|OPPONENTS||Wolverhampton Wanderers at Wembley|
|DATE||Saturday 29th December 2018|
No preview produced.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be missing Victor Wanyama (knee), Jan Vertonghen (thigh), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Eric Dier (appendicitis), while Dele Alli (hamstring) will have a lte fitness test to see if he can take part and Serge Aurier returned to training this week and could be in the matchday squad.
WANDERERS TEAM NEWS :
|Premier League||Kick off 15:00|
|Tottenham Hotspur 1 (1)||
Kane 21m 40s
Boly 71m 41s
Davies (foul on Docherty) 16
Eriksen (trip on Traore) 42
Kane (simulation) 61
Otto (foul on Trippier) 81
Jiminez (celebrating goal) 84
|Crowd : 46,356||Weather : Mild, dry|
|Referee : Stuart Attwell (Nuneaton, Warwickshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Stephen Child; Mr. Neil Davies|
|Fourth Official : Lee Probert|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers kicked off and played towards the West Stand in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 9 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Wolverhampton Wanderers :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Nuno Espirito Santo|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : W88|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : adidas|
In a game of two halves, it was Wolves 3-0 victory in the second 45 minutes that gave them the three points, with Spurs only having managed one goal in the first period, despite dominating proceedings. It looked like a game too far for Tottenham, as they ran out of energy and ideas in the second half, whereas Wolves kept going and once they equalised, they picked off Spurs on the break, assisted by our unusually poor passing,
The defence was rotated, with Trippier, Sanchez and Davies reinstalled in the side that beat Bournemouth, while Dele returned after missing that match with a hamstring pull. Surprisingly, Lamela was missing completely, with Nkoudou making a rare appearance on the bench. The changes seemed to disrupt the workings of the team, as Wolves kicked off but within a minute Trippier's long cross almost picked out Dele's head at the far post, but for the most part, there was not the fluidity of movement of players or ball that had characterised our previous two games. Dele was involve din the first half, but looked as though he was nursing his way through the match, with his movement not as telling as it usually was.
Surprisingly for a first half that Tottenham dominated, there was little of note that happened. That corner was taken short and produced a blocked shot from Son's effort, but he got one past the defence in the seventh minute, when Davies and Eriksen set him up for a 25 yard drive that went wide. Wolves handed the ball to Kane, with a ball back from halfway by Jiminez went straight to him, but a foul by the striker trying to recover his mistake handed Trippier that chance to strike at goal from 25 yards out. His shot got over the wall, but only found goalkeeper Patricio behind it.
All that Wolves had in return was a header from a free-kick by Bennett that he got underneath and it went high over the bar, after Davies had taken out Doherty in our left back position. Son was having a day where he wasn't having a lot of luck in the shooting stakes. He tried to curl one past the keeper, but got too much on it and it went wide,. Then, well-placed, 20 yards out and central, he got hold of one that could have been heading in, but it hit Sissoko, deflecting left to Eriksen, who fizzed it back at goal, only to see Patricio get a touch on it and take it onto the bar and over the top. It was a top save. Son had another shot blocked before Spurs had a move that worked the ball out to Harry Kane on the right hand corner of the box, 25 yards out. He looked up and with Wolves players not closing him down, he cut inside and ran parallel with the 18 yard line to unleash a left foot shot with little back-lift that fairly rocketed past Patricio, who didn't dive until the ball was past him. It was another fine goal from a player who has the art of goal-scoring off to a tee. It was out of keeping with the rest of the half and while we were having chances, the same intensity of the Everton and Bournemouth games was lacking.
Wolves attacks floundered on Alderweireld and Sanchez's joint aerial power and interceptions. Traore was always a threat with his pace, but his inability to make anything from it caused little trouble, leading to him making an early second half exit. Instead, it was Spurs who looked like extending their lead, when Son, in the same position that Kane had scored from, struck a superb curling effort that only just missed dipping under the angle of bar and post, with Patricio scrambling to try to get near it. That was just before the half hour mark and just after it, a cleared corner fell to Ruben Neves, 25 yards out. He is usually a clean hitter of the ball, but he scuffed his shot well wide. Just before half-time, Sonny went on a long run from inside his own half, but his shot was blocked and it came out to Harry Winks, who tried his luck, but pulled it well wide of the Wolves goal.
