At the end of Spurs one nil annihilation of Sunderland you wondered if the result was worth the injuries as Spurs players were dropping like flies.
Three Spurs players ended up feeling the back of their legs during the weekend’s Premier League outing against Sunderland. Dembele and Dier came off, luckily it sounds like just a case of cramp with them. Unfortunately Walker stayed on and ran it off, while Kane was feeling pain a little lower.
Kane’s hobble off the park and then exit on a stretcher looked as bad as the way his ankle bent and then flopped around would suggest.
He wasn’t exactly outstanding in the game again but he got another goal, the only goal, even if he tried his best to fluff this chance. So whatever length of time he is out and you imagine he’ll have to miss at least one week.
Up step Vincent Janssen, who came on on the dying minutes for Kane and promptly got a real opportunity to open his competitive account, which he butchered in a style reminiscent of past strikers.
He looks the part, he hustles and bustles, harries defenders, gets in the right positions but the goal is not coming and the longer it goes the more you think it’ll never come.
Which is pretty much the way Spurs played against David Moyes’ Sunderland. From the off, all over ’em, with chance after chance being either fluffed or saved.
It was the 22nd attempt on goal before Kane found the back of the net. During which time Sunderland barely had a sniff, yet could have gone ahead. And like most Spurs supporters were thinking it was ripe for them to go behind after after having all the ball and spurning all the chances.
Kyle Walker saving one off the line and my didn’t he receive some eulogising over doing something right. It shows how poor a player he is that just the simple things garners so many plaudits. It was funny reading one tweet about how great Walker is just at the moment he kicked a simple ball for a throw.
Chief architect in nearly everything that went forward was Son Heung-min, flying down the left wing. Pochettino said the Korean wanted to head back to Germany during the summer but was thankfully persuaded to stay. A toughish first season bearing fruit now. Maybe he was free up by the space left by the lack of Eriksen and Lamela. His corner taking certain outdid Eriksen’s.
He was causing Denayer all sorts of problems. The Sunderland player provided the second talking point of the day. The first was Pochettino’s shuffling of his pack.
Dier into centre-back, Vertonghen at left-back, no Eriksen and Lamela as Dembele and Sissoko started for the first time. Lamela came on later for Dembele and provided some good stuff.
The Dier/Wanyama thing looks like the manager knows he can’t drop the former while being desperate to field the latter. Luckily Jan wasn’t in a stroppy mood playing in his unfavoured position. Where’s Wimmer? We all ask.
Dembele was a no brainer, he is the missing piece, the missing guile and presence in the middle of the park. Sissoko added some pace top proceedings.
But none of this could get the ball in the net until just on the hour. Walker hit a cross – wow didn’t they wet their knockers at that – under no pressure, having all the time in the world to line it up he just managed to find the leaping Alli who knocked it down, where the Sunderland defender Djilobodji thankfully blundered it to Kane, who tried to blunder it but after what seemed an age put it away. That’s exactly what Janssen needs.
It should have opened the floodgates, it should have been Wigan over again, just in the last half hour. During a long spell at the beginning of the first half Spurs had 85% of the ball it was much the same now. Hell, Defoe had four touches in that half, two of them being kick-offs.
We all still expected him to have one more, the goal one. Because this being Spurs with all that possession but with just a one goal lead, it’s the only thing you figure will happen.
When the players started going down it didn’t lift the pessimism. With over 6 minutes of added time added due to those injuries, things were helped in the dying minutes by Januzaj’s red card. Another should have immediately followed but Mike Dean bottled it due to having just issued one, in that classic way refs do. He also seems to have toned down his penalising of players hugging each other. One bear hug on Alli should have seen a foul and a card but play was waved on.
But in the end things turned out OK, score wise anyway. Quietly up to third, while still not being anywhere near top gear. Get to third while playing indifferently then when things get better, then…
Then there was that second talking point, Denayer replacing Van Aanholt after the latter had been named in the official line up sheet. With the former seemingly telling the latter about the change while Van Aanholt was warming up with no visible injury. Injury being the only reason a change can be made. Moyes’ snippy response after adds to the mystery.