Artur Boruc had a day to forget, but it overshadowed what was some terrific play as our Premier League clash finished Bournemouth 1-5 Spurs.
Midfield control was what this game was all about and after a shaky opening few minutes, we had this zone on lockdown. Artur Boruc couldn’t have caught a cold with a performance he’d soon like to forget and this overshadowed what was a dominant display of midfield power as the score ended up Bournemouth 1-5 Spurs at the Vitality Stadium.
The game panned out much as we expected it to in the Bournemouth vs Spurs preview. The Cherries were a threat from crosses, they were equally a threat to themselves from defensive errors, especially from their keepers, and they are falible to teams that run off their centre backs. All three of these key points raised in the preview were present on the six goals.
The game started off extremely open with a good tempo as both teams moved the ball quickly forward. This saw play transferred swiftly from back to front from either running with the ball or one touch passing.
Bournemouth are a crossing team and with barely a minute played they took the lead from doing just this. Both teams had tried to go quickly forward and a long kick downfield from Artur Boruc saw the ball taken down by Joshua King. This drew Eric Dier out of the middle and as King played it out to Charlie Daniels on the overlap, Erik Lamela was late getting back to cover him, allowing the cross to come in. Kyle Walker was also slow to help, leaving the Bournemouth man with three Spurs players in the vicinity, but no one challenging his cross.
The ball ended up going over everyone in the centre. With Danny Rose pinching in, he left himself far too much space to get out to Matt Ritchie. The Bournemouth wide man had time to bring the ball down and blaze in the opener past Hugo Lloris at his near post, 1-0.
The goal sent the Vitality Stadium in to raptures as they sensed another scalp to be had. However, this was about as good as was going to get for the Cherries.
Once Bournemouth had taken the lead, our power midfield then took over. This brought our left sided focus through Eriksen with Kane running beyond the centre backs in to play, all aided by some horrendous blunders from Artur Boruc.
Power midfield play
Our midfield trio of Eric Dier and Dele Alli at the base with Mousa Dembele as a number ten saw us take over and control this game. It was a trio I talked about us playing to overpower certain midfields on the By the Min Spurs podcast last week and I was intrigued to see just how well it would fare when rolled out for the first time here.
The three often came up against two Bournemouth midfielders as Joshua King was late dropping in and this saw them simply get overwhelmed by our strength, size and power. Our trio recaptured and regained the ball, frequently in the Bournemouth half, to tee-up attacks.
Dier, Alli and Dembele won possession back an astonishing 28 times through tackling, intercepting or hoovering up loose balls. It was impressive to watch such a controlling and imposing display as they often hemmed Bournemouth in.
Left-sided focus and runs in-behind
Our powerful midfield was winning he ball back, then often distributing it to the left side. Christian Eriksen drifting from this flank was the focus for their passes, as he was a nightmare for Bournemouth to contain. The Dane’s attentions were frequently the runs of Harry Kane in-behind the centre backs as we looked to target the lack of speed in this area.
The midfield ball recovery, plus the drifting Eriksen and Kane’s runs in-behind combined to get us back in the match.
The ball was sent long downfield, continuing with the tactic of getting it quickly from back to front. Harry Kane leaped with Steve Cook and Mousa Dembele swiped in to hoover up possession. Dembele moved it out to Eriksen on the left who then saw Harry Kane setting off to run in-behind the centre back.
Running off Bournemouth‘s centre backs was something we looked at in the Bournemouth vs Spurs preview. Even Kane’s speed was enough to see him get beyond his marker. What Artur Boruc was doing sliding out feet first only he will know.
Kane got up and passed the penalty shakily to the Keeper’s left, but sending Boruc the wrong way and we were back on level terms, 1-1.
One soon became two as the left side was the focus once more and so too was our powerful midfield trio. Both Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli hounded the Bournemouth player in possession, not only winning the ball back, but also gaining a free kick out on the left.
Usually Christian Eriksen will swing the ball in to the box from these wide positions, but his short free kick in to the path of Danny Rose caught Bournemouth by surprise. They raced towards Rose as he fired his shot, leaving several Spurs players unmarked. Rose’s shot cannoned off a defender and Mousa Dembele, as he did for much of the afternoon, gobbled up the loose ball. He was now clean through with the simple task of just having to pass the ball in to the wide-open net.
2-1 became 3-1 not long after. Mousa Dembele again recovered the ball and laid it off to Eric Dier out towards the left. As Dier stepped forward, Kane set off and the defensive midfielder found his run in-behind with a perfectly weighted through ball.
Kane ran off centre back Steve Cook and right back Simon Francis to get in a short-chipped cross.
This should’ve been simple for Boruc to take, but inexplicably he dropped the ball at the feet of Erik Lamela who had an easy tap in, 3-1.
With the left side being the focus for our first three goals, the trend continued after the interval. Our fourth saw Harry Kane running beyond the centre backs for a third time, as he stole off the ageing Sylvain Distin to flick home Christian Eriksen’s deftly weighted curled-in chip to make it 4-1.
There was no pressure on Eriksen when he picked up the ball, giving him time and space to deliver. Distin just couldn’t handle the speed of Kane’s run or Eriksen’s train of thought.
After four goals focussing on the left, three involving good ball recovery from our powerful midfield trio, the last goal came from attacking down the right.
Kyle Walker jetted forward and cushioned Eric Dier’s long ball down in to the path of Harry Kane for a shot. Artur Boruc pushed it wide for a corner, which saw us run one of our regular routines. The near edge of the six-yard box was left open for Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld to run towards to meet a low whipped-in ball by Christian Eriksen.
Alderweireld got to the ball first and sent a darting header straight at Boruc. In the midst of having a mare of a game, Boruc dropped another clanger. His palming down of the ball straight to the feet of Harry Kane for a tap in cemented his nightmare and Kane’s hat trick, Bournemouth 1-5 Spurs.
It wouldn’t get any better for the Bournemouth keeper. At 5-1 down he spilled an Eric Dier cross and then tripped Kane in what should’ve seen another penalty awarded. Earlier in the game at 3-1 he also whacked a back pass straight in to the pressing Mousa Dembele that could easily have rebounded in. Fortunately for him it didn’t, his one slice of luck on the day.
Bournemouth 1-5 Spurs overall
Artur Boruc had a complete nightmare, but his blunders masked what was a terrific performance of how to control and quash a home side buoyed by a vocal crowd.
The early Bournemouth goal made the way in which Dier, Alli and Dembele controlled the central zone even more impressive. Their distribution of the ball out for Eriksen to tantalise and destroy the Bournemouth defence from the left was calculated. Kane’s run’s in-behind the centre backs were expertly timed and topped off what was tactically a beautiful game to watch.
Final score: Bournemouth 1-5 Spurs.