The right flank became a tactical battleground as the Cherries gambled and lost with it ending Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham in our Premier League clash.
Eddie Howe caused plenty of problems through his initial setup. However, the tactical reshuffle of Mauricio Pochettino exposed the weakness down Bournemouth’s left side. Three goals ensued as it ended Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham.
Bournemouth attacking trio
Eddie Howe needed a fast start to knock us on the back foot and he got it.
Howe’s initial tactical setup was bright and wanted to hit hard. Without the ball they were quick to close down as they used their twin strikers of Callum Wilson and Lys Mousset to press our centre backs. However, Howe also brought pressure from the outsides with Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith, whilst Dan Gosling pushed up from central midfield.
The objective was to stop us playing out, but also to push us towards the sideline. Hemmed in by the constraints of the pitch and Bournemouth numbers, meant that moving the ball out was difficult.
Bournemouth complimented this pressure by looking to strike quickly when they had the ball. The Cherries rapidly looked for any kind of pass in-behind our back line in order to use their two strikers. What’s more, Junior Stanislas racing in off the left wing joined the pair.
The trio caused no end of problems. Junior Stanislas hit the bar from an early fast break that saw a two on one. The trio was then overloading our backline as Bournemouth took the lead.
Bournemouth trio tells
Howe trying to flood our defence with three fast runners was complimented by his approach on the Bournemouth right. Shifting Adam Smith to right midfield to be aided by Simon Francis at full back gave them a solid base to supply crosses. The pair often ganged up on Danny Rose and did so to take the lead.
Rose had a mixed game, but his impetuous move to try and jam Smith as he received the ball saw him burned. Smith spun and was away in to the space. Whilst this was going on, the Bournemouth attacking trio was assembling in the middle to cause problems. Mousset and Wilson had occupied the centre backs, and most importantly, drawn Serge Aurier in on the cover. As a result, Junior Stanislas was free at the back post.
Smith’s cross in to the box sailed straight to Stanislas who made no mistake with his finish. Bournemouth had sought to overwhelm our back line by bring three attackers and their plan had paid off with the lead they craved.
Stanislas on the left
Junior Stanislas had been key in Bournemouth’s attack. Racing off the left wing he had hit the bar and then scored the go-ahead goal.
However, Stanislas was also a key in defence, as his attacking moves frequently left space for us to exploit. Stanislas’ play often left him late getting back in to position. Therefore, full back Luke Daniels was left with an awful lot of space to cover. Eriksen was dragging him inside whilst Aurier was free on the outside.
The result was Serge Aurier had room to run in to and a tonne of good crossing opportunities. Aurier’s delivery is poor though and he produced a rather characteristic one completed cross from eight attempts. However, the one completion was key in getting us back in to the match.
The injury to Harry Kane caused Mauricio Pochettino to reshuffle. Pochettino’s substitutions have been well criticised of late due to their timing. Without our talisman, Pochettino was forced to make a change and it was a stroke of genius. The switch solved a number of problems and gave us the platform to win the game.
Firstly, Christian Eriksen dropped in to a three alongside Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama. This shift solved the issue of bringing the ball out against the Bournemouth press. Three central midfielders dropped in between Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen to simply have more players than Bournemouth could bring pressure.
Secondly, Nathan Ake had been trailing Harry Kane everywhere as Bournemouth sought to mitigate his influence. With Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela now all buzzing around the back four, Bournemouth’s defence struggled to pick up.
The key for Tottenham was that Bournemouth didn’t adjust in time. The space down the right for Aurier remained. The result was that three of our four goals ensued from this reshuffle now being able to attack Bournemouth’s weakness.
Tottenham right-sided raids
The tactical re-shuffle by Pochettino paid almost immediate dividends as Aurier finally managed to complete a cross. Junior Stanislas was caught forward pressing. Once more, Serge Aurier was left in a foot race with Charlie Daniels and torched the slower left back.
Aurier whipped in a dangerous ball that bounced in front of Dele Alli who killed it superbly past the onrushing Asmir Begovic. Running in off the opposite flank saw Dele arrive completely unmarked at the perfect moment, as Bournemouth’s defence failed to pick him up. Bournemouth 1-1 Tottenham and we were back in the match.
Tottenham continued to make chances from the right, but Aurier failed to deliver another ball in to the box of real quality. However, after the interval, we then added a second as space down the right saw Aurier heavily involved, as our newly created front three confused the Bournemouth defence once again.
Moments before the goal and Eddie Howe, who had seen his team overrun, was ready to make a change. Harry Arter stood on the touchline. Howe clearly signalled his intentions to even up in central midfield as he raised three fingers. However, he couldn’t make the change as Son scored and altered the position of the match.
The goal started with Christian Eriksen once more playing a peach of a pass. Junior Stanislas had been caught forward and was trying to recover his position. Eriksen was therefore in space to loft the ball over Charlie Daniels to sneak Aurier in to the space beyond him. Quickly play was moved back across as Tottenham had their front three neatly around the Bournemouth back four.
Dele Alli was in space down one side, Son Heung-Min the other. Son cleverly pulled off in to the space on the right beyond full back Charlie Daniels. Having started the attack on this side, it was finished here. Dele lofted a beautiful ball back towards Son. His scuffed scissor kick bounced the ball in to the back of the net and now we had the lead.
Set pieces seal the match
The score was Bournemouth 1-2 Tottenham and Eddie Howe scrapped his plan of a midfield three with Harry Arter. Instead, Howe introduced Jordon Ibe, Josh King and then Jermain Defoe as he went all out for the equalising goal.
The match was sealed after two set pieces. Both didn’t go Bournemouth’s way.
Callum Wilson had the ball in the net, but only after pushing Davinson Sanchez in the back. Then an ill-advised short free kick saw possession turned over.
Son Heung-Min had nicely positioned himself close to the ball and was slow to retreat. As a result, Bournemouth passed square rather than chipping the ball in to the box. The Cherries’ centre backs were caught forward. Son therefore had the freedom of the Bournemouth half of the pitch to run in to and cooly finish.
Eriksen’s interception and outlet pass were a poignant summing up of the unheralded work in his afternoon. Son’s finish to beckon and fake a pass to Erik Lamela as clever as his initial positioning to hinder the free kick.
Right-sided raid wraps it up
There was still time to make the score Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham as another right-sided raid paid dividends. By this time, Kieran Tripper had taken Serge Aurier’s place at right back, with the Ivorian moving to left back.
Moussa Sissoko found Trippier in space on the overlap down the right, as full back Charlie Daniels was caught in-field once more.
Trippier’s cross was palmed up in the air by Asmir Begovic. Serge Aurier arrived at the far post to nod in to an empty net from a difficult angle. Aurier slid away celebrating to make the score Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham and ice the game.
Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham overall
A difficult start to the afternoon saw us dig ourselves out of a tough situation. The loss of Harry Kane was a big one, but the tactical reshuffle by Mauricio Pochettino was perfect for this match. After the change, we could move the ball out easier and expose the advantage we had down the right with Junior Stanislas leaving Charlie Daniels exposed.
The win came at a price. The loss of Harry Kane could have a massive impact on our season. What’s more Dele Alli and Danny Rose both limped off to give us potentially further headaches.
The game’s key players were Christian Eriksen and Serge Aurier. Eriksen once more put in a stellar display in spite of moving in to a deeper midfield role to carry on pulling the strings. Serge Aurier continues to excite and frustrate in equal measure. Brilliant at exposing space, but a woeful final ball needs work on the training ground.
Final score: Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham.
MOTM: Christian Eriksen.