Tottenham Hotspur returned from the international break in style, thumping fellow Londoners Crystal Palace 4-0 at their new stadium.
Spurs blitzed Palace in the first 45 minutes, reaping the rewards from their high intensity, flowing attacking football. A brace from Heung-Min Son, a fine finish from Lamela and a Van Aanholt own goal meant that Mauricio Pochettino’s men lead Roy Hodgson’s team 4-0 at half time.
In the second half, Spurs dropped in intensity and played at a much slower pace – which was understandable with a midweek trip to Greece to begin their Champions League campaign around the corner and a total of 7 games in 21 days.
It was a professional second-half performance nonetheless, limiting Palace’s chances and ultimately earning a first clean sheet of the season.
It is no coincidence that Spurs secured a first clean sheet with a more settled back four on the pitch. Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld impressed as always, pinging some beautiful balls left and right to the Spurs attackers, one from Alderweireld that lead to Son putting the North Londoners ahead.
Many fans were delighted to see Serge Aurier start at right-back, and he played like he had a point to prove. He caused Palace serious problems in the first half, and helped Spurs attack with pace.
He claimed two assists – the first was a ball fired across that went in off Patrick Van Aanholt and the second was a delightful cross on to the left foot of Son to volley home. With the right-back spot very much up for grabs at the club, Aurier can make it his own if he can consistently perform at the level he showed against Palace.
Tanguy Ndombele’s return from injury is a welcome one, as before the international break Spurs missed his flair and ability to pass through the lines and make things happen. Giovani Lo Celso’s absence until the end of October is a big blow, but with Ndombele back and Sessegnon now in first-team training, Spurs’ squad is well equipped to fight in all competitions.
This weekend’s performance, particularly in the first period, was Spurs almost back to their very best, like how they played in the 2016/17 season when they finished teams off early in their last year at White Hart Lane. It was a performance that will excite the Spurs fans again, and be a potential catalyst for success this season.
If Tottenham can consistently play with the same pace and energy in every game, any team will find them very hard to stop. People rightly talk about Liverpool and Manchester City fighting for the Premier League title, but should Spurs also be in the conversation? This weekend’s performance suggests they are certainly ones to watch.
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