|DATE||Wednesday 22nd January 2020|
Under Daniel Farke, Norwich City gained promotion on a wave of
attacking football, which saw them sweep teams aside. It
hasn't been quite the same in the Premier League, where they have
received praise for their football, but sometimes it works - like
getting a point against us, but then sometimes it doesn't - like
losing 0-4 to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
There are talented players in their squad who will probably be picked off if they go down. Spurs have been linked with Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey. Aarons is an attacking right back, Godfrey a powerful central defender and Cantwell a sort of Eriksen Lite. And of course, Teemu Pukki will probably earn a big money move as he deals in the currency of goals, a valuable commodity in today's game.
But the other players contribute in their own ways. Vrancic and Stiepermann are astute runners with and off the ball, Buendia is a creative midfielder and Hernandez a strong attacker who has the ability to score goals, but that is partly Norwich's problem. Scoring 23 goals doesn't make them the lowest scorers, but they have let in 45. Whereas last season they found goal-scoring easy, the top flight has been a lot tougher for them and most weeks, mistakes at the back have been punished.For Tottenham, this is a vital game. With a lack of goals ourselves since Kane's New Year's Day hamstring tear and no wins since Boxing Day in the league, playing Norwich in a 7.30 kick-off takes on a new importance. A game we might not have considered dropping points a year ago has become a game that we need to put a performance in for. When Lo Celso and Lamela have played together lately, we look more of an attacking force, but without the finishing touch (although we came so close at Watford). Mourinho has said that Eriksen will play and we can only hope that he is on it, as we need the tempo and the eye for a pass to open up the Norwich defence, who will have learned from their thrashing at Old Trafford.
Personally, I would have Parrott on the bench. He's a forward and a goal-scorer. I know that the goals he has scored have been against his own age-group, but he looks as if he knows where the goal is wherever he is on the pitch. If we need a goal, who better than a natural finisher, even if he is playing up a level ?
I think it will be another hard slog, but take Spurs to come out
with the three points. A win will only take us up one place,
but it's a start. We should have enough players to trouble
Norwich, if play as we can, but we must be aware of the talents in
their side too.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Tanguy Ndombele was back in training after his recent hip injury, but it is not clear if he will be ready to play against Norwich City. Ben Davies (ankle), Hugo Lloris (elbow), Harry Kane (hamstring) and Moussa Sissoko (knee) are all definitely ruled out.
NORWICH CITY TEAM NEWS :
The Canaries make their shortest away trip of the season without Timm Klose (knee), Emiliano Buendia (thigh), Mario Vrancic (shin) and goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann (knee). Ben Godfrey is suspended for this match.
|Premier League||Kick off 19.30|
|Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)||
Dele 37m 00s
Pukki (p) 69m 46s
Cantwell (foul on Lamela) 47
|Crowd : 58,182||Weather : Dank, dampness in the air, mild(ish)|
|Referee : Chris Kavanagh (Manchester)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Constantine Hatzidakis; Mrs. Sian Massey-Ellis|
|Fourth Official : Robert Jones||-|
|Video Assistant Referee : Mike Dean||Video Assistant Referee Assistant : Simon Long|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 9 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Norwich City :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
24 Serge AURIER
4 Toby ALDERWEIRELD
5 Jan VERTONGHEN (30 Gedson FERNANDES 75)
19 Ryan SESSEGNON
8 Harry WINKS (15 Eric DIER 56)
18 Giovani LO CELSO
11 Erik LAMELA (23 Christian ERIKSEN 62)
7 Heung-Min SON
20 DELE Alli
27 Lucas MOURA
2 Max AARONS
5 Grant HANLEY (c)
6 Christopher ZIMMERMANN
3 Sam BYRAM
27 Alexander TETTEY (11 Onel HERNANDEZ 82)
23 Kenny McLEAN (18 Marco STIEPERMANN 90+3)
14 Todd CANTWELL
25 Ondri DUDA
7 Lukas RUPP (20 Josip DRMIC 86)
22 Teemu PUKKI (p)
|Manager : Jose Mourinho||Manager : Daniel Farke|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : dafabet|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : errera|
This wasn't the most impressive showing Spurs have put in this season, but it was enough to see off a determined Norwich City side 2-1, but had the Canaries finishing have been better, they may well have returned to Norfolk with more than nothing.
