Tottenham Hotspur’s men’s team returned to action today, sort of, taking on Scottish Premier League side Motherwell in a mid-season friendly at Hotspur Way. It was, as you might expect, a pretty easy win for the home side, which was played on the training pitch used by the U21s and streamed to the masses on SpursPLAY.
Matt Doherty nabbed a brace for Spurs in this match in about 65 minutes of action, while Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring in the first three minutes and Bryan Gil added another.
None of the players who were called up to their national teams for the World Cup featured in this match, which makes sense since most of them are probably either still on holiday or have very recently returned to training. Also, some players such as Emerson Royal, Fraser Forster, and Clement Lenglet were left out of the side entirely with no reason given. This gave some opportunities to a number of development and U21 squad players including Brandon Austin, Harvey White, and Charlie Sayers, all of whom started.
3’ —Goal! Dejan Kulusevski capitalizes on a loose pass from Motherwell in defense, which allowed Deki to intercept and poke home after just three minutes.
Deki pounces— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 9, 2022
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18’ — Spence gets forward quickly, sprung from a good through ball into space from Deki. Spence’s shot is blocked by the Motherwell keeper, but good movement from Djed.
24’ — Nearly an equalizer for Motherwell after Austin tried to pass out of the back under pressure and had one blocked. Thankfully the deflected effort went wide of the goal. That’s essentially the bulk of the offense Motherwell had in this match, minus a couple of blocked shot attempts late.
28’ — Goal! Matt Doherty! Plenty of action in the box for Spurs. Bissouma sprung Deki into space; Kulusevski fed Bryan Gil inside the area who was dispossessed. The ball fell to Matt who cut onto his right foot and slotted past the keeper. 2-0!
As cool as you like— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 9, 2022
40’ — Goal! Bryan Gil makes it 3-0! White puts a lovely ball into space for Deki to run on to. Acres of room for Kulusevski who dribbled into the box and made a simple cut-back to Gil who bundled it over the line.
HALFTIME: About what you’d expect from this match. Some decent football now and again, but this ain’t exactly the NLD, ya know?
No changes for Tottenham at the break. Typical Conte, lol.
58’ — First change for Spurs, and it’s Alfie Whiteman who replaces Brandon Austin in goal.
65’ — Motherwell made wholesale changes to their squad midway through the half and came out to try and press Spurs. It actually kind of worked — Spurs had a lot more difficulty playing out of the back and turned the ball over a couple of times in their own half.
66’ — Interesting. Conte makes a tactical tweak, pushing Japhet Tanganga to what looks like LWB and having Matt Doherty playing as a RCB. Weird, but ok!
70’ — Goal! Matt Doherty gets a brace, makes it 4-0! Deki takes a corner, and Doherty rises up to glance the header past the keeper and in.
Doherty at the double— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 9, 2022
75’ — Wholesale changes from Conte as he empties the bench.
So according to people who are actually at the match: Will Lankshear, Alfie Devine, Yago Santiago, Nile John, Alfie Dorrington, Jamie Donley, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Maksim Paskotsi and Max Robson are all on.— Cartilage Free Captain (@cartilagefree) December 9, 2022
82’ — Will Lankshear looks pretty fun and I can see why he’s getting a lot of buzz from Spurs Youf Watchers. Nearly found Santiago in the box with a clever backheel touch, and then got a head on a cross from Mundle a minute later for a scoring opportunity.
FULL TIME: Spurs win easily, final score 4-0.
Notes and observations
- How much can we take from this friendly? Not much, honestly. This was about getting players who weren’t called up to the World Cup and who haven’t played a match in a month some much-needed match and running-around-a-bit minutes.
- Deki was a menace the entire shift, as you’d expect in a friendly against a mid-table Scottish team likely playing with a rotated side.
- Harvey White started as the #9 in a 3-4-3 which sounds weird, but as was pointed out in the writer’s chat it makes sense to have a placeholder there so the Spurs first team squad players can play in their natural positions. That’s the point of this, after all.
- Oliver Skipp & Yves Bissouma started in the pivot and both played well, though it’s hard to know how much to take from a friendly like this. Skipp was playing in a deeper holding position with Bissouma taking more of a playmaker role where he did quite well, putting in a number of good progressive passes into space.
- I’d like to say something about Charlie Sayers who started at LCB today but Motherwell barely mustered any offense. He might as well have been playing Marvel Snap on his phone back there.
- Notably, I don’t think Conte left his seat in the dugout for this match. The only shots on the stream were of him looking extremely cold in a parka and hat. Certainly a change from the animated Conte
- We got a decent look at some buzzy academy players like Alfie Devine and Will Lankshear, both of whom looked pretty fun!
- No injuries, some fitness minutes in the legs for the squad players. Sounds like a good day all around.