Talking of Eriksen, a nice symbolic moment when he scored the goal with Modric being the only Madrid player trying to stop him. A bit like Eriksen showing him that he is no longer missed. I almost felt sorry for Modric at that point !
To be honest, I feel pretty similar tonight to how how I felt after the last game at RM. There were some fabulous performances out there tonight, some interesting tactical application by Pochettino for sure, absolutely superb defending and several pieces of excellent attacking play. I have to give Poch credit for identifying the areas where we could win this game - front and back - and making sure our game played to those strengths, but I can't help feeling that RM contributed massively to their own downfall, an uber team should be much better without the ball than they were tonight. This was an incredible night, a fantastic result, but RM also got beat, deservedly too, by Girona at the weekend, and that's not their first set back this season in La Liga either. This RM team is not tactically at it. In the last 5 years, there hasn't been a better time to play RM than right now.
I think the team selection was pretty much bang on. You could make a strong case for Son to start instead of Alli, especially the way we were going to play, but no grumbles with Alli starting, he's looked like he's getting back on it last few games.
Alderweireld going off didn't really adversely effect the defence, Dier moved back and pretty much did a faultless Alderwerield impression. Unfortunately the same can't be said of the midfield. Sissoko is an awful footballer, technically deficient with the ball, clumsy without it. As a result, we never really had another spell like we did in that first 20 minutes or so in terms of starving them of the ball, knocking it around etc, I appreciate that was not necessarily ever the biggest part of the game plan, but there were times when it would have been fucking handy to be able to do it, there were phases, especially at 1-0 when the game got way to open and end to end ping pongy and who knows, with better midfield control we might have even been capable of hurting them even more, playing with Sissoko is a bit like playing with ten men in a footballing sense.
I think we edged our way into the game and by the time we scored it actually wasn't against the run of play, we'd actually started to knock the ball round and play football. It's kind of fitting of this team that it starts by Kane hounding a defender out of what should have been a lost cause. Ba bing ba bing, ba bang ba bang, Winks picks the ball up centrally well inside their half and plays a lovely Modric-esque ball which took Marcelo out, then Trippier, who'd already rehearsed the same ball 5 minutes previously then hit another peach of a cross, and Alli had learnt from the last time, gambled and went in where it hurts to prod it home. It was a lovely bit of flowing football, graft, wit, craft and guile.
All three centre backs were outstanding but my Man of The Match goes to Sanchez, I thought he was fucking marvellous, constantly in the right place defensively, quick to read danger, but also calm on the ball out of defence too. Best performance in a Spurs shirty to date. Vertonghen was superb again, made a couple of outstanding last ditch challenges, and all three were so cool under pressure. Having three CB's that can play out is absolutely fundamental to how we have beaten teams like Dortmund, Liverpool and now Madrid. There is no way we win that game without the outstanding performances of the three centre backs both defensively, but also in terms of their composure and ability to play football too.
And the second goal starts from Dier playing out, springing a counter, a clever dummy by Eriksen who then also sprints to make a run for Alli which helps create an overlap that Alli uses to good advantage, fainting, putting the defender on his arse, then takes punt, gets a lucky deflection and we are 2-0 up.
The third goal was a wonderful flowing counter attack, which proved conclusively that for counter attacking football it's heads up quick brains that are more important than heads down quick legs. Started by the excellent Winks, this time picking the ball up on the edge of his own box from out of the malaise, head up, perfect pass vertically to Alli, Alli drops a shoulder, glides past his marker, head up, releases Kane with the perfect pass, Kane doesn't even take a touch, allows the ball to roll into his path, head up, plays the perfect ball into the path of Eriksen, head up, slot home. It was a rapier sword through the heart of a leviathan, the moment the dream became a beautiful reality and a dystopian nightmare for Real.
Kane, Alli, Winks and Eriksen all played major supporting roles. All worked hard for the team, provided key moments of wonderful inspiration.
Make no mistake, despite the current frailties of this Madrid side, they are still a powerful beast, and this was still an outstanding performance, one of the outstanding performances.
Lloris - Decent enough.
Trippier - Remember when selling Walker was a catastrophe ? No, me neither. Defensively not entirely foot perfect, but offensively damn good.
Sanchez - Outstanding game from the kid. Read everything, quick into everything, calm on the ball. Mt MOTM
Dier - Excellent game. Didn't notice TA was gone.
Vertonghen - Another superb game, couple of vital challenges, cool on the ball.
Davies - Let a few too many crosses get over for my liking, but apart from that very good.
Winks - Considering the type of game and the role he was asked to play from 20 minutes on, i.e. be the central mainstay off which everything hubs, in a game where we aren't going to dominate the ball, which he'd much prefer doing, he came through with flying colours. Pivotal and vital creative contribution to two of the goals, worked his nuts off and held a pretty flimsy looking midfield together.
Eriksen - Not one of those games where Eriksen is the metronomic hub of everything, this was tactically a different type of game, by design, not a game where our metronomes were ever going to be as metronomic as theirs, but he was superb, crucial part in one goal, cracking finish for the third, always involved (saw as much ball as Winks for example). A very good game.
Sissoko - Ran around quite well.
Alli - Damn good game. Key role in all three goals, worked hard, seemed to have that naughty smirk back on his face.
Kane - Led from the front. The first goal emanating from his sheer hunger and desire. Brilliant pass for the killer third goal.
