Rotated Tottenham Team Dominates Ludogorets in Europa League

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring November 26, 2020 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring November 26, 2020 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /
1 of 2
Tottenham, /

A heavily rotated Tottenham Hotspur dominated Ludogorets from the opening whistle in a thoroughly enjoyable 4-0 drubbing of the Bulgarian side.

After a masterclass victory against Manchester City on the weekend the danger was overlooking Ludogorets with Chelsea looming. However, Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur came to face Ludogorets with a new plan and new side from the one that faced City. The result was a dominating 4-0 victory that was never in doubt and not even as close as the 4-0 score line would lead you to believe.

A New Tottenham Team

Tottenham Hotspur had 10 new players in the starting XI from the team that had beaten Manchester City on the weekend, with only Tanguy Ndombele starting both matches. Even then Ndombele was in a different position as he played the Pierre Højbjerg holding role with Dele Alli being reintroduced into the Tottenham side as attacking midfielder. If the idea were to use this XI to put pressure on the other XI, it was mission accomplished.

Spurs Defensively

Joe Hart never once touched the ball with his gloves, although substitute Alfie Whiteman did claim a cross in his nine minutes of action off the lone Ludogorets corner kick. In front of Hart and Whiteman, it was mostly a two-man defense with Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga playing as the center backs. Since Ludogorets was pinned so deep in their defensive block, the fullbacks – Matt Doherty and Ben Davies – had freedom to roam up and down the flanks as they saw fit.

The defense hardly played a single poor touch as much of the match felt like a hockey game with one team on the power play keeping the ball inside the blue line. In this case it was Sanchez and Tanganga winning ball after ball that was lumped up toward the lonely Ludogorets striker Claudiu Keseru. Between Sanchez’ three interceptions and Tanganga’s five aerial wins, Ludogorets just could not get out of their own end and Spurs kept the pressure on.

Spurs Engine Room Overhaul

Jose Mourinho got creative with his midfield and it paid off in spades. Tanguy Ndombele was the deepest lying of the three midfielders and he was dominant doing his best Pierre Højbjerg impersonation. Ndombele and Winks collectively dominated possession throughout the game, combining for 219 touches and 192 passes.

Winks was first on the team in both categories and Ndombele was second, though it was Ndombele who was the ball winner of the two. The Frenchman won an incredible five tackles and  had another four fouls from his deep lying ‘enforcer’ role. Winks was at his positive best for much of the match and scored a cheeky goal not far from midfield for Spurs third in the second half.

Dele Alli got his first start in sometime in the #10 role and played well throughout his 81 minutes. While his first touch of the match was a loose one, his immediate hustle to win the ball back and get the passing game moving showed a different Dele. Alli had one certain assist and depending on how it is scored, maybe two, as he gave us all a reminder of what he can do and Jose Mourinho something to think about.

Tottenham Attack

Spurs had a strong front three with the two Brazilians Carlos Vinicius and Lucas Moura starting with Gareth Bale. Both Vinicius and Moura were able to get their names on the scoresheet as Carlos had the first two and Lucas scored Spurs fourth.

Bale did have the most shots of anyone on the team but only managed one on target. Unlucky not to have an assist or two on the night, Bale did look a bit tentative, but also showed some good burst and some smart football.

The best part for Spurs on the night was the goals, as scoring four goals allowed Jose to introduce some youth, playing Jack Clarke, Alfie Whiteman, Harvey White, and Dane Scarlett with four of his five substitutions. While the kids did not score, they did not have too as Spurs managed two in each half.