Friendly; Tottenham 3 Ipswich 0. Saturday, August 23rd.
If you wanted to watch this game, you had to pay £20 for three games, or if you paid in advance, it would cost you £15. There was also a price per-game. Spurs had to make their money somehow seeing as they’ve been starved of revenue for the last 5 months (and an excellent place to start was at that their fans’ door). However, if you were a season ticket holder or Premium member, Christmas came early and you got a free pass.
So, the day started off normal – if you call the current situation normal? Gym for me, back by 9, did a bit of reading, working and then set up the computer for the game.
Of course, in the greater scheme of things, this game was meaningless. Just part-senior players and youngsters trying to impress the coach. Some of the big names weren’t there. Kane was self-isolating because of the virus (he had just come back from a holiday in the Bahamas). But it was entertaining, nevertheless, sparse noise and an eerie feel echoed around the stadium, or tried to (if sparse sound could make a large echo!).
Anyway, it was a game for the die-hard Tottenham supporters. Besides, what else were we going to do on a non-exciting Saturday afternoon? Go out and catch COVID-19?
This friendly was against League One opponent Ipswich Town at our Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. We started with a reasonably strong, principally first-choice lineup and ended with the youngsters getting a tryout. We scored three times in the first half (and that is where the goals ended). Ryan Sessegnon opened the scoring, and Son added a brace, and that was it. Beyond that, it was to impress the coaching staff.
The critical moments of the first half were as follows:
The first goal came in the seventh minute. And that goal came from Ryan Sessegnon. Alli found him cutting in from the left-wing, and Sessegnon hit it into the bottom left corner. One-nil up.
The second goal came in the 9th minute. Nice one Son capitalised on a lethargic backpass from an Ipswich player, and Son pounces in to score an easy goal. Two-nil up and ten minutes hadn’t even shown on the clock.
The third goal came in the 29th minute. Again Son, this time with an excellent forward pass from Juan Foyth. Son took it in his stride and chipped the keeper. Three-nil up. That was it, goal wise, but that didn’t mean the team didn’t try to go all out for others. Such as, in the 42nd minute Son nearly got his third and a hattrick; this time from a cross by Gedson. Son got a toe to the ball, but it went just over the cross-bar. Just after Hojbjerg gets a head to a Son corner, but Cornell is there to make the save.
The Second Half
When the break came, it was time to go downstairs and get a glass of red wine and some snacks. When I got back, it was just about to start. Mourinho made four changes; Dennis Cirkin, Jack Clarke, Cameron Carter Vickers and Joe Hart on at halftime. Ipswich changed all 11 players (considering that they were 3-0 down it was understandable).
In the 63rd minute, Sessegnon shot on target, but it was low and straight at their keeper. There were fewer chances this second half.
Mourinho then decided a different tack and took off Hojbjerg for 18-year old Harvey White. Still no goals, so in the 71st minute, two frog-spawns came on; two16-year old making their debuts! Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine were on for Lucas Moura and Winks. Three minutes after that and another substitute. Jamie Bowden on and Dele goes off.
In the 80th minute, Scarlett came very close! The 16-year old nearly got a boot on a cross from Jack Clarke, but he couldn’t completely get there. Pitty, as it would have been a great debut goal. That was it for the day, enough excitement for the spectators to analyse and think what is what and who where.
As I said, not a lot of chances in the second half. Final score — 3-0.
Let us look at some of those that shined, shall we?
Son, the scorer of two goals, and nearly a third; he looked pretty good and on the ball, against League One opposition, as he played in his preferred position on the left flank. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, our new purchase; he was robust enough in his debut for us. It was interesting that he played in front of Harry Winks and not as the holder.
Dele worked hard for us and had some lovely moments. He obviously wanted to score, and we thought he was going to. Granted, there were a few awkward moments, like giving the ball away, but overall, he should be in Mourinho’s thoughts when selecting the team for the first game of the season.
Gedson Fernandes, who played at right-back, where Aurier would generally played, was useful. He showed promise.
Considering this was a friendly, I thought it was entertaining enough, and it gave me hope for the up and coming season. But saying that, we were only against League one opposition, not Barcelona… but then again, on their recent performance, they probably would have crumbled under us.
I thought the kids performed well and I look forward to seeing them again. We got club debuts for 16-year olds Alfie Devine, who we signed from Wigan this summer, and striker Dane Scarlett, who was nearly close from becoming academy folklore, if he would have scored. Also Jamie Bowden, Harvey White, Cameron Carter-Vickers and others will be on Mourinho’s radar.
Dennis Cirkin looked notable in his appearance; he defended well and got forward and looked impressive on the ball. Jack Clarke, for me, showed some remarkable runs and certainly one for the future. He was pretty lively.
The experienced Joe Hart played for 25 minutes, but hardly touched the ball though.
Obviously, you can’t read too much into this game, considering the opposition, but a few more friendlies might give a better idea. However, some of the youngsters won’t get a look in where the big boys are concerned this season, but it was a good experience for them.
Overall – for me – a reasonably enjoyable 90 minutes. At least it was better than a kick in the testicles and a suck on an ice lolly. But then again anything would be better than a sore scrotum. Well, unless one is watching Arsenal… then it is bollocks!
Our next friendly will be this Friday, August 28th and we will be facing the mighty Reading, from the Championship. I can feel the tears coming to my eyes already. This match is at 3pm. Bad if you are working, ok if you are not… even more ok if you can’t be bothered. No doubt the highlights will be on Spurs TV. Me; I shall be there waving the Spurs flag and cheering the players on… even though they won’t be able to hear me (their loss).
So, there you have it, the excitement was back for a traditional Saturday afternoon game (even though briefly).
After the game finished, I made my way downstairs and had myself another glass of red wine… I deserved it (Why? Well, I had already opened it and I thought… well, just thought… and I drunk!).