December 10 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent, at White Hart Lane
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Premier League: Tottenham 2 Norwich 0
Christian Eriksen lit up White Hart Lane with a classy debut, playing a key role in both of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goals as Tottenham romped to a 2-0 home win over Norwich. Andre Villas-Boas had stated in the build-up to the game that his new-look squad needs time to gel – something that was evident in the defeat to Arsenal before the international defeat.
However, there was no sign of any incoherence today as Tottenham strode to a highly impressive victory with a well-rounded team display.
It was Sigurdsson who scored the decisive goals, slotting home from Eriksen’s through ball in the 28th minute before converting Paulinho’s low cross early in the second half, but Spurs’ head coach will have been delighted by the contributions of so many players - and especially the way they all worked together.
The signs were there from the start as Jan Vertonghen played an early pass forward into Roberto Soldado’s feet and he moved the ball wide to Andros Townsend, who teed up Sigurdsson - and the Iceland international whipped the ball over the bar.
Townsend then cut onto his left foot and sent a fizzing 30-yard effort wide – and Eriksen went close to a stunning solo goal, waltzing past two men and forcing a low save from John Ruddy. Soldado nearly finished the follow-up with a backheeled effort but the former Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong blocked the effort on the line.
There was a brief lull in the action, and it seemed that Norwich were beginning to get to grips with their hosts, but midway through the half Mousa Dembele turned away from two men in the box and pulled the ball back for Soldado, whose first-time strike hit Bassong and flew behind for a corner.
Spurs deserved to be ahead, and they broke the deadlock in the 28th minute with a fine team move.
Dembele swept the ball left to Danny Rose, who delivered a cross into Soldado. The Spaniard knocked the ball back to Eriksen, who fed the ball in behind the defence, and Sigurdsson appeared in the box to finish into the bottom right corner.
The exhibition continued as Spurs’ central midfielders combined, with Dembele backheeling the ball into the path of the onrushing Paulinho, and Townsend then hit another long-range effort at Ruddy.
Norwich threatened briefly as Nathan Redmond delivered a low cross from the left, and Ricky van Wolfswinkel looked certain to score at close range, but Rose managed to slide in and get a foot to the ball with a brilliant sliding block.
Despite that scare, it was Tottenham who finished the half on top as Kyle Walker and Townsend played a neat one-two. Soldado got across his man to flick on Walker’s cross, which was too far ahead of Sigurdsson for him to apply the finish, but Rose came in around the back – only to lash his powerful effort high and wide.
Despite the first-half performance, Villas-Boas cut a frustrated figure on the touch-line, seemingly feeling that his side should have been more than one goal ahead.
He got his wish shortly after the restart as Eriksen found Paulinho on the right side of the box and the Brazilian delivered a deadly low cross for Sigurdsson to knock home at the back post.
Sigurdsson was going for his hat-trick and he forced Ruddy into a save with a 25-yard effort, while Rose beat his man and whipped in a low cross which Bassong just managed to cut out ahead of the incoming Soldado.
The Canaries skipper was nearly the villain a few minutes later as his pass out of defence was intercepted, creating a chance for Townsend, but Ruddy saved his captain’s blushes.
Tottenham survived a scare at the other end as the ball fell to Van Wolfswinkel in the box, but he was denied by Rose for the second time in the match as the left-back threw himself in front of the ball to make a goal-saving block.
Eriksen departed to a standing ovation as Villas-Boas made all three of his substitutions, introducing Lewis Holtby, Sandro and Erik Lamela – and he was nearly made to regret it.
Hugo Lloris had been a spectator for most of the game but, with five minutes left, he raced out to punch a ball that was just outside his box.
Fortunately for Spurs, the Frenchman escaped with a yellow card when a sending-off would have forced an outfield player to play between the sticks for the finale.
There was to be no late comeback though as Spurs banked the three points that had eluded them in both of last season’s league matches against Norwich.
The Lilywhites now turn their attentions to Thursday’s Europa League group match with Tromso at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Paulinho, Dembele (Lamela 82), Townsend, Eriksen (Holtby 70), Sigurdsson (Sandro 79), Soldado.
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