West Bromwich Albion
|DATE||Saturday 5th December 2015|
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|PREDICTION||West Bromwich Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
|Last season's corresponding fixture|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :|
|WEST BROMWICH ALBION TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
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Saturday 5th December 2015
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (1)
Kick off 15:00
|McClean 38m 09s||Alli 14m 29s|
Morrison (foul on Rose) 57
Gardner (taking free-kick too quickly) 73
McClean (foul on Dembele) 83
Kane (foul on Dawson) 75
Dembele (persistent fouling) 81
|Crowd : 23,602||Weather : Windy, mild|
|Referee : Jon Moss (Leeds)||Assistant Referees : Mr. D. Bryan; Mr. S. Bennett|
|Fourth Official : Lee Mason||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Birmingham Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|West Bromwich Albion :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Clinton N'JIE 80)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Tony Pulis||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : TLCBet||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Tottenham's current run of form might lead one to regard this draw as two points lost, but at a windy Hawthorns and with West Bromwich Albion out to stifle the game, the 1-1 result was a valuable point in the circumstances.
Mauricio Pochettino had spoken earlier in the week about managing expectations and with a couple of good wins and a draw in our last three visits to the West Midlands club, The thought of many Spurs fans would have been looking for a full three point haul form this game, but Tony Pulis, aided by Gerry Francis, put a plan into operation to clog the midfield and then hit on the break, with a fair degree of zealous tackling thrown into the mix to get the crowd going. There was supposed to be a big push for the Albion fans to record the loudest noise in the Premier League to take the title from Manchester United, but there was an unusually low turn out from the Baggies support, leaving lots of gaps in the home seating sections. If they had broken the noise record with this number of supporters it would have been impressive. As it was, the cheers were restricted to the goal and a few second half incidents, with the now obligatory booing of Danny Rose in most Premier League grounds across the country for him getting kicked by the home players.
The conditions made the game difficult for both teams, especially with long balls forward, with players wary of getting caught under the ball and letting it bounce, thus giving the forwards a chance to get there first. Passes ran too long when caught by the wind, thus making the first half a bit of a dog's dinner. There were a couple of moments when quality shone through though.
After five minutes, a long clearance forward found Salomon Rondon up against Jan Vertonghen and the striker managed to out-pace him and hit a shot at goal, which, fortunately for Tottenham, flew wide of Lloris' right hand post. The ball up to him wasn't skilful, but the forward did well to get ahead of Jan and then panicked a bit when he got to the edge of the box. Harry Kane was blocked when he struck a shot from 30 yards at Gareth McAuley before Spurs showed Rondon how to finish long balls forward. A short period of possession in our own half ended with the ball at Toby Alderweireld's feet on the right side of the pitch. He played a 50 yard diagonal ball into the area around the D of the penalty box and found Dele Alli running onto it. Taking the ball coming over his shoulder first time on the volley, he allowed Boaz Myhill no chance to react, as the ball went between the keeper's legs and in to give Spurs the lead on 15 minutes. It was a technically a superbly taken goal, as Dele didn't lash at the ball but guided it on target and kept it low to go under the keeper.
Tottenham took confidence from the lead and went looking for a second, but the wind took the ball long through past our players and to the keeper too often. With both teams closing down the player on the ball, there was little space to play and the long ball game was difficult to execute in the conditions, so the game suffered in terms of flowing football. When Spurs went a bit loose in their marking, West Brom took advantage. Passing the ball across the pitch, they found space on their right wing and with a pass inside the Spurs man, Fletcher got to the dead ball line and crossed into the middle of the area, where McClean raced in to beat Walker to the ball and thumped a header past Lloris for the equaliser seven minutes before the break. It was a goal which could have been prevented, but the space that WBA found was used to full effect to get the ball into a dangerous area.
