West Bromwich Albion
|DATE||Saturday 31st January 2015|
|No previewed prepared.|
|PREDICTION||West Bromwich Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
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Bromwich Albion 0 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 31st January 2015 Kick off 15:00
Eriksen 5m 48s
Kane 14m 17s
Kane (p) 63m 37s
Berahino (dissent) 55
Yacob (foul on Paulinho) 80
Lamela (foul on Yacob) 90+1
|Crowd : 25,079||Weather : Cold|
|Referee : Kevin Friend (Leicester)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Long; Mr. C. Hatzidakis|
|Fourth Official : Keith Stroud||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Smethwick end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90+6 minutes.|
|West Bromwich Albion :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Andre WISDOM (
8 Craig GARDNER
Callum McMANAMAN (
9 Brown IDEYE
Mousa DEMBELE (22
|Manager : Tony Pulis||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : intuit Quick Books||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
A surprisingly unfilled Hawthorns saw Spurs race into a 2-0 lead within a quarter of an hour, then finish off the match in the second half with a Harry Kane penalty, but West Bromwich Albion might be rueing the chances which Hugo Lloris kept out that earned Spurs a convincing away win.
The game had barely got warmed up on a very chilly game at the League's highest ground, when Spurs took the lead. The dirty Albion midfielder Yacob took Mousa Dembele down late as he got a shot away and a free-kick was given just five yards outside the left corner of the box. When Christian Eriksen lined it up, he had a five man wall in front of him, but this wasn't enough to stop him as he hit the free-kick over the wall and Ben Foster (a keeper I have never rated) could only help it into the roof of the net with his grasping hand. That gave Tottenham a seventh minute lead.
Walker almost scored when he broke into the box in the tenth minute, but Joleon Lescott got in front of him. When the former Manchester City man looked to clear it, Walker blocked his clearance and the ball ricocheted back towards goal, but luckily for the home team, Foster was at his near post to take it. Knocking the ball around comfortably, Mousa Dembele took a pass centrally and moved left to pass to Harry Kane before the Belgian was taken down late again. Kane cut inside Wisdom and smashed a shot past Foster at his near post before he could react to make it 2-0.
Tottenham's numerical in the middle of the park gave them the upper hand over WBA's four men and the fact that their two up front rarely dropped back to help out, meant that it was a tough task for Albion's midfield. All the home side could do was to get men back behind the bal and hope for a stray pass to hand them possession. Spurs were holding the ball for long periods, but as we have seen previously, they really needed to finish teams off with more goals. Albion had been three up in this fixture last season before we came back to 3-3, so the warning was there.
Brunt tried a low 30 yarder and it ended up as the Baggies' first shot on target in the 25th minute, but it only meant that Hugo had to bend down to gather it. A better effort came a minute or so later, when Albion broke away after a Spurs attack broke up on the edge of the home box. Anichebe went forward and played the ball to Morrison, who hit a drive from 25 yards and it needed a fine stretching tip over from Lloris to keep it out and put it over the bar. The corner gave Lescott a chance to head at goal, but he put it over the top. Then Fazio was adjudged to have fouled Anichebe and the free-kick was worked well and when the ball was crossed in from their left wing, Yacob was there to volley low at goal, but Hugo dived to palm it out with a super save, just in front of the line.
WBA had got a head of steam up and Spurs were not looking as composed as they had earlier. They settled back into their passing routine and that kept Albion away from the Spurs end. When they did, a free-kick swung in from their right saw Craig Dawson rise highest and put his header against the bar with Lloris stranded for once.
As the half came to a close, Anichebe struck a hopeful 25 yard shot weakly and well wide and when Kane tried his luck from outside the area, the ball swerved the wrong way and went a few yards wide of Foster's goal. Tottenham had enjoyed a massive 65% possession in the first half and while they might not have expected as much in the second half, they needed to make it pay.
Albion started the second period and I am sure Tony Pulis warmed the dressing room with a fiery team talk. Tottenham needed to make another quick start or to take the heat out of the Albion game. They chose the latter and after a good couple of minutes passing the ball all over the pitch, Walker set up Eriksen to drive in from outside the right corner of the box and hit a low curling shot that beat Foster's dive and missed the far post by inches.
