Tottenham had a hard-earned win over Cardiff to keep them close to the top four teams. In a hard-working team performance, it was good to see Roberto Soldado score a goal, at last, Emmanuel Adebayor having another influential game and Michael Dawson showing improvement on recent weeks.
Individual Player Assessment:
Hugo Lloris: was troubled by Cardiff’s early corners when he was blocked on the line but showed his usual consistency to keep his 16th clean sheet of the season in all competitions (12th in Premier League).
Kyle Naughton: had one of his best games for Spurs – was sound defensively and played some telling forward passes. Linked well with Aaron Lennon playing him in behind the Cardiff defence with a through a pass.
Michael Dawson: was much more composed than in recent games. Won the ball with strong challenges on the ground and in the air. Was a threat at set-pieces and could have have been on the scoresheet.
Jan Vertonghen: had a composed game but not as influential or dominant as he was last season. Showed his control and skill as he carried the ball forward, pirouetting between two players and finishing off with a pass to his own player. Showed little understanding for a young player when Fryers’ pass put him under pressure.
Zeki Fryers: had a very sound game on Thursday but found it more difficult against Cardiff. A few misunderstandings with Andros Townsend which could have been costly but for the covering of Vertonghen.
Aaron Lennon: worked tirelessly, doing a lot of good defensive work, covering back to help out. Made some early telling crosses and was dangerous on the break but was unable to put in a telling pass.
Paulinho: had a quiet game with little presence or influence in midfield. Was replaced by Sandro for the final 20 minutes as Spurs looked to hold out against a determined Cardiff team.
Mousa Dembele: also had a quiet game but made some forward runs but without really threatening the visitors’ defence.
Andros Townsend: hasn’t rediscovered the form he had earlier in the season and with England. A few threatening runs early on causing Fabio concern but failed to build on that. A number of runs from midfield but shots and free-kicks failed to trouble the keeper.
Emmanuel Adebayor: worked hard holding up the ball and linking play. He had the assist for Roberto Soldado’s goal with a perfectly weighted pass through the heart of the Cardiff defence. Continues to be a major influence on the team.
Roberto Soldado: scored only his second Premier League goal from open play and his first at home. For a player lacking confidence in front of goal, he took his goal well with a good first touch and then calmly knocked it past Marshall. He worked hard without looking like adding to his goal.
Sandro: worked hard in front of the defence for the final 20 minutes with a number of telling challenges. Brings a much greater competitive edge to central midfield.
Nacer Chadli: had little opportunity to influence the game but created a good chance for Harry Kane to secure victory late in the game.
Harry Kane: as always he worked hard when he came on, putting defenders under pressure but shot straight at the keeper when he needed to lift it over to out-rushing Marshall.
If Tottenham are to break into that top-4 place, with difficult games in the coming month, Tim Sherwood is going to have to find a way to get the players to raise their game to a level that will trouble Chelsea, Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool, not the mention Europa League opponents, Benfica.