The half finished with Dele Alli blazing a shot way over the top from outside the box, but Spurs were on the front foot and would need to continue that through to the end to get something out of the game. That almost paid off five minutes in, with Alli lifting the ball over the West Brom defence form 20 yards to find Kane on the end of it. He had Jonas Olsson all over his back, almost hauling him down, but still managed to scuff the ball past Myhill, although without enough strength in his shot, it allowed Dawson to get back and hack the ball away from in front of the goal-line. He nearly kicked it into the goalkeeper and the ball could have gone in, but all Spurs got was a corner from it.
Spurs had a period of pressure that they couldn't make much of. Corners were hit long to avoid the towering WBA centre-halves, but there was little joy with that and when Lamela played one in low to the near post, it was cleared away. Albion broke from one of them and Morrison looked as though he might get in on goal, but Rose produced a well-timed tackle on him right on the edge of the box. A few minutes later Morrison was unable to do the same and his tackle on Rose was late and he received a yellow card when the play stopped after the ref had given Spurs advantage to play on.
Tottenham were still looking to get forward and Alli skied a shot from 25 yards out, while a well-worked ball to Dembele saw him shoot low to Myhill's left and the keeper got down with his dive to hold the ball. At the other end, the wind was playing its part, with Vertonghen's high clearance being blown back into the penalty area and McClean won the header from around the penalty spot, but couldn't get any power in it. Craig Gardner got booked for taking a free-kick too quickly, which was a bit of a daft one by the ref, but another set-piece play saw Brunt put the ball to the far post from Tottenham's right and the ball hit a body, was prodded back in and Olsson got a shot on target from about three yards out. Hugo was close to it, but had to throw an arm up and how he managed to get the ball over the bar is beyond me. It showed amazing reflexes to react and stop what looked a certain goal.
Albion were pushing into the Tottenham final third and Gardner lifted a ball over Alderweireld in the box to pick out Rondon ten yards out. Unfortunately for him, the ball would not sit down and it allowed Kyle Walker to come in from his post to hook the ball away for a corner. Hugo was alert again in the 78th minute, when Rondon made space on the edge of the are to hit a low shot, which bounced just in front of him and the French keeper had to dive on the loose ball to grab it before a striped shirt snaffled it away from him. The Venezuelan was not as accurate in added time when he lashed at a shot that went off for a throw-in !! Apart from that, there was only a McClean cross that went low across the Spurs six yard box with no home player there to make the most of it.
Pulis' side showed a little of an unnecessarily rough approach, with Dawson particularly seeming to have it in for Danny Rose, with a tackle on him ending with him scissoring Rose's legs after the ball had long gone and then kicking him in the chest with a foot raised way too high. Referee Jon Moss failed to take action, whereas he had booked Dembele for persistent fouling, but then again, he let McClean get away with a tackle that was late and over the ball on Dembele, giving him only a yellow card, when it should have been red, the same colour as the mist that descended, having been fouled by Mousa only moments earlier.
With Spurs having more of the ball and a few chances, with the best of the first half, West Brom came back and had two really good opportunities to score in the second half, with Kane having a effort cleared off the line, so perhaps a draw was about right. While Tottenham were not on top form today, the fact that they could still get a point from a team who were set up to deny them space and to frustrate them says a lot about the way the team has come on in the last year or so. While there was a comfortable win in the last visit to the Hawthorns, that was Pulis' first game in charge and he has had a full year with the team to instil his beliefs in them. Opposition sides will be looking to play the same way against us and we need to work hard and work out a way of putting them away with fast passing football, which we didn't often show today.
So, the unbeaten run continues, but with draws rather than wind and three points could have meant stealing a march on those above us who dropped points. But there is a run of games coming up which Tottenham need to capitalise on to move even further up the table.
West Bromwich Albion have
the least atmosphere at their Hawthorns stadium because it is the
highest above sea level in the English leagues.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Manchester United||0||West Ham United||0||Saturday|
|Stoke City||2||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Swansea City||0||Leicester City||3||Saturday|
|7||West Ham United||15||6||5||4||25||21||23||+4|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||15||5||4||6||14||20||19||-6|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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