SUNDAY 22ND AUGUST, 2021
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Dele (pen), 9
Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Dan Cook, Marc Perry
Fourth official:- Peter Bankes
VAR:- Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR:- James Mainwaring
Wolves (3-4-3):- Sa; Kilman, Coady (Capt.), Saiss (sub Fabio Silva, 84); Semedo, Neves, Moutinho (sub Dendoncker, 74), Marcal; Trincao (sub Ait-Nouri, 84), Jimenez, Traore
Subs not used:- Ruddy; Hoever; Gibbs-White, Cundle, Marques, Campbell
Booked:- Jimenez (foul on Reguilon)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Dele; Lucas Moura (sub Lo Celso, 67), Son (sub Kane, 72), Bergwijn (sub Winks, 90+1)
Subs not used:- Gollini; Doherty, Davies, Sessegnon; Gil; Scarlett
Booked:- Tanganga (foul on Marcal), Skipp (foul on Traore), Hojbjerg (foul on Fabio Silva), Kane (Time wasting)
Anniversary goal for Dele, followed by some desperate defending
Dele Alli was awarded and scored a ninth minute penalty, which was on the sixth anniversary of his first Spurs goal at Leicester. To be honest, apart from two or three very good opportunities for us to score again, the match was not an easy watch for Spurs fans as their team was on the back foot for so much of the time, desperately trying to keep out the baying pack of Wolves players probably equally keen to score against their last manager. Wolves are left sill seeking their first point of the season whilst Spurs joined three other clubs on 6 points after two games.
Spurs were unchanged from the eleven who started last week’s game against Man City, but this time Harry Kane was included on the bench and he did make an appearance. He was also applauded onto the pitch by Spurs fans. Hugo Lloris made his 300th Premier League appearance for Spurs, thus beating Darren Anderton’s record of 299. The Wolves side included striker Raul Jimenez, wearing a headguard, who was making his first home Premier League appearance since 23rd November last year.
Wolves played in a familiar 3-4-3 formation with Semedo and Marcal deployed as wing-backs on the right and left respectively. 21-year-old Francisco Trincao, on loan from Barcelona, played predominantly on the right wing and gave Sergio Reguilon plenty to think about. The powerful Adama Traore played on the left flank, similarly testing Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez.
Spurs kicked off and Reguilon soon faced his first test against Trincao, who seemed to have the better of our left back for pace and position too often. There was an early clash of heads between Tanganga and Marcal near the half-way line and Marcal needed lengthy treatment, before carrying on. After 6 minutes Traore raced away down the left flank before cutting inside and hitting an attempted shot which actually went out of play in front of the far corner flag. We used to see Bobby Charlton do that occasionally!
Spurs broke forward through Bergwijn and Lucas. Bergwijn delivered the ball to Lucas, but Lucas then overhit it and Coady was able to clear. It was a trend of Spurs’ play for much of the game that they over-ran or overhit the ball. Wolves players seemed to find the pace and energy to both attack with vigour and to defend any Spurs forays closely. Spurs seemed to offer too much space to the gold shirts coming forward.
However, we took the lead with a penalty immediately awarded by Mr Attwell, and obviously supported by VAR. Reguilon crossed and goalkeeper Sa brought down Dele, who took on responsibility himself and fired home to the left of the keeper. After 13 minutes, Traore had the better of Sanchez, who was caught half a pace behind. Traore fed the ball to Semedo who went down under Skipp’s challenge. The Wolves team, and of course the crowd wanted a penalty, but Mr Attwell stood firm in his decision that there had been no offence.
After a Wolves corner 17 minutes into the game Trincao’s initial effort was headed away by Sanchez, but the ball fell to Trincao again who hit a shot which was comfortable for Hugo. I felt that Wolves were guilty of overplaying at times, being too intricate. Ultimately, their accuracy wasn’t that great either, as Hugo didn’t have many testing saves to make.
