West Brom 1-1 Spurs
Report from The Hawthorns
15 October 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli rescued a deserved point as we drew 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
It looked like we might have been ‘Pulis-ed’ again as the Baggies soaked up what we had to throw at them and then scored from a set-piece just eight minutes from time – Nacer Chadli, who else, the scorer.
But we dug in to find an equaliser in the 89th minute. Substitute Heung-Min Son weaved a path down the left, Vincent Janssen’s shot was blocked, Christian Eriksen tried his luck and the ball eventually landed at the feet of Alli, who poked low into the corner.
We had 20 efforts at goal but were denied time and again by home custodian Ben Foster. The pick of his saves thwarted Eriksen, who pulled the strings throughout. The first was low down to his right to touch the Dane’s 25-yarder away and then came a full-stretch tip over to keep out a free-kick bound for the top corner in the final one of five added minutes.
We lost defender Toby Alderweireld to injury midway through the second period but our unbeaten record in the Premier League remains intact after eight games and now it’s full steam ahead to Bayer Leverkusen for our UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday!
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes to the side that was victorious over Manchester City a fortnight ago. The midfield was unchanged but at the back, Ben Davies came in for Danny Rose on the left and Janssen led the line with Premier League Player of the Month Heung-Min Son on the bench. Eric Dier replaced Alderweireld alongside Jan Vertonghen in central defence when he was carried off injured in the second period.
Chance: Lamela goes close – 11mins
It was a beautiful autumnal day in the West Country and we enjoyed the majority of the early possession but had to wait until the 11th minute for the first opportunity. Erik Lamela and Janssen combined well inside the box to create an opening for the former from a tight angle but his effort fizzed across the face and behind for a goal-kick. The home side seemed intent on sitting off and remaining compact in defence, meaning space was at a premium in the final third and patience was required.
Chance: Davies almost breaks the deadlock – 21mins
We continued to dictate the play and almost got a deserved lead through Davies. An Eriksen free-kick was cleared only as far as the lurking Welsh international, who tried his luck on the half-volley from 25 yards and was a whisker away from his first goal for the Club, but for a deflection. Five minutes later we went close again as Janssen held the ball up and created an opening for Eriksen, whose attempt was deflected narrowly wide.
Chances: Lamela, Alli and Davies all denied – 31mins
We turned it up a gear and should have grabbed the lead just after the half-hour mark. First, Lamela controlled a Kyle Walker cross and prodded an effort towards goal, it was charged down into the path of Alli (pictured, below) who drew a fine save from Foster rushing off his line. We kept the pressure on, though, and seconds later Alli again went close, this time with an acrobatic overhead kick that bounced agonisingly wide of the upright. Again the pressure was applied and Davies must have thought he finally had his goal two minutes later when he burst into the box but Foster produced a fine one-handed save low to his left to keep the scores level.
Chance: Foster keeps his side in it – 38mins
Thus far we had largely relied on half-chances and scraps but our first real gilt-edged opportunity came and went seven minutes before the interval. Janssen again demonstrated a masterclass in the art of hold-up play before rolling into the path of Alli, who raced through one-on-one with Foster. With just the keeper to beat, the England international opened up his body and shot towards the far corner but again Foster made himself big and beat his effort away. Four minutes later it seemed the deadlock would surely be broken when Eriksen found space in the box, but again Foster produced a world-class save to claw the ball behind for a corner.
Chance: Sissoko effort deflected wide – 62mins
West Brom were much improved at the start of the second half and played with more purpose and energy. The chances were less forthcoming, though, and the hosts looked a danger from set-plays but again we should have gone in front just after the hour mark. Moussa Sissoko shifted the ball onto his right peg in the left channel and aimed for the bottom corner but his effort bounced off of a defender and behind for a corner.
Goal: West Brom 1-0 Spurs – Nacer Chadli - 82mins
Cruelly, we fell behind on 82 minutes at the hands of the man who left White Hart Lane for The Hawthorns during the summer transfer window. Chris Brunt's corner was flicked to James McClean, his first-time shot was superbly saved by Hugo Lloris but Chadli was on hand to fire home the rebound. The Belgian international's celebrations were distinctly subdued out of respect to his ex-colleagues.
Goal: West Brom 1-1 Spurs – Dele Alli - 89mins
Our character shone through in spite of the setback as Janssen tested Foster before the keeper's resistance was finally breached on 89 minutes as substitute Son showed quick feet on the left, Janssen and Eriksen both had efforts blocked before the ball fell kindly for Alli to prod into the bottom corner from inside the box.
Free-kick: Foster thwarts Eriksen at the end - 90+5mins
We were determined not to settle for a point and after Davies tried his luck again, Foster pulled off one last wonder-save to keep out Eriksen's goal-bound free-kick in the closing seconds of stoppage time.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"We feel a little disappointed. I think we were much better but in football, you need to score. In the first half we managed the game completely and created chances but if you don’t score that can always happen, a team like West Brom is dangerous from set-pieces and that’s how we conceded the goal. The character we showed after that was fantastic."
West Brom (4-4-1-1): Foster; Nyom, Dawson, McAuley, Evans; Phillips (Brunt 68), Fletcher (c), Yacob, McClean; Chadli (Gardner 87); Rondon. Substitutes (not used): Myhill, Olsson, Robson-Kanu, Morrison, Leko.
Spurs (4-1-4-1): Lloris (c); Walker, Alderweireld (Dier 60), Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama; Sissoko (Dembele 64), Eriksen, Alli, Lamela (Son 72); Janssen. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Nkoudou, Onomah.
Goals: West Brom - Chadli 82; Spurs - Alli 89.
Yellow cards: West Brom – McClean 44, Dawson 90+4; Spurs – Vertonghen 54, Dembele 86.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
We are back in away action on Tuesday night as we travel to Germany to face Bayer Leverkusen in our third outing in the UEFA Champions League. The Bundesliga side are behind us in third in the group after drawing both of their games to date.