Match: Sunday 30th November 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane,
Result: Tottenham 2-1 Everton.
Tottenham goalscorers: Eriksen 21′, Soldado 45′.
Everton goalscorer: Mirallas 15′.
Well – in my Match Preview, I touched upon my desire for the team to show intensity and drive throughout the match. What was delivered was far more impressive – as a team, we were magnificent, we worked, pressed, defended and attacked as a team, which is a breath of fresh air for Tottenham this season. I’m incredibly pleased with how the team was set out; we didn’t have a hell of a lot of the ball, but our performance off the ball is what was so pleasing, we didn’t give away many chances, and we fought hard to win the ball back while maintaining a good shape in defence and midfield. Pochettino set out the team in the right way, with loads of energy and enthusiasm in midfield with Bentaleb, Mason, Lennon & Kane, to work, fight and drive with and without the ball, while having the quality of Eriksen, Soldado, Lennon & Kane to push hard on the counter attack. It was truly fantastic to watch from the stands, and I thought every player on the pitch did their duty brilliantly. Overall, our best performance of the season by far. Hopefully, this is only the start of what can be a great season if we fight like we did in the game for every match this season. We’ve shown that we have got that fight in our team, but what we need now is consistency and a run of results!
In the first half, we started well, we pressed high, harried Everton and looked fairly threatening on the counter attack, but we did concede the first goal on 15 minutes – we struggled to clear the ball, and it fell to Kevin Mirallas, who i signalled out before the game as a big threat in front of goal, and he proved me right as he perfectly curled a beauty into the top corner that Hugo Lloris had absolutely no chance of getting to. Sometimes you just have to accept an opponents goal as unstoppable and pure quality, and that it was. When you concede the first goal, the reaction is important, making sure you not only stop the opponent from scoring again, but taking the initiative, going onto the front foot and attempting to get straight back in terms, and that’s exactly what we did, we pushed hard and it was Harry Kane who showed that initiative and ran hard at the Evertonian defence, burst through their midfield and got his shot away, which was parried by Tim Howard, but Christian Eriksen was running in and with a delightful chipped finish, put Spurs back on level terms and that really sparked the team into action on 21 minutes, and the pressure was more intense, the attack was quicker and and chances were more frequent. It was our best spell in the match by a long way, and on the stroke of half time, it was Harry Kane again who’s determination was key in winning the ball back from Gareth Barry, and Aaron Lennon picked it up and drove hard at Silvan Distin, before laying it off to delightfully to Roberto Soldado – and in that moment, the stadium was silent, a gasp of air was taken, and then probably the biggest cheer of the season was heard as Soldado smashed the ball past Tim Howard to give Tottenham the 2-1 lead. Relief, delight and absolute elation swept through the stadium. Chants for Roberto Soldado were ringing out at half time, and it was an incredible moment – one of the most heart warming moments of the season. Hopefully Roberto can push on from this. It’s his platform to transform his Tottenham career; I think he’s got what it takes, if he can drag this confidence and relief into more and more goals.
The second half was all about managing the game, seeing it out and getting the crucial three points, and we were able to do that brilliantly. We took our chances in the first half, and now we fought to preserve our hard work with even more, even harder work off of the ball with grit, determination and drive. In some ways the way we worked in the second half was more pleasing than how we scored and created in the first half. The game plan was to stay compact, press as a team, and when we did have a chance to get on the ball, we pushed forward at pace, but didn’t commit ourselves too much, and were able to stay solid in defence. The team was working properly, and in a system that was working, we were able to see the best of our players and that was the winning formula in this game. Late on, we had a few good chances to extend our lead, but it wasn’t to be, and despite it being quite nervy at the end, our fantastic team performance was rewarded with three points. Three, glorious, points.
The team performed very, very well together. I can’t single anyone out as playing badly, but I can name a fair few that played brilliantly! For me, Jan Vertonghen was immense at the back, showing the quality we know he possesses; he dominated Everton’s Romelu Lukaku when he got the ball, timed his challenges to perfection, and was able to set the team into attack very well with his composed passing. Alongside the very solid Federico Fazio, he looked back to his, in my opinion, World Class self. We’re going to need a similar performance from Super Jan against Chelsea on Wednesday. Ben Davies at left back put in his best performance in a Spurs shirt so far on his full Premier League home debut, he was tough in the challenge, focused in his defensive duties and produced some very threatening crosses from the left flank. He’s made the left back spot his own since taking over from Danny Rose. In attack – it was Harry Kane that grabbed the imagination of the fans; every time got the ball he looked to drive at the Everton defence, the buzz came through the crowd and expectation and excitement swept the arena. He worked so, so hard for the team – he gave every ounce of his being during the game and the fans appreciated that – I certainly did. The moment of the game was Roberto Soldado’s goal; it was great, and a fantastic finish from a man that has stuggled in front of goal. His performance was very pleasing, he worked hard, moved the ball well and got his goal – which is all we can ask from him. A match winner! In midfield, the partnership between Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb was one that I thought could be a little bit exposed, especially if Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o could get in behind them – but my concerns were unfounded, and the performances of both were brilliant. Energy, enthusiasm, fight and composure – it proved to be a very balanced midfield pivot, and one that could prove to be very fruitful in the future. Other shouts go to Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon, who on the flanks, worked hard in defence to combat Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, while in attack were very effective, with Eriksen getting the first goal, and Aaron Lennon got the winning assist.
What a great win. We have built on our away win against Hull City with a fantastic, much needed home win. Now, we have to build on it again, bring this confidence, momentum and team work into our next fixtures and really build a good run of results. This starts with the easy task of the Premier League’s unbeaten leaders, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on Wedneday evening. Hurrah. Let’s do the impossible and defeat the undefeatable! Follow me on Twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Everton at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Chiriches – 6.5 (Dier 70′ – 6.5)
Fazio – 8
Vertonghen – 9 – Man of the match.
Davies – 8.5
Lennon – 8 (Lamela 61′ – 6)
Mason – 8
Bentaleb – 8.5
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 9
Soldado – 8.5. (Paulinho 81′ – 6)
Mauricio Pochettino reacts to our 2-1 win over Everton:
Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Everton: