DATE Saturday 5th August 2017
VENUE Wembley
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                                       
Saturday 5th August 2017
Juventus  0 (0)

Kick off 17:30
Kane 9m 54s
Eriksen 51m 35s
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Crowd :   , Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Martin Atkinson  (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  -; -
Fourth Official :  --  
Juventus kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 3 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Juventus : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

16  Kieran TRIPPIER  (28  Kyle WALKER-PETERS 41)
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (27  Kevin WIMMER 90)

17  Moussa SISSOKO  (42  Anthony GEORGIOU 65)
20  DELE Alli  (29  Harry WINKS 65)
Christian ERIKSEN    (46 Tashan OAKLEY-BOOTHE  90)

10  Harry KANE    (  9  Vincent JANSSEN)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

41  Alfie WHITEMAN
5  Jaden BROWN
47  Will MILLER

    1  Gianluigi BUFFON (c)  (16   Carlo PINSOLGLIO 76)

26  Stephen LICHTSTEINER (  2  Mattia De SCIGLIO 46)
24  Danielle RUGANI (BARZAGLI 60)
  3  Giorgio CHIELLINI (  4  Medhi BENATIA 60)
12  Alex SANDRO  (22  Kwadwo ASAMOAH 46)

  6  Sami KHEDIRA (30  Rodrigo Bentancur 75)
  5  Mariam PJANIC (  8  Claudio MARCHISIO 46)

11  Douglas COSTA  (33  Federico BERNARDESCHI 60)
21  Paulo DYBALA
17  Mario MANDZUKIC  (  7  Juan CUADRADO  46)

  9  Gonzalo HIGUAIN  (34  Moise KEAN 75)

Unused subs: 
42  Mattia
Tomas Rincon

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Massomiliano Allegri
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Jeep
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

A pre-season friendly.  A chance to enjoy a nice sunny day out in familiar surroundings to run an eye over the new arrivals in the side and at a cut price rate too.

Well, not quite.  Relevent Sports firstly didn't live up to their name, by setting prices for this friendly that deterred a decent crowd attending at Wembley - our new home, but not yet as familiar as it should be, having played only a handful of games there last season.  Spurs should have been aware that a less than half empty (or are you a stadium half-full type of person ?) Wembley would lack atmosphere, revenue and do little to drag people back to watch more games.  Stage it at another ground that would sell out, at cheaper rates.  But then Juventus wouldn't really want to play at the world famous home of Stevenage or Leyton Orient would they ?  With no official attendance figure released, about 20,000 maximum was the general feeling.  That didn't stop a number of dads taking their kids and the three in front of me who kept standing and paying little or no attention to the game (other than to shout "Dele Alli" at Dele Alli) cost them 145 quid, so it is no wonder fans stayed away.

The local shopkeepers had done their best to make the trickle of Spurs fans coming down the steps of Wembley Park Station looking for fare that wasn't over-priced, by flying Spurs flags outside their premises.  No doubt the next day they would be Arsenal and Chelsea flags.  But the streets were not crowded, the queue for McDonalds was reasonable and getting in was a breeze.  I reckon it might be different on 20th August.  I was surprised by the number of Juventus fans, who must be resident Italians or who were over in London on holiday.  In many ways it was like an away game.

The game itself was a pretty traditional pre-season friendly, with Juventus going through the motions, but other than practising going through the back of people, they were better at going through the motions.  They had a striker who looked like something out of the Sutton United v Orient game I watched before setting off for the game.  A fat bloke who lacked mobility, but this one cost nearly 79 million ... enough to keep the whole of the National League afloat for about ten years I reckon.  And an old bloke in goal, who once used to be a legend, but may have gone over his sell by date.

The game started with Spurs looking sharp and Juventus winning a corner, which Spurs dealt with well.  When we played the ball about at the back, it still looked a little nervy, but Juventus were worse at it and when Vertonghen gave Dybala a body-swerve to leave him going the wrong way on the edge of our own area, the move started the Tottenham opening goal.  The ball went wide to Davies, inside to Eriksen and then Sissoko.  The villain of last season played it into the path of Trippier, who stood the ball up to the far post for Kane to come in and head downwards.  It looked like the ball might go over, but it beat the static Buffon, who looked less than keen to put himself out to stop it.  It was a well created move and a good finish from Kane, who looked to start this season the way he ended the last.

Juventus didn't really hit back, allowing Dembele to muscle the ball off a defender and set up Eriksen for a shot that Buffon had to beat out.  Twice early on, the Juventus defender Alex Sandro was wither trying to impress watching Chelsea manager Conte or he has become Kyle Walker's best mate and wanted to prove that Pochettino was wrong to let him go by going through Trippier's challenges.  He lasted until four minutes before half time, when he was replaced by Kyle Walker-Peters.  In contrast, the Italian side's players were looking for a free-kick every time they went down, most of the time timidly, which is surprising for a side who seemed keen on the physical side of the game.  When they looked like they would get away, the Spurs midfielders or defenders got the ball off them with well-timed challenges.  Dybala did get away down the right, but looked to square the ball into the penalty box rather than try an effort himself.

