A Gylfi Sigurdsson double proved to be the difference between a dominant Tottenham side and a identity stricken Norwich eleven on the surface, but in fact, it was the solid team effort which we were warned would not come so quickly which should be the main talking point following the 2-0 win.
Andre Villas-Boas made two changes to the side which narrowly lost to Arsenal a fortnight ago. Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue made way for Gylfi Sigurdsson and debut star Christian Eriksen, who played in the number ten role of the 4-2-3-1 system, with Paulinho and Mousa Dembele holding in the middle of the park.
This game had three solid performers for the home side who were all influential in the win: Rose, Sigurdsson and Eriksen.
Sigurdsson played on the left side of the midfield, where he was able to drift inside and get his shot off with his stronger right foot, resulting in three of his four shots finding the target. The former Swansea star also finished the game with a 92% pass success rate, only bettered by our second solid performer of the day, Danny Rose. The left-back had his best game in a Spurs shirt, making the most tackles (3), blocked shots (2) and interceptions (3) in the Spurs squad, as well as making 4 clearances during the game; only bettered by Dawson and Vertonghen.
Eriksen was also highly influential in the game, making the assist in the first half which led to the first Tottenham goal from open play in the league this season. The Dane created 3 chances during the game with 90% of his 51 passes successfully finding a team-mate. What was crucial for Spurs however is the fact that the playmaker made 54% of his passes in the final third of the pitch, something which was severely missing last season.
However, Hughton’s defensive formation of a 4-4-1-1 actually proved to be a success to a large extent. The two banks of four ensured that the central midfield trio of Dembele, Eriksen and Paulinho had to find spaces between the gaps which last season was so hard to do so. But, the away side were so overwhelmed in the midfield area that Ricky Van Wolfswinkel was forced to drop to make it a 4-6-0 formation, completing the game with 3 tackles; only bettered by Fer, Snodgrass and Whittaker.
The away side were also successful in limiting real opportunities for Spurs. Mainly highlighted by Andros Townsend who shot on sight of goal. The Englishman fired 9 times with only 3 landing on target. Norwich only managed 5 shots the whole game with 1 landing on target, another sign of the solid defensive work of the home side which began this season cumulating in three clean sheets and only one conceded goal out of four games so far.
An unsung hero at White Hart Lane was Danny Rose, whose pace and perseverance ensured that Norwich’s game-plan of hitting Spurs on the counter was foiled. Norwich used the speed of summer signing Nathan Redmond to pose a threat during dominant Tottenham spells of possession, completing 2 successful dribbles which was the highest number for the Canaries. The winger was also the only Norwich player to successfully cross the ball for the away side.
Overall, a very solid performance from Spurs which will give the fans a lot of hope heading into the next few weeks. With the integration of Erik Lamela, further displays of creativity from Eriksen and the return of Aaron Lennon still to come, there’s a positive atmosphere coming out of White Hart Lane ahead of vital Premier League clashes against Chelsea and West Ham creeping up.
Name – Matt Davis
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