Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dinamo Tbilisi v Tottenham 1st Leg review

Tottenham Hotspur started their European campaign in far flung former Soviet state of Georgia to play the League champions Dinamo Tbilisi, the day after Arsenal had defeated Fenerbahce convincingly in Turkey 3-0.

Tottenham did a thoroughly professional performance in Georgia by completing a comprehensive 5-0 away victory which puts them in the group stage of the Europa League barring an unbelievable meltdown at White Hart Lane next Thursday.

Yet why were the Lilywhites so dominant and what did we learn:

1. Andros Townsend is here
The young Spurs trainee graduate finally matured into the fully fledged first team player many knew he had the talent for.  Following on from his creditable loan spell at QPR where he became one of the few players in that squad to gain some credit.  In Tbilisi he bossed the right wing, played with a mixture of speed and finesse to leave defenders in his wake as his expertly taken opening goal showed.  He then set up the 2nd and 3rd due to some precision passing and crossing.

2. Robert Soldado's movement
The Valencia player who scored 24 goals in La Liga last year showed his brilliant movement to find space in the penalty box for both of his vertiable tap ins to make it three in two games to start his Spurs career.  Spurs need a player who can score goals regularly without the peaks and troughs usually associated with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor.

3.  Lloris is solid
But for the French No.1 Tottenham might well have conceded on this away trip and the complexion of the tie might have changed if Lloris did not palm away a goal bound shot when Spurs were leading 1-0.  His solid punching and claiming of crosses hid some defensive frailties.

4. Coming up Roses (going forward)
For all the great goals Danny Rose may score, his defensive weakness was very clear to see at times.  Most of Tbilisi's attacks came down the right wing as Rose continues to improve his positioning, and also the pace of some attacking play led to both Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul back pedalling and some panicky defending; this is mitigated by of the three man midfield, not one of Dembele, Paulinho or Capoue really sits deep.  Against players like Mata and Cazorla this will become apparent.

5. Rest is good
The chance to start Harry Kane and Tom Carroll, and to rotate the squad will be good next Thursday with the 2nd leg three days before the North London derby where freshness will be key for a huge battle.

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