Tottenham Hotspur overcame a turgid first half against Hull City at White Hart Lane and went on to score two goals en route to a 2-0 win over the Tigers. It was the final home match of the season for Tottenham, and also the final home match for reserve American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Mauricio Pochettino started what is now his usual starting 11, with Eric Dier starting at right back and a central midfield partnership of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb. The first half was, well, boring. Hull set up in a 3-5-2 and Spurs' midfield wasn't really able to get much going. Both teams had their share of possession but without much to show for it. Hull had a few half chances from NIkica Jelavic as he got behind the Spurs back line on a couple of occasions. His best chance was driving shot that went off the crossbar midway through the first half.
Spurs had a couple of decent chances of their own: Harry Kane put a nice cross across goal in the box but was just slightly ahead of Nacer Chadli, and late in the half, Ryan Mason showed some nice skill in the box to try and find a slashing Erik Lamela, but the Argentine's effort went just wide.
That's pretty much all the highlights. It wasn't pretty, and it looked like fans were in for another slog-fest of a match. The first half ended 0-0.
Both teams came out without any changes at halftime, and Hull started the half looking lively, keeping possession and making the most of the opportunities they were given. Jelavic continued to give Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen trouble and for a while, Hull looked like the better team.
It all changed in the 53rd minute when Nacer Chadli opened the scoring for Tottenham. Erik Lamela put a beautiful through ball straight through the center of Hull's defense to Nacer, who rounded the keeper and slotted home. It was a sexy pass from Lamela and a nice bit of skill from Chadli.
Seven minutes later, Ryan Mason put a chip over the Hull back line, and it was met by Danny Rose who beat the offside trap and smashed it home on the volley to double Spurs' lead.
Hull's best chance came in the 70th minute. A flurry of shots inside Spurs' box resulted in two blocks, a fine Hugo Lloris save, and a clearance off the line. Spurs were fortunate not to concede, but managed to weather the storm. Hull, staring relegation in the face and to their credit, never stopped pushing for a goal, but they were unable to get past Lloris.
The match ended 2-0.
- Those new home kits look fantastic on TV, y'all. Suck it, haters.
- That first half was DULL DULL DULL. It was more or less a continuation of the Stoke match and really made me question Pochettino's tactics even more.
- Spurs looked better defensively the moment Mousa Dembele came on for Christian Eriksen. Not to knock Christian at all, but we've been calling for Dembele as a defensive #10 for weeks now. It makes us better. I'd have probably moved Eriksen wide left and pulled Chadli, but you can't really do that after he scored, can you?
- Dat Lamela pass to Chadli that set up the first goal... amazing.
- Ryan Mason's chip over Hull's back line was fantastic, and Rose had an excellent run to meet it and volley it home. Really great stuff. Let's maybe consider Mason further forward, either the most forward in a three-man midfield, or in the hole?
- Disappointed we didn't see Yedlin in this match. Dier was his usual fine but not spectacular self at right back. Yedlin could've really stretched Hull's defense.
- Hull are in deep, deep trouble, but could still escape with a win over United next week and a Newcastle loss to West Ham.