Tottenham 3 Qarabag 1: Three talking points
Three talking points as Tottenham get their Europa League campaign off to a winning start
Alli showing early signs of quality
The 19-year-old has had an encouraging start to life at White Hart Lane and, in Christian Eriksen’s absence, has found himself filling in for the Danish playmaker just behind the striker. After a solid showing away to Sunderland, Mauricio Pochettino decided to field Alli in the same position against Qarabag and the youngster flourished. His quick movement caused the Kazakh side’s defence all kinds of trouble in the first half and his composure under pressure led to Spurs’ second goal as Alli squared to a free Son Heung-min. When he hasn’t got the ball the ex-MK Dons player is constantly on the heels of the man in possession. The Spurs faithful have been quick to take to Alli, chanting his name throughout, which is proof of the impact he has made in such a short time at the club.
Son deserves a shot at No10
Son Heung-min was largely stifled by a resilient Sunderland side on the weekend but the South Korean was given plenty of licence to move freely by the Azerbaijani side. With this greater freedom, Son was allowed to stretch the Qarabag back four and show his quick turn of pace, cutting inside and linking well with team-mates. Son scored Spurs’ first goal at a corner, where he was left unmarked at the near post and able to poke the ball past the keeper. Their inability to track the forward was once again on show for his second goal, as he arrived late on the scene to sweep Delle Alli’s cut-back into the bottom left-hand corner. Son’s ability to ghost past players may stand the player in good stead when supporting Harry Kane, with Son’s dynamism the perfect complement to Kane’s style of play. While Son was restricted against Sunderland, his display against Qarabag will give Pochettino the confidence that the player can put a shift in at that No10 spot.
An unconvincing display, despite the final score
The fixture against Qarabag proved to be a good opportunity for Spurs players attempting to force their way into the side t have a run-out, but overall Spurs were unconvincing for the majority of the game. The home side were rocked by the early penalty and quickly rallied to equalise and eventually led. However, for the rest of the game their defence continued to be unlocked by the Qarabag attackers. Spurs always looked frail on the counter-attack and, when you consider the quality of the opposition in comparison to the sides Spurs will face over the league season, it may give fans some cause for concern. As the game was drawing to a close Spurs were needlessly giving away possession in the midfield, and in the process were losing their shape when they were trying to frantically to wrestle possession back. They face Crystal Palace on the weekend, a side replete with quick attacking players, so much work will need to be done in the short time before then.