SATURDAY 9TH AUGUST, 2014
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) FC SCHALKE 1 (0)
Kevin-Prince Boateng, 80
Referee:- Mr. A. Taylor
Assistants:- Mr. S. Beck & Mr. M. Scholes
Fourth official:- Mr. N. Cooper
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul (Capt.) (sub Fryers, 79), Dier, Rose (sub Davies, 46); Bentaleb (sub Carroll, 73), Holtby (sub Ceballos, 83); Lamela(sub Kane, 46), Eriksen (sub Sandro, 66), Lennon (sub Townsend, 46); Adebayor (sub Soldado, 46)
(Armband to Lloris)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Fredericks, Vjeljkovic
Schalke (4-3-3):- Fahrmann; Ayhan, Santana, Matip (sub Hoger, 46), Kolasonac (sub Fuchs, 46); Neustadter, Aogo, Meyer; Barnetta (sub Clemens, 62), Choupo-Moting (sub Sobottka, 80), Boateng (Capt.) (sub Avdijaj, 81)
Subs not used:- Schipmann; Friedrich, Borgmann, Multhaup
Booked:- Ayhan (foul)
Bring on the real thing!
What can be deduced from this last pre-season friendly, in which both teams were missing key players? In Spurs case, World Cup players - such as Vertonghen, Dembele, Chadli and Paulinho- have been allowed extra time to prepare for next week's big kick-off. Maybe that includes Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Club captain Michael Dawson picked up a knock last week, which has rendered him unavailable, whilst it seems that Kyle Walker is some way off real match fitness. Second string player Ryan Mason has also picked up a knock and was not available. He has impressed during the pre-season, and will surely be hoping to gain first team opportunities, perhaps in The Europa League and League Cup games.
As for Schalke, they were also missing key players such as striker Klaas Huntelaar and another World Cup squad member Benedikt Howedes. They were captained today by former Spur Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Schalke start their league season in two weeks' time, but they play in the German Cup next week, so you would expect them to be pretty much at the same stage of preparation as Spurs. This did not appear to be the case however, as Spurs definitely looked the sharper of the two teams in the first half at least. Schalke lost a friendly last week 3-1 to Newcastle.
The bottom line is - what can we deduce from any pre-season friendly? Well, Spurs looked pretty sharp in the first half, with (from the back to the front line) Danny Rose, Aaron Lennon, Christian Eriksen, and Emmanuel Adebayor looking good. Erik Lamela has had an impressive pre-season, and I have great hopes for him, but apart from one or two flashes, we didn't see as much from him as I hoped.
Lloris hardly had a touch in the first half, and it is hard to pass judgement on debutant Eric Dier in a situation when the defence was rarely under pressure. Dier, Eriksen and Holtby sported distinct blond hair styles though!
Over 34,000 were in attendance, including a decent contingent of German fans, in the south-west lower tier. Early Spurs chants included the anti-Campbell song, and "Stand up if you hate Arsenal". I hope for more variety and originality in the season to come.
Aaron Lennon seemed to have freedom of movement in the early stages, and when operating on the left, he teed up Danny Rose, whose cross was intercepted. Adebayor picked up a through ball down the right channel and teed up Lennon, who had an open goal, but saw his shot rebound off the post into the arms of goalkeeper Fahrmann. Apparently there was an offside flag up, probably for Adebayor, but Lennon should have had the ball in the net.
Referee Anthony Taylor blew a bit early on a couple of occasions, when he should have played advantage to Spurs, but I suppose referees need the pre-season as much as players.
Eriksen fed Lennon, who played a short cross to Adebayor, whose effort was cleared. On another occasion, when Adebayor was NOT offside, he had a clear opportunity, but put no strength into his shot.
After 20 minutes, Kaboul required strength to hold Meyer at bay, and was happy to concede a corner. Bentaleb had an effort go wide from a Spurs corner, taken on the right. Lennon put in Holtby for a great chance, after more good work by Eriksen, but the goalkeeper saved from Holtby.
Spurs took a deserved lead in the 20th minute through a well-worked passing build-up. Lamela had been involved in this move, but Lennon, in the middle, fed Holtby on the left to give the final pass to Adebayor, who slotted home from the back post, with a left foot finish.
There were no other significant incidents in the first half, and a plethora of changes at half-time. Notably for Spurs, Ben Davies made his first home appearance, whilst Townsend, Kane and Soldado entered the fray. Soldado had an early chance go outside the target, whilst Harry Kane was prominent, and got nothing for seemingly being pushed to the ground in the box.
Andros Townsend was getting one or two shooting opportunities, but failing to take advantage.
For Schalke, Choupo-Moting was through on goal, but Hugo Lloris seized the ball from his feet. Lloris also picked up another effort by the same player.
Spurs went two up in the 66th minute after the goalkeeper could only parry a Townsend effort, and (somewhat involuntarily) Soldado picked up the rebound, which looped into the Schalke goal.
Sandro replaced Eriksen and was greeted with ritual ”Shoot" calls every time he picked up the ball in the Schalke half. Meyer had a good chance for the visitors, but pushed his chance wide of the far post.
A Sandro shot was beaten away by Fahrmann, with no Spurs player around to pick up the rebound.
With 10 minutes to go, former Spur Kevin-Prince Boateng slotted home, and was booed for his trouble by the home support, before he went off to be replaced by Avdijaj. Avdijaj soon forced a good save by Lloris, diving low to his right.
Ceballos was a late substitution for Holtby, and had two good chances to get his name on the score-sheet. Firstly Soldado fed him the ball, before his shot was well saved by Fahrmann, stretching out his right hand. Spurs had shooting chances through good work by Kane and Soldado, but it was Townsend's final effort that was blocked. In the closing stages, Kane fed Townsend, whose shot was parried, before Ceballos pushed his effort wide.
Like all of you, I suspect, I look forward to the "real thing" next week at Upton Park!
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