Written by Rodmorg
The recent managerial change at Manchester United had led to speculation of current Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino of potentially taking over the Red Devils. The potential void of Tottenham’s managerial spot led many to dispute who would be the next manager. One prominent candidate is Eddie Howe, who had the arduous task of his team meeting Spurs, one of the few teams The Cherries had not experienced victory over.
Bournemouth had a comfortable 2-0 victory against Brighton going into Christmas. Similarly, Tottenham had seen a highly-spirited 2-6 win over Everton the same day so the battle on Boxing Day at Wembley would most likely result in a goal fest. There was only one change for the away side as Josh King was dropped for Ryan Fraser in a 4-4-2 formation.
Bournemouth had a couple of opportunities after kick-off, a desperate cross by Francis met Fraser, whose header was blocked… by Stanislas. Not even a minute later a great ball by Lerma met an isolate Brooks in the Spurs box, but the in-form winger could not finish properly and missed a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Spurs were gifted the first of a few to come as a powerful effort from Eriksen took a huge deflection off Lerma and sent Begovic the wrong way for the first goal. Only 5 minutes later, Daniels on the left side took too long to clear the ball and paid the price for it as the Walker-Peters stole it off the defender and squared it to Son to make it 2-0. They continued to pile misery down on Bournemouth as another cross to the right wing gave Moura plenty of space in the box to finish off calmly for the third goal, after only 35 minutes of play.
Eddie reverted to a back three with Fraser now at RWB and it instantly looked to have paid off as a Stanislas cross from the left narrowly missed Wilson; Fraser picked up the scraps and crossed for Stanislas to head in the centre who couldn’t find the net.
The bleakest moment of the game came when Francis twisted awkwardly and planted his foot to the ground and fell in agony instantly. After being tended to by the medical staff deep into half time, the skipper was stretchered off in tears and to a warm reception from both sets of fans. Rico came on as his replacement. Devastating news for our only-recognised right-back.
Before half-time, a corner from the right led to Fraser whipping in a beautiful cross for Daniels 8 yards out, and his header forced Lloris into a difficult save.
Half-time Tottenham 3-0 Bournemouth
Bournemouth restarted brightly; a neat through ball by Fraser gave Wilson some space, only for their defender to clumsily barge into Wilson. A definite penalty not given. Spirits were higher and Bournemouth looked on the front foot for a constrained amount of time as Rico surged forward and planted a low cross for Stanislas to slide into the net. However, it was not given, as Stanislas was a yard or two offside; a good call by the linesman.
With an hour gone, the defence once again picked the short straw as Eriksen once again looped the ball over to Wilson’s England teammate, Harry Kane, to plant a neat finish underneath Begovic. A set-up reminiscent of Brooks and Lerma earlier on.
The Cherries had a chance to provide a consolation with Stanislas’ effort being well-blocked by Rose, but Bournemouth couldn’t block Son from scoring a fifth after a bundle in the Bournemouth box, and a bad spill by Begovic.
Both Stanislas and Rico had chances to reduce the deficit but Spurs held on to their five-goal lead against a team they showed no mercy for.
Full-Time Tottenham 5-0 Bournemouth
Asmir Begovic – 5: Didn’t have plenty to do but not at fault for most of the goals, except for his spill that led to the fifth.
Simon Francis – 5: Did look bright before his devastating injury, and could have been cause for a third goal at 2-0.
Steve Cook – 5: Simply outclassed by a strong Spurs front line but tried. His long throw-ins caused no concerns for the opposition back line.
Nathan Ake – 4: Similar to Cook but had no contribution and looked severely demotivated.
Charlie Daniels – 3: At fault again for another goal. Looked all over the place at LWB and seemed more composed after shifting to the centre, but you can’t be making mistakes against such a prestigious team.
David Brooks – 5: Was able to get out of cul-de-sacs easily and possessed some great dribbling but should have scored after the Lerma through ball.
Jefferson Lerma – 6 – MOTM: Did make some good long-balls that are usually expectant of his partner. Picked up the inevitable yellow-card but could have had an assist. Tough to pick between him, Surman and Fraser for MOTM.
Andrew Surman – 6: Intelligent passing and positioning today, and made a handful of blocks to prevent further goals.
Ryan Fraser – 6: Didn’t look particularly good on the left side but was better after changing to RWB. Made some very good crosses and could have scored earlier on if it weren’t for Stanislas.
Junior Stanislas – 5: Provided some excellent opportunities that could have been pivotal moments in the match if they were scored but missed due to poor finishing.
Callum Wilson – 5: Very quiet throughout the game due to a lack of support. Good move by Eddie to take him off rather early.
Diego Rico (Francis – 45) – 5: Looked very good going forward but left massive holes behind him. Too far up the pitch against a team such as Spurs.
Lys Mousset (Callum Wilson – 70) – 5: Once again only appeared for a cameo but did not change the tempo and had little influence on the game.
Overall Team Performance: 4. Dominated in both halves against a well-oiled Spurs machine, who put us to the sword in swift fashion. Midfield looked quite composed but it was the defence and the forward’s performances that let us down.
A tough result to take given the scoreline. Spurs had 5 goals with 10 shots and 7 on target while we had 14 shots with 4 on target, which resulted in no goals. It’s obvious that our finishing was poor today. Another issue with the tactics that seemed to be a bit confusing – the formation. Eddie must know from previous experience of how ruthless Spurs are. Not even a week ago they beat Everton by four goals so to be away to a side with so much ruthlessness and scoring consistency and field four at the back is an odd move to make. Even so, after three goals in only 35 minutes, Eddie did switch to three at the back and we were a little more comfortable and surprisingly looked more confident going forward.
His decision to pick Daniels and Stanislas is quite odd too. Stanislas has been below par recently and once again he’s proven that perhaps he should be given a rest so others in his position can be given an opportunity. People who can play on the wing such as Mousset and Ibe excelled against Chelsea last week. Daniels made a mistake against Wolves which proved to be costly and did it once again today. Despite the few chances he’s been given, it’s probably time for Diego Rico to be given the chance to impress.
On an additional note, our central midfield has impressed despite the injury concern that arose a month or so before. Surman and Lerma are of different mindsets in their position but gel well with their capabilities and deserve some recognition for that. They have performed well in situations when the team has not, such as against Liverpool, Wolves and today. Both Surman and Lerma deserve to get some goals and assists under their belt, and I can certainly see them being starters for most games this season.
Spurs have once again drifted us aside. That is now our biggest defeat in the Premier League, against a team that have only bettered that record, given their 1-5 win and 4-0 wins in the past. Next up is a daunting trip to Old Trafford, a team that possesses a ‘new look’ manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Neil Dawson wrote…
Tough day… I agree about the arrogance we show in these games by insisting on playing our way. Back four, central two in midfield…three flat lines…and then we wonder why we get picked off so easily.
Eddies only Achilles heel now is his lack of effective formations/plan b. – Join the conversation, click here.