Tottenham Hotspur’s first preseason friendly in Korea was an exciting affair with goals galore, a 6-3 win for Spurs against a team of K-League all-stars. Their second match, at Suwon World Cup Stadium, was entirely different. Spurs faced a Sevilla squad (with Erik Lamela!) that seemed to view this less like a friendly and more like a warm-up to a potential Champions League match this coming season. Ivan Rakitic’s powerful goal for Sevilla cancelled out an earlier strike from Harry Kane (who had another one called back for offside) as Tottenham drew Sevilla 1-1.
Ben Davies was subbed off as a precaution in his first match action of the preseason after landing awkwardly on his ankle, and we also got significant second half minutes from Dejan Kulusevski. Yves Bissouma and Fraser Forster again missed the match due to positive COVID tests; they will fly back to England on Tuesday, after the rest of the team.
Here are my reactions to the match.
First Half Reactions
- The scuba kits still suck (but they didn’t look THAT awful on the pitch)
- So contrast this with the K-League match and this was a lot less “friendly” of a competition. Plenty of robust tackling, and Richarlison got the brunt of a lot of it. He was on the ground at least four times in the opening ten minutes. Sevilla was playing with a bunch of aggression for what’s supposed to be a training and fitness match and it appeared to take Spurs by surprise at the beginning.
- Son definitely caught Montiel with an elbow in the first half that drew blood, but it 100% wasn’t on Son, and the contact looked incidental. There was apparently a scuffle outside the tunnel after the halftime whistle that was broken up by new besties Romero and Richarlison.
- This was our first chance to see Richarlison in the attacking band with Son and Kane. I worried how/if Richy would link up with the other two, but he seemed to be trying his best to do so. The mind meld isn’t there yet, but there were promising signs.
- So uh let’s talk Lucas at RWB. As much as we at Carty Free Towers are appreciative of Antonio Conte converting an offensive player into a wingback, Lucas had a weird one out there. Some good moves and a couple of decent crosses going forward, and seemed to link up with Richarlison well but those offensive instincts sometimes worked against him. Even so, it did look like he’d been working on The Patterns™. I wonder if we’ll see more of him there, Djed Spence notwithstanding, especially in situations where Spurs need to chase a match.
- Harry Kane had a goal called back, correctly, for offside in this one, but it was a hell of a shot — a powerful, low one into the bottom corner. Vintage Kane. If he keeps looking for those shots he’ll have plenty of goals this season.
- It’s early and preseason so don’t read too much into it, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had a bit of a nightmare in the first half. “General Ho” had a couple of giveaways and some hospital passes that led to Sevilla chances.
Second Half Reactions
- I thought that Skippy played pretty well in the first half, but Bentancur was a distinct improvement over Skipp when he came on in the second half. He had the turnover that started the play for Kane’s second half goal, and put in a crunching (and clean!) tackle in Spurs’ box that surely saved a goal. Really good shift. I’m desperately curious what Conte will do with this performance going forward and who he will prefer in his first choice XI, considering we haven’t seen Bissouma yet.
- Story of the second half was Sevilla’s high press vs. Tottenham’s insistence on playing out of the back. Often Tottenham could play their way through Sevilla’s press, but sometimes they didn’t, and one of the times they didn’t led to Rakitic’s equalizer. Hell of a goal from Rakitic, though.
- Probably shouldn’t be too surprised that replacing Tottenham’s best defender (Romero) with Tanganga made Spurs’ back line a bit leakier. Think Tanganga’s probably going to be loaned.
- Unsurprisingly, there was a noticeable drop in intensity once Spurs made wholesale subs and brought on Parrott, Sarr, and Gil. That’s not a criticism, just an observation.
- Davies’ injury and substitution looked bad, but he was walking fine. Probably just Spurs being super precautionary (and undoubtedly the right call in preseason).
- Must say, I was quite impressed with Pape Matar Sarr today in his 20 minute sub appearance. Quite composed, showed for the ball well. Think there’s something there, but I’m not sure if it’s enough for Conte to keep him at Tottenham this season.
- Unsurprising that Tottenham didn’t walk over Sevilla in a preseason international friendly. They’re good, and are a Champions League team! Spurs can’t draw them as they’re both in Pot 2, but could face them in the knock-outs. A good warm-up against a side that likes to press, a taste of what they’ll likely see against the better teams in the Premier League.
- Spurs’ tour to Korea looked super fun. It was enjoyable following them on their Korean adventures. Next stop: Scotland, and a match against Rangers at Ibrox on July 23.
- Build the Lamela statue.