Three points were needed for Tottenham Hotspur, and three points are exactly what the team deserved in their 2-0 victory on Sunday.
Fresh off a disappointing result this past Thursday against Chelsea, Spurs welcomed West Bromwich Albion to north London for a pivotal Premier League contest. The visitors, who sit in 19th place, have had an unceremonious return to England’s top flight, and were in desperate need of a turnaround themselves.
Much to the surprise of Spurs fans everywhere, Harry Kane returned to the starting XI. The team’s most important player, who is nursing knocks to both ankles, was pressing West Brom’s backline early and often. A pair of early chances for the prolific Kane barely missed, but it became clear this was going to be a long day for the visiting defenders.
Spurs truly are such a different team offensively when Kane is playing. Additionally, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela received starting nods. Both players are in good form, and it was nice to see them get off to aggressive starts.
"It was a big match for us. I loved the attitude, the commitment, the togetherness, the desire to win it. I thought the boys were very, very good."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 7, 2021
🗣️ Jose's verdict on today's game#THFC ⚪️ #COYS pic.twitter.com/o8XO80keGN
In the first half, Spurs played with pace, composure, and desire, characteristics that had been absent the previous few contests. Yet they were unable to find pay dirt in the first 45 minutes. In fact, they almost conceded at the very end of the half, but Hugo Lloris was equal to the task and denied West Brom striker Mbaye Diagne from point blank.
There was no need to change tactics in the second half, as Spurs were clearly the superior team and just needed to trust the process. Surely, the visitors were close to breaking, and break they did in the 54th minute.
A perfectly weighted through ball from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg found Kane unmarked in the box, and the Englishman made no mistake, burying the opening goal of the match. With that tally, Kane tied the legendary Bobby Smith for second on Spurs’ all-time scoring list.
A mere four minutes later, Heung-Min Son doubled the lead for Spurs. A brilliant counterattacking run from Lucas allowed Son to find space in the box. From there, the South Korean coolly finished the chance for his 13th goal of the Premier League season.
West Brom’s Diagne had a pair of would-be goals called back for offsides, leaving Spurs fans a bit nervous. Aside from that, Tottenham shut the door defensively and earned three crucial points.
Although they sit 11 points behind first place Manchester City, the effort today should give Spurs confidence heading into a tough stretch of games. Next up, their first real test in the FA Cup: this Wednesday, Spurs head to Goodison Park to take on Everton in an intriguing 5th round matchup.