Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min prior to Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Kitchee 1-4 Spurs: overloading the centre opens up the flanks

Working from in to out, the Lilywhites coasted to an easy victory as it finished Kitchee 1-4 Spurs in the Hong Kong Stadium.

Two formations, two strategies equalled four goals. Tottenham overloaded between the lines and then went to the flanks to finish the job as it ended Kitchee 1-4 Spurs in the Hong Kong Stadium.

Back door runs

Tottenham started the match by hitting Kitchee with a number of switches in play. The ploy moved the ball quickly from side to side and stretched our narrow opponents out. As a result, space opened up between the lines for Christian Eriksen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to float around in.

Eriksen was particularly prevalent in these spaces up to the opening goal.

The Danish maestro often looked for Son Heung-Min making back door runs off the Kitchee full backs.

Eriksen plays in Son Heung Min's run off the full back during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Eriksen plays in Son Heung Min’s run off the full back.

Son had the ball in the net on fourteen minutes from Eriksen’s pass, but was wrongly adjudged offside.

Soon after, Spurs would take the lead. Eriksen once more found space between the Kitchee lines along with Son Heung-Min. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou made the back door run off the full back. However, Eriksen’s pass was cut out, but Son was in position to scoop up the ball and curl it in to the corner of the net, 1-0.

Eriksen and Son between the lines prior to the goal during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs in the Hong Kong Stadium.

Eriksen and Son between the lines prior to the goal.

Two minutes later and Vincent Janssen added a second. The Dutch striker showed some neat hold up play in the build-up and a quality finish. With Kitchee stretched, Janssen’s excellent hold-up play found Nkoudou in acres of space between the lines.

Nkoudou between the lines finds Davies overlapping run during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Nkoudou between the lines finds Davies overlapping run.

Nkoudou neatly found Ben Davies on the overlap and Janssen in turn to slot home. Spurs were two up and cruising.

Spurs switch formation and tactics

Half time saw Mauricio Pochettino make six changes and alter formation. A 3-4-1-2 replaced the 4-2-3-1. Pochettino also changed the tactics. Eriksen and Nkoudou had been tormentors in chief from between the lines. The introduction of Kieran Trippier and Will Miller as wingbacks saw our creative paths flow through them.

Spurs attack from wide

The introduction of Wingbacks saw us build our second half attacks through them. Kieran Trippier was a constant source of menace with his crosses. Will Miller showed neat through ball passes and link-up play.

Miller was responsible for our most dangerous attack before we added a third goal. His pass found Vincent Janssen through the inside left channel. Janssen then saw his curling shot tipped on to the bar.

A third goal then did arrive. Newly introduceed Harry Kane found the ever-wiling run of Kieran Trippier out wide. The wingback then returned the favour by squaring for Kane to slot in to the empty net.

Trippier surges forward down the flank to play in Kane to score during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Trippier surges forward down the flank to play in Kane.

In stoppage time, Kazaiah Sterling added a fourth from the flank to make it Kitchee 1-4 Spurs. Sterling performed impressively after his introduction from the bench. Showing intelligent attacking runs, movement and also great strength, he was aptly rewarded for his efforts.

Dele Alli broke forward and found the young striker who had drifted out wide and overlapped down the left. As the ball deflected through to him, Sterling remained calm and composed to control and slot it in to the net to make the score Kitchee 1-4 Spurs.

Dele down the left plays in Sterling to score during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadum.

Dele down the left plays in Sterling to score.

Kitchee balls in-behind

Kitchee had several good chances to score and finally got their reward for their persistance on 89 minutes. The Hong Kong team had seen a header from a corner cleared off the line and then two good efforts from sloppy Tottenham turnovers.

Kevin Wimmer passed straight out to Matt Lam. The Kitchee midfielder curled his left-footed effort just wide of the post with Hugo Lloris stranded.

Jan Vertonghen then gave the ball away down by the corner flag. Seconds later, Alex Tayo Akande couldn’t beat Michel Vorm from close range.

Akande proved to be a nuisance after he was introduced. The striker constantly ran in-behind our high defensively line as Kitchee looked for the ball over the top.

Akande runs behind the high defensive line during Kitchee 1-4 Spurs at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Akande runs behind the high defensive line.

Akande was given offside on one such pass. Minutes later he beat the trap, but pondered when clean through, giving Kevin Wimmer the chance to make a remarkable goal-saving tackle.

Kitchee eventually made the tactic pay. The introduction of Lucas da Silva saw him chase down the long pass over the top of our back line. However, da Silva’s cross went through the box, but was retrieved out the other side. Lam Ka Wai then chipped the ball towards the back post where Akande jumped with Michel Vorm.

The Tottenham goalkeeper wasn’t aggressive enough, losing the aerial contest. The ball dropped to da Silva on the line. The Brazilian triumphantly lashed it in to the net to make the final score Kitchee 1-4 Spurs. The Hong Kong team had gained a well-deserved consolation for their efforts.

Kitchee 1-4 Spurs overall

Two formations, two strategies and two goals for each. The 4-2-3-1 opened up space between the lines for Christian Eriksen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. Both of the pair created a goal from this area. The switch to a back three then saw us fashion chances from wide. Kieran Trippier made one goal from the right, Dele Alli the other from the left.

Every member of the travelling squad was involved. Of our young guns, Will Miller and Kazaiah Sterling were standouts in their roles.

