A goal in each half from Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado gave Tottenham a win in their final pre-season match against FC Schalke 04 at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 FC Schalke 1
Scorers: Adebayor, Soldado Boateng
Team: Lloris; Naughton, Dier, Kaboul (Fryers), Rose (Davies); Bentaleb (Caroll), Holtby (Ceballos), Eriksen (Sandro), Lamela (Kane), Lennon (Townsend); Adebayor (Soldado)
Subs: (unused) Friedel, Fredericks, Veljkovic
Mauricio Pochettino selected Hugo Lloris and Nabil Bentaleb but the other World Cup players, as the manager had said yesterday, were not included in the squad for the final pre-season match against FC Schalke 04. The one new signing to make his Tottenham debut was Eric Dier who partnered Younes Kaboul in central defence. Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose were the full-backs, raising concern about the fitness of Kyle Walker who was not among the substitutes and has had only limited playing time in pre-season. Along with Bentaleb in midfield was Lewis Holtby, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon. Emmanuel Adebayor started as the lone striker.
With the majority of the players who were in Brazil not included in the squad, the team selection gives little indication of who will start the match at Upton Park next weekend.
The match started at a good tempo with quick passing and pressing from Tottenham against a Schalke side who finished 3rd in last season’s Bundesliga and will be playing in the Champions League. Like Spurs they were without their World Cup stars but both team were competitive from the kick-off. After four minutes, good passing released Adebayor who crossed to Lennon in the centre of the area but he already knew the off-side flag was up as he shot and saw the ball hit the post.
On 13 minutes, Lennon was again played behind the defence when Holtby gave the ball to Eriksen and his through ball found the winger but the goalkeeper was out quickly to clear the danger.
Tottenham’s energetic play kept the pressure on Schalke and on 18 minutes a long ball behind the defence put in Adebayor but his weak shot was gathered easily by the keeper.
A threat on the left from Schalke was headed out for a corner by Kaboul at the near post after 20 minutes. A minute later Spurs had their first corner when a cross by Eriksen was cleared but returned into the area and out for a corner. Spurs took a short corner and Lennon crossed to Bentaleb on the edge of the area but he sliced his shot well wide.
Spurs were creating more chances than Schalke with another cross from Eriksen finding Holtby in the centre. With the defenders stopping, expecting the off-side flag, the goalkeeper reacted quickly to save Holtby’s shot from point-blank range after 26 minutes.
Emmanuel Adebayor Goal
Three minutes later, Spurs went ahead through Adebayor. Lamela, after a bright start, had been quiet but came to life in the build up to the goal. A cross was knocked down by Adebayor and Lamela reacted quickest to pass towards Lennon who played it on to Holtby and his cross found Adebayor who fired home.
Schalke’s most dangerous moment was from a free-kick with a free header at the near post being flicked wide. As the half drew to a close Lennon was again played behind the defence in a central position but was wrongly given off-side. A late cross by Schalke was well defended by Kaboul.
The second half saw the expected substitutions by both sides. At the interval Pochettino introduced Ben Davies, Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado who replaced Rose, Lamela, Lennon and Adebayor respectively.
It was another bright start by Spurs with Soldado playing in Kane but his effort was cleared by a defender. Moments later a run and cross from the left by Tpwnsend found Kane but he was unable to control the ball. Holtby was the next to deliver a cross from the left but there was no-one in the area to take advantage.
Good passing by Schalke at the other end created a shooting opportunity but Naughton did well to block the effort after 50 minutes. Two minutes later a Townsend run and cross found Soldado but he blasted over from the edge of the area. Maintaining the pressure, Kane was played into the box and went down under pressure but Spurs kept the ball alive and Townsend saw the goalkeeper save his shot at the second attempt.
Eriksen played a through ball for Townsend but he curled his shot well wide after 56 minutes. Schalke created a chance with some good passing but shot wide. Then Dier defended well as Schalke threatened, allowing thh ball to go through to Lloris. A header by Schalke was saved comfortably by Lloris and a minute later Soldado doubled Tottenham’s lead.
Roberto Soldado Goal
Townsend had a powerful shot from the edge of the box blocked by the goalkeeper. The ball rebounded onto the head of Roberto Soldado who looped a header over the keeper and into the net in the 65th minute.
Sandro came on for Eriksen and for a period Schalke looked at their most threatening as they tried to pull back a goal. Dier and Naughton defended well and then Schalke shot wide after creating another good chance. Sandro had a powerful shot punched out but in the 79th minute.
Immediately after Zeki Fryers replaced Kaboul, Spurs were caught out with a cross from the left and Schalke scored with a shot from inside the area by former Spurs midfielder, Kevin Prince-Boateng.
Lloris made his first save of te afternoon, saving low in the 82nd minute. Cristian Ceballos replaced Holtby and when Sodado played him in, his low shot was pushed out by the keeper. Kane played in Soldado but he lost control of the ball on the edge of the box in the 87th minute and when Spurs broke 4 against 2, Townsend’s shot was saved by the keeper and Ceballos lifted the rebound over the bar.
Tottenham deserved the win in an entertaining game. The match will have given Mauricio Pochettino a great deal to think about as he prepares for next Saturday’s game against West Ham at Upton Park.