2 (1) Schalke 04 (Germany)
Saturday 9th August 2014 Kick off 17:30
White Hart Lane
Ayhan (foul on Soldado) 54
|Crowd : 34,730||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Beck; Mr. M. Schooler|
|Fourth Official : N. Cooper||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90+2 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Schalke 04 :||kit|
Nabil BENTALEB (28
Tom CARROLL 74)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR ( 9 Roberto SOLDADO 46)
9 Kevin-Prince BOATENG
Donis AVDIJAJ 81)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Jens Keller|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Gazprom|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
A friendly played out in the summer sun at White Hart Lane as a pre-season curtain raiser is something that has been a fairly new addition to the club's fixture list. For years, all the friendlies were played away from home and it was only when the real action began, the players graced the turf at the Lane.
Nowadays, it is a chance to see the new signings, the new manager, the way they play and more importantly, buy the new third strip. The "Success is Golden" strap-line for the adverts for the kit are a little off mark, with it being a yellow rather than gold and while a goal in each half was enough to see off a poor Schalke side stripped of many of it's stars, with finishing that was more on target than the club's marketing, it could have been a more impressive victory.
It is also a chance for those who do not often get the chance to watch a game at the Lane to come along and enjoy the experience. Disembarking at Northumberland Park, I over-heard a conversation of a young son to his father. "He said to me, 'Why are you bothering, it's only a friendly ?' But it's like a league game but with less away fans, ain't it ?" said the youngster. I hope that is true as far as the result goes, if not the whole atmosphere surrounding events.
The German side have a two week window before their first league game, but looked well away from it, while Tottenham were quicker in mind and body most of the time, sharpening up to meet West Ham next week. It was a odd line up that started the game, with Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson and Etienne Capoue missing with knocks, as well as the not yet match fit World Cup quartet of Chadli, Dembele, Vertonghen and Paulinho phoning in absent. Michel Vorm was introduced to the crowd (along with Davies, Dier and Poch), but being in his tracksuit, it indicated that he would not feature either. We did have Lloris back in goal and in his rightful number 1 shirt and Nabil Bentaleb in front of the back four with Holtby. The other World Cup participant among our ranks - Benoit Assou-Ekotto - barely went un-noticed. Now third in the pecking order for the left back slot, you think he will be sold, but no parties seemingly have offered any interest via the media ... not even Harry (wheel 'em in) Redknapp at QPR, where Benny was on loan last term.
The defence started with Rose, Kaboul and Naughton lining up with new youngster Eric Dier in the middle. A strapping lad, it would be interesting to see how he played, having the tag of being a ball-playing centre half. Our attacking midfield showed intent from the manager with Lennon, Eriksen and Lamela offering a forward threat and with Adebayor on his own up front, he would need that support. With a strong bench, substitutions in the second half were expected to come thick and fast.
Schalke only contained two familiar names. One - Tranquillo Barnetta, the Swiss midfielder, was on our radar a few years back, when he was good, while the other was the returning Kevin-Prince Boateng, the 'maverick' midfielder, who failed to cut it here and left for success at Portsmouth and AC Milan.
As the early evening sun shone down, the game kicked off with Spurs sporting their new third kit for the ITV4 cameras in what was a low-key advertising opportunity, as the action wasn't going to be anything more than a glorified practice match. But credit where it is due, Spurs gave a fair bit of energy and effort, while Schalke were happy to play the pantomime villain with shirt pulls and some feist. Soldado's handbags with Hoger was the hottest point of the game, although Holtby and Davies might be punished more harshly than having a free-kick given against them if they attempt many more jump tackles in the Premier League.
There was a lazy ease to Tottenham's early possession. Nonchalantly knocking the ball around and even when the initial passes were a little short, they yellow shirts still got to it first (albeit with a stretch or a poked toe) before the mint green shirted German side. Shifting the ball around sharply and using the space Danny Rose was finding on the left, Tottenham only went back into their own half when they sought to keep the ball. The only thing holding Spurs up in this period was Adebayor's insistence of playing beyond beyond the last man, ensuring the lineman's right arm got plenty of exercise. It could have cost us an early goal when he squared in the fourth minute for Lennon to have a chance to score, but the whistle brought play back. As it was Lennon hit the post when the goal was more open than the Spurs Shop tills.
