Victory over Everton capped off a fine week for Tottenham, with a convincing 2-0 win seeing Antonio Conte’s side maintain pace with the league’s leading sides.
Besides the North London Derby, results this season have been excellent for Spurs, but the one criticism levelled at Conte is that performances haven’t always matched, however, this disparity is growing increasingly thin.
Saturday’s game had shades of last weekend’s win at Brighton – but with marked improvements.
We had unrivalled control of the game, limiting Everton to just one real chance and four shots at goal.
All four efforts came within the first half (Understat), with Everton’s best chance coming via miscommunication between Hojbjerg and Romero only for the Amouda Onana to blaze his close-range effort over.
As for Spurs, 21 shots and 62% possession saw us dominate the game from the off (BBC Sport), but switching to a 3-5-2 once again saw us go up a gear.
Richarlison’s forced substitution was sad to see, particularly this close to the World Cup, and hopefully, he has a speedy recovery for both club and country.
With 54 minutes on the clock, Bissouma replaced the Brazilian, subsequently triggering the aforementioned formation change.
Instantly, Spurs became more threatening in attack, creating chances for Kane, Son, and Doherty before the Englishman won and converted a penalty just five minutes later.
There’s been debate about the penalty on social media, but for me, it’s clear cut; Pickford spills the ball, Kane capitalises on his mistake, and in trying to make amends, Pickford takes Kane out.
After going a goal up, Tottenham entered management mode, and whilst we continued a passive pressure on Everton, a clean sheet was the clear priority.
As time wore thin Everton made attacking changes, opening the game up and ultimately playing into Spurs’ hands.
Finally, Tottenham got a deserved second goal as a trademark Kane pass released Bentancur, before the Uruguayan’s cross was coolly finished by Hojbjerg who is fast becoming a force in front of goal.
As a fan, it’s great to see Spurs finally playing with an element of control, as in times gone by this would have been a nervy, tense last 30 minutes – pre-Hojbjerg’s goal, but with Conte’s game management, it felt we were always going to see the game out.
Spurs xG of 2.49 proves they were the dominant side, and this is hopefully something carried forward as we have the capabilities to overcome most sides on our day.
A special mention to Cristian Romero also seems appropriate, as the Argentine ran the game from centre-back, perhaps putting in his best performance of the season.
With two tackles and four aerial duels won, 87 touches, and 65 passes completed, Romero was at the heart of any Tottenham move, and played with a freedom we haven’t seen from him yet this season.
Doherty was also impressive, continually finding space on the right and pinning Vitalli Mykolenko back for the visitors, constantly threatening to be a danger on his flank and has surely now established himself as our best RWB.
Moreover, Saturday’s victory extended Spurs’ home league record to seven wins on the bounce, with Conte seemingly turning the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium into a fortress much like Mauricio Pochettino did in the last season at White Hart Lane.
A trip to Manchester United on Wednesday followed by welcoming Newcastle United is a massive week for Spurs, as these are two games against potential top-four rivals if things continue to improve for both sides.
Injuries to Kulusevski and now Richarlison sees Conte almost forced to play a 3-5-2, however, this may not be a bad thing as regardless of form, a trip to Old Trafford is seldom straightforward and an extra midfielder could be crucial.
This is a big test for Spurs, as in recent times, our away record is far from ideal, so Wednesday is a chance to again show the rest of the league we must be taken seriously.
It’s a bit of a football cliché, but Tottenham must continue to take each game as it comes, as having now made our best-ever start to a Premier League season we cannot let ourselves get carried away (Tottenham Hotspur).
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