At the start of the season we knew we had to make White Hart Lane a fortress if we were to be on course with our seasonal objectives. The problem is, White Hart Lane has become such a fortress that even we cannot win in it. Having lost two of our last home games we could not afford to lose another with our game against Chelsea on the horizon. This morale boosting win was just what we needed.
In a battle where no team could use the Europa League as an excuse it was interesting to see who would respond better from their European exploits. Our first 10 minutes was very positive with the ball even though it did not bring any shots at goal or on target. The intricate, fast flowing passing and pressing was reminiscent of Pochettino’s Southampton. There has been a lot of talk of the managers ‘ideas’ for a while now. Today we were seeing the first fruits of the philosophy actually bear the desired outcome. Pochettino must have found his ‘book of tactics on footballing philosophy’ because we have not seen the team play with so much flexibility and freedom since the days of good ol’ Arry.
It was refreshing to play with an abundance of personality and purpose. The players have looked like strangers in some games but in this one we looked a lot more organised and coordinated. We pressed and released the ball when had to. The players all sung from the same hymn sheet and squeezed any spaces Everton tried to utilise without being too uncomfortable with our own defensive line. So even though Everton had lots of the ball, their more creative players were hustled and hurried too much to do anything meaningful with it. Our reactions when giving the ball away were fantastic. The crowd were given some delightful crunching tackles to savour and shown a lot of desire for the ball by the players. Ben Davies is beginning to look good after a slow start to life at the Lane as well.
Harry Kane attempted an audacious chipping effort on 29 mins which brought an end to an incisive counter attack. The 6.74km area covered over the pitch by the end of the first half epitomised Kane’s immense work engine. He was harrying and chasing every lost cause like his life depended on it. Clearly not the most talented striker to grace our club, he makes up for what he lacks with heart, graft and a great engine. His confidence rubbed off the team and the fans responded to the teams hearty efforts.
Evertons goal was out of the blue and left Lloris with a near impossible chance of smothering it. It’s the 6th time we have conceded inside the first 15 minutes. Once again our powers of recovery when a goal down was going to be tested. Barkley on the other hand looked very lively and its a testament to our defense and midfield that he, Eto’ and Lukaku were neutralised for large periods in the game.
Fortunately we were not behind for long. Soldado’s unselfish run off the ball created a gap that enabled Kane to surge through Evertons midfield with a shot that fell kindly to Erkisen who applied a smart finish to equalize. It was an excellent response of character after going down.
Mason and Bentaleb in the heart of midfield disrupted the rhythm of Everton for long periods after levelling. There are far more senior and experienced players with international pedigree we could have had in the centre of the park. But the youngsters held up their own and showed that our academy is not that bad after all. The former reserve players showed good positional awareness and a tracking back ability that Capoue should take note of. Is it me or do some of the youngsters have a passion and fire about them? Some of them really play like they care, which is not something that is always associated with some of our players.
Lennon was impressive. He has his detractors but even they will find little fault to his contributions tonight. An assist and a tireless performance is not a bad return. His willingness to track back and help his full back is one of his strengths and also his eye for releasing the ball to better positioned players to shoot. Ahem Townsend! Who seems to shoot on sight even when there better options. Then came the winning goal.
Harry Kane’s great work ethic saw him press and dispossess an Everton player and quickly release Lennon who intelligently laid it off to Soldaldo who made no mistake in dispatching the ball into the net. That goal was celebrated by the Spurs bench, fans and players alike. It was a enthusing end to a half. That was a goal of tumultuous importance for the Spanish international. It was his first goal in last 12 appearances, 9 months, and 593 mins to be precise. What a genius MP looks for standing by his striker.
The level of intensity dropped a touch after the break but it was still enough to see off Evertons fightback.
It’s the third time in four league games we have gone behind and won. The standing ovation from the fans at the final whistle was a reflection of their appreciation of the teams robust efforts. Miracles do happen. Soldado scored, we actually won against 11 men and the team looked stable without Kaboul at the back. The team has been rotated incessantly since preseason without any real consistency but have we just have found our strongest starting 11?
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