Crisis? What crisis? Tonight’s Champions League fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side thump Red Star Belgrade 5-0, not only breaking a winless run dating back to September 28th but also giving them their biggest ever win in Europe’s top competition.
Three first-half goals – one from Harry Kane and two from Heung-min Son – gave Tottenham a big lead going into half time, and Red Star had no answer in the second half, eventually conceding a further two goals from Erik Lamela and Kane again.
After being humiliated 2-7 by Bayern Munich in their last Champions League fixture, this was just the kind of emphatic win Pochettino’s side needed to right the ship – in Europe at least. Here are 3 reasons why Tottenham beat Red Star Belgrade.
#1 Spurs finally created chances
Tottenham’s last two fixtures – their diabolical 3-0 loss to Brighton and their disappointing 1-1 draw with Watford – saw the Lilywhites have the majority of possession, and yet struggle to create many chances. The two games saw Spurs take 15 shots in total leaving fans to question how they would create goalscoring chances if their usual playmaker Christian Eriksen wasn’t on form or as it was against Watford, was left out altogether.
Well, Eriksen didn’t play tonight and yet Tottenham scored the most goals they’ve managed against high-level opposition since Boxing Day and in all honesty, they could’ve got more. Pochettino’s side had 19 shots – 12 of them on target – and if Erik Lamela, in particular, had been more clinical, who knows what the score might’ve been.
The difference appeared to be the pace, energy and aggression that Tottenham came into the game with. Without Eriksen, the system appeared to be almost a 4-2-4, with Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele playing deeply and Dele Alli sitting in his preferred position – linking play from the middle forward just behind Harry Kane – with Lamela and Heung-min Son as wide forwards.
Sure, Red Star’s defence wasn’t up to much, but the sweeping attacks that Spurs were using tonight – cutting inside from the wide areas and bringing Ben Davies and Serge Aurier forward – were much more like the Spurs we’ve become used to over the past few seasons. Evidently, there’s life after Eriksen after all.