Schalke got their game going after a short while and played some one touch stuff around the edge of the box, but number of bodies stopped their progress and Naughton threw a block to stop a shot on goal. Eric Dier's (pronounced Dyer) first few touches were passes from team-mates, but as the game progressed, he looked comfortable on the ball and knocking other players off it. His height saw him win a few headers and he looked to link up with Kaboul quite well, despite not being at the club for too long. In front of Eric, Holtby was proving what his countrymen in the Bundesliga were missing, with a terrier-like performance of the art of the pressing game. Snapping into tackles like it was a cup final, Lewis certainly let them know he was there and also took the opportunity to speak in his natural tongue, giving some stick to some of the Schalke players !!
The German defence stopped Spurs on a couple of occasions, when Lennon beat the keeper to the ball, but Matip stopped it developing into anything, while Ayhan slid in to rob Adebayor of a shooting opportunity. Bentaleb tried a volley from the edge of the box on the left as a cross was cleared to him, but he sliced it horribly wide. When Spurs worked space in wide positions, their crosses were finding opposition heads and it was only in the 26th minute, when Eriksen slipped Holtby through into the box that Fahrmann was called into action, coming out to spread himself and block the midfielder's effort. However, it was only a couple of minutes before Tottenham opened the scoring. Adebayor won the ball on the edge of the box and it dropped for Lamela, who played it to Lennon on the edge of the D. The winger's ball was probably too wide to the left for Holtby to have a shot, so he pulled the ball back across the area, finding Emmanuel just outside the six yard box. The Togo striker took a touch, as he had his back to goal and hit the ball on the turn to find the corner of the net. The keeper had gone down when Ade took his first touch, so the Spurs man only had to avoid the defenders between him and the goal to hit the net past the keeper's right hand in the 29th minute.
Erik Lamela had a quiet game and came in for some physical attention form the opposition, but he withstood it quite well, even facing up to Boateng when the Argentine took a kick too many. Boateng was playing in the midfield moaner role for Schalke. Given a free role to roam all over the pitch giving the referee an ear-bashing and to complain at Spurs players. It was a bit of a surprise later in the game when he popped up in the Spurs box.
With 33 minutes on the clock, Neustadter won a header in the Spurs box from a free-kick and the ball should have hit the target, but the Schalke player glanced it wide. Then, as Aogo tried to break in on goal, Dier eased him off the ball, showing his strength when one on one.
That was it for the first half, with Jermain Defoe returning to the Lane for a visit and a half-time interview, following the successful Spurs Ladies U14 side, who were national Futsal champions last season.
Before long, the whistle had blown for the restart and minutes later, people were still returning to their seats laden with hot dogs and drinks. They had missed the changes being announced, including Harry Kane coming on for Lamela and his break into the box looked like resulting in a goal, but Santana made a good covering tackle to see the ball away. As the late returners were taking their seats, Holtby almost picked out Kane with a low ball across the face of goal, then at the Spurs end, Boateng was picked out by Neustadter's ball and struck a volley from the left of the area. It looked like it might fly past Lloris' left hand as it was aimed across the keeper, but Kyle Naughton threw himself in front of it and blocked the ball, which worrying went the other way, but went wide for a corner with the keeper going the other way.
Spurs were finding a bit more space and when Townsend roared away from the green shirts following him, he played it back for Soldado, but he tried to take the leather off the ball and it flew well over into the Paxton fans. A more controlled finish might have troubled the goalie. Townsend tested Fahrmann ten minutes after the break when he fired in a shot from Eriksen's cleared free-kick and the keeper fumbled his low effort, managing to get up and grab it before Kane closed in on the loose ball. In the very next attack, Eriksen played a smart ball into the right side of the box for Andros, who was one on one with the keeper, but managed to put his shot wide him, but also wide of the goal.
