SUNDAY 15TH DECEMBER, 2019
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1)
Lucas Moura, 8
Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Dan Robathan, Darren Cann
Fourth official:- Simon Hooper
VAR:- David Coote
Assistant VAR:- Stephen Child.
Wolves (3-4-3):- Rui Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady (Capt.), Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Jota
Subs not used:- Ruddy; Bennett, Vinagre, Kilman; Neto; Cutrone, Ashley-Seal
Booked:- Moutinho (foul on Son), Jonny (foul on Lucas Moura), Saiss (foul on Lucas Moura), Dendoncker (foul on Kane)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Sissoko, Dier; Lucas Moura (sub Eriksen, 89), Dele (sub Winks, 90+2), Son (sub Foyth, 90+2); Kane (Capt.)
Subs not used:- Whiteman; Lo Celso, Sessegnon, Skipp
Booked:- Sanchez (foul on Jota), Alderweireld (foul on Traore), Dier (foul on Traore), Kane (foul on Traore)
Super Jan seals massive win!
“Super” Jan Vertonghen sealed what is a massive, massive win for Spurs in the 91st minute in what was surely Spurs’ toughest game of the season so far. Yes, I know we’ve had the Bayern Munich defeats and other losses, but here were two teams who are genuinely battling for one of the coveted Champions league spots. It seems unreal saying that about Spurs because when we were lurking down in 14th place under Mauricio Pochettino, to be frank I’d given up on the prospect of Champions League football next season. Now Jose Mourinho has come in and under his management we have won 4 out of 5 league games, two of which have been away from home! Remember, we had not won an away league game since January. As a result of today’s win, we are in fifth place and with Chelsea coming to Tottenham next week, we can beat them and be in the top four for Christmas. What a present that would be. We’ll be singing Mourinho’s name soon, just wait and see!
Full credit must be given to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves team. Remember this was a match between former master and servant as Jose had been Porto manager during a time when Nuno was a reserve keeper. I am sure that apart from what was riding on the game, both managers were desperate to win today. Wolves certainly gave it their all, and to be honest I cannot remember this Wolves side attacking so much. Adama Traore was rampant down the Wolves right wing, and to steal a line from my son Greg, we hadn’t seen the left take such a battering since last Thursday! Jan Vertonghen and anybody who tried to stem Traore’s attacks had a hard time indeed. Traore got a personal reward when he scored Wolves’ equaliser, and to be honest with the amount of possession and shots Wolves had, I would have been very happy with a draw. “Super” Jan saw to it that I went home even happier than expected.
The match was played in an ever increasing deluge of rain. As hard as it was for Spurs fans to endure most of the time, this was certainly a totally enthralling game. Jose Mourinho fielded the same side as had started in last week’s 5-0 win over Burnley. The toughness of this game and opposition fully justified Mourinho’s decision to leave Aurier, Vertonghen, Dele and Kane at home in midweek when we faced Bayern Munich. One benefit of the away section at Molineux is that (although not sitting) the view is one for which people pay premium prices at Tottenham. I was lucky enough to be in a fairly central position in the stand.
Spurs kicked off and within a minute Son had the ball on the left trying to give Kane and Lucas Moura a chance, but no shot was forthcoming. Traore’s first cross came a minute later but was well cleared by Davinson Sanchez. Sanchez was prominent again in defence and blocked a potential shot by Neves. Moutinho and Jota combined from the left-hand-side of the field and Wolves won a corner.
Before the game, my feeling was that the Spurs front four might break the Wolves back three early, and so it proved. Dele sent Son away but that attack was thwarted before Son did hit a shot which was parried by Rui Patricio. After the save, and a clearance, Eric Dier got a touch on the ball passing to Lucas Moura who went onto a mazy run into the right side of the Wolves area before smashing a shot into the roof of the net with a right foot shot. After 11 minutes Kane challenged for a long ball, which ran to Dele who got into the box but his effort was smothered by the keeper and a corner resulted. At the other end Gazzaniga was down to hold a Traore left foot shot as the right side player had been able to cut inside Vertonghen. Neves sent another ball to Traore, who again had the better of Vertonghen, winning a corner. From a following corner and a cross by Moutinho, Jimenez hit a glanced header wide across the goal. Spurs had the lead, but Wolves had potency. Ultimately though, although they had more possession and more shots on goal than did Spurs, Wolves had the same number of attempts on target.
