but still win.
Win fugly baby. Spurs managed to actually hang onto a lead and scrape out a win, after trying to gift Southampton the game in a couple of crazy moments.
Spurs needed this. They needed to fight for a victory. They needed to be up against it. They needed this not to be a thrashing like they handed out to Palace. They needed something that got the team back together and didn’t just paper over the cracks.
Southampton had the best of the opening exchanges, Spurs were far too open, wide and in the middle. It took a nice save from Hugo to keep things level.
Going the other way, Harry Kane was going through his greatest hits back catalogue, as he tried to score when on the floor, as against Leicester and then a long range shot as against Juve in pre-season. Ndombele had the best chance for Spurs, which came after some nice build up play that was kicked off with his layoff to Son from a Rose pass. Son and Ndombele were off, into the box and Son cut it back but it was just slightly behind Ndombele and the resulting attempt went over the bar.
The pair made up for it shortly after. Kane did a bit of a pirouette but kept hold of the ball, before passing off to Eriksen, he looked to have wasted a chance by dithering, eventually after a little interplay he crossed for Kane, the defender nodded it on to Son who tapped a perfectly weighted pass for Ndombele to fire home.
Then the implosion. First up Aurier goes in for a stupid tackle, which as the player was looking back and towards the touchline, was completely unnecessary and more than clumsy. He had no argument over the yellow. Four minutes later Spurs players stop as they thing the ball has gone out for a throw but the whistle didn’t go and Aurier was caught. He might have touched the player, it didn’t look like much but it gave the ref a chance to go for the second yellow and the red. Those having a go at Aurier over this obviously haven’t watched Walker. He did every time in such situations.
Shortly after the defender’s departure, Hugo decided to get in on the act. Ah, the usual fannying about at the back. Played back to him, Hugo lets the ball run, Ings presses and Hugo tries the old Cruyff turn, he missed the ball again and it’s over the line for the equaliser.
Four minutes later and the Spurs we want to see is on show. Fast, forward, incisive. Kane to So to Eriksen back to Son, to Eriksen and onto Kane, whose control lifts the ball for him to score what would turn out to be the winner. Lovely movement. The best of Eriksen and Son and Harry.
People were wanting Dier to come on as right back. Sissoko had taken over after Aurier’s dismissal. Figuring Spurs were missing the Frenchman’s runs in the middle. They were and Dier did come on but to go in the middle because I don’t know if he has it to play as a fullback anymore. He was skinned a few times midweek against a fourth division side.
Most of the second half was defensive work. With Hugo getting back into credit after his first-half howler, with a couple of outstanding saves. The type that he is master at.
The fought to hold onto that lead and for once they did. It’s only Southampton, but there might be something there after all…