Friday, August 26, 2011

Totenham Progress to Europa League Group Stages

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Heart of Midlothian  0 (Agg. Won 5 - 0)

As expected Spurs reached the Group Stages of the Europa League as a youthful side saw out a scoreless draw against Hearts.  Both managers made numerous changes to the teams who played last week and by the end Tottenham were glad to reach the next stage without overly exerting themselves while Hearts was satisfied to have restored some pride with this performance.

Hearts had an early strike against the bar and Tottenham's opening attempt on goal saw Roman Pavlyuchenko bring a save from the Hearts keeper following good work from Harry Kane.  The young striker had brought the ball across the edge of the penalty and was just preparing to shoot when Pavlyuchenko pulled rank and fired in the shot.  A further run from Kane brought a shot across goal and then came his big moment.  He received a lovely pass from Tom Carroll in the penalty area and when  the goalkeeper brought him down the referee awarded a penalty.  Kane stepped up to take it himself but his shot was saved as McDonald dived to his right.  I hope in years to come young Mr Kane will not be thinking, 'If only.'

Both teams played out the second half without creating too much danger, although Carlo Cudicini had to be alert on a couple of occassions.

Team: Cudicini; Corluka, Dawson (Kaboul), Bassong, Townsend; Fredericks (Krankjar), Huddlestone, Livermore (Nicholson), Carroll; Kane, Pavlyuchenko.

Making an Impression

Tom Carroll made his debt and worked tirelessly throughout and was always wanting the ball and was the outstanding performer of the young players on view.  He seems to be quite pacy and played with confidence throughout, dropping deep to collect the ball and looking to make forward passes.  His passing and movement were good and he covered a lot a ground.

Andros Towsend played at full back with a freedom to attack down the left which he did willingly.  He started brightly and caused problems for the Hearts defence but he faded as the game went on as defenders frequentlty dispossessed him before he could do any damage or his cross failed to reach a white shirt.  He needs to improve his final ball although it was difficult for him last night in trying to play in two positions.

Ryan Fredericks also making his debut, showed good pace on the right side of midfield and looked dangerous when running with the ball.

Jake Livermore had another composed game in central midfield with younger players around him.

Jake Nicholson in his first senior appearance, played for the last fifteen minutes in midfield and seemed comfortable in possession and willing to work for the team.

Harry Kane was the player many were wanting to see, having heard good reports of his goal scoring for youth and Spurs XI sides.  In his debut, he worked hard and showed a willingness to cover back to help in defence.  Even in the final minutes of added time he came back to help out and having won the ball in the penalty area, he set off up the field.  He had little support from Pavlyuchenko and few chances on goal.  He created more for Pavlyuchenko than the Russian international did for him.  He seems willing to learn as he showed early in the game.  Corluka bawled him out for not moving onto a through ball but after that he made himself available with runs into space to receive the pass and from one he got behind the defence to shoot across goal.  He also looked to Cudicini for guidance when he went back in defence to defend at a corner, ascertaining where the keeper wanted him to stand for his defensive duties.  After that at every free-kick and corner he took up his delegated position.  He should benefit from this experience and be stronger the next time.

Tottenham can now look forward to the draw to see who they will meet in the next stage of the Europa League.


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