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Spurs v Hull City, 27.10.13


Soldado (Penalty), 80

Attendance:- 36,080

Referee:- Mr. M. Oliver
Assistants:- Mr. S. Burt & Mr. M. Scholes
Fourth official:- Mr. G. Scott

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Chiriches, Vertonghen; Paulinho, Sandro (sub Dembele, 46); Townsend, Holtby (sub Eriksen, 60), Lennon (sub Defoe, 70); Soldado

Subs not used:- Friedel; Naughton; Lamela, Sigurdsson

Booked:- Sandro (foul on Boyd), Chiriches (foul), Paulinho (Dissent after Eriksen foul on Elmohamady)

Hull (5-4-1):- Harper; Rosenior (sub McLean, 84), Davies (Capt.), Bruce, McShane, Figueroa; Elmohamady, Meyler, Huddlestone, Boyd (sub Brady, 84); Sagbo (sub Proschwitz, 87)

Subs not used:- Jakupovic; Nagy, Quinn, Koren,

Booked:- Rosenior (foul on Chiriches), Boyd (foul), Meyler (time wasting)

Oliver gives Spurs more

Spurs secured their first home Premier League win over Hull City, but they still await their first goal in open play in those three games in the last five years. Most observers are agreed that this win was cruel on Steve Bruce’s side, as referee Michael Oliver decided that when Vertonghen’s cross bounced up and struck Elmohamady’s hand in front of the Park Lane stand, a penalty was warranted. Roberto Soldado made no mistake with another clinical spot kick, and that was enough to give Spurs the points that took them back into the top four.

Andre Villas-Boas chose to criticise his own fans, as he felt they had not assisted the team, offering little home atmosphere. Many comments I have read in recent weeks suggest that Spurs fans are fed up with being bored to death with so little excitement in narrow home victories. This was only the fifth home league goal so far this season in five home games, three of which have been won. Those same home fans are of course being pressurised regarding what they can sing in support of their team. In a catch 22 vicious circle situation, it’s up to the Spurs team to offer the excitement that truly lifts a crowd.

Andros Townsend is almost the only Spurs player at the moment who does bring a cheer, and even he was neutralised a lot of the time today by Steve Bruce’s flat back five. It’s a long time since I’ve seen such a negative formation, but of course, it is up to Spurs, with all that talent, to provide the skill and guile to break down the defensive walls of most teams that visit White Hart Lane these days. The irony is that in the first half, Hull did manage to break out in numbers enough times to give the Spurs defence more than a little to worry about. They might easily have got their precious goal, and gone away with all three points.

We have to be grateful for the win, and move on. Wednesday’s league cup match between these two sides will surely be of a more open nature.

AVB rang the changes, as expected, with Lewis Holtby getting the nod over Eriksen once again. Aaron Lennon made his first Premier League start since the opening day at Crystal Palace, and his first home appearance of the season. Aaron was required to play on the left to accommodate Townsend, but he did switch flanks once or twice during the game.

Spurs played towards the Paxton End in the first half, and Lennon did have a shot on goal after three minutes, which was blocked. A Lewis Holtby free kick after 12 minutes was hooked over the bar by Paulinho. Holtby was involved in Spurs’ next threatening move, with the ball being passed to Townsend, whose left foot shot was saved by Steve Harper, conceding a corner.

Sandro got quite an early booking, which seemed to be a bit harsh, but referee Michael Oliver was clearly in a “letter of the law” frame of mind today. Hugo Lloris comfortably fielded a shot by George Boyd after 17 minutes. The pass had been provided by Hull’s Tom Huddlestone, who was greeted with cheers when his name in the visitors’ team had been announced. A minute later, and Lloris had to get down sharply to Sagbo’s shot. Spurs were having to defend quite desperately briefly, after a Hull free kick, and more attempts by Boyd and Sagbo.

Vertonghen had seen one cross held by Harper, and then led a break out after a Huddlestone corner for Hull. Holtby could only manage a weak shot on target. Paulinho was prominent for Spurs in a move which culminated in a Townsend cross from the right being deflected for a corner. At the other end, and after another Hull corner, Huddlestone fired over. He’s still looking for that haircut goal!

Vlad Chiriches made a run out of defence and was brought down by Rosenior, who got a yellow card for his trouble. After another Holtby free kick, and a Paulinho pass, Kyle Walker had a shot saved and cleared. Boyd had another effort blocked by the Spurs defence before the half-time whistle.

Mousa Dembele came on for Sandro for the second half, and briefly Townsend and Lennon switched. There would also be times when Lennon was on the left, and Townsend seemed to be trying the Bale-type position in the centre. The end result though seemed to be imbalance for the Spurs attack, such as it was.

Spurs broke forward after a Chiriches clearance and a good ball to Soldado, who moved forward in tandem with Townsend. Soldado’s final shot was saved by Harper. Now Holtby was replaced by Eriksen. Lennon worked hard and fed the ball to Townsend, who had a shot on goal saved. Lennon was then replaced by Defoe, as Spurs tried to become more direct in their style. Paulinho tried a shot from outside the box, but it skewed wide of the mark. Dembele also tried a shot from outside the area, and did win a corner.

Hull goalkeeper Harper had been winding up the Park Lane Spurs section with his persistent time-wasting tactics, and when Meyler delayed a Spurs goal-kick, he did see yellow for time wasting, which was justice. It was hardly justice on Elmohamady a minute or two later though, when he was penalised for that handball of Vertonghen’s cross. Soldado’s kick was to Harper’s right corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Andros Townsend spent a full five minutes receiving treatment, after he fell behind some hoardings at the end of the pitch. Spurs had used all three substitutes, and Andros received great cheers when he emerged and came back on the pitch with only his wrist strapped. There was business for Lloris at the end, when he held a Brady free kick, and then in added time, Huddlestone fired another free kick wide, leaving Spurs’ slender lead and precious three points secure.

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