Tottenham open new year energetically thanks to clutch of stars
Tottenham put their setback against Wolves firmly behind them and started 2019 in style with a 3-0 victory at Cardiff on Tuesday.
The north Londoners were quick out of the blocks in the new year, taking the lead in the third minute as Harry Kane profited from some poor defending. Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min promptly added two more goals in the first 30 minutes.
Spurs have now reclaimed second place in the Premier League table, moving back above reigning champions Manchester City and within six points of leaders Liverpool, and they will be interested observers when the two teams either side of them face off on Thursday.
Tottenham failed to kill off Wolves on Saturday and tired badly as a 1-0 lead turned into a 3-1 loss in the final 20 minutes. With Mauricio Pochettino picking 10 of the same 11 players against Cardiff, there was a fear that history might repeat itself. But Spurs quickly allayed those concerns, putting the game to bed before the half-hour mark.
This was another impressive attacking performance, following the 6-2 triumph at Everton and the 5-0 win over Bournemouth in the previous 10 days. The clean sheet was another bonus, after some shaky defensive displays and that collapse against Wolves. Spurs have now won 10 of their 12 Premier League away matches this season.
Tottenham could have scored more, having mustered 13 shots on goal, but that is probably being greedy.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Eyebrows went up when Pochettino opted to make only one change to the lineup that had so obviously tired against Wolves, but his decision paid off. He could just have withdrawn some of his key men a little earlier, given the comfortable scoreline. His two substitutions eventually came in the 76th and 86th minutes.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- Made the saves that were asked of him and claimed a few crosses bravely under pressure to keep a clean sheet.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- A more assured display after his error-strewn second half against Wolves, and his cross produced the opening goal, albeit thanks to some shoddy defending.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 7 -- Solid again, justifying his selection ahead of Juan Foyth.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- Strong on the ground and in the air, ensuring there was no comeback this time.
DF Danny Rose, 7 -- Made an important diving header at the back post in the early stages to prevent an attempt on goal. The defence looks more secure when he is playing at left-back, rather than Ben Davies.
MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Looked knackered in the closing stages against Wolves on Saturday but refreshed here. The 22-year-old's passing helped Spurs to enjoy 73 percent of the possession and he got stuck in without the ball too.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 9 -- Outstanding. The France international played a key first-time pass in the build-up to the second goal, and it was his break through the middle that gave Son the chance to score the third. Out of possession he rampaged all over the pitch to close down Cardiff players and make tackles. The visiting Spurs fans were willing him to score a deserved goal when he fired over at the end.
MF Christian Eriksen, 8 -- Saw plenty of the ball in his role on the left side of the midfield diamond and took his goal beautifully, with two quick touches wrong-footing a defender before he fired into the bottom corner. He has now scored four goals in six games.
MF Dele Alli, 7 -- Gave the ball away a couple of times early on but grew into the game and could have had a goal and an assist in the second half.
FW Harry Kane, 8 -- His opening goal was lucky as the ball was kicked into his shin in the goalmouth, but he had started the move himself. He also played a key role in the other two goals, first playing a cute pass round the corner to Sissoko and then helping the Frenchman's ball on to Son inside the box.
FW Son Heung-min, 8 -- Found Eriksen for the second goal, although his pass perhaps should have been intercepted, before scoring himself with a clinical strike, finding the net for the sixth time in five matches.
MF Oliver Skipp, N/R -- Gained further experience after replacing Son in the 76th minute.
FW Fernando Llorente, N/R -- Appeared late on and had little time to make an impact. The Spaniard could start against Tranmere in the FA Cup on Friday, although his future is in doubt in this January window.