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Spurs v Bournemouth, 20.03.16

(4 pm)

Kane, 1, 16
Eriksen, 52

Attendance:- 36,084

Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: L Betts, M Scholes
Fourth Official: I Williamson

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier (sub Chadli, 90), Dembele; Lamela (sub Carroll, 66), Alli (sub Mason, 82), Eriksen; Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Walker-Peters (no. 43); Son

No Bookings

Bournemouth (4-4-1-1):- Boruc; Smith, Francis (Capt.), Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, Arter (sub O’Kane, 46), Gradel (sub Pugh, 70); King; Afobe (sub Grabban, 46)

Subs not used:- Federici; Distin, Elphick; Gosling

Booked:- Francis (foul on Kane)

1-2-3 – It’s so easy!

Those of you of a certain age will remember the song by the above title, recorded by Len Barry, which co-incidentally sort of rhymes with “Our Harry” (Kane), who scored two and gets the assist for Christian Eriksen, who finished off the rebound after Kane’s 52nd minute shot was saved. Alright, it wasn’t really easy, but Spurs did a superb job starting from the first minute (only 44 seconds in fact) when Kane converted Kyle Walker’s cross. Spurs were on their way and never looked back.

Spurs have restored their status to being within five points of leaders Leicester, and if they had not won today, we would have been very disappointed, and Spurs’ title hopes would have been severely dented, if not almost destroyed. They had a job to do today, and they did that job professionally, with some delightful football, and excellent effort and performances all round.

Mauricio Pochettino picked his first team, with the obvious exception of the injured Jan Vertonghen. However, once again, it has to be said that Kevin Wimmer has taken his opportunity in most excellent fashion. He is proving almost as solid as the outstanding Toby Alderweireld, and today showed that he can pass the ball as well and as impactively as his defensive partner. There were so many excellent performances today, and it is perhaps unfair to pick out individuals but both full backs played their full part, with Kyle Walker in particular really on top of his game at the moment, with supreme pace and truly great skill to go with it. Kyle fully deserves his recall to the England squad.

Eric Dier had another great game in front of the defence. Mousa Dembele showed on many occasions his strength and determination to win the ball, and to start off an attacking move. Christian Eriksen showed some truly delightful skilful touches, and of course Harry Kane got his two goals, taking his Premier League tally for the season so far to 21. Remember last year, Harry scored 21 league goals and equalled the Premier League record for Spurs of Teddy Sheringham and Gareth Bale? Harry is going to beat that this year. What a player. One paper suggested today that Jose Mourinho is booked for the United job and that he will sign “£60 million Harry Kane”. Well, as far as I am concerned Jose, United, and any interested party can sing for signing “Our Harry”. He is one of our own, after all.By the way, Harry is also now the Premier league top scorer so far this season!

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth brought a full contingent of some 3,000 fans, which is almost one third of their home crowd capacity. Those fans played a full part, deriding the home fans regarding their lack of voice, and constantly reminding us that Leicester were top of the league. The Bournemouth team had not come to defend either, and were perhaps somewhat naïve in their 4-4-1-1 set-up, seeking to play open, attacking football, rather than to try to perhaps defend for a point. We will be playing them next year though.

One of the variations Pochettino plays with his attacking midfield is the position of those three players. Today, Dele Alli supported Kane from the middle, whilst Eriksen started towards the left, but he and Lamela would switch. At the end of the day, Spurs are very fluid in this area.

That first goal came from three touches. 1. Lloris found the advancing Walker with an early clearance. 2. Walker flew down the right wing before sending in a good, powerful low cross which 3. Kane met with the slightest of touches in front of the near post to beat Boruc and give us the best of starts. Within a minute, walker was at it again, this time providing for Erik Lamela, but the ball just ran out of play for a goal kick.

