SATURDAY 7TH OCTOBER, 2023
LUTON TOWN 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Van de Ven, 52
Referee:- John Brooks
Assistants:- Neil Davies, Steve Meredith
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR:- Michael Oliver
Assistant VAR:- Gary Beswick
Luton (4-4-2):- Kaminski; Burke, Lockyer (Capt.) (sub Barkley, 81), Andersen (sub Mengi, 59), Doughty; Brown (sub Berry, 66), Mpanzu (sub Chong, 67), Nakamba, Ogbene; Morris, Adebayo (sub Woodrow, 67)
(Armband to Morris)
Subs not used:- Krul; Kabore, Giles, Johnson
Booked:- Lockyer (foul on Maddison), Morris (foul on Richarlison)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):-Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Udogie (sub Davies, 82); Sarr, Bissouma; Kulusevski (sub Veliz, 90+2), Maddison (sub Skipp, 76), Richarlison (sub Hojbjerg, 46); Son (Capt.) (sub Emerson Royal, 76)
(Armband to Romero)
Subs not used:- Forster; Dier; Gil, Lo Celso
Booked:- Bissouma (foul on Ogbene), Hojbjerg (foul on Ogbene)
Sent off (45+4):- Bissouma (second yellow for simulation)
Ten-man Tottenham go top of the league!
Thanks to Eugene Gasper for his picture
Had Spurs put away the four good chances they had in the opening stages, this would have been a comfortable win. Had Luton put away the excellent opportunities they created it could have been "Spursy". When Yves Bissouma needlessly and irresponsibly got sent off for a second yellow in first half added time (for a pathetic and obvious dive) it looked like being a twitchy second half.
Micky van de Ven scored the Spurs winner in the 52nd minute after a quickly taken corner. It was Mickey's first Premier League goal and Maddison's fifth assist of the season. There came a point when Spurs sought to defend their slender lead, which they did successfully. The win took Spurs to the top of the table for at least 24 hours when Manchester City visit Arsenal. A draw in that game would suit us nicely and see us stay top for the duration of the International break. It's our best eight-game start since 1960!
Ange Postecoglou was able to field an unchanged side and Bryan Gil replaced the injured Manor Solomon on the bench.
The players took the knee and Luton kicked off at a warm, sunlit Kenilworth Road, with the home crowd desperate to see a first home win in the Premier League.
Manager Rob Edwards was probably the loudest Luton man for the first 10 minutes as Spurs were able to waltz through the Luton defence too easily. Firstly, Richarlison failed to convert Maddison's cross from the right from close range at the back post.
Luton were under early pressure and Richarlison's shot was saved all top easily by goalkeeper Kaminski after Son had slipped the ball to his left. "Sonny" teed up the advancing Pedro Porro, who hit his shot just outside the keeper's left post. "Big Ange" was showing his frustration.
Romero had his first piece of defending to do as Luton at last got forward, before Son was off target with a left-footed shot after Romero's long ball forward. After a foul on Richarlison out on the left, Maddison took the free kick but this turned out to be a poor move by Spurs who tried to pass their way closer to goal, rather than take a direct approach.
Van de Ven, who apart from scoring, also starred at the back with Romero, made his way forward and tried a long shot which failed by a good margin. Kulusevski had a right foot cross intercepted by Luton captain Tom Lockyer, after which a shot by Son was held by the keeper. Lockyer, who had collapsed in the early stages of last season's Championship play-off final, was to the fore again as he took Pedro Porro's pass off the feet of Son.
Lockyer soon saw the first yellow card of the game when he fouled Maddison and James' kick from just outside the box was blocked and cleared.
The glamour of Spurs had failed and now the grit of Luton pressed as the home crowd roared them on. Spurs weren't helping themselves as both full-backs were caught in possession. Jacob Brown hit the side netting with a cross/shot and Luton wanted something more than a Spurs goal kick. Morris headed over from a subsequent Luton corner.
Sarr won a midfield battle and fed the ball to Kulusevski, whose shot was well saved by Kaminski with an outstretched right hand. Maddison's corner, taken from the left, was headed over by Richarlison, whose mojo deserted him today.
Maddison was fouled by Marvelous Nakamba. The Spurs number 10 hit the free kick over the bar from more than 25 yards. Spurs had had 11 attempts on goal by this stage of the game.
Bissouma was shown Spurs' first yellow for halting a threatened advance by Ogbene. Luton soon had the ball in the net after Adebayo's looping header rebounded off the post and Lockyer stopped to put the ball over the line. However, referee John Brooks had already spotted a foul by Adebayo on Romero and his decision to award the foul was supported by VAR Michael Oliver.
Both Adebayo and Lockyer needed treatment and Luton briefly played with 9 men. Spurs were in the Luton box and Ogbene did handle Kulusevski's attempted pass, but the officials decided he was too close to the ball when kicked.
Van de Ven moved forward again. This time he passed to Richarlison towards the left, who returned the ball inside to Son. Maddison took a short pass from the skipper, but hit his right-footed shot wide.
There were five minutes of added time towards the end of which Bissouma got his second yellow card. He made a good run towards the box, but then fell when not touched. I understand the red card supersedes the fifth yellow he had already been shown, so he will serve a one-match suspension for the Fulham game, whilst still being subject to another one-match ban when next shown a yellow.
Postecoglou inserted Hojbjerg for Richarlison at the start of the second half. After a bad back-post miss by Adebayo for Luton, Spurs won three early corners, one of which was as a result of an attempted back-heel shot by Son after a Kulusevski cross. The third was taken very quickly by Kulusevski who passed shot to Maddison. Maddison advanced along the bye-line before a short cut-back to Van de Ven who slotted home with a low left-footed shot. The corner and its execution demonstrated quick thinking by Spurs, coupled with skill.
Doughty fired wide across the goal after a Luton cross and this area - on the right side of our box was a vulnerability. Vicario (celebrating his 27th birthday) made a very good left-handed save from Carlton Morris's shot from a sharp angle on this side.
Pedro-Porro had a good effort, firing just wide with a shot off the outside of his boot, after a pass from Sarr. Brown headed over at the other end after Mpanzu's cross. Rob Edwards made a triple change and one of those coming on, Woodrow, spurned a good chance hitting a shot too easily for the Spurs keeper.
A shot by Doughty was deflected for another Luton corner, but the resilient Spurs defence dealt with that. Led by Romero and Van de Ven (who celebrated their success at the end of the game), Spurs dealt with anything else that Luton tried, as Postecoglou's substitutes were primarily defensive. In the closing stages of added time, Sarr carried the ball forward on the left side before crossing for Veliz, who was unable too control and shoot, but had been flagged offside anyway.
The Spurs team, their head coach and the travelling fans were able to celebrate a special win in unison and with gusto.
I haven't said this for a while, but it's good to be a Spur!
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