Tottenham leave it late, but turnaround 10-man Tigers
Tottenham (11/8) moved level on points with London rivals Arsenal and fellow top six hopefuls Everton (also 11/8 with Coral) by coming from behind to beat Hull City.
Steve Bruce’s side had a trio of former Spurs stars in it; Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livemore, who grabbed the opener inside 10 minutes. T
he Tigers showed clear signs of responding to their dismal defeat to Burnley last time out, with flair players Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez included in support of lone striker Nikica Jelavic.
It fell to Livermore, who only joined Hull permanently from Tottenhan this past summer, to rifle in from 25 yards when Federico Fazio’s clearing header fell into his path. His former teammates fatally stood off the midfielder.
Hugo Lloris, the stand-in Spurs skipper in the absence of both club captain Younes Kaboul and Emmanuel Adebayor, kept his team in it, with a superb reaction stop from Robbie Brady.
Event his consistent performer between the posts for Mauricio Pochettino was a tad shaky here, though, spilling a long, straight free-kick and relying on Ben Davies to block the rebound from Ramirez.
Tottenham lost young defender Eric Dier at the break, so Romania international Vlad Chiriches came on as a makeshift right back. Kyle Walker’s return from a long-standing hip problem cannot come soon enough.
Ramirez was then controversially shown red by referee Craig Pawson, who had to reliant on information from his assistant when the Uruguayan lashed out at Jan Vertonghen.
This kick was far from as clear cut as Wayne Rooney’s famous dismissal for England against Montenegro, but Ramirez forced the officials into making a decision by reacting in such frustrated fashion.
Couched in terms of the final result, this sending off proved pivotal, but also suggests introducing a temperamental flair player into the XI rather blew up in Bruce’s face.
Deadly Denmark international Christian Eriksen then began to exert his influence. His free-kick on the hour mark crashed against the post, leaving Spurs fan favourite Harry Kane to tap in an equaliser.
Roberto Soldado was clearly offside, but deemed not to be interfering with play; another bone of contention for Bruce and the Tigers to bite on.
Soldado and Kane spurned other openings to complete a sensational turnaround on Humberside, but it fell to Eriksen to grab a 90th minute winner.
Substitute Aaron Lennon teed him up on the edge of the D to break Hull hearts, leaving Bruce’s boys a point above the relegation zone and 3/1 shots for the drop.
It’s no win in five and three straight defeats for the Tigers and, as winter really sets in, things don’t get any easier, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton all to come away among the next four matches.
You could say the same for Spurs, though. Sandwiched between their Europa League assignments against Partizan Belgrade and Beisktas are a home game with the Toffees and two London derbies with Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Pochettino will continue to chop and change, because of continental competition commitments, in search of a similar and successful formula to that he used at Southampton. He has hopefully learned that Eriksen and Kane should be part of whatever blend he settles on.