Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4
Spurs. More clean sheets than a laundry.
I watched the first half by jumping from one dodgy internet stream to the next, thanks to connectivity issues and eventually settled on an English commentary for the second half (when my broadband decided to share some bandwidth). What did I see? Yet another enthused Tottenham performance. Okay so it was against a young mash-up of Villa players, but you can't deny the professionalism and the desire to get out there, play football and get the job done.
In prior seasons, second string sides played just like a second string. Disjointed, no true connection to any first team fluidity. What made things even more frustrating (in the past) was the fact the willingness to impress wasn't always evident - as a team. Whereas now, we have players that want to impress and a team that wants to win every game. Momentum and winning mentality...it is so much easier to attain when your second string isn't really a second string. Because a side with six or so 'first team players' should still be considered strong and should still hold high levels of expectancy.
And that's the beauty of squad depth. When we rest players (and we rested Soldado
Adebayor - with
Rose all injured) the players that slot into the side are neither deadwood or bench warmers. It's effective rotation that still manages to produce good persistent tempo and create an abundance of chances. Only three players started the game that started away to Cardiff. That illustrates just how strong we are.
Defoe scored a brace again (that's two goals in each of his three starts). Kane also started although we didn't shape up as a 442. JD upfront on his own, Kane on the left and Lamela on the right. Holtby in the Eriksen number 10 role with Paulinho and Sandro owning the midfield. The back four included a début from Chiriches and Fryers on the left.
Was impressed with Kane, got to say he looks much improved. Better mobility and not too bad on the ball. Didn't look out of place whereas in the past he seemed like a little boy lost. The kid is growing up.
Vlad started a little nervously, a touch untidy but he oozes confidence and loves bringing the ball out of defence. He also looks completely committed and determined. A more refined version of Dawson? We'll see, early early days.
Fryers was also competent. Considering I didn't expect to see him anywhere near first team football. Then again, our full-back positions remain the hottest talking points.
Loved Lamela. I'm actually okay if he slowly and gradually makes his impact. There's that traditional lack of patience and perspective that most supporters (of any club) possess where the moon on a stick is wanted immediately. With others taking the spotlight, that might work in his favour as he shifts towards a place in a league starting eleven. Could be vital for us post-Christmas, when I reckon he'll have found his Premier groove. Every time he's on the ball, the way he shapes up and moves, liquid silk.
Holtby continues to impress. His chipped Hoddleesque ball to Defoe was brilliant. Paulinho karate-kicked in the second goal just after half-time (a Holtby corner) and his hat-trick of assists late on with another sweet ball into the path of Defoe for the 4-0. Chadli scoring minutes earlier - all capping off a solid nights work.
Holtby and Eriksen might well share that position behind the front man but there's an interest from myself (and a few others) to see Holtby start (in place of Sigurdsson).
Think: Soldado up top. Eriksen behind. Holtby left, Lamela right.
As for JD, is he knocking on the door for a first team start? My opinion, he's better off the bench. In fact he's vital for us off the bench, thanks to that pace.
Kudos also to the greatest professional of them all, Brad between the sticks. When called upon, produced the goods.
Moment of the game was Vertonghen pulling down the pants of Helenius in the penalty box. The footballing Gods too busy laughing out loud to instruct the referee to award a penalty or dish out a red card.
I'm hoping all this good fortune and the clean sheets isn't being built up for those very same Gods to smack us back down to earth on Saturday with a more typical and accustomed 'back in your box' memo. Then again, as I cited post-Cardiff, this is brand new Tottenham. When something does go wrong, it won't be because of past indiscretions. It will just be a new problem that needs to be ironed out.
I'm just very content that we have actually endeavoured to look like a team in a cup game that is usually an afterthought for so many.
The team spirit is infectious.
Nine games. Eight wins. One defeat. Twenty scored. One conceded.
Hull City next up at home. Lovely draw. Welcome back Tommy Huddlestone.