|OPPONENTS||Huddersfield Town at White Hart Lane|
|DATE||Saturday 13th April 2019|
Jan Siewart brings his relegated Huddersfield Town side to White
Hart Lane with little left to play for except their pride and their
futures. They have been plagued by alack of goals this season,
which has been the major factor in their league position and it is
hard to see how they might beat Spurs today. However, there is
nothing more dangerous than an opponent that you under-estimate.
The season is in contrast to their last campaign, when they brought a fresh approach in the Premier League of not sitting back, but having a system that allowed their midfielders to get forward. Whether they have been found out in their second season or the team have under-performed, they sit bottom of the table and changed managers in an attempt to stay up, with the much admired David Wagner stepping aside for the next coaching product form Borussia Dortmund to come in.
The side has been assembled from young English players and cheaper imports from Europe (mainly Germany), as their budget affords. You have to give the club some credit, as they refused to spend wildly to preserve their Premier League status and they may be stronger for this when they start their Championship campaign next season. Plus the experience of playing at the top level will be valuable, as they perhaps try to follow the Burnley model of coming back stronger.
Ben Hamer will be the man between the sticks for the match, as Siewart rings the changes, while Chrises Lowe and Schindler will be in defence, with Mathais Jorgensen (well known to Christian Eriksen from the Denmark national team) and one of Terence Knogolo or Florent Hadergjonaj making up the back four. They have been over-worked this season and that might not end today, even without Harry Kane. Spurs should have enough in the attacking division of the side to cause them problems. Captain Tommy Smith might drop out and Erik Durm is another option for Siewart.Aaron Mooy has been a consistent performer in the Huddersfield midfield for a few seasons now and the Australian is one who makes them tick. A hard-worker, who also has a good passing range and works box-to-box to support the forwards, he may be one of the players who is picked off when they go down. Jason Puncheon is on loan from Palace and the idea was to try and add some Premier League experience to the midfield with some added goals, but it hasn't worked out that way.
Former Danny Williams has been used sparingly, although the American showed up well for the Royals before his transfer and Jon Stankovic is well known to Siewart, having been on loan to Dortmund's second string and the Slovenian has had a few games this season. Abdelhamid Sabiri is another player from Germany, although originally born in Morocco, he has represented the German Under-21s, but has only had a couple of games for Huddersfield this season. Alex Pritchard is a player well known to Spurs fans, who left before getting much of a chance in the first team, but is very skilful and can create chances from very little. He will be looking to make his mark back at his old club. Philip Billing is a big lad, but the physical side of the game is not something he is noted for, although he has a fierce shot and a good pass, but Jonathan Hogg will add some aggression to the midfield - sometimes too much. Another youngster - Juninho Bacuna - might get the opportunity to show what he can do as Siewart plans for the Championship. Signed from Holland, he is skilful and quick, as is Karlan Grant, who had been given a chance and has racke dup three goals this season, making him joint-top scorer.
Strikers Elias Kachunga, Laurent Depoitre and Steve Mounie have had little to feed off this season. The Belgian Depoitre had been linked with Spurs and is a decent finisher if he gets the service, while Kachunga works hard and is good in the air and Mounie has been in and out of the side despite scoring some important goals for the Terriers last season. Youngster Adama Diakhaby has had a few games, Colin Quaner is on loan at Ipswich Town and Isaac Mbenza has been ill and might miss the match. Between the forwards, they have scored two goals (all by Mounie) and that tells the tale of their season.
Spurs will be without five players for the match and the biggest miss will be Harry Kane, but with Son, Lucas and Llorente, there are options for Spurs. Kane has scored heavily against Huddersfield in previous matches over the last season and a half, but it allows opportunities for others. Tottenham will need to be strong in midfield to allow them to push on and to stifle the Huddersfield goal threat, which has mainly come from that area of the team. We will need to be on our game from the start, as Huddersfield have nothing to lose and will want to show that they can compete with the Premier League sides before they depart the division.
