Tottenham Hotspur went to Yorkshire today to take on Huddersfield Town for the first matchup between the two sides since 1972. It was billed as the first real test of the Terriers since they promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their history, but it was Spurs that aced the exam. Spurs scored three goals in the first half, two from Harry Kane, and (maybe) got a first career goal from Moussa Sissoko as Spurs romped to a 4-0 win at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Huddersfield’s game plan was to try and actually play with Spurs — press them high, stay organized at the back, and try and hit them on the counter. And for the opening few minutes that’s exactly what they did. The Terriers looked good for the first five minutes and even stung the palms of Hugo Lloris with a long-range shot from Tommy Smith.
After that? It was all Tottenham Hotspur.
Harry Kane got off the mark in the 9th minute thanks to some poor defending. Kieran Trippier got a head to a Huddersfield ball, and it fell to Kane who dribbled up the field and slotted home past Lössl from a tight angle.
Eight minutes later, Spurs doubled their lead thanks to some beautiful passing and just a smattering of luck. Some patient build-up led to Christian Eriksen with the ball in the center of the pitch. He dribbled towards the goal and tried to go around a defender, but a deflected ball fell to a surging Ben Davies who easily put the ball into the back of the net.
It got worse for the Terriers: Kane scored his second in the 24th minute with one of his better goals of the season -- a long curling effort with his left foot that found the top corner of the net past Lössl. Spurs were absolutely dominant and led 3-0 midway through the first half. With that goal, Kane had equaled both Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Premier League scoring record with 84 goals.
There could’ve been more! Kane poked home an acrobatic mid-air ball for what looked like his hat trick a few minutes before halftime, but the goal was called back for offside, and Dele Alli juked a Terriers defender and plonked a ball off the post.
Belgium international Laurent Depoitre nearly pulled one back for Huddersfield just before the break after his shot went off the crossbar, but otherwise it was all Tottenham. It was probably the best first half of football from Spurs all season, and they took a deserved 3-0 lead into the break.
The second half was a bit more sedate as Spurs took their foot off the gas somewhat and was content to be more patient with the ball. Harry Kane nearly got his third after a headed flick from Eric Dier fell to him, but he couldn’t make the reaction shot and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Dele Alli showed the petulant side of his game midway through the half, picking up a stupid yellow for simulation after going down inside Huddersfield’s box. It was another frustrating afternoon for Dele, who deserved a goal but was constantly fouled by Huddersfield with very few calls going his way.
Pochettino seemed to notice Spurs letting up on Huddersfield, as he was spotted on the touchline barking orders with his side up comfortably midway through the second half.
Spurs eventually brought on Moussa Sissoko for Christian Eriksen and Kyle Walker-Peters on for Kieran Trippier, who picked up what looked like a knock in the second half and was looked at by Spurs’ trainer. Son Heung-Min came on for Kane in the dying moments.
Spurs were content with their lead, seemed to drop off, and were happy to just play out most of the second half. But Moussa Sissoko got what might be his first career Tottenham goal, poking home a wildly deflected shot. The Dubious Goals Committee will need to take a look at it, but hopefully it’s credited to him and not as an own goal
The final score was 4-0.
- My word, that was fun! The first half was probably one of the best and most exciting halves of football I’ve seen from Spurs all year. Huddersfield had the third best defense in the league before this match. Welp.
- Kane’s first half goal was a deceptively difficult finish. It was bad defending from Huddersfield, but Kane’s shot was through the keeper and from a tight angle. Not every striker scores from there.
- Kane’s second goal? Absolutely sublime. That’s probably his best goal all season and one of the better ones I’ve seen in his career. And with his left foot!
- I really can’t say that there were any Tottenham players that were below the 4-star level after the first half. Wonderful team play, good passing, excellent awareness, and solid finishing.
- Eric Dier was spectacular today, and his midfield partner Harry Winks also had some wonderful moments in the center of the pitch.
- Nice to see Kyle Walker-Peters get some minutes. Wish he had gotten more, though.
- Can we play away from Wembley all season?
- Really hope that was a Sisso-Goal and not a SissOwnGoal. He kinda deserves one.
- It’s a bit of a shame that we get an international break with Spurs surging like this. Hopefully this form carries over into the next stretch of games, which includes the two against Madrid, plus Liverpool, West Ham, and at United.