SATURDAY 3RD AUGUST, 2013
(6.30 PM C.E.T)
MONACO 5 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)
Falcao, 49, 66
Referee:- M. R. Buquet
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker (sub Stewart, 88), Fryers, Livermore, Rose (sub Naughton, 66); Dembele (sub Huddlestone, 76), Parker (Capt.) (sub Bentaleb, 88); Lennon (sub Carroll, 80), Chadli (sub Townsend, 62), Sigurdsson; Defoe (sub Kane, 9)
Sub not used:- Friedel
Monaco ((4-2-3-1):- Subasic; Raggi (sub Tavares, 46), Abidal (Capt.), Carvalho (sub Isimat-Mirin, 46), Kurzawa (sub Tisserand, 46); Obbadi, Toulalan; Rodriguez (sub Ocampos, 46), Moutinho, Ferreira Carrasco; Falcao
Subs not used:- Ndinga, Riviere, Cailland
Booked:- Ferreira Carrasco (foul on Lennon)
Well, Monaco are ready for their season!
What can we say about a game in which Spurs had no recognised centre-back, facing a Monaco team led by the £53 million summer signing Radamel Falcao, who demonstrated his scoring expertise twice? There certainly was not much enjoyment to be had for a Spurs fan watching this game in the Stade Louis II in the Principality of Monaco.
Monaco have rattled some of their French League opponents as a result of the level of their spending after winning promotion, offering their players pay boosted by tax concessions. Some are saying thatís an unfair advantage, but Monaco have been top level competitors before, of course. Also in their team was the excellent Joao Moutinho, coveted by Spurs this time last year, of course, along with 34 year old Captain Eric Abidal, signed from Barcelona, where he had so little game time last season.
Monaco have also imported another veteran defender, Ricardo Carvalho, once of Chelsea, and last of Real Madrid. There are two words to strike hatred into the heart of most Spurs fans, with their unrelenting pursuit of Gareth Bale, absent with his muscular injury to his buttock, which might soon be further strained by the extra pressure of his heavily laden wallet. All the signs really, are that Bale will go for a world record fee, which no club could realistically turn down.
Spurs have of course been spending big money with their own record signings of Paulinho and Soldado, but neither of them are on show for us yet, and Soldadoís medical has not yet been finalised. Our other signing, Nacer Chadli, was on show, but he was played inside Aaron Lennon, and seemed to want to take up Lennonís position for a lot of the game, edging towards that right side. Perhaps thatís a sign.
Many Spurs fans are worried, of course, that having this week sold Steven Caulker to Cardiff, Spurs have left themselves short with Vertonghen, Kaboul and Dawson all absent from this trip, because of various levels of injury and match fitness. I cannot believe we sold Caulker without a replacement on the horizon, and hope that the Romanian Vlad Chiriches is on the horizon.
Spurs were also under-resourced up front with Adebayor absent ďfor personal reasonsĒ, Dempsey sold back to the Major League, and Jermain Defoe having to go off in favour of Harry Kane after only 9 minutes. Well, at least those that took part gained some fitness, didnít they?
Spurs had a half chance after 11 minutes, after Roseís deep cross was returned in by Kyle Walker. The goalkeeper made a mistake and Chadli, towards the right of the box, had a chance to pull the trigger, but was just not sharp enough, allowing the ball to be cleared.
The home side took a fifteenth minute lead, after right back Baggi latched onto a cross from the left and beat Lloris on his narrow side with a low shot. Falcao had the ball in the net a minute later, but Spurs were rescued by the offside flag.
It was 24 minutes before I noticed Sigurdsson was taking part. He was playing on the left. I am not denying he was working hard throughout the game, and once again he was asked to play a full 90 minutes, but that is how long it took for Spurs to be noticed in the Monaco half really.
Moutinho won the ball in the midfield and lifted a pass for Falcao. Lloris was out well to collect this one. Sigurdsson had a good shot on goal after 39 minutes, going wide of the keeperís left post. A deflected Kyle Walker free kick had goalkeeper Subasic worried.
Monaco made four changes at the start of the second half and increased their lead within two minutes. Chadli fouled just outside the area, and Moutinho floated in the free kick which was glanced over Llorisís arms by substitute Ocampos. It got worse very quickly. Spurs had the box in the area, and it was at Harry Kaneís feet, but he failed to get a shot in, and Monaco not only cleared but broke with incision. Ocampos made the final pass from the right, and Falcao was on it in a flash with a fine finish to leave Lloris no chance.
Danny Rose broke up a play in the middle and managed a shot, but it passed over the bar. Spurs were rewarded with a goal, after hard work by Mousa Dembele in the middle led to the ball running to the left where Kane made no mistake with his right footed shot.
At the other end, Kyle Walker was turned inside and out by Ferreira Carrasco, but this attack came to nought. Chadli was replaced by Townsend, but the action was at the other end, where that substitute Ocampos again found space deep on the right, supplying again for Falcao, who fired home with authority with his right foot. Minutes later, it was 5-1 to Monaco, after a Sigurdsson effort was cleared. Monaco came back through the middle and Ferreira Carrasco fed the ball to Obbadi who hit a low right foot shot across Lloris.
By now, Spurs had made several changes, including Huddlestone for Dembele. Huddlestone did have a long range effort that cleared the goal. Lloris made a good save from a Falcao header, before Spurs got another consolation goal through Andros Townsend, creating his own bit of space in the middle, before hitting a good left foot low shot.
Even Bentaleb and Stewart got on for Spurs, and they will surely be playing most of their football next season for the under-21s. Monaco are clearly ready for their season, which starts next week, whilst Spurs need to hit the ground running on August 18th at Selhurst Park. Iíll be seeing (hopefully) a much better performance and team next Saturday, when we are at home to Espanyol.
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