While there were a lot of chances created by Spurs, there was a lack of urgency in their play and unfortunately, that continued after the break. Trips got an important head on a Traore right wing cross that looked destined for Cavaleiro at the far post, but the Wolves player took him out without going for the ball anyway. It looked a clear booking all day long, but referee at well appeared to not have his consistent head on, with fouls punished with bookings for Spurs players appearing to be much more worthy of a yellow card than when employed by Wolves players. Perhaps he didn't want the cards to clash with their less than Old Gold shirts.
When Spurs were going forward, there wasn't the incisive passing we have become accustomed to. Clearing a Wolves corner, you could have thought a goal-scoring chance was on the cards, when Winks played a pass to Eriksen ,with Son looking to make a run on goal, but Christian's pass was cut out and that was the story of the second half. Whereas our passes have been finding their targets today a combination of organised defence and poor delivery meant that those chances dried up. Picked off passes were allowing Wolves to get back into the game and Jiminez went on a run halfway the length of the pitch until Alderweireld stopped him on the edge of the box. The haphazard Traore exited to be replaced by the tricky and pacy Costa as the visiting team gained more confidence from having more of the ball, so when Santo brought on Moutinho for Dendoncker, the little Portugueezer started pulling the strings. Tottenham's change of Moura for Dele did not have the same effect, as our moves were breaking down as Wolves got nine men back behind the ball when we had it.
The goal had been coming and an unchallenged header from Boly at a corner saw him power it beyond Lloris' dive in the 72nd minute. It was a turning point in the game, as Wolves were finding space in wide positions to cross the ball in and Spurs were struggling going forward. Kane was booked for diving, which he disputed, but may have been frustration with some of the decisions that weren't being given. Eriksen had the ball tight to the dead ball line, lost it and then won it back, taking it into the box before being bundled over from behind. How Atwell managed to interpret the challenge as a fair one was a little beyond belief. Eriksen was furious and it is not often you see him as animated as that.
With seven minutes to go Wolves hit the front. Moutinho played Cavaleiro in on the left and his short square pass to Jiminez saw the striker shoot, but it had little power, but bobbled past Lloris' right hand into the bottom corner of the net almost in slow-motion. It was a sloppy goal and one that left Spurs chasing the game. Trying to salvage something from the game, Son put in a great cross from the left that flew across the face of goal, with Harry Kane going for it and seemingly being pulled by Boly as he dived in.
The final act came with 87 minutes on the clock. We gave the ball away on halfway and it was sent through to Costa by Doherty, leaving him a clear run on goal to put the ball to Lloris' right as the keeper was left exposed. After that we had a corner that the keeper took easily and Costa could have made the defeat worse with a header straight at Hugo when he was alone in the box.
So, was it a bad day at the office or tiredness from players not being rotated enough or poor team selection by Pochettino ? All three were mentioned by fans on their way out of the game, along with some over-reaction towards the players after the defeat. Agreed, it wasn't a great performance and on the balance of the game, Wolves deserved the win as they took their chances, while we didn't in the first half when we were in the ascendancy. There were tired limbs and tired minds in the second half and Poch has to pick them up for what will not be an easy task in going to Cardiff on New Year's Day.
Perhaps the best way to have enjoyed today was like the couple who sat next to me. The whole of the game they were on their phones, barely looking up to see the game unfolding. They saw Kane's goal (amazingly), complained when people got up a few minutes before half-time and then left outraged that Spurs hadn't hit a hundred goals in this game just after it got to 3-1. Perhaps Poch was right about Anfield. It would be some weird party if everyone sat checking their phones very moment of the game.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Everton||0||Saturday|
|Leicester City||0||Cardiff City||1||Saturday|
|Burnley||2||West Ham United London||0||Sunday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|11||West Ham United London||20||8||3||9||27||30||27||-3|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||20||7||4||9||22||27||25||-5|
Position before match : 2nd
Position after match : 2nd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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