OPPONENTS West Bromwich Albion 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 14th January 2017
VENUE White Hart Lane
West Bromwich Albion SQUAD 1.  Ben FOSTER
2.  Allan NYOM
3.  Jonas OLSSON
5.  Claudio YACOB
6.  Jonny EVANS
7.  James MORRISON
9.  Salomon RONDON
10.  Matt PHILLIPS
11.  Chris BRUNT
13.  Boaz MYHILL
14.  James McCLEAN
18.  Saido BERAHINO
20.  Brendan GALLOWAY
22.  Nacer CHADLI
23.  Gareth McAULEY
24.  Darren FLETCHER
25.  Craig DAWSON
38.  Jack ROSE
43.  Callam JONES
44.  Tyler ROBERTS
45.  Jonathan LEKO
47.  Sam FIELD
PREVIEW I don't hold with this notion that West Bromwich Albion have the sign over us, even if the stats say that we have only won one of the last seven matches against them.  They have too, but the five draws have been costly to our progress as a club and none more so than last season.  When Craig Dawson scored at both ends, with his second being the equaliser for Albion, that did more than the subsequent draw at Stamford Bridge to dent any hope we had of catching Leicester City.

But this side is a year older and hopefully a year wiser.  Albion have been a side who have been set up to be hard to break down and never more so than since Tony Pulis has taken over.  However, Spurs worked out how to overcome his Stoke City sides, so this season's performances have shown that they are better at taking points off teams who come to stifle the game.

Ben Foster has had some good performances in the club's recent run of three wins out of five.  His defence in front of him is a little light with injuries hitting the back four.  Nyom might not play as he has thrown a strop and won't go to the African Cup of Nations, so might not be allowed to play in this match, while Jonny Evans is injured.   Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson and AN Other  (maybe Darren Fletcher or Everton loanee Brendan Galloway) will make up the back four, but Claudio Yacob will sit in front to protect them and wind up the Spurs midfielders.

Fletcher might be sacrificed to playa t the back, as WBA are well served with midfielders.  James McClean is a red card waiting to happen, but James Morrison is a busy wide man, who pops up in goal-scoring positions, while Matt Phillips seems to be their man of the moment, being involved in scoring or creating most of the Baggies goals lately.  Spurs will need to press on to ensure they don't get forward and if they set up defensively, Tottenham's movement will be key in moving their midfielders out of position. 

Up front, they have a very useful striker in Venezuelan Salomon Rondon, who seems to have found his form this season.  Good at holding the ball up and a strong runner with it, he is good in the air and has developed a knack of finding the net from all sorts of positions in the box.

Albion are no mugs and their league position has surprised a number of people, but their organisation is good and they have the ability form set-pieces and on the break to hit teams.  Now that Spurs are safe from relegation, they will have to make sure they are set up right to deal with the Baggies.  I think they will be and with some of the players having a rest in the FA Cup last week, they should be raring to go and a narrow in is my prediction.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         West Bromwich Albion    1
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the match report, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with West Bromwich Albion
Spurs are without Erik Lamela, who is still recovering from a hip injury.
Jonny Evans (Calf) and Saido Berahino (fitness) will definitely be missing, while Allan Nyom needs clearance to play after refusing to join Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations and Chris Brunt has a thigh problem which makes him a doubt.  Jonathan Leko will also have a late fitness test.

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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:30 Sunday]  Also available online.
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Radio :  
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Tottenham Hotspur  4 (2)                                                                       
Premier League
Saturday 14th January 2017
White Hart Lane
West Bromwich Albion  0 (0)

Kick off 12:30
Kane  11m 19s
McAuley (o.g.)  25m 12s
Kane  76m 38s
Kane  81m 07s


Olsson  (foul on Kane)  65
McAuley  (dissent)  71


Crowd :   31,613 Weather :  Chilly, light rain in first half.
Referee : Anthony Taylor (Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Burt; Mr. S. Child
Fourth Official :  Kevin Friend  
West Bromwich Albion kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 3 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit West Bromwich Albion : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