Lloris was hitting the ball long at times, which was refreshing, because we often put ourselves under pressure trying to play out. It looked as if Bergwijn might get away with one long ball, but Marcal cleared. At the other end Jimenez had a shot deflected wide, but there had been an offside anyway. It was one of those irritating occasions when the offside flag was delayed. Wolves had a free kick after a foul on Traore and when the kick came in and was half cleared Neves tried a long shot which passed over the goal. Traore was a persistent danger and again got into the box from the left, passing to Jimenez, whose shot was over the target.
Japhet Tanganga got the first booking of the game for a foul on Marcal. Skipp was also booked for his challenge upon Traore. After the free kick, Neves had another shot, but this one was straight at Hugo. There were five minutes of added time and finally Spurs managed a sustained spell of possession which ended with a dangerous cross by Tanganga, but that passed all the way across the area.
At half-time Wolves remembered the numerous victims of Covid, and departed former players. There was sustained warm applause around the ground, including from away fans, who incidentally had also applauded the pre-kick-off taking of the knee.
Wolves kicked off and Spurs were soon under pressure. Marcal was involved in a lot of the play, but his crosses were often over-hit and his shots off target. Lucas was fouled by Neves and Son took the free kick which came to nought. A shot by Traore at the other end was well blocked by Tanganga. “Sonny” failed to hold and control the ball near the half-way line and there was a chance for Semedo whose shot passed over the target from outside the area.
Spurs had half a chance when Hojbjerg sent Son away down the right channel. “Sonny” was trying to find Bergwijn, but maybe could have hit a shot himself, and Coady cleared. Jimenez was booked for unfairly challenging Reguilon as he advanced down the left flank. Lloris was down well to a Trincao shot after Semedo’s cross from the right.
Eric Dier made a bad mistake in midfield, allowing Wolves to advance. Hugo made possibly his most important save of the match when Traore was one-on-one with him. It was a case of more and more pressure by Wolves on the Spurs goal. I for one did not fancy our chances of holding out. A cross by Moutinho was headed over by Saiss. After that, Hugo hit a long kick and Bergwijn advanced upon goal. Sa parried his shot to his left, then saved again from Son, whose second attempt was blocked by Saiss.
Lo Celso was the first Spurs sub, replacing Lucas Moura. More pressure came from Traore, whose cross reached Moutinho, who fired just over the bar. Harry Kane had been spotted warming up and getting ready to come on, and he replaced Son, to cheers from Spurs fan, and abuse from the home crowd, who no doubt chanted about a move to Man City. Kane was soon involved in a triangular move with Dele and Bergwijn. The latter got into the box, but failed to get a shot in. The ball was cleared.
Dendoncker had replaced Moutinho and he headed over Trincao’s cross from the right. Spurs had another great opportunity when Bergwijn broke clear on the left side. He passed to Kane, whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Sa. Bergwijn then had a pop but the keeper saved that too.
Wolves manager Bruno Lage’s last throw of the dice was to replace defender Saiss with striker Fabio Silva and Trincao with wing-back Ait-Nouri. Spurs had a corner, taken by Lo Celso and headed by Dier, but saved by Sa. Hojbjerg “took one for the team” as Wolves broke clear and he hindered Fabio Silva far enough away from goal to only see a yellow and not a red card. Spurs won a corner at the other end and Wolves countered again. This time Tanganga made an excellent block from danger-man Traore. Fabio Silva headed the corner towards goal, but Hugo held cleanly.
Harry Winks came on for Bergwijn and Spurs saw out the three minutes added time, which included a booking for Harry Kane for using too much time over a throw-in.
Clearly this was a great result, and Spurs must take credit for ultimately resisting the pressure by an eager home team, who were well-supported. This 1-0 was not as well deserved as last week’s win over Manchester City, and I hope for more comfortable viewing days to come. Next up is our second leg of the Europa conference Play-off game against Pacos de Ferreira, who also hold a 1-0 lead.
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