Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea, Working Class Hero: Andros Townsend

Clive Rose

I doubt this is going to be an universally popular choice.

Though Andros Townsend could be rightly accused of having actively hindered Tottenham's attacking efforts in the matches leading up to this weekend's game with his profligate shooting, against Chelsea on Saturday he went some way towards making amends by serving only as a chance creator, and his efforts in this respect make him an easy choice for Tottenham's unsung hero award for the tie.

For much of the first half, Townsend had the beating down the right flank of Ashley Cole, (arguably) still England's best left-back, dribbling his marker once as well as also completing four other first-half take-ons against Frank Lampard, Oscar and Eden Hazard. OK, so Townsend knows how to make a nuisance of himself and move the ball into dangerous areas- this isn't exactly news to anyone who's followed his first-team development so far this season, and fan criticisms tend to centre more around frustration with his profligacy when he does manage to find some space in the final third. Against Chelsea, however, Andros surprisingly decided not to take even a single shot, possibly because he's become an active reader of the Cartilage Free Captain comment sections in recent weeks. Instead, he tried to make his presence felt on the day with simple but potentially devastating short inside passes, of which he completed 18 of an attempted 19. Two of these cut-backs were key passes and, had Paulinho not hit the post after Townsend had sprung him clear with a beautiful through ball, we might be celebrating Andros today as the man who laid on the match-winner.

My head tells me Andros won't be starting for Spurs by the end of this season, but his performance against Chelsea suggested that it won't be for a lack of trying. His successful curbing of his attacking impulses and finding of new ways to cause the opposition team problems will surely have pleased a manager known to demand that his players demonstrate more than one (immense) dimension to their game.

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