Tottenham Hotspur have been under the radar of most football pundits as a contender for this season’s Premier League title. But today, against leaders Manchester City, Spurs proved that their challenge for the title will not be ignored.
Simply put, the Spurs squad passed the difficult test put before them in this tricky Champions League fixture in Moscow against CSKA. Without 5 first-teamers, Spurs did enough to take away 3 points from the Russian champions.
Unbeaten and up to second. All told, a very successful away day for Spurs. Manager Mauricio Pochettino tested his squad by resting key players Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele ahead of the tricky midweek Champions League tie in Moscow against CSKA.
Last time out in the Premier League, Spurs ground out a narrow 1-0 victory (over Sunderland) with alarm bells ringing out loud over injuries to Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele. Whilst Kane is definitely out with an ankle injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino will take a late decision on the fitness of Dier, Dembele and Danny Rose (suffering from a hamstring injury picked up on international duty).
I have to say that I was pretty much pissed off after this game. As usual, the ‘Special One’ had the last say – asking for Jan Vertonghen to get a retrospective three match ban – which was a pretty brilliant smokescreen. After all, nobody seems to be talking about how the Chavs should not have been given their equalizer to begin with.
As Mata floated the ball into the Spurs box, Ivanovic held and pushed Mousa Dembele into the box allowing Terry to ghost in onside and score easily. A clear foul – but somehow the issue is about Vertonghen? Ridiculous. And as the picture above shows, Torres should have been red carded much earlier for laying hands on Vertonghen. Typical Chavs misconduct.
Again, my prediction of a 1-0 win was proven correct. But for 90 minutes, it really looked like we were not going to get the three points we richly deserved. At the very end, the combination of substitutes Lewis Holtby and Erik Lamela provided the pass which Paulinho finished off with aplomb (a back heel no less). Cue pandemonium as the Spurs players celebrated wildly. And well they should as the victory had looked increasingly unlikely as the match wore on.
Spurs sit in third place going into this match, knowing that a victory will at least put them joint top (or even in the clear, if Arsenal is unable to beat Stoke earlier in the day). In midweek, Spurs strolled to a comfortable 3-0 win over Europa League minnows Tromso with goals from Jermain Defoe (2) and Christian Eriksen (an absolute stunner). And head coach AVB will be hoping that his new-look team will continue the good work of the last two games and maintain the good start to the season.