Saturday, 10 August 2013

Spurs v Espanyol friendly at WHL...impressions and thoughts

Roberto Soldado scored his first Spurs goal at WHL from the spot...
Spurs finished their pre-season programme with a sell out at WHL against Espanyol.

The game finished 1-1.  Roberto Soldado opened his account for Spurs from the spot midway through the first half after Danny Rose was brought down in the box, although the replays showed it was a tad harsh on the Espanyol defender.

In typical Spurs fashion, Spurs failed to defend a near-post set piece, conceding just before half-time.  The second half turned into a feisty, scrappy affair but a draw was a fair result.

The biggest cheer of the day was on the 60 minute mark when Sandro "The Beast" Raniere made his first appearance this rupturing his knee ligaments in the QPR game back in January.  Kaboul played the full second half too and it was absolutely brilliant to see the two power-houses back in the side.  I certainly feel full of optimism with both of them back.

Without wanting to go into a full review of the game, I wanted to pick up on a few observations:

  • Danny Rose - may have won the penalty and looked ok going forward but he is not a left-back.  Still far too much to learn.  I dont know what Disco Benny has done to upset AVB but surely BAE is the better option at left-back?  (As Chandra rightly pointed out in the Gym, both Vertonghen and Fryers can play the position so we do have cover there even without BAE anywhere near the starting XI.)  Talking BAE, comments he made on Twitter over the weekend seem to suggest he will be leaving sooner rather than later.  If this happens, I'll pay my personal tribute to him later.
  • Soldado - only played 60 mins but if he works as hard as he did in very game for Spurs like he did in that 60 mins, we've got one hell of a centre-forward on our hands.  Looked sharp throughout, always looking to come off the shoulder of the last man, looked comfortable dropping deep to receive and lay off, looked good in the channels.  Impressed.
  • Chadli - saw a bit of him last weekend against Monaco and he looked as though he was a little nervous and took a few touches too many at times but he looked much more composed.   Linked up well with Soldado, Dembele and Rose down the left, especially an excellent little flick around the corner for Rose.  Good work rate.  Impressed.
  • Paulinho - looked very good.  Good use of the ball, good work rate, good link up with Dembele.  Scored with a header early in the first half but was incorrectly ruled out for off side.  Excellent 60 mins.
  • Kaboul and Sandro - great to have them back in the side.  Fabulous.  Read AVBs thoughts on the returning pair here

Sandro...aka The Beast back in the side
Of course, the main TV footage by ITV concentrated on the one issue that we're all sick of right now.  Gareth Bale.  In the quick pre-match interview, AVB said Bale is still suffering from a sore foot.  You could tell he didnt mean it.  I'm assuming he's off.  To be quite honest, for anything in the region of £85m+ he can go with my blessing.

Spurs are looking good right now with or without him.