Dark days for the Spurs PR office – no players and then no ground! In many ways, I’m not too fussed: when a club starts demanding north of £30m for what would be a squad player for us, we’ve got to walk away, and projects of this scale … can overrun.
But, as is often the case, I’m with the good people of the TH Supporters Club. Despite the fact that gate receipts amount to less than 20p in the pound, the club took advantage of the change of stadium to create ‘decimalisation confusion’ and increase season ticket prices by about 40% with a promise of no squad compromise.
Be careful, my corporate friends, about taking the humble supporter for granted. Forty thousand in a sixty thousand stadium feels desperately empty. The empty spaces round Wembley this afternoon made the place echo like a municipal swimming baths with a dozen six year old swimmers.
The question was, could the team generate some atmosphere. The answer is that they did … eventually. The first half tended to be klutzy, with half chances half taken. The opening period of the second half was positively anaemic, if you can have such a thing. Finally, they were rampant and Harry Kane scored … in August.
Right now, I for one will take any point going and six from six is a brilliant return.
Lloris – 8
In the first half, he twice demonstrated quite how invaluable he is. Buoyed by winning the sport’s greatest honour (as captain), he is looking immaculately organised between the sticks. No chance with the goal.
Alderweireld – 7
Just great to have him, on whatever basis for however long. Such a reassuring presence.
Sanchez – 5
Eventually sacrificed because we were unnecessarily overloaded in central defence … and needed to … ‘do something FFS’. Surprisingly, muscled off the ball for the goal. Played perfectly well up until that point.
Vertonghen – 7
Quietly efficient throughout.
Trippier – 7
The outlet ball in every situation throughout the first half, he eventually proved his worth from a free kick. He’d have never got anywhere near taking it last season, here it was inevitable with the unstoppable result. Well done, Kieran, for keeping back a pocketful of the fairy dust from last summer.
Davies – 6
Quiet first half but, when the ball finally came his way in the second, proved at least as adept at creating threat as ‘The World’s Greatest Fullback’ on his opposite flank.
Dier – 6
I like him on his own in centre mid – it means he’s not expected to do more than stop runs and recycle possession. He did that well enough. Inevitably, when we really had to generate from that area, he had to go. Thanks be for Dembele and Lamela.
Dele – 5
His touch at times is blissful. He works hard at being a nuisance defensively. Hit the bar. Offers threat but, in this game, not end product.
Eriksen – 4
Was fearful I might find it impossible to criticise Eriksen, thus producing endless anodyne copy of soppy adulation. Thank goodness (?) he’s given me the chance to moan. He seemed to be wearing his boots on the wrong feet in the first half. In a ‘project’ of detail, detail, detail, surely it’s somebody’s job to check these things! He was culpably slow in getting across to shut down the man who crossed for their goal. He will have better games, he adds pathetically.
Moura – 6
His goal was beautifully taken. He saw early what he was going to do and knew he had the technique to deliver, relaxed, executed, goal. He missed two early chances. He provides pace up front as a foil to Kane’s power. Worked hard chasing down. Still yet to suggest he’s indispensable.
Kane – 7
Scored in August and that’s probably the main thing. He carries more monkeys on his back than most and one fewer is surely welcome. Anonymous once again in the first half, he came to life in the second and might / should have had a hatrick.
Dembele was a welcome sight, his energy, skill and authority, impressive. More incisive and decisive still, Lamela’s direct running from midfield turned the game. A great assist and almost a goal of his own. One of our own, Winksy came on to remind us … he’s still alive.
Have something to tell us about this article?