When Ange Postecoglou was hired at Tottenham Hotspur, he made it adamant that fans who woke up early or stayed up late would enjoy free-flowing/attacking football.
I decided to test this theory today — yes, I know many others are probably up in the wee hours — and it truly paid off with the way Spurs looked.
With an unchanged XI, Spurs came out and dealt with the early onslaught of pressure from Bournemouth.
Seeing a few chances early just missing the back of the net, Spurs scored the opening goal in the 17th minute on a brilliant final ball from Pape Sarr.
The new-look Spurs combined effortlessly as Sarr got the ball from Yves Bissouma and threaded a first-timed left-footed pass through two Cherries defenders for Maddison to have a little flick to the bottom left corner.
Staring in his second consecutive game under Postecoglou, Sarr has been amazing. For many screaming the last year to see him get his chance, the 20-year-old Senegalese player has become a major factor.
For the rest of the first half, both teams had chances as Spurs had a counter-attack that started from a brilliant lunging tackle by Cristian Romero — who else would it be — and the break began as Maddison found Richarlison deep inside the Bournemouth box. Trying to get past the keeper Richarlison had a skillful move go through the legs of Lloyd Kelly before his backhand got a touch to throw off a possible shot for the Brazilian.
Bournemouth had a few chances on an outside-the-box strike by Ryan Christie that forced Guglielmo Vicario to make an athletic punching parry. The home team had the final chance in the first half when Philip Billing fired his left-footed shot just wide of the post.
Spurs put the nail in the coffin in the 62nd minute with a brilliant sequence that started with Ivan Perisic and his outside-the-boot pass for Destiny Udogie to run up on down the left flank. Cutting back into the box, Udogie played a one-two with Son Heung-min before a sliding attempt to keep the ball from going out went into the middle of the box for a blistering Dejan Kulusevski to cut off Bournemouths’ defense and send his strike to the far side of the net. This snapped a 27-game goalless streak for club and country for the Swede.
- James Maddison was a doubt all week and although he didn’t see out the 90 minutes he is brilliant once more.
- Midfield overall continues to put plays together with Bissouma shutting down opposing chances and letting Sarr and Maddison show their creativity.
- Richarlison continues to struggle to find the end product and you can see it in his face. He is trying his hardest and is truly in his head.
- Udogie adding one final element to the final third — something he has done already — will be huge for Spurs to add another chance to find players running around in the box.
- All the subs stood their ground to preserve the clean sheet with a new midfield trio of Oliver Skipp, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, and Giovani Lo Celso. Perisic and Ben Davies filled out the final subs for Spurs.
- Vicario handles the press very well and is fairly athletic to get to balls that seemed like goals for the past 18 months.
- The back line handled the pressure early and then made their marks with strong challenges, clever balls, and balls into the box on the attacking half.