Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

The north London derby at least for spectacle didn’t disappoint and it was Arsenal, so overshadowed in the past 3 years by Tottenham who took the spoils in a 2-1 victory.

The Gunners are trying to finish the season strong after another disappointing campaign in which they have flirted with the bottom half of the table, and even after this victory the club are still 10th.

There was entertainment so to speak even before a ball was kicked given that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had dropped star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench. The reason? Protocol and Aubameyang had turned up late for the pre match set-up.

As for the game Arsenal needed to start on a positive note and they did. Though there were no early goals the Gunners came out the block firing and were camped in Tottenham’s half with wave and wave of attacks. It seemed that it would be inevitable that Tottenham would concede. There was also a tinge of disappointment that Tottenham, who have had the better season so far than Arsenal, were letting the Gunners boss the game.

But such is this season it took the first shot on target for Tottenham to score and go 1-0 up. It was an important goal of course, but what a goal too. Erik Lamela would be hero an villain of this game but this was his heroic moment. Lamela shot at goal and the ball went through the Arsenal defend as if guided by the’ force’. What actually happened and it was more noticeable on the replay was that Lamela’s shot was the rabona one. The infamous shot that was actually invented 76 years ago in Argentina. It was a stunner that even Arsenal fans had to praise. As for Lamela, well he’s done that before in an Europa League tie six years ago for Tottenham.

Unfortunately for Tottenham though they were not able to calm the game down and try to sucker punch Arsenal again. A Jose Mourinho led team 1-0 up away from home in a big game, usually means 3 points for the club he is in charge of. However Tottenham were unlucky as Arsenal equalised soon after. The goal was kind of scored by new signing Martin Odegaard who was obviously delighted with it. But his shot took a huge deflection that left Tottenham goal keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance to stop it.

Arsenal had been the more attacking team, more was expected of Tottenham but it was questionable if this game should have still been 0-0.

The biggest talking point that has split pundits, media and the fans was the penalty that Arsenal were awarded late on. Alexandre Lacazette miskicked the ball and Davinson Sanchez came into him at the same time. The penalty looked harsh for some and for others was a stone cold one. That could be debated. It was enough however to win the game for Arsenal who had finished it with 3 shots on target. For all their attacking prowess in the match the Gunners had ended up with the same shots on target as Tottenham.

To add insult to injury for Tottenham Lamela was sent off as the visitors were losing their grip on the game.

The result is a blow for Tottenham’s top 4 chances as they slipped 6 points behind that objective but they do have a game in hand to play over 4th placed Chelsea, so that chase isn’t over just yet.

For Arsenal the goal is to lift the team up so they have a strong finish to the season and the Gunners have now gone a month in all competitions undefeated and could be heading in the right direction.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at

EPL Weekend Picks – Round 13

David Silva

The 13th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City travel to West Ham, while Tottenham host Chelsea in one of the biggest games of the campaign so far. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Wolves play two of the Premier League’s lowest-scoring sides — Huddersfield and Cardiff — over the next week, so Rui Patricio is well worth considering. The Portuguese goalkeeper has 18 points so far this season.

Continue reading

Tottenham’s game against Manchester City was hijacked by capitalism

zzzzzzzzz (1) (1)

Spin it anyway you please when Tottenham played Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in the Premier League the whole game was spoiled by capitalism. Suddenly the worlds best league and certain the most hyperbole one with television companies willing to spend upwards of £5 billion for rights was reduced to something no better than Sunday league football for youths.

The reason was how the Premier League and football grounds have sold their soul for money. It’s no secret that football changed in England once Sky the satellite broadcaster got involved over 25 years ago. There have been brilliant improvements to the league, let’s make no mistake but they have still come at costs. This was underlined on Monday night when one of the high profile matches of the season was reduced in quality because of an shambolic pitch.

