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Bournemouth v Spurs, 04.05.19


Ake, 90(+1)

Attendance:- 10,630

Referee:- Craig Pawson
Assistants:- Ian Hussin, Darren Cann
Fourth official:- Simon Hooper

Bournemouth (4-2-3-1):- Travers; Smith, Cook (Capt.), Simpson, Clyne; Lerma, Ake; Fraser, Ibe (sub Mousset, 76), King; Wilson

Subs not used:- Boruc; Mepham; Hyndman, Taylor, Ofoborh; Surridge

Booked:- Lerma (Unsporting conduct)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Alderweireld (sub Foyth, 46), Sanchez, Rose; Sissoko (sub Davies, 82), Dier (sub Wanyama, 46); Eriksen, Dele, Son; Lucas Moura

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Skipp; Janssen, Llorente

Booked:- Dier (foul on Fraser), Alderweireld (foul on King), Sissoko (foul on Ake), Wanyama (foul on Smith, Dele (unsporting conduct)

Sent off:- Son, 43 (Violent Conduct), Foyth, 48 (Dangerous foul on Simpson)

Spurs in self-destruct mode

Never mind “May the fourth be with you”. The only force with Spurs today was of a self-destructive nature. Two players were sent off, either side of half time, and five others were booked, perhaps one or two harshly, but generally speaking this was all indicative of over-excitement and rashness in the way Spurs approached this vital game. Son was the villain before half-time, whilst Foyth, who replaced the booked Toby Alderweireld at half-time lasted no more than two minutes as he over-stretched with a challenge and hurt Simpson in the process. Spurs’ remaining nine men fought valiantly, and even managed to create three or four dangerous situations of their own, but they fell finally to Nathan Ake’s added time winner which came from a corner.

Now we have potentially three “Cup Finals” to play. Firstly Wednesday night’s Champions league semi-final in Amsterdam, in which Son can play (and Foyth could, but I suspect won’t). Secondly next Sunday’s final game at home to Everton, which we now must win, when Son and Foyth will not be available, and thirdly a potential Champions League Final. Best not to countenance such a prospect on current form, I think. Spurs fans spent a lot of time in the first half castigating their London rivals over playing Thursday night football, but we haven’t secured Tuesday/ Wednesday night football next season yet. Best not to laugh at those who will be full of mirth over our result today, methinks.

Mauricio Pochettino picked surely his strongest available side today, and reverted to the “standard” 4-2-3-1 which matched Eddie Howe’s tactics as it happened. Sissoko played on the right of Dier, who was one of those Spurs players lucky not to have been included on the list of those sent off, according to comments I have seen. Dier did offer a couple of genuinely creative passes, but he was too often a liability in the other direction. Son played on the left side of the midfield attacking three, but didn’t see as much of the ball as perhaps we would have liked. Of course, he would see nothing of it in the second half.

Eddie Howe’s selection included a major surprise with a debut in goal for 19 year old Mark Travers, who was announced in the second half as Bournemouth’s man of the match. He made four or five very good and crucial saves, as Spurs played positively and should have had the game (and Champions League football next season) wrapped up. Travers is a Republic of Ireland Under 19 International. Howe, whose side secured their Premier league safety a couple of weeks ago, featured several names unknown to me on the bench, most of whom were not used.

It was a sunny but chilly day, even on the south coast. Spurs kicked off playing towards the North stand. Within two minutes, they played their way out of their own half with skill displayed by Dele, a ball by Eriksen and an opportunity for Son, which Bournemouth defended. After 7 minutes, Lucas Moura tried an audacious shot from near the halfway line which had Travers beaten to his right, but which also passed outside his right post. Dier got an early booking for his foul on Ryan Fraser as Bournemouth made a counter-attack. Fraser subsequently hit a right footed free kick wide.

Spurs rushed forward with Eriksen passing outside to Trippier, who crossed. The ball was met by Lucas Moura, who headed wide across goal. Dier passed the ball forward to Dele who hit a right footed shot well saved by Travers to his right, at the cost of a corner. There was a great Spurs move after 18 minutes. Eriksen passed to the advancing Sissoko on the right. Sissoko crossed and Lucas Moura hit a right footed shot but Travers made a great save to his right.

