Reorganized West Brom frustrate tame Spurs
Reorganized West Brom frustrate tame Spurs. With both sides desperate for a win, the 1-1 result of the fixture tells an interesting tale. Tottenham Hotspur following a defeat to rivals Arsenal, and West Bromwich Albion
The stalemate may have been the better result for both sides but a disappointment for The Lilywhites. Spurs are now 10 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
Rondón finds the net
In what can be said to have been a mistake from Dele Alli, Jake Livermore dispossessed his countryman. He powered forward and slipped the ball to Salomón Rondón. Rondón stood strong against the usually impassable Davinson Sánchez, and trickled the ball into the net, past a sleeping Hugo Lloris.
It was a goal against the run of play, and precisely what The Baggies needed. They then resumed their familiar defensive play, filling the Spurs goal area, with at times nine players. They relied on their organization and grafting. West Brom seemed more like they were in their defensive good times.
Caretaker manager Gary Megson it seems, set the side up like a West Brom side of old. Organized, and stronger defensively.
Spurs, returning from the Champions League Group H winners against Dortmund, were slow and idealess for the most part. Usual playmakers Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen both struggled. Both looking for ideas amongst the ever surrounding defenders.
The usual Spurs attack was failing from midfield area, with only Heung-Min Son making any impact, ldribbling around defenders, and breaking forward to create half chances, only to find yet more bricks in the West Brom wall.
Though Tottenham enjoyed 68% of the possession in the first half, they made little real impact and a change was necessary. The most noise was coming from the Spurs fans, angered by goal keeper Ben Foster‘s now obvious time wasting. At least three or four times, he held on to the ball, fans booed only for the referee to ignore what was clearly bad sport.
A game of two halves
After the break, it was clear to see that Mauricio Pochettino’s men were given a strong talking to. Spurs came out from the break full of fire, pressing high. Looking more themselves, and played their familiar first touch quick paced football.
However, the West Bromwich bus soon found a parking space, and firmly held on. Pressuring the key players for Spurs languishing midfield. Gareth Barry was immense in being a nuisance to the opposition, getting in the way of their attacking play.
The hour mark saw the first substitutions being made as Spurs looked to their bench for inspiration. Jan Vertongen came off for Fernando Llorente, while Harry Winks made way for Mousa Dembélé.
Mousa makes a difference
These players had an immediate impact as Dembélé was able to barge his way through the midfield line of West Brom. Llorente went up top as the target man which allowed Harry Kane a bit of space, but again, he failed to connect a few chases, as in previous appearances.
It didn’t take long West Brom to respond with two changes of their own. Samuel Field made way for James McClean and Jay Rodriguez came off for Hal Robson-Kanu in the 67th minute of the match.
Pochettino made the smarter move as both substitutes had an immediate impact on the match. There is no doubt that Mousa Dembele, bosses the midfield, taking the reins from Christian Eriksen, allowing him more creative space, which today, sadly, was put to little use.
Spurs pressed on, trying to get in to the area among the nine West Brom defenders, seeking the equalizer, eventually coming in the 74th minute. Alli drifted wide on the right, and put in a cross which found Kane, who slotted the ball home. It was the usual low finish, tapped in between the goalkeeper’s legs.otnot goal of the month, but enough to wake up the dormant Wembley.
Spurs were level and went in search of a winner as West Brom continued their stern defensive display. To the astonishment of the Wembley crowd, Foster continued his time wasting. This time though, to a roar louder than the home sides’ goal, he was booked for time wasting. The game ended as level as it started, much to the disappointed Spurs fans, who didn’t come for a draw.
Three days to the next fixture
If a man of the match had to be chosen for either side, it would have to be Gareth Barry for West Brom. He was immense in shutting down the creativity and attacking threat of Spurs.
Heung-Min Son was the most creative and threating player for Tottenham Although Kane scored, Son was on fire for most of the match and won 10 out of 13 duels he was in.
Bad Day at the Office for Eriksen
The most disappointing player on the pitch was Eriksen, completing only the odd successful pass. He showed nothing of the electric form shown in his recent hatrick. Winning the game for Denmark against the Republic of Ireland, he was the kingpin. Today he disappeared into the shadow of Alli, who had a better half. It was a surprise Eriksen he played the full 90 minutes.
The Premier League fixtures come hot and fast in December, but it will be only three days to both these side’s next matches. Both play on Tuesday and will look to recover from this tie quickly and with very little battle scars.
Spurs are away to Leicester City, who recently drew 1-1 with struggling West Ham United. West Brom host a struggling Newcastle United site and will look to win that tie. If the theory of a Champions League hangover is true, Spurs will need a result on Tuesday.
Megson seems to be the ideal caretaker manager for The Baggies. At least as for today, he got the best out of a West Brom side that needs much improvement.