15  Eric DIER
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (33  Ben DAVIES  64)

  3  Danny ROSE
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (29  Harry WINKS  83)
  Victor WANYAMA

20  DELE Alli
Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE        (  7  Heung-Min SON  90)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
  Georges-Kevin N'KOUDOU
7  Moussa SISSOKO

    1  Ben FOSTER

25  Craig DAWSON
23  Gareth McAULEY       
  3  Jonas OLSSON      
11  Chris BRUNT  (14  James McCLEAN  54)

22  Nacer CHADLI  (  4  Hal ROBSON-KANU  62)
24  Darren FLETCHER
  5  Claudio YACOB
10  Matt PHILLIPS  (47  Sam FIELD  90)
  7  James MORRISON

  9  Salomon RONDON

Unused subs: 
13  Boaz MYHILL
20  Brendan GALLOWAY
49  Kane WILSON
45  Jonathan LEKO


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Tony Pulis
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  K8
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

Tony Pulis is not renowned for putting out teams that play an open, attacking game.  Neither is he known for putting out teams who offer no resistance to opponents.  However, Mauricio Pochettino, as well as his young team, must have learned quickly, as they took West Bromwich Albion to the cleaners in the most comprehensive manner in this one-sided 4-0 win.  How Albion ended up with 27% possession was a mystery to me, as there was a period when Son was waiting to come on as a substitute and Tottenham held onto the ball for what was about a full five minutes.

By then the score was 4-0 and Harry Kane had bagged a hat-trick against the Baggies ... but he could easily have doubled his own personal total, while Spurs would not have been embarrassed with a double-figure score-line ... although Pulis would have been.  Foster was forced into numerous saves and Spurs enjoyed space and time in and around the visitor's penalty box, creating chances at will against a strangely disinterested defence.  The only worry for Tottenham was Jan Vertonghen's injury, which looked like a bad one as he bang the turf in frustration after going over on his ankle.

Tottenham's early play saw Nacer Chadli detailed to mark Danny Rose, trying to snuff out any threat down our left, but the only result of that was that Chadli's effectiveness as an attacker was nullified with him having to stay deep.  It didn't work, as the way Spurs played, with players given more or less free roles, saw them popping up in all nature of place son the pitch you wouldn't expect and Albion had real problems trying to prevent attacks.  The movement was such that the numbers WBA got behind the ball still didn't close space and Tottenham enjoyed a lot of that in areas around the penalty box.  It led to numerous chances being created and Foster being one of the few Baggies players who came out of the match with any credit.  But even then he was beaten four times.

Rose fired an early warning to Albion, with a fizzed cross across the face of goal and only just out of reach of Harry Kane, but with Dembele holding the ball well, normally after Wanyama had won it and Eriksen floating around the 25 yard mark, Spurs had plenty of options to open Albion up.  Even Jan was making early forays into the Albion half and this drew players out to him, leaving space for others to move into.  Vertonghen fired an effort over the bar from way out on five minutes, then Kane tried one from outside the box and it ended up in the same part of the Park Lane stand.

While Spurs were working hard to close Albion down, they didn't have to wait too long to regain possession when they lost it, as the visiting team's passing was shocking.  It was returned to us without too much delay.  A throw in on our left was taken to Dembele, who passed infield to Wanyama.  He took a touch and played it on to Eriksen 20 yards out and with time to take a look up, he played it into the box to Kane, who hit a rising shot past Foster from 12 yards out in the 12th minute.  Both Christian and Harry had too much time and made the most of it to give Tottenham the lead.  This would mean that the Baggies would have to change their game-plan to get anything out of the game.   Well ,they did have a good chance from a cleared free-kick, when a Chadli cross from the left to the far post picked out Olsson, who nodded the ball back across goal for Rondon, but his close range shot was beaten out by a fine Lloris save.  As it was Olsson was offside and the whistle had gone before Rondon hit his shot, but Hugo was alert and showed his class.

