Hugo LLORIS (c)
Eric DIER (c) (33
Moussa SISSOKO (
Harvey WHITE (20
CLARKE ( 7
Harley DEAN (c)
Jeremie BELA (21
Amari MILLER 82)
CROWLEY (20 Caolan
8 Ivan SUNJIC (18
Agus MEDINA 83)
Charlie LAKIN (10
Jayden REID 66)
3 Steve SEDDON
5 Geraldo BAJRAMI
15 Marc ROBERTS
17 David DAVIS
The weather turned chilly on
this Bank Holiday weekend and Birmingham City definitely tried hard
to freeze out the Spurs side who had rolled over Ipswich and Reading
before them. That they held out until the last minute is great
credit to them, but without a great deal of adventure, Brum had to
defend in numbers and cram the midfield to nullify Tottenham, only
to fall to Bergwijn's late winner for Spurs.
Tottenham started with a younger side and with three centre-backs,
with Aurier and Sessegnon pushing high up the wings. That left
Gedson to play a more forward role supporting Moura with Jack
Clarke, getting his first start.
Gedson had an opportunity just after ten minutes, when he found
space for a shot that took a heavy deflection, taking the pace off
it and then Dier had a better chance, when he was free at the far
post from a Harvey White free-kick on the right and failed to get a
full contact on the ball with his head, glancing it wide when he
should have forced the keeper into action. It was nearly 30 minutes
gone before the next opportunity, when Dier again was free from a
White corner and again, it went wide.
Five minutes before the break, Spurs pressed high and a back pass
looked as though it was going to the goalkeeper, but Prieto left it
for Friend, who just got the ball away in time before Lucas got
there, but played to Sessegnon, whose shot was blocked by Prieto
coming out to close him down.
With four half-time changes giving Spurs a more experienced look,
Sissoko played a pass in front of Aurier to cross first time, with
Lucas Moura just failing to get a decent header on the ball under
pressure from Dean at the near post. In the 55th minute, the same
pairing linked with Lucas receiving a pull back around the penalty
spot. His first touch took the ball into the air under pressure and
he tried a spectacular scissors kick, but it came off his shin
softly into the hands of Prieto.
Spurs were effectively switching play from Bergwijn on the left to
Aurier on the right, with balls being played into the box or getting
blocked for corners. When the ball was worked wide for Sessegnon or
Clarke, neither player had options to find in the box.
Just after he came on Heung-Min Son took a corner and played it low
into the box for Dele, who stepped over it, letting it run to Moura.
He tried to roll it under his foot behind him to Aurier, but it was
cut out. With a quarter of an hour left, Gedson struck a shot at
goal from a half-cleared ball. It was 25 yards out and it hit a
defender, ricocheting to the left where Son picked it up and hit a
left foot shot that finished halfway up the South Stand.
Moura neatly played the ball between a Birmingham defender’s legs to
Son, who in turn played a pass inside a defender for Hojbjerg to
move into the area. He turned outside and dinked a ball into the
heart of the goalmouth, but Prieto got there as the ball landed in
the right area for him.
Hojbjerg, Son and Dele linked well getting the ball into the area,
before a pass wide to Sessegnon on the left provided a scoring
opportunity, but taking it right-footed, Ryan put his effort tinto
88 50 Dele looked for Hojbjerg, who was tackled, but the ball went
left to Bergwijn, who came inside and from 18 yards swept his right
foot shot low past Prieto’s left into the bottom corner of the net
with hardly a chance to get play underway again. It was a hard game
for Spurs to break down a resolute and well-drilled Birmingham side,
but it took a classy piece of finishing at the end to maintain a
winning start to our pre-season.
The hard press and long balls to the forwards seem to be the way
that Jose is planning to go and the movement of the ball across the
pitch also stretched the teams we have played so far. Of course, the
quality of the opposition will be higher when we start the league
campaign, but you can only beat what is in front of you, which is
what the side have done so far.
The goalkeepers had another day off, with hardly anything worth the
kit needing washing to do. Aurier swung between looking to get
forward and play the ball into the box and not being bothered to
work back after the ball had been lost in a high position of the
pitch. With Doherty looking likely to be coming in, perhaps his
attitude was unsurprising, but it won’t help him find another club.
Again, there were some decent showings from some of the younger
players, but you feel it will be tried and tested squad who are
called on a lot of the time. With the Europa League campaign being a
long one, they will need the fringe squad members to be called upon,
so this is a good way of integrating them into the team.
It was a win, but the game was more or less Tottenham’s attack
against Birmingham’s defence but finding ways of breaking defences
down has been Tottenham’s downfall in the recent past, so hopefully,
it will help in the long run.