Tottenham Hotspur pulled out a late 2-1 win over Hull City at the KC Stadium on Sunday after Christian Eriksen netted a 90th minute goal, but it wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't pretty.
The first half was categorically awful for Tottenham. Spurs played decently for the first five minutes of the match and after Roberto Soldado had an early attempt blocked away by Hull keeper Allan MacGregor it appeared to be an open match that would suit Spurs' attacking mentality. But then in the 9th minute former Hotspur Jake Livermore got ahold of a loose ball a the top of the box and planted it in the bottom left corner to put Hull up 1-0. It was a flukey goal, but after that, the wheels fell off.
You could actually see Tottenham retreating back into itself for the rest of the half. Defensively, Spurs continued their recent spell of awful form. Fazio and Vertonghen were not a good match, and while both Eric Dier and Ben Davies were pushing high trying to make things happen, both were exploited by Hull's counterattacking. Were it not for Hugo Lloris making some fantastic stops, Spurs very well could've found themselves down 3-0 early on.
Tottenham had a couple of half-chances towards the end of the first half, but MacGregor was up to the challenges. Spurs went into the locker room down a goal at the half.
The second half, however, was a complete change. Spurs started the match with more purpose and with what looked like a semblance of an attacking structure and a tactical plan. The match turned dramatically in the 49th minute after Hull's Gaston Ramirez was sent off with a straight red card for a petulant and retaliatory leg-lock on Jan Vertonghen. Spurs instantly pressed the man advantage and it paid off in the 61st minute when Harry Kane scored his ninth goal in 10 Spurs appearances, tapping in Christian Eriksen's rebounded free kick that came back off the post.
Spurs continued to press high and take advantage of Hull's sudden frailty: Soldado pulled a good effort wide left in the 65th minute, and Kane got open in the box a minute later but directed his header just outside. Hull had a few decent chances late as Spurs were pushing up so high it at times let them open to the counterattack. However, Eriksen put the match away in dramatic fashion in the 90th minute, coolly slotting home his effort from just outside the box off an assist from Aaron Lennon and giving Spurs a badly-needed three points.
- A win is a win is a win, and Spurs dominated a ten-man Hull in the 2nd half, but the first half was completely horribad, marred by poor defending and a complete lack of vision. I love points, but this did not do much to encourage me heading into next week's match against Everton.
- After this performance, I'm ok with Vlad Chiriches being our emergency back-up RB until Walker's fit and Naughton's back from his suspension. As much as we have criticized Vlad for his poor performance and propensity to crazy runs in the box as a center-half, his inherent "David Luiziness" worked in his favor at right back. Dier was pretty bad today, but I'd like to see him in his natural position.
- What even is a Paulinho? He looked lost out there when he came in for Soldado, and the minute he came in for Roberto, Spurs lost almost all their attacking impetus. I'm fine with shipping him back to Brazil in January for 10p and a bacon sandwich.
- Pochettino's subs today (Chiriches for Dier, Aaron Lennon for Dembele, Paulinho for Soldado) mostly worked, though they felt weird at the time. I'm told that Soldado might have been subbed for picking up a knock.
- Mousa Dembele was... uh, not good today. Playing Stambouli alongside Mason might have provided a little extra cover for the back line. If you're going to play a match without a defensive midfielder, and I don't think that was necessarily a bad idea, it seems like it might be a better idea to experiment with bringing Eriksen back into that role alongside Mason. Or something, because Lordy, whatever that was didn't work.
- Can we play against 10 men every match for the rest of the season? I'm starting to think this could really help solve most of Tottenham's problems.