The second match of Tottenham's
pre-season programme gave them slightly tougher opposition than
their first in the shape of Mark Bowen's Reading, but the only thing
that held Spurs up was the half hour delay in the kick off after the
visitors got stuck in traffic before arriving for a right Royal 4-1
Some fresh faces in the Spurs
squad were going to get their first run-out - Bergwijn, Sissoko,
Lamela and the surprise inclusion of Aurier - while Harvey White got
his first start, with Winks and Foyth sitting this one out.
Reading fielded a pretty strong squad, but the game in class showed
again and while they had more of a go than the previous opponents,
they rarely threatened the Tottenham goal, even though they had more
shots than Spurs.
Reading earned an early free-kick 20 yards out for a foul by Dier,
which was played to the far post and headed back into the middle,
where Hugo Lloris came and punched it clear, if unconvincingly.
However, in the sixth minute, a long ball was played up to Son on
the left by Davies. In behind Morrison, Sonny shimmied with the
defender in front of him in the box and shot, but Morrison blocked
the shot, with the ball going across the six-yard box and straight
to Moura, who was beaten to it by Omar Richards, who knocked it into
his own goal for the opening goal. It was fortunate the way it went
towards Lucas, but the long ball from the back was soon in operation
again, with Son just unable to collect Toby’s searching ball
forward. It looks as though this might be a tactic to exploit
the speed of our forwards in the coming season.
Spurs were playing an open passing style and when Dele’s cross-field
pass picked out Moura on the left, it looked like 2-0, but his shot
was blocked for a corner. That had come about because Pierre-Emile
Hojbjerg had won the ball and White moved it quickly onto Dele on
the right side of the pitch before switching play.
For their part, Reading were not sitting back and a corner had
stretched Hugo at the far post as he reached to knock it away. Then
a long pass down the left saw Gedson get there before Omar, but then
try to step over the ball, allowing it to get away from him in the
process. He ended up fouling the Reading captain and the free-kick
fortunately came to nothing.
Moura’s pace took him away from the Reading defence in the 16th
minute and he intelligently squared it for Son to shoot from inside
the area. The keeper got down to it, but it went underneath his body
and trickled towards the line. A defender cleared it, when it looked
as though it may have gone over, but Son had another go and this
time the block on his shot allowed another Reading man to clear it
from inside the six yard area.
Dele played a header to Lucas Moura in the 21st minute and the
return volleyed pass allowed Dele to go behind the defence and lob
the oncoming keeper to double the lead. It was a very well created
goal with good technical skill in the set-up and the finish.
Twenty-eight minutes in, Reading created a shot on goal when Swift
played the ball in to Joao, but his placed shot went wide of Hugo’s
goal. Lloris then had to flop to his left when Josh Laurent tried to
put a shot wide of him, but it might actually have been going wide
of the goal. Laurent then ran into the area and tried a shot, but it
was going wide before it flicked off Alderweireld for a corner. When
Dele played a loose pass in the defensive third, Harvey White had to
make a well-timed challenge in the box to deny Yiadom running into
the area to create a chance.
Dele got the ball when Hojbjerg tackled a Reading player on the
ball, it was moved on to Moura, who found Bergwijn in space on the
left. He checked, came inside and squared it to Son in the box
standing around the penalty spot. There was one touch and then he
picked out a shot that avoided the three defenders and goalkeeper in
front of him to record Tottenham’s third goal in the 39th minute.
The finish was precise and deadly, which saw Spurs repeat their
first half three goals scored against Ipswich last Saturday.
A couple of minutes before half-time, Yiadom got past Gedson, who
was in the left back position, to put in a cross that Joao headed
over the bar from a central position and just ten yards out. It was
a good opportunity that was wasted. At the other end, Dele nicked
the ball off a defender and played it inside to Son, whose shot was
It was a first half full of energy and sharp passing that realised
Mourinho’s strategy of getting a few goals ahead and then manage the
play. The front four had caused the Reading defence lots of problems
and while they were not afraid to move forward, every time Spurs got
possession, they were a threat to the visitor’s defence.
With six half-time changes, some players were given their first
run-out of the season and Lamela’s first act was to needlessly pull
someone down 25 yards out, but Swift’s attempt at a shot on goal
ended up high into the empty Paxton Road seats.
Spurs had a corner in the 49th minute, but Son’s ball in was cleared
at the near post, but when the ball came in the next time, McIntyre
cleared out Son on the edge of the D. Having given the ball away
with the third touch Lamela had, his fourth buried the ball into the
bottom corner of the net to Cabral’s left to make it 4-0 in the 52nd
minute. It was a nice swinging free-kick that Son ducked under, but
it was the curl that did for the keeper.
With a four goal lead, Tottenham looked hungry for more and Bergwijn
was only denied by Holmes’ intervention as the Dutchman entered the
penalty area almost straight from the kick off. The ball was being
played expansively, so, when Carter-Vickers played a shot ball to
Aurier and he picked out Hojbjerg running out of the back, a ball
was swept wide by Lamela to Bergwijn on the left. Stevie tried to
pull it back to Son on the near post, but he was crowded out.
Following a couple more substitutions after the hour by Spurs,
Reading crafted an opening, but Puskas could only rush his shot wide
of the goal as Toby slid in.
The game died a bit with all the subs coming on, with Moussa Sissoko
furious at the award of a free-kick given against him and belting
the ball thirty yards away to demonstrate his feelings. He then
flipped the ball away when another free-kick went against Spurs and
he would surely have been booked in a competitive match. McIntyre
might have been lucky to avoid the same fate, because after his foul
on Son, he left one on Jack Clarke, getting there late.
A free-kick on the Jordan Holsgrove on the Reading left was swung in
and Gazzaniga, who had just come on, made a good save away to his
left. Holmes was coming in on the far post, but could only bundle
the ball against the post, with the ball falling in front of goal
where Puscas had his effort blocked on the line by Cameron
Carter-Vickers, using his hand according to referee Pawson. That
gave Puscas the opportunity to score from the spot, which he did
with great power to Gazzaniga’s right with ten minutes left.
There was little action after that with more substitutions and
Reading's forward moves breaking down, with Spurs unable to threaten
the goal any further.
A useful work out, a good
result, some very good goals and the major disappointment was the
concession of a goal, but it was difficult for CCV to avoid the ball
striking his hand and in a real match, it might have been five had
goal-line technology been in action with the one that was kicked off
the line. White looked at home in midfield, Son and Dele
sharp, with Bergwijn and Moura's pace a useful weapon. At the
back, the defence looked comfortable against a side not afraid to
attack, but lacking a little in quality. Moussa Sissoko
limping off is a little worrying, but everyone else seemed to come
through OK and the bandwagon moves on to tomorrow, when Birmingham
City are the visitors.
With live TV games being
announced, the Premier League start feels closer and with Birmingham
and Watford left to play before the season starts, it looks as
though Mourinho has an idea of how he wants the team to play, so it
will be fascinating to see how that develops over the remaining
friendlies, as other players are re-introduced to the side ... and
some who might be coming into it as new signings !