It's easy to forget that he's still just 19. He's clearly got an abundance of talent and a fiery side that will only help him succeed in the Premier League. We've become so used to hyping up young English players for them to inevitably fail to reach their potential but I genuinely believe Alli is something special.

CC: How do you feel about probably going to Wembley for home games the season after next and are you looking forward to having a new ground?

SSM: There's a fair amount of upset from Spurs fans about the potential of us moving to Milton Keynes for the season rather than Wembley, so I think I can speak for most Spurs fans when I say I'd be fine with Wembley.

The new ground looks great and hopefully the increased revenue it will bring can help sustain our competitiveness in the long term.

CC: Did Pochettino make his first big mistake of the season by picking the side he did to play against Borussia Dortmund (first leg) or can Spurs regain momentum?

The win at Villa suggests otherwise, but it's important to remember that they are a very poor side this season. We'll likely field another weakened side for the home leg vs. Dortmund but I can't see that impacting on our momentum in the league.

CC: What has Pochettino learnt from last season that has improved Spurs so much?

SSM: I think last season allowed Pochettino to figure out exactly who had a future at Spurs. He got rid of the dead wood, bought in key players in weakened positions (Alderweireld) and from there we've been able to push on.

CC: Is there one Leicester City player that you could see fitting in well at Spurs?

SSM: Kanté would probably be the one that I would take. His work rate would make him an excellent addition to the squad and work, but I can't see us making an approach let alone Leicester letting him leave.

CC: Are you already thinking about Champions League football next season?

SSM: Of course, with the form of the teams below us I think it's almost certain that we'll be there. If we can repeat what we achieved the last time we were in the competitions (reaching the QF's) it would be fantastic.

CC: How do you think Spurs will line up against AFC Bournemouth?

SSM: I think it will be a very similar side to XI we played against Aston Villa, but with Trippier & Davies coming in for Walker & Rose. [Ed - Davies suffered concussion bumping into Hugo Lloris in the Dortmund game on Thursday so may miss out now.]

CC: AFC Bournemouth kind of gifted Spurs a few goals in the earlier meeting between the teams in October, but do you think there is extra pressure on Spurs for this game that will make it a tighter match - let's have a score prediction?

SSM: It's a must win for us if we want to keep up with Leicester, and Bournemouth are in great form, but I still fancy Spurs to win 3-1.

CC: Do you think Danny Rose has a better chance of making Roy Hodgson's team for the Euros than AFCB's Charlie Daniels?

SSM: I have to admit I haven't seen many Bournemouth games this season, but I think Daniels as well as Rose both deserve a spot in the Euro squad. However, I have a feeling Hodgson will take Baines and Rose rather than Daniels. [Ed- sadly Charlie Daniels was left out of Roy Hodgson's squad for friendlies against Germany and Holland, but Danny Rose was named].

CC: In what order do you think the teams will finish in the top four this season?

SSM: I just can't shake the feeling that Leicester will win it:
1. Leicester
2. Spurs
3. Arsenal
4. Man City

CC: There were some great views from Jack there although he may find that AFCB prove to be just as hard a game as when the Spurs line up against Chelsea. As long as Tottenham finish in the top four though I think most of their fans will have little to complain about this season. Pochettino must have one eye on where the fifth paced team is as well as falling out of the top four would be catastrophic now with so few games to play. It is up to the Cherries though to try and take some points off of Spurs in the next game, and to try and make some of those White Hart Lane fans sit a little less comfortably in their seats. Do check out the Spurs Stats Man site for all things Tottenham, including a story on why Danny Rose deserves his England call up.

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