At last a positive performance from Spurs at White Hart Lane, and an atmosphere to match. The ground was buzzing as Pochettino’s side came from a goal down, to win against one of the better teams in the division.
Before the game, the big question was what side would Pochettino field? A collection of injuries, suspensions, rumours and last week’s comeback win had created some intriguing questions. Had Lennon done enough to force his way into the team? Who would play at right back? Would Soldado get another chance?
The second half against Hull seemed foremost in Pochettino’s thoughts as Chiriches, Soldado and Lennon were all named in the starting eleven. There was also a surprise place for Nabil Bentaleb in midfield alongside Mason – two youth team products in the engine room of the Spurs team.
The match did not start well. As so often, we fell behind to an early goal, but what a goal it was. Soldado missed a challenge on the edge of the area, giving Mirallas time to look up and pick his spot. The Belgian produced a fantastic curling effort that finished in the top corner of Lloris’ net.
Would there be a reaction?
For the rest of the second half Tottenham were irresistible. The quick, one touch passing was back, the pressing was back, both missing since the victory over QPR. For the first time in a while Tottenham looked like a team. Bentaleb, Mason and Kane were the driving force behind the resurgence, a victory plotted in the academy.
Bentaleb was a revelation. Winning tackles in midfield, actually tracking runners and protecting the defence, making incisive passes to start attacks. Mason was almost as good.
Up front, Kane was full of energy, harrying Everton high up the field and driving at the defence. His positive attitude marks him out from most of the rest of our squad.
Everton were playing some nice football and controlling possession (they finished with 61%). The main difference between the two sides was Spurs’ directness. When we got the ball we headed straight for the opposition goal.
The first Spurs goal came from this direct approach. Kane ran at the Everton defence from midfield. They backed off, allowing him to get a shot away on the edge of the area. Howard palmed the ball out to the onrushing Eriksen who, from an acute angle, chipped a delightfully clever finish over the despairing lunges of the Everton defenders.
Now Tottenham were definitely on top and a second goal seemed inevitable. This time it came from an unexpected source. Soldado has only scored three times from open play in the Premier League. I was at the ground for the last one as well – the winner against Cardiff last season. Maybe the Spaniard should get me tickets in future!
Kane won the ball with a great tackle on Barry on the halfway line. Lennon drove forward, a host of white shirts supporting him, giving him options. He slipped the ball right to Soldado and the Spaniard slotted home with all the confidence of a man who scores every week.
Let’s hope it’s the first of many, although I’m not making the mistake of expecting it this time around.
The second half didn’t quite live up to the first and was a lot more even. Spurs still comfortably matched their opponents and looked more dangerous on the break, until the last ten minutes as Everton threw people forward and our young midfield tired.
Lamela came on but disappointed in a game that was set up for his talents. Running at tired legs, the opposition having to push forward, gave him ample opportunities for the kind of open field running he thrives on, but it just didn’t quite come off for him.
As time expired Spurs panicked, so close to a welcome victory. The noise of the crowd was phenomenal – give them something to cheer and they will. Despite some scares, in the end both the players and the supporters got the victory their efforts deserved.
Has Pochettino found his best team? Will this be the start of more goals from Soldado? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.