This pitch didn’t belong to a non league team, although it might as well had. No that would be an insult to those teams. This was at the iconic Wembley Stadium. Tottenham champion pretenders against the champions Manchester City, and the pitch was simply awful. Why did this happen? Capitalism and the NFL had come to town like it does every year to rip the turf up. Not only that, the NFL logo was clearly visible in the centre circle as were all the markers for the different yards- the pitch looked like a Subbuteo one. As for the NFL they just got an extra 90 minutes of advertising too.

But the disgrace of the pitch which could have legitimately injured any of the players did not end there. There were also massive gaps around the famous stadium with the top tier almost empty. Just 54,000 people turned up, which feels significant only when you learn that when Tottenham played Liverpool here a few weeks ago there was over 80,000. Again the NFL was to blame as many City fans as well as some Tottenham could not come to the game which was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday and then changed to Monday evening.

And of course the change was because the NFL game was to be played on the Sunday. Finally the state of the pitch did affect the game, forget City’s normally free flowing football and Tottenham’s epic miss from Erik Lamela, all blamed on the pitch.

Whilst it is brilliant to have the NFL come to London and showcase a match, we should be very careful in future not to overlap prime sports all for the sake of greed, and that is exactly what happened on Monday night. If the NFL game was confirmed it was confirmed and that should have taken place no matter what. Tottenham are of course to blame in this fiasco with their stadium delays. But sense should have taken hold and this game should have been postponed to a later date. Annoying yes, but at least more spectators could have witnessed the game, and a missed beautiful exciting one at that.


Lamela’s immense importance to Spurs


It’s been terrific to see Erik Lamela back playing at a level closely resembling his best after missing so much time out through injury.

Since returning from his chronic hip issues in October, the Argentine has steadily gone about showing his class, as he’s been handled beautifully by Mauricio Pochettino, who’s crucially been very careful with his management of his countryman. Indeed, the fact Lamela has only made nine starts and been introduced off the bench 16 times in Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup exertions acts as a testament to Pochettino’s thoughtful approach to Lamela.

“He’s doing fantastic in the last few months but we need to be careful with him. After one year of injury, we cannot force him to do something. That is the problem,” Pochettino stated.

“For me, Lamela is still not at his best but I think he’s very close. And I think the way that we are managing him is fantastic. He doesn’t need to impress me because I know him very well and we know very well what we can expect from him. He’s going to be a player that is going to help in the last period of the season in the FA Cup and the Premier League.”

Brimming with enthusiasm, energy and relentless intensity, the 26-year-old has really began to stamp his mark in recent weeks, with strong outings vs. Bournemouth, Swansea City and in Tottenham’s magnificent win over Chelsea especially catching the eye.

A magician with the ball at his feet, the elegant attacker’s aptitude in this area has given his side another dimension going forward. His wizardry on the dribble has been a huge weapon, where his unmistakable close control, vast repertoire of skills, amazing agility and sharp balance allow him to get the better of his man or draw defenders out of shape for the benefit of his teammates.

Moreover, his imaginative passing has been another upside, for he’s never afraid to play ambitious passes, that so often manipulate defensive structures. Although this leads to him sometimes turning the ball over, the positives of his ingenuity definitely outweigh the negatives.

Shrewd positional variations and rotations only add to his nuisance, as he perfectly tailors and times his movements to exploit vacant space or performs well executed interchanges of position with a colleague. So good in confined spaces courtesy of his ball mastery and awareness, the press resistant Lamela vitally has the trust of his teammates in these scenarios, where they know he only needs a tiny bit of separation from his marker to be a viable option to receive a pass.

Being such a ferocious and determined defensive presence is evidently another reason why Pochettino admires Lamela, with his aggressive pressing and harrying putting adversaries under huge duress, something that so often allows Spurs to regain possession in advanced zones of the pitch.

Now in his fourth season in North London, there’s no doubting the former AS Roma and River Plate star has developed into a perfect embodiment of his manager’s philosophy. Let’s just hope he can remain injury free so we can continue to enjoy watching one of the most entertaining players in Europe demonstrate his class.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers? Play now!