Trippier is getting a lot of deserved votes, but the reason he had some many opportunities was because of Kane, Dele, Eriksen and Winks. For me, they were all extremely good along with all of the CBs. Too many to choose from for me to pick one MOTM.
MOTM: Half an hour in, I thought Sanchez looked good for it. All the players were various levels of good*, but, for me, it has to be Verts.
*Apart from the Moosers for various levels of obvious.
Moment of the Match: Sissoko's miss-kick that somehow set Kane up. He is like a fabulously awful mascot, so inept that we only play him because we only need ten players to beat teams (or summit)
Twat of the Match: Ronaldo for being such a sulky bad sport twat that he walked straight down the tunnel without staying out to shake hands with the victors or, y'know, maybe support the supporters who paid and traveled to watch you being shite. Twat.
Sad Feck of the Match: Me, for watching all of the punditry and then hitting replay to re-watch the entire game again - not to get any wonderful tactical insights, just for pure enjoyment
N.B. The Goons celebrated because Spurs got drawn in the Group of Death - Spurs qualified for the last sixteen with two games to spare LoL
Wonderful performance and a coming of age for me. This team has had issues with self belief and in the past; it has been too easily turned when performances haven't gone its way. We are now approaching games where we want to take them by the scruff of the neck, early doors, like the best Ferguson sides have done in the past. Get the job done early. Kill 'em off quick smart.
The most impressive thing tonight was the team spirit, the confidence to take Real on and the individual cameos that took place showing our lads now realise they can put the best to the sword. Playing against Ronaldo with such a high line requires some chutzpah!
If there was a MOM it has to be from defence which was so resolute and in particular one of Dier, Sanchez and Verts should get the nod. So hard to distinguish here but I have to go for Verts who was commanding, instilled confidence and rarely put a foot wrong. Dier and Sanchez weren't far behind really. Kudos to Dier who had to step in for Toby and did wonderfully all night in beast mode. This performance was really built on a solid back 3.
I love how Harry Winks is growing as a player right in front of our eyes. He doesn't stand out - he just does his job like a typical MF metronome - passes, retrieves, passes and he does it so well. I cant believe a 21 year old with so few first team appearances can waltz into a CL game with Real and boss the MF like he does.
A wonderful performance from Mr Kane as well. He obviously didn't want to run too much, often he took up positions on the wing drawing defenders away from the center and allowing Dele through but his vision and passing was sublime putting Real under enormous pressure at times. Eriksen played within himself, he was disciplined ensuring we maintained shape for the most part but there were key moments in the game where he drifted away and left Davies exposed. His breaking run and anticipation for the third was superb however and his ability to take up dangerous positions had Madrid's MF in two minds all evening. Dele was majestic at times, his reading of play is uncanny and his ability to arrive for the pass at the right moment is a rare gift. He had a mixed game with some brilliant periods and others where he faded from view but he took his goals well and could have had a hat trick.
The two full backs had strong games. Trippier almost won the game on his own in the first half hour. Some of those passes were unplayable and he held his own defensively. Davies coped well with Real offensive threat but played on through injury and he looked down and out at times but stayed on. Lloris didn't have that much to do and apart from the save to Ronaldo I thought Hugo was commanding in the area and communicated well with the back three. Sissoko had his usual game of moments of brilliance mixed with dire awkwardness and clumsiness which makes you want to cover your eyes. The missed shot was comedy gold.
Real are going through a bad patch but they are a team of talented individuals and no pushovers. I think we stopped them playing and frustrated them as we took the game to them with the aggressive high line. This was bravery and courage and for a young team like ours, its shows the maturity that they could pull it off against a team like Real. An 8 out of 10 for Poch as he read the way that his adversary would line up and countered beautifully with a game plan that made good use of his players skills. A great confidence building result and a wonderful platform to build on for the rest of this season. We could have more including a dead set penalty for handball.
Some of the individual cameos from the game are brilliant. Winks vs Kroos and Modric. Sanchez and Dier vs Ronaldo. Dele vs Casmiero. Kane vs the Real defence. This is a game made for rewatching with a nice glass of wine or a cold beer. A glory glory night indeed!
Star ratings all round! I gave Motm to Alli, just ‘cause when he plays like that, and his head’s in the game, good things happen, defences get pulled all out of shape, because he’s running into all the right spots, and being a constant threat…we tend to score, and he’s still on top of his pressing and defensive duties. He had a great game.
Thought both Winks and Sanchez were immense…our youngest players. Winks literally controlled the middle of the park for most of the time he was on the pitch. Think that was key to our success in the game. He just put us on the front foot, throughout the first half especially.
Winks showed yet again, he has everything required on the biggest stage, confident receiving the ball under pressure, getting space for himself, seeing and executing a pass, and driving forward when he sees a gap. Love his development!
Spurs 3 Real 1…only neg rating is we shouldn’t have given them their goal!
Think he was our player of the year last season too. Everyone wanks over Toby, but Vertonghen to me is and has been since last season on another level. Deserves to be noticed more.
That said I voted for Trippier tonight, he was an important outlet and his crossing first time was immense. That cross field ball from Kane which he put in the box first time was ridiculous...he may have his faults but there's not many wingers in the world that could do that or happily attempt it. Tripps has serious tekkers, his crossing and passing is up there with the best.