SUNDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, 2020
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Referee:- Andy Madley
Assistants:- Adrian Holmes, Scott Ledger
Fourth official:- Steve Martin
VAR:- Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR:- Derek Eaton.
West Brom (3-5-2):- Johnstone; Bartley, O’Shea, Ajayi; Furlong, Gallagher, Livermore (Capt.) (sub Edwards, 89), Krovinovic, Townsend; Robinson (sub Diangana, 67), Grant (sub Phillips, 84)
Subs not used:- Button; Gibbs, Peltier; Sawyers
Booked:- Bartley (foul on Kane)
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko (sub Vinicius, 79), Hojbjerg; Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 64); Bale (sub Lucas Moura, 78), Kane, Son
Subs not used:- Hart; Rodon, Aurier, Davies
Harry Kane does it again!
There had been more draws (11) in the previous 24 Premier league meetings between these sides than other results, and just when it was beginning to look as if number 12 was coming, up popped Spurs hero Harry Kane to head Doherty’s ball over goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had been caught in no-man’s-land to concede the solitary goal of the game. Of course, it was yet another landmark goal for Kane who now has 150 Premier League goals to his name.
Slaven Bilic was without two key players. Both had tested positive earlier in the week for Covid-19 which has so blighted the world this year. They were the veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic, and last year’s West Brom player of the season Matheus Pereira. West Brom lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, obviously equipped to defend in numbers, but the fact is they spent a lot of the first half in Spurs territory; had more attempts on goal, and caused more threat than had Spurs, despite the fact that Jose Mourinho had fielded what might be regarded as his “A Team”. West Brom were leading the stats for attempts on goal until an hour into the game.
Today is Remembrance Day and a short ceremony was held before the game, as has happened this week and last week at all Premier League grounds.
Spurs kicked off, but West Brom had a free kick in no time. The ball was swung into the area and Hugo Lloris for some reason chose to slap the ball away rather than try to hold it. Hugo did then hold a follow-up shot by Callum Robinson
Spurs took a patient approach in the first five minutes before Doherty won a corner. Nothing came of that, and too often to be frank, Spurs’ default seemed to be to play backwards. I’ll even point the finger at the usually impressive e Hojbjerg in this regard. Some of the Spurs players were not as confident on the ball as you would expect. Perhaps they were out off by the full-on approach of their opponents, who are, after all, desperate for points.
West Brom were causing more problems in the box for Spurs before we did counter. Harry Kane passed to the centre from the left of the field and Tanguy Ndombele fed the ball to Son to his right. Son was in space but took an absolute age to hit his shot, by which time defenders were in his way, and the shot was blocked. This was not the four-goal Son we had seen at Southampton in September.
West Brom had a couple of corners after a quarter of an hour, and they led those statistics at that stage too. Darnell Furlong (son of Paul) crossed from the right and Grant just failed to get enough contact on the ball, which passed safely wide of Spurs’ goal.
No foul was given when Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher shoved Ndombele just outside the Baggies’ area. Even Harry Kane wasn’t at his best, over-hitting an intended pass for Reguilon who was getting up and down the pitch to good effect at either end. Eric Dier made a brilliant and essential headed clearance as Robinson crossed from the left Knowing that Grant was behind him, Eric managed the head the ball clear of danger well to the left of goal. West Brom had a free kick after a foul by Reguilon on Grant. The kick was floated in but Bartley headed well over from beyond the back post.
Jake Livermore, who scored a late winner the last time we met West Brom, tried a shot from 22 yards which passed over the target. Ndombele and Reguilon advanced together down the left, but this attack came to nought. After a good ball by Ndombele, Bale won a corner. Bale took that which was cleared as was another Ndombele ball for Kane. Bartley got the one yellow card of the game for a foul on Kane towards the end of the half.
There were two corners for the home side early in the second half and O’Shea headed wide across the goal from one of these. Toby Alderweireld hit a trademark long ball from his half. This one was straight down the right for Kane whose cross was intended for Bale who was central. Gareth could not quite make a good contact and the ball passed wide. O’Shea came off worse later when he fouled Bale, and needed treatment. A subsequent free kick from the right was taken by Bale and Kane headed over when under great pressure from defenders in the box.
After a ball from Ndombele, Reguilon hit a powerful shot which Johnstone parried. Reguilon got a second chance from 20 yards, but this one went over the target. Ndombele was once again showing good skill and control in forward positions and passed to Kane, whose shot was blocked. Ndombele subsequently needed treatment as he may have been accidentally trodden upon. He tried to carry on, but had to be replaced by Lo Celso.
Hojbjerg, and the Spurs team, were now pressing more and the number 5 combined with Kane to send a ball down the left flank for Son, but his shot from the left of the box was held. Son shortly passed to Kane who teed up Reguilon on the right of the box. Reguilon’s shot was blocked and Lo Celso’s reaction follow-up shot passed wide.
Slaven Bilic replaced Robinson with the former West Ham youngster Diangana, whose departure from his former club upset the West Ham captain. Diangana has started most games this season. Left back Townsend passed inside to Gallagher who hit a right foot shot from 20 yards. Hugo Lloris might have been unsighted, but he was rooted to his spot in the middle of goal and was grateful to see the ball hit the outside of his right post.
West Brom had a corner on the left after 70 minutes. Furlong headed the ball towards goal, but Lloris saved this well flicking the ball away. Grant’s attempted follow-up shot was disappointing.
Lo Celso was fouled just outside the area at the other end and both Kane and Bale stood over the kick. Kane shot, but this was blocked. Jose took off Bale and Sissoko in favour of Vinicius (Premier League debut) and Lucas Moura. All out attack was required, although Lucas was required to track back as well.
“Vinny” provided a pass for Kane, but again Harry was blocked. A corner taken by Son from the left was met at the near post and headed on target by Alderweireld but comfortably saved by Johnstone. Vinicius had a good low shot from the edge of the box after Reguilon’s low cross. The left foot shot was very well saved by Johnstone making ground at his right post.
Finally, Spurs got the breakthrough that took them to thee top of the league (for the first time since 2014) for a couple of hours at least. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was a deliberate deft headed touch by Citizen Kane over the advancing keeper after Doherty’s cross. That’s a clean sheet, an assist and a goal to my Fantasy football team!
Whatever happens in today’s other games, Spurs will spend the next two weeks in thee top four and we can soon lick our lips at the prospect of Manchester City being next up at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium!
COME ON YOU SPURS!
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