SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER, 2019
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(1) BOURNEMOUTH 2(0)
Dele, 21, 50
H. Wilson, 73, 90 (+6)
Referee:- Lee Mason
Assistants:- Scott Ledger, Mark Scholes
Fourth official:- Stuart Attwell
VAR:- Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR:- Constantine Hatzidakis
Spurs (4-3-3):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Sissoko, Ndombele (sub Lucas Moura, 74), Dier; Dele (sub Winks (90+4), Kane (Capt.), Son (sub Lo Celso, 88)
Subs not used:- Whiteman; Rose, Walker-Peters; Eriksen
Bournemouth (4-4-2):- Ramsdale; Stacey, S. Cook (Capt.), Ake, Rico; Danjuma, L. Cook (sub Gosling, 74), Lerma, Fraser (sub H. Wilson, 63); Solanke, C. Wilson
Subs not used:- Boruc; Simpson, Mepham; Kilkenny, Saydee
Booked:- Rico (foul on Aurier), Lerma (Unsporting conduct)
Singing in the dressing room again!
Jose Mourinho has won his first three games in charge of Spurs (Mauricio Pochettino won 4). Dele Alli scored two goals in a game for the first time since we beat Chelsea 3-1 away in April 2018. We’ve scored at least three goals in each of Jose’s first three games (but also conceded two in each game), but the important thing is that we climbed overnight to fifth place and have cemented our position in the top half again. We are chasing a place in Europe, but I bet the song the players will have been singing in the dressing room again was “Oh, Moussa Sissoko!” after Sissoko scored his first goal for Spurs since we played West Ham in the EFL Cup in October 2017. Moussa’s last Premier League goal had been a month earlier against Huddersfield.
The fact that, as at West Ham’s rented stadium last week, we did concede two goals after being three up is a concern. Perhaps Jose wants to play expansive and not defensive football with Spurs. Perhaps he wants to play “The Spurs Way”. Bournemouth scored their second goal in the sixth minute of added time. There was a VAR check and perhaps that is why we got enough additional time to allow the “Cherries” yet another pop at goal which might even have led to a distressing equaliser, but a win is a win and all is well!
Jose rang a few changes for this game, playing a 4-3-3 which featured Jan Vertonghen at left back, but allowed Aurier plenty of time in the opposition half. The midfield three of Sissoko, Ndombele and Dier was fluid in terms of each player’s actual position, but Sissoko was generally on the right. Up front, Dele was often seen ahead of Harry Kane and in the central position.
Eddie Howe likes to play attacking football too, whatever the opposition, and despite a number of enforced absences, such as the suspensions of Francis and Billing following red and yellow cards respectively last week. Howe was also missing several key players such as midfielder David Brooks (injured on International duty in the summer) and striker Josh King - often seen supporting Callum Wilson. Bournemouth kicked off, playing a 4-4-2 with Solanke supporting Callum Wilson, and within three minutes they had a shot on goal through Danjuma (signed in the summer from Club Brugge). Danjuma hit a left foot shot which Gazzaniga could only parry, leading to a corner. Gazzaniga did hold Ryan Fraser’s cross following the corner he had taken.
It was Bournemouth calling and taking the early shots, with Gazzaniga having to save again (again not cleanly). This time left back Rico hit a long shot and after the save, Davinson Sanchez cleared the ball. Spurs were looking tentative going forward, perhaps struggling with this different formation and style dictated by the head coach.
Bournemouth had another corner after 14 minutes, but nothing came of that. At last Spurs had their first attack of note, with the ball being brought out from the back and Dele, Kane and Son advancing in style and with intent. It was Son who had the shot, but that was wide across the goalmouth from the left. Then they had the lead! Toby Alderweireld hit a trademark long ball over the top; Son got a nice touch to lay the ball into Dele’s path and Dele swept the ball home, scoring in successive games for the first time since December. With three goals in two games, Dele has scored as many as he had in his previous 23 Spurs appearances. More significantly and importantly, Dele is back to his old self and has a healthy five-goal return so far this season. “We’ve got Alli!” also had an airing or two!
Spurs now had the bit between their teeth and Harry Kane made a good run in tandem with Son who delivered the final ball to Kane whose shot took a hefty deflection and went for a corner. Following a corner taken from the left by Ndombele the ball reached Sissoko outside the area. His shot was half blocked and fell to Sanchez who fired home. The “goal” was announced, but referee Lee Mason was rooted inside the Bournemouth area and had seemingly found an infringement which was confirmed by VAR, not that those in the stadium were too aware of what had happened. It was “No Goal” and apparently because of a handball.