Spurs should be able to
overcome Huddersfield if they play well and they need to as the
pressure at the top is building. While others in the top six
have to play each other, we only have Manchester City to play, so
winning all our other games is crusial to getting that top four
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Huddersfield Town 0|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Eric Dier (hip), Vincent Janssen (ankle), Eric Lamela (hamstring), Serge Aurier (hamstring) and Harry Kane (ankle) are all out injured for this match, while Dele Alli is hopeful of playing after breaking his hand against Manchester City. .
TOWN TEAM NEWS :
Adama Diakhaby (hamstring), but Demeaco Duhaney might be fit after a hamstring pull, while Laurent Depoitre (foot), Philip Billing (back) and Isaac Mbenza are hopeful of making the team.
|Premier League||Kick off 12:30|
|Tottenham Hotspur 4 (2)||
Wanyama 23m 40s
Foyth (foul on Kongolo) 60
Vertonghen (foul on Stankovic) 76
Lowe (foul on Kyle Walker-Peters) 45
Bacuna (foul on Sissoko) 66
|Crowd : 58,308||Weather : Rain at start; sun and cloud|
|Referee : Lee Mason (Bolton)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Harry Lennard ; Mr. Andy Halliday|
|Fourth Official : Paul Tierney|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Huddersfield Town :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Jan Siewert|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : OPE Sports|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Puma|
Relegated Huddersfield Town visited the new Spurs stadium before they departed for the Championship, with a large and noisy support, but both team and fans left empty-handed as they have done so often this season after succumbing 4-0, but they did have a few moments that might have changed the destiny of the game. Ultimately, the match will not be remembered for the opportunities the visitors missed, but for the goals Tottenham scored, especially Lucas Moura's three, which makes him the first man to score a hat-trick in the new ground.
It was a cold start in the morning, but brightened up before the game, only for rain to start falling as the teams kicked off. Huddersfield had made some changes, with a view to next season no doubt, but Spurs were forced into some changes by injuries to Kane and Dele, but others came in to rest those who are set to play on Wednesday at Manchester City. Youngsters Oliver Skipp and George Marsh were on the bench.
When the game did start, the visitors were looking solid, with a midfield five and were pushing forward, while Spurs were finding difficulty getting forward themselves, although Fernando Llorente showed good skill in flicking the ball on to Lucas Moura, who ran at the defence and was brought down. Unsurprisingly, Eriksen's free-kick struck the wall and Spurs had to wait until the 10th minute for a shot on goal, when Llorente laid the ball back for Victor Wanyama to hit a shot wide left of the goal from 18 yards. Huddersfield responded with a shot from Lowe from 25 yards, but Davinson Sanchez got something on it to take the sting out of the effort and it trickled through to Hugo Lloris.
Kyle Walker-Peters, in for Kieran Trippier, was making ground up the right and got on the end of a cross from his fellow full back, Ben Davies, heading it back in front of goal. Llorente rose to get to it, but he was stretching for the header and he guided it wide. Spurs were having difficulty getting going and Eriksen's passing was a little off to start with, either hitting long passes too long or short ones too short.
The opening goal came out nothing really. Davies on the left looked to play into Llorente's feet and with the Spaniard holding his man off, he let the ball run for Wanyama to run in behind him on the edge of the box. Taking the ball in the clear, Victor was faced by Hamer rushing out to him, but as the keeper went down he shaped to shoot and then dragged the ball to the keeper's left and tucked it into an empty net with his left foot from just inside the six yard box. It was a deft piece of footwork from the Kenyan, but was the breakthrough that Tottenham need in what could have been a tricky match. Within three minutes, the lead had been doubled.
Juan Foyth won the ball on our right touchline on halfway and passed inside to Moussa Sissoko, who went on a driving run. Spotting Moura moving out to the right of the area, he slipped a pass through and the Brazilian struck a fierce shot that went under Hamer and made it 2-0. There was a great amount of power in the shot, as Hamer didn't have time to react, but it was a fine finish, with Lucas taking it in his stride, to give Spurs a bit of breathing space.
