TUESDAY 26TH DECEMBER, 2017
(12.30pm - at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5(2) SOUTHAMPTON 2(0)
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele (sub Sissoko, 54); Eriksen, Dele (sub Winks, 84), Son (sub Lamela, 76); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Llorente
Southampton (4-2-3-1):- Forster; Stephens, Yoshida (Capt.), Hoedt, Targett (sub McQueen, 77); Romeu, Lemina (sub Gabbiadini, 63); Redmond (sub Tadic, 63), Hojbjerg, Boufal; Long
Subs not used:- McCarthy; Pied; Davis, Ward-Prowse
Booked:- Hojbjerg (foul on Rose), Long (foul on Sanchez)
Record breaker Harry Kane!
We cheered when he scored his first goal to break Alan Shearer’s record of 36 Premier league goals in a calendar year in the 22nd minute. We laughed when he scored his second goal in the 39th minute to become Europe’s highest scorer in 2017, leaving none other than Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, and Lewandowski in his wake. We simply worshipped when he scored his eighth hat-trick of the year (his second in consecutive games this Christmas) to make it a new record of 39 Premier League goals in the year, and to make it a total of 56 goals in the year. Not only that, Harry Kane has overtaken Mohamed Salah as leading Premier League scorer with 18 goals. With his three goals at Turf Moor on Saturday, Harry had already surpassed the 20 club goals mark for the fourth consecutive season, and now has 24 – so far of course. The man is simply a phenomenon and has now amassed a total of 96 Premier League goals . Harry has 123 club goals to his name and is now our tenth highest goalscorer at the age of 24, leaping above Robbie Keane. He has had a terrific 2017, and we’ve had some wonderful times following the exploits of Harry and his team.
Spurs had simply blown Southampton away little more than five minutes into the second half when Dele Alli and Son Heung-min made it 4-0. There were other excellent performances in the Spurs team, not least of which was the simply masterful Jan Vertonghen in defence for Spurs. That defence was required too as “The Saints” had as many shots as Spurs, and only one less on target. They might have been naïve in their set-up against such an attacking and goal-scoring side as Spurs, but manager Mauricio Pellegrino had clearly decided that attack was his best form of defence, even if he was missing leading scorer Charlie Austin (through injury and suspension) and had to lead his line with Shane Long, who hasn’t scored for club or country since February. Pellegrino was also missing key players such as Cedric and Bertrand, and chose to leave James Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis on the bench. Virgil van Dyke now hasn’t taken part in a game for three matches and is rumoured to be on his way to Man City in January. Southampton will have to use the money wisely if they are to halt their slide down the table, sitting only two points above the relegation zone.
Southampton had the first chance of the game after Spurs put themselves under pressure at the back with short passing, conceding a free kick just outside the area on “Saints’” left flank. Lloris had to punch the free kick clear for throw on the other side. Spurs got forward after three minutes and Dele Alli’s shot was blocked with Eriksen’s follow-up deflected away for a corner. A minute later a good cross from the left by Son was cleared away from the feet of Kane. Dele picked up a loose midfield ball and sent it to Eriksen on the right. Eriksen got forward and crossed to the near post for Kane, but this effort hit the side netting. Son passed inside to Eric Dier who hit a rasping shot well saved by Forster diving to his right. Eric Dier seems much more comfortable in the midfield role, and had a good game for us overall, but is still prone to defensive lapses, which occasionally helped Southampton in the second half.
Dele got a ball from the excellent Davinson Sanchez (who also had lapses in the second half), and tried a delicate chip shot which passed just the wrong side of the post. Dele was in excellent form today and got a deserved ovation when he was replaced late in the game by Harry Winks. Spurs had a lengthy period of excellent possession play before the ball was switched from right to left by Eriksen to Rose, who was fouled just outside the box. Eriksen fired in the free kick and Harry Kane was allowed to nod home from short range for that first record goal, which he celebrated with gusto in the away fans’ corner.
After the goal, Spurs were caught cold at the back. Lloris saved Boufal’s cross/shot and then had to struggle to save at his right post when Danny Rose headed the wrong way, nearly conceding an own goal. I think this Lloris save may have come with the assistance of the post too! Nathan Redmond got goal side of the Spurs defence on their left and hit a low cross, which Lloris had to save.
