Today was one of the great days. All right, first half we simply dominated and were searching for a goal. Second half was a 1-0 thrashing. We had almost all the ball. We spurned a clutch of what used to be called ‘sitters’. We swept in waves. We were great!
I don’t know much about their team but I wouldn’t pick a single one of them over any of ours. They were anonymous, though to be fair Wiltshire huffed and puffed, at one point throwing both arms in the air in frustration at what his colleagues were failing to do.
And a record crowd at Wembley was, I’m astonished to say, a thunderdrome of atmosphere. What promise for the new stadium!
The only criticism was the spurned chances. On another day they might have stolen it at the end and the injustice of that would have killed me. OK, not in a merely literal way.
Lloris – 7
One great save that he had to pull out of an age of inactivity. Excellent sweeper keeping and good range of distribution.
Sanchez – 7
Can look clumsy from time to time but, for someone so young, he is mightily impressive. He might take a breather once Alderweireld is fully fit but he has been immense in Toby’s absence – just look at where we are in the table this lunchtime.
Vertonghen – 9
I was annoyed to see an article this week describing Jan as probably the best centre back in Europe. Not because he isn’t – he clearly is – but I don’t want anyone noticing. Immense yet again.
Trippier – 8
One of those who grew in the second half. The crowd must take some credit for the way the players responded second half. He tackled, came away with the ball, marauded. Looked the complete full back.
Davies – 8
An extra point for that cross for the goal. I was sat right behind it and, in a split second dreamt the parabola of the perfect cross. Davies duly delivered as he can often do. Beyond that he has those much under-rated qualities for a defender: hard work and reliability.
Dembele – 9
Once again, huge in the centre of the park. A monster. He has added finding space to his game. Thereafter, once he has the ball, it doesn’t matter how little he has, no one can get near him. Surely there has never been a player like him. He is also increasingly progressive. Again maybe the support should take some credit here.
Dier – 6
I’m determined to join the fan club. Provides a threat at set pieces. Made a couple of big tackles. Some headers. Tried for variety in his distribution but generally kept things moving and tidy. Once ran into the opposition penalty area but then looked a bit like the kid at the pool who rushes to the top of high board before climbing sheepishly back down.
Eriksen – 8
Why am I obsessed with how much he runs?! Surely he’s all about creativity but of the attacking players he carries an extra defensive burden and combined that with ‘running beyond’ as the game progressed.
Dele – 6
The least threat of the attacking quartet and the rising competition should spur him. But I’m also delighted by the love he was shown by the crowd. He will have relished being on that stage today. I doubt there will be a better in all of Europe this week-end. And he carries potency in such a variety of ways – except in glorious one on one certainty!
Son – 7
When we were seeking a way through in the first half, he was our route. Had the beating of his man every time – you could almost hear 80,000 pulses quicken when the ball found its way to his feet. Faded and was even wasteful late on before being subbed. Tired?
Kane – 8
The bookies should stop taking bets on whether he’ll score and offer odds on how. This time, a great header (and such an easy one missed). He is huge in the build up, so powerful at holding off defenders – they must be terrified. Then he has touch and an eye for a pass.
Lamela was all action, missed at least one golden chance and got booked – but then he’s sort of like that. Wanyama looked the part.
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