Spurs 1-1 WBA
Report from the Lane
26 December 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Christian Eriksen’s first Premier League goal earned us a point at home to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day.
The Danish midfielder’s first half strike was quickly cancelled out by Jonas Olsson, however, and despite exerting plenty of pressure in the second period we were unable to find a winner.
Tim Sherwood made two changes to the side which won 3-2 at Southampton, Lewis Holtby and Nacer Chadli coming in for Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela.
Our first real shooting chance arrived six minutes in when Kyle Walker surged down the right and sprung Chadli in behind the defence. He played it square to Emmanuel Adebayor who teed up Lewis Holtby for a shot, but the midfielder’s effort was charged down by Claudio Yacob.
Four minutes later, Danny Rose crossed from the left with Chadli’s well-struck volley being blocked – Roberto Soldado was off-side as he looked for the pieces.
We went close again as the match entered its 12th minute, Gylfi Sigurdsson arrowing a shot just wide of the target after Christian Eriksen’s corner was cleared only as far as the Icelandic international 20 yards out.
A fine covering tackle from Michael Dawson was required as Matej Vydra and Zoltan Gera conspired to invade our defensive ranks, Dawson sliding in to dispossess Vydra at the expense of a corner. From the resulting flag kick, Adebayor headed straight upwards in an attempt to clear, with Olsson nodding the falling ball off target.
Birthday boy Hugo Lloris made a fine block to deny Vydra at the edge of his area with 18 minutes on the watch after Morrison split our defence open with a through ball.
The game was briefly held up in the 25th minute when Sigurdsson’s fierce shot caught Olsson full in the face – the Baggies’ defender needing treatment before returning to his vertical base.
We had a lucky escape just before the half-hour mark as Liam Ridgewell’s cross was missed at the front post by Vydra and then at the far stick by the incoming Diego Lugano, before we went on the attack – Ridgewell sliding in to block Soldado’s low shot from a tight angle.
The deadlock was broken on 36 minutes with a first Premier League goal for Eriksen. The Dane’s 22-yard free kick crashed in off the underside of the bar after Olsson was penalised when he caught Walker as our right back slid in for a challenge.
The Baggies, though, were level within two minutes. Adebayor failed to clear Morgan Amalfitano’s free-kick, with Olsson firing home at the back post.
We were unlucky not to retake the lead shortly before the break, Sigurdsson’s shot from wide on the left stinging the palms of Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster with Holtby unable to connect with the rebound.
The visitors went close with the last action of the first period as James Morrison dispossessed Vlad Chiriches and advanced down the right channel before pulling a shot just across the face of goal.
After some early perseverance in the second period, we got in behind the Baggies’ defence on 50 minutes, but Soldado’s low ball in was slid behind by Olsson. A minute later, a left-footed Danny Rose thunderbolt from 35 yards out spun off target.
West Brom won a free kick in the 54th minute as Chiriches brought down Vydra, with Lloris forced to punch away Steven Reid’s right footed set piece after it curled around the wall.
Shortly afterwards, Gera was unable to steer Amalfitano’s cross into the net from close range after the latter swung in a dangerous ball from the right – Lloris jumping on the ball to stamp out the danger.
Some fine defensive work by Dawson prevented Vydra’s low ball in from the right from doing any damage, while Holtby was wide of the mark at the other end after Eriksen’s cross from the left was only half cleared.
Holtby made way for Nabil Bentaleb in central midfield soon afterwards, the youngster making his second top flight appearance after his impressive Premier League debut at Southampton.
A crunching tackle by Reid on Rose mid-way through the second half saw Eriksen set up Walker for a 40-yard shot which almost deceived Foster – the Baggies keeper clawing the ball behind for a corner.
Walker’s long ball down field wasn’t made the most of on 70 minutes as Adebayor couldn’t bring it under control in a central position. We nearly found a breakthrough five minutes later as Chadli bustled his way into the box on the left, but while his cross left Foster stranded at his near post, there was nobody available in a central position to take advantage.
That was Chadli’s final action of the game as he was replaced by Erik Lamela with 15 minutes remaining.
Soldado steered a header over the bar from Rose’s left wing cross as we continued to search for the lead, while Sigurdsson’s header from a very narrow angle found the side netting as the midfielder stretched to get on the end of Lamela’s ball in.
Rose raced down the left again and whipped in a ball which Soldado was unable to get a clean connection on as we continued to hammer on the door, while the Spaniard wasn’t far away again in the 82nd minute as his flicked header at the near post from Eriksen’s corner flew across the face of goal and wide.
We had one final chance deep into four minutes of stoppage time as Chiriches played a clever through ball in to Rose, but Foster smothered his cross with Adebayor lurking.
As it turned out, the game yielded a repeat of the result from when the Baggies visited us last season – the spoils being shared after a 1-1 draw.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Chadli (Lamela 75), Eriksen, Holtby (Bentaleb 62), Sigurdsson, Adebayor, Soldado. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Capoue, Naughton, Fredericks, Veljkovic.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid, Dawson, Olsson, Lugano, Ridgewell, Yacob, Morrison, Amalfitano (Mulumbu 71), Gera (Sessegnon 77), Vydra (Berahino 83). Substitutes (not used): Myhill, Sinclair, Brunt, McAuley.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Eriksen 37, Walker 56, Soldado 87. West Bromwich Albion – Reid 29, Olsson 66.
Goals: Spurs – Eriksen 36. West Bromwich Albion – Olsson 38.
Referee: Mr A. Taylor.