Tottenham Hotspur resurrected their Champions League campaign in Moscow on a night where open play was deemed to be how things went about but it was also a night of frustration where the end product that is the goal came at last for the lilywhites from Son Heung-Min again. Mauricio Pochettino was firm about using 4-1-4-1 again tonight rather than 4-2-3-1 with Dele Alli and Eriksen both pushing up front and Wanyama playing as a defensive midfielder.
Tottenham’s key players, Kane, Sissoko, Dembele, Dier and Danny Rose were missing from this game due to their respective injuries but on an important night such as this one, Tottenham managed to get the result they wanted at last and the race to make it to the next round has already started to heat up. Here are the key talking points from Spurs’ win over their Russian opponents.
1) Pochettino’s tactics – the 4-1-4-1
Like I pointed it out earlier, Mauricio Pochettino played 4-1-4-1 in their game against Monaco but it was retaliated pretty well with counters from the French team backfiring Tottenham’s plans. Yesterday again though, Pochettino played the same formation and Eriksen as well as Alli were given the license to push up front and play behind Janssen supplied by Lamela and Son from the flanks.
Playing 4-1-4-1 this time was effective for Spurs as Lacina Traore of CSKA Moscow isn’t the quickest of strikers and his lack of pace didn’t trouble Spurs much. In the attacking sector, Spurs were left frustrated, though.
In spite of playing two attacking midfielders with two really swift wingers, the goal which was needed took time to come as Janssen’s ineffectiveness didn’t help at all. A change in the 66th minute saw N’Koudou being introduced for Janssen and the play became much quicker and in the subsequent 5 minutes. Son’s goal ensures that his resurgence continues with him being in some hot form and it puts Tottenham right on track in Champions League.
2) Has Son’s resurgence come at a vital time for Spurs?
Harry Kane’s injury has come as a blow for Tottenham because even though the English striker was going through a bad patch, Spurs lack a poacher without him and Janssen needs more time to make an impact so his ineffectiveness doesn’t help Spurs at all in the attacking sector.
In this case, the goals had to come from someone else and what a turnaround it’s been for Son as he netted an absolute crucial goal again after having scored a brace earlier against Middlesbrough in the league. A player rumoured to leave, Son has turned his fortune around single-handedly and his form has all but cemented his place in the team.
His resurgence has come at a key point of Tottenham’s campaign and the fans will hope that Son continues to deliver the way he’s doing now.
3) Tottenham are back on track in the Champions League?
A defeat on the opening day at home to Monaco put Tottenham in a bad shape but they’ve undone the damage by triumphing over CSKA in a difficult away game where their key players were also missing. At Bay Arena in Germany, Monaco drew against Leverkusen and this result has helped Spurs to climb up to second in the table with only a point behind Monaco.
The group is as open as it was predicted to be when the draw was made. Spurs are in a good position now and a fan of theirs would only hope that they don’t bottle it up after this.