TUESDAY 1ST JANUARY, 2019
CARDIFF CITY 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(3)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
Cardiff (4-2-3-1):- Etheridge; Manga, Bamba, Morrison (Capt.), Cunningham; Arter, Gunnarsson; Paterson, Camarasa (sub Ralls, 59), Murphy (sub Hoilett, 46); Decordova-Reid (sub Mendez-Laing, 72)
Subs not used:- Smithies; Peltier, Bennett; Madine
Booked:- Bamba (foul on Son)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen; Dele (sub Llorente, 86), Kane, Son (sub Skipp, 76)
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters, Foyth, Davies; Lucas Moura
Stinging the Blues!
Presumably after having the proverbial kick up their backsides following what we hope was a blip against Wolves, a Spurs side with only one change (Rose for Davies) returned to form against the “Bluebirds” and had this game won within 26 minutes when they scored three goals. There was no Welsh Dragon to be seen here and Spurs reclaimed second place for a couple of days at east until Manchester city host Liverpool on Thursday night. Harry Kane opened the scoring and drew within one goal of Cliff Jones, who currently remains our fourth highest ever goal scorer. It would have been a nice touch if Kane could have drawn level with a Welsh man in Wales, but that was not to be. Harry has now scored against every one of the premier League teams he has faced, and manager Mauricio Pochettino con firmed that “One of our Own” did have his eyes on that record before the game too!
Having beaten Leicester away on Boxing Day, perhaps it was Cardiff’s turn to “have a blip”, although they have lost all four games they have played in the Premier League against Spurs, and they have yet to score against us too. Cardiff have also conceded more goals against “Big Six” sides (25) this season, than any other team in the Premier League.
Spurs couldn’t have asked for a better start. Harry Kane picked up the ball at the half-way line and pushed it out to Trippier, racing towards the middle for the return. Trippier crossed and both Harry and Dele were in the mix of a group of players in front of goal. Harry scored when Morrison tried to clear and the ball rebounded into the net off Kane. They all count!
Cardiff are one of those teams who deploy the long throw and 29 year old Aron Gunnarsson, a Cardiff stalwart of 8 years, is their long throw merchant. Spurs had to defend one of these set pieces early on, which they did comfortably. Dele had retained his place in the Spurs side despite being below par following injury when he returned against Wolves, and a couple of his early attempted passes were mis-placed. Murphy chipped a cross towards Paterson at the back post but Danny Rose headed out for a Cardiff corner.
It became all too easy for Spurs as they went two up in only the 12th minute. They advanced down the right and the final ball inside was by Son, with Eriksen seemingly allowed an age before beating Etheridge with his low right footed shot. Spurs retained possession and control and mid-way through the half there was a spell when Cardiff could not get the ball as Spurs pinged it around primarily in the home side’s territory.
The third goal was Spurs’ best. Sissoko collected a pass at the half way line and took it forward on a surging run, passing inside to Kane, who slipped a short pass to Son. Son was inside the penalty area at an angle on the right but beat the goalkeeper with a low right footed shot across his bows. That was Son’s eighth goal in his last 9 games. He certainly is on fire!
Son had another chance following more good work by Sissoko on the right, but this one was hit over the bar.
The game was over as a competition really, and Spurs rarely had to stretch themselves, which is understandable with a Carabao Cup semi-final on the horizon next week. It looked to me as if Cardiff lined up with five at the back in the second half, and their clear intention was not too allow things to get worst. Nil Warnock said as much after the game, warning his players they could be in for a six-goal deficit, quoting Spurs’ win at Everton before Christmas.
Davinson Sanchez went down, but eventually rose without treatment and was roundly booed by the home crowd for allegedly going down unnecessarily. There was work for Hugo Lloris after 51 minutes when a Cardiff cross from the right took a looping defection falling for substitute Hoilett to have a header on target, but Lloris held.
Referee Kevin Friend showed Bamba the one yellow card of the game for a foul on Son, and also seemed to spend some time talking to the Cardiff captain, not for the first time in the game, perhaps to explain his decision. I felt the referee had a good game, always seeking to allow play to flow whenever possible. This is an attribute I have observed about Mr. Friend down the years, although, of course, his actions have not always favoured Spurs.
Following a run from the half-way line by Son and a pass by Dele, Harry Kane hit a right footed shot over the Cardiff bar. Sissoko sent Son away on another run down the right and Harry Kane had two shots blocked in front of the Cardiff goal. Sissoko sent Kane away and he fed Son on the right, shoes shot took a slight deflection before Etheridge saved. Spurs had to settle for a corner won by Dele on the right of the area.
Hoilett hit a cross from the left which Lloris was happy to push over his bar, but Cardiff didn’t really come any closer to scoring, and their fans had already started leaving in droves with 20 minutes to go. Son was replaced by Oliver Skipp, and maybe we will see him at Tranmere along with the five unused subs including Lucas Moura. Eriksen sent Dele away with a delightful pass from inside his own half after 78 minutes. Dele came inside from the left, but his shot was blocked.
Cardiff fans wanted a penalty when Gunnarsson went down under pressure from Skipp, but Mr. Friend was not interested. Soon after that, Hoilett, who had come on at half-time, hit a shot well over Lloris’s goal and wide. Eriksen gave Kane a chance in the Cardiff area, but Etheridge closed him down well to prevent a shot. Llorente replaced Dele, and of course was roundly booed by the home fans for his Swansea connection. The one remaining chance of note fell for Sissoko as he ploughed towards goal and was urged to shoot, which he did, but over the target.
Sissoko has truly won the hearts of Spurs fans, and whilst he has yet to score this season, he has also yet to be shown a yellow card, which is quite a stat bearing in mind his imposing play in the middle of the park. Moussa is stopping so many advances by the opposition and starting so many by his own team. His, along with those of Eriksen and Son were perhaps the three most impressive Spurs performances of the night. 2019 has started well!
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