Tottenham 4-0 Bournemouth
The 32nd round of Premier League fixtures kicked off on Saturday with Tottenham once again featured in the early kick off. This time hosting a Bournemouth team trying to secure their safety.
Given Tottenham’s form so far this season, especially at home, one could imagine that Bournemouth would not have been relishing this. However, Eddie Howe’s team is not one for rolling over to the big boys, and Bournemouth have left with points from Old Trafford and Anfield already this season. The corresponding fixture against Spurs in October also showed how they are a team of hard-workers, able to frustrate the best with their harrying and counterattacking.
Tottenham would have been happy to have Kane back from injury so quickly, having first feared he may be out for the season after sustaining an ankle injury. Walker was also back into the starting line-up which is perhaps slightly hard on Trippier who had such an outstanding game against Watford a week ago.
For Bournemouth Stanislas returned to the team, and, although Mings was back from his forced sabbatical, he was left on the bench at the beginning of proceedings.
The previous week it had taken Tottenham ½ hour to open the scoring. Today, 15 minutes of tactical ping-pong in and they were already ahead.
Following on from a couple of Tottenham corners that were well worked between Walker and Eriksen and resulted with fine crosses, Dembele scored his first of the season, indeed his first for 15 months. He had just had a shot well saved by Boruc, and from a corner 2 minutes later the ball missed everybody in the Bournemouth box and fell to Dembele to hammer home with his right foot from 8 yards. The marking was non-existant, and perhaps the only worry was the surprise that Demebele must have felt as the ball fell to him through such a sea of bodies.
As with their last few games, it did not take long for Spurs to add to their lead. 2 minutes later it was 2-0, with Son scoring his eight goal in the last five games.
Bournemouth, so often today the instigators of their own downfall, gave the ball away far too cheaply. Wilshere was at fault this time with a poor pass that was picked up and played forward with pace to Kane, who gave it the deftest of touches into the path of Son, who still had much to do, managed to hold off his man, keep the ball under close control, and strike the ball under the legs of a despairingly spread-eagled Artur Boruc.
The goal seemed to spark some life into Bournemouth and they had their first period of sustained possession. First winning a free kick in a dangerous area as Wilshere cleverly ought himself some time and a little space, and then Cook with a strong header from a corner that he was just unable to control and put on target.
Straight away from the restart Bournemouth drove forward again. This time down the right-hand side and Stanislas with a sweeping cross in the infamous ‘corridor of uncertainty’ that managed to beat everyone in the box. The cross was so good that it almost deserved a goal, but alas for Bournemouth it was just not to be.
The remainder of the first half saw Tottenham turning the screw in a highly professional manner. Wave after wave of assaults on the Bournemouth goal who will be mighty happy to have had an in-form Boruc in goal: First saving from Kane, then an Eriksen acrobatic strike, and finally Son who should probably have done better than hitting a shot straight at the keeper having been tee’d up on the edge of the box.
The second half pies were still being bought when Kane got his 20th of the season, and Spurs’ 3rd of the day.
Bournemouth defender Simon Francis should definitely have done better and allowed Kane to miscontrol the ball in the box, regain possession, turn, push off the defender, take a small touch forward and strike the ball into the right-hand corner of the goal with his left foot. This made it three seasons on the bounce that Kane has scored 20 goals…perhaps finally putting to bed his ‘One-season wonder’ moniker.
As in the first half Bournemouth were guilty of some unforgiveable sloppy play. Time after time they gave the ball away cheaply, and against a team with the quality of Tottenham it is tantamount to suicide. First Eriksen put in Kane who shot rather tamely at Boruc, then Son to Kane, then Kane putting in Alli. The danger was very real that the score could become more like that of a rugby game, except for the excellent play by the Bournemouth keeper.
On 55 minutes, much to the delight of the home fans, Wilshere was forced off with an injury. At times he played very well. His touch has always been exquisite, and today at times he was back to his best, but he also had the terrible knack of giving the ball away on far too many occasions, and indeed his error led to his injury as he raced back to block a Kane shot after he had once more given the ball away cheaply.
Bournemouth were showing glimpses off what they are capable of, but it was not enough to really worry the Spurs defence. Moments after Stanislas had been substituted for Ryan Fraser, Charlie Daniels wiggled free from his marker in the middle of the park and with deceptive pace drove forward past Dembele and others before shooting and stinging the hands of Hugo Lloris. “We’ve had a shot, we’ve had a shot” sang the Bournemouth fans, and it was pretty much their only chance of the day.
Within the closing 15 minutes both teams made their 3 substitutions and the final Tottenham change – Eriksen off for Janssen – saw the arrival of the 4th scorer of the day.
The 13th corner of the day dropped nicely for Janssen on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. His first shot was parried back (And was, upon seeing the replay, heading well wide) to him, and he smashed the rebound into the roof of the net. His first goal from open play bringing the loudest cheer of the day from the fans.
So the weekend starts off with Spurs once again narrowing the gap between themselves and Chelsea to 4 points, and hoping that Manchester United can do what Bournemouth failed to do last week. Can Mourinho mastermind a decent performance and a win against his old club? You wouldn’t bet against it.
Written by John Baker
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