Spurs were winning corners at will and Rose smacked a shot over the top form one that was cleared to him 20 yards out, then Dembele picked up a loose ball in the box, laid it back to Victor, whose cross found Kane diving in with a header that Foster just about smothered at close range at the second attempt with the ball squirming towards the goal-line.  Not that it mattered, as a sweeping move from our own half saw Rose take the ball infield, was almost upended by Yacob, who wasn't good enough to do so and Danny toed the ball onto Eriksen, whose pass right to Walker was completely missed by Brunt, who was caught on the half-turn.   Walker checked the ball back inside to Rose, who had continued his run and a pass in front of Eriksen just on the 18 yard line produced a shot that Olsson got something on, then the ball hit McAuley, leaving Foster sprawling the wrong way and the ball ended up in the net to make it 2-0 after 25 minutes. 

Spurs were enjoying themselves now and another Jan burst forward on the left saw him lay the ball off to Dele, who in turn found Eriksen inside him.  Instinctively, Christian lifted the ball over the back four and Dele took the ball on the volley, cushioning a neat shot past Foster and into the opposite side of the goal.  Unfortunately, what would have been a Goal of The Month contender (despite it not being a scorpion kick) was ruled out for offside.  With Albion being a big side, much was expected form set-pieces, but a few were played in low (whether by design I don't know), but it reduced the threat tot he Spurs goal.  At the other end , Foster had to be alert to keep Kane out at the near post when he met Walker's low ball in with a flick that was on target.  Foster blocked it at the foot of his post for yet another corner.  Next Foster had to dive full length to keep a stinging low shot from Kane out via the post.

The first half was as good a display the team had put in and with a bit of luck Harry Kane could have had a hat-trick in the first 45 minutes, with other chances coming our way, it could have been 6-0 at the interval.  West Brom would have to do something very different to turn the game around and get the best out of Rondon, who had been a peripheral figure, albeit their main goal-scorer this season and Phillips had been virtually anonymous, although he had been in good form.  They did start the second half with a bit more intent, with Phillips flashing a shot across goal and wide, before Fletcher blazed a shot over the bar.  Spurs were a little slack in the first five minutes, allowing Albion to have a bit of the ball, but when Dele dinked between Fletcher and Dawson ,they bundled him over before he got into a dangerous position.  Eriksen's free-kick beat the first man, but only succeeded in picking out Foster's hands.

Toby played some raking passes out to Walker in the first half, setting him in behind the defence and a perceptive ball into the box saw Dele take the ball down, but as it got away from him McAuley bumped him and a penalty area went unanswered by referee Taylor.  A corner caused panic in the Baggies' box, with Jan and Toby both bringing Foster into action, blocking shots as the ball pin-balled around the area.  Dele performed his traditional nut-meg, this time on Fletcher and gave Kane the chance to shoot, with Foster beating the ball away. 

In a rare attack, Chadli found himself in the area, but Danny Rose had tracked back to make a fine tackle to rob him of the ball.  Some of the tackling by Spurs was spot on today and while there were no bookings, the reason was that Wanyama has calmed down form his last season at Southampton when he was sent off three times and no looks a superb acquisition.  He comes out with the ball, sometimes you can't see how he has done it, but he uses the ball well once he was got it in his possession.  Walker was getting more joy than Rose in the second half and a low ball across goal was just ahead of Kane's run.

Chadli's unhappy return to the Lane was ended when he was replaced by Hal Robson-Kanu, a player named after two WBA players of old, but not a patch on either of them.  Spurs continued their tempo and a breakaway saw Kane skin Olsson down the left, sot he Albion defender just scythed him down to see the referee produce a yellow card.  He had been lucky not to receive one before, with two challenges from behind on Kane early on and a couple of other 'robust' fouls.  Then came Vertonghen's injury, which hushed the crowd, as he is such a big player for us, but Davies came on to fill in for him and did well, as he has played there for Wales. 

Dembele, was having a very god game and tried his luck from 20 odd yards out, but the ball rose over the bar.  A weird incident happened when McAuley tried to baulk Walker's run up the right wing, but he ended up on the floor and play carried on.  He was so incensed that he made sure that the linesman knew his displeasure with abuse and a lot of finger pointing.  Even as Taylor produced a yellow card, he then turned his finger on the ref, which should have been a second offence of dissent and a yellow, then a red.  he let him off that, but McAuley then had a go at Olsson, who was trying not get him to clam down !!  That make sit the second game running that opponents have been involved in a slanging match with their own players.