On the 30 minute mark, Huddersfield won a corner when Ben Davies defended a far post cross well, but when the ball was slung in from the quadrant, the marking wasn't so good and Stankovic had a run on the ball, but couldn't open his body up enough to get his shot on target from five yards out. Conversely, Tottenham's attack looked sharp and Eriksen picked out Sissoko's run into the area. Although he headed it up and tried to reach the dropping ball, he was adjudged to have fouled Stankovic as he went for it. After Llorente had a goal-bound shot blocked by Hadergjonaj, Sissoko showed good determination in keeping a ball in on the right touchline, but he was cleared out by Durm, who was undone by a touch to take the ball away from him. Referee Mason produced the yellow card, although he had earlier been disorientated by a fall as he ran to keep up with play on the edge of the Huddersfield penalty area ! From the resulting free-kick, Eriksen flighted it into the box and Llorente rose to glance a header a foot or so wide.
Sissoko tried his luck, no doubt buoyed by the fact that Huddersfield were the only team he has scored against for Spurs, but from 25 yards out, he nearly got it 25 yards over the bar ... much to Eriksen's disgust. When the visitors did attack, Spurs dispossessed them and a neat interchange between Wanyama, Sissoko and Walker-Peters in the South-east corner of the pitch was ended by Lowe's crude scythe at KWP's legs and he followed Durm into the book. And then it was half-time, with the latest crop of the club's Under-9s, who one day aspire to play at the wonderful new stadium they found themselves in.
The second half started with Tottenham on the front foot, with Foyth chipping a neat ball into the right side of goal from the right wing, which Fernando brought down with one touch and then cracked a volley against the bar from ten yards out. Eriksen's low ball into the near post following a short corner was nearly flicked on target by Sanchez and then his ball from a central position to the left freed Davies running into the box for a shot, but he dragged it well wide. Foyth got booked for a rash challenge on Kongolo inside the Huddersfield half, as the Terriers started to gain some momentum. Around the hour, they were winning cheap free-kicks too and when Grant decided to push Foyth in the chest when he held onto the ball after one was given, Sissoko intervened to protect the Argentine youngster.
Lucas was still enjoying himself and ran at their defence before hitting a low shot from just outside the box, but Hamer was behind it and it wasn't the hardest shot Moura had ever hit. He was closing players down and when Stankovic dwelt on the ball too long inside his own area, Lucas blocked his clearance and forced a hurried one for a throw-in to Spurs. The Brazilian then urged the crowd to make some noise, as the atmosphere had gone a bit flat for both sets of fans. Davies whipped in a cross that Llorente again just glanced wide.
Sissoko was having a fantastic game. Dragging the ball under the sol of his boot to escape two Huddersfield players and they couldn't cope with his strong running with the ball; Bacuna cautioned for dragging him back by the arm on one run through the right channel. His confidence has grown this season to make him an important player in our defensive midfield. KWP was finding space on the right and he crossed a little too high for Lucas, but it ran through to Davies at the far post, who had his left-footed effort blocked.
Huddersfield did start to look a bit livelier, as Grant broke clear from the halfway line and reaching the box, prepared to shoot, but by the time he was inside the area, Moussa Sissoko had tracked him back and got in a block that left the ball tickling back to Lloris. The play was moving from end to end and Eriksen played the ball to Llorente in the middle of the penalty box. He tired to get the ball onto his right foot by selling one tackler, but when he shot, Kongolo had thrown himself in the way to block it. Had he taken it earlier with his left, he might have made Hamer work to save it. From the corner, Christian pulled the ball back to Davies, who drove it across the face of goal, but a red and black shirt cleared it away. Davies was also involved when Walker-Peters crossed, but the angle was tight for him to shoot, so he volleyed the ball back in front of goal, but again a defender was there first.