Spurs recovered their composure and after a throw on the right Dembele brought the ball to the centre threading it to Eriksen, who hit a shot from the right side just wide across the goal. Dembele was fouled on the edge of the Southampton area, and Harry, with his hunger for another goal, took the free kick, but it was blocked by the wall. Eriksen was also fouled and Spurs took a quick free kick to Kane who hit his right footed shot over the bar. Harry’s second goal followed good build-up work by Dele and Eriksen with Son getting to the bye-line hitting a low cross which Harry was happy to convert - again from close range – with a left foot finish. Goal scoring record number two had been achieved!
Spurs had a penalty shout soon after when Kane put Son through. Sonny went down under a strong challenge, but referee Graham Scott was not interested. Mr. Scott had a good game today, I felt. He is not one of the experienced Premier League referees, and the teams didn’t make things difficult for him, but I felt he always wanted to allow the game to flow and only got his card out when absolutely necessary. Spurs got no bookings today. In first half added time, there was another chance for Kane who hit a right foot shot from distance which dipped after it had gone over the goal. In the half-time interview Paul Coyte’s guest was former Southampton and Spurs man Martin Chivers.
Spurs had a scare soon after the re-start after a mistake by Dier let in Shane Long who got his shot in despite the presence of Sanchez, hitting a shot which was held by Lloris. Another chance came for Lemina after a good ball by right back Jack Stephens. Lemina worked his way from right to left across the area, and hit a left foot shot which went out off the top of the Spurs bar.
Now Spurs took the game by the throat with Dele and Son the star players in two quick goals. Son and Dele exchanged passes before Dele hit an excellent well placed shot around Forster and just inside his left-hand post. Two minutes later Dele was the provider for Son, as he led a counter-attack making a run with the ball before passing to Son on the right of goal. Son scored with his right foot beating Forster on the other side – to his right. It was 4-0 and only 51 minutes had gone but the 55,412 crowd could start planning their early escape from Wembley with no main line trains available. There were however three more goals to come.
Mousa Dembele required some treatment and was replaced by Sissoko. Danny Rose hit an excellent long cross to Harry Kane on the right of the box. Harry’s shot beat Forster, but ran the wrong side of the post. There was some showboating by Son before he passed to Aurier, whose cross was too deep.
Pellegrino made a double substitution with Tadic replacing Redmond and Gabbiadini replacing Lemina. The “Saints” were rewarded for their adventurous spirit with a goal for Boufal, hit with his left foot after a ball from the right. The shot went right into the corner to the right of Lloris. Southampton fans chanted “We’ve scored a goal! We’ve scored a goal! Ee-ay-adio, we’ve scored a goal!”
It wasn’t long before it was 5-1 to Spurs and three goals to Harry Kane though, and this third goal was quite exquisite in its execution. There was some excellent play by Son in the inside right position, before he hit a short pass to Dele, who provided the final pass for Kane. Harry delayed his shot before chipping delicately over his England colleague Fraser Forster. It was a great moment and a great goal to seal Harry’s year. The players joined in with the fan worship in the south-west corner.
Southampton were not going to give up their attacking style. Stephens hit a powerfully driven shot across Lloris, and Hugo must have got a touch to concede a corner. Gabbiadini got goal side of Sanchez and a hit a cross/shot which was blocked before Jan Vertonghen made an excellent clearance. Hojbjerg was frustrated when Lloris made a good save to push over his shot for a corner after which Tadic got a second goal for the visitors with a left foot shot to the right of the spurs keeper who I believe got a touch to the ball.
Spurs had one more decent effort on goal when substitute Erik Lamela led a break with Dele. Dele returned the ball from the left side of goal, and Lamela fired over from 10 yards
Spurs have now won 9 out of the 11 games we have played against Southampton since their last return to the Premier League in 2012. This was the first time we have scored five goals against Southampton since December 2004, when another goal scoring hero Jermain Defoe got a hat-trick. Robbie Keane was also one of our scorers that day. Now Kane has overtaken Keane and has Jermain in his sights, although he is still 20 goals behind Defoe. That day, and other record-breaking occasions will come. I can’t wait for our next game at Swansea next Tuesday!
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