BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
TUESDAY 2ND FEBRUARY, 2016
NORWICH CITY 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Kane, 30(pen), 90
Referee:- Kevin Friend
Assistants:- R. West & G. Beswick
Fourth official:- G. Scott
Norwich (4-4-2):- Rudd; Pinto, Klose, Bassong, Olsson; Howson, Tettey (Capt.), Mulumbu, Jarvis (sub Jerome, 70); Mbokani, Naismith (sub Ofoe, 74)
Subs not used:- Ruddy; Martin, Bennett; Hoolahan, Redmond
Booked:- Bassong (foul on Alli, leading to penalty), Tettey (foul on Walker)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Son (sub Carroll, 69), Eriksen (sub Lamela, 90), Alli (sub Chadli, 46); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Bentaleb
Booked:- Alderweireld (foul on Naismith), Rose (time)
The Spurs show keeps rolling on!
It’s a long haul on the road back to Chesterfield from Norwich (the best part of 150 miles), but it’s a lot easier when you are wearing a big grin on your face after yet another Spurs win. The comprehensive 3-0 win over relegation battlers Norwich was our fifth successive win in all competitions; our fourth consecutive away win, and means a record number of away games undefeated in the Premier League (11). The club record of away games undefeated stretches to 16 back in the 1984-85 season. The Spurs show 2015-16, led by Mauricio Pochettino, just keeps rolling on!
As expected Pochettino added those players to his starting line-up tonight who had a rest on Saturday. Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld and Rose were inserted into the back five, where Kevin Wimmer has to carry on in the enforced absence of Jan Vertonghen. Dier was returned to his midfield role alongside Dembele, and Harry Kane was supported by Son Heung-min, Eriksen and All. Norwich included new boys Pinto and Klose in defence, and Naismith made his second appearance, but Spurs soon ripped the Norwich defence apart.
That midfield three behind Harry Kane was very fluid, turning up left right or centre as the game progressed. Spurs immediately pinned the home side in their own half, and the home crowd was subdued, as I had hoped, by an extra early goal. Before the first minute had even passed, Spurs had won a corner as Alli headed to Son, and his shot was put out for another corner. Following this corner, Son crossed the ball from the left, and Alderweireld's blocked shot reached Eriksen, back on the left of the area. Eriksen’s shot could only be cleared to the feet of Dele Alli, who fired home his seventh league goal of the season.
There was no let-up from Spurs, and Harry Kane easily had the beating of former Spur Sebastien Bassong, no longer the Norwich captain, and certainly not mobile enough to keep up with Kane, who won a corner after a good run against Bassong. Spurs were closing down their opponents feverishly, but Matt Jarvis did get into the Spurs area after four minutes, where Kyle Walker defended well. Walker was on the end of a good long ball by Alderweireld and won a corner on the right taken by Eriksen. Alderweireld went up and received Eriksen’s corner, but headed wide of the post.
Norwich captain Tettey forged his way into the Spurs half, and reached Mbokani with his ball down the middle. The Norwich shot was cosy for Lloris. Kane got into the Norwich area on the left-hand side and fed the ball to Son, whose shot hit the outside of the post as it passed out of play. Norwich had an attack established from the left-hand side and Jarvis fired well wide. On any occasion Norwich did have a corner, Naismith was shoving and barging any Spurs player in the goalmouth, but was being watched carefully by referee Kevin Friend. The home fans wanted a penalty one time when Naismith went down too easily (as is his style), but the referee was having none of that.
Spurs went two up on the half-hour after a fine move which led to a penalty. Eriksen had floated a long ball from deep on the right, and Harry Kane latched onto it, hitting a good shot which the goalkeeper could only parry. In the follow-up, as Dele Alli tried to fire home the rebound, Bassong was penalised for a foul (and booked). Kane stepped up and confidently fired home to the left of the keeper. To the best of my knowledge, Kane has a 100% penalty conversion record in his still relatively short Spurs first team career. (Correct record in this article) Harry got his 14th and 15th league goals tonight, and is in equal third place in the Premier League score chart, three behind Jamie Vardy, who also scored two for Leicester tonight.
Kane hit the post soon after his goal, receiving another good ball from Toby Alderweireld to the Spurs striker on the left of goal. Norwich managed to clear after the ball rebounded off the post. A lovely ball by Kane from centre-right to Danny Rose down the left wing led to a cross from which Dele Alli headed wide at the far post. Eriksen also had a shot saved after being teed up by Kane. Norwich were left to try a shot from distance (by Tettey), which passed well over the target.
Dele Alli didn’t emerge after the break, and the word from Pochettino after the game was that dele felt under the weather, but should be okay for Saturday. He was replaced by Nacer Chadli, who is in fine goal-scoring form at the moment too. However, Spurs seemed to ease up a little, and appeared confident they could hold onto their two goal lead. Norwich were now closing their opponents down as well as Spurs had in the first half, and had obviously been read the riot act at half time by Alex Neil.
Naismith had a header go wide of Lloris’s left post after a Norwich corner. Harry Kane pounced onto a stray Norwich ball inside their half and raced for goal, but hit his shot wide of the post. Referee Kevin Friend had “words” with Chadli after a midfield clash. There was a scramble in the Spurs goalmouth after 54 minutes and the ball was put in the net by Bassong, but he had been flagged offside, much to the disdain of the home support who by now were calling Kevin Friend “One of your own” in response to the Spurs chants for Harry Kane.
Toby Alderweireld got a rare booking (only his second of the season) for a foul on Naismith closer to the half-way line than his own goal. Generally, at this stage, Spurs did not seem to be trying as hard as they had in the first half to score, but we should have had more faith in the ability of our present-day team to hold a lead. Naismith tried a speculative shot from an angle on the right, and from at least 25 yards. This did not threaten Lloris’s goal.
Chadli tried an audacious lobbed shot after Spurs broke out of their half, but the ball was wide of the far post. Son was flagging by this time and was replaced by Carroll. Neil made two substitutions in quick succession to try and find a way back into the game. Kane hit the post again after 81 minutes, having broken clear of the defence and had only the goalkeeper to beat. Kane did that with his shot, but it rebounded off the far post (right of Rudd), and Norwich were glad to concede a corner. By now the massive Spurs army (who had been singing all night) lifted their noise levels to cheer their team home. Spurs’ away support has always been magnificent, but currently they are witnessing the football, and results that their support warrants.
As we entered added time, Kane cemented the win after Eriksen came out of a challenge with the ball just inside the Norwich half and sent Harry away down the right channel. Harry was clear of the defence again, and this time hit the net with his shot to cement the win, and to give us the best goal difference in the Premier League. It’s a goal difference that takes up above Arsenal into third place. (Top team in London, ma!). Leicester beat Liverpool 2-0 with those Vardy goals and remain five points ahead of us at the top of the league, followed by Man City, who predictably beat Sunderland. Watford play tomorrow (Wednesday night), so they won’t have quite as much time to recuperate before our next game at home on Saturday afternoon.
It’s (very) good to be a Spur!
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