Comfortably numb

Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 0 Tromso - Europa League - September 19th, 2013

Europa League tour.

Spurs at it again, a sort of lacklustre dropping down to the oppositions level as they put three past Tromso in the opening Europa League group game.

A comfortable, going through the motions night, that saw three excellent individual and team goals, equally spoiled by three injuries. Tromso came to do nowt much and they achieved their aims, especially if their aims included not conceding the number of goals they should have, anything below five and I think they’d be happy. So they were probably happy.

So a game of not much to talk about bar those goals and injuries.

Goals. Well, has someone being teaching Defoe how to finish? Yes you heard the commentators go on and on and on about him being a natural scorer, always hitting the target. Yet little said about him not hitting the back of the net. Yes a lot of hit ‘keepers, hit woodwork but even though he is up there with the top Spurs’s corers over the years the chance to goal ratio isn’t what it should have been. If only he could finesse it instead of just head down and smash it as hard as possible. Yes that has it’s place but if he had done what he did last night previously Spurs might not be in the Europa League.

First up after some nice hounding work by Hotlby and Sigurdsson – the former was non-stop for the 70 minutes he was on the park the latter looks more confident every game – a nice ball by the German found Lamela on the right who found Defoe with a brilliant ball that matched Defoe’s movement and he finished it off with a delightful dink over the advancing ‘keeper.

Second up again involved most of those from the first. Gylfi shielding lays off to Holtby who matches Lamela with an excellent ball through to yet another excellent run by Defoe for him to slide it into the far post. Two excellent goals in terms of both team an individual. Providing an if only for Defoe.

The third was a moment of individual brilliance from the substitute Eriksen. Shifting to get a yard of space and just pinging it curling over the despairing ‘keeper into the far to corner. It follows up from the weekend and makes you think this fella is the one.

The elusive number 10. Well Holtby did a decent enough job in the role, admittedly against poor opposition, as said he was all over the place, harrying, harassing wile creating and sparking. Just a number of his touches just didn’t link up with people not on his wavelength. Some were screaming for him to be subbed for Eriksen but that was ridiculous.

No doubt they’ll start on Eriksen at some point. After all the last time Spurs had a decent number 10 bossing games was van der Vaart and many spent their time screaming for him to be removed for a second striker – Defoe.

Eriksen has slotted straight in. Lamela didn’t have it so easy on his first start. Unfortunate case of a player on the right, name beginning with L, not getting the service. Nowt new there then. And he didn’t get much, with the left hand side being over represented. Most the players being right footed the ball is swept left, then Dembele being left footed shimmies that way and the ball is on the other wing from Lamela. Added to that he had a fullback that offered nothing going forward. Not much help at all. His time will come though.

That fullback might be getting some game time unfortunately. Rose at left-back was up for it last night. He’s looking more comfortable and confident in the role and was playing rather well when he hobbled off with the night’s first injury. What with Kaboul going off later you can see Naughton being shifted over to left-back. And that doesn’t bode well. He offered nothing going forward on his preferred side against nothing opposition. On his “unpreferred” side well, not good.

Kaboul was the third injury before him, after Rose, Dembele went off after a bit of a clattering. Again some were shouting the Belgian’s game down. Funny it’s the same people who wank on about passing stats. Dembele’s pass completion was 98%. Not bad. Yes sometimes he can slow things but he doesn’t lose the ball, can shield and shift away from opponents with such ease. It was good to see the old duo of Dembele and Sandro back in tandem. The big Brazilian, swept up everything and and was generally the Beast we all know and love.

Moments of brilliance interspersed a rather dull game with moments of injury concern. But it’s three goals, three points another clean sheet – 1 goal conceded in the seven games this season so far. Better will come performance wise.