WEDNESDAY 31ST JANUARY, 2024
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(0) BRENTFORD 2(1)
Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Tim Wood, Craig Taylor
Fourth official:- Tony Harrington
VAR:- Michael Salisbury
Assistant VAR:- Steve Meredith
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero (Capt.), Van de Ven, Udogie; Skipp (sub Hojbjerg, 46), Bentancur (sub Johnson, 46); Maddison (sub Dragusin, 88); Kulusevski, Richarlison, Werner (sub Donley, 90+2)
Subs not used:- Forster; Emerson Royal, Davies; Gil; Scarlett
Booked:- Kulusevski (Unsporting conduct), Donley (foul on Maupay)
Brentford (3-5-2):- Flekken; Collins (sub Ajer, 78), Pinnock, Mee; Roerslev (sub Dasilva, 78), Jensen (sub Yarmoliuk, 57), Norgaard (Capt.), Janelt (sub Baptiste, 88), Lewis-Potter (sub Damsgaard, 88); Maupay, Toney
Subs not used:- Strakosha; Zanka (aka Jorgensen), Fredrick; Brierley
Booked:- Norgaard (foul on Skipp), Maupay (Unsporting conduct), Yarmoliuk (foul on Udogie)
It was the best of times; the worst of times
At half-time I was angry. "Ange-ball" wasn't working. It was like watching "Conte-ball" on speed. There were too many sideways and backward passes and too many errors when trying to find a team-mate. One of those had been by Destiny Udogie, which led to Brentford taking the lead.
Spurs had gone into the game with hopes of regaining a top four place. Brentford coach Thomas Frank had a plan which worked well. Brentford flooded the midfield and found space on the counter - especially on the flanks vacated by our "licensed to roam" full backs.
Then, early in the second half, Spurs blitzed Brentford, scoring three goals in seven minutes. German Timo Werner was particularly impactive with his pace down the left flank and another assist to add to his early Spurs collection. Werner deserved an assist for Udogie's excellent goal. Richarlison, who battled all night, scored our third and his eighth Premier League goal of the season. It was also Richarlison's seventh league goal in his last seven league games.
Udogie still owes us a goal though as he inexplicably gifted a goal to goal-hanging Ivan Toney, which led to Spurs fans left on the edge of their seats for the remainder of the game.
It was the best of times; the worst of times, but non-partisan viewers had a Dickens of a time.
Postecoglou made two changes to the side with Skipp starting in favour of Hojbjerg and Maddison starting with Kulusevski reverting to hiss right-side position and Brennan Johnson on the bench. Surprisingly (because he had been one of our better players, Skipp was replaced at half-time by Hojbjerg and Bentancur was replaced by Johnson. Bentancur was an errant passer, but I thought Maddison might have been replaced, as he wasn't getting into the game.
The game was preceded by an interactive light show in which those with smart phones and the Spurs App could join the fun. With our remaining schedule, it could be our last light show this season.
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand. They started brightly. Maddison picked out Kulusevski who passed to Skipp, whose right-footed shot was blocked. After great play from the back and an advance by Pedro Porro, Skipp returned the compliment and fed Kulusevski who got into the box and was snuffed out before the offside flag was raised anyway. Spurs had been in control but had nothing to show for it.
Maddison showed good control and entered the Brentford area, but he too was blocked off. Brentford countered and Maupay crossed, but Skipp cleared. Roerslev had the ball in the net but had been offside, although VAR again took a while to confirm.
Spurs were made to pay though when Udogie was crowded out in the middle and failed with his pass. Toney advanced down the right and his shot was well saved by Vicario, but it fell to Maupay who scored, albeit via a deflection. Maupay took the mickey by using James Maddison's dart-throwing celebration in front of the Spurs crowd. The on-loan Everton player wound Spurs players up all night.
Spurs won a corner after 20 minutes when Bentancur passed to Werner whose shot passed just wide of the post with a deflection. Goalkeeper Flekken couldn't hold Porro's corner, but Werner's header was wide. Werner was very active throughout the game (Kulusevski wasn't seeing much of the ball) and after the German passed inside to Maddison, the solid defence won again.
Bentancur won a midfield battle and found Kulusevski who passed inside where Richarlison's shot from 25 yards passed just wide.
Brentford were now slowing the game down at every opportunity and Spurs fans became more and more frustrated. Referee David Coote did nothing to hurry up the visitors at free kicks and throws.
Richarlison had the ball in the net, but he already clearly fouled Collins. Vicario pushed away a Toney header from Jensen's cross as 6 minutes of added time loomed. Spurs had no penetration in these latter stages.
All would change though within three minutes of the restart as Udogie raced forward with the ball and exchanged with Werner to his left. Udogie was determined to score and did so after a first effort was blocked before he fired home a left foot shot from close range. It was his second Premier League goal.
Brentford were taken by storm, as in no time at all after the re-start, Timo Werner raced away down the left and his cross went across the goalmouth where Johnson gleefully finished off at the back post!
Werner won a corner on the left after another Udogie advance. The South Stand wittily chanted "Ivan Toney, you should have cashed out!"
Spurs had a free kick after a foul on Maddison. Richarlison took on a chance, but his shot was just wide. We wanted three and we got our wish as Spurs defended well with Hojbjerg sending Udogie forward again. Werner passed inside; Maddison had a shot blocked, but "Richie" finished off with a low shot.
Kulusevski had a chance soon after when he took Johnson's pass. He was blocked and Pedro Porro's follow-up was too high. Toney had a pot from 20 yards after Lewis-Potter's pass from the left, but this passed just wide. It was a warning to Spurs who had now taken their foot off the pedal.
Toney had a massive chance after Maupay got to the bye-line and cut back from the right. Toney scuffed his shot which passed wide of the far post. It was a big miss. As mentioned in my preview, Toney wasn't due to score in this game, but he broke that run. I think he had been down injured behind Vicario, butt effectively he was goal-hanging and happily accepted Udogie's gift of a back pass from 40 yards out before planting the ball past Vicario to put us on edge for the remainder of the game.
After 68 minutes after combining with Kulusevski, Maddison tried to chip a clever shot over the defence, but the ball passed too high over the far post. A cool Romero ended a Brentford attack and fed the ball forward where Werner's deflected shot won a corner after a pass from Maddison. Pedro Porro had another shot off target after a Kulusevski cross.
Spurs won corners left and right but got no reward. Dragusin was cheered on for his home debut as he replaced Maddison and Spurs sought to strengthen the defence and protect their one-goal lead. Jamie Donley came on for Werner, who was generously applauded.
Seven minutes of added time was announced, but it turned into more. Spurs' biggest scare was when Baptiste latched onto DaSilva's ball from the right and his shot was tipped over by Vicario to save the day.
Jamie Donley "took one for the team" with his midfield foul on an advancing Maupay. Spurs held out and have indeed regained a top four place on goals scored over Villa. We'll have the chance to retain that tentative hold on fourth position when we travel to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime.
. Spurs record in recent London Derby League matches
. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
. Read the preview for this game.
. All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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