The story today was much less what Spurs did than what Chelsea and Arsenal didn’t. We played alright, scored three goals to end any suspense, then went on autopilot for a good half hour and were fortunate the Saints didn’t score more than one and make us sweat. But in the great scheme of things, this game—and even the trip to the King Power this weekend pales by comparison to next Tuesday at the Camp Nou. The three points against a side auditioning for a new manager were there for the taking—Kane, Son and Lucas—with Eriksen and Trippier pulling most of the strings—made sure the purchase went through.
The fact that Chelsea went to the Molineux against a Wolves side which had lost their growl for almost a month and came away with nowt. Or that Woolwich went to Old Trafford against a perpetually in turmoil Man United—and although they were the better side for most of the final half-hour, could only manage a point. Well, it says that the team that finished ahead of both last year, and has played more away games in the league than them—or anyone else—and will, at some point, have the pleasure of entering a spanking new ground—that team must still be considered the favourite to finish third place and avoid a late sweat for Europe. Whatever happens on Thursday nights which we may very well be slotted to barring a historic victory in six days.
As to specifics, the front three were active from the start—Eriksen’s cross was low and hard and Kane was always going to finish—yes Lucas was offside but it happens. From there we were rather wasteful, all those chances producing little for the rest of the half, and only Lloris and the bar from Hojbjerg’s screamer kept us ahead. In the second half Lucas finished well from a scramble and then Son was perfectly placed to receive Kane’s cross for the clincher after Trippier challenged and set the ball free. And then we basically fell asleep—only Lloris and good fortune kept Southampton from scoring much earlier from when they did, and then Charlie Austin was probably offside so fair play all around.
Winks was OK, Dier too. The pairing of Foyth and Aldeweireld seemed pretty smooth though the youngster still is surrendering the ball a bit too easily for my taste. Danny Rose was clearly rusty but very active and one can hope he will have the sort of revival he enjoyed late last season. And did you realize that according to WhoScored.com Lloris is by far the highest-rated goalkeeper in the league? That wouldn’t have changed from tonight, as our skipper was in top form.
Nice to see young Oliver in a cameo—maybe he’ll see more time in the FA Cup opener against Tranmere or Southport. This will be a tight competition for 3rd and 4th—but the response to that second half Sunday was good to see.
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