A fine performance by Giovani Lo Celso drove Spurs on, as Mourinho started with the side that was set up to attack and with the return of captain Hugo Lloris in goal, the defence had a more familiar look about it. But Norwich were lively, but profligate with both their goal-scoring chances and the ball. For the best part of the first half, Spurs did not have to press too hard to gain possession, as Norwich's passing was loose, but Spurs, in their current situation, weren't at their best to make the most of it.
An early corner was played in by Lamela and Lucas Moura got his head to nod it goal-wards, but Tettey was on the line to head away and an early tackle on Aarons left him limping, as Sessegnon tried to close him down near his own penalty area. Ten minutes in and Lo Celso passed wide right to Aurier (which was to be a feature of the play today). With space afforded him, Serge put in a ball beyond the last Norwich defender and Erik Lamela came into meet it on the volley, but it was hit into the ground, which too much of the power off it and it bounced up at a nice height for Krul to palm it away at head height. Sessegnon almost picked out Dele's head but Byram got there just in time to conceded a corner.
Around the quarter of an hour point, Norwich put together a move that started deep and ended with Pukki and Cantwell exchanging passes through the D and with the Finn on the penalty spot, he awkwardly opened his body up to shoot, but put his right foot shot well wide of the goal form a really promising position. Lucas looked full of running again, although his first touch was a little off tonight, but he nearly seized on a mistake by Hanley, who let the ball skid off his head, but defenders came over to crowd the Brazilian out. Tottenham's passing hadn't been too brilliant this half, with too many being too far beyond the receiver, but Lo Celso was trying to keep Spurs moving forward and Winks was winning the ball well in midfield. Norwich still looked dangerous though, with Cantwell driving a 25 yard shot over the angle of Lloris' goal after a corner was cleared.
When Lucas did play a good reverse pass inside Zimmermann for Son to run onto in the left channel, the Korean couldn't wrap his foot around it enough to get it on target and it struck the side-netting. When Pukki gets a half-chance, you always worry that it will find its way into the net, but when the ball ran to him from Aarons, he went for power and not precision, firing his shot wide with his left foot. Seven minutes before half-time, Lo Celso once more played the ball inside Byram to put Aurier in on the right wing. His firmly hit cross was cut out by Handley, with Aurier still claiming a hand-ball when Lo Celso shrugged Cantwell off the ball to take possession. He played the ball to Sonny, who put Serge away and this time, the Ivory Coast defender played a low ball to the near post and Dele, coming in to steal a march on the stumbling Zimmermann to slap the ball under Krul's body with his out-stretched left foot from just inside the six-yard box. A few decent passes and the Norwich defence had been compromised and Spurs had their first goal of the decade.
Norwich tried to hit back, with Zimmermann getting to a free-kick in the Spurs box, but although he tried a contrived overhead kick, he put the ball wide connecting more with Alderweireld's shoulder and pulling his thigh in the same action. When Spurs moved the ball from Aurier to Dele, he plaid it back for Lamela to rabona the ball to the far post to his left, where Lucas just was unable to reach it. Moura was then involved when he played the ball to Dele, who helped it on with his instep, aiming for Son, but Krul got there just before him. Just before the break, Norwich launched an attack down the right, with Aarons playing the ball to Pukki, who set it up for new signing Rupp, but he hit a low shot yards wide of Lloris' right hand post.
It hadn't been the peak of entertainment, but Spurs had done enough to go into the dressing room one goal to the good, but they had to be aware of Norwich's attacking threat. The visitors had been wasting time (Krul taking forever with the ball and it being kicked away every time the had a decision against them), with Cantwell going down easily to win free-kicks, but they were capable of moving the ball dangerously.
The start of the second half brought he first VAR review of the game and Dithering Mike Dean was probably looking forward to Tranmere's game against Watford the following night more than concentrating on making a decision when Cantwell slid in and raked his elevated studs on the back of Erik Lamela's calf. It didn't look malicious, but the raised foot these days usually means on thing, but not here. It eventually only brought a yellow card to match the Norwich midfielder's shirt. A lot had been made about Cantwell, but while he played some good short passes, he looked a bit lightweight and too easy to ease off the ball.
