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West Brom vs. Tottenham: final score 1-1, Dele Alli goal cancels late Chadli strike

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This was match was stupider than even we expected.

West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Former Hotspur Nacer Chadli fired home a rebound goal off of a Hugo Lloris save late in the match, but Dele Alli equalized minutes later as Tottenham Hotspur eked out a draw against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. Tottenham dominated every statistical category, and showed great determination to come back from a goal down. It was Spurs’ third consecutive draw against the Baggies.

Tottenham started the match with one eye already fixed on Tuesday’s Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany. Son Heung-Min and Eric Dier were both rested, and Danny Rose didn’t even make the match day 18. It was a lineup reminiscent of the 4-1-4-1 formation that Mauricio Pochettino put out for the big win against Manchester City two weeks ago. For West Brom, former Tottenham player Nacer Chadli started in the center of the Baggies’ attacking midfield band. Almost-Hotspur Saido Berahino was nowhere to be seen.

The first half started out almost exactly as people would’ve expected: West Brom sat deep and put men behind the ball, and ceded possession to Tottenham who had to try to find away to pick the lock on the Baggies’ bunkered defense. Spurs came close a couple of times thanks to Janssen’s hold-up play: Erik Lamela fizzed a ball across the face of goal early on with nobody at the far post to pick it up, and Christian Eriksen had a swerving shot from long distance that was saved by Ben Foster.

Spurs’ best chances came on two scrums in the box that both fell to Dele Alli; Foster saved one attempt and Dele put the other agonizingly wide of the goal. Davies and Eriksen also had late shots well saved by Ben Foster as Tottenham tried to ratchet up the pressure late in the half.

West Brom had one glorious chance late when a pass into the box fell to Solomon Rondon, but Hugo Lloris was there to block Rondon’s attempt from point blank range and Spurs were able to scramble it away

To absolutely no-one’s surprise, Tottenham had 76% possession and tons of shot attempts but the first half ended 0-0.

The second half started with no changes from either side, and it was more of the same with Spurs keeping the ball and Albion trying to get chances through counters and set pieces. The most interesting thing that happened in the first ten minutes was after Jan Vertonghen was yellow carded for a hard tackle on Chadli – Belgian on Belgian violence, scary!

Minutes later, disaster struck Tottenham’s back line when Toby Alderweireld went down with what looked like a knee injury and was stretchered off. It was difficult to see exactly what happened, but it didn’t look good. Eric Dier came in as his replacement.

Moussa Sissoko, who was mostly mediocre on the day, made way in the 65th minute for Mousa Dembele, who made only his second league appearance of the campaign. Son Heung-Min also came on for Erik Lamela as Spurs tried to unlock West Brom’s defense.

West Brom looked livelier in the second half and appeared to be pushing forward more often. They earned several corner kicks, and set pieces are an area where they are especially dangerous. And it was on a set piece that West Brom broke through: Hugo Lloris went low to save a shot off of a West Brom corner, but Nacer Chadli was there to fire home the rebound and put the Baggies up 1-0. Chadli, to his credit, did not celebrate the goal against his own club.

But Spurs showed great spirit to fight back and Dele Alli was able to poke the ball past Foster just before extra time to level the score. Alli showed great composure in the box and took his shot very well, placing it low and on the right side. Christian Eriksen got the assist.

Spurs pushed forward and tried to get a last-gasp winner but couldn’t find another goal; Christian Eriksen had another great free kick saved by Foster in the last minute. The match ended 1-1.

Reactions:

  • This game was stupid.
  • No, let’s be more specific: so this was exactly the kind of awful, boring, anti-football that we all expected it to be, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to watch. Spurs knocked on the door the whole match but a well structured Baggies defense and an amazing match from Ben Foster kept them out.
  • Chadli’s goal was peak #narrative, but to his credit it was a great finish and he didn’t celebrate.
  • Alli showed fantastic composure to get the equalizing goal off of a great pass from Eriksen. It was a cool finish and a good goal, and Spurs emphatically deserved it. For my money, Alli was Spurs’ best player on the day.
  • Toby’s injury is massive and frightening. He’s the best defender in the Premier League thus far and if he’s out for any length of time it could have important ramifications on Tottenham’s play.
  • Spurs weren’t bad today. In fact, they were quite good on the whole. West Brom under Tony Pulis is a cancer on football but to be fair they did exactly what they set out to do, which is frustrate the hell out of their opponents.
  • Moussa Sissoko, by contrast, was pretty poor. Fairly anonymous, not linking well with his teammates and very wasteful. He did himself no favors with the Tottenham faithful who are already on the fence with him.
  • Still unbeaten, still no goals from the run of play. Now let’s forget this match ever happened.