Bournemouth right back Jack Stacey (signed in the summer from Luton) rounded Son in our area, but hit his shot wide of the far post. After a Bournemouth throw in their own half captain Steve Cook hit a poor clearance with Dele and Kane advancing on their goal. Kane’s shot was well over the target though. Spurs made another break from the back (now that is typical Mourinho football) with Dele and Kane towards the right hand side. The ball went to Son on the left of the area, but his shot hit the side netting. Sissoko broke forward but could not get a shot in. Dele had the ball and he did hit a shot on goal which looked as if it had been handled inside the Bournemouth area (by Cook), but Mr Mason was having none of it. There was no suggestion that VAR had intervened here either. Danjuma picked up a half-cleared Spurs ball and Gazzaniga did hold this shot.
Spurs kicked off the second half, playing towards the massive south Stand, as has become the new tradition. It wasn’t long before Jan Vertonghen found Aurier with a great long pass. Sissoko came to help out the right back, and it was Sissoko who hit a cross which Ramsdale could not reach. There was no-one on hand to take advantage. Spurs did increase their lead within five minutes of the restart with a fantastic goal. Toby Alderweireld hit a long pass and Dele showed brilliant skill controlling the ball and half-dummying Ramsdale before slotting home with typical Dele Alli nonchalance! 2-0! Cue the song!
Within a minute of the second goal, Bournemouth had a free kick on the left taken by Rico. Gazzaniga could only palm the ball out and Steve Cook’s shot took a deflection for a Bournemouth corner. To give them their due the Bournemouth away support (which amounts almost to a third of their ground capacity, never gave up on their team, and of course would have plenty of late encouragement. After the Bournemouth corner Fraser hit a right foot shot over the goal.
Dele had his first hat-trick chance (there would be another) after 55 minutes. Spurs broke forward with Sissoko getting the better of Rico. Aurier crossed but Dele put his chance over the target. Eddie Howe took off Fraser for Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who in no time had a chance, hitting a left foot shot from the right of goal wide of the far post. Dele had another chance after another Aurier cross, and I think he was caught between the desire to shoot or pass, and finally put the ball wide of goal. Spurs did have a third goal, and again it followed a long ball from the back. I’m not sure who hit this one, but Son raced onto it down the left flank and when he crossed it was met in stylish fashion by none other than Moussa Sissoko who hooked the ball into the net on the volley. Sissoko ran towards the south-west corner flag, chased by his delighted team-mates and of course idolised by the crowd!
Lewis Cook had a shot on goal, which was parried by Gazzaniga. The ball was going anywhere around the box, but eventually Jan Vertonghen ended the danger. Bournemouth were awarded a mysterious free kick by Mr Mason just outside the Spurs area when Ndombele challenged Lewis Cook. Harry Wilson scored with a left foot shot that had Gazzaniga totally beaten.
Ndombele was replaced by Lucas Moura, who showed some good touches playing behind the front three. Bournemouth replaced Lewis Cook with Dan Gosling. Son was onto a good ball down the right channel, but Steve Cook ended Son’s thoughts of goal with a great tackle. Toby Alderweireld hit another good ball to Dele, who had passing options, but again his thoughts were naturally on goal. His right foot shot was saved, and “Sonny”’s attempted follow-up was cleared. Solanke hit a shot from left of goal, which Gazzaniga did bravely collect with Gosling challenging. Vertonghen was in the mix too, and for the second time, Gazzaniga was in need of some attention. Gosling did have a shot blocked a little later after another Solanke cross/shot.
There was a melee (and a booking for Lerma) at the other end after Dele had been fouled out on the left. Initially there was confusion as to which way the referee had give his decision. Spurs wanted to take a quick free kick but Bournemouth protested in numbers. Nothing came of the free kick and we had no less than 6 minutes of added time to see out. Gosling had a header into the side netting after Rico’s corner and in the last minute of official added time Danjuma got the better of Sissoko on Spurs’ right flank before cutting the ball back to Harry Wilson who scored again with his left foot. That makes Wilson Bournemouth’s top league scorer with 6 to his name. Even after the goal, which I thought should have been the last action, the referee found time for Bournemouth to advance again, but Jan Vertonghen made a heroic tackle and all was well.
If he wants to emulate Mauricio Pochettino’s winning start five years ago, Jose has to beat his last Premier League team. Now that would be something special!
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