There was also a Pau Lopez sighting. The tall keeper looked adept at shot stopping, but not at ease passing the ball. The keeper sent one pass straight to Akande who couldn’t return it with interest from inside the penalty area. Lopez was extremely awkward on other occasions when needing to distribute with his feet. Very unusual for a Spanish keeper and one that Pochettino has used in his system when coach of Espanyol.

Final score: Kitchee 1-4 Spurs.
MOTM: Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.

If you enjoyed this post, please share:


9 Responses to Kitchee 1-4 Spurs: overloading the centre opens up the flanks

  1. Toby4eva 27th May 2017 at 3:28 am #

    Thanks Mark

    Didn’t see the game but other reports enthusiastically back your MOM call for KGN.

    I like him – he seems popular with the players and he was pretty candid in a recent interview that he has found the going tough under Poch. He wasn’t used to the Enfield intensity.

    So it looks like he has been managed carefully with a long range view.

    So potentially another “de facto new signing”.

    He is skillfull and has buckets of pace – so add graft to the mix and Poch will keep him.

    We will soon know.

    Vinnie apparently put in a good shift and there is a freak video of him lifting the Cup.

    He already has dark blue and white corpuscles and we have to keep him and trust that he will get amongst the goals next year.

    And an interview with Broadway in the last 24 hours suggest three things.

    He loves Poch and is going nowhere.
    Harry wants to be Tottenhams greatest ever player – ergo he ain’t going, and
    KW is on his way.

    Speaking of interviews – I read a great comment from Fergie the other day about his admiration for Poch and his building via youth at THFC. He noted that his class of 92 yoof “never forgot who gave them a start” and that he treasures that they all keep in contact with him regularly.

    As I’ve said before – there is no doubt that Poch has modelled himself on Fergie and is slavishly trying to recreate the Man Utd success story.

    A no brainer really given Fergie’s record!

    He’d hardly be researching Alan Pardew.

    Love the silly season!


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 27th May 2017 at 2:48 pm #

      GKN deserves another season, especially with Zaha signing a 5-year deal at Palace, as we need to keep a nippy dribbler type in the squad. Whether he pans out or not, he at least deserves a chance. I think we’ve been too quick to give up on some players recently, so him and Janssen should get at least one more season to show what they can do and that they’ve settled in to Premier League football. Son’s explosion this season is proof of that. Remember all the sell him stuff from a lot of media and fans last summer?

      I always think Fergie’s comments are so incredibly loaded that he is trying to tap Poch up. Especially if Mourinho is true to his usual short self-imploding shelf life. As a result, I can see him wanting Poch after the special one has done one to bring harmony where Mourinho had created discontent.

  2. Matt 27th May 2017 at 8:35 am #

    Thanks Mark. I agree Toby, I’d love to see GKN make it with us. We are a fine team but we do not have searing pace in many areas and KW leaving exacerbates that. I think we need at least one or two really pacy men as options (tho Son isn’t slow). What do you think; seen enough to think he’s in with a shout, or is there another option?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 27th May 2017 at 3:01 pm #

      Spot on. Yes I think adding speed in wide areas is what Poch tried to achieve through the Sissoko and GKN signings last summer. Both were a bit haphazardly handled and strange targets to identify to solve this. Needless to say that neither has panned out, but GKN has more time and potential upside than Sissoko who looks a broken player. I think this is why we are now seeing the links with Zaha, although he has now penned a new deal, Douglas Costa and Thomas Lemar. These all fit the bill, but are lofty, and maybe unattainable targets. I’d also like to throw Emil Forsberg in the mix as a much more gettable solution. However, we probably end up with Kevin Mirallas!

  3. Toby4eva 27th May 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    Apologies GKN.

    If I saw more of you I’d get your initials right lol !


    Seriously, in my book he is a definite “keep”.


  4. Toby4eva 27th May 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Or GKNM even….

  5. Daudi 28th May 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    Thanks Mark, such a surprise.. didn’t expect you to do a piece on this game. Thumbs up!!

    Since we are all raving about GKN am still surprised that Sissoko got so many minutes. From what little I saw of Nkodou during the season, he looked a better option to Sissoko. All in all, all our underperforming players deserve a second season to prove themselves… Looks like Poch was playing a psychological game with Sissoko during the Leicester game.. giving him a chance to impress with no pressure since the league was already taken, even out of position he didn’t look comfortable,

    So everyone got a share of the game, am sure the Manager was using even this friendly to assess what he had for the season coming, buying or bringing some academy players through… What of a Shayon Harrison though, he was a good prospect when we started the season I think. We sell him?


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th May 2017 at 6:14 pm #

      GKN did well here due to the level of the opposition. To be fair, he did take his chance to impress though, so good on him. However, in Premier League games, and the EFL Cup game at Liverpool, he looked a little out of his depth. He did have that good Champions League game in Moscow, but that was really the exception. Hopefully he will continue to improve and this was just a settling in season for him. I would keep him on next year to see if the coaching kicks in and he makes improvements. At his age, he does still have an upside, but he still looks a tad lightweight for me against Premier League teams. I would guess that Poch so often went with Sissoko for his experience and size. However clumsy Sissoko looked, he’s still a big unit and has greater PL experience.

      I’m not sure what’s happened to Shayon Harrison. I guess Kazaiah Sterling has moved ahead of him, so could mean we would sell if a decent offer came in.

  6. Daudi 28th May 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    …. already has dark blue and white *corpuscles*

    Nice use of word Toby. First thought it was an article of clothing, but then had to be sure with a dictionary… now I know ;)