Lloris was tested halfway through the half, when Higuain got a corner to drop for him at the far post and he fired a shot at Hugo's near post, but the keeper pushed it wide.  Dybala had struck a shot from outside the box way too high before Higuain's chance.  But it was Spurs who were posing most of the problems, with Kane alert to a sloppy back pass that came off Buffon's chest and his shot was saved and when Christian Eriksen picked up the loose ball, he tried to set up Harry, but his shot from the right only went square, straight to the keeper.  Sissoko showed what he can do just after the half hour.  Dembele hoisted a clearance high into mid-pitch and Sissoko challenged, with the ball dropping for Dele to play him through on the left.  He cut inside when he got in the box and curled a shot beyond Buffon, but was unlucky to see it come back off the post.  It would have been the sort of goal he used to score for Newcastle when he was on his game.  Moussa got away again in added time, with few players in support, he held the ball up, then knocked a good pass to Kane inside the box just to the left and the striker took the ball on his thigh and struck a volley that would have gone in had it not been deflected for a corner.

Half time saw a rush of kid out to get a drink, burger and chips, thus probably doubling the cost of their day out.  The sun shone down and the subs warmed up, with Juve making four changes.  Walker-Peters, the Spurs sub who came on before half-time, looked confident and quick, always looking to move the ball forward.

Six minutes after half time, Spurs were 2-0 ahead.  Vertonghen picked off a loose lass out of the Juve defence and hit Dele with the ball early.  His turn took him away from one defender, then he avoided a crude tackle from Marchisio and slipped the ball into the box for Christian Eriksen to run onto and side-step Buffon easily and slide the ball into an empty net.  The move found space through the supposedly tight Juve back line, but the move was soon repeated, when Eriksen slipped in Kane and he got the ball past three men around him and smashed a rising shot against the bar, with Buffon just about getting a fingertip to.

Juventus hit back, with a sweeping move that saw Higuain launch into an overhead kick to a cross into the D, but he completely missed and the ball ran out to the left wing, where Costa played in a low ball into the box.  Dybala was on it, looking like all he had to do was steer it in, but he made only the slightest contact and put the ball well wide of the goal, which was right in front of him.  The Argentine striker got closer when Cuadrado played the ball back from the right touchline to him on the right edge of the area.  He picked out a low, curling shot that Lloris got to at full stretch and pushed around the post. 

While the Italian side had lifted their game, there was not a lot to trouble Spurs, who were still looking to attack.  Sissoko led a charge and back-heeled the ball for Dembele to strike one, but he didn't get a clean contact and the ball scuffed wide.  The Spurs defence was holding firm until Atkinson decided that being barged off the ball was now part of the game, leaving Dier on the floor and Dybala free to find substitute Moise Kean free in the box.  The striker hit it first time and from ten yards out should have done better because his effort hit the bar and went over when he had the whole goal to aim at.  The woodwork was rattled again when Cuadrado ran forward to the edge of the box before letting go a stinging shot that Hugo touched up onto the bar to keep his sheet clean. 

At the end of the game, many of the Juventus fans had left already, leaving about 18,000 remaining to clap the sides at the end of a reasonably enjoyable and competitive match.  Juve are a week behind Spurs, so they are not yet match sharp, but we look good going into the season next week, although with Trippier getting injured, it does show that beyond the first XI, there is not the depth of squad to challenge on all fronts.   The youngsters who came on looked comfortable in the company they were playing against.  Georgiou looked willing to take people on but needs to hone his final ball, Winks was busy, Oakley-Boothe didn't have much to do and neither did Wimmer.  Janssen looked like he was ready to link up better than last season, but didn't really get a chance to get his sighters in.

There wasn't a player who did badly, with Sissoko looking like a 100 million pound player on this cameo and it gave Pochettino an opportunity to rest some players ahead of next week's trip to the North-East.  The side look like they want to carry on the form from the end of last season and get off to a good start.  Newcastle away in their first game back in the Premier League will be difficult, but it shouldn't be the same result as our last visit to St. James'.

Money and football seem to be a perfect match at the moment and for a lot of reasons, the men behind the game will find out that the well will run dry with fans at some point soon.  Playing in front  of a handful of supporters who will rattle around in the multi-million pound stadiums that have been built, the game will probably be played out to a streamed crowd soundtrack or filled with kids on freebie tickets.

If that happens, I am sure that I will hanker for the old days when Spurs played no home friendlies.  Now there's a tradition that I could live with.

Stevie V




Coming from Turin, close to the French border, Juventus took their name from the playing of the ancient sport of Ventus.  A particularly brutal form of football, the French verb to play 'jouer' was added to the front of it to form Joue-Ventus.  This was later shortened to it's current form, but the cynical attitudes of the old game remain in their modern incarnation.


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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