Monday, June 14, 2021

Tottenham 2-0 Wolves: Spurs stroll to keep slim Champions League hopes alive

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 May 2021

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Tottenham kept their faint hopes of Champions League qualification alive with a routine 2-0 win over Wolves.

Spurs are rank outsiders to finish in the top four of the Premier League at this late stage of the season, but are still just about in touch with fourth-placed Chelsea after brushing aside an abject Wolves side.

Harry Kane put them ahead in the final minute of normal time in the first half and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 62nd-minute goal made sure of the points.

The victory moves Spurs within five points of Chelsea with two games to go, though a Europa League place is a more realistic goal for interim manager Ryan Mason’s side.

Spurs dominated the first-half possession but struggled to find a way through and break the deadlock after Kane struck the post with a low long-range effort in the fifth minute.

Gareth Bale tested Rui Patricio with a free-kick and Kane fired wide from a set-piece delivery from the Welshman but Wolves were a threat on the counter with the pace of Adama Traore.

His run and lay-off to Fabio Silva presented the Wolves forward with their best chance of the half, which Silva dragged off-target with a right-footed effort.

Patricio kept out Son Heung-min’s shot from a tight angle and successive goal-line clearances from Conor Coady preserved parity before Kane finally opened the scoring.

Kane latched on to Hojbjerg’s throughball and fired a composed finish into the bottom-right corner.

Patricio turned a fierce Sergio Reguilon effort over and then produced heroics to deny Kane a second, tipping onto the inside of the left-hand post following a throughball from Dele Alli, who then struck the right post on the rebound.

But Tottenham’s lead was deservedly doubled as Patricio kept out a curling strike from Bale, with Hojbjerg reacting quickest to the rebound to hit home.

Silva shot dismally wide to spurn Wolves’ best opportunity to the match and Traore danced inside the Spurs box but could not sneak his effort inside the near post as Wolves sparked into life far too late for any kind of revival.

What does it mean? Wide gap between Spurs and Wolves

Last season, Spurs and Wolves finished level on 59 points. This term, even in a challenging and disappointing campaign for Tottenham, there is a significant gulf between the two teams.

Tottenham are now 14 points ahead of Wolves in the table and utterly dominated proceedings in a win that should have been more convincing.

They had 13 shots on target to Wolves’ three and would have won by an emphatic margin had they not hit the woodwork three times in a league game for the first time since April 2017.

Kane in elite company

Kane, if he stays in the Premier League, is seen as the man best placed to chase down Alan Shearer’s goals record of 260.

And he joined Shearer (3) in becoming the fourth player to have 35 or more goal involvements in two different Premier League seasons. Thierry Henry (4) and Robin van Persie (2) are the other players on that list.

Only Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi have had a hand in more goals across Europe’s top five leagues than Kane’s 35 this season.

Sorry Silva

The absence of Raul Jimenez, who fractured his skull in November, is a key reason behind an underwhelming Wolves season.

Silva looked ill-equipped to play the Jimenez role in leading the line here and was guilty of several wasted chances. He had seven shots and just one hit the target.

Key Opta Facts:

– Tottenham have won each of their first three home league matches under Ryan Mason. Mason is the first Spurs boss to do so since Harry Redknapp in November 2008.
– Spurs had 24 shots in this match, 13 of which were on target – both figures exceed any amount they had in a single Premier League match under previous manager Jose Mourinho.
– Hojbjerg both scored and assisted in a Premier League game for the first time, in what was his 145th appearance in the competition. He is the third Dane to score and assist in a Premier League game for Spurs after Christian Eriksen (nine times) and Allan Nielsen.
– Kane has hit the woodwork nine times in the Premier League this season, the most since Kevin De Bruyne in 2016-17 (also nine). Since full shot data is available for the Premier League (2003-04), the only player hit the woodwork more in a season is Van Persie in 2011-12 (10).

What’s next?

Tottenham host Aston Villa on Wednesday, when Wolves visit Everton.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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