A certain new technology, which will go unnamed for the duration of this piece, appears to have stolen all the headlines, again. I don’t want to hear anything more about it. Skip the next paragraph if you feel the same.
For a start, this is not new. Video reviews have used in other sports for over a decade. Secondly the sports that have successfully integrated technology (tennis and cricket for example) have natural pauses in the game that allow reviews to take place. Football is fluent and continuous. We don’t want to be sitting around waiting for every decision to be made and we certainly don’t want it dragged out for every single incident. The situation during the first half was farcical. Regardless of whether or not the decisions made were the right ones, the manner in which they were made was shambolic. Every goal, every foul and every offside decision was met by the referee placing his finger in his ear… so so frustrating to see. Has he forgotten how to do his job? It should be for the captain of each team to call for a review if they want one, not a device for uncertain referees to hide behind.
The game itself was good to watch. Spurs began with intent and quickly got to work dissecting the Rochdale defence. Erik Lamela and Son Heung-Min were sharp and energetic with the ball and it was inevitable that the pair would be involved in multiple goals.
Aside from the two wingers though, it was hardly an inspiring team performance from Spurs. Harry Winks was often outgunned by an aggressive Rochdale press and Moussa Sissoko was non-existent in the first half. The pair looked horribly miss-matched until Moussa Dembele was introduced finally provide some much needed stability.
The other blatant miss match in the Spurs line-up was Eric Dier and Juan Foyth. The makeshift centre back pairing was consistently bamboozled by Rochdale’s long ball and repeatedly stretched to allow space for their attacking players. The fact it remained only 1-1 at the break was not down to a particularly convincing defensive display.
Fortunately the attacking options available to Mauricio Pochettino proved more than enough for Tottenham. Lucas Moura had another strong game and seemed to link well with Keiran Trippier. Lamela and Son were a constant threat and eventually wrought havoc inside the Rochdale area. A brilliant spell of flowing build up play provided Fernando Llorente with three unmissable chances to take his hat-trick.
The Spaniard grew in confidence throughout the game. After quiet start typical of his performances for Tottenham so far, his finish after the restart was top class and certainly seemed to put a spring in his step. Now he needs to push on and take some of the burden off of Harry Kane.
Overall it was a mature and patient performance from Spurs. They had every reason to become frustrated and throw it away, but they remained calm, continued to showcase their class advantage and eventually put down a scoreline worthy of their display.
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