Referee Stuart Atwell seemed initially keen to keep names out of his book (that policy did not last the game!), and had “words” with Lucas Moura who had challenged Traore. The home fans wanted more – perhaps blood. They also vigorously abused their England captain at various times throughout the game. I am not over-impressed with them. “1-0 and you still don’t sing!” chanted Wolves. “Watching Tottenham on a Wednesday night, you play Thursday because you’re f***ing sh*te” retorted Spurs fans!
Jimenez had a chance after 25 minutes but pulled his shot wide of Gazzaniga’s left post. Spurs defended another Wolves attack well, after Davinson Sanchez had hit a mis-placed pass about 35 yards out. One problem we had as the game wore on was a lack of confidence with the ball too often going backwards. Wolves were piling on the pressure but Sanchez, Alderweireld and Vertonghen were defending stoutly, aided by those around them.
Sissoko made an advancing run and fed the ball to Kane who went down in the box, without getting anything from the officials. After 36 minutes, Lucas Moura was fouled and after the free kick Dele had an exchange of passes with Dier who hit the post with his shot. There was no card produced for the foul on Lucas. Traore popped up another cross and Serge Aurier was happy to head this out for a corner. Alderweireld headed clear another cross by Traore, and Gazzaniga was allowed to pick up after Sissoko sliced an attempted clearance which went to the keeper. Vertonghen needed help on that side. In first half added time Harry Kane fed the ball to Lucas but Coady blocked the shot.
Wolves kicked off the second half and within three minutes Gazzaniga was making a save from Jimenez. The save was not clean, but Spurs cleared. There was more pressure for the Spurs defence and two corners to defend. Spurs managed an attack down the left with Dier getting the ball to Kane who again went down in the box, wanting a penalty, but not succeeding. This provoked more abuse from the home crowd.
After a Spurs throw down the right-hand-side on 57 minutes, Lucas Moura advanced and passed inside to Dele who hit a shot just wide from the edge of the box. Now the cards started coming, and the first into the referee’s book was Moutinho for stopping a Son advance from the half-way line. Spurs had the free kick, which was taken by Son, but ballooned high and wide of goal from some 40 yards out. What a waste!
After all the pressure, it was inevitable really that Wolves would get an equaliser, and perhaps also inevitable that the goal would be scored by Traore. I thought that Jimenez might have handled the ball when receiving with his back to goal, but his was the pass that teed up Traore for a successful 25 yard rocket shot. There was no suggestion that the routine VAR review took Jimenez actions into account. (I could be mistaken of course, but I write as I see it)
Son led a Spurs attack, and had it resulted in a goal, would surely have been disallowed for an early offside, but there was actually a penalty review by the VAR regarding the attack which followed a clear offside. I was confused. Spurs had a subsequent free kick which could have been fed forward to four attackers, but instead went backwards and no danger to the Wolves goal followed. Dele made a break forward and fed the ball to Aurier, whose cross was held by Rui Patricio. We were next told by the announcer about a VAR possible red card review, but as play had continued, we knew nothing was coming of the foul anyway. The potential victim was a Spurs player.
Now both teams were going all out for the win, and Spurs were getting more chances. Lucas Moura crossed from the right and Harry Kane’s header was saved high to the right by the keeper. Traore drew yet another foul punished by a yellow card. This one was by Dier. Even Harry Kane got in the referee’s book later, but first he hit a right foot shot over the goal after passes by Son and Lucas Moura. I personally think that Son had been offside in this build-up too. After Kane’s foul on Traore, Moutinho’s free kick was headed won by Saiss, but Gazzaniga saved. Eric Dier tried to find Dele with a pass at the other end, but failed.
Spurs had a free kick out on the left after Dendoncker fouled Kane. Neither side had introduced a substitute as yet, but now Eriksen came on for Lucas Moura and he shaped up to take the kick. First though Traore needed treatment at the other end. When Eriksen did float in the free kick, Jimenez headed the ball out for a corner, which Eriksen took from the right-hand-side. Now we had entered added time and Jan Vertonghen met the corner at the back of the area hitting a powerful well placed header which beat Rui Patricio to his right. Cue the “Super” Jan celebration!
Now Jose did introduce his other subs, with Winks and Foyth replacing Dele and Son respectively. Spurs saw out the 4 minutes plus of added time and were able to celebrate a crucial win with their fans. Toby Alderweireld was particularly enthused, and even Eriksen joined in and approached the travelling fans. “Jingle Bells” was sung, of course!
Now we have a full week before our next game, at home against Chelsea. There will inevitably be plenty of press coverage in the run-up to that game. Let’s hope there is plenty of positive post-match coverage too! Enjoy your week off Spurs fans!
· Win over Wolves proves Spurs are a different beast under Mourinho
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