Match: Wednesday 24th September 2014.
Competition: Capital One Cup 3rd Round.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
Result: Tottenham 3-1 Nottingham Forest.
Tottenham GoalScorers: Mason 72′, Soldado 83′ & Kane 91′.
Nottingham Forest GoalScorer: Grant 61′.
Well, it took us a long while to get started but we got there in the end! We’ve cemented our place in the Capital One Cup Fourth Round. We lacked penetration, passion & that little bit of quality in this game, but we got the job done, scored 3 goals and now we have a clear focus on the match against Arsenal on Saturday evening, which I’m sure was in the minds of all the Spurs players against Forest; or I hope it was. We can’t overshadow the performance with the result; we didn’t play well, looked shaky, slow and uninspiring. That is cause for concern, even though I never like to moan if we have won, I’d like to see much, much, much more on Saturday against Arsenal, albeit with a completely different starting 11. We have to show pace, passion, intensity against Arsenal if we are to stand any chance at all.
The first half was completely irrelevant to the game in the end. We didn’t show any threat whatsoever, and Nottingham Forest looked more dangerous, but we went in 0-0 at the break, with improvement needed in the second half, otherwise we may as well have run a replay of the West Brom game instead of this one. We can’t ignore Nottingham Forest’s performance in the first half though, they nullified any threat we had and worked tirelessly, with a definite threat on the counter attack. This continued for most of the second half.
In the second period, we didn’t start well, Pochettino didn’t make any substitutions and the players on the pitch just didn’t look at all capable of hitting the back of the net or showing that intensity that we lacked in the first half. We got what we deserved in the 61st minute, Nottingham Forest got in behind our defence, got the ball into the box and Grant slotted home for 0-1, way too easily. This though, kickstarted Tottenham into action, at last! Mauricio Pochettino made two substitutions, Ryan Mason & Harry Kane. Tottenham fans were a little wary with these two subs, instead of Erik Lamela & Christian Eriksen, but Pochettino’s choice was justified when Ryan Mason, in just his 5th appearance for Tottenham and 1st of the season, received the ball from Ben Davies about 30 yards out from the goal, took a touch and smashed the ball into the net, an incredible goal with brilliant technique. Then, it flowed from there. 10 minutes later Andros Townsend got the ball from Ryan Mason outside the box, with only one thing in his mind – a shot – he took his chance but his disappointing effort found Roberto Soldado, who stuck out a boot and the ball flew into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 Tottenham over a now tired Nottingham Forest team. We were controlling the game, as we had all match, but, this time there was an incredible difference in how much more threatening we were in the final third. The introduction of Erik Lamela furthered the pace we had up front, and it was he who found the killer pass to Harry Kane in the 91st minute, who secured our place in the 4th round with a calm finish into the far bottom corner. Game over.
There were some really frustrating performances in this match, with players capable of more not showing their true ability. In a game which gives you a platform to show what you can do, ahead of a North London Derby, I was expecting more from our fringe players, you’re fighting for your place, show the boss and everyone at Spurs what you can do! A few players did exactly that; and none better than substitute Ryan Mason, who showed everything you’d want from a Tottenham player coming on – passion, desire, enthusiasm and that bit of quality you need in difficult situations such as this match. It’s always great to see an academy product be involved in the first team, and I hope we can see Mason more and more as the season goes on. He was my man of the match, even though he didn’t start the game. It wasn’t just only his goal, either, he showed composure on the ball and got his head up, always looking forward, which is exactly what you want from a Tottenham midfielder. Another who did well was Kyle Naughton, he gets his fair share of stick but he is a decent right back who has been played out of position at left back far too often. In his favourable position on the right, he 8 times out of 10 puts in a good shift, so he is a valuable squad player. It’s great to see Roberto Soldado get a goal at White Hart Lane, it was a quick thinking finish and we pray to God it is one of many he can get this season.
A good win, in the end! Improvement needed in our performance but we got the job done and are into the 4th Round of the Capital One Cup, where we will face Brighton and Hove Albion at White Hart Lane. Next up though is the big one, the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium, Saturday 27th September, an evening kick off in the Premier League. Anything can happen, keep faith and support the team. Let’s get this season off and running once and for all. COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Nottingham Forest:
Vorm – 6
Naughton – 7
Fazio – 6.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 6
Bentaleb – 5
Stambouli – 6.5
Lennon – 7
Townsend – 6.5
Paulinho – 4.5
Soldado – 6.5.
Mason – 8 – Man of the Match.
Kane – 6.5
Lamela – 6.
Townsend & Mason reaction: