Standouts

Ignoring the disallowed goal - which should have been allowed but wasn't because one official seemed to replace his vision with a day dream about offside rules and the other decided that it didn't warrant questioning and simply agreed with the raised flag - what else stood out as worthy highlights from our 2-1 home win over Sunderland?

Christian Eriksen and his late goals are reminiscent of Gareth Bale's although we are not completely reliant on our Danish midfielder in the same way Bale's influence was so imperative to us winning games. Spurs are more structured these-days. Eriksen is now so much more involved with the tempo of the game, finding space and looking to involve himself much more in and out of possession. Perhaps still light in the tackle, but positively hungry for the points when he fires in the winner.

One of the reasons we're still competitive towards the end of the game is thanks to Hugo Lloris and his composure between the sticks. Twice he produced 'match saving' stops. Easy to forget that these moments can be as important as the more glory enriched ones down the other end.

With Ryan Mason out injured and Nabil Bentaleb away on international duty, it was great to see Mousa Dembele and Benji Stambouli in the engine room of the side. Nothing too fancy or progressive, but bundles of focus and energy. Sunderland might not have offered too much in the competitive stakes but still, very nice to have our normally benched players perform admirably.

Shout out also to Eric Dier, in the team because of the absence of Federico Fazio, and playing in his natural centre-back position. We seem to be coping fairly well since the congested Xmas period. Andros Townsend (when subbed on) gave us width and should have been rewarded with a start after his performance in the cup.

Can't say the booing for Emmanuel Adebayor's return was great to hear. The issue is simply perspective. He's been unavailable due to personal reasons and his relationship with the fanbase is a fragmented on. Mainly as he retains such a chaotic presence at the club and is so erratic with form. I guess some fans are fed up with the wages paid and the flaky attitude. Ade still remains our best striker in terms of experience and ability. It's just impossible to know whether we'll get Jekyll or Hyde.

Roberto Soldado on the other hand continues to look a lost soul. He often resembles a gun-slinger in the wild west armed with a water pistol. You want him to find confidence but feel it's long since passed him by. He continues to get support but he's far too apologetic to discover a mean streak to his personality.

Kudos to Maurico Pochettino. We still need work on key areas, new players in and some out, but the team is well drilled and the spirit is evident. We have enough quality to see us through but still need another layer or two to truly consolidate.

A good solid win, with a few reminders it's not all perfect.

 

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