|DATE||Saturday 26th December 2015|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Preview not produced.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 1|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :|
|NORWICH CITY TEAM NEWS :|
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Tottenham Hotspur 3 (2)
Saturday 26th December 2015
White Hart Lane
City 0 (0)
Kick off 15:00
Kane (p) 25m 52s
Kane 41m 21s
Carroll 79m 13s
Dier (dissent) 74
Tettey (foul on Lamela) 40+1
Howson (foul on Davies) 77
|Crowd : 35,198||Weather : Mild|
|Referee : Mike Jones (Cheshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Long; Mr. S. Beck|
|Fourth Official : James Adcock|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 3 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Norwich City :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Nacer CHADLI 86)
10 Harry KANE
Russell MARTIN (c)
10 Cameron JEROME
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Alex Neil|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Aviva|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Errea|
With a win over Manchester United in their last match, Norwich City came to White Hart Lane in good fettle, but they were undone by some inspired goalkeeping by Hugo Lloris, which could not be said for their own keeper Declan Rudd, who ended up on the end of a 3-0 score-line.
There was some sublime play by Spurs, who turned on the style for this Boxing Day match, having two players at the top of their form in Dele Alli and Erik Lamela, along with Harry Kane in fine goal-scoring form too. But they were as indebted to Hugo Lloris for four excellent stops to keep Norwich out. While they had those decent scoring opportunities, the final score was not unfair on them, as they were less than creative and their midfield seemed more intent on kicking lumps out of the Tottenham players - Tettey especially lucky not to see red for a cynical hack at Lamela's legs as he ran away from him just inside the Norwich half. Unfortunately, referee Jones showed a lack of backbone. Booking Dier for dissent complaining about a tackle he won fairly that was given as a foul, he allowed Tettey to challenge a large number of his decisions vigorously and right in his face without further punishment, as well as allowing the 1950s centre-half Elliott to wrestle players to the ground without sounding his whistle.
As it was, Tottenham defeated both opponent and officials, with a confident performance that showed skill and steel in facing up to some late tackles and cynical play. It is a shame, as I normally associate Norwich with good play and they displayed little of this, but perhaps their new manager is taking a more pragmatic approach considering their position in the table. A more workmanlike performance must have paid off at Old Trafford, as, poor as United are at the moment, it must have been better than today's as they didn't look like they would beat many teams if they played like this.
Surprisingly, some of the players who have made Norwich tick over the last few seasons were on the bench, with Hoolihan, Howson and Whittaker on the bench. For Spurs, it was the same line-up as at Southampton and the confidence of that win shone through today.
Early pressing caused Norwich into errors, but after four minutes, Odijidja fired in a shot from 20 yards out, but it was a good height for Hugo to dive left to push the ball away from goal. Meanwhile, Erik Lamela was busy closing and then running at Norwich and he looked up for the game today, but it was Lloris who was busy again in the 16th minute. Alderweireld had covered Vertonghen when Jerome went past him in the box on the right side, but at the cost of a corner. The visitors worked it short and Brady almost took Tottenham by surprise with a whipped in shot that was heading for the top corner until Hugo jumped up to his left to fist the ball away. Another corner and this time it was played in deep, where Jerome met it unchallenged, but couldn't put his effort on target.
Eriksen looked to play a ball into Harry Kane, but it went beyond him, only to find Dele Alli ghosting in at the far post and his low shot was blocked by keeper Declan Rudd. Kane was making good runs ahead of the midfield, but their passes just weren't finding him, until the 25th minute. A neat move on the left was worked through Davies, Lamela and Alli, who slipped a short disguised pass through the Norwich back line for Kane to take a touch past the keeper, who was committed and brought him down for a penalty. There was quite a gap between the foul and taking the spot-kick, but Kane struck it firmly straight down the middle to give Spurs the lead. 26 minutes gone and Kane's 26th goal of 2015 opened the scoring.
Spurs looked to get a second quickly as they did last week at Southampton. Within ten minutes, an Eriksen corner was whipped into the near post and Alderweireld met it powerfully, but it was straight at Rudd, who pushed it up and out, but Alli got to the ball with his head first and the keeper again managed to get to it down the centre of the goal, pushing it over the bar. From that corner Lamela played the ball into the heart of the six yard box and Toby won it again, but put his header wide with great power, but if he had hit the target a yard to his left, the ball would have sailed in.
