5 Takeaways: Tottenham Dominate Gillingham, Advance to 4th Round
Tottenham easily dispatch Gillingham 5-0 in the League Cup’s third round.
Tottenham begin their march to the League Cup’s fourth round in emphatic fashion by completely dominating League One side, Gillingham, to the tune of a 5-0 drubbing.
Former Spurs left-back, Justin Edinburgh who manages the Gills, would mark his return to White Hart Lane after 16 years away from the club as a former player or manager.
With a spot in the round of 16 on the line, Mauricio Pochettino decided to fully rotate his squad by making 11 changes and giving a majority of his first-team regulars rest.
Christian Eriksen and Érik Lamela returned to the starting lineup after resting against Sunderland this past Sunday.and were instrumental in giving Tottenham just their second best performance of the season.
Here are five takeaways following Spurs’ win over Gillingham.
Spurs dominate from start to finish
Throughout the opening six games of Spurs’ 2016-17 season, their unbeaten record has been marred by sub-par performances.
Tottenham would either struggle early, concede a goal but find an equalizer to earn a draw (Everton, Liverpool). Or, find late second half goals to steal three points (Crystal Palace, Sunderland) after a tightly contested game.
Rarely has Spurs looked like a dominating team from start to finish.
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But when they have, it’s quite obvious that they blow out their opponents by multiple goals (Stoke City, Gillingham).
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are capable of standing toe-to-toe with any team that’s in front of them. The only thing that has hindered this club from reaching that next level is a lack of finishing this season.
Creating multiple chances is great — something that Spurs have been consistent in three out of their past four games — but they have difficulty in finding a breakthrough to make much of a difference.
Tonight’s 5-0 win may have been against a third tier club, but the overall play that Spurs’ displayed is promising and something they can build upon.
With a fully rotated starting XI, Spurs managed to resemble their style of play they showed against Stoke City. Score a late first half goal after a dominate opening 45 minutes and then kill the game off in the second half.
This kind of dominating effort will be difficult to retain for an entire season, but so far Tottenham have shown they are starting to hit their stride.
A day of debuts for Spurs’ rising stars
Cameron Carter-Vickers, Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, Marcus Edwards and Anton Walkes all made their senior team debuts tonight against Gillingham.
Josh Onomah and Tom Carroll featured in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting lineup after making plenty of appearances last season.
Harry Winks earned his first start after mostly coming off of the bench the past two seasons in the Europa League. Lastly, Kevin Wimmer made his first appearance this season after falling down the pecking order at center-back. And Vincnet Janssen earned his second start of the year.
Looking at the names mentioned above, Pochettino has a solid group of talented youngsters but plenty of depth to rotate his starters for some much needed rest.
With Spurs advancing into the fourth round of the League Cup, it’s likely that a majority — if not all — of the players who featured tonight will get another go-around when the time comes this season.
Tottenham’s new crop of academy graduates already made an impact with solid performances against GIllingham which means the future continues to look bright for Spurs.
Spurs’ second line of attack
With Harry Kane sidelined for up to two months with ankle ligament damage, Vincent Janssen would have to pick up where Kane left off.
But instead of trying to hope Janssen can score early and often in Kane’s absence, more eyes should fall on Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, Érik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko to help provide a constant spark for Spurs.
In Spurs’ two blowout wins this season, their attacking midfield trio has put in some scintillating performances as a group which is what Mauricio Pochettino wants to see.
Against Stoke, Son, Eriksen and Alli combined for three goals and three assists. Against Gillingham, Eriksen, Lamela and Onomah combined for four goals and three assists.
Kane and Janssen had a goal against Stoke and Gillingham respectively.
In total, in two different games and competitions, Tottenham have managed to rack up similar numbers with two different starting lineups in terms of goals scored, assists and fully dominating their opponent.
Vincent Janssen and Harry Kane should score since it’s their jobs as strikers, whether they’re poaching, tapping-in or scoring a penalty. But the attacking midfield trio must be heavily involved as well and should contribute too.
Vincent Janssen opens his account
Throughout the match tonight, and really in every single appearance that the 22-year-old has been involved in, Janssen has been unlucky to score a goal in open play.
He doesn’t lack a better finish as his past two seasons have shown he can score goals — at least 20-plus even if they were in the Dutch first and second leagues.
Each time he gets a scoring chance his shots are generally on target with some barely missing or even getting stopped by the goalkeeper.
So it’s quite fitting that his first goal for Spurs, since joining the team during the summer, is a penalty that he converted after Kieran Trippier was fouled inside the box.
The relief on Vincent Janssen’s face after he coolly slotted the ball into the lower right-hand corner shows what it means to the Dutchman to finally get on the board after seven games to begin his first-ever campaign in England.
It’s too soon to say that Janssen will suddenly go on a scoring spree following tonight’s match, but at the very least he has a goal to his name and can build on his stellar play that he continues to show whenever he’s on the pitch.
Liverpool vs Spurs
Tottenham’s fourth round opponent has been revealed and it features a difficult match-up against Liverpool. An opponent that Mauricio Pochettino has only beaten once since arriving in the Premier League.
In seven total meetings with the Reds whether it was against Brendan Rodgers or Jürgen Klopp, Pochettino’s record when facing the Merseyside club has not been pretty.
From 2013-15 in four matches (two with Southampton and two with Spurs), Mauricio Pochettino picked up one win and suffered three losses.
While Pochettino’s teams have improved in quality and depth over the years, since Rodgers was sacked Spurs must now contend with Klopp who is a masterful tactician.
The two previous meetings with Jürgen Klopp last season ended in draws. Which was followed by a third consecutive draw this year back on August 27th.
It’s safe to say that Spurs will find it difficult to win against Liverpool who’s Gegenpressing should have taken care of Tottenham last month if it weren’t for Michel Vorm making fine saves to keep Spurs in the game.
Spurs will want to focus on the Premier League and Champions League so it’s unlikely that Pochettino decides to send out his best lineup against Klopp.
But if the Argentine manager wants to win his first-ever major trophy in his managerial career, he will have to find a way to beat Jürgen Klopp as the League Cup presents the best opportunity for Tottenham to win some silverware.