Harry Kane scored two goals, his 25th and 26th in all competitions, and Tottenham survived a late flurry as Spurs defeated QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road on Saturday. The win was Spurs' second Premier League matches in as many appearances after a week that saw them get bounced from two competitions.
Former Spurs players Bobby Zamora, Steven Caulker, and Sandro all started for Rangers, who are currently managed by former Spurs assistant Chris Ramsey. Nobody will accuse the match of being particularly excellent or exciting, at least initially. Much of the first half was anemic, lethargic, and sloppy, and QPR had some decent half-attempts early.
Much like in Spurs' match against Swansea, Chris Ramsey opted to not really press Spurs much in midfield, and it eventually opened up the match. Despite some sloppy play, Harry Kane opened the scoring for Spurs in the 34th minute with a wonderful header past Robert Green off of a free kick from Andros Townsend. Tottenham carried that one goal advantage into halftime.
The second half saw Spurs play much brighter in attack and they had numerous chances on goal: Kyle Walker had a shot on target deflect off of the feet of Ryan Mason and go just wide. A little later, Christian Eriksen saw a beautiful shot smack off the post. Kane then doubled Spurs' lead in the 68th minute after he received a wonderful through ball from Ryan Mason; Kane rounded Green and tapped it in to put Spurs up 2-0.
In true Spurs fashion, they later shipped a stupid goal: Sandro skimmed a low shot off his side foot that just got past Hugo Lloris, and, like they do, Tottenham spent the rest of the match more or less on their back heels trying to avoid an equalizer. The match got a little chippy late as Karl Henry and Mason exchanged yellow cards for hard tackles in midfield.
QPR should probably feel hard-done after a ball went off of Nabil Bentaleb's hands in the box. It's a call that has been given in the past, but referee Craig Pawson judged that Bentaleb was trying to protect his face from a wayward boot and waved play on. That proved to be the difference as Spurs escaped with the 2-1 victory.
- Nabil Bentaleb had another solid match as Spurs' midfield anchor. He is amazing already, and he's going to get even better, which is incredibly exciting.
- While Charlie Austin had his moments, and I like him a lot, I still think Kane is the better striker. I wish the announcers would stop calling him a "young striker," though -- he's 25.
- Harry Kane now has 26 goals, as many as Gareth Bale scored during his last year with Tottenham. Think about that a second.
- Ryan Mason had another very nice match in central midfield, which was fun to see. As much stick as we've given him on this site, Spurs do well when he plays well. Long may it continue.
- This was an important win for Spurs -- they head into next weekend's match at Old Trafford with a two game winning streak and are only three points out of fourth place. Beat United (again), and Spurs are surely back in the Champions League conversation. Pochettino may not actually get there this season (I have few expectations in that regard) but what I'm seeing from Spurs late is making me very excited for next year.
- Referee Craig Pawson had a good match today -- none of his calls were egregious (though QPR fans may disagree) and he controlled the match well.