SUNDAY 7TH FEBRUARY, 2021
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0) WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0(0)
Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Harry Lennard, Mark Scholes
Fourth official:- Lee Mason
VAR:- Darren England
Assistant VAR:- Andy Halliday.
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier (sub Doherty, 68), Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Lamela (sub Bergwijn, 74), Lucas Moura, Son (sub Scarlett, 90+3); Kane
Subs not used:- Hart; Rodon, Dier; Sissoko; Bale, Vinicius
Booked:- Lamela (foul on Gallagher)
West Brom (4-1-4-1):- Johnstone; Peltier, Ajayi, Bartley (Capt.), Townsend; Sawyers (sub Yokuslu, 78); Snodgrass (sub Pereira, 80), Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Grant (sub Phillips, 69); Diagne
Subs not used:- Button; Furlong, O’Shea; Robinson, Livermore; Robson-Kanu
Booked:- Snodgrass (foul on Davies), Gallagher (foul on Sanchez)
The old Kane and Son “one-two” does the trick!
THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!
There had been rumours emerging on social media yesterday (it does serve some positive purposes) suggesting that Harry Kane might return to the Spurs line-up for today's game. So it proved. With other changes, such as the inclusion of Lamela and Lucas Moura, there was some real positivity about the Spurs performance today. Ultimately, the old Kane and Son "one-two" did the trick and we were back to winning ways!
This was a “must-win” game for both sides. Spurs were looking to end a horrible run of three consecutive defeats, whilst West Brom are desperate to try and claw their way out of the bottom three. Sam Allardyce made several changes. Former Spur and West Brom club captain Jake Livermore was demoted to the bench along with last season’s West Brom player of the year Matheus Pereira. 34-year-old right back Lee Peltier was given only his second Premier League start of the season. One loan signing Mbaye Diagne played up front and another loan signing – Turkish International midfielder Okay Yokuslu – was on the bench.
There was snow or sleet falling throughout the game, and whilst it was not settling on the pitch, the surface was affected insofar as it slowed down the run of the ball significantly. Ndombele, who played deeper next to Hojbjerg, was sometimes affected more than others by this factor. In the first half it was a little difficult to make out Lucas Moura’s role, but he was nominally central in the midfield three behind Kane, with Lamela generally operating to his right, but also coming inside. Aurier was also often involved in attacks, as was Ben Davies.
Whilst we are not “the Harry Kane team” as Pep Guardiola once labelled us, there is no doubt that the team was invigorated by Harry’s presence. They – especially he – should have scored at least three times in the first half, when they dominated possession, territory, shots and even corners! After our negativity in the last three games, this was so refreshing, if not successful until the second half.
West Brom had their moments, but Diagne was caught offside on crucial occasions. Even Hugo Lloris’s most important save just before half-time was not necessary as VAR would have ruled a “Baggies” goal out for offside against Snodgrass, who had crossed the ball.
Spurs kicked off and played towards the South Stand. Kane and Davies shared a one-two passing move as Davies advanced into the left of the West Brom area after three minutes, but Ajayi made a good challenge on Davies to steal the ball. Lucas Moura showed skill out on thee right before crossing after 7 minutes, but this ball was cleared. Lamela hit a right-footed shot from the left side of the box, but this was struck straight at Sam Johnstone.
West Brom had a good attack after 8 minutes with left back Townsend making a run inside Grant, before crossing from the bye-line. Diagne’s back was to goal, and the ball was a little behind him, but he tried to hook it towards goal, but hit it over the target.
Operating in a deep central position, Kane sent a great ball to Son towards the left of the area. Son came inside and hit a right-footed shot which Johnstone held. Lamela was upset because he had made a run into space and felt he was ignored by Son, but you could argue that Son used that run to enable his shot. There were still only 9 minutes on the clock and from a central position Lamela fed the ball to Aurier to his right, before it was returned and Erik hit a left foot shot over the bar.
Aurier and Lamela showed skill (yes, skill!) on the right flank with Lamela passing inside to Aurier who passed across the area. Harry Kane was in space on the left of the box, but hit his left-footed shot over. An Ndombele ball, intended for Son, reached Kane, again with space. This time Harry hit a left foot shot across the goal, just wide of the far post.
Aurier worked hard on the right flank and passed inside to Lamela. Erik found Harry Kane on the left. Harry’s cross/shot was cleared and when Lucas Moura challenged to try and follow-up, Spurs had a corner. This was the first of three successive corners, and genuine Spurs pressure.
That pressure eased and slowed a little as West Brom found their feet more. After 35 minutes, again in a deep position, Kane hit a good long pass to Son, who passed inside via Lamela. Ndombele tried a shot or a pass, but this was cleared. Lucas Moura received a pass from Son in a central position and passed to Kane to his right. Harry hit a powerful right-footed shot which was saved well by Johnstone. That was another corner and another followed, won by Davies after a good ball by Hojbjerg. After a corner by Son, Aurier’s header was blocked on the line and Toby Alderweireld’s follow-up shot was also blocked.
That West Brom moment resulted from a ball down the line by Maitland-Niles (also a new loan player – from Arsenal) to Snodgrass, who would have been flagged offside in the old days. Diagne headed down ward and Hugo just about managed to save on the line, needing an extra touch with his left hand to make sure.
West Brom kicked off the second half, but within the first minute, Kane had received the ball deep in the middle, before releasing Son down the left channel. Son was goal bound, but when he hit his left-footed shot, Johnstone saved with an outstretched leg. Lamela made a good jinking run in the middle to the area hitting a cross between a shot and pass towards the left of goal, which was cleared. Lucas Moura fed the ball to Kne who got to the left edge of the box, but could not get a shot in.
So far, West Brom had been doing a good defensive job, but that would soon come to an end. Firstly Harry Kane scored club goal number 208, to draw level with Bobby Smith and leave only James P. Greaves ahead of him. Davies had brought the ball in from the left and passed to Hojbjerg, who threaded a nice pass into the area on the left where Harry took one touch with his left foot before scoring with his right past Johnstone.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. West Brom had inevitably come forward and at the end of their attack, Spurs countered with a fine run from his own half by Lucas Moura, who made it all the way to the West Brom area before teeing up Son to his right with just the right weight on his pass. Johnstone got a touch, but Son scored his 13th Premier League goal of the season and ended a six-game drought with a powerful right foot shot.
Diagne headed into the net soon after when Snodgrass crossed from the right, but he was offside. He was found to be offside again later in the game from a similar move. After going two up Spurs “managed” the rest of the game, but they had some defending to do. The child inside me, who has Spurs deep in his heart, wanted another goal, but all would be well.
16-year-old Dane Scarlett was granted a Premier League debut towards the end of added time, to add to a Europa League appearance early in the season. Next up is a fifth round FA Cup tie at Goodison Park on Wednesday night. I bet you’ll be watching!
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