Tottenham Hotspur eased early pressure on their new manager by recording a 3-1 victory at Reading to get their 2012/13 Premier League season finally underway.
An opening game defeat at Newcastle was followed up by two 1-1 draws with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, putting pressure on Andre Villas-Boas by his own support.
Tottenham took the game to Reading from the start, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen both being denied in a matter of seconds from Gareth Bale’s free kick inside 4 minutes.
Jermain Defoe had missed two half chances before he gave the visitors the lead in the 18th minute at the Madejski Stadium. Tottenham really should have increased their lead before going into the break, most-notably when Alex McCarthy gifted the ball to Jermain Defoe who setup Sigurdsson inside the 6 yard box only for the Icelandic midfielder to see his attempt blocked on the line.
Andre Villas-Boas must have felt more comfort 20 minutes from time when Gareth Bale’s chipped effort doubled their lead. 3 minutes later Jermain Defoe put the game out of reach with a fine solo effort and Tottenham were on their way to recording a scoreline they deserved.
Reading put on some late pressure and Hal Robson-Kanu’s goal in the 90th minute meant Spurs have now conceded a goal in the final 10 minutes of all 4 league games this season.
Jermain Defoe who was started ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor delivered the goods today with his brace. Aside from his goals, there was also the usual few poor long range attempts off target and the odd handball from the England striker.
Mousa Dembele put in a good shift on his first start for Tottenham; completing 91% of his 67 passes, winning all 4 of his tackle attempts, winning 7 ground duels and being credited for an assist on Defoe’s second goal. I can see where Glenn Hoddle is coming from when he stated pre-game that he’s an improvement on Luka Modric; he provides both defensive and offensive assistance.
Jan Vertonghen, who hadn’t convinced me in games I’d seen him at Ajax was comfortable on the ball and bringing it forward today. However, the Belgian defender didn’t win much in the air so we’ll see how it gets on against more physical strikers in the coming weeks.
Tom Huddlestone, Clint Dempsey and Andros Townsend all made second half substitute appearances for Spurs, who certainly have a wealth of talent in their midfield if Villas-Boas can get the most out of it.
Having lost a large bet on Chelsea on Saturday, I started to make up for it backing Manchester United at 1.53 at half-time against Wigan Athletic and then Tottenham at 2.2 today.
I wasn’t convinced from what I’d seen from Tottenham in their opening three games and just because they’ve put in a good performance against a relegation candidate hasn’t changed anything for me just yet. They have yet to get much out of Gylfi Sigurdsson who was on fire during his loan spell at Swansea. 4 games without a clean sheet (AVB’s Chelsea defence wasn’t great either). To think what Harry Redknapp could and would have got out of this unit…
Tottenham host Lazio on Thursday in the Europa League and return to Premier League action when they welcome Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.