We eventually progressed into the FA Cup quarter-finals, running out 6-1 winners in our fifth round replay against League One side Rochdale at Wembley.
VAR was the talk of the tie, playing a big part in the first-half, we still managed to take the lead through Son Heung-Min, who also had a penalty ruled out for supposedly delaying his run.
Rochdale bagged a surprise equaliser for the visitors and the sides went into the break level. However we took the game by the scruff of the beck in the second-half and thanks to a Fernando Llorente hat-trick, another Son strike and a first Spurs goal for Kyle Walker-Peters we ran out comfortable winners.
Here are five things we learned from the game.
VAR needs a lot of work
For the neutral and perhaps Rochdale it was an entertaining first half, which was marred – or improved, depending on your outlook – by a number of seemingly bizarre VAR-related incidents.
Argentine winger Erik Lamela had an early goal ruled out after Llorente was wrongly adjudged to have fouled a Rochdale defender just before Lamela slotted home. Spurs complaints ensued: they were certain Llorente didn’t do anything wrong, but the goal was chalked off.
We were then awarded a penalty when Kieran Trippier was fouled with the challenge starting outside the area, but the referee was informed by VAR that it continued into the box, more confusion. Son then stepped up and scored, but the referee ruled out the goal, booked Son for delaying his run, and awarded Rochdale a free-kick. Confusion reigned at Wembley. The referee was going to VAR for most decisions but there is still uncertainty about the “clear and obvious” nature of VAR referrals, and it continues to take an age for decisions to be made. It got to the point where the ref was almost obsolete
It’s early days for the technology – but it definitely needs tinkering before the debate will dissipate.
Son’s return to form. Will he/should he start v Huddersfield
Lamela, Son and Lucas Moura as an attacking midfield trio functioned well and with Dele and Eriksen almost guaranteed started Pochettino will have to pick who he deems the best performer of the three to start the next two matches.
It is an important Premier League meeting with Huddersfield Town on Saturday, with next week’s Champions League clash with Juventus to follow, and Pochettino will need to chose wisely
Son was more effective than Moura and Lamela against Rochdale, and scoring twice (three times if you include the penalty confusion) and that should be enough for him to start at least against Huddersfield and probably Juventus too.Moura and Lamela were both involved in goals – in fact, Moura provided two assists – and can count themselves unlucky but Son’s goal threat, when he’s got the bit between his teeth must start.
In the midst of the VAR Fernando Llorente breaks his FA Cup hoodoo and in style
The Spaniard was signed last summer to provide back-up (or to be a potential partner) for Harry Kane and in reality cup competitions were always going to be his best opportunity to stake a claim for more minutes in the Premier League and Champions League.
However he hasn’t taken any of his rare opportunities in a Spurs shirt and he has at times been so frustrating.Before Wednesday night, the Spaniard had failed to score a single goal in five FA Cup appearances for Swansea and Spurs, and nor did he find the net in three League Cup matches.
However he found the Midas touch just after half time and in a 14 minute spell Llorente bagged himself a perfect hat-trick. Three superb finishes finally giving him something to shout about as a Tottenham player.
Rochdale matched Spurs for a game and a half
Bar the VAR nonsense Rochdale made it an even contest for the opening 45 minutes but things fell apart for the visitors after the break and Spurs were 4-1 up after an hour. However Keith Hill’s men can take solace that they matched us toe for toe which can only serve them well, and they have a chance of staying up.
Could we go all the way in the FA Cup. It’s been a long wait…
It was a bizarre night and the lads will no doubt check be relieved to go through to the quarter-finals where we will face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Beat the Swans, Tottenham will effectively have two “home” games to win the competition. After early season wobbles we have made Wembley our home overcoming the likes Arsenal and Manchester United in recent weeks and now that it’s the business end of the competition we will surely begin to field a stronger side in the latter stages of the competition, giving us a real chance
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