Erik­sen steps for­ward to end Tot­ten­ham’s Wem­b­ley hoodoo

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - TOM ALL­NUTT

TOT­TEN­HAM are fi­nally off the mark at Wem­b­ley af­ter Chris­tian Erik­sen se­cured first Pre­mier League vic­tory un­der the arch. This was still not the im­pe­ri­ous Spurs of White Hart Lane last sea­son but Erik­sen at least gave their stop-start dis­play a pos­i­tive fin­ish, his sec­ond-half strike se­cur­ing a morale-boost­ing vic­tory.

While Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s men stay third, five points off league lead­ers Manch­ester City, Bournemouth re­main point­less from four league games on the road. They sit 19th.

Harry Kane has taken the plau­dits in re­cent weeks for his re­lent­less scor­ing form but on a rare off-day — his first game in six with­out a goal — it was Erik­sen’s turn to as­sume the lime­light.

Erik­sen has been by far Tot­ten­ham’s best sup­port­ing act dur­ing Kane’s golden streak, and af­ter scor­ing twice in two games for Den­mark over the in­ter­na­tional break, an­other here means he now has four in five for club and coun­try.

Bournemouth cer­tainly had chances of their own but Ed­die Howe must add some edge to their cre­ativ­ity if they are to avoid a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

With Ben Davies ill, Jan Ver­tonghen started on the left side of a back four for Spurs, while Joshua King was passed fit for the vis­i­tors af­ter shak­ing off a ham­string in­jury.

The open­ing 45 min­utes was al­most en­tirely for­get­table ex­cept for two Bournemouth chances that ar­rived in quick suc­ces­sion.

First Adam Smith, once of Tot­ten­ham’s academy, pulled back for Ju­nior Stanis­las but the fin­ish was de­flected wide of the shoul­der of Davin­son Sanchez. Then from the re­sult­ing cor­ner Toby Alder­weireld al­most turned the ball into his own net but Hugo Lloris was quick to get down and claw it away to safety.

Oth­er­wise, it looked like the same old Wem­b­ley story for Spurs, pos­ses­sion aplenty but tempo lack­ing and chances few and far be­tween.

Two min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod, how­ever, Tot­ten­ham struck.

Erik­sen re­ceived a pass in­side from Son He­ung-min and while Si­mon Fran­cis slid in to block the Dane’s drive for­ward, the ball can­noned kindly, al­low­ing the mid­fielder to steer into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Spurs now had a spring in their step and Kane might have had a hat-trick be­fore the hour mark as he saw a headed goal cor­rectly chalked off for off­side be­fore As­mir Be­govic pulled off two ex­cel­lent close-range saves.

Kane then sliced an am­bi­tious vol­ley out for a throw-in soon af­ter. It might have found the top cor­ner in Septem­ber.

The up­shot, how­ever, was that Bournemouth were still in the con­test, and when Jer­main De­foe came on to a rap­tur­ous re­cep­tion with 15 min­utes to play, the stage seemed set for the striker to up­set his for­mer club. And he al­most did it too, forc­ing Lloris into a smart save at his near post af­ter fel­low sub­sti­tute Jor­don Ibe had played a neat re­verse pass.

Dele Alli could have added a fi­nal flour­ish but headed wide, while a four ver­sus one counter-at­tack re­sulted only in Harry Winks fir­ing over. The hoodoo is over but there is still room for im­prove­ment.

Chris­tian Erik­sen fires in the only goal of the game as Tot­ten­ham beat Bournemouth to fi­nally end their wait for a Pre­mier League win at Wem­b­ley

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