Article by John Ellis at Wembley
Grab a copy of John’s fantastic World Cup diary – El Gringo’s Once in a Lifetime HERE
After the freezing cold weather of Wednesday night, in what felt balmy sub tropical temperature conditions of +4 degrees, the game kicked off at the once traditional but now almost extinct kick off time of 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Town made a first minute foray into the Spurs penalty area and a cross from the right threatened an early strike but a good interception from Serge Aurier snuffed out the danger.
A fourth minute mesmerising run from Son almost fashioned an opening and then within just a minute Kane crossed from the right but just out of reach of the on running Dele.
We seem to be in the midst of bizarre events at Spurs matches and today was no exception when in the fifth minute, an announcement came over the Wembley tannoy system asking if there was a qualified referee in the stadium! 68,311 fans immediately put their arms in the air!
Moments later, Dele returned the compliment to Harry with a left-wing cross which Kane couldn’t quite reach.
Spurs had made a fast start and the difference between these and the more ponderous starts seems to be down to the inclusion of Heung-Min Son. His direct running style acts as the catalyst for Spurs high tempo starts.
Another good Son run down the left led to the ball being played across the box to Aurier who couldn’t quite slip Dele in through the right inside channel.
A 16th minute corner dropped in the box but just not in the right place to be seized upon which was immediately followed by another excellent Son run and cross which Kane got on the end of and brought a good save from the keeper.
Spurs were in the mood and beginning to dominate proceedings. Eriksen’s free kick from just outside the box took a big deflection which wrong footed the keeper and struck the foot of the right hand post on the way out for a corner.
From the corner a lovely interplay involving Eriksen and Davies who somehow popped up on the right wing didn’t quite lead to an opening.
Alex Pritchard for so long a Tottenham prodigy started in a lively manner for Town and found pockets of space between Tottenham’s midfield and defence in good central positions. Many a Spurs fan was sorry to see Pritchard leave and having dropped into the Championship it is good to see him playing in the Premiership.
In the 26th minute, Dier fed Eriksen who combined well with Aurier before riding a challenge and shooting straight at the keeper. For all the inventive football and dominance in a bright opening spell, the scores were still frustratingly and a little irritatingly level.
Within a minute, that changed with another one of Spurs special moves. Kane chested down to Dele who sliced the defence open for Son to run clean through on goal, the keeper came out but Son waltzed round him to his left to score. From my seat, for just the briefest of moments, his shot towards the open goal looked as if it might just miss the target but it rolled into the bottom right hand corner to give Spurs a well deserved one goal lead.
On the half hour mark, Lloris was called into action with a comfortable diving save to his right.
Eriksen was in fine form and displaying his artistry and masterly control of a football. One minute he was spraying a magnificent ball from the left wing to Aurier on the right wing and in the next minute a beautiful ball out to Son on the left wing. Whether it be from a deep-lying role or in a more offensive attacking position, Eriksen showed his full repertoire of short and long-range passing. He was running the game to such an extent, it brought back memories of Luka Modric in a Spurs shirt.
In truth it was all a little too comfortable for Spurs and whilst enjoying such a spell of dominance, a second goal was still needed.
Dele exquisitely laid off to Kane and went for the return but the keeper was alert to the danger and came out to collect on the edge of the box.
Dele then passed to Kane who fired goal-wards but straight at the keeper.
By now Huddersfield were struggling to get the ball out of their own half. Spurs were pressing and winning the ball high up the pitch as epitomised by Vertonghen just before half time with a good interception which set up yet another attack.
Dier then crossed from the right wing but again without success. The expression of one way traffic came to mind but the cushion of a second goal was still needed.
Town had to make a second substitution before half time with the latter sadly being Alex Pritchard who was given a warm reception by the Spurs fans as he left the field.
As a pass comes towards him, rather than waiting until he receives the ball, Dele has the high quality ability to change his body angle and shape. This skill sets him apart and gives him that fraction of a second to outwit a defender as he did just before half time to earn Spurs a corner.
The half time whistle blew for what felt a mismatch of a first half. Town were neither attacking or defending and it had the air of being a romp in the park.
The second half started in much the same manner. A long period of possession and finally a well angled cross from the right wing by Dier was well directed towards Kane but a defender cut the cross out at the expense of a corner.
In the 51st minute. the ball landed to Son in front of goal but he couldn’t get his feet into position to shoot first time before being bundled over for what appeared to be a penalty. Where is VAR when you need it!
Within a couple of minutes, Huddersfield broke and fired their first real shot in anger which forced a good diving save from Lloris. A timely reminder of one goal leads never being enough. Having totally outclassed their opponents, Spurs would really kick themselves to succumb to such a sucker punch.
In the 54th minute, Kane ran down the right wing, looked up and put in a tremendous nigh on perfect cross which bounced once straight into the path of the oncoming Son who on the run directed his header back across goal into the far corner of the net for a quite superb second goal! The much needed two goal cushion was finally in place.
Harry Kane is becoming the complete footballer. Not content at being able to score any type of goal, he is taking his game to a whole new level with world class assists. The man is such a genius, he alone could carry England deep into this summers World Cup.
In the 57th minute Vertonghen seemed to head Spurs third but sadly it was ruled out for offside.
From the restart Aurler put in a strong tackle and after a few recent poor games was putting in a much improved performance.
Dier was revelling in being back in his preferred midfield position then put in a quite delightful through ball to Son who just couldn’t quite get there.
Another good Aurier tackle won a throw in which he took without incident. One can only wonder how many practice throw ins Pochettino put him through after last week’s embarrassment.
Davies was also having a very good game and put in a vital interception to prevent a great opportunity for the visitors. He has really blossomed this season.
In the 69th minute, another pass straight into the heart of the Town defence and a Kane lay off put Aurier through but he couldn’t finish the move off.
Another run at the Town defence freed Lamela but in a good position he dallied and the chance was gone.
For the second time in the half, a training ground routine was played out. Eriksen’s corner was played behind the attack between the penalty spot and 18 yard line, Kane came back out from the throng in the six yard box and his volley was just wide of the left hand post. It is good to see Spurs trying innovative ideas at set pieces. For those old enough to remember, it was a variation on the successful Anderton and Sheringham corner kick routines which brought a number of goals during the 1990’s.
Huddersfield pushed forward in search of a goal which would bring an unwanted and unwarranted stressful end to the game. Vertonghen did well to intercept and repel once such attack.
In the 90th minute a good run by Eriksen let in Lamela but he slowed the move down and only a corner was won.
The referee brought down the final curtain on a comfortable afternoon’s work for Tottenham. It was an ideal run out ahead of the Juventus return match.
Spurs are in a rich vein of form and unbeaten in their 17 matches since the 4-1 drubbing away to Manchester City in mid December.
With just nine Premier League games to go, this run of form has firmly put a top four place in our own hands. The reality though is for the Champions league anthem to ring out at the new stadium next season, this run of form will most likely need to continue right through to the end of the season.
Roll on Wednesday!