just with Pep’s pupil.
Jose Mourinho put on his masterclass yet again as Spurs did their rope-a-dope routine to perfectly defeat Woolwich to move back to the top of the table as the opposition dropped towards relegation.
Arteta might have been Guardiola’s number two for three years but he learnt nothing from his mentor’s defeat at the hands of Jose just two weeks ago, both games panned out almost the same with the visitors making exactly the same mistakes for the goals, while having all the ball but failing to do anything with it.
It took a little earlier for Spurs to open the scoring, 13 minutes compared to 5 against City. It came after the same amount of possession by the opposition, it was the same scorer, the same counter, the same beauty and the same inept defending.
From a Woolwich attack the ball is cleared out to Kane on the centre circle line, his touch, turn and pass to Son were all exquisite. Son ran at the defence who to man backed off, with Reguilon bombing down the wing distracting them, Son cut inside and unleashed a curler from 25 yards that gave the keeper no chance. Glorious piece of counter attacking with the perfect ending.
Like City and Chelsea before them, in Spurs’ previous two league games, ARSEnal had all of the ball but generally played, as with the other two, in front of Spurs who again defended perfectly. Again they had all the ball and did very little, if anything with it. Hugo didn’t have a save to make in the first half, while theirs did.
The second goal came from another ARSEnal attack, this time they did manage to get through but the final ball was behind its intended target, Aurier was alive to the fact, nipped in and took it off his opposite number, then passing it into the middle of the Spurs’ half where Lo Celso could pick it up under no pressure and the break was on, four against two. Four Spurs players, two of them. Bergwijn’s run to the right distracts one defender, as Lo Celso passes left to Son, into the box and Harry has circled behind him, two defenders are covering Son so Harry is unmarked as Son slips the ball to him. One touch to control the ball the next to bang it off the crossbar into the goal.
His 250th career goal, his 11th in the NDL to move top of that chart and another goal from the Son/Kane combination. Who between them have more goals and assists than Woolwich, in the league.
Again Jose set the team up perfectly to defend, while having that mindset to attack when they could that meant the bus wasn’t parked. In the second half Spurs didn’t attack so much but as Jose pointed out they didn’t have to, they were two up and the opposition didn’t look like getting anything back.
As said it was into the second half before Hugo had to make a save, it was a fairly simple one. He only had to make one more, a diving stop which he just got round the post. Another excellent save, just making you glad that the rumours of missing players wasn’t true. Hugo, Kane and Reguilon were those rumours. In the end thankfully they all played. Only Ndombele was missing but after saying Lo Celso didn’t do himself any favours midweek for a starting spot he didn’t let anyone down when called upon.
I don’t know if Hart is making that final save. Hugo highlights how things have turned around under Jose. He’s back to the solid, dependable keeper. Those last couple of years where stupid errors have littered big games seem to have gone. It’s the same with the whole defence. There was always that trepidation with Aurier, who again isn’t doing the stupid things. Dier would have great games and then have a hiccup.
Players are working as a real unit, highlighted by the three that stopped everything from the visitor’s left. Aurier, Sissoko and Bergwijn, worked perfectly in a triangle, covering every angle, player and space.
And if anything got through, there was Toby or Dier to get their block or tackle in. All marshalled by Hojbjerg who was well deserving of his man-of-the-match award.
Like the City game it was all a plan was executed perfectly – Jose might have said there’s bigger fish to fry than ARSEnal but he was quite happy at the end, with the fist pumping. It didn’t quite work with Chelsea, but they didn’t lose and have taken 7 out of 9 points from the games that some were saying would bring Spurs back down. There’s still Liverpool to come and between then and now Palace. What worked here, will it work against them…