Tottenham Hotspur beat Sunderland 2-1 yesterday ... and scored both their goals from INSIDE the area.
Tottenham Hotspur look back to their old selves after what was a very impressive performance against a Sunderland side, whose basement position is testament only to the tyrannical reign of Paolo Di Canio, and not recent performances under the optimistic Gus Poyet.
Sunderland took the lead after a blunder from Hugo Lloris - who seems to have had a few pounds of talent bashed out of his head by the lower thigh of Romelu Lukaku with his recent misdemeanours between the sticks.
But apart from that Tottenham looked good. Etienne Capoue filled in with aplomb in the defence; Nacer Chadli was much improved while the midfield trio of Paulinho, Lewis Holtby and Mousa Dembele looked fluid and dangerous from the get-go.
The issue for Spurs this season has been scoring goals - and before the game yesterday, the Sky Sports boffins threw plenty of stats our way to let us know why they were seemingly so impotent in front of the opponent goalmouth.
Spurs were indeed bottom of the league when it came to goals scored inside the area this season - with the majority of those coming from the penalty spot.
It certainly seems they have lacked the creativity and bite to scythe teams open - and instead been reduced to long range shooting. In fact the statistics proved that as well - nobody has had more unsuccessful shots on goal from outside the area in the Premier League this season. Sometimes stats in football tell you nothing - these ones tell you everything.
AVB’s response has been to drop Andros Townsend, and the game against Sunderland actually saw him play two more ambidextrous wingers in Chadli and Aaron Lennon - which seemed to work wonders.
Because both of Tottenham’s goals came from inside the box - Paulinho stabbing home from close range and Mousa Dembele’s trickery forcing an own goal from John O’Shea.
Another key factor was the midfield trio. Holtby, Paulinho and Dembele rarely strike from range but are all innately offensive in mindset. All three looked to run beyond their man, and subsequently looked to thread the passes as well. For everything Sandro brings in the big games on a defensive level, he generally passes sideways and this midfield was certainly more dynamic.
When you also consider that Jermain Defoe twice hit the post and skewed a strike wide from inside the area - this was certainly a Spurs team set up to actually get beyond the opponents back-line and not hammer them in from long range.
If anything, that should be the main positive Spurs take from yesterday’s game.
image: © hurtingbombz