SATURDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(3)
Sissoko, 90 (+1)
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: Richard West, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Lee Mason
Huddersfield (4-2-3-1):- Lossl; Smith (Capt.), Jorgensen, Schindler, Loew (sub Malone, 60); Hogg (sub Whitehead, 82), Mooy (sub Billing, 61); Kachunga, Ince, van La Parra; Depoitre
Subs not used:- Green; Sabari, Cranie, Hadergjonaj
Booked:- Kachunga (foul on Vertonghen)
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier (sub Walker-Peters, 82), Dier, Winks, Davies; Eriksen (sub Sissoko, 75), Dele; Kane (sub Son, 87)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Foyth; Nkoudou; Llorente
Booked:- Dele (simulation)
He’s a diamond geezer that Harry Kane!
Glenn Hoddle might have had a hit with “Diamond Lights” (with another Spurs favourite Chris Waddle, of course), but Spurs ace goalscorer Harry Kane is a diamond geezer! Harry scored two goals today to equal Hoddle’s 110 club goals for Tottenham, achieved in 490 appearances. Harry has now reached that figure after 174 appearances. These were Harry’s 83rd and 84th Premier League goals and his 5th and 6th this season. Harry has scored 7 goals in three games this week. No wonder everyone is in love with the man!
Spurs were 3-0 up after 23 minutes, but it had not all been one way traffic. David Wagner’s side have made a solid start to their first Premier league season, after an opening day win and clean sheets in four of their six league games so far. I was expecting a defensive approach to the game, but I was surprised (and probably so were Spurs) by a quite open and attacking start to the game, which ultimately cost the home side all three points. The atmosphere here at The John Smith’s stadium is one of fervent excitement, whipped up by the club, and aided by those cardboard clapper boards used at Leicester, and seen several years ago at Braga, Portugal. To their great credit, the home fans never let up with the noise and support for their club despite the early loss of three goals. I spoke to one local before the home who had got his season ticket for £94. Clearly he was not the only beneficiary of a promise made by the club chairman. All credit to Huddersfield for that too!
Spurs stuck with the three at the back, which I suspect is going to be a default for Pochettino who must have envisaged this situation with the pursuit and acquisition of the excellent Davinson Sanchez, who has slotted in between Alderweireld and Vertonghen very easily. Vertonghen and Dele Alli were, of course returning following midweek suspension, and Christian Eriksen was back after missing Cyprus through illness.
Spurs made a great start with Harry Kane winning a corner in the first minute with a shot from the right of the area. A second corner was won in the second minute. Huddersfield captain Tom Smith was given too much space outside the Spurs are towards the right, hitting a good shot well saved by Lloris, moving to his right, which was cleared by the defence. More defending was required, and achieved by Ben Davies heading clear when Mooy threatened to reach a ball beyond the back post. An Eriksen ball to Dele Alli ran loose and Huddersfield went on the attack again. This time, both Sanchez and Dier were needed to stoutly defend at the back.
Having been under a degree of home pressure, Spurs responded in the best way possible, and guess who found the net? Yes, it was Kane, after Trippier had headed the ball into Harry’s path, and Harry took advantage of a defensive error. Harry beat goalkeeper Lossl with a right footed shot inside the keeper's left post.
There was still no lack of determination from “The Terriers” with Hugo having to punch clear Smith’s cross from the right, with the big Depoitre threatening. Depoitre was signed from Porto, having previously played (not against us) for our Europa League opponents in the Round of 32 last season – AA Gent. He looked a bit bulky to have any turn of speed, but he did test Sanchez on one occasion.
Spurs went two up after great team football from the half-way line. Ultimately Kane passed to Eriksen on his right, and Christian fed the ball on to Ben Davies, who was in space to his left. Davies found the net with a shot across Lossl’s left side. That’s his second goal already this season. Soon after that Kane had another superb effort, which passed just over the bar. Goalkeeper Lossl recovered a bad looking situation when he lost the ball to Kane, but did well to make a save and redeem himself. However, that diamond geezer who is the two-time Golden Boot winner did find the net for a second time with a wonderful left foot shot curled around the keeper, after receiving Trippier’s cross. All Harry needed now was a header for a second “perfect” hat-trick in five days! He also now needs just one goal to go ahead of Hoddle in the all-time Spurs’ scorers’ list.
It was starting to look relentless in favour of Spurs when Dele Alli beat Lossl but saw his shot rebound off the keeper’s right post and out of danger. Harry Kane had a great effort at the back post. I can only describe his effort as a Klinsmann-like high legged hook shot, but he had been called offside. Ben Davies had been the provider.
Three minutes before the break Spurs lost a ball in midfield which ran for Depoitre, who did show a turn of space hitting a powerful shot which hit the top of Hugo Lloris’s bar.
The second half was a quieter affair on the pitch, but not off it by any means, as the Huddersfield fans goaded Spurs with “3-0 up and you still don’t sing”. We did respond, as you’d expect. Eriksen fed Kane after 48 minutes, and Kane’s shot was blocked, running to Eriksen, who just could not get his shot off, with Lossl ultimately making a solid save at his feet. Kieran Trippier needed lengthy treatment after a head injury, and was also assessed on the pitch for signs of concussion, but he was able to carry on.
Dele Alli needlessly, but justifiably got a yellow card for diving as the ball was running out of play, when challenged by the goalkeeper. To be honest, as I think Mauricio Pochettino commented after the game, Dele’s antics only served to encourage the home support even further. Jan Vertonghen picked up a loose ball just inside the Huddersfield half and made a run for goal, hitting a shot over the bar.
Wagner made a couple of changes, one of which was surprisingly midfielder Aaron Mooy coming off after an hour. Soon after this Kachunga was shown yellow for chasing down Jan Vertonghen too heavily.
Christian Eriksen showed good skill on the left of the box to break in, but his right footed shot lacked power and was held by Lossl. In another one on one with the keeper Eriksen tried to chip him to make a cross but Loss held this too. Eric Dier had a headed chance from an Eriksen corner, which he put wide of the far post. Now it was time for Spurs to make changes with Eriksen replaced by Sissoko and Kyle Walker-Peters taking over from Trippier. By now Spurs were really looking to see out the game, and they were doing it comfortably. Dele Alli did make a break from half way and had Sissoko to his left. Dele might have had a pop at goal himself, but I think he saw the opportunity to let Sissoko get off the mark. Sissoko cut inside, but his shot was too easy for the keeper.
Three minutes from time, Harry Kane was replaced by Son Heung-min, and as I have tweeted, I take my hat off to the Huddersfield crowd who stood almost as one to wholeheartedly applaud our hero off the pitch. Some of the responses I have received suggested they were glad to see the back of him, but they will also be cheering him on next week as England fans. Positive responses to the tweet are still coming in (many from Huddersfield fans) as I write.
Sissoko did get off the mark after one minute of added time. Ben Davies had crossed from the left and Sissoko’s effort took a deflection but hit the net to make it 4-0. The result took Spurs up to third, where they will stay for at least two weeks after Chelsea lost at home to Man City this evening. A draw between these two would have been a better result for us, but City and Man United are five points clear.
Ace statistician Declan Mulcahy tells me that Mauricio Pochettino has now won 19 out 20 games he has managed Spurs against newly promoted teams. The only one he didn't win was a draw away to Burnley in April 2015.
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