could this really be a new era.
After beating one of the “big teams” – can you class Man u as that now? – Spurs usually follow that up with a humiliating last gasp loss to one of the season’s relegation fodder teams, but this time they beat Bournemouth.
Early Saturday kick offs never normally help either, Spurs seem to get caught out by 12:30, look a bit hungover that early on a Saturday morning. As it stood Bournemouth were off the relegation spots due to them having a single point, while there was a number of winless sides. And with a win Spurs would for a short period go top of the league. It was all set up for an embarrassment.
Spurs started off much like they have in the previous two games, a bit sloppy. Bournemouth were all over Liverpool early in their previous game and they were in Spurs face here. But Spurs were also doing their pushing up in the opposition’s face as well.
The open exchanges were both harum and scarum. Ten minutes in and Maddison had a pretty easy chance blocked, I thought this does not bode well, as I’d dropped the player from my FF team – my thinking being he wouldn’t be fit after leaving the last game on crutches with a protective boot. Normally when I drop ’em they score.
It was only 7 minutes after that chance wasn’t taken when he opened the scoring. A lovely move combining two of the forgotten players under Conte. receiving the ball from Porro, Bissouma spun away from his man, with the ball under perfect control, squared the ball to Sarr who then played an exquisite ball through the home defence to Maddison, he kind of scuffed this one but it went in. A beautiful goal.
That midfield three of Bissouma, Sarr and Maddison is teh sex.
What followed was then highlighted that while that midfield three is purring the front three aren’t working one bit. Again Kulusevski was repeatedly cutting inside and killing attacks by getting crowded out, while acres of space he could have run into went unused. Son was in the game more than before but just wasn’t in the game at the same time. And Richarlison.
What to do with Richarlison? People saying he just needs one goal, get his confidence back and the goals will come. But then they said that all the way through last season and when he finally scored, not much followed. Played through by Maddison as Spurs broke en masse – which is a great sight to see the stifling camp in your own half of the last few years – Richarlison tried to drag the ball back inside, which let the defender get his arm on the ball and knock it enough that it was in the Brazilian’s feet where he stumbled over it.
It looked like peak Richy. But a little later he missed a glorious back post header, then in the second half played the ball, he stood on it, fell on his arse, then in angry desperation caught the Bournemouth player who picked up the ball, for a yellow. There’s no peak on Mt Richy, there’s always a new summit.
At the end of the first have the home team had an attempt that almost levelled things up, Spurs should have been going in at the break well enough ahead that this wouldn’t have mattered.
A lot of Bournemouth’s possession in both halves came from Semenyo fouling a Spurs player. They kept trying to dribble past him, some said he was muscling the Spurs players off but every time it was with his hands. It was funny later on when Perisic was booked for pushing off a Bournemouth player who was hanging onto him and a foul was given against the Croat. Yet Semenyo did it all game and nothing was given – a shock when his shot in the second half didn’t go in, if anyone was going to score it would the player who had committed enough fouls to be off by then. Well, the ref wasn’t giving Spurs much, how the home team only ended up with one booking is beyond me. Hell he even let one of them off with rugby tackle on a Spurs player at one point. I suppose should be grateful he actually blew for a foul.
Perisic had come on for Sarr with Hojbjerg replacing Richarlison on the hour. Ange had gone defensive early. But it wasn’t long before the lead was doubled. Perisic played the ball down the line to Udogie, he cut in then played a one-two with Son, stretching he crossed the ball before it crossed the line to be met by Kulusevski who had cut in and ghosted past the mass of red and black shirts, to knock in the second. One time when Kulu coming inside actually worked.
It was fairly comfortable from there so much so that Maddison was replaced by Lo Celso. Maddison who put in another star performance, third in a row, not bad for someone criticised by ex Liverpool player Steve Nicol. Apparently Steve doesn’t like Maddison because… “without the ball, for me, he does nothing”. No really, Steve doesn’t like the number 10 because of that. He was all over the pitch and running things but OK Steve… sorry about all those balls you headed.
So Spurs went to the top of the league for a couple of hours… no doubt will be classed as bottling it if they don’t win the league.
And the fans sang “we’ve got out Tottenham back”… happy with the way Ange sets his team out to play, it does make one hell of a refreshing change. But that Spurs still needs some work… still need an actual striker – not the wingers they seem to want to buy – still need defensive backup – can’t go through the season with Sanchez and Davies.