Tottenham Hotspur completed a comfortable 4-1 victory over Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League last night.
Tottenham haven’t played their best football so far this season in the Premier League but their performance against Anzhi Makhachkala last night gave an insight into what the current crop of players at the club are capable of.
It would have been extremely refreshing to those Spurs fans at White Hart Lane to see a number of players stepping up, taking their chance and giving Andre Villas-Boas a big selection headache ahead of this weekend’s league game against Liverpool.
Here are five things we learned from the match.
Soldado is the Main Man
Striker Roberto Soldado played very well to bag a solid hat-trick.
There have been calls for Jermain Defoe to be used ahead of the Spaniard but Soldado was superb last night, showcasing his experience and maturity along with a little bit of innovation as he danced all over the Anzhi back four.
The hat-trick will give him confidence and strengthens his position as the primary striker at the club.
Lewis Holtby had a very good game and showcased his versatility well.
He dropped into defensive positions when he needed to and worked well with the midfield as Tottenham pressed Anzhi and looked to maintain pressure over the Russian side.
Holtby allows AVB the luxury of cover in multiple positions which will increase his chances of starting frequently.
The £30 million summer signing still looks a little raw with AVB possibly unsure over the best position to use him across the midfield.
He showed glimpses of talent in wide areas as he scrapped away against various players but he failed to have the impact which could have seen him force his way into the side for this weekend.
Tottenham created a lot of chances last night and had eight shots on target throughout the 90 minutes.
There is no problem in terms of creativity with several versatile players across midfield able to move the ball quickly, meaning it’s very difficult for the opposition to predict what sort of Tottenham they are going to have to close down.
One of the things that Spurs have been guilty of this season is giving the ball away too easily against teams where they really need to retain possession and maintain pressure.
It’s a cliché in football but the other team can’t score if they don’t have possession.
Tottenham had 59.3% of the ball in the first-half and 56.3% of the ball in the second-half, which shows they made it very difficult for Anzhi to win the ball back when they had possession.
It’s an important habit to get into ahead of some important matches.
image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro