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Brentford v Spurs, 26.12.22

PREMIER LEAGUE
MONDAY 26TH DECEMBER, 2022
(12.30pm)
BRENTFORD 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0)

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 65
Hojbjerg, 71

Attendance:- 17,137

Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Nick Hopton, Timothy Wood
Fourth official:- Gavin Ward
VAR:- Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR:- Harry Lennard

Teams:-
Brentford (3-5-2):- Raya; Jorgensen (aka Zanka), Pinnock, Mee; Roerslev, Jensen (sub Ghoddos, 67) , Norgaard (Capt.) (sub Dasilva, 82) Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo (sub Wissa, 82), Toney
(Armband to Toney)

Subs not used:- Cox; Goode, Jansson; Damsgaard, Canos; Lewis-Potter

Booked:- Jensen (foul on Son), Toney (foul on Lenglet), Mbeumo (simulation)

Spurs (3-4-3):- Forster; Tanganga (sub Sanchez, 67) , Dier, Lenglet (sub Davies, 90+5); Doherty, Bissouma, Hojbjerg, Perisic; Kulusevski, Kane (Capt.), Son

Subs not used:- Lloris; Emerson Royal, Skipp, Sarr, White, Sessegnon, Gil

Booked:- Bissouma (foul on Toney)

Kane riposte leads to Spurs comeback

Brentford v Spurs, 26.12.22

The noon winter sun was high and bright. This fan’s view was impeded throughout, and the far end was distant. I don’t know which team was most inconvenienced by the sun, but Spurs kicked off and played towards their fans in the first half. Brentford may have turned us round, and perhaps our performance was impeded by the sun. Whatever the case, Spurs’ first half performance, despite occasional potential, was well below par and they went into the second half one down and grateful for a second Brentford goal being disallowed for offside.

Antonio Conte had perhaps mischievously suggested he would be leaving all his World Cup stars out of the team, but Harry Kane captained the side and was heartily greeted onto the field of play by the travelling fans (“He’s one of our own”). Dier (who didn’t play much in Qatar), Perisic, Hojbjerg and Son also started. Ben Davies had seconds on the pitch at the very end of the game and Hugo Lloris sat out a Premier League game for the first time this season. World Cup winner Cristian Romero will return who knows when. Judging by Tanganga’s difficulty with the Brentford strike pairing and Conte’s apparent lack of faith in Sanchez, who did not start, Romero will be needed as soon as possible.

So, the Spurs team was full of players who had spent the best part of four weeks training at home and who had also had the benefit of two three low-key friendly matches. Bissouma was a major disappointment today, being one of those players struggling to get to the ball first and also failing to control and pass effectively. You can add shooting to his failures too! Kulusevski, who we were so looking forward to seeing, was held under close guard for most of the game but played a prominent part in the closing stages.

A small pocket of Brentford fans gave Harry Kane some stick with “You let your country down”, but Harry gave the perfect response with a wonderful header to put us back in the game and to lead our comeback. A 2-2 draw after being two down has to be accepted as a good result, but Spurs are basically clinging onto their top four place in their current form.

The match was preceded by a one minute applause for World Cup star George Cohen who died just before Christmas. Only hat-trick man Sir Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton survive of the winning eleven. Bobby is not too well either. Players took the knee before kick-off.

Brentford had an early chance when Mbeumo’s shot was blocked by Doherty. Lenglet was important when we cleared the resulting corner. Brentford also employ the long throw strategy and coupled with corners; Spurs had plenty of threat to deal with. Son put Kane in a good position after seven minutes and Spurs wanted a handball but got no joy and jeers from the home fans.

Son was involved in some good interplay and there was a very good pass to the wing by Bissouma, but we soon found ourselves on the back foot. Kane took a free kick after Son had been fouled, but that was deflected wide by the wall. Perisic’s corner was also cleared. It wasn’t long before Spurs went one down. From my angle it looked as if a shot had been deflected into the path of Janelt, who was able to score from close range, but it turned out this was bad defending. Forster was uncertain in goal at times, but Brentford were getting away with a lot of physical stuff, whilst referee David Coote seemed quick to punish Spurs.

Brentford maintained the pressure with a couple of successive corners. Doherty was even with Tony who received some “Banned in the morning” chants from Spurs fans, related to his FA charges of betting offences. “Tony, Toney what’s the odds” was another chant. A right footed shot by Son after 24 minutes was easy for Raya in the Brentford goal. Doherty and Kulusevski combined on the right, but Raya was equal to Kulusevski’s shot which I believe was hit with his weaker foot. A low left footed shot by Son was more of a challenge for the keeper, diving to his right.

At the other end, Zanka had a clear shot after a long throw, but Forster saved. A shot by Lenglet at the other end was blocked and cleared. Brentford had the ball in the net through Toney after a shocking error by Bissouma in midfield, but Spurs were recued by a late offside flag and VAR’s confirmation. A Perisic corner caused danger at the other end with Kane’s header cleared. Spurs official site also report a Kane header hitting the woodwork in this period, but I don’t recall that.

Brentford started second half proceedings. Perisic was playing well in attack and caused Brentford problems with his crosses, but the home side increased their lead after another Spurs error of gross proportions. Dier’s badly skewed attempt to clear from outside his area, led to a cheap corner and we paid the penalty in full when Norgaard headed down and toney finished from close range at the back post.

Spurs were suddenly fired up and put “The Bees” more and more on the back foot. I thought it had to be Perisic who had provided the cross for Kane’s goal, but in fact it was very nicely popped up from left of the area by Clement Lenglet. Kane rose and hit the net when he headed back across goal beyond Raya’s dive.

Spurs were back in the game and scored again when Doherty fed Kulusevski who cut the ball back from the bye-line. Hojbjerg took a touch before firing home from short range for his fourth Premier League goa of the season! From there on it looked like Spurs might grab a win. Kulusevski passed inside to Doherty who went down in the box but got no penalty. Mbeumo was booked at the other end when he dived under Forster’s challenge.

I thought that a Kane header hit the bar from another Lenglet cross, but apparently this one was saved. TV viewers (and I haven’t watched highlights yet) will have a better idea of what happened.

Dier found Perisic with a deep pass from right of centre. Perisic returned the ball, and I thought it had been headed wide, but the cross was just too high. Sanchez hit a long range shot with great power, but it went straight to the goalkeeper. Toney had a good chance in front of the spurs goal but lifted his effort over the target. Davies replaced the injured Lenglet, and the final piece of excitement was a shot by Son which was saved.

Hopefully, we can find better form at home against Villa on New year’s Day! Happy New year to all readers.

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