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Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Norwich City: 3 reasons why Mourinho's men won | Premier League 2019-20

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
Modified 23 Jan 2020, 03:36 IST

Tottenham pulled off an important win over Norwich tonight
Tottenham pulled off an important win over Norwich tonight

Tottenham Hotspur picked up their first Premier League victory of 2020 this evening, defeating bottom club Norwich City 2-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It wasn’t the greatest performance from Jose Mourinho’s side, but the Portuguese boss will likely be ecstatic with the result, particularly as his side scored two goals without striker, Harry Kane.After largely dominating the play in the first half – although Norwich did have some dangerous breaks – Spurs opened the scoring through Dele Alli, who netted with a neat finish from Serge Aurier’s cross.

Daniel Farke’s Canaries came out strongly in the second half and pressed Tottenham, and eventually their persistence paid off; a silly challenge from Ryan Sessegnon felled Max Aarons in the penalty area, and Teemu Pukki dispatched the subsequent spot-kick.

Just under 10 minutes later, though, Spurs took the lead again, with Alli’s attempted shot ballooning into the air via a deflection before Son Heung Min nodded the ball home. Mourinho’s side then largely prevented any Norwich attacks before the final whistle.

Here are 3 reasons why Tottenham defeated Norwich.

#1 Lo Celso shows there’s life after Eriksen

Giovani Lo Celso had a fantastic game tonight
Giovani Lo Celso had a fantastic game tonight

Outside of the signing of Gedson Fernandes, Tottenham’s transfer window has been dominated by the Christian Eriksen saga. The Danish playmaker is looking to leave North London with Inter Milan his apparent destination, but for reasons unknown, Jose Mourinho has continued to use him despite his increasingly poor performances.

After another abject showing against Watford at the weekend, the Dane was left on the bench tonight, with Giovani Lo Celso left to pick up the role of chief creator. The Argentine came through with flying colours, showing Spurs fans that there’s definitely life after Eriksen.

Nobody completed more successful dribbles than Lo Celso, who also chipped in with an 85% pass success rate, as well as four key passes – more than any other player on the pitch. But more impressive was the Argentine’s workrate; Lo Celso was consistent in harrying Norwich’s midfield when they had the ball, attempting tackles and interceptions and never stopping for a second.

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Eriksen, on the other hand, was woeful again when he emerged from the bench on 62 minutes, seemingly unable to find a pass or put in a strong tackle. It’s time for Spurs to let him go – and ensure that Lo Celso is signed on a permanent deal this month. Tonight was his game and although he didn’t score, he was the key to Norwich’s downfall.


#2 Norwich’s finishing was profligate

Teemu Pukki dispatched his penalty - but other than that, he was wasteful in front of goal
Teemu Pukki dispatched his penalty - but other than that, he was wasteful in front of goal

This wasn’t a faultless showing by Tottenham by any means; despite the sparks of brilliance from Giovani Lo Celso and Serge Aurier, Jose Mourinho’s side still looked vulnerable at the back, and Norwich threatened their goal on multiple occasions. It was only through their own profligacy that they didn’t score more than one goal.

The Canaries took 12 shots on goal – just two less than their opponents – but only managed to find the target twice, with one of those being Teemu Pukki’s beautifully placed penalty. The first half in particular saw them create a number of strong chances, but each of them was missed wastefully, with Pukki and Todd Cantwell largely to blame.

Daniel Farke’s side are currently stranded at the bottom of the Premier League on 17 points; they sit just six points away from safety, but could they have gotten more out of this game? Almost certainly, and they only have themselves to blame. The Canaries have scored just 15 goals all season – if they can’t change that, then they’re doomed.


#3 Alli gives hope without Kane

Could Tottenham look to use Dele Alli as a makeshift striker going forward?
Could Tottenham look to use Dele Alli as a makeshift striker going forward?

Much has been made of the resurgence in form of Dele Alli since Jose Mourinho took over at Spurs in November. However, while he was indeed fantastic playing in his favoured role – just off central striker Harry Kane – in Mourinho’s early games, he’s quietened down without the England captain beside him recently.

Against Watford, Alli – deployed in a deeper role – was largely anonymous, and for great swathes of tonight’s game, he didn’t have much impact either. But when Spurs needed someone to finally find the back of the net, it was the England international who stepped up, finishing beautifully from Serge Aurier’s cross in the first half before getting into an excellent position to set up Son Heung Min’s winner.

Tottenham still need a striker, clearly – too often tonight they pumped long balls to Lucas Moura, who is no target man – but if they can’t find one then perhaps a better idea would be to play Alli as a false #9 and look to use his clever movement and positioning inside the box to create their goals.

Aurier and Giovani Lo Celso were Tottenham’s best players tonight, but it was Alli who handed them their win; from a Spurs point of view, may the resurrection continue.

Published 23 Jan 2020, 03:36 IST
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