Tottenham Hotspur took care of business on Boxing Day, defeating Norwich City 3-0 at White Hart Lane, ensuring that they keep ahold of fourth place in the table. Harry Kane scored a brace, and Tom Carroll got his first ever Premier League goal for Spurs.
Spurs walked out with the expected lineup to start the match. Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier started in the midfield pivot with Dele Alli in the #10 role behind Harry Kane. Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen made up the remainder of the attacking band, with Son Heung-Min again on the bench. Ben Davies again deputized for Danny Rose, who was not in the match day 18.
The match started out slow, as Tottenham matches sometimes do. Spurs enjoyed the bulk of the possession, but it was Norwich that had the majority of the early chances, with a few tame headers that were easily saved by Hugo Lloris.
Harry Kane opened Spurs account in the 25th minute. Dele Alli put a gorgeous through ball into a cutting Kane, and Norwich keeper Declan Rudd brought down Harry in the box for a penalty. Kane cooly converted the spot kick going right down the middle, and Spurs had the early lead.
Spurs nearly doubled their lead in the 35th minute: one play had headers by Alderweireld and Dele Alli saved by Rudd, and just a minute later Alderweireld had another free header off a set piece that went just wide right.
It was Kane himself who got the second. Dele Alli again fed the ball to Kane, who took a dribble on the right side before schooling former Spur Sebastian Bassong and slotting it in the left side of the net past Rudd. It was a vintage Harry Kane goal, and Spurs were in control the rest of the half, which ended 2-0.
The second half started with no changes for either side. Both sides started off somewhat tentatively, but as the half went on the action started to pick up. Lamela nearly had Spurs' third goal with a fantastic rabona effort from the top of the box but it was parried away by Rudd and Norwich escaped a highlight of the season worthy goal.
Norwich nearly had a breakthrough after Hugo Lloris clattered Jerome in the box. Hugo got the ball but also took out the player and was very lucky that no foul was called, as it very easily could've been a straight red and a three-match suspension for Lloris.
Spurs mostly kept the pressure on Norwich and the combination of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Eric Dier in midfield kept Norwich from being able to mount very many positive attacks.
Tom Carroll came on for Christian Eriksen late in the half, and it was he who broke through in the second half. Carroll got the ball in midfield and fired a wonderful dipping shot that skipped past Rudd and into the net to put Spurs up 3-0. It was Carroll's first Premier League goal for Tottenham, and it was a beauty.
Norwich did have a couple of chances to score, but Hugo Lloris played a great match, at one point making a double-save to keep the clean sheet. Spurs eventually brought Son Heung-Min and Nacer Chadli for Dele Alli Mousa Dembele, and it was enough to preserve the victory. Spurs easily saw off the rest of the match and the final score was 3-0.
- TOMMY FAHKKIN' CARROLL IS BETTER THAN PELE
- No seriously, that goal by Carroll was really good, and I'm so excited for him. He's played his way onto the team and into a reserve role, and has deserved it. This team has a lot of options in midfield, and Carroll has grabbed onto his chances with both hands. Everyone should be happy for Tom. Even Skipjack.
- Harry Kane continues to do Harry Kane things. It was mentioned in the writer's room that Kane may not get the over the top adulations compared to other strikers because he doesn't shoot "thunderbastards," but his work rate, hold-up play, and ability to place his shots with precision are so, so good.
- How did this Norwich team beat Manchester United at Old Trafford? Sheesh.
- Another calm, cool, and outstanding defensive performance from Toby and Jan today. I'm just never, ever worried about them back there, and it feels great.
- Dele Alli has at least one, and possibly two, more yellow card suspensions in him this season. Luckily, Spurs have a good number of options if he's out.
- Hugo had a great match today on his birthday, but he's very lucky he didn't get a straight red today. Yes he got the ball, but he trucked Cameron Jerome in the process. I've seen that given in the past.
- This win, combined with Leicester losing to Liverpool, means that as of today (and before Arsenal's match) Spurs are still in fourth and six points from the top. What a time to be alive!
- A trip to Watford is up next on Monday, and the HornetMooses are playing well, just three points back of Spurs. It'll be interesting to see what kind of rotation happens, if any.