Sony was off target when Toby's long diagonal ball dropped for him in the area, then the Belgian defender was in action at the other end blocking a Cantwell effort before being first to the corner, but only heading it up in the air, leaving Sessegnon and Lo Celso to complete the clearance. Prior to the corner being taken there was a VAR review for handball similar to Saturday's when Alderweireld again turned his back on the ball and it hit him oh his elbow, but it wasn't away from his body this time, so no penalty was the decision. Norwich attacked down the right again and Tettey laid the ball back out of the penalty area for Pukki to side-foot a shot wide of the goal to Lloris' right. In the next Canaries' attack, Winks challenged Cantwell in the box and stayed won holding his ankle Vertonghen cleared and Norwich played on before running the ball out of play, not putting it out of play, so after Harry had treatment and had to limp off to be replaced by Eric Dier, they got the ball back when Spurs re-started with a throw-in. The injury was a result of another reckless Cantwell tackle and while the offender didn't even concede a free-kick, Winksy will now spend another few weeks on the sidelines.
The bounce of the ball was going Norwich's way in this spell, with a rebound ricocheting forward and Jan slipped as he tried to re-adjust to the flight of the ball, leaving Pukki in on goal. Luckily Gio and Dier were alert enough to get back and put off the striker, who lost control of the ball. Just after the hour, Mourinho made the second Spurs sub, bringing on Eriksen for Lamela to a chorus of boos and abuse. Is it productive to do that to a player wearing a Spurs shirt ? People pay their money, so probably feel entitled to do so, but if they are wearing a Spurs shirt I will get behind them and reserve any disapproval until the game is over. Christian is not playing well, but he is there to try and win the game for us.
Lucas was in good space but Dele's pass couldn't pick him out, while an Eriksen pass later that was far too long for Son brought howls of derision. It seems perceptive is not a strong point with some people, who have a view and they are going to stick to it. Just like the person in the posh seats behind us, who had got his own little "Levy Out" banner made up. It's amazing the effect that money has on people.
Eriksen did produce a neat pass to Son, but he ran and ran in the box, before coming into a clump of Norwich defenders. When a free-kick was given against Dele for Tettey jumping for a header and being all over him, Norwich took it quickly and it was played forward by for Aarons to get onto it in the box, but he was beaten to it by Sessegnon, who was adjudged to have brought him down. Another long delay by VAR before they gave the penalty, but I thought it was only for clear and obvious errors. Kavanagh looked quite certain when he pointed to the spot and there weren't too many complaints, but why does it take so long to decide ? After the delay, Pukki stepped up and put the spot-kick to Lloris' left. Hugo guessed the right way, but could only get a hand to it before it squeezed in at the post to level the score. &0 minutes gone and all square.
Spurs went back on the offensive and Aurier out a cross into Krul's hands before a corner from Son found Toby at the near post for once, but his header was blocked for another corner and although the same routine was tried a couple of times, nothing came of it. Cantwell hit s shot over the bar from outside the area after a cross was headed away by Sessegnon, placed between two yellow attackers and from the goal kick. Lucas flicked a header on to Dele, who played it out to Serge on the right. He moved the ball forward ten yards, played it inside to Lo Celso, who picked out a very good pass into the box for Dele, who had carried on his run. One on one with Zimmermenn tight to the line on the right of the box, his ball across (a cross or a shot ?) came off the defender's foot spinning wildly into the air. It dropped toward the far post, taking out Krul who had come to his near post and Sonny nodded it in from inches out as Aarons and Krul were unable to track the flight of the ball. It was well read by Sonny, who elated all his fellow-countrymen and women who had come to support him.
Following the goal, Farke brought on Onel Hernandez, who is a bull of a player for Tettey and later Drimic for Rupp, but not before the new arrival had struck a low shot from the edge of the area that took a touch of Gio that took the ball wide. Hugo took the corner confidently and that was good news considering his time out with his elbow dislocation. Tottenham were trying to close out the game and when Dele saw a loose ball, he struck an effort at goal from 25 yards that was going a long way wide, but went wider off a Norwich leg for a corner. Trying to kill time in the corner, Spurs lost the ball and when Norwich tried to play the ball out of the back in added time, they proved more adept at keeping it in the corner thanks to their loose passing and inability to control the ball.
