Seven Days @ Spurs: “…concentration and commitment…”

By on December 17, 2012

Tottenham Hotspur fan Steve Jennings gives us his latest installment of his ‘Seven days @ Spurs’ series, where he sums up the weeks events at White Hart Lane.

Moussa-Dembele Tottenham

The roar that crawled up my throat and burst through my vocal chords when Jan Vertonghen struck on 75 minutes was one of extreme relief. Spurs’ 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday was a victory of great importance after last weekend’s implosion at Everton.

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If there’s one phrase that has been so ridiculously overused over the last seven days, it is this: ‘If games ended on 80 minutes, Tottenham would top the Premier League table.’

The fact is matches are 90 minutes long, and Spurs are still the same old Spurs. But White Hart Lane finally saw the commitment and concentration that will be needed throughout the season on Sunday. Hugo Lloris’ late punch to deny Michu an equaliser summed up Andre Villas-Boas’ side’s mentality as they looked to hold on to a deserved 1-0 lead.

It was a strange sort of game. We dominated in a very sloppy way. Emmanuel Adebayor often got himself admirably involved, pulling out to the left wing to allow Clint Dempsey to move inside in order to aid the in-form Jermain Defoe.

However, Defoe missed a couple of chances that he’d usually put away with ease. For Spurs fans, this usually signifies the start of a match where we mess it up in some way or other.

Sandro, Tottenham’s most consistent player so far this season, once again showed the tenacity that sums up his game. Not only does he hound opposition midfielders down before tackling, but his challenges allow us to begin counter-attacks.

He gets his foot around the ball so that he can lay it on to a team-mate. This gets the team and the fans excited, and often leads to a goal-scoring chance.

Kyle Naughton played at left-back, performing reasonably well despite not even attempting to use his left foot. Naughton has done well to break into the side under AVB, but the sooner Benoit Assou-Ekotto is back the better.

To be fair, William Gallas didn’t have a bad game, His pace let him down on a couple of occasions when facing Wayne Routledge, but he read the game brilliantly throughout and led by example in the Spurs defence.

The Belgian pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele commanded the middle of the park in defence and midfield respectively. Dembele gave the ball away a few times, which I’ve pretty much never seen him do!

The the former Fulham man gets us going. He does what Luka Modric used to do – picks up the ball and simply brings it forward. His strength is also a huge asset.

Vertonghen is a centre-back, that’s fore sure. Although he links up brilliantly with Gareth Bale on the left wing, his place is most definitely in the middle. For me, Jan should be given the armband at least until Younes Kaboul returns from injury.

The Belgium captain doesn’t have a bad shot on him either. His 75th minute winner was one of class and power.

Possibly the most important moment of the day was Scotty Parker’s injury time return. Parker didn’t have much time to make an impact, but at a phase of the season where Tottenham need a leader, the midfielder will provide much needed graft in front of the back four.

He may find it hard to regain his place in the starting XI from Sandro, but it is hard to see a negative side of Parker’s return to fitness.

Stoke at home next. I’m predicting another narrow win. What do you think? Use the comments section below or follow me on Twitter @SteveJenn93 to join the debate!

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2 Comments

  1. JOHN ADAM

    December 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    It will be tough against Stoke with their big, strong, tall boys playing physical football but if we show the same consistency and resilience that we did against Swansea, we can certainly win, even narrowly as it might be. We have to be wary of the long balls Stoke like to play into the goal area, so our defenders must be vigilant and at their best to repeal such attack.

  2. Steve Jennings

    December 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Agreed, John. Hopefully Bale will be back and we get back to playing some slick attacking football.

    Swansea passed it well against us, and so they struggled when he pressed them. Stoke won’t panic in those situations, so it will be important that we pass it well and don’t allow them the room to cross the ball.

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