Tottenham Hotspur scored its first Premier League goals of 2020, with Dele and Son Heung-min scoring in the team’s 2-1 victory over Norwich City. The win marks Spurs’ first in the league since a Boxing Day victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Hugo Lloris marked his return from the injury he picked up in October, while Harry Winks started two matches in a row for the first time under José Mourinho. Though the match saw some similar tones to last month’s matchup, Spurs managed to beat out the bottom dwellers for a win that puts them in sixth.
Spurs began the match playing better than the team had over the course of the last few weeks, dominating in possession and busy in attack. Giovani Lo Celso and Érik Lamela were particularly busy early on, with Lamela on the end of two opportunities in the first ten minutes. 15 minutes in, though, the match had evened out, but only so much; while the visitors enjoyed more possession and more chances, including one that saw Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki combining in the 16th minute for a shot that went wide of the goal, Spurs remained the dominant side for the entirety of the first half.
Eventually, the dominance paid off with a goal from Dele in the 38th minute. Cantwell lost possession near the penalty area, with Son picking things up from there. He eventually sent the ball to Serge Aurier, who then crossed to Dele. He then finished it from close range.
While the half ended with Spurs ahead, it was hardly perfect. The hosts spent much of the first half struggling to get into Norwich’s penalty area despite finding easy passage through the midfield. By half’s end, Norwich had fully gotten back into the match, providing a warning for their performance in the second half.
The second half was marked by Norwich’s increased involvement in the match, which was opened with Cantwell’s studs-up tackle on Dele being punished only with a yellow. The visitors went from splitting possession perfectly in the first half to dominating in the second, recording a number of shots along the way. For most of the half, though, the shots did not go Norwich’s way; a nice sequences of passes with the attempt to find Pukki eventually ended with a mess in the penalty area in the 53rd minute, the most notable of Norwich’s early opportunities.
Norwich was eventually handed their opportunity after Ryan Sessegnon fouled Max Aarons in the penalty area in the 68th minute. After a couple of minutes with VAR, Pukki converted, though Lloris guessed correctly and came close to scoring.
It did not take long for Spurs to get back in front. After a spell of a few minutes that saw the hosts attacking with more frequency and vigor than before, Son ended his goal drought in the 79th minute and put the team back in front. Lo Celso played a ball to Dele, who was running into the penalty area and eventually took a shot that deflected off the goalpost. The ball ended up near the other goalpost and by Son, who was there to head it in from nearby. The goal is Son’s first since that one against Burnley on December 7.
Not quite a 90 yard run from Son, but a goal is a goal pic.twitter.com/zcE82TNjCD— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 22, 2020
Spurs managed to fairly cleanly close the match out, outside of an opportunity that finally challenged Lloris with minutes to go. The six minutes of stoppage time assigned by the referee were mostly spent in Norwich’s penalty area, Spurs biding their time before the whistle was blown.
However, the team did not end the match scratch-free: Winks came off in the 56th minute with what appeared to be an ankle injury, and was replaced by Eric Dier.
Thoughts on the Match
- Improved performance from recent matches, but hardly Spurs’ best. All of the departments where the team is lacking are still fairly obvious. That said, actually ending a winless streak and Son’s specific goalless streak are obvious positives.
- A few individuals stood out, Lo Celso and Lamela mainly. Gedson Fernandes also looked bright in his 15 minute cameo, while Winks enjoyed one of his best performances under Mourinho before he came off with an injury.
- Lloris did not have a lot to do today, but impressed when he was called upon. Looks like his shockingly early return from injury (so far) is going well.