The Man of the Match award for Tottenham Hotspur's most recent Premier League match against Newcastle United sparked quite a lot of debate in the writers' room here at Cartilage Free Captain, but as a group we all finally settled on Andros Townsend on the player with the best performance for Spurs.
The other major contenders were Jan Vertonghen and Sandro. Both put in good performances, but, like the rest of the team were, fell just short when it came to this award. Townsend looked out of ideas in the first half of the game for Spurs as Newcastle seemed to be consistently double and triple teaming the winger in wide positions. This lead, especially early, to either dribbling into cul-de-sacs or launching his dreaded 35-yard shots that end up off target. Though he did create a chance on a lovely little pass to Christian Eriksen that the Dane should have done better with.
The second half marked a bit of a turn-around as he created another of Tottenham Hotspur's best scoring chances when he played Paulinho through only to have to Brazilian fire directly into Tim Krul from close range. Townsend even managed a shot from inside the box in the second half, which is certainly an improvement.
Andros completed four successful takeons during the match as well, unfortunately, he was also dispossessed a lot, particularly early when he was being paid such close attention. Townesend's defensive contribution resulted in 3 tackles and one interception.
This match showed a weird duality of Townsend. For much of the first half he looked like he had no idea with how to cope with being double and triple teamed. He didn't pick his head up and look for his teammates and instead turned the ball over. The second half he looked much better, though additional pressure from Spurs meant he wasn't facing as many defenders.
Townsend is a work in progress. Remember when Gareth Bale had that crappy run of form because he didn't know how to deal with being double and triple teamed? Remember how that worked out? Townsend still has time to grow and this match saw him make a little bit of progress toward the end goal.