It was gritty and it was nervy but we managed to snatch the victory at the death. It’s a shame Steve Bruce did not learn from the Aston Villa game that to have a chance against Spurs you need eleven men on the field. The end result may have been different had the contest been with equal men on the pitch. Nevertheless we were not in any festive mood to give anything away and punished them duly in the end.
It was a frustrating game for Spurs fans in many respects despite the win. We had 23 attempts on goal. More than any other team in the league at this stage and also 75% possession. But stats only tell half the story.
In the opening period, we played positive without carving out too many clear cut chances. It was nice to see us neat and tidy on the ball though. Early exchanges were encouraging to observe from a Spurs point of view. Mason looked lively and really played with genuine zest.
It seemed like all our attacks went through the middle which made it easier for the bullish Hull defence marshalled by Dawson, to keep us at bay. Our lack of flank/wing utilisation most likely stems from our use of unnatural wide players such as Dier and Eriksen on the flanks.
Hull City scored from out of the blue and it’s not surprising a former Spurs man scored. The goal from our point of view was poor. Lloris could do little to smother Livermore’s rocket but you would have hoped a Spurs shirt or two would have come out earlier to block the shot. Hull City should have scored a second when Ben Arfa was presented with a glorious opportunity in which he spurned. That was THE match changer for me. Not the sending off that occurred later on. Hull going 2-0 up would have put the game out of our reach and made things an uphill struggle. That miss gave us a chance.
Things had to change in the second half and they did with a bit of help from Gaston Ramirez. The ref missed what appeared to be a trip on Vertonghen by the Hull City man. But let’s be honest. It was a threatrical fall by Verts despite the definite trip up and it was a massive turning point in the game.
Eriksen who has been nonchalant in many matches this season was as ever present as we have seen in a while. He was a constant menace on the ball with his guile and laser point passing. He was at the heart of our leveller with a wicked free kick that repelled off the post and fell kindly to Kane who dispatched a clean finish.
Soldaldo and Kane wasted chances to take the lead from golden opportunities as the game wore on. A draw was soon becoming like the most likely result until Eriksen was afforded room to swivel and shoot. The ball nestled into the bottom corner much to the delight of the Spurs bench. Our blushes were spared once again to a team with ten men.
Aaron Lennon has his critics but he reminded us what he can do when he came on and stretched the play with some much needed width. It was nice to see him and even Paulinho given run outs. The team played well in general but it’s still far from expectation.
The optimist would declare it’s three points in the bag. The pessimist will say it was a fortunate win against a depleted team. But the fact still is clear. For all our poor performances we are only 2 points off top 4. What could happen if we really started to play? Makes you wonder. Some league it is this season.
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