The biggest surprise with the starting line up for the visit of Norwich City was that Gylfi Sigurdsson was included in the eleven, replacing Nacer Chadli who was absent from the match day squad. We shouldn’t be surprised though as the vast majority of the squad are worthy of a starting berth. It proved a masterstroke by AVB as Sigurdsson grabbed himself a brace in our 2-0 win over the Canaries.
The expected debut was given to Christian Eriksen and he quickly showed that perhaps some of the hype around him is justified. Eriksen replaced Capoue who missed the game through injury resulting in a more attacking looking midfield given the lack of a defensive minded player. At home against teams like Norwich (no offense intended) we should be capable of playing with a more attack minded midfield.
From the off Spurs saw a huge amount of the ball with Eriksen in particular always eager to get on the ball. The main criticism from Spurs’ games so far this season (Soldado being isolated) appeared to be rectified, Eriksen frequently found himself ahead of Soldado in attack with Townsend and Sigurdsson never far from the striker. The debutant perhaps should have scored about 20 minutes in, after beating two defenders in the box, Eriksen hit a fairly tame shot straight at Ruddy. Ruddy only parried straight to Soldado, with his back to goal back heeled the ball against the post.
Spurs scored their first after some good direct approach play. Rose received the wide left and then fired a ball into Soldado who did well to control the ball on his chest. He then laid it off to Eriksen who then played a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Sigurdsson. He controlled and then hit a curling shot passed Ruddy. Spurs deserved their lead.
Spurs continued to dominate the game but had Rose to thank for preventing a Norwich equaliser. Redmond got in down Tottenham’s right to put a cross into the box. Vertonghen would have cut the ball out easily but slipped resulting in the ball falling to van Wolfswinkel who was denied by a great tackle by Rose.
Spurs scored their second early in the second half. Eriksen picked up the ball just outside the area and played in Paulinho down the right. He played the ball across the 6 yard box and the onrushing Sigurdsson tapped in at the far post. Rose made another goal saving challenge from van Wolfswinkel. A corner was whipped in and Spurs were a little disorganised, the ball fell to the Norwich attacked but Rose flung himself at the ball to prevent the shot being taken.
Towards the end of the game, Lloris (perhaps a little bored) flew off the line to the edge of the area to punch a ball. He handled outside the box and clattered into the attacked. At first I was unsure as to whether he did handle it or whether the freekick was for flattening the attacker. He got a yellow as he did not prevent a goal scoring opportunity.
Lloris – had very little to do. Perhaps a little rash flying out to punch the ball (outside the area) late in the game. 6
Walker – started a little shakily but improved as the game went on. 7
Vertonghen – like the defence in general had little to do. 7
Dawson – wasn’t troubled in behind so Norwich played to his strengths. Good game. 7
Rose – had a fantastic game, good defensively and was always an attacking option. 9
Paulinho – played well and got an assist, sometimes wants too much time on the ball. 7
Dembele – best game this season, controlled the midfield from deep but still perhaps holds onto the ball a split second too long in advanced positions. 8
Sigudsson – 2 goals for the Icelander who was a constant threat from the left. 9
Eriksen – always wanted the ball, always made sure he was able to receive the ball and got an assist. 9
Townsend – direct as always but chose to shoot too often when cutting inside. 7
Soldado – worked his socks off and had he not mis-controlled a Paulinho pass probably would have been on the scoresheet. 8
Holtby (71 min) – came on for Eriksen with the game won, didn’t really get a chance to put his mark on the game.
Sandro (79 min) – usual breaking up play self, wasn’t really needed though but enabled Sigurdsson to get his standing ovation.
Lamela (83 min) – the fans wanted it and AVB delivered. Wanted the ball at every possibility but the rest of the teams heart was not in at the time. Dembele still subbed off each league game this season…
Eriksen will be a great player who can make things happen on his own however we do not want the team to simply pass him the ball and expect something to happen, we have had that before with a certain Bale.
A lot of twitter criticism was directed at Townsend during the game because he kept shooting from range (the whole team did in reality). I cannot believe he shoots so often without it being the direction of the management team. Perhaps they don’t want him to shoot as often as he does but he must have that instruction otherwise he would get yanked off! What was encouraging was when he did go on his right and put a ball in, they were still dangerous balls rather than hit and hopes. I hope he does this more as it keeps the full back guessing. If there is one criticism I can make of Sigurdsson display it was that he only appeared to want to go down then line when he did not have the ball..
Rose (my MOTM) is quickly showing that he can be relied on. While today’s game was not his most intensive in a defensive manner, he still made two crucial last ditch challenges to prevent van Wolfswinkel a clear chance on goal. He does seem to have a right go at the ref when something doesn’t go his way, he will need to calm this down given left back is one area we perhaps do not have two first team players for.
Norwich did us a massive favour by playing four in midfield, had they played five then our midfield would have been hassled far more often. We were simply given too much time to control and pick a pass and the scoreline should have been even greater than it was.
This was a good team performance that showed that the team is starting to understand each other. Sigurdsson and Eriksen will get all the headlines (and Rose a few in the fan environment) but the whole team played well, everyone wanted the ball and no one shirked the task at hand. Harder tests are to come but this is an encouraging start.
What were the positives and negatives for you? Want Lamela on earlier? Was Sandro needed?
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