Not the type of game we’re used to seeing from Spurs this season; instead of a slow start and franetic finish, we got it the other way around in our 1-1 draw tonight. We had already looked threatening even before Soldado scored after 6 minutes, and the hopes that we could all but complete the job of qualifying in the first leg seemed possible, especially important when we have the cup final three days after the second leg in Florence.
However we did not make our dominance pay enough; Fiorentina had no answer for the combination of Townsend and Walker on the right side, but the final ball needed to be much better. And of course the finishing too, as Chadli will hold his hand up to.
Letting in a goal from one of Fiorentina’s few opportunities was galling, but it was expected that the flow of the game would continue and we would eventually respond. Instead, the Italians settled into the game and saw much more of the ball. Chances were spread evenly in the second half and it really could have gone either way. Our substitutions did not help to wrestle back control of the game and in the end a draw was pretty fair.
Hugo Lloris – 7 – Only made one save and had two claims to make. Will be disappointed to have conceded on the brink of half-time, after our control over the game early on. A free kick from deep caused trouble as it went over everyone, including him as he went for the punch/catch.
Kyle Walker – 7 – One of Walker’s better games today. Used his blistering pace to perfection and was instrumental in our domination down the right during the first-half. Combined nicely with Townsend on the overlap.
Federico Fazio – 7 – Never troubled by the height and hold-up play of Mario Gomez – winning 3 aerial duels and making 2 tackles. Could have been caught out by Salah on a few occasions, but improving. Good break-up of a long cross ball when Fiorentina broke away, and he was able to chest it back to Lloris.
Jan Vertonghen – 7 – Looking a lot more accomplished in defence – making 5 tackles tonight. Also very positive bringing the ball out from the back and calm in possession.
Ben Davies – 7 – Doesn’t have the pace of Rose, but is a very accomplished footballer. Tried to overplay when in the final third, but was unlucky not to get an assist with some decent crosses across the box. Possibly his best performance since he joined.
Paulinho -7 – Thought some were rather harsh with his analysis of the Brazilian. Was one of the key players in our strong first-half performance – always wanted the ball and positive in possession. Have to say that he looked pretty good and surprised me tonight.
Nabil Bentaleb -7 – Another complete performance from the Algerian – adding an element of balance to our side. Had 3 shots, made 3 tackles, had 3 successful dribbles and won one aerial duel. Importance cannot be underestimated.
Andros Townsend -7 – Full of confidence tonight – running and beating his man during a frantic opening half. Had 6 successful dribbles and two shots – and will be disappointed he didn’t get on the score-sheet.
Nacer Chadli – 7– One of the shining lights in our attacking four – composed on the ball and causing the Fiorentina defence all kinds of trouble. Made 3 successful dribbles and had two shots. Not bad, considering it was his first start since mid-January.
Christian Eriksen – 6– Not his most polished display – giving the ball away on several occasions with sloppy passes. Showed his slick class on a few occasions, and made up for the mistakes with a fantastic work ethic.
Roberto Soldado – 7 – Got himself on the score-sheet with a fantastic goal. Confidence was growing after the goal – evident by his audacious attempt of a bicycle-kick. Not as mobile as the other strikers to play in our system – but classy build-up play brings others into play, and did so tonight.
Harry Kane – 6 – Renewed optimism when he came on the field. Was too deep to get involved in any chances, but in those areas – picked up the ball to drive attacks forward.
Erik Lamela – N/A – Not on long enough to influence the game.
Ryan Mason – N/A – Not on long enough to influence the game.