Good play from Eriksen, Alli and finally Rose down the left won Spurs a corner, but nothing else. Then, in the 16th minute, it was once again, as easy as 1-2-3 for Spurs for a second goal, and Harry Kane’s second too:-

1. Wimmer finds All centrally with a good probing pass
2. Alli continues the move with another fine pass for the advancing Harry Kane
3. That man Kane latches onto the ball and beats Boruc, this time with his left foot.

All this was taking place in front of the Park Lane stand, towards which Spurs had kicked off. Two minutes after the goal, Walker was at it again, picking up a good long ball, passing inside to Eriksen who tried a shot from the right of goal, but hit it over the target.

At the other end, Josh King was providing a test for Wimmer, who was helped out in style by Danny Rose, who hit a ball down the line for Harry Kane, who had come back to his own half to help. Kane passed the ball further down the line for Eriksen, and then made ground to receive the Dane’s pass inside. Kane’s shot was blocked then cleared. Another great Wimmer ball was sent out to Kyle Walker, who fed Lamela, who won a corner on the right side.

Walker was the attacking foil again receiving from Dembele this time, passing inside to Eriksen who found Danny Rose beyond the back post. Rose’s shot went out for a goal-kick with Boruc tested at his right post. Another Walker pass found Harry Kane on the edge of the area, but Harry’s shot was saved by Boruc. Former Spur Adam Smith was subject to “words” from referee Neil Swarbrick after a foul on Danny Rose.

Bournemouth got their first corner after 36 minutes, conceded by Wimmer under pressure from King. The corner came to nothing. At the other end, Eric Dier and Kyle Walker exchanged passes before Dier put Alli through. Alli “scored” with a delightful shot, but the offside flag had already been raised. Alli had another shot on goal, held by Boruc, after Eriksen and Kane had combined. Just before the break, Eriksen had the final touch from beyond the back post, blocked or saved by the keeper, after Alli and Kane had acted as providers.

At half-time we witnessed an interview of the brilliant Pat Jennings who presented Spurs’ oldest season ticket holder, 101 year old Irene McBride with a suitably embossed Spurs shirt. Mrs McBride was given rousing cheers and “Three Cheers” by interviewer Paul Coyte.

Eddie Howe made two half-time substitutions and his team came out of their blocks well, putting Spurs on the back foot for a couple of minutes. Eriksen carried the ball out of defence though, passing to Harry Kane in a central position. Kyle Walker had overtaken Kane and was there to receive Kane’s forward diagonal pass, before hitting a shot wide across Boruc ‘s bows. Spurs went three up in the 52nd minute. Lamela fed the ball to Kane on his right, and Harry’s right footed shot could not be held by Boruc. The ball rolled out to Eriksen who pounced to score his sixth league goal of the season, and his first since that dramatic winner at The Etihad in February.

Understandably, Spurs eased up somewhat after their third goal. Bournemouth skipper Simon Francis got the only booking of the game for impeding Kane, who was getting the better of the ball after a long clearance. Wimmer needed some treatment, but recovered fully. Pochettino started to use his subs, bringing on Carroll first for Lamela.

A 75th minute Danny Rose cross reached Eric Dier, whose shot was wide. Carroll found Eriksen in the inside-right channel, and Eriksen delightfully beat the defence with a flick, and crossed to Alli, whose shot passed wide. Alli was then replaced by Ryan Mason, who had a shot saved after Kane’s pass within minutes of coming onto the pitch. In the closing stages, Eriksen had a shot blocked and cleared after Kane’s effort had been cleared, before Kane himself had a go from 25 yards, which went wide.

Bournemouth had more attacks in the second half, and won more corners, but Spurs defended stoutly, and Lloris didn’t really have a challenging save to make.

Now we have to hope all our men come back from Easter International duty fit and well, before we tackle Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday 2nd April (5.30pm kick-off). Today’s opponents were arguably the easiest in our remaining games. We have seven more stern tests to come. For the moment we remain six points above Arsenal and a full ten points above fourth placed Man City.

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