Son and Moura had shots blocked away and in the sixth minute of added time, thanks to VAR, Dele sent Lucas away, but his ball that would have put Son in on goal was slightly behind him, so held him up. He kept possession and played in Lucas, but his return pass bounced off Heung-Min and Norwich cleared the ball instead of letting it run through to Krul.
It was a relief when the final whistle blew, as it signalled a home win and our first victory of the decade and since Boxing Day. Other results left us in sixth place, but the points are so tight around us, only a run of unbeaten games will move Spurs up the table.
Lo Celso seemed to enjoy playing for a deep position, with a roving role that allowed him to play decisive passes and show that he can contest the ball in midfield. Dele ran all over the pitch and scored the opener, but was also involved at the end to create the winner, with Son aware of where the ball might land. It could have been more comfortable if we hadn't allowed Norwich to get through to have shooting opportunities, even though Lloris wasn't unduly worked too hard except for the penalty. There will probably be a lot more for him to do in our next home game against Manchester City.
With the crowd being edgy because of the run of results we are on, there was an atmosphere of expectation in the stadium, but although we haven't been great the last few weeks, not helped by Kane's injury, we are now in sixth place and only six points behind Chelsea, who are also on a poor run.
Whether Champions League football is attainable for next season is questionable and will depend on how the transfer window pans out and how many more injuries we suffer. But there are small signs that things are coming together and the permanent signing of Lo Celso would help, as he looks to have picked up what the Premier League is a all about now. Gedson came on and looked confident on the ball and with rumours of a striker being signed form Spain - Willian Jose - it might provide a focus for our play, but who will be left out ?
If he come sin before Saturday, it will be interesting to see if he is thrown straight in, as Mourinho might regard the FA Cup as the target for this season.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|How the players did|
|Hugo Lloris||Little to do, other than pick the ball out of the net (a common game for Spurs keepers lately), but good to have him back.|
|Serge Aurier||Played well and provided a very good cross for the first goal. Rapidly becoming our Kevin de Bruyne.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Solid at the back and looked for diagonal balls to put the forwards in on goal.|
|Jan Vertonghen||Looked a little wobbly at the back and not very happy at the final whistle after being benched.|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Terrific performance. Coming into his own now and was all over the pitch.|
|Ryan Sessegnon||Did OK in a more traditional left back position. Needs to strengthen up as robbed of the ball easily on occasion.|
|Harry Winks||Injured just when he was playing a vital part of the Spurs midfield. Will be missed..|
|Dele Alli||Ran and ran and scored the opening goal. Not everything is perfect, but he is showing a dedication to the team that is getting him back to his previous standards.|
|Erik Lamela||Good game, brimming with confidence (the rabona) and unlucky with his early shot. Ran out of steam.|
|Heung-Min Son||Ran to close down and off the ball and got his reward with the late winner. His shooting was a bit wayward though.|
|Lucas Moura||-Worked hard with little reward and his first touch needs to sharpen up, but played his part up front.|
|Eric Dier||Did well as a substitute for Winks. Won headers and tackles to stop Norwich getting through on goal.|
|Christian Eriksen||One of the crowd's targets over his contract situation, but looked for the killer pass but it didn't come off.|
|Gedson Fernandes||Looked confident with his control and passing, but not a lot of time to do too much. What he did was good.|
|What you thought|
don't know if anyone has noticed, but the Dele-Son relationship
seems to be a bit off at the moment. No more handshake
celebrations. Annoyed looks at each other when one shoots and
doesn't pass. Not a lot of chemistry in build-up play.
Even when Son scored, the congratulations all seemed to be for Dele.
Nothing has been said but it
doesn't look the same as a season ago.
|Other scores during this week :|
|AFC Bournemouth||3||Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Tuesday|
|Frank Lampard's Chelsea||2||Woolwich Wanderers||2||Tuesday|
|Crystal Palace||0||South Coast Big Club||2||Tuesday|
|Sheffield United||0||Manchester City||1||Tuesday|
|Leicester City||4||West Ham United London||1||Wednesday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||24||12||4||9||41||32||40||+9|
|9||South Coast Big Club||24||9||4||11||31||42||31||-11|
|15||Brighton & Hove Albion||24||6||7||11||27||34||25||-7|
|17||West Ham United London||23||6||5||12||27||38||23||-11|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the the mid-week games : -
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