1. Sonny Saves The Day Again
As will be familiar to those who regularly stop by these parts, the AANP take on the midweek win against Newcastle brought peltings with rotten fruit in the Comments section, for the admittedly reckless decision to omit from the list of the venerated Son Heung-Min.
With that in mind, and given that the lively young bean scored the critical goal yesterday, it seems only right to shower him with all manner of praise.
In truth however, through no particular fault of his own, he was a little muted yesterday. The spirit was as willing as ever, as he buzzed hither and thither, and even when at a standstill his legs appeared slightly blurry with movement. Newcastle, however, had been up all night poring over their homework notes, with the result that they swarmed all over Son like he was a homing beacon, and for much of the game he was crowded out.
Mercifully, the chap is fleet of foot, and it is to his credit that he conjured from pretty much nothing a yard of space yesterday, and did not wait for a second invitation to leather the heck out of the ball.
Having flown around the world twice, and been out on his feet at the conclusion of the Newcastle match, Sonny’s contributions, particularly in the absence of Kane and Dele, have bordered on the super-human, injecting moments of inspiration when we have needed them most.
2. Vertonghen’s Exciting Day Out
Our Glorious Leader sticking to his principle that to play a wing-back in consecutive games would be madness of the highest order, and with Davies still absent injured and young Walker-Peters too dashed right-footed, there was a rare day out on the left flank for AANP’s close chum Jan Vertonghen.
As social experiments go it made for interesting viewing. Nature having decreed that any and all useful output should emanate from the chap’s left stem, he was at least appropriately balanced for left-backery. However, Vertonghen is a man of pretty lengthy proportions, sinewy and elegant, well-designed for tackle and stretch, and not necessarily the obvious pick for lung-busting runs along the flank, with chest thrust and muscles throbbing, a la Danny Rose.
It meant that the fellow did not necessarily look entirely at ease as he set about trying to make a fist of the role, life’s accelerations and bursts not coming entirely naturally to the chap.
Not that his team-mates gave the mildest hang about his travails, for the Player X-to-Vertonghen routine seemed a pretty well-rehearsed one, and pretty swiftly became the option of choice as Newcastle barricaded the various other routes to goal.
To his credit, Vertonghen beavered away as instructed, and while his crosses missed as regularly as they hit, he had a decent amount of joy, and gave our heroes a viable option throughout.
His eventual replacement by Rose nevertheless made sense as we switched to 3-5-2 in the closing stages, Rose being more genetically disposed to go hurtling down the flank. All told, the use of Vertonghen as left-back is probably not going to be nailed on for generations to come as the tactical ploy of choice, but for a random joust against a Newcastle mob set upon deep, deep defence it was at least moderately successful.
3. Llorente’s Impact, Again
Having lambasted Llorente whenever the opportunity has presented itself in recent weeks – and on several occasions when no such opportunity has existed, but the urge has simply become too strong – lovers of irony were in their element yesterday as I bemoaned the unfortunate egg’s absence throughout.
With our lot camped outside the Newcastle box, and the entire Newcastle lot camped within, the case for airborne crosses was pretty compelling, and the stage seemed set for Llorente to peddle his wares. Alas, the pairing of choice was Moura and Son, whose prowess on terra firma is unfortunately not matched by any particular renown in the air. A couple of decent headed chances popped the wrong side of the posts, and by and large we were kept at arms length by the massed ranks of Newcastle bodies.
Not to criticise Poch for this particular call, mind. Llorente has been used on a near-constant basis since Kane’s untimely departure, so there was some sense in rotating him out. And one might opine that the plan actually worked to perfection, given that the chap then set up Son’s goal when he was ultimately introduced.
4. Late Goals When Most Needed
So for the umpteenth time this season our heroes have come up with a late, late goal send us all home with a sentiment somewhere on the scale between relief and buoyancy. Much more of this and folk will start accusing us of having mettle and grit and not bottling our affairs.
More serene, comfortable victories would obviously be preferable, but I must confess to a little thrill at the manner in which we can now enter the final furlong still needing a goal but with an underlying sense that actually we might dashed well go and grab one from somewhere.
We almost certainly will not win a trophy this season, but it appears that another string is being added to the lilywhite bow, as we have now become one of those teams who can eke out goals in the dying embers.
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3 replies on “Spurs 1-0 Newcastle: Four Tottenham Observations”
You seem apt to omit the fact that Vertonghen is no stranger to the left back role having been successfully used there on a number of previous occasions for Spurs when require in the past. He also more notably has played in that position as a Belgian international also so this is not exactly a new scenario for him. That being said and given the energy and alacrity of Danny Rose’s recent performances I’m wondering why he’s not being picked with increasing regularity as both his impact and influence on the games he is playing in have been have been hugely positive.
In as far as your logic about rotating Llorent goes due to Kanes enforced absence, I’m just wondering why that same logic seems never to be applied to the latter as his effectiveness as our main striker does not always transpire with strong or convincing performances and in the manner he is so often publicly lauded for?
Indeed, re my best mate Jan, he practically emerged from the womb being capable of playing either centre-back or left-back, so no huge surprise in that respect. I suppose I raised an eyebrow because in these days of Rose, Davies and young KWP the thought of asking Jan to do that particular shift is precisely the sort of thing that makes a grown man raise an eyebrow, and observe with interest.
Llorente looks shattered after completing a six-yard trot. After running half the length of the pitch to celebrate on Weds the poor lamb desperately needed a rest.
Apology noted and accepted sir – and a favour in return please. This being my only direct avenue to the boardroom (who are surely avid readers), I’d like to use your platform as a conduit;
“Danny Boy. We do understand, funds must be flooding out the back door trying to get the stadium sorted and anyway we have a decent squad and you’re not a man to spend recklessly. All good but there remains an elephant in the room called Toby. IF NOTHING ELSE please just bung some money at him and get a commitment for another couple of years. The chap is the rock on which the Good Ship Tottenham has been built for a while now, I promise you’ll receive nothing but plaudits from us lot”.