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Inside Lane: A Spurs fan’s view of the victory over Stoke

Aaron Lennon (left) returned to action with a goal against Stoke Aaron Lennon (left) returned to action with a goal against Stoke

Monday, December 30, 2013
11:05 AM

Tottenham blogger George Lacey gives his verdict on yesterday’s 3-0 home win over Stoke City at White Hart Lane.

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Tottenham’s 3-0 win at home against Stoke yesterday made it two wins from three Premier League games for our new head coach Tim Sherwood.

Boxing Day’s bore draw with West Brom at White Hart Lane was an anti-climax due to the ‘three points expectancy’ rule that Spurs fans always have at the Lane, especially against a side like managerless Albion.

However, yesterday’s performance meant Spurs fans will be smiling into the new year after a very positive display sealed an important three points.

Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon were both absent when we hosted the Baggies, but they returned against Stoke and they both scored, which made all the difference for us.

Lennon, who has struggled with injuries this season, was back to his best on the right wing and was a constant thorn in the side for Stoke’s depleted defence.

In truth the Potters didn’t really show up and, while they were missing key players in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and Robert Huth at one end of the pitch, they also struggled to pose a threat at the other end, managing just two attempts on Hugo Lloris’ goal compared to Tottenham’s 20 shots.

Personally, I have been impressed with Sherwood’s stubborn approach since his appointment on an 18-month deal last week. His decision to kick his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 formation into touch was a bold move and we are quickly reaping the benefits.

Spurs already look to have more steam in their strides in the 4-4-2 system and the re-birth of Emmanuel Adebayor seems to have rejuvenated the side as we reach the halfway point in the campaign.

However, with such a big squad, I wonder if Sherwood will continue to play two central midfield players as competition for places - particularly in the centre of the pitch - will only increase once Sandro is back fit.

We have tried the likes of Nacer Chadli and Gylfi Sigurdsson on the wings recently due to injuries, but it is clear they are not the answer to our problems.

The lack of pace and attacking intent from both Chadli and Sigurdsson has been frustrating to watch and the return of Lennon yesterday reminded us of his importance to Tottenham.

I relish the moment Andros Townsend returns as I believe that, with him and Lennon on either wing, Sherwood’s 4-4-2 system will operate most successfully.

Our season looked dead and buried after the 5-0 thumping by Liverpool prior to Villas-Boas’ sacking but, since that disaster, Spurs have shown resolve and are unbeaten in their three Premier League games under Sherwood’s leadership.

However, on New Year’s Day we take our decent form up to Old Trafford and face a rejuvenated Manchester United in what should be a cracker of a game, with both sides locked on 34 points after stuttering seasons so far.

If that isn’t exciting enough, three days later we travel up the Seven Sisters Road to the Emirates to take on our bitter rivals Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup.

On a slightly sour note, there has been much speculation about Jermain Defoe’s future at Spurs, with rumours circulating that he is on his way to Canada to play for Ryan Nelsen’s Toronto FC in Major League Soccer.

His absence from the Spurs bench yesterday further supported these claims. Could our all-time European record goal-scorer be about to call time on his Spurs career?

I for one would be gutted to see him leave, but he needs to play regular football and I doubt he’ll get that remaining at White Hart Lane.

Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeLacey_

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