Incredible is probably the best word to sum up today’s game, absolutely incredible. From the off we dominated, hassled, harried, created chances and even had a bit of flair and trickery to our game. Easily the best performance from us this year.
We began the game very well, setting the tempo from the off. We closed Stoke down and when on the ball, passed it with purpose and accuracy. However, we had the small issue of not putting our chances away. We had 10 shots in the first half but only managed to be one goal ahead. Our second string back four were terrific, a central midfield pairing of Dembele and Paulinho worked a treat – with the latter showing off some Samba skills to those in attendance at White Hart Lane.
Our goal came on 37 minutes when Roberto Soldado crossed for Emmanuel Adebayor to bicycle kick towards goal. His acrobatic effort was blocked by the flying hands off Stoke defender, Ryan Shawcross and we were awarded yet another penalty – our fourth in the league this season. Soldado stepped up and slotted home with his usual quality from 12 yards. Despite the numerous goal scoring opportunities created, a weak Stoke side went into half time only a goal down.
However, the second half was a completely different story. We began the game exactly where we left it, passing it well and winning the ball back quickly. However, a second goal was needed in order to put the game further out of reach. The moment arrived on 65 minutes. Mousa Dembele dropped his shoulder once, twice and then fired an unstoppable shot past the helpless Thomas Sorensen. White Hart Lane had found it’s style again and the fans were in high spirits; with “Oh When The Spurs” echoing around N17. Four minutes later, it was three. Soldado played the ball across the box towards Lennon, and after a slight touch from Adebayor, the tricky winger took a touch on his thigh and slammed home into the top corner, all but sealing Stoke’s fate.
For the rest of the game, we continued and proving attack after attack, with our usual ebb and flow – much to the delight of Tim Sherwood and the 36,000 fans inside White Hart Lane. To finish a rollercoaster year in such superb fashion is extremely pleasing to see and it also seems that the much criticised Sherwood is beginning to do a good job in charge. Long may it continue.
Final Score: Spurs (Soldado 37, Dembele 65, Lennon 69) 3-0 Stoke
Lloris – Didn’t have much to do but commanded his area well. 6.
Naughton – Often criticised but put in a superb shift to cover his mate, Kyle. 7.
Dawson – Also heavily criticised but looked comfortable and won aerial duels against Crouch too. 7.
Chiriches – Didn’t have an awful lot to do, too. Solid when called upon. 6
Fryers – Well done on his first start in the League, seemed to be comfortable on and off the ball. 7
Lennon – Quiet at times, especially before half time but troubles Pieters and scored a beauty. 7.
Paulinho – Absolutely brilliant before he went off injured. Hope it’s not serious. 8.
Dembele – My Man Of The Match. Passed it excellent, was strong, took on men, scored a cracker and held his position sublimely. 9.
Eriksen – Didn’t live up to his usual billing but played well out of position. Created a few chances when he came in field. 6.
Adebayor – Another sublime performance from the Togolese man. Held the ball up, spread the ball well and deserved a goal for his performance. 8.
Soldado – Scored a goal but offered very little else. Could have had two or three today. The goal will give him confidence, though. 6.
Capoue – Replaced Paulinho and held well. Didn’t have an immediate understanding with Dembele but was a rock in front of the back four. 6.
Lamela – Looked bright again with a few good runs from the right and a shot that was blocked. Didn’t have too long on the pitch but signs of him settling in are ever present. 6.
Chadli – Came on for the last five minutes and made a few good runs and crosses but was more of a sub to avoid fatigue for the game versus Manchester United. N/A.
Also huge credit goes out to the team and Sherwood as we were missing NINE key players from our squad, which meant we had a second string back four as well as replacements in most positions. Credit goes out to all the staff and players for showing few signs of ‘weakness’.
Walker – Suspended
Kaboul, Vertonghen, Townsend, Sandro, Defoe – Injured
Holtby, Sigurdsson, Rose – Rested
I will be posting a final piece on New Year’s Eve to close the curtains on 2013 and preview 2014, in which I will be looking back at highlights, lowlights and memories of the year gone by. For now, Come On You Spurs.