What a run we’re on. Wembley, a fortress. The team playing with an easy dominance we can rarely have seen. It would be churlish to chunter but, when teams blessed with less talent come to defend deep and narrow, we can begin to settle deep in our comfort zone and play out the percentages.
We began the first half brightly, with impetus. We started the second half sloppily but that only drew them out and enabled the second breakaway goal which, in turn, settled the match and we played it out ‘comfortably’.
Lloris – 7
Was easily a match for the couple of shots he had to save. I grow happier by the game with the range of his distribution. (He might have to earn this week’s wages on Wednesday.)
Sanchez – 8
All right, they carried little ambition or threat, but he is becoming a colossus. Calm but with latent pace and power.
Vertonghen – 8
Contributed also to sealing shut our defences. Sometimes in these games appears as if he might be becoming bored and starts making the contributions of an attacking midfielder – who can blame him?
Davies – 6
Both full backs played well within themselves, deciding to forego the responsibility of providing the attacking width we probably need against teams set up this way. Generally busy and efficient. One brilliant last ditch tackle.
Aurier – 6
Matched Davies in playing within himself and likewise in producing a last ditch tackle. Was probably the busier and brighter of the two and got into goal-scoring positions. Well done, Aurier.
Dier – 6
Certainly made his contribution. Always better when he looks mobile and moves the ball quickly. Defensively sound.
Dembele – 7
Began the game in our early dominance with the progressive twenty percent quality: he hits his passes twenty percent harder and finds a player at a sharper angle; he runs twenty percent more directly. Of course, he also holds the ball twenty percent longer which is not always a strength … well, it’s literally a strength but perhaps not always a good thing. The Moose has to be a protected species and, as his influence faded, he was sensibly substituted – we’ll need all of his power on Wednesday.
Eriksen – 6
Of course, he can’t take corners. Free kicks, they interest him – a great one that deflected off the wall and almost crept in and another where an off-side Kane ‘scored’ an easy goal. But corners … it’s a bit like asking a seventies flambé chef to come to the table to do a burger. Davies was more threatening when temporarily he took over. A busy game but not one he dominated.
Dele – 7
His pass for Son’s first goal was sublime – such an invitation. With his quick feet, tendency to roll defenders or twist or flick a touch away, he will always draw fouls … and go over at times, too.
Son – 9
Such a bright light on a dull day. I believe he induced a substitution midway through the first half, such was his speed and dribbling. It was right he should had the chance to go through on the keeper. He took that chance superbly and another in the second half well too. Only complaint: this was the second game in a row when he should have had a hatrick.
Kane – 7
He produced an assist, the equal of Dele’s. Signs too that he and Dele were beginning to look for and find each other like they did last year. He got his shots away but it wasn’t a day he was going to dominate the headlines.
Lamela came on (protecting Son for Wednesday?). He was mustard. As in keen, just not hot unfortunately – looked oddly like he didn’t have the confidence to take scoring opportunities. Sissoko looked effective and Moura, bright.
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