Many thanks to Declan Mulcahy for his detailed report
Sunday 31 December 2023, 2:00pm
Tottenham Hotspur (1) 3 Bournemouth (0) 1
Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3):
13 G Vicario; 23 Pedro Porro, 12 Emerson Royal, 33 B Davies, 38 D
Udogie; 29 P Sarr (4 O Skipp 32); 30 R Bentancur (5 P-E Hojbjerg 58);
18 G Lo Celso (15 E Dier 83); 22 B Johnson (11 B Gil 82), 9
Richarlison (36 A Veliz 82), 7 H-M Son (c)
Subs not used: 20 F Forster, 35 A Phillips, 65 A Dorrington, 63 J Donley
Booked: Skipp (56 foul), Emerson Royal (87 foul on Billing), Lo Celso
(90+3 confrontation between benches, Lo Celso had already been
substituted at this point), Postecoglou (90+3 confrontation between
Note: Veliz was injured and left the pitch after 90+4 minutes. Spurs
had already used all of their allowable substitutes and played the
remaining seven or so minutes with ten men.
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Andoni Iraola
1 Neto (c); 15 A Smith (7 D Brooks 82), 27 I Zabarnyi; 25 M Senesi, 11
D Ouattara (37 M Aarons 45); 10 R Christie (14 A Scott 69), 4 L Cook;
16 M Tavernier, 19 J Kluivert (29 P Billing 61), 17 L Sinisterra (24 A
Semenyo 61); 9 D Solanke
Subs not used: 42 M Travers, 6 C Mepham, 8 J Rothwell, 21 K Moore
Booked: Kluivert (foul on Lo Celso 25), Senesi (foul on Lo Celso 79)
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 61,780
Referee:- Simon Hooper
Assistants:- Adrian Holmes, Simon Long
Fourth Official:- Graham Scott
VAR:- David Coote
Assistant VAR:- Natalie Aspinall
A Cherry from the Cherries! Son signs off with key goal as Spurs end
2023 with a win
Bournemouth came into this match the more in-form team. Since losing
6-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the first week of November they had won
six and drawn the other of their last seven Premier League games
scoring an impressive 18 goals during that time. Spurs had a
chastening experience three days ago against the other south-coast
team in Brighton going down 4-0 before adding two goals to make the
For the sixteenth time in 20 league games this season Spurs scored the
opening goal. As has been the case not infrequently this season having
taken the lead Spurs then allowed the other team to come back into the
game. For an hour Bournemouth were the team that looked more likely to
score. Heung-min Son then contributed a vital goal which tilted the
outcome in favour of Spurs. They eventually won 3-1 though it was a
harder earned victory than the score-line might suggest.
Rodrigo Bentancur made a surprise return to the Spurs team replacing
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. When his name was announced the crowd greeted
it with a cheer. The second change from Thursday saw Giovani Lo Celso
replace the suspended Dejan Kulusevski.
Bournemouth also made two changes from the team which beat Fulham in
midweek Lewis Cook and Luis Sinisterra replacing Alex Scott and
Antoine Semenyo both of whom were among the substitutes.
Spurs played towards the north end in the first half as is customary.
Both sides played a high pressing game and were committed to attacking
so the action was end-to-end for most of the match.
Spurs had a couple of early opportunities. Johnson crossed the ball to
Son on the left. His control was poor and his shot was wide. Then Sarr
crossed from the left but Lo Celso and Richarlison got in each other's
way and the chance was wasted.
Bournemouth had an early scare when Dominic Solanke went down injured.
Given that he had scored eight goals in his last seven league
appearances, including a hat-trick, his loss would have been
significant. However he was able to continue. Soon afterwards Ouattara
put in a cross from the left to the Spurs box towards Solanke but Ben
Davies did enough to ensure that his shot was not on target.
Spurs then took an early lead. Neto, the Bournemouth goalkeeper and
captain, attempted a clearance from his box. It was intercepted by
Bentancur and deflected to Lo Celso. He set up Sarr who ran towards
the edge of the box of the right and scored with a skilful shot
towards the far post. It was Sarr's second goal of the season and one
created by the entire Spurs' midfield.
Solanke then appeared to race clear at the edge of the Spurs box but
Udogie made a wonderful run to relieve him of the ball. Tavernier had
a goal-scoring opportunity but shot wide.
Emerson Royal tried a shot from outside the box but Neto pushed it out
for a corner. Soon after following another corner Bentancur had a free
header but it was too high.
Midway through the half Senesi rose to head a free kick from the left
but his effort was wide. A pass from Richarlison put Son clear on the
left but his shot was saved by Neto with his legs. A Bournemouth
player sent a dangerous cross through the Spurs box but there was no
one there to meet it.
After 30 minutes Sarr went down injured. It appeared to be a hamstring
injury and he was assisted off the pitch with his shirt covering his
face. It is not clear whether it will affect his availability for the
Africa Cup of Nations with the defending champions Senegal. He was
replaced by Skipp.
Bournemouth dominated the remainder of the half. A Sinisterra effort
following a corner was too high. Tavernier had a shot saved by
Vicario. Solanke made another run which could have been dangerous.
Again he was chased down by Udogie and Solanke needed treatment
following their coming together.
Lo Celso gave away a free kick just outside the box. Tavernier's shot
hit Richarlison in the wall and deflected wide.
At this point it started to rain quite heavily and the rain continued
for most of the remainder of the match.
Kluivert had a shot which went wide. There were nine minutes of added
time before the interval and Spurs were under continued pressure.
Bournemouth had a number of opportunities but were let down most times
by the final pass. The closest they came was when Solanke had a shot
which deflected off Davies onto the bar. A Kluivert shot defected off
Porro. Spurs were relieved when the whistle went for the break and
they went in 1-0 ahead.