Foster was behind Wanyama's drive after Eriksen broke from just inside the Albion half, beating the ball out, then Alli looked to have a good headed chance, like his tow against Chelsea from Christian's left wing cross, but he tried to head it back across goal to Rose, but the keeper came and gathered the ball.  When Walker broke on the other flank, McAuley did  bit better against him, getting between the Spurs man and the ball, but then he lost his bearing, swung and missed it, leaving Kyle with the ball a yard outside the penalty area near the dead ball line.  He whipped the ball across and Kane hooked the ball home from six yards out, falling to keep the shot low and past Foster in the 76th minute.

Spurs were using Walker, as McAuley had lost it.  An own goal a booking and an assist for a Spurs goal, he was having a trademark 'mare !  Walker raced past him again, putting across a pacy ball that beat everyone and curled out for a throw-in !  Once more, it was of no consequence, as  in the 82nd minute, Tottenham scored a fine goal.  Kane got the ball outside the area, playing it off to Dele.  The England midfielder lifted the bal over the defence and Kane continued his run to squeeze a volley across Foster to complete his hat-trick and et the fourth for Spurs.  It was almost a replica of the first half goal that Dele had disallowed, but it was just reward for our play and for Kane's finishing.  

It killed the game though, as Albion had offered little and had no more to give.  When Spurs passing it around, only bull in a china shop McClean had any edge in trying to win it back ... and he wasn't good enough to do that.  Son stood freezing on the side-line while he waited for the ball to go out, so he could replace Kane and allow him the standing ovation his performance deserved.

The game ended with Foster taking so long to take a goal-kick, the whistle went before he got to run up to it.  His time-wasting in the first half was a feature that reflects badly on Albion, but Pulis sides are prone to that and kicking the ball away.  But Spurs seem to have mastered the art of breaking them down and the way they are playing, the passing and movement are a lot to deal with for most teams.  The team performance was to a very high standard and WBA might have found it difficult to keep up with Spurs, as would many other sides, but next week, a visit to the Etihad will show if we are able to punish a Manchester City side, who are still coming to terms with Guardola's philosophy on the game and how it is played. 

Playing like this, Tottenham are a match for most teams in the world.

Gary Sampson




West Bromwich Albion lead the way in new technology in the 1890s, when they introduced goal line technology to their games by using a plumb line strung between the posts to show where the line should be.

The FA soon banned this as there were a large amount of players injured when they were felled by what (very) effectively became a trip-wire.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Burnley 1 Southampton 0 Saturday
Hull City 3 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Leicester City 0 Chelsea 3 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Stoke City 3 Saturday
Swansea City 0 Arsenal 4 Saturday
Watford 0 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 3 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Everton 4 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1 Sunday




League Table  2016-17
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 21 17 1 3 45 15 52 +30
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21 13 6 2 43 14 45 +29
3 Liverpool 21 13 6 2 49 23 45 +26
4 Arsenal 21 13 5 3 48 22 44 +26
5 Manchester City 21 12 3 5 41 26 42 +15
6 Manchester United 21 11 7 3 32 20 40 +12
7 Everton 21 9 7 6 32 23 33 +9
8 West Bromwich Albion 21 8 5 8 28 28 29 0
9 Stoke City 21 7 6 8 27 33 27 -6
10 Bournemouth 21 7 4 10 30 37 25 -7
11 West Ham United London 21 7 4 10 26 35 25 -9
12 Southampton 21 6 6 9 19 26 24 -7
13 Burnley 21 8 2 11 23 31 23 -8
14 Watford 21 6 5 10 22 36 23 -14
15 Leicester City 21 5 6 10 24 34 22 -10
16 Middlesbrough 21 4 8 9 17 22 20 -5
17 Crystal Palace 21 4 4 13 30 40 16 -10
18 Hull City 21 4 4 13 20 45 16 -25
19 Sunderland 21 4 3 14 20 40 15 -20
20 Swansea City 21 4 3 14 23 49 15 -26


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  2nd


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


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