Five nil up from the first leg, five away goals, against a side that wasn’t in any reality going to get back level, and a home side that was second to third string, it had nil nil written all over it.
With that first leg score it gave AVB the chance to put out some kids, some bench warmers, those trying to get back to full fitness and those that need to do something to stay part of the project. So Carroll for the kids, Defoe, Naughton, Friedel as bench warmers, Kaboul, Sandro and Holtby regaining fitness, and Sigurdsson looking to impress.
The first bunch worked. Carroll had a good run out, looked comfortable and confident. Wouldn’t go as overboard as some I’ve read, seemed quite a bit of his passing was under hit. You can’t see him getting much game time in the league and with the depth now at the club in midfield will he even get regular run outs in the Europa or are the domestic cups his best hope? If so would it be better for a loan deal to a Premier club, hope it does for him what it did for Townsend.
Of the bench warmers, Friedel had little or nothing to do, though he did make it out to the edge of the 18 yard box and a couple of occasions. Old dog, new tricks? Naughton at left-back, well we know what that brings, surprised Fryers didn’t start there, better option, when he came on as a sub for Walker things were better balanced.
Defoe, well is he a bench warmer or one AVB still hasn’t ruled out offloading? Took his goals well. First a classic bit of Defoe slamming the ball into the net from outside the 6 yard box. The second, less so, more a classic piece of a box sniffer. Taking lessons from Soldado. Nipping in across the face of goal, across the defenders for a tap in. Nice bit of work, now if he could keep that up, more bench warmer that goodbye. But something was telling about the first goal, his first reaction looking around as if to reassure himself he wasn’t offside. No offsides in the first two league games, Defoe a number of times in this.
The returners. Kaboul again had very little to do, but he did it with great efficiency and had one glorious bull charge forward late on. Another full 90 minutes under his belt helps. Sandro:
Tonight Matthew I’ll be playing the part of Sandro. The Beast is back, ready maraud his way through anyone who tries to take away his place. Facing stiff competition from new signings the newly shaved headed, ginger bearded got stuck right in.
Holtby was the one though. Maybe a surprise starter, what with talk of a possible loan move for him as well. He put in a cracking shift. It was his glorious through ball that played Defoe in for his first. It w sn’t Holtby’s first or last lovely pass of the night. Along with that he must have surpassed even Sandro with the amount of running. All over the place, breaking stuff up and trying to get Spurs on the front foot all the time. And finished things off with Spurs’ third, a cracker from 22 yards out into the top corner, for his first goal for the club. Suitably celebrated with the dive that a certain previous German player used to celebrate his goals – once he shook Sandro off, only player to do that all night.
Sigurdsson, well the Icelander played a nice cross ball for Defoe’s second, after a good run to get on the end of Walker’s dinked pass. He hit the woodwork. But that was about it. Lot of huff and puff and some terrible set pieces, namely corners. Honestly he could really struggle when AVB has the full squad to pick from. Playing out of position, wide left doesn’t help mind and him coming him doesn’t help the balance of the team.
So while it was a dead rubber, as the lack of atmosphere from teh crowd for most of the game attested, and the opposition were no opposition there were some plus points and a win is a win, with another clean sheet, no injuries to those that’ll play a part in the upcoming North London Derby and onto the group stages.