When Mousa and then Alli won headers in our own half, the ball fell to Lamela, his pass inside to Alli, who had continued his run, was played wide right to Kane. Faced by Sebastien Bassong, who had twice lost Toby at the previous corners, faced the striker, but although he showed him wide, Harry has a happy habit of hitting the corners and his low shot across the keeper found the bottom corner of the net and doubled his tally and Tottenham's lead. It was a good break, but a clinical finish and the team found themselves in the same position as at St. Mary's.
Alli had been enjoying himself tight to the dead ball line on the left, shimmying past players and getting his trademark nut-meg in, but the Norwich players had doubled and trebled up on him to stop him progressing. So, at half-time, Spurs were well on top, with Norwich playing a little nice football, but lacking a striking threat.
Spurs attacked from the start of the second period but failed to make much headway until a move on the left saw Eriksen play the ball into Alli, who exchanged passes with Erik Lamela, cutting out the right back to send Dele in on goal, but his low shot was kept out by Rudd, but Eriksen picked up the loose ball and squared for Lamela, whose low shot was blocked by the keeper's legs. Alli had a chance just before that, but took a touch instead of hitting the ball first time, giving the goalie time to get in the way, while Jerome had another headed opportunity, only to put it over the bar.
When Spurs won the ball in midfield, Alli ran at the box, pulled the ball back past an opponent and Lamela took control to try a 'rabona' from the edge of the box and forced the keeper into a save in the top corner to keep the ball out. Lloris was called into action when Brady's through ball entered the area and Hugo rushed to it to punch clear, but Jerome came in at the same time and came off worse.
Davies played a one-two with Son and then knocked the ball infield to substitute Tom Carroll (on for Eriksen), who took it on a stride and with space opening up in front of him, drove a low, left foot shot that beat Rudd on its way into the bottom left corner of the keeper's goal. It was good to see the Spurs man doing well, as he has been around the first team for longer than any of the other Academy players and has deserved his chance, which he appears to be taking with both hands now.
One thing Tottenham must learnt o do is finish teams off properly. For a spell around the hour mark, there was the feeling of déjà vu of the Newcastle match, when a goal for Norwich might have seen the pendulum swing their way at 2-1. As it was, when Lamela won the ball just inside the Norwich half towards the end of the game, there was a four man break on against one defender. Erik took the ball to the edge of the box, but Kane, Alli and Son were all too close to him and the ball to Kane to set up his hat-trick ended with him stumbling into the lone defender and the chance evaporated.
At 3-0, it might not have mattered that much, but in the twinkling of an eye, Norwich went forward, with Martin getting space on their right to cross deep, where a block by Walker looped up in the air and Mbokani struck a volley that Lloris beat out and then reacted to quickly to punch away as it bounced up in the six yard box, with Jerome once more dashing in to try and finish it off.
Towards the end, Spurs were holding onto the ball without much intent on going too far forward and the only chance was Redmond's hopeful, but dipping shot from 25 yards out that flew over the bar and into the Spurs crowd in the Park Lane.
While it was not quite a stroll, it was a match in which Alli and Lamela displayed their full repertoire of tricks and flicks and some of the passages of passing were very impressive. Kane scores at will and proves he's not a one season wonder, Walker was impressive in defensive ad going forward, while Toby and Jan were strong at the back too. And birthday boy Hugo Lloris performed as he is expected to these days ... up to his high standard. Everyone else played their part and the only down was the injury to Dembele that saw him limp off which was not what we needed with a game at Watford on Monday.
It's all going so well, so, as a Spurs fan, I have to ask, when is it all going to go wrong ???
Norwich City were once closely associated with the extensive coal mining industry in Norfolk and they took their nickname from the canaries, who used to be taken into the pits to test for gas. When the canaries fell of their perch, this meant there was danger, but they never minded it as it kept the miners on the ball.
Norwich fans were prepared for failure when the team were not faring
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||1||West Ham United||1||Saturday|
|Stoke City||2||Manchester United||0||Saturday|
|Swansea City||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|8||West Ham United||18||6||8||4||26||22||26||+4|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||18||5||5||8||16||24||20||-8|
Position before match : 4th
Position after match : 4th
Position after the weekend : 4th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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