Match: Sunday 23rd November 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: KC Stadium.
Result: Hull City 1-2 Tottenham.
Hull goalscorer: Livermore 8′.
Tottenham goalscorers: Kane 61′, Eriksen 90′.
We’ve scraped it. We’ve nicked it. We didn’t play well, we didn’t find the rhythm, but we’ve got the three points. A really important three points that shoots us out of the bottom half of the Premier League table and into 10th, but level on points with both Arsenal and Everton, and only 2 points off of 4th placed Manchester United. It’s important, despite the manner of the win, to get the win at this moment in time. Some will say it papers over the cracks, while others will say it shows a bit of character in the team to come back from behind and win; it depends on the mind set of the person. What is important now is to build on the three points, take the win and develop it into a better performance and more wins, to change our fortune and go on a bit of a good run. We have to learn from the last away win to Aston Villa and then disappointing home defeat to Stoke, our performance level simply has to rise, as we can’t rely on refereeing decisions to go our way every game, we need to take the games, especially at White Hart Lane, by the scruff of the neck and attempt to dominate games, because the way we are playing at this moment in time, we will lose out on too many points. Enjoy the victory in this game, but happiness will be if we can build on it and disappointment will be if we can’t.
In the first half we were all over the place, a lack of defensive organisation, our retention of the football was terrible and it looked bleak. Hull did everything right to try and stop us gaining rhythm; they pushed us hard, created openings, pressed high & kept compact in defence which made our task to create clear cut openings, dominate the game and score goals in the first half near impossible. Hull early on got their reward for their hard work; on 8 minutes, former Spur Jake Livermore thundered an effort past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards, a great strike and goal and a nice touch that the man who grew up supporting Spurs, came through the ranks at Spurs & played for Spurs muted his celebration in respect for his former club. But I thought it was obvious that a goal was coming from either Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone or Jakey! After that goal, we did have more of the ball, but it didn’t stop Hull from creating more chances, that could have easily been goals if it weren’t for Hugo Lloris and Lady Luck, which is frightening, because against a better side, with no disrespect to Hull City, we would have been punished for our poor defending and lack of communication and togetherness. The first half is one that doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence, but as Spurs showed, it’s not how you start but how you finish, but maybe we could get both one day, pretty please Tottenham?
The second half was an improvement. Of course it couldn’t have got much worse from the first half, but we passed the ball better, were much more composed in defence and added a heap of width to our game which then in turn, made it much easier to create openings and clear cut chances. We did get a big slice of luck when Hull City’s Gaston Ramirez, a former player under Pochettino at Southampton, lost his cool and lashed out with his foot at Jan Vertonghen for next to no reason other than the fact the referee didn’t award him a free kick, and when you kick out like Ramirez did, you risk your part in the match and on this occasion, the referee and linesman interpreted this kick out as a red card offence, and personally, with a non-bias view I promise, I agree with the officials, you can’t do that in the modern game under the modern rules. The complexity of the game changed with the red card; Hull City dropped even deeper, our midfielders saw much more of the ball in much more threatening areas, and the introduction of Vlad Chiriches at right back and Aaron Lennon at right wing offered us much more width to stretch 10 man Hull and create the openings to get back into the game, and push to win it. It took only 11 minutes after the red card for us to pull the score level; Roberto Soldado cleverly won a free kick around 30 yards away from goal, and Chrisitan Eriksen stepped up, curled it beautifully, but onto the post, which then fortuitously landed at Harry Kane’s feet to make it 1-1 in the 61st minute, and give us the platform to go on and win. One of the easier goals that Harry Kane will score this season. We then continued to create openings, good opportunities that weren’t being put away, including a Harry Kane header from an exquisite Aaron Lennon cross, and a two Roberto Soldado miss-kicks after beautiful balls in from Ryan Mason and Vlad Chiriches. We were hoping that as long as we were creating chances, we could put one away sooner or later. It turned out to be very late on that we did take our chance, Aaron Lennon found Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box, and he took a touch before guiding the ball delightfully into the bottom corner on the stroke of full time to make it 2-1, and score the winning goal on his 50th appearance for Tottenham. Delight.
Focusing on the individual performances of the players, it was Christian Eriksen’s pure quality that dragged us through a tricky and uninspiring performance, he took the free kick for the first goal, scored the second and in between created good chances for his team mates. I was very impressed with his second half display, but there are still things that he can improve on, especially his ball retention in the first half and his general strength, but, he’s a creative player who scores goals and he did exactly what was asked of him today, hopefully he can build on that second half performance. He bags the Addicted To Spurs man of the match for me. It was Pochettino’s second half substitutions that proved very effective, though, Vlad Chiriches at right back in place of Eric Dier, who struggled to get forward and get crosses into the box in the first half, and Aaron Lennon, who replaced the ineffective Mousa Dembele, and Azza provided crucial pace, width and grabbed the assist for the winner and could have got a couple more assists if the finishing was on point. Another mention for Ryan Mason as well, who once again shone in the centre of the park, and showed the tenacity and spark we needed in the first and second half. A first start for Ben Davies at left back, and I don’t think he will be losing that starting berth any time soon after a very solid afternoon both in defence, and when needed in attack, I thought he did very well and I hope he can sustain this level of performance and improve upon it.
Well, it’s three points and something to build on! But, we need to improve the level of performance if we want to go on a good run. That run will hopefully start in the Europa League this Thursday, as Partizan Belgrade travel to White Hart Lane in the game that will hopefully see us secure qualification to the knock out stages. We return to Premier League action on Sunday 30th November, facing Everton at the Lane in a big, big game for everyone at the club. Join me for it all on Twitter, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Hull at the KC:
Lloris – 6.5
Dier – 5 (Chiriches 45′ – 7)
Fazio – 5.5
Vertonghen – 6.5
Davies – 7
Mason – 7.5
Dembele – 5.5 (Lennon 59′ – 7.5)
Lamela – 6
Eriksen – 8 – Man of the Match.
Soldado – 6.5 (Paulinho 79′ – 5)
Kane – 7.5.
Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Hull:
Mauricio Pochettino’s post match thoughts:
Christian Eriksen & Harry Kane speak to the press: