SUNDAY 13TH AUGUST, 2023
BRENTFORD 2(2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(2)
Emerson Royal, 45+4
Referee:- Robert Jones
Assistants:- Ian Hussin, Wade Smith
Fourth official:- Jarred Gillett
VAR:- Tony Harrington
Assistant VAR:- Dan Robathan.
Brentford (3-5-2):- Flekken; Collins, Pinnock, Ajer (sub Jorgensen, 84); Hickey (sub Roerslev, 72), Jensen (sub Damsgaard, 49), Norgaard (Capt.) (sub Baptiste, 72), Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo, Wissa (sub Schade, 72)
(Armband to Janelt)
Subs not used:- Strakosha; Dasilva, Yarmolyuk; Lewis-Potter
Booked:- Hickey (foul on Son)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vicario; Emerson Royal, Romero (sub Sanchez, 14), Van de Ven, Udogie; Skipp (sub Sarr, 75), Bissouma; Kulusevski, Maddison, Son (Capt.) (sub Perisic, 75); Richarlison
(Armband to Maddison)
Subs not used:- Austin; Pedro Porro, Davies; Hojbjerg, Lo Celso, Solomon
Booked:- Vicario (delaying penalty kick), Sanchez (foul on Wissa), Maddison (dissent), Skipp (foul on Jensen)
Postecoglou's Spurs make a decent start.
Thanks to Eugene Gasper for this picture
Ange Postecoglou's Spurs were shaky at the back for the first few minutes, and were not always solid in defence, but they took an early lead before suffering a couple off setbacks, finally drawing level in the fourth minute of first half added time. They dominated the second half without properly testing Brentford's new keeper and definitely deserved their share of the spoils.
Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid is that Brentford played like an away side for most of the game, packing their defence, but always having the pace to break out and cause Spurs' defensive problems. Vicario does not look the most confident of keepers and Royal was caught out by the pace of Rico Henry. Mind you, Royal and Udogie continued in Postecoglou's "inverted full-back" role, but Udogie's pace equipped him better to cover Brentford's breaks down his flank.
Spurs had four debutants - Vicario, Van de Ven, Udogie and Maddison. Maddison claimed two assists and Yves Bissouma claimed Sky's man of the match award.
Both teams were of course missing strikers who had scored 50 league goals between them last season. Harry Kane made his Bayern Munich debut last night. Ivan Toney (who scored 20 of those goals) is banned until January for his gambling infringements. Both goalkeepers were making their Premier League debuts. There was no sign of Eric Dier in the Spurs squad, or of Sergio Reguilon. Ben Davies and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg remained on the bench. Heung-min Son is our newly-appointed club captain.
Brentford were missing Ben Mee and his former Burnley colleague Nathan Collins (bought in summer from Wolves) made his debut.
Kick-off was delayed for some seven minutes due to a lack of water supply to the stadium. Son won the toss and turned us round so we played towards our fans in the first half, although Brentford kicked off.
That early shakiness at the back was demonstrated by Mickey van de Ven passing inside across his 6-yard area and a short pass and dodgy corner concession by Vicario. Spurs were also playing out from the back more than I had seen in our pre-season, but then Brentford keenly closed us down in all areas more than those pre-season opponents too.
Romero and Mbeumo had an early clash of heads and Romero left the pitch briefly for assessment. There was an early promising move when Bissouma and Maddison moved the ball forward through the middle with Maddison trying to find Richarlison. Flekken missed one of Maddison's early corners, but there was no threat on goal.
Thanks to Andy Park for this picture
After Maddison was fouled just outside the area on the left, our new playmaker took the kick himself which was delivered nicely and powered home by the head of Romero, who immediately showed signs of being dazed. Romero waited for the lengthy VAR review and celebrated again when the decision went Spurs' way. It was Cristian's second Premier League goal on his 50th appearance. He was though soon taken off by the bench on the advice of the club doctor to be replaced by Sanchez. Apparently the bench failed to submit the right piece of paper which would have enabled this to be a concussion substitution. Romero was disappointed to leave, but did watch the rest of the action.
Vicario made a decent save from Mbeumo's shot at the expense of a corner, after which another corner followed a deflected effort on goal. Vicario held an overhead shot by Wissa.
Bissouma made a good short run in the middle and tried to deliver to Richarlison but Flekken collected the ball. After another Brentford corner, Vicario collected a looping header. Brentford wanted a penalty when Jensen fell to the ground as he tried to turn past Son but referee Rob Jones said "No". He was however called to the monitor and decided to change his mind. It seemed a harsh decision to me. Mbeumo sent Vicario the wrong way with a shot inside his right post.
Ryan Mason and Claus Norgaard from the Brentford bench were shown yellow cards for their protests over the penalty decision.
Sanchez made a good recovery to make ground and block Wissa's effort, even winning a goal kick. Maddison was not seeing much of the ball in this phase of the game. Richarlison became provider for Royal who was in a shooting position inside the area but chose to try to cross to Son, who was easily blocked.
At the other end, Royal struggled to match Henry's pace and also to prevent his cross to Wissa whose shot would have been picked up by Vicario if not for Van de Ven's unfortunate deflection.
Flekken easily cut out a Son cross and also collected a shot by Bissouma which looped up and fell into his hands after a deflection.
There were eleven minutes of first half added time, which has not been unusual so far in this season where stoppages are being digitally monitored. Son hit a good chance wide from the left of the area after Maddison's cross, but Royal scored with a low right-footed shot inside Flekken's right post after Maddison was not awarded a foul, but his touch when challenged counted as his second assist.
Mbeumo missed a golden opportunity after another Henry cross, but pushed his effort wide beyond the back post.
The story of the second half was really one of Spurs dominating possession but failing to trouble the keeper enough. They were more solid at the back though.
Maddison and Kulusevski exchanged passes across the outside of the area before Flekken held Maddison's shot. Jensen needed treatment after coming off worse in a challenge and was replaced by Damsgaard. Richarlison won a corner after a good turn and skill inside the box despite close marking. Spurs won three corners in succession and this time it was the Brentford defence beginning to look shaky and some personnel were no doubt tiring.
Vicario parried a shot by Janelt from the left of the Spurs area and held the follow-up by Damsgaard. Spurs attacked in strength after a strong break forward by Bissouma. The end result was a corner won by Kulusevski. Subsequently, Kulusevski fed the ball to Son towards the left and Flekken was able to save his shot. Micky van de Ven joined in and he hit a shot over the target.
Hickey was the only Brentford player booked for a foul on Son. Maddison's free kick sailed to the goalkeeper. Another Bissouma-Maddison move through the middle gave Richarlison a chance, but Flekken saved again. Spurs were enjoying plenty of pressure, but no reward.
James Maddison, who along with Romero, was appointed as one of Son's assistants, took the armband when Perisic took over on the left of the Spurs attack.
Brentford wanted another penalty when Van de Ven challenged substitute Schade, but the referee was strong this time, and VAR did not intervene.
Sarr had a header held by Flekken after a Perisic cross, and there was a lack of confidence at the other end by Vicario after substitute Jorgensen's long throw and the ensuing cross. Perisic and Maddison combined on the left but after the ball was cut back, Richarson's shot was blocked.
All in all, this was a satisfactory start. We have a stiff test for our first home game next Saturday tea-time against Manchester United.
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