While the seemingly endless will-he-or-wont-he saga of Gareth Bale has rumbled on for most of the summer, it might have been easy to forget that there was football this weekend with Spurs making their way to South London to begin the season against Crystal Palace.
A welcome distraction to the currently annoying transfer silly season, there were actually quite a few reasons to be excited as the season started. Spurs bought and they bought well. Paulinho, Nacir Chadli, Etinne Capoue and, most significantly, Roberto Soldado were all brought in to fill significant needs.
For once, Spurs completed the majority of their business quickly, with almost the entire squad filled out by early August. For once, we spent seemingly without abandon, breaking our transfer record twice while spending the 2nd highest amount of money in the league. For once, we were starting the season in Gameweek 1, not Gameweek 4.
As the first half kicked off, there was a tinge of optimism about the squad. Instead of being pulled into the negative by the Gareth Bale saga, we played with power, strength and pace. Spurs consistently bullied the midfield, with Paulinho and Dembele impressing as a two-man midfield pivot. Soldado remained active up front while Chadli was silky smooth on the wings.
Of course, this wasn’t just about the debutantes, as Spurs put in a convincing performance thoroughly deserving of victory. Rose made few mistakes at left back, Lloris looked indomitable in the back, sweeping up clearances early on and making clutch saves towards the end of the match while our defensive pairing of Dawson and Vertonghen looked strong and reliable as ever.
Another welcome sight for Spurs, a well deserved penalty as one of the Crystal Palace defenders handled the ball inside the box. Up stepped Soldado, who coolly, calmly and clinically put the ball in the back of the net while sending Crystal Palace’s keeper the other way.
While Spurs were the better team throughout the day, this is very much a team in transition. Several new players have yet to fully gel with the team and several players are returning from lengthy injury spells. Nevertheless, the signs are there and they are quite promising.
Spurs look to be a team full of pace, power and precision, while possessing a midfield that look quite formidable in either a football squad or a bar fight. Already in possession of more points than they had after three matches last year, Andre Villas Boas still insists that we could still welcome in a few more players. Whether or not that happens, it’s difficult to be unhappy with the start to the season – especially when with how poor those lot down the road were against Aston Villa.
Man of the Match: Paulinho. Our Brazilian starlet took little time to settle in, constantly pushing Palace players around while muscling players off the ball and making strong runs. Paulinho could quite be one of the buys of the season.
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