6 images demonstrating Tottenham's new maturity after the mauling of Norwich
Tottenham Hotspur got the ideal start at Carrow Road when Dele Alli scored after just 96 seconds, and they then cruised to victory thereafter. Norwich mounted a spirited fightback in the second half but Spurs had enough to see them off.
After the match Mauricio Pochettino dismissed any concerns that Alli might be seriously unwell or injured after he withdrew from the match at half-time, and that his squad are looking forward just one game at a time.
Here are six observations on how Poch's squad are developing.
1. Wimmer able deputy to Vertonghen
The squad depth at Tottenham runs deep. If Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli or Erik Lamela don’t perform then there are able deputies in Heung-min Son and Nacer Chadli, with the emerging Josh Onomah in reserve. And likewise at the back, Kevin Wimmer is now showing that he’s kosher to fill in for the injured Jan Vertonghen. His passing was faultless in the first half (17 out of 17 passes complete) and impressive throughout the match against Norwich (89.4% success rate), with few long wasteful passes. Like Vertonghen he’s able to keep possession for his team to instigate new attacks.
2. Kane’s still improving
The Tottenham man posed his customary threat throughout the match, but he gave Timm Klose a torrid Premier League debut.
At times Kane bullied Norwich’s new signing
At times he bullied Norwich’s new signing, memorably robbing the ball and bearing down on goal for a one-on-one in the second half.
Such a physical showing is not usually associated with the Spurs and England striker, and it was Kane, too, who issued the rallying call to his huddled team-mates before the match began, showing admirable leadership qualities.
3. Walker quietly effective at full-back
Most of Norwich’s crosses came from their left side with Matt Jarvis offering width to the home team. Kyle Walker nullified most of it, with only two chances coming from Norwich’s left flank all game and Walker blocking 6 crosses. By comparison, some 6 chances came from the opposite flank with Danny Rose not blocking any crosses all game.
Walker’s defensive play has matured over the years, as has the Lilywhites' this season, with another clean sheet ensuring that the best defensive record in the league remains Tottenham’s.
4. Dembele’s influence maintained
It was another superb outing from the Belgian, who won the most tackles in the game, as well as the most interceptions, in another controlling midfield display. Spurs fans crowed his name from the stands as he battled hard to supply a platform to Kane & Co. That new contract is well-earned.
5. Spurs tightening up defensively
Tottenham have only conceded 1 big chance (as decided by Opta: “A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range”) twice in their last 4 games. In contrast they gave away 4 in their first 3 games of the season. Even with Vertonghen missing, the Spurs' defence is steadfastly resolute.
6. Tottenham finding consistency
Spurs created 9 'chances' against Norwich, winning 3-0 on Tuesday night. In the return fixture at White Hart Lane they fashioned 10 chances and won 3-0. (They created 21 opportunities against Palace and 18 against Sunderland, for comparison, scoring 3 and 4 times respectively.)
Regardless that they were facing the same opposition just six weeks later, Pochettino's side have now won 6 of their last 8 games demonstrating that they've found a steady formula for winning.