Tottenham Hotspur came to the bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent hoping to get a positive result ahead of their first Champions League match in six years. They did that and then some, getting a brace from Son Heung-Min and goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane, crushing Stoke City 4-0.
Tottenham started out with a strong lineup, but one that seemed to have an eye cast towards Wednesday’s Champions League match vs. Monaco at Wembley Stadium. Hugo Lloris returned to the starting lineup in goal, but Ben Davies came in at left back for the injured Danny Rose. The midfield pivot of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama persisted, and Son Heung-Min slotted in on the right for Erik Lamela who was rested after playing for Argentina on Tuesday. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli were the other two attacking midfielders behind striker Harry Kane.
The opening 15 minutes or so were a little cagey for Spurs. They let Stoke have a few dangerous periods of possession while Tottenham took the time to remember that they’re professional footballers and should know how to pass the ball. But Spurs settled down midway through the half and started to assert themselves a little more as the half went on.
Things got a little bit nuts midway through. A series of fouls on both sides and some extremely questionable calls from official Anthony Taylor saw Stoke striker Marko Arnautovic booked for simulation (in a call that negated an advantage counterattack from Spurs), saw Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli both denied penalty shouts in the Stoke box, and saw Stoke manager Mark Hughes sent to the stands for arguing with the officiating staff.
Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min silenced the crowd in the 42nd minute. A Dele Alli ball found Eriksen on the right side of the box. Eriksen juked a Stoke defender and put a nice ball into a wide open Son, who poked it past Shay Given to put Spurs up 1-0. They took that advantage into halftime.
Neither team made any changes at halftime, but the second half belonged almost entirely to Tottenham Hotspur. Stoke came out and seemed to be turning a corner a few minutes into the half with a number of decent moments and forcing Hugo Lloris to make a rushing stop.
Victor Wanyama, who picked up a cheap yellow earlier in the match, was cautioned for another foul, and was subbed off for Erik Lamela midway through the half.
But then Spurs kicked into gear. Sonny scored his second in the 56th minute off of a wonderful pass from Eriksen, the second time the two combined for a goal in the match. Sonny’s ball was a gorgeous curler into the top right corner; Given had no chance.
Three minutes later, Spurs put Stoke away on a counter attack. Kyle Walker found Dele Alli in the box and it was an easy finish to put Spurs up three.
And Spurs still weren’t done! Harry Kane finally broke his duck in the 70th minute after Son picked him out in the box. Kane took a touch and tapped it in from point-blank range, cool as you like. It’s probably the easiest Kane goal you’ll ever see, and he looked relieved to get on the scoring sheet.
Spurs brought on new signings Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko late in the match and still had opportunities to increase the scoreline. It was a dominating performance and a perfect lead-in to Wednesday’s Champions League match against Monaco.
The final score was 4-0.
- Football is so much more better to watch when you play well. After a slow start, Spurs absolutely dominated Stoke, and it was ridiculously fun to watch.
- After the first half, I was impressed with Sonny in space but concerned about his decision making in the final third. After the second half, I thought he was the best player on the pitch. A marvelous match from Sonny today, a clear man of the match performance.
- Christian Eriksen is back. That was fantastic. Let’s give him a raise every week.
- Dele Alli probably should’ve had two. He shanked a deflected ball in the first half, but took his goal well. He was everywhere in the second half and appears to have finally shaken off all the rust.
- So happy for Kane who got his first goal. If it’s anything like last season, the floodgates have now opened. It was his 50th career first team goal for Tottenham.
- Shoutout to the fullbacks: Kyle Walker and Ben Davies were both excellent today as well. As we expected Davies didn’t show the speed and dynamism of Danny Rose, but he was positionally solid, and passed the ball quite well.
- Did Hugo Lloris even break a sweat? Apart from the last five minutes when Spurs took their foot off the gas, the defense was once again very good.
- Moussa Dembele’s now officially back in the side! Rejoice!