Tottenham vs LASK
Tottenham kicked off their 2020/21 Europa League group stage campaign a short time ago.
Despite having been forced to navigate the competition’s qualifying rounds, Spurs were still handed a pretty favourable group.
The north Londoners were drawn in Group J alongside Antwerp, Ludogorets and LASK.
And it was the latter of this trio whom Spurs faced off with on Thursday evening.
The pair had never previously met in a competitive clash, though it was worth noting that LASK’s last experience against an English side saw them handed a 5-0 drubbing by Manchester United last season.
Bale & Vinicius shine
A new-look Spurs attack, which saw Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius handed their first starts of the season, began the tie brightly.
The latter of this duo, meanwhile, had the first big chance of the night.
Matt Doherty floated a lovely ball straight onto the Brazilian’s head, but his ensuing effort was directed wide.
Vinicius was involved once again 17 minutes in, this time playing a lovely pass to Lucas Moura, who calmly slotted home to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Another of Tottenham’s new boys, Bale, then played a key role in doubling Spurs’ lead just before the half-hour mark.
The Welshman played a smart ball across the visitors’ box in search of Vinicius, however, the cross was intercepted by a defender, who guided the ball into his own net.
The first 45 drew to a close with the score at 2-0, and the home side in clear control.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 22, 2020
As was the case in the first 45, Spurs started the second-half on the front foot, with Erik Lamela having curled an effort just wide of the LASK goal after receiving the ball from Vinicius.
Bale then nearly found himself in on goal just before the hour mark, but the LASK goalkeeper rushed out of his box to beat the winger to the ball.
This was to be Bale’s final involvement before being replaced by Heung-min Son.
Dele Alli, who came on at the same time, then really should have played in Vinicius, but the midfielder dwelled on the ball for too long before producing a rather timid pass.
Alli then once again came close to turning provider 72 minutes in, but this time Son curled his effort over the bar.
Spurs continued to pepper the LASK goal, with Vinicius having slipped Alli through on goal. However, the English international’s finish was pretty poor, making for an easy save.
The home side did eventually manage to add a third, though, with Vinicius once again involved, heading down a lovely ball straight into Son’s path:
Son scores, and Spurs are in cruise control…
But this goal is all about Carlos Vinicius
Two delightful assists for the forward this evening! pic.twitter.com/D41bnRSEqs
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 22, 2020
The final-whistle blew with Tottenham boasting a 3-0 advantage.
Perhaps the only negative for Jose Mourinho and co. on the evening, however, was the display of Dele Alli.
The midfielder did make some decent runs, but looked altogether off the pace, and cumbersome in possession. He also should have scored when one-on-one with the LASK keeper.
Tottenham’s impressive squad depth
Following the final whistle on Thursday, the spotlight was rightly shone on some of Spurs’ summer signings, namely Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius.
The latter put on a solid performance, suggesting that the north Londoners may have finally found a viable back-up to Harry Kane.
Meanwhile, Bale, despite not looking 100 per cent – which is to be expected given his lack of game time – simply oozed class on Thursday, with Tottenham fans no doubt hugely excited to see what the Welshman can offer over the remainder of the season.
What has gone under the radar somewhat, though, is that the Lilywhites actually dominated LASK with essentially a 2nd-string starting eleven.
Tottenham started the clash with all of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Steven Bergwijn, Hugo Lloris, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Serge Aurier, Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko on the bench.
Upon initial viewing, such a star-studded bench would lead one to assume that the club’s starting line-up would be pretty weak, and likely filled with youth players.
However, the Londoners were actually able to field a very strong XI, which could probably do a job in the Premier League, too.
So, with Spurs having added some much-needed depth to their already talented squad over the summer, there should be real optimism amongst the club’s ranks that they can go on to at least win one trophy this season.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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