The interval witnessed a special event. Hugo Lloris is on the point of
joining Los Angeles in the MLS. This was his opportunity to bid
farewell to the Spurs' faithful. He came out onto the pitch to rousing
applause to be presented with a memento by Ledley King from the club.
He made a very fine response saying “It's time for me to say goodbye
but it's goodbye from the player not from the man. I will be a Spurs
man for the rest of my life.” Hugo will be remembered as a Spurs
legend. He was a fine goalkeeper who made 447 appearances the seventh
highest in the club's history. He captained the team for a number of
seasons. He is only the second World Cup winning captain who in 2018
did so while playing for an English club team. He won 145
international caps for France the most of any French player at this time.
At the beginning of the second half Bournemouth replaced Ouattara who
had been injured in time added on before the interval by Aarons.
Bournemouth continued as they left off. Kluivert had an opportunity
but Udogie made yet another outstanding interception. Bournemouth had
three consecutive corners. Vicario made a good save from a header from
one of them.
Six minutes after the break Spurs finally counter-attacked. Son on the
left set up Richarlison who had the goal at his mercy but contrived to
shoot wide. At the time given the direction of the game it looked as
though it could be a costly miss.
Tavernier created an opportunity for Solanke whose effort was narrowly
Bentancur wasn't fully match fit and was replaced just before the hour
mark by Hojbjerg. Lo Celso found room to put a cross into the
Bournemouth box but there wasn't a Spurs player to connect with it. At
the other end there was a mix up between Emerson Royal and Vicario but
Porro cleared the ball. Spurs had another chance when the ball was
played to Son in the box but he couldn't control it.
Then Lo Celso played a defence splitting pass to Son on the left. He
ran into the box and scored with a diagonal shot to the far post. It
was a well-taken and pivotal goal which consolidated Spurs lead with
19 minutes remaining. It was his twelfth goal of the season. Shortly
after Skipp crossed from the right to Son in the box. The ball then
fell to Richarlison whose shot was save by Neto.
However Richarlison wasn't to be denied. A cross by Johnson from the
right reached him in the box. He nutmegged goalkeeper Neto to score at
the near post. With ten minutes left Spurs were now in a comfortable
Postecoglou made a triple substitution with Gil, Veliz and Dier
replacing Johnson, Richarlison and Lo Celso.
Four minutes later Tavernier cut the ball back from the left and set
up the Bournemouth substitute Alex Scott to score his first Premier
League goal. It was probably a bitter-sweet moment for him as he comes
from a Spurs supporting family.
Spurs could have increased their lead when following a move involving
Gil and Hojbjerg. The ball pin-balled around the Bournemouth box
before the former's effort hit the bar. Udogie made a run into the box
and went down but the referee wasn't interested.
As time added on commenced Veliz went down injured. The Bournemouth
bench seemed to think it was a time-wasting manoeuvre and were upset.
There was a confrontation between the two sets of coaching teams.
Referee Simon Hooper eventually booked Lo Celso who had been
substituted and Ange Postecoglou.
Veliz's injury was genuine and he had to go off. As Spurs had used all
of their substitutes at that point they played the remaining
approximately seven minutes with ten men. With a couple of minutes
left Bournemouth thought they had reduced the deficit when a Scott
header found the net. However the Spurs high-line prevailed and Scott
was adjudged offside a decision which was confirmed by VAR.
Thus an entertaining match with both sides committed to attacking
resulted in a win that Spurs had to work for. It was a fine result to
end the year. Son, Udogie, Bentancur, Lo Celso and Sarr all made
significant contributions. The main concern was that two players, Sarr
and Veliz, suffered what could be significant injuries.
January could be a very challenging month between players away on
international duty and others injured. The good news is that there are
only two Premier League matches this month Manchester United (away)
and Brentford (home) plus at least one FA Cup match. Hopefully players
will return from injury and the squad will be supplemented by some new
Ange Postegoglou commented to Sky Sports "We're trying to build
something. I'm at pains to keep repeating myself but we're trying to
build a team that plays a bit differently and has some resilience and
you can only gain that through tough times. Some of that is
self-inflicted with suspensions but we've had a lot of injures. We
haven't wanted to make excuses and we're still in there and fighting.
Regarding the contretemps between the two benches he commented
humorously "We all just came together to wish each a Happy New Year
mate and make some resolutions."
Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola told the same source "You have to
score goals and they were much better than us in the last third,
finishing-wise. I'm really happy with the performance. We played with
really strong personality against a top opposition.”
On January 1, 2023 Spurs were in fifth place in the table with 30
points from 17 games an average of 1.77 points per game. December 31,
2023 again finds Spurs in fifth place with 39 points from 20 games a
ratio of 1.95 points per game. If Spurs could maintain their current
rate they would end the season with 74 points.
Just over the half-way point in the season Spurs are very well
positioned. They are in a group of five teams who are six points ahead
of the pack competing for the Champions League positions. The new
manager has made an outstanding start playing attractive attacking
football. While Postecoglou views this as a long-term project which
will take time the position the club is in after only half a season is
very encouraging. Hopefully it will help in recruiting talented
additions to the squad in January 2024.
Tottenham have scored in each of their last 32 Premier League games
since a 1-0 defeat at Wolves in March - the longest ongoing streak in
the competition. Furthermore, only three sides have gone on a longer
such streak in the Premier League (Arsenal 55, Liverpool and
Manchester United both 36). This is the third time that Spurs have
scored in 32 consecutive league games the other occasions being from
April to December 1949 in the second tier and from February to
November 1962 in the top flight.
Best wishes for the new year to all Spurs supporters reading this
report. Hopefully 2024 will be a good year for the club and its
. 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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