|Defoe scored and looked sharp|
Tottenham took only two minutes to silence the home supporters who had made Tynecastle an intense and intimidating place for Spurs ahead of the game. The home team could not respond in kind and allowed Tottenham too much time and space as they started the game at a high level of endeavour and skill. Rafael Van der Vaart put Spurs ahead after he worked his way through the centre of the home defence with a series of passes and a slice of luck thanks to poor defending. When faced with only the goalkeeper, he made no mistake. That was exactly the start that Tottenham needed in their first game of the season.
Early in the second half Hearts responded to their manager's half-time talk and immediately put Spurs on the back foot. This opening period was Hearts only time of dominance in the game. Tottenham found it difficult to clear from a series of corners and free-kicks and Heurelho Gomes was looking uncomfortable under the pressure. However, Tottenham survived and when substitute Tom Huddlestone played the ball forward it enabled Gareth Bale to get past the keeper to score number four.
Team: Gomes; Walker, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Livermore, Kranjcar, Bale (Townsend); Van der Vaart (Huddlestone), Defoe (Pavlyuchenko).
Prior to the game in the Europa League, there were a number of unanswered questions which were concerning Tottenham supporters. The emphatic victory over a disappointingly poor and uncompetitive Hearts team went some way to providing answers to a number of the questions.
Young players had an opportunity in this game and both showed up well. Livermore played throughout in a composed, competitive manner and he deserved his well-taken goal. He has developed since his disappointing performance in last season's Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal when he was substituted at half-time having looked out of his depth. Townsend replaced Bale in the second half but used the opportunity to show that he deserves more time in the team. On a couple of occasions he worked himself into shooting positions and he used his great speed to set up the break and a lovely pass which led to the final goal. An encouraging night for these young players.
Nico Kranjcar took the opportunity to show that he can play in central midfield. If Modric were to be transferred, Kranjcar would be a useful additional to the central midfield play. He worked hard and controlled the game, received praise from Harry Redknapp after the game for his performance.
The result was very pleasing, ensuring progress to the group stages, barring an unlikely miracle for Hearts, and will ease the pressure on Spurs' difficult opening to the season. The manager should be able to use squad players for the second leg ensuring that the best players are ready for the home game with Manchester City on Sunday week. The matches in the group stages will also allow some of the youngsters to get valuable European experience, vital if their development is to progress.
The performance was excellent and all the players looked confident and the movement and passing was crisp and accurate throughout the team. That five different players scored is a bonus and will boost their confidence for more demanding games in the coming weeks.