How Tottenham's players rated on their 1-0 victory against CSKA Moscow
After their first game in the group did not go to plan – losing to Monaco on their home turf for this European campaign – Spurs’ manager Mauricio Pochettino placed a great deal of importance on the result away to CSKA Moscow. As a notoriously difficult trip to make; if only due to the mileage required, the North London outfit were not in the greatest of situations and were of course without star striker Harry Kane, crucial midfield duo Eric Dier and Moussa Dembélé, and first choice left-back Danny Rose.
A fairly lack-lustre if controlled first half performance by Spurs was followed up by a distinctly more impressive showing in the latter 45 minutes, where CSKA Moscow were placed under significant pressure until eventually crumbling when Heung Min Son – the man of the moment for Tottenham – scored once again. The travelling side held out for an invaluable three points without having Hugo Lloris tested too severely. All in all, an excellent night’s work for the boys from White Hart Lane.
Here is how we rated Spurs’ players on the night. Leave your thoughts on the selection, and even your own ratings, in the comments section below or on Twitter @TBRFootball.
Hugo Lloris – 6
There were a couple of nervous moments when coming to collect crosses, but he exhibited a good positional sense when sweeping up danger in behind his defenders after a long ball had been directed over the top. The first save of real substance that the Frenchman had to make came with ten minutes remaining, so stopping the stinging drive was still a good achievement, despite its rather central location in the goal.
Kieran Trippier – 6
CSKA’s Eremenko troubled him from the early stages with quick feet and searing acceleration, but he eventually settled into proceedings. The former Burnley man’s usual strength – making advances in attacking areas – was largely nullified by worrying about opponents running beyond him, but Trippier did still pop up in the final third, especially when Spurs began to dominate the flow of the game, though without really delivering dangerous crosses into the area.
Toby Alderweireld – 7
Solid as ever, aggressive in the tackle, and Alderweireld completed some good covering work too, rescuing dangerous situations created by his team-mates’ errors. He did miss Spurs’ clearest opportunity in the first half when his unopposed header was directed straight at Igor Akinfeev, and had they not gone on to pick up all three points, this would have been costly. The former Saints man coped well up against the physical threat of Lacina Traore and marshalled the back-line as he does so well.
Jan Vertonghen – 6
A calm and reserved display from Alderweireld’s compatriot. Most of the direct tussles and aerial duels were handled by his central defensive partner, so Vertonghen was left to sweep up the danger, which he generally carried out more than adequately. Overall, he was not overly hassled all night long.
Ben Davies – 7
The Welshman was surprisingly progressive given the fact that he is mostly thought of as a more defensive option than Danny Rose. Davies supported Son willingly in the first half and carried out the same role for N’Koudou in the second 45 minutes, frequently overlapping and even attempting a couple of shots on goal. This was an encouraging display by the man primarily considered to be the understudy for Rose.
Victor Wanyama – 6
Wanyama was not overly tested on Tuesday night, as Spurs controlled most passages of play, but he still displayed a tactical astuteness that we have become so used to. He was almost always on the right side of the ball to prevent the counter-attack, and kept the ball moving with simple passes to the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli.
Dele Alli – 6
Alli was slightly off colour overall, with a few heavy touches and missed control in relatively tight areas. He did unleash a thunderous effort towards the end of the first half which crashed into the cross bar and looked more lively as the game wore on. Continuing the trend of the season though, he was not at his scintillating best that we saw so often last term. The former MK Dons man was rested for the final ten minutes ahead of matching up against Manchester City at the weekend, and he will be hoping for a more concrete contribution in that game.
Christian Eriksen – 7
The Danish international produced some very clever play in midfield throughout, spraying passes over longer distances in addition to his more accustomed interchanges of possession in close spaces. Eriksen operated from box to box in an energetic fashion and by contributing all over the pitch, was a key reason why Spurs walked away with all three points.
Erik Lamela – 7
Pochettino’s Argentine compatriot produced his usual smart and direct dribbling against CSKA Moscow. After switching wings at the start of the second half away from his preferred right flank, he even operated through the middle after the hour mark. Lamela provided the assist for Son’s winner, and his technical ability on the ball stood out over the ninety minutes.
Heung Min Son – 7 (Man of the Match)
Son failed to quite reach the heights of recent Premier League outings in the opening 45 minutes, but this was far from the extent of his contribution to the game. Operating on the left flank in the first half, he switched to the right after the interval and this did a little to aid his impact, with his pace occasionally exposing a narrow defensive line. A well guided left-footed curler nearly beat Akinfeev but it just slipped past the post. Timing his run perfectly, the South Korean snuck in behind the CSKA back-line to be released on goal and was just able to squeeze his strike past the ‘keeper, notching his fifth goal in four games in the process.
Vincent Janssen – 5
The summer signing looked nervy and certainly in need of a goal – which of course he is. Snatched at chances when they came his way. Arguably his best moments came when Dele Alli operated in close quarters to the Dutchman and the pair enjoyed a couple of neat exchanges. Janssen was withdrawn with 25 minutes remaining and so to have endured another match without scoring will only have knocked his confidence further.
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou – 7
N’Koudou came onto the field with 25 minutes remaining in place of Vincent Janssen and was bright from the first minute of his appearance, starting with a bold run at the right side of CSKA’s defence. This urgency and injection of pace was a continued theme for the rest of the night and pleasingly, Spurs fans even saw the summer signing applying himself in a defensive sense too, chasing back to help prevent his side being outnumbered by the hosts. He could well be a frequently used substitute over the course of the season, capitalising on tiring opposition legs.
Harry Winks – N/A
Winks was granted a few minutes at the end of the game when Pochettino’s men were purely intent on seeing out the three points, and while he did not have to do much, he displayed an impressive level of maturity in the closing stages.
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