Tottenham’s Erik Lamela finally finding his feet in the Premier League


Tottenham midfielder Erik Lamela has enjoyed a bright start to the new season, and finally looks to be proving his worth after two years to forget at White Hart Lane. The 23-year-old, signed from AS Roma in the summer of 2013, but found life incredibly difficult in the Premier League.

After a debut campaign to forget, and an inconsistent second season at Tottenham, it looked as though the South American winger would be joining the likes of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Vlad Chiriches out of the door this summer. But Lamela remained at White Hart Lane, and has vindicated the manager’s faith in his ability.

Scoring and creating three goals in as many Premier League starts this season, Lamela’s form has seen him start the last four games in all competitions. He’s bagged a further two goals in the Europa League for Tottenham, and his manager has been full of praise for the surprise turnaround in performances.

“I am happy for us and the team too. When the player plays well and improves their performance, it is good for the team. This is important – to always believe in them and give them confidence. You wait always for players to show more, more, more and more. This is the same for all players. You expect always the best for young players and for Erik it is good to score again to help his confidence,” said Pochettino.

Lamela has scored or assisted a goal in four of his last five appearances in all competitions, and is embodying the philosophy having been engrained by the Tottenham boss. The Argentine winger is highly-industrious, and is technically proficient to conjure chances for nothing, as well as having a good eye for goal. He set Tottenham back around £26M in 2013, but is slowly paying it off.

“I don’t know what has changed. I am working hard every day to find my best. The team helps me and I want to help the team. I don’t know (if it’s because I’m settled). I need to keep working, keep working hard every day. I am always wanting to help my team,” Lamela said in a recent interview.

The winger is a regular in the Tottenham side now, and is vindicating his manager’s faith with consistent performances in the Premier League and Europe. He’ll be hoping it’s not a brief upturn in form, but has shown this season that he could be finally finding his feet in the English top-flight.

Erik Lamela considering reviving his career back in Italy

Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela has endured a tricky time in the Premier League since his move from AS Roma in 2013, and the Argentine international could make a return to the Italian Serie A this summer in a bid to reignite his fledgling career. Juventus are one side who have been linked, but Lamela still has plans to stay at White Hart Lane.

Costing Spurs almost £30M, he 23-year-old hasn’t come close to paying off the princely sum. The Argentine has struggled for game time as a result of his poor form, and cannot replicate his Roma showings in a Tottenham shirt. The supporters have been treated to the odd glimpse of magic from Lamela, but such moments have been few and far between during his time in London.

Should Tottenham cash in on the winger this summer, its unlikely they would get back anything more than half of what they’d originally paid for him two years ago. Despite Lamela’s reticence to leave White Hart Lane, the London side have little choice but to search for interested suitors given how much he’s struggled in England, but it’s so far proven to be slim pickings.

The 23-year-old has scored just six goals in 63 appearances for the Lilywhites, and last season was in the shadows to the likes of Nacer Chadli, who cost less than half Lamela’s initial fee. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has tried to condition him to unlock his best form, but the ex-Roma starlet just hasn’t found any consistency since making the move.

He would attract a lot of abroad interest, however, with his scoring antics back in Italy ensuring clubs are paying a loose interest. Lamela scored 15 goals in 33 Serie A games in 2012/13 for Roma, which propelled his reputation at the time, and it was something of a surprise that he chose Tottenham for his next club as a result. He must be regretting the decision now, and surely a move back in the Serie A would be his wisest decision?

Prior to the White Hart Lane switch, the South American winger was regarded as one of the brightest young talents in Europe, but now sees his stock considerably diminished. For such a big outlay, Tottenham were expecting a standout star to boost their chances of Champions League participation, but instead they have an expensive flop proving hard to shift this summer, while they finish some distance from the coveted top-four.