Sunday afternoon, one goal, a penalty, by Soldado, just after half time, not long after another stonewall penalty should have been given, whinging opposition manager, a clean sheet and last few minutes of hanging on with Lloris to the rescue.
Where have I seen that before?
Another tight game but another three points with some good and some bad. AVB went with pretty much the side I wanted him to – he’s a good ‘un that fella – the Thursday night club with Chadli in for Sigurdsson and Walker back at righback, he also changed Kaboul for Vertonghen, which AVB will be glad to know was fine by me. It also saw a change from the manager’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-1-4-1. Capoue doing the all over the park sweeper mode, nominally in front of the back four.
Again all the new players looked the part, Capoue somewhat Sandroesque in his marauding display. Paulihno the box to box midfielder we haven’t had and desperately needed. Chadli, quietly comfortable and almost unnoticed creating chances. Soldado, give him a sniff and he he scores, even if it is from the spot.
The bad was the number of sniffs Soldado had. Not many at all. Which came from the other bad, too much coming inside. All the best and most dangerous stuff Spurs produced came from width. This problem started early, when Townsend – making his first league start for the club – started some runs that would have been perfect for a ball from Walker through the channel. The ball never came, Townsend had to repeatedly abort.
Early attempts were mainly through the middle, from distance. Now Spurs usual come up against ‘keepers having the game of their life but Vorm is pretty damn decent to begin with. Probably with Lloris the best two in the league. When a player finally got to the byline it was Walker, nice bit of push and run – always a winner – his cross was headed onto his own post by Williams, Paulinho’s pile driver then found a combination of the same defender’s legs and Vorm.
Again the next best chance came from Walker getting to the line, cutting back towards the penalty spot, Dembele’s curling shot was probably about the right height for Vorm to save. When Chadli crossed from the left it was Paulinho who missed the chance.
Just before the break Townsend jinked into the box and was heading to the byline when Shelvey took him out. Stonewall penalty yet again not given by a ref that looked desperately like he wanted the fourth official to tell him what happened in his ear piece as he was running over to give a free-kick outside the box.
Not long into the second half that déjà vu struck again as the same two players came together inside the area. This time the ref did give it. Even though it was far less obvious that the first incident. A flying winger influencing matches, is Townsend the new Bale? Well no. Because Bale would probably have been booked for both incidents and sent off.
Any road up, up stepped Soldado and for the third game out of the last four slotted home a penalty. He can’t be a proper Spurs player with that record.
Again like the previous league game AVB didn’t wait long after taking the lead before bringing Dembele off. The Belgian had a quiet game, while not being as bad as some suggest, if he doesn’t up it and new faces do come in he could be the one that loses out. But then he is getting used to new players around him and it can take time. People easily forget his imperious form at the beginning of last season before he had Parker inflicted on him.
Laudrup also made changes for Swansea, like Holloway did the week before and as in that game the opposition came more into things. While Spurs dropped off, got sloppy and gave the ball away far too easily. One bright spot being when Soldado did an excellent job of holding the ball up and working Williams up into giving away a stupid foul. Again they were indebted to Lloris making an excellent save as they again hung on through a nervy last few minutes, during which Paulinho could and probably should have finished the game off. But, hey this is Spurs and this is déjà vu.