Just before the hour, Choupo-Moting exchanged passes with Barnetta inside the right side of the penalty area, allowing the Swiss midfielder the chance to shoot at goal, which he took, but the ball flew wildly across goal and went off for a throw-in to Spurs.
Almost halfway through the second half, Townsend was given the chance to shoot when Naughton played the ball to him and the winger hit a fierce left foot shot straight down the middle of the goal at chest height. Fahrmann dived to save, but, diving too soon, he made a hash of it with the ball ballooningup into the air. Luckily it dropped to where Roberto Soldado was standing (maybe offside ?), but he reacted to nod the ball back towards goal and the ball looped agonisingly slowly up in the air, but more agonisingly for the keeper, who could not get it before it dropped into the net to give Spurs a 2-0 lead. It was a typical striker's goal and one we would like to see more from our Spanish import.
Sandro replaced Christian Eriksen and the cry of "Beast" rang around the Lane. After Schalke should have equalised when substitute Clemens pulled the ball back square for Meyer and he managed to shoot just wide from 10 yards, it was the Brazilian who struck a powerful effort that once more Fahrmann made a meal of. As a sliding challenge came in, Sandro got a well-hit shot away and it was heading into Fahrmann's top right corner, when he dived up to fist the ball away in continental style, when he might have held it.
With ten minutes to go, Spurs conceded. A free kick for the visitors on the halfway line saw Spurs caught cold, as two passes provided space for the full back to run into and Aogo's low ball back to Boateng being hit home from 15 yards out. It wasn't exactly a clean hit, but was enough to beat Hugo and pull the Germans back into the match. When the scorer was announced, there were a few boos, but then the day's audience added to the panto atmosphere. When he was substituted straight after the goal, there was more polite applause than derision. His replacement added to the farce, by running into a forward position in the Spurs half, when we were lining up to take the kick off !! The travelling Schalke fans were oblivious to this and before the end were jumping in harmony in the away section.
Spurs were reliant on the sharpness of Hugo Lloris as the game was played to an end. He was on his toes to dive right to finger-tip a low shot from Advijaj away for a corner, when it looked like heading into his bottom right corner. The Schalke had broken on his own, after a Fuchs lay-off and turned inside and then back again, losing Dier in the process, making enough room to get a shot on goal.
Tottenham sub Cristian Ceballos had an opening when Sandro won the ball on the touchline in front of the West Stand, the ball was moved forward to Soldado up that line and his ball across the edge of the box with the outside of his foot found his young countryman. Stopping the ball in space, he tried to bend the ball left footed and low past Fahrmann's right hand, but the keeper stretched out to push the ball wide of the goal.
Kane passed the ball through to Soldado and freed him for a run on goal from the edge of the box, but the ball got caught up under his feet and the chance was lost. Then another break gave Townsend a shooting chance (now, there's a novelty) and his low shot was well saved by the keeper, but he knocked it down right in front of goal. Ceballos was on it as quick as a flash, but the keeper was also quick in recovering his feet and the attempted lob was always going over, with Fahrmann so close to Cristian. Kane was free in front of goal square of Ceballos, but wasn't seen.
So, a pre-season unbeaten with four wins and a draw. Not the most testing of build-ups to the new season, but a chance for the squad to get together and learn some new ways from the new manager. Hopefully, they will be able to take the understanding of his teachings into Saturday's match at the Boleyn Ground. Whether we have new players by then is up to how quickly our Sporting Director and Daniel Levy can sort out their deals.
As for the lad's assertion prior to the match. Well, it wasn't really like a league match, as we will be tested more when they come around and for some visitors, there will be less fans than Schalke brought with them.
But many fans would have gone home with a warm, if not golden, glow, having seen a win and maybe having splashed out on the latest piece of polyester.
Of such things, memories are made.
This is the first time
Spurs have ever fielded two players with the name Eric/Erik in the
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* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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