3 Players Worthy of MotM Against Stoke
On Saturday, Mark Hughes used his press conference as an opportunity to reassure Stoke fans that his side had ‘improved markedly’ since their 4-0 home thumping against Spurs in September. ‘I would be very surprised if the result was the same’, he said, not so much tempting fate, as pulling down his trousers and waving his gizzards at her.
By the time Jonathan Moss had blown the final whistle on Sunday afternoon, after a mercifully short one minute of injury time, Hughes had been proved correct. Everyone was astonished by the final, duplicated result. How on earth was it only 4?
Here’re some Man of the Match candidates for Spurs:
Well done, Captain Obvious. You’re really nailing the analysis here. One assist and a second hat-trick in 7 days for Chingford’s favourite son. His third treble in his last 9 games. The critics’ (and pretty much everyone else’s) choice for MOTM.
Kane was quick to acknowledge the amount of fortune involved in goal number three of the day, almost as quick as he was to take to the pitch and wrestle the match ball from the officials, lest anyone tell him the DGP had awarded the goal to Peter Crouch. It was his sizable frame that redirected Kane’s worm-burner, past the helpless Lee Grant. Old habits, die hard, clearly.
No chance happenings for his second, though. From Christian Eriksen’s out-swinging corner, Kane unfurled a technically immaculate left-foot half-volley, through Wanyama’s legs and into the side netting. Grant, again, couldn’t do a thing.
Points deducted for attempting the same free kick-kick routine with Eriksen a few minutes later. Even Stoke’s knucklehead defenders couldn’t be hoodwinked again. Points won back for his unselfish hand in Dele Alli’s 14th of the season.
This wasn’t ever going to be a game in which the Dane would silence his detractors; those of the opinion that he goes missing on the really big occasion. Despite Mark Hughes’ attempts to convince us that they’re an improved side under him, Stoke are not one the game’s great ambassadors. They’re no Gent.
Ropey opposition aside, Eriksen was a delight. At the thick of everything good that Spurs managed in the first half. Recycled possession in dangerous areas and continually looked for openings into the box and out wide. Tailed off in the second half, because, hell, why not?
Last week, Kyle Walker had a go at trying to recreate one of Glenn Hoddle’s masterpieces from his extensive collection; the famous swivel-and-dink against Watford from 1983. While there was no such exquisite finery on show against Stoke, it was another barnstorming afternoon for the Spurs fullback. Like many of the stand-out performers, the majority of his influence was confined to the first half.
Spurs’ formation change after Harry Winks replaced Jan Vertonghen, to a flat back four, put something of a parachute on Walker’s attacking instincts, but for the opening forty-five minutes, with the shackles off, we were reminded exactly why he might be the best right-back in the land. You won’t find any arguments from me.
Tottenham into 2nd.