Sports

Ndombele, Son 8/10 as Tottenham move back up to fourth


Tottenham Hotspur reinvigorated their top-four hopes with a strong 3-1 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday afternoon.

Serge Aurier gave Jose Mourinho’s men the lead early on before Harry Kane made it two with a tidy finish just prior to half-time. David McGoldrick dragged United back into the game in the 59th minute, only for Tanguy Ndombele to restore their two-goal cushion just minutes later with a goal-of-the-season contender.

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Positives

The quick passing moves we saw from the visitors showcased the kind of confidence they had in themselves on the ball, and if anything, they should’ve had the drive to do that even more. Their work on the counter was strong, they had efficient and patient build-up play and they responded far better to the Blades’ goal than they have done to opponents scoring against them previously this season.

Negatives

At the beginning of the second half you could tell that Tottenham’s instincts were to sit on the lead in an attempt to protect it, and Sheffield United’s goal proved that’s a problem they still have to iron out. They left a few too many gaps at the back in the first half but did manage to solve that issue in the second, although set pieces are clearly still a blind spot for them.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Jose Mourinho certainly took a risk by leaving Dele Alli out of the squad altogether, but in terms of the actual starting XI, he seemed to get it spot on. There was clear room for experimentation which he’s been hesitant to indulge in the past, he used a defensive set-up to mask some of their more obvious frailties and he’s come to learn that his side needs to go for the kill when they have the opportunity to do so. In terms of his substitutions, he probably could’ve made some changes a bit sooner than he did.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 6 — The Frenchman held most chances that came his way, and while he is a bit suspect when the ball is put into the air, his distribution was really strong.

DF Joe Rodon, 7 — Tracked back well whenever he was required to do so, showed surprising pace, and continues to come across as a leader in waiting.

DF Eric Dier, 5 — His disciplined and ‘no-nonsense’ style of defending was undone by a mistimed header for the hosts’ goal that proves why he can, at times, be a liability.

DF Ben Davies, 6 — Often utilises strong positional play in an effective manner but was out-muscled too easily for McGoldrick’s header.

DF Serge Aurier, 7 — In what was the definition of a game of two halves for Aurier, he scored in the first before dropping his guard and being partially responsible for Sheffield United’s goal in the second.

DF Sergio Reguilon, 7 — His main highlight looked set to be a fantastic piece of skill in the 37th minute only for him to win the ball back brilliantly in the build-up to Tottenham’s third.

MF Tanguy Ndombele, 8 — Served as a far more natural fit just in front of the defence before chipping the ball delightfully over Aaron Ramsdale‘s head from an almost impossible angle to make it 3-1.

MF Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 8 — The Dane dictated the pace in the middle of the park, intercepted the ball before Kane made it 2-0, and avoided a yellow card to ensure he can play against Liverpool.

MF Steven Bergwijn, 7 — Does a solid job of holding the line off the ball, exploits space really nicely, and produced a fine assist with a chipped pass through to Ndombele.

FW Son Heung-min, 8 — Never stopped working from the first minute until he was substituted off in injury time, managing to secure an assist and play a key role in the second goal.

FW Harry Kane, 7 — Tottenham’s leader overcame being regularly fouled to get on the scoresheet with a strong effort that found the bottom corner.

Substitutes

DF Davinson Sanchez, N/R — Was given little more than a few seconds to help the clock tick down.

FW Lucas Moura, N/R — Was introduced late in the game to kill a few minutes and help see out the win for the North Londoners.

FW Carlos Vinicius, N/R — Vinicius wasn’t given enough time to make an impact after being brought on in injury time in place of Son.



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