A Cold Wet Muddy Tuesday Nights Work.
Swansea 0 Tottenham 2:
As I expected Llorente started and duly did the returning honours which every player returning to their old club seems to do and gets a goal. It may well have been off-side, but that was the officials fault, not Llorente's. A second late on put a respectable shine on a very difficult game which was once again a test of who was up for it on a cold, wet Tuesday night at a team languishing at the bottom, although not that you would believe it as the second half wore on.
As the state of the pitch deteriorated, and it started to look like a throw-back to the 80's and not the pristine manicured Premier league pitches of now - that generally put my very expensively looked after lawn to shame.
First half we looked pretty much in control despite the stair-rod rain, and 60-70 mph wind outside the stadium along with the absence of Harry, second half, they came out fighting, our play got sloppy, and we it seemed we got confused with their white shorts and did everything we could to give them the ball, probably not realising they were the opposition.
There were some genuine Positives (thank you poster total spurs) - and I unashamedly nick these points from a posters summing up in the forum;
1. We won
2. Vic back
3. Lamela started and looked ok
4. Llorente can score if we cross to him
5. The officials were a bit, well a lot iffy
6. With 2&3 maybe we won't need sissjoko again
I'll expand on that slightly; two things struck me about Lamela, firstly he looks like he is almost too fit and could do with a bit of muscle/fat back on him and secondly you'll only appreciate this if you've followed my comments about him since the day we bought him; it didn't take me long to point out to all and sundry that Lamela looked to me like a player with serious bio-mechanical issues; I could see it in his in elegant gait and his 'waddle' when trying to sprint from a standing start, his balance was also at times very suspect - but last night I watched him carefully and although he will probably never look the most elegant of players, the key critical issues that I saw and that have now been addressed by surgery and rehab, look almost inconsequential. Both for his career and his impact during the rest of this season, these must be seen as huge positives.
And my last BIG positive is Alli's goal - the lad is almost back in the grove and he's showing well - his now thrice weekly Spanish lessons must really be coming on now.
The Negatives (my view):
1. Sanchez - unlucky to get such a soft booking after the Swansea player conned the ref, but learn the lesson - keep hands off opposition especially when the ref has an unencumbered close up view! Also, in conditions such as those - rule no.1. for a defender is STAY ON YOUR FEET. Poch used his head and got him off, he could easily have got a second yellow and red.
2. Alli is now being ignored by refs when fouled far too often for my liking - he got a very clear shove in the back when trying to connect with a long looping ball in the area, only to get a fair good push that for me was a penalty all day long - the ref bottled it, which at least had made him consistent as I think Song should have had a nailed on penalty too..
3. We took our feet off their collective necks and allowed them back into the game, when they shouldn't have laid a glove on us.
4. Hugo - dreadful decision making that could easily have gifted them a penalty - he's definitely not in top form lately.
5. Harry, fantastic assist, but looked like he had all the energy of an excited sloth - we better hope he's recovered a bit more for the Spam.
6. Ben Davies - he really looks to struggle against pace and Luciano Narsingh looked like he had the better of him from the moment he came on. If we sell Rose, we will need a wingback that had genuine pace over first 10 yards, where he is skinned again and again.
7. Trippier - ditto above. One day I will watch him run past a player with the ball, but I'm not holding my breath, apparently beating players with the ball at your feet as a wing back is an overrated skill.
Poch said after the game:
'I'm very pleased to take the three points. The conditions were so, so difficult but we deserved the victory.
'It was fantastic for Fernando to score. He has been waiting for his time to play and for any player it is good for their confidence when they get a goal.
'Maybe Fernando was offside for his goal and maybe Swansea have a right to complain, but in football you always need some luck to open up the game.'
All in all, a good nights work, even if we did labour to deal with the conditions and their brief but almost fruitful period of pressing.
Tale of the tape:
We had 67% possession, 5 shots on target, 5 off v 33% for them 5 shots off and 1 on target.We made 654 attempted passes, of which 574 were successful, they made 288 attempted passes of which only 216 were successful.
In short we dominated and should have won by a wider margin.
I was once again impressed by Alfie Mawson and although we were rebuffed in the summer, I suspect we will go back again before he becomes an England CB regular starter, the scuttlebug is/was in the summer that if we got Mawson we might have let Dier go to Man United, I have to say watching him last night, I might well be inclined to think that Mawson has more improvement in him that Dier - we will see.