Dele Alli spares Spurs blushes in Bag­gies draw

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

DE­FI­ANT FOSTER

Dele Alli res­cued a point for Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in a 1-1 draw away to West Bromwich Al­bion yes­ter­day af­ter it looked as if the Premier League high-fly­ers might suf­fer an ag­o­nis­ing de­feat. The vis­i­tors dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion only for Nacer Chadli, a player Spurs sold to West Brom in pre-sea­son, to put the hosts in front eight min­utes from time against the run of play. But Alli poked a low shot home in the 89th minute af­ter a shot by Chris­tian Erik­sen had been blocked, with the draw see­ing Spurs drop to third in the table af­ter arch north Lon­don ri­vals Arsenal beat Swansea 3-2.

Ben Foster, the West Brom and former Eng­land goal­keeper, re­peat­edly de­fied Spurs, who had 77 per­cent of first-half pos­ses­sion, with a se­ries of saves.

The re­sult meant an end to a run of five suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries in all com­pe­ti­tions for Tot­ten­ham, but means that they re­main the Premier League’s only un­beaten team.

Tot­ten­ham be­gan the match press­ing high up the pitch as usual yet the home side still tried to play the ball out. But be­fore long they were re­duced to long passes that were eas­ily de­fended by the vis­i­tors. Spurs had no such prob­lems keep­ing pos­ses­sion and might have cre­ated a pre­sentable open­ing in the sev­enth minute if Vin­cent Janssen had passed left to Erik Lamela in­stead of right to Moussa Sis­soko, who was out­paced by Al­lan Nyom.

Lamela did get a chance min­utes later but dragged his shot wide of the far post. Spurs, though, were hit­ting their stride. Ben Davies hit a shot that was de­flected just over the cross­bar with Foster wrong-footed, and a sim­i­lar ef­fort from Erik­sen was de­flected wide.

Janssen, with­out look­ing like a re­place­ment for Harry Kane in goal-scor­ing terms, held the ball up well and made life tough for Gareth McAu­ley and Jonny Evans.

West Brom con­ceded pos­ses­sion eas­ily, even when Spurs did not press them.

That meant that they were reg­u­larly backpedalling to­wards their own goal. As a re­sult, Erik­sen and Alli had a sur­pris­ing amount of space and Tot­ten­ham looked in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous as they saw more and more of the ball.

Alli had a shot blocked by Foster blocked and then sent an ac­ro­batic over­head ef­fort wide of goal. Foster then pro­duced a hat-trick of su­perb saves within seven min­utes. First Davies hit the ball low through a crowd of play­ers but Foster sprawled to his left.

Then Janssen’s touch sent Alli clear but again Foster blocked his shot. Fi­nally Erik­sen col­lected the ball 20 yards out and shot low to the goal­keeper’s right only to see the ball palmed around the post at the last sec­ond.

Tot­ten­ham al­most fell to a sucker punch late in the first half when Hugo Lloris failed to han­dle James McClean’s an­gled shot, but none of the home side were able to con­vert the rebound. Early in the sec­ond half Tot­ten­ham were forced to re­place Bel­gium de­fender Toby Alder­weireld, who stayed down af­ter a chal­lenge and left on a stretcher, but they con­tin­ued to make chances and Sis­soko, Erik­sen and Alli all went close be­fore Al­bion shocked the whole of The Hawthorns by tak­ing the lead.

This time it was Lloris who pro­duced a su­perb save, touch­ing McClean’s low shot onto the foot of a post, but he could not stop Chadli thump­ing the rebound into the roof of the net. Now Spurs’ char­ac­ter was tested. But they re­sponded. Sub­sti­tute Son He­ung-Min crossed from the left, yet an­other shot by Erik­sen was charged down, and Alli swept the loose ball in from close range.

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