Lamela leads the way
Erik Lamela will steal the headlines with his first half hat-trick but, as so often this season, it was a team performance that won us this game so emphatically. At the back Alderweireld was excellent as usual, in the middle Dier and Carroll strong and quick witted respectively and up front the four attackers harrassed and ran and flicked and passed and swapped places and put the Monegasque defenders under more pressure than they could cope with.
Monaco’s win over Woolwich at the start of this year was based on a record breaking solid defence but there wasn’t much sign of it here. Whilst their technically gifted midfield moved the ball around sweetly the keeper Subasic and the suitably named bumbling Wallace combined to undo any good work done in front of them.
Arguably the best goal of Lamela’s three came in the opening two minutes when N’Jie and Davies combined down the left and Lamela neatly turned in the Welshman’s cut back. His second came when Subasic allowed the wet conditions to get the better of him and let Lamela’s tame shot squirm in under his body – the keeper’s face as he watched the repeats of his error on the Jumbotron was a picture.
His third was excellent, a right footed (would you believe) finish from the edge of the area after Son had put him through. El Shaarawy curled one in for Monaco in the second half before Tom Carroll scored his first ever Spurs goal from a ridiculously tight angle to complete the scoring.
New and familiar faces
Josh Onomah made his full debut and should feel pleased with his 90 minutes. He played his part in the win, particularly when he moved more into the centre after Chadli came on. He’s still clearly more boy than man, he was muscled off the ball too easily, but he was confident in his passing and running and could’ve scored in the second half. Nabil Bentaleb came on just before half time after Dier had received a hopefully minor knock. He looked a tad rusty but it’s good to have him back.
We have a fine group of players to use in the centre of midfield what with Dier, Dembélé, Mason, Alli and him. It’s almost exactly two years since he was thrown into the fray by Sherwood and he looks a very different specimen, taller and wider, which is presumably a guide to what we’ll see happen to Onomah over the next couple of seasons. Chadli’s return from injury is also welcome though somehow his lack of steel, for want of a better phrase, makes him at odds with the rest of our uncompromising and physical side. You get the feeling that he’ll have to start scoring very quickly to regain a place near the starting eleven.
Watch the skies!
Our defending from corners was abysmal especially in the second half. On another day Monaco could easily have got back into the game just by being a bit luckier from set pieces. It’s been a theme through the season so far and we’ll be fortunate if someone doesn’t take proper advantage one day.
The draw for the first knockout round takes place on Monday at 12 noon our time. By winning the group we avoid most of the stronger sides and also get to play the second leg at home, both key advantages. At the moment we’re playing well enough that we needn’t worry about anyone, February is a while away though.
It was a great effort to win this game as comfortably as we did, well done chaps. COYS.
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