Following a 5-0 riot over Gillingham mid-week, Spurs faced a trip up north to Middlesbrough and looked to chase early leaders Manchester City. Due to Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier’s previous substitutions due to ‘injury’, this it was thought at first to only be cramp, was found out to be something little more than cramp. So in came Eriksen and Davies to replace the two midfielders, as well as Vincent Janssen for the injured Harry Kane. Kane, who missed his first Premier League game for the first time in 71 games, was subject to a massive blow to Spurs coming into this game, being ruled out for what is thought to be 6-8 weeks.
Spurs got off to a flying start, seeing some good passing down the right-hand side, Vincent Janssen with some brilliant hold-up play and laying the ball off to Heung-Min Son who fired home past Valdes, in the 7th minute. The perfect start to a game you would think we would have struggled to score in, with Kane missing. But not soon after the first went in, there was a second. Heung-Min Son again, with a sublime finish past an onlooking Victor Valdes. The Korean has now netted four goals in his last four games, making him almost undroppable for the upcoming Champions League game against CSKA Moscow.
The Boro defence, quick frankly, were awful throughout the first-half and the first half scoreline ,2-0, was a reflection of that. However, Pochettino and his men going into the half feeling like they should have been 4-0 up, having a touch penalty shout go against them, as well as Dele Alli missing a clear chance on goal, as he blazed his shot over Valdes’ bar. However, 2-0 at the break and Karanka was sure to tell his team they are still in this game, the next goal would be a vital indicator as to how the end of the game may pan out.
And that goal came as Ben Gibson headed home a Stewart Downing cross on the hour mark. The Riverside Stadium was then rocking from that point onwards as Boro cranked up the pressure, especially after Adama Traoré was introduced to the game midway through the second half. Adama, causing the Spurs defence some serious problems with his brute strength and blistering pace, only to be let down by his final product.
Bad touches, misplaced passes, and overhit crosses all contributed to a lackluster day in the final third for Boro. Spurs, however, were able to hold on and see out the game as they take all three points back to London.
Between the sticks –
Hugo Lloris: 7/10.
Made some solid saves when faced with an effort on target, was quick off of his line to sweep up and problems we had in-behind.
Kyle Walker: 7/10.
Superb going forward, running up and down the touchline endlessly. Was also solid when he needed to stay back in the final 10 minutes.
Toby Alderweireld: 7/10.
As always, a flawless performance from the Belgian, proving why he is one of, if not the, best defenders in the league.
Jan Vertonghen: 7/10.
Vertonghen and Alderweireld as always, the trusty partnership. Back in the centre of defence this week and kept Negredo quite.
Ben Davies: 6/10.
Doesn’t offer as much going forward as the missing Danny Rose, but was solid on the ball. Had a bit of trouble when Adama came on however, due to his lack of pace.
Victor Wanyama: 8/10.
Outstanding today. A reliable outlet to allow the fullbacks to wonder forward, as well as breaking up play.
Dele Alli: 6/10.
Playing deeper today, although he went further forward during the match. Missed an absolute sitter to fire us three ahead but should have won us a penalty, on the other hand.
Moussa Sissoko: 5/10.
Not the best of games, especially after his performance against Sunderland. Lacked the composure in the final third by misplacing passes, and holding onto the ball too long etc.
Christian Eriksen: 7/10.
Not one of his extraordinary games, but ran the game well in the first half. Slowley drifted out of the game in the second-half, as Boro saw more of the ball.
Heung-Min Son: 9/10.
The Korean is on fire. Four in his last four and some sublime finishes. Tortured the right-back again, and is cementing a place in the starting eleven.
Vincent Janssen: 7/10.
Not a Premier League goal to his name this season yet, but the Dutchman worked his socks off for the side. Constantly hassling the Boro defence and defending from the front. Great hold-up play and assist for Son’s first as well.
Erik Lamela: 6/10.
Didn’t have the best of games but was also unable to get onto the ball, however. When he did he seemed sloppy and careless, losing the ball one time and almost costing us, similar to the Monaco game.
Harry Winks: 6/10.
The pressure was on Winks as he came on during an important phase on his league debut, done fairly well as he got onto the ball and slowed the tempo down of the game.
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou: 6/10.
Came on late in the game so really didn’t have time to make an impact. Especially as Boro pressed on for an equaliser.
Man of The Match:
Can only be one man, surely? Another brilliant game from Heung Min-Son who scored two goals today to seal the three points. Always looked a threat on the ball and done well towards the end of the game to win us throw ins and keep the ball in Middlesbrough’s half of the pitch when the home side were chasing an equaliser.
CSKA Moscow away in the Champions League. Tuesday 27th September. Kick off at 19:45.