SUNDAY 17TH JANUARY, 2021
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Sheffield United scorer:-
Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- Richard West, Mark Scholes
Fourth official:- Robert Jones
VAR:- Mike Dean
Assistant VAR:- Andy Halliday.
Sheffield Utd (3-5-2):- Ramsdale; Basham (sub Sharp, 74), Egan (Capt.), Ampadu; Bogle, Lundstram, Norwood (sub Bryan, 67), Fleck, Stevens; McGoldrick, Burke (sub Brewster, 71)
Subs not used:- Foderingham; Baldock, Lowe, Jagielka
Booked:- Norwood (foul on Kane), Lundstram (foul on Bergwijn), Egan (foul on Kane), Ampadu (foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Rodon, Dier, Davies; Aurier, Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Reguilon (sub Sanchez,90+4); Bergwijn (sub Lucas Moura, 87), Kane, Son (sub Vinicius, 90+2)
Subs not used:- Hart; Alderweireld; Bale, Lamela, Sissoko, Gedson
Exquisite Ndombele goal seals win
The clear highlight of this game was Tanguy Ndombele's exquisite second half goal which restored our two-goal lead after "The Blades" had reduced the deficit earlier in the second half to what I call a one-goal "twitchy" lead. All was well as we ran out 3-1 winners with a good tactical strategy by Jose, who played a 3-4-3 formation. More good news came in the lack of any booking for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who was on a knife-edge as one more yellow would have seen him have to sit out our next League game against Liverpool.
Harry Winks also has four yellow cards after only 8 Premier League appearances, but that might not be the reason he was left out of Jose’s 20-man squad. Dele Alli was another absentee from that number and Gedson was a rare inclusion on the subs’ bench.
Former Spur Michael Dawson was working in the Bramall Lane stadium for Sky and he made the point about Jose’s team selection which offered wing-backs to counter the usual threat from Chris Wilder’s team. Joe Rodon made only his second Premier League start and was part of a resilient back three with fellow countryman Ben Davies operating on the other side of Eric Dier.
Tanguy Ndombele played a deeper role beside Hojbjerg, and was generally to his right, although their positions switched occasionally. Both players were often forward, especially in the early stages when Spurs pressed “The Blades” and got an early reward. Within the first minute after the home side had kicked off, Spurs were on the attack with both Son and Kane fighting for a shooting position, but seeing the ball cleared. Steven Bergwijn made a welcome return to the team and he combined with Harry Kane after 3 minutes before Bergwijn hit a shot which Ramsdale had to push over his bar. From the corner, taken from the left by Son, Serge Aurier headed home from a central position in the 6-yard box. It was Aurier’s first goal since October, and I believe his first headed goal for Spurs.
Another goal looked on the cards when Harry Kane passed forward to Son who chipped a shot from the right-hand side of the area, hitting the outside of Ramsdale’s left post.
Sheffield United finally came forward and after an attack down the left channel, Burke’s shot was deflected for a corner, after which Basham had a header cleared by Hojbjerg at the right-hand post. After a good tackle in the United half by Reguilon, Son’s cross was cleared by Ampadu. Ndombele offered good probing balls. One to Aurier on the right wing; another to Son, who might have done better, but who saw the ball cleared.
Fleck made ground for “The Blades” and passed to Burke, whose shot from outside the area went straight to Lloris’s hands. After Eric Dier blocked a McGoldrick shot, Reguilon broke forward, but when he passed to Kane, the defence proved strong again. Lloris held a 25-yard shot by Fleck, before at the other end after good skill by Reguilon and a pass forward to Son, the ball was crossed where Harry Kane put Ramsdale under pressure beneath his bar.
Kane scored an excellent second goal for Spurs in the 40th minute. Sheffield United had lost possession under Hojbjerg’s pressure and he passed to Kane who had one objective – to score with his right foot shot from 20 yards. His shot went inside the keeper’s left-hand post and puts Harry just one goal behind Bobby Smith’s 208 club goals.
Both Rodon and Dier demonstrated stout defending before half-time. Sheffield United came out for the second half showing clear intent to try and get back on terms. Wing-back Bogle skied a header after a cross from the other wing-back – Stevens – from the left. Spurs had a free kick after a foul on Bergwijn and this was touched short to Harry Kane whose shot was tipped over by Ramsdale for a Spurs corner. Harry had another chance after a short ball across the area by Bergwijn. Kane hit this one with his left foot just over the bar.
Norwood passed to Lundstram on the left-hand side at the other end. Lundstram’s right foot shot passed outside Lloris’s left post. In the 59th minute, “The Blades” had a goal back following Fleck’s cross from deep on the left and a good header by McGoldrick across Lloris’s left hand.
Spurs restored their two-goal advantage though inside three minutes. Ndombele and Bergwijn were working in tandem around the left-side of the area, before Bergwijn passed forward and Ndombele scored when he lifted a shot from the left of the area with the outside of his right foot inside Ramsdale’s left post. It was a wonderful moment and Tanguy’s third goal of the season.
Chris Wilder’s first change was Bryan for Norwood, who had been guilty of losing possession more than once inside his own half. McGoldrick hit a shot from just outside the area, but this also went straight to Hugo’s hands. Now Wilder brought on Brewster for Burke. United managed to clear when both Kane and Bergwijn were threatening in side their area. Wilder took off another defender (Basham) for Sharp, but it was all to no avail.
Son had a shot deflected out for a corner after Kane’s pass, and the rest of the game was managed by Mourinho with three late substitutions. Sanchez’s was so late he didn’t get a touch. Spurs climbed back into the top four, but Man City play against Palace later and we have to watch other teams play in the coming week. This was a par result for us, but imagine the furore if we had not reversed last season’s defeat by the same scoreline at Bramall Lane. Our next scheduled game is our fourth round FA Cup tie at Wycombe, who hopefully will have recovered from their Covid-19 problems.
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