My thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for this detailed match report:-
Sunday 16 May 2021, 4:30pm
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1) Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 (0)
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1):
1 H Lloris (c); 25 J Tanganga, 4 T Alderweireld, 15 E Dier, 3 S Reguilon; 18 G Lo Celso (8 H Winks 69), 5 P-E Hojbjerg; 9 G Bale (17 M Sissoko 89), 20 D Alli (28 T Ndombele 82), 7 H-M Son; 10 H Kane.
Subs not used: 12 J Hart, 2 M Doherty, 6 D SŠnchez, 11 E Lamela, 23 S Bergwijn, 27 Lucas Moura
Booked: Tanganga (86 foul on Dendoncker)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Nuno Espirito Santo
11 Rui Patricio; 2 K-J Hoever, 16 C Coady (c), 27 R Saiss, 22 N Semedo; 28 Joao Moutinho, 32 L Dendoncker; 37 A Traore, 20 Vitinha (12 Willian Jose 63), 18 M Gibbs-White (8 R Neves 73); 17 F Silva (60 T Corbeanu 82).
Subs not used: 21 J Ruddy, 3 R AÔt-Nouri, 5 MarÁal, 15 W Boly, 49 M Kilman, 39 L Cundle
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: Attendance: 0
Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official:e Peter Bankes
VAR:- Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR:- Matthew Wilkes
Spurs in Control of their European Destiny
THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!
Mathematically Spurs can still qualify for next seasons Champions League though the possibility appears increasingly remote unless Spurs win their remaining two games and Chelsea fail to gain another two points or Liverpool three points.
The situation with respect to the Europa League is more favourable.
Assuming Chelsea or Liverpool take one of the two available places Spurs and West Ham are the main contenders for the second slot. Prior to this round of matches West Ham were in command the second place being two points ahead of both Spurs and Everton. Spurs won this weekend, West Ham drew and Everton very surprisingly lost at home to the bottom team Sheffield United. If Spurs can match West Hamís results for the remaining two games they will qualify for the Europa League unless Everton gain four points more than Spurs over the same period. Thus Spurs are presently in command of their Europa League destiny.
Spurs made one change from the defeat against Leeds with Japhet Tanganga replacing the injured Serge Aurier. The fact that Matt Doherty was not chosen against his former team is telling and he now appears to be the third choice for the right back position.
Wolves made four changes to the team which beat Brighton last week with Romain Saiss, Nelson Semedo, Leander Dendocker and Adama Traore returning to the first XI. They did not play in their famous old gold and black colours but instead appeared in dark red and green, reminiscent of the Portuguese national team colours, which seemed appropriate given that five of their starting XI were Portuguese.
Unusually Spurs played towards the south end during the first half.
The first half was very disjointed both sides played poorly. For most of the half Spurs didnít display the urgency of a team that needed to win to keep their interest in the two main European competitions alive.
Kane hit the post with a shot from outside the box early in the game. Spurs didnít look that threatening for the next thirty minutes. During that time Traore twice scythed his way through the Spurs midfield to the Spurs box. In both situations he laid the ball off to another Wolves player and Spurs can be thankful that their finishing was weak.
Spurs finally started to play with some cohesion during the final three minutes of the half. From a corner on the right Kane directed a header goal bound but Coady cleared it off the goal line.
In the final minute of the half Hojbjerg directed a glorious defence splitting pass from his own half towards Kane. The latter timed his run well to stay onside before rounding Coady and the goalkeeper Rui Patricio before scoring into an empty net. It was a fine goal and the psychological boost that Spurs needed after 40 ineffective minutes.
Spurs were able to maintain the momentum in the second half. About seven minutes into the half Reguilon unleashed a shot from the left of the box which Patricio tipped over. Then Alli set up Kane with a nice move. Kaneís shot was pushed onto the post by Patricio and Alli hit the other post with the rebound. A couple of minutes later Patricio made another good save from Kane.
Just after the hour the second goal arrived. Alli started the move setting up Reguilon who progressed down the left wing. Reguilon's determination in winning a tackle near the corner flag and rising to keep possession was a major factor in the goal. He picked out Son who set up Bale. Baleís shot was blocked by Patricio but the ball rebounded to Hojbjerg who scored with a shot towards the right post.
Wolves had a couple of opportunities half way through the second period. Gibbs-White from the right set up Silva but he shot wide. Then Traore had another good run into the box but shot wide. Wolves weakness this season has been scoring goals. They have only scored 35.
Last year they scored 51. 24 of those were scored by Raul Jiminez and Diogo Jota. The former has missed most of the season after suffering a horrendous head injury early on while the latter was sold to Liverpool without an adequate replacement being bought.
The final quarter of the game was fairly uneventful with Spurs in control. Ryan Mason won his first three consecutive home league games the first Spurs manager to do so since Harry Redknapp.
Three players stood out. Hojbjerg set up the first goal with an outstanding pass and then was in position to score the second goal. Alli was tireless and had some creative moments. Kane as always was one of the team leaders. Lloris and the back four are hardly mentioned in this report because Wolves were ineffective up front.
Kane and Salah both scored today. They both have 22 goals in the race for the Golden Boot. Hopefully Kane can prevail over the remaining two matches.
A telling statistic confirms why it was a good decision to replace Jose Mourinho. Tottenham had 24 shots in this match, 13 of which were on target - both figures are higher than they had in a single Premier League match under previous manager Jose Mourinho.
With two rounds of matches remaining Spurs are in pole position over West Ham by goal difference for one of the positions in next yearís Europa League competition. West Ham have easier opponents for the last two games; West Bromwich Albion (a) and Southampton (h). Spurs have a chance of beating Leicester City at the King Power Stadium next Sunday. Leicester have already lost eight home Premier League games this season. However I would feel more comfortable if after the midweek round of games Spurs only need a draw to confirm their Europa League place.
There is still all to play for and the managerial change has by and large brought positive results.
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