Spurs engineered a chance in the box, with Kane and Lamela both having efforts blocked, with Albion having to clear away a dangerous low cross by Kyle Walker when the move continued. After a little flurry of substitutions, Eriksen was provided with the ball on the halfway line by Dawson and Walker made a rampaging run down the right, took the ball and crossed, with Joleon Lescott sliding in with his arm raised to concede a penalty. Harry Kane stepped up to send Foster the wrong way and hit the inside of the side netting on the left as he looked at the goal. While it was one of those that looked a harsh decision, WBA should look at the way Dawson conceded possession before Eriksen broke away.
Albion's forwards were resorting to some unnecessary tactics, with Brown diving to get a free-kick that came to nothing and than he was trying to baulk Lloris from a corner, but he met his match in sub Nacer Chadli. Albion kept trying to get the ball in the box, but their best effort came from Berahino, who drilled a low shot across Lloris' goal from a narrow angle on their right, but it missed past the far post. Tottenham hit back with an attack that saw Kane blocked as he tried to get on the end of some intricate passing on the edge of the box, but Lescott weakly cleared to Paulinho on the right side of the area and his fierce ball back across the six yard box was inches out of reach of the stretching Lamela.
Spurs were grateful to Hugo again, when Berahino turned Fazio in the box and hitting a shot from their left to paw away his low shot and Danny Rose slid in to prevent Brown knocking the ball over the line with a very good clearance. When Spurs got forward, Chadli set up Lamela, but he shot wide under pressure from Morrison, then, at the other end, Berahino once more got away from Fazio, but his cross only found Lloris at the near post.
Another Yacob foul, finally brought him a yellow card, giving away a free-kick about 27 yards out and Harry Kane hit the centrally placed dead ball well, but Foster touched it over the top. Spurs were winning the ball back well into the later stages of the match and kept hold of the ball, the possession ending with Paulinho having a long shot way too high. Albion were trying hard, but they were loose in possession and turned the ball over too easily, when they didn't need to.
Albion fans were heading home from about the 75th minute and their normally good support had been poor all afternoon. Maybe they are resigned to their fate of battling against relegation, with Tony Pulis in charge. They seemed to have a decent chance in the 85th minute, when a long left wing cross saw Danny Rose set himself to chest it back to Lloris, but Gardner jumped at him to head down and force Hugo to a save at his near post. However, it would not have counted, as the ref gave a free-kick for a foul on Rose. Lloris had to be quick off his line when Fazio's back pass fell short and Berahino got onto it, but Hugo took the ball off his toe.
Harry Kane got a huge reception as he was replaced by Soldado for the last few minutes, with the strains of "When the Spurs go marching in" ringing around a half empty Hawthorns, while the team kept going forward. Kevin Friend's final whistle brought more cheers from the Spurs end and Albion sloped off well beaten.
The Heathrow Spur
There are many urban myths
that have grown up around the club that came to be known as West
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|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
This was a more controlled performance by Spurs, against a
potentially tricky opponent in West Brom, but they nullified any
threat from the home side by scoring two early goal and then passing
the ball out of their reach for the most part, keeping them at bay.
When they did breach the Spurs defence, Hugo performed like the
world class keeper he is, by denying them goals when a couple of
their efforts might well have made it past Foster at the other end.
Kane's first goal showed confidence to cut inside on his first touch and then to hit the ball so early, with little back lift, giving the keeper no chance with the power he put behind it. Eriksen's was another master-class in how to beat the wall, with a little help from the keeper.
Dembele seems to be enjoying the freedom to move forward and is more effective in this role, while the whole team seem to be exchanging positions to give the opposition problems. This frees up space for others and gives sides set up with a rigid system plenty of problems in picking our players up.
It seems like Pochettino's
teachings are sinking in and the adaptation to his ways is taking
shape week by week. Maybe he might last more than two seasons
|Other scores during this week :|
|Hull City||0||Newcastle United||3||Saturday|
|Liverpool||2||West Ham United||0||Saturday|
|Manchester United||3||Leicester City||1||Saturday|
|8||West Ham United||23||10||6||7||34||27||36||+7|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||23||5||7||11||20||32||22||-12|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 6th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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