Saturday, November 26, 2011

West Brom 1 Tottenham 3

Tottenham maintained their unbeaten run with a hard-earned but thoroughly deserved win against an Albion side who made them fight all the wayAll square at half-time after Adebayor had equalised an early Albion strike, it took two late goals from Defoe and Adebayor to ensure the three points which consolidate Tottenham's third place, two points behind Manchester United with a match in hand.

West Bromwich Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
Scorers:  Mulumbu     Adebayor (2), Defoe   
Team: Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Parker, Sandro (Livermore), Bale; Adebayor, Defoe. Subs (unused): Cudicini, Gallas, Bassong, Pienaar, Fredericks, Kane 

Jermain Defoe
This is not a repeat of Monday's report on Emmanuel Adebayor but of his contribution to Tottenham's victory at The Hawthorns.  However, just as on Monday evening, Adebayor scored twice but could have had many more if he had been clinical in front of goal.  Tottenham were forced to make two changes to the team that has played in the last three Premier League games - Rafael Van der Vaart as had been expected hadn't travelled with the team due to injury but the absence of Luka Modric because of illness was a shock.  Sandro and Jermain Defoe came into the team.

Albion started brightly and were quicker to the ball, giving Spurs no chance to dwell on the ball or pick their pass.  However, the first moment of danger came when Sandro shot from the edge of the box and Foster fumbled the ball away for a corner.  Early Tottenham corners were cleared but then from a long ball from Foster Albion worked an opportunity with Mulumbu heading them into the lead after ten minutes.

Albion's speed to the ball was giving Spurs no time and their hustling style put the defenders under constant pressure and at times Spurs' defending was looking rather shaky with Kaboul who has been impressive in recent games finding life more difficult today.  Spurs were still looking dangerous when they put their passing game together but Albion knew they had to work hard to snuff out the danger.  Foster saved from a Lennon cross, then Sandro was booked for a foul challenge.

Spurs drew level following good work by Adebayor and Aaron Lennon.  Adebayor's flick released Lennon to run into the penalty area where he was brought down.  Adebayor took the penalty but Foster saved.  The ball came back to Adebayor who managed to score.

As the game approached half-time, it became quite feisty as first Sandro fouled Mulumbu who was booked for waving an imaginary card at the referee.  Then Albion claimed a penalty following a tussle between Thomas and Walker in the area.  Tottenham's defence came under pressure and didn't handle it comfortably with Friedel called upon to make a couple of saves - Albion even claiming he'd carried the ball over from a cross.  Foster again saved from Adebayor and Defoe had a shot blocked in the final minutes of the half.

After the interval Albion again started brightly but Tottenham were more prepared for this and didn't dwell on the ball as much - keeping their passing and movement at a higher tempo.  The defence coped better with Albion's hustling tactics and gradually Spurs began to create chance sand dominate but without getting a vital breakthrough. 

There was always a threat from Albion as they attacked at pace but Spurs coped and Friedel made some comfortable catches and saves. In the final twenty minutes Spurs increased their effort for another goal.  Adebayor had opportuniies saved or just wide, Defoe's shot was blocked as the game went from end to end.  With ten minutes remaining Spurs broke from defence, Adebayor on the left, released Defoe on the halfway line who raced towards the Albion area as defenders back-pedalled. From the edge of the he fired past Foster to give Spurs the advantage.

Albion made a final effort but Spurs were controlled and on the break should have added further goals through Adebayor and Bale before Bale got away again in the final minute and set up Adebayor for his second and Tottenham's third.

Spurs worked hard to overcome a very hard-working and organised Albion team who looked to put their opponents under pressure at every opportunity and attacked with pace and energy.  They will feel they could have taken something from the game but in the end this 'new' Spurs were able to produce what was required to take the three points for their second Premier League win at The Hawthorns and win their 100th away game in the Premier League.

Tottenham have consolidated their third place in the League and have reduced the gap on Manchester United to two points as they drew at home to Newcastle United.  Spurs have won nine of their last ten matches to give them their best start to a season since 1960 - 61.  They still have their match in hand and are showing an overall improvement of nine points in comparison with the similar fixtures last year.  Spurs are marching on and face PAOK Salonika in the Europa League on Wednesday evening with Bolton Wanderers the visitors to White Hart Lane next Saturday.


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