Spurs 1-1 Real Madrid: (some thoughts on the game)
It was a famous, famous night in Madrid on Tuesday as Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side produced one of their finest and most impressive performances under his tenure in the Spanish capital. Rather than doing a report or going into great detail about the game, which has already been done hundreds of times since Tuesdays game. I thought I’d share a couple of my thoughts on that brilliant team performance which leaves us on the cusp of qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA champions league. No one could have expected the lineup for the game at the Santiago Bernabéu, the surprise inclusion of Fernando Llorente up front as a target man and the deep lying Harry Winks as a holding midfielder, showed just another tactical master stroke, by Pochettino in a highly effective Spurs side. During the 1-1 draw which we could even have won, such was the potent chances we were able to create. There were so many fantastic performances, but I’m just going to focus on three players in particular. New signing Serge Aurier put in his best performance yet in a Spurs shirt since his summer arrival from PSG. The impact he had on the game from right back was immense not only was he rock solid down the flank, he produced a dazzling attacking display which with his pace and power, really propelled us going forward.
His excellent cross to create the opening goal was a thing of beauty, and it wasn’t the only wonderful ball he put into the area. Yes, he did concede the penalty after his challenge on Toni Kroos resulted in Ronaldo’s equaliser from the spot. But the Ivory Coast international put in the complete performance at right back, he was so assured and comfortable in dealing with the Real Madrid front line, his experience from his PSG days evident. But he also provided the pace which Kyle Walker once provided on the counter attack. Aurier may have a bit of a competitive streak to his game but the 24 year old is a brilliant defender whose best years are still ahead of him. Academy graduate Harry Winks stole the show against Real Madrid with his colossal performance as a holding midfielder against the galacticos. The 21 year old put in a performance which grabbed the plaudits of many across the globe, though us Spurs fans have seen him put in shifts like that before, his performance at the Bernabéu was still remarkable. His deftly accurate and slick passing combined with his decisiveness and ice cool composure in the centre of the park, saw him adapt perfectly to a high tempo game which included some world class midfielders. We saw his more defensive side which he showcased with such aplomb, Winks’ decisive defending and ball retention saved us on quite a few occasions against a formidable Real Madrid attack. The 21 year old from Hemel Hempstead put his name on the world stage with a brilliant performance from that of a young man with the world at his feet, Pochettino’s faith in him couldn’t have been more evident.
The final player I’d like to talk about is another new signing, versatile Colombian centre half Davinson Sanchez. The 21 year old operated as a right side centre half, and his influence on the game was nothing short of immense. Sanchez has adapted so quickly to Pochettino’s style of play and posed with his biggest challenge yet against players of the ilk of Cristiano Ronaldo, he produced his finest performance thus far in a Spurs shirt. Sanchez’s awareness, composure and decisiveness were all top notch, he was unfazed with defending against Cristiano Ronaldo. And he defended against the Portuguese super star with the maturity of a veteran, along side Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier in the Spurs back three. Our performance against the holders of this prestigious competition, was one in which each and every Spurs fan and player alike can savour, what a contrast to last seasons campaign this is proving to be. COYS