With Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and Younes Kaboul all unavailable for selection for Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’s team looked incredibly shaky at the back. After a promising start, Eric Dier is starting to live up to his surname – despite right back not being his favoured position, he’s hardly covering himself in glory and in Sunday’s first half, he was giving Hull plenty of time and space to fly in crosses. Federico Fazio seems to have taken defending lessons from Harry Kane; in the past few games, the Argentine defender has been pulled apart, not least on Sunday, as his sloppy passing, poor judgement and half-hearted tackles gave Hull far too many opportunities to score. They have won the game, but it wasn’t a wholly convincing victory. Every season, chairman Daniel Levy and, to some extent, the supporters of Spurs always expect a top four finish, but unless Pochettino purchases wisely in January, it’ll be a monumental task.
Hull manager Steve Bruce must have felt very satisfied at half-time on Sunday, if not at full-time. After an anaemic performance against lowly Burnley a fortnight ago, on Sunday his team came out with renewed vigour and panache. A fine strike from former Spurs midfielder Jake Livermore powered the Tigers into the 1-0 lead, and they could have continued the mauling – Robbie Brady, Hatem Ben Arfa and Nikica Jelavic tormented Tottenham with accurate passing, great movement and some stinging shots. Hull have three tough away games to come, with Man Utd, Everton and Chelsea all arriving before Christmas, but if they can replicate Sunday’s showing, they can compete with these teams, if not beat them. If it weren’t for Gaston Ramirez’s sending off just after half-time, Hull could have won the game, such was their dominance. Whilst that will jar with Bruce, he’ll take confidence from the display and know his clutch of summer signings are starting to gel. They just need to have the same determination against the teams around them and they’ll be more then safe come the end of the season.
Spurs may have their issues at the back, but at the other end, in Harry Kane they have a forward who is improving with every game. On Sunday, he showed true centre-forward instincts with his vision and movement, particularly for his equalising goal. He’s still not the finished article, but with more starts under his belt, the homegrown hero can grow into an impressive striker. Robert Soldado needs to take note. As for Tottenham as a team, Pochettino needs time, and plenty of it. Fans may be disappointed he’s not embellished Spurs as he did with Southampton, but with Kane and Christian Eriksen – who bagged the winner just before extra time – in his team, he has attacking prowess he can build on over the next few transfer windows.
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