Eriksen dragged a shot wide from right of the D and then Huddersfield had a great opportunity to get on the score-sheet. Hogg took time out from kicking people and chipped forward from the right to Mounie, who had come on as a sub. Running onto the ball inside the box, he had a free header, but could only succeed in nodding the ball wide to the left of Hugo Lloris' goal. Therein lies the story behind the Yorkshire club's season. Without a decent goal-scorer, you are destined to struggle.
Jan Vertonghen, who was having a strong game, was booked for pulling back Kachunga after he was dispossessed when played the ball with no options available to lay it off to. Spurs were going through a little shaky period and Grant cut in from the left to fire a shot wide, when he should have made Lloris make a save. He had to be alert in the 80th minute, when Oliver Skipp, on as a sub for Sissoko, was deemed to have fouled Juninho Bacuna 22 yards out and the Huddersfield midfielder got up to take a free-kick that cleared the wall and dipped, forcing Hugo to reach up to the top corner to push it onto the bar and then it went off for a corner. It was the first save Hugo had needed to make and he was concentrating well enough to make a very good stop.
Spurs hit back with a breakaway from the corner and Kyle Walker-Peters, on his birthday, ran the ball half the length of the pitch and played it to his left to allow Christian Eriksen a shot, while behind him, Jan was being tripped by an opposition defender. His drive from inside the area took a deflection off a defender coming across to cover and this wrong-footed the keeper, but they were relieved to see the ball bounce out off the foot of the keeper's right hand post. Eriksen followed up, but this time his shot was blocked. Then, Town attacked with Hadergjonaj crossing low and Mounie getting across Sanchez, but being unable to keep his shot down.
Pochettino brought on Son for the injured Llorente, giving him a run out before Wednesday's Champions League game at the Etihad. He was influential in the final eleven minutes, making space for Eriksen on the right in the 88th minute to deliver the ball to the centre of the D on the edge of the box, where Lucas Moura controlled it deftly with his left foot, before volleying it past Hamer to make it 3-0 and celebrating with an aeriel somersault ! It was an expert piece of finishing and we are seeing the best of Lucas now, with hopefully more to come.
And there was more to come four minutes later. Substitute Danny Rose moved the ball inside to Son, who ran forward before releasing the pass into Moura, running into the right hand channel in the box. Without breaking stride, he powered a shot over Hamer and the ball hit the top corner of the net on the other side of the goal. It was a stunning strike o round off his hat-trick and wrap up a fine display from the pacy striker.
4-0 did not flatter Tottenham with the amount of possession and chances created, but Huddersfield should have scored with their attacks in the second half. They are still trying to play the game the right way, as Wagner did before Siewart, but, sometimes, when the players do not seem up to it, the system breaks down and they look very vulnerable every time they lost the ball. For Moura's second goal, KWP ran forward and Hogg took him after he had laid the ball off to Eriksen, then stood there exasperated, as nobody else was closing the Spurs players down to try and stop them receiving the ball.
When teams play that way, you hope that they will have some success in the lower division, but the Championship is a tough league to get out of. Ask Derby County, Aston Villa, Norwich City or even Ipswich Town, who have achieved it by dropping into League One.
As for Tottenham, the absence of Harry Kane was balanced out by a really good team performance, with those coming in doing well and the willingness to fight for the right to play evident from the kick off. Sissoko and Wanyama did well in front of the back three and also had the scope to move forward, with Eriksen and Llorente. Moura was the star of the show, just ahead of Sissoko, taking his goals clinically and we might need that in the remaining few weeks of the season. Poch now has to decide who plays and how he plays it in Manchester for the next two matches. Both are important in their own ways and if we could win them both it would make an exciting finish to the season.
Lucas Moura becomes the first Spurs player to score a hat-trick against Huddersfield Town.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Leicester City||0||Newcastle United||1||Friday|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Bournemouth||5||Saturday|
|Manchester United||2||West Ham United London||1||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||1||Manchester City||3||Sunday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|11||West Ham United London||33||12||6||15||42||50||42||-8|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||32||9||6||17||32||51||33||-19|
Position before match : 3rd
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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