Andros Townsend’s 2nd half penalty handed Spurs the advantage in the first leg of our Capital One Cup Semi Final against Sheffield United.
The Blades were under the cosh for the majority of the game, with Pochettino’s side even reaching up to 85% possession at times as the midfield trio of Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Andros Townsend probed for an opener.
But Nigel Clough’s side still held a threat on the break, with Jamal Campbell-Ryce getting the better of Ben Davies to give United the best chance of the first half.
The turning point came through the unlikely figure of Roberto Soldado, on in place of Emmanuel Adebayor, who exquisitely brought Jan Vertonghen’s clipped pass out of the air before Jay McEverley handled inside the 6 yard box.
Townsend converted coolly and Spurs saw the somewhat anti-climatic Semi-Final out to take a small lead to Brammall Lane next week.
Michel Vorm 6 – Out quickly at the feet of anybody who entered his area but went massively untroubled. The odd catch here and there but nothing hugely promising going forward for Sheffield.
Ben Davies 4 – Given a torrid time by Jamal Campbell-Ryce – United’s only real threat on the counter. Given very little support by Eriksen and later Kane on the left but will be glad that the winger couldn’t pick anyone in red out.
Jan Vertonghen 7 – My Man of the Match for his rigid and composed display. The partnership with him and Dier is all he more attractive than that with Fazio in my opinion, and Jan ending the night with the armband was very apt. Solid both on the ground and in the air.
Eric Dier 6 – Much the same as Vertonghen, and provided some much needed brawn as Sheffield pushed for corners. Could easily have been playing defensive midfield for the large part.
Kyle Walker 6 – Couldn’t stretch the opposition back 4 as much as he would have liked, especially against his old side. The trip to Brammall Lane is in danger of getting the better of the local lad, but there were promising signs with him and Andros.
Benjamin Stambouli 6 – A pretty defensive approach but solid from the Frenchman. Maybe wasn’t needed due to Sheffield’s lack of fight in the first half and was lost when they countered but fitted nicely at the base of our attack.
Ryan Mason 4 – Disappointing return from injury for Mason who looked off the pace in the first period. Certainly tried too much with his passing, forcing errors. As ever, ran himself into the ground before tiring early due to match fitness.
Christian Eriksen 5 – Couldn’t work the space out on the left and was crowded out even more when he eventually moved inside. His shots at goal were rushed and set-pieces made me cry a little. Poor from Christian.
Andros Townsend 6 – Provided a boost of energy but had little chance to counter with the League 1 side sitting so deep. Tucked his penalty away nicely, something he is becoming known for.
Emmanuel Adebayor 5 – Hardly justified his inclusion in the side let alone his captaincy. Not necessarily “lazy”, just never found the space he needed to work an opening. Although, he should have hit the target with his first half volley.
Roberto Soldado 6 – Provided more of a danger than Ade in my opinion and his touch for the goal was class.
Mousa Dembele 5 – No impact. Passenger.
Paulinho 6 – Another energetic display from the bench, putting him ahead of Dembele for me.