Bournemouth made another break after Spurs pussyfooted around in their opponents half and lost their momentum. Alderweireld “took one for the team” as he stopped King’s advance.

After 24 minutes, Danny Rose hit a great ball to Lucas Moura who was onside and got into the left side of the Bournemouth area, hitting a low shot which Travers saved with his feet. Trippier fed Son, who had moved to the right. Son carried the ball from right to left but the ball was cleared before he managed to take a shot. Dier hit a ball forward after half an hour, which was fielded by Lucas Moura and passed back to Son who advanced all the way to the Bournemouth area before hitting aa left foot shot over the target. Son and Rose were involved in a good move on the left which ended with another chance. This one was a header for Dele, but the 19 year old keeper saved his side again, conceding a corner.

Bournemouth fans were incensed when Dier appeared to have fouled King as he made a break out of the Bournemouth half. Confusion reigned and perhaps the referee was confused as he allowed play to continue with Son breaking back for Spurs, but Dele and Sissoko were unable to get a shot on goal. Bournemouth wanted more too when King advanced into the Spurs area and was clattered by Lloris, with the ball running for a corner, and nothing more given by Mr. Pawson. Subsequently a left footed cross by Fraser was held by Lloris. Eriksen had a left footed shot held by Travers after approach work by Dele and Trippier.

Sissoko was booked for a foul on Ake in the middle. Wilson sent King away down the left side where he got into the area despite the attentions of Davinson Sanchez. Dier brought King’s run to an end on the bye-line inside the area, and Bournemouth fans were baying again. It was Bournemouth fans, not Spurs who were singing “Nice one Sonny” when he saw red for the first time in his career. There was a tussle in and around the Bournemouth area as players scrambled for the ball with both sides thinking they had a free kick. Son pushed down Lerma and gave the referee an easy decision, not that he’d been slow to show his cards. That’s “Sonny” out next Sunday and for our first two games next season too. In first half added time, Lloris held an Ake header from a corner.

Pochettino made two half time changes with Foyth replacing Toby Alderweireld and Wanyama replacing Dier, both of whom were on yellow cards. Part of the plan backfired badly within two minutes as Foyth ran with the ball out of his own half. He let the ball too far ahead then overstretched as he tried to reach, resulting in a high tackle on Simpson. That was another easy decision. I thought I remembered a bad Good Friday at Everton some 15 years ago with two red cards, but my mind was playing tricks and that was only one.

The 9 men conferred and formed a 4-3-1 formation with Lucas up front. Wanyama became a centre back and Dele, Sissoko and Eriksen formed a three-man line in front of the back four. The nine men played valiantly. Lucas Moura led the line well, and did manage to hold the ball up several times. Lloris made a number of vital saves, but to be honest, Bournemouth were so tame up front I even thought they were trying to allow us a point which would have been a great result in the circumstances, but we would suffer in the end for our rash indiscipline.

Lloris was down to save from Fraser after 55 minutes. With an hour on the clock, Spurs did forge an attack where Dele had the ball in promising positions twice. I thought he spurned opportunities to shoot and the attack broke down. Spurs then defended two corners well, and then after another former Spurs man Adam Smith hit a shot wide. Another Bournemouth chance went wide before Lloris made a good save from Ibe’s shot. Ibe was soon replaced by Mousset, one of the more experienced players on the bench. After a cross by Fraser from the right Mousset had a header saved low by Hugo.

Now Moussa Sissoko (also on a card of course) was replaced by Davies. Moussa will be needed on Wednesday and next week. Spurs fans thought they had two shouts for a penalty when Lucas was in the box. One for a handball and one for a foul, but a corner was all they got. There was more stalwart defending in the Spurs are, but we finally succumbed in the first minute of added time when Ake headed home following a corner.

There was a contretemps in the middle between Lerma and Dele, both of whom were booked. Lucas did have an acrobatic attempt from a corner but that went over the target, and the game was up for Tottenham. The Champions League game could be up for Tottenham next week. 13 league defeats (more than a third of all games) in a season and three defeats in our last four league games is not Champions League form, is it?

One thing is for sure. There will be a great atmosphere in Amsterdam next week and at New White Hart Lane next Sunday. I will be there. I hope I am smiling at the end of both games.

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