What did I just watch?! Tottenham Hotspur hosted Vitesse Arnheim in the Europa Conference League in what was the first match in charge for new Spurs head coach Antonio Conte... and somehow that became the least interesting thing about this match. These two sides between them scored five goals in the opening 40 minutes! There were three red cards including one by the Vitesse keeper! At one point Conte made a triple substitution! There was a pitch invader! HARRY WINKS MADE TWO LUNG-BUSTING FORWARD RUNS! And Spurs held on for a 3-2 win in one of the most insane (and fun!) games I’ve seen since Mauricio Pochettino prowled the sidelines.
It’s tempting to say this match went off the rails. But there were no rails. This was a match riding a motorcycle off the top of the Hoover Dam holding a beer and flipping the bird to UEFA’s Aleksander Ceferin. It was like if cocaine was snorting cocaine. I have no words to adequately describe it.
Spurs were 3-0 up after a half hour after goals from Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura, and an own goal by Vitesse’s Jacob Rasmussen, only to see the visitors roar back to score two unanswered from Rasmussen and Matus Bero.
Halftime was a fever dream.
The second period saw Spurs’ Cuti Romero be sent off for picking up a second yellow card, Antonio Conte make a triple substitution, bringing on Tanguy Ndombele, Davinson Sanchez, and Harry Winks, and then Vitesse earn two red cards of their own within four minutes, including a bonkers one on their keeper who rushed way out of his area to challenge Emerson Royal only to commit a handball infraction.
Spurs held on for the win, but are still 2nd in their group after Rennes earned a narrow home win over [checks notes] AS Mura.
I don’t know where to begin. Here are some notes.
Match Notes from the Edge of Madness
- This game was on cocaine.
- I saw more attacking emphasis and efficacy in the opening 5 minutes than I did practically the entire season under Nuno and it shows that the players have some IDEAS about how to play on the front foot.
- Conte’s not going to like this match because it was a stupid open game, both ways. Tottenham looked good going forward but were equally hilaribad in defense. There were individual errors on both Vitesse goals. Eric Dier was outmuscled on the set piece for the first, Lucas passes straight at a Vitesse player and Dier was nutmegged for the second.
- Ben Davies, man. This dude is living on borrowed time. Pretty shambolic in defense and that cross to Kane for the own goal was just hilariously awful. Can’t believe Kane managed to bundle it towards goal.
- Hugo made some excellent saves in this match and saved Spurs’ bacon.
- Speaking of Kane, he played a lot more back-to-goal hold up play than I’m used to seeing from him. A lot like Lukaku at Inter, actually.
- The bar is extremely low after a bunch of games of Nunoball and a year and a half under a football terrorist, but Spurs cleared it.
- I’d say all three red cards were deserved, none more hilariously than the keeper red on Schubert (you can say he left the match... unfinished), but the ref called this match so loosely this was bound to happen.
- It’s so hard to draw any conclusions about Spurs under Conte after one match, and much of it would likely be wrong. But based on this match, in the short term Spurs may not be GOOD, but they sure look like they’re going to be FUN.
- I can’t wait for Everton on Sunday.