Well, that was a good showing. Tottenham Hotspur blitzed past South China FC in the third place match of the Barclay's Asia Trophy, winning 6-0 in a game in which they were never seriously tested.
Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick, and there were contributing goals from Clint Dempsey, Andros Townsend, and Own Goal. South China never really mustered much in the way of attack over the course of the game, although Brazilian Dhiego Martins played well, had a few decent looks at Spurs' goal, and forced a brilliant save at the end from Hugo Lloris.
Spurs fielded a strong side for the majority of this match. The first half they were ostensibly in a 4-3-3 that showed more like a 4-2-3-1 at times: Moussa Dembele and Scott Parker in the double-pivot with Gylfi Sigurdsson in front of them, swapping frequently with Clint Dempsey on the flank. In the second half Tom Carroll came in for Dempsey and Kyle Naughton for Kyle Walker, and Spurs showed a more rigid 4-3-3 with Siggy moving to the left flank. Zeki Fryers, Andros Townsend and Tom Huddlestone also got a run-out.
Spurs now return to England with a 1-1 record in Asia and possibly a few more answers to their lineup questions. With no Paulinho, Sandro, or Kaboul, we still haven't seen a first-choice side out there for Spurs, but we've now gotten some good looks at a number of depth players, and a pretty good indication of the tactics that AVB may employ.
-- That pitch looked equal parts sand and grass, and it was obvious that it was affecting the ball during play. Note to the EPL: matches in Hong Kong during monsoon season are probably not a good idea unless you plan to play them in a stadium with a retractable roof.
-- South China are not good. Still not sure how they held Manchester City to only one goal.
-- Danny Rose played quite well today. He was insightful on the left flank with some good forward movement, nice interplay, and some wonderful balls into the box. I was disappointed that we didn't see Benny Assou-Ekotto so we could get a direct contrast. Kyle Walker also had a strong first half from the right fullback position.
-- The midfield looked pretty good overall. Dembele looked solid as a box-to-box midfielder. Siggy played well both centrally and on the flank, though he clearly looked gassed at the end. Scott Parker... GAAAH. Put some tidy tackles in but still made some stupid forward runs and passes from the holding position that led to the midfield being completely exposed. I know it was South China, but a better team would've torched us for stuff like that.
-- We didn't really learn anything about our central defenders from this match. Caulker and Dawson had little to do. They got torched by Martins at the end, but that was with the game well in hand so they could be forgiven for being a little derpy.
-- TOM CARROLL, you guys. Tommy played well as the most forward of a midfield three. Had a few very nice forward through balls. Looked to be a bit out-muscled at times, but he's clearly added strength and bulk since last season. I want to see more from him this year.
-- Jermain Defoe played well, got his hat-trick, and had a nice assist to Dempsey for another goal, but he's clearly not the guy we want to lead the line next season. He's still got that poacher's instinct, though, and he'll be a very useful player for us. Curious that there wasn't another striker on the bench. Either AVB wanted Defoe to get 90 minutes today or Ade picked up a slight knock. Can we sign Soldado now?
-- Aaron Lennon was mostly anonymous today.