An Article of Two Halves - Tottenham vs Dortmund
Words by Emma Townley
So, this is going to be a little different - an article of two halves. Just like a match. This first section I wrote yesterday, prematch (13/09/17) the second half I wrote today (14/09/17), post match.
The level of excitement is pretty high today to be frank. I’ve got my Hewlett Packard sponsored strip on and I’ve got a good feeling (even though Dortmund have merked us TWICE recently and we seem to be falling under that ol’ Wembley curse).
Since the start of the season, we have managed a solitary win from seven matches at Wembley. Poch and the boys must be desperate for a win. I’m channeling some positivity today to get rid of that Wembley Voodoo and bring a win home.
To do that we have to make Wembley a fortress and lock down our tactics if we are to avoid a second successive group stage elimination.
We all know the importance of tonight as we are reminded that almost a year to the day we flopped 2-1 to Monaco. Just as last year - this year will be about grit and digging in, but we have to be better. So let’s talk tactics. Bosz has a depleted squad, which is in our favour, with nine players injured including Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus, all expected to miss out through injury.
Despite their injury woes, Dortmund still represents a formidable opponent and Spurs will have to be at their very best to secure a vital three points. Here is how they could line-up to counter Dortmund’s significant attacking threat.
During the game against Everton last week Poch altered the formation and played a diamond-shaped 3-5-2. We dominated the game with 3 excellent goals, Kane looking the business and Eric getting on the score sheet too. Happy days. So I’m considering the possibility that Poch has done something similar for tonight...
We need to mention Dortmund ‘dangerman’ Aubameyang. A player that I actually greatly admire. He’s always hard to keep track of and I’m thinking tonight will be no different and our back three (Alderweireld, Sanchez & Vertonghen??) will have their work cut out denying him a goal.
Aurier. Little (joking) Serge Aurier. I am excited about this guy. Debut him Poch! Let’s see what he can do! Drogba went on record yesterday and said Serge had signed for the wrong team. Bitter much Didier? Wind your neck in son.
So my lineup speculation goes like this:
Lloris, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dembele, Dier, Aurier, Eriksen, Son, Kane.
Goals: Kane will get one or two, Aubameyang will get one and Pulisic will get one.
End result: 2-2.
Post match tomorrow. COYS!
Well well well. I was going to write this half in caps because I wanted to give you some idea of how much I was shrieking at the TV last night. Apologies to those poor people in The Duke of Wellington on Balls Pond Road. Although my glee at last night hasn’t subsided I’ve decided not to shout from the keyboard through this half of the article.
I checked the team news still sitting on the bus on the way to the pub. I was glad to see Poch playing the same formation as against Everton (and my team prediction being correct) his straightforward method of ‘don’t mess with the system if it works’ is one every Spurs fan has time for. I’m also pretty pleased that even though I got some of the goalscorers right, I got the score totally wrong.
As chants of ‘COME ON YOU SPURS’ echo around the Wembley ground we kicked off. We didn’t have to wait long for action. What a start from Spurs, four mins in and Son pops up from nowhere, and sends one into the back of the net from an angle that looked impossible. I’d barely even taken two sips of my drink and got a seat when it happens. Sonny loves a goal against Dortmund, he’s scored seven goals in nine competitive games against them. Great start. Dortmund looked a little dazed, but it’s Dortmund and they held it together to pull one back as Kagawa set it up with a cute dink and Yarmolenko stuffs it away. A well executed goal, I’ll give you that. The camera pans around the ground at the saddened Spurs fans who were celebrating just minutes ago. Slight deflation in the chanting but you can still hear it. My heart drops a little bit too and I’m reminded of our most recent encounters with the precision of this German side.
15mins in and a long punt forward that doesn’t look like much from Jan Vertonghen is picked up by Kane. Kane won the first aerial challenge near the halfway line (bit of a foul but not picked up so we won’t mention it), bundling his first marker over. He sprints off in pursuit of the loose ball and jinks past Sokratis. He gets a shot away with his left foot. The angle is tight but the ball finds the top corner of the Dortmund goal and half of my pint finds the pub floor. What a goal.
After Pulisic has a goal disallowed we seem just be trying to get to halftime. Every minute drags by.
Half time finally comes around and we’re 2-1 up. All that’s going through my mind is ‘we need to hold on’. I’m trying not to think about what could happen in the second half. This is Dortmund, they are an excellent side and they could come back and beat us easily. Going into the second half 2-1 up though, I’m hopeful.
We started the second half off cautiously, there are a few chances at both ends - Yarmolenko is denied by Lloris, Harry blazes one over the bar.
60 mins. Holy fuck. We’re 3-1 up. Say it again. We are 3-1 up. King Kane set up by a calm and collected Eriksen. One touch control from Harry and the ball is sent into the far corner with some force. At this point it’s looking like there will be more goals so I’m perched on the very edge of my stool. Either ready to spring for another Spurs goal or leave promptly when Dortmund claw it back. I didn’t have to be poised to leave, we held on and won. Brilliant game against a brilliant side.
I’m not going to go through every pass and bit of tekkers because this article would go into next week. It was a hard fought and won match but a few other things worth mentioning are:
We are second in the toughest CL group.
Dortmund had much more possession than us for quite a lot of the match. 32% Spurs and 68% Dortmund. To get such a convincing win from that is brilliant.
Aurier got his debut and he looked great.
Harry had four shots on goal. Two were on target. He scored two.
The Dortmund keeper had a mare.
Jan definitely should not have been sent off for the incident at 90+2. Not being biased here, he didn’t even look where his arm was and the slipped on the ball. Bad reffing.
Son scored! Goddamn we love it when Son scores.
Pochettino is the best dressed manager in most leagues. The man is Box office. After last night’s match he summed our performance up perfectly - "Sometimes you can't dominate, you have to play a different way and the team is more mature now. We can learn a lot from this game.”