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Spurs v Bournemouth, 14.10.17

(At Wembley Stadium)

Spurs scorer:-
Eriksen, 47

Attendance:- 73,502

Referee:- Bobby Madley
Assistants:- Peter Kirkup, Marc Perry
Fourth official:- Chris Kavanagh

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Dier, Winks; Eriksen, Dele (sub Nkoudou, 90+3), Son (sub Sissoko, 75); Kane (sub Llorente, 85)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Foyth, Aurier, Walker-Peters

Booked:- Vertonghen (foul on Ibe)

Bournemouth (5-4-1):- Begovic; Smith (sub Ibe, 75), Francis (Capt.), Steve Cook, Ake, Daniels; Gosling, Lewis Cook (sub Mousset, 83), Surman, Stanislas (sub Defoe, 75); King

Subs not used:- Boruc; Pugh, Arter, Afobe

Booked:- Steve Cook (foul on Kane), Smith (foul on Vertonghen), Begovic (foul on Nkoudou)

Eriksen shoots that golden arrow!

On the 951st anniversary of The Battle of Hastings, Christian Eriksen scored the decisive goal to ensure that Spurs won their first Premier League game of the season at this temporary home of Wembley, and in fact the club's first home win of 2017 in a Saturday 3pm kick-off. It wasn't as easy as ABC though for Spurs, as Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side came with a clear intention to try and defend their way to a point, with five at the back, no doubt hoping that they might snatch a breakaway winning goal. In truth "The Cherries" made life hard for Spurs, at least in the first half.

There had been talk before the game of there being a potential Premier League record home crowd for today's game. It certainly looked like more than the announced 73,502 announce to me, but that was the figure given.

Before the game, with Ben Davies apparently absent through "illness", it looked as if we might be three at the back with Son Heung-min at left wing back, but in fact we started with a back four, and Son on the left of an attacking midfield. Jan Vertonghen covered at left back.

It was a while before either team made any real headway, and after 13 minutes, Harry Winks fed the ball to Dele Alli, who flicked to Eriksen, whose involuntary touch went over the target. Dele had a half chance after a Winks win in midfield but his shot was blocked and Spurs did ultimately win a corner. After the corner Trippier and Eriksen combined on the right and Dele had another shot, this time wide.

Bournemouth managed a break down the right of centre through Josh King. Ex-Spur Adam Smith crossed from the right and Stanislas's effort was deflected by Sanchez for a corner. That corner was cleared by Spurs with some difficulty and Lewis Cook hit his shot over the target from outside the box. The other Cook in the Bournemouth side (Steve) got the first booking of the game for a foul on Harry Kane. Eriksen took the kick but Dele Alli's effort at the near post was defended.

Spurs were now pressing in the Bournemouth half and Eriksen hit a ball from the right to Kane, whose shot was saved at the expense of the corner, from which Toby Alderweireld headed over. Harry Winks had a shot blocked as half-time approached, following work by Kane and Eriksen on the right.

Mauricio Pochettino made a change in strategy at the interval, switching to three at the back with Dier slipping between Sanchez and Alderweireld. Vertonghen and Trippier became wing-backs and initially Eriksen fell back to partner Winks.

The strategy paid off within two minutes, as Eriksen wriggled his way around the defence on the edge of the Bournemouth area and beat Begovic with a well placed left footed shot to the right of the keeper. Ultimately, that goal would prove enough to win the game and keep Spurs in third place - four points above Chelsea, who surprisingly lost to Crystal Palace, but only two points above Watford, who staged a late win against Arsenal.

Bournemouth now came out fighting, desperate to get something out of the game. Josh King nearly might have taken advantage of a midfield ball that fell to him, but his effort was well off target.

Kane headed a Trippier ball into the net, but the offside flag had already been raised. Kane and Dele Alli then came close, with Dele on the left of goal, but Dele was blocked, and Harry couldn't quite get a shot in. Spurs eventually won a corner. Trippier crossed deep from the right, and Dele headed back for Kane, but Bournemouth defended well. Kane had another shot deflected for a corner, following a good attack featuring Winks, Vertonghen and Eriksen. Harry then tried a volley following Eric Dier's header after Dele's ball from the left. The shot was way off target.

Vertonghen's defensive skills were required to clear from King as Bournemouth sought to take advantage of a breakaway attack.

Now Son was replaced by Sissoko who had a useful 25 minute cameo. Former Spurs favourite Jermain Defoe and ex-Liverpool player Jordan Ibe came on for the visitors and almost had immediate impact as Ibe threaded a ball to Defoe on the right of the Spurs box, and Hugo Lloris was required to make a good save from Defoe at the expense of a corner. Spurs (and their fans) were desperate for a second goal, although apart from that Defoe chance Bournemouth did not truly threaten.

Dele Alli broke into the Bournemouth half and passed to Sissoko on the right, who in turn gave Eriksen a chance. Eriksen's left foot shot was saved by Begovic at the expense of a corner.

With minutes remaining, Spurs continued to press. Eriksen and Trippier showed skill and Trippier crossed to Dier, whose shot was deflected for a corner. As we entered added time Sissoko made a powerful break down the right channel, crossing for Dele, who headed wide. Late substitute Georges-Kevin Nkoudou needed treatment after he was brought down just outside the area. Begovic was booked and Spurs had a free kick, but that too was kept out by Bournemouth.

The final whistle was greeted with more relief than should have been necessary, but Spurs had their three points. They face a much sterner test on Tuesday in Madrid, but of course Ronaldo & co will not be seeking to defend so stoutly!

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