Three Takeaways from Tottenham Hotspur Win Over Antwerp

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

As we continue what we hope will be a magical journey with Tottenham Hotspur this season, we find some of the key takeaways from the 2-0 win over Royal Antwerp.

Tottenham Hotspur needed more than two hours over two games to find the net against Royal Antwerp. Fortunately, for Spurs, they found the net twice and ultimately won the game and group in the process. In reflecting on the matchday six win, here are some of the key takeaways for Tottenham Hotspur.

Patience Pays Off with Lo Celso

Giovani Lo Celso was struggling early in the campaign as he had a hard time getting fit. Just as Lo Celso seemed to be recovered from injuries at the end of last season he was hurt on international duty with Argentina. This injury left Gio playing a bit part early in the season for Tottenham as he worked his way back to fitness. However, Lo Celso never complained, kept his head down, and kept working hard, no matter when, where, or how long he played.

At this point the patience of both Giovani Lo Celso to preserve and of José Mourinho to wait for the Argentine to find his form and fitness are paying off handsomely for Tottenham Hotspur. Earlier in the season, the idea of Lo Celso going 90 minutes seemed absurd. Whereas on Thursday night it looked like Lo Celso could have played 190 minutes, in his third match in eight days.

Even more important than his fitness, Giovani Lo Celso was a difference maker on Thursday evening. According to Lo Celso had six successful dribbles against Antwerp, which was one more than the Great Old had as a team. One could try to nitpick and say Gio should have scored more than once, but now is not the time to be greedy. With incisive passes, darting dribbling runs, and always aggressive defense, Giovani Lo Celso has found it and we all hope he can hang on to it.

Tottenham Were Too Impatient Passing

Whereas Mourinho and Lo Celso have been patient and it has paid off, the team on Thursday seriously lacked any kind of patience and it made the game much more difficult than it should have been. It is tricky as there is often a fine line between being smart and direct in possession and being overly aggressive. On Thursday evening Tottenham were more the later and it made for a sloppy night.

While quick to jump on players for going too much to the side, we need to also recognize when sometimes they are trying to go forward too much. This was often the case Thursday as both the defenders and midfielders tried to force ball after ball forward to one of Carlos Vinicius, Lucas Moura, or Gareth Bale.

Tottenham do want to get these men the ball and they do want to advance. However, against a well drilled defense like Antwerp, you must move the men first and then attack that space. Tottenham too often went straight for the jugular without first softening up the midsection.  Some of this may come down to players trying to press and impress their coach, but playing fundamentally smart football and attacking when appropriate is a better tact.

Tottenham completed less than 75% of their passes as a team, mostly because they rushed them and forced them from poor angles. A little patience on the pitch can go a long way.

Son is Højbjerg for the Offense

Heung-Min Son brings the same kind of energy and quality to the offensive side of Tottenham Hotspur as Pierre Højbjerg does to the defensive side. From the moment he stepped on the pitch he was sprinting. Just to get from the sideline to the center circle and the kickoff following Tottenham’s goal, there went Son flying as hard as he could to get into position.

That simple act, sprinting hard to go stand and wait for kickoff really epitomizes Heung-Min Son as a football player. Much like Pierre Højbjerg, Son brings an incredible energy to the pitch that only the most try hard players in the world do. And like Højbjerg, Son possesses incredible quality as a footballer making all that effort more effective.

There are plenty of players in world football who have made a name for themselves because of their effort. These folks run hard every match, every play, every time, no questions asked. Then there are players who are just really, good. What you do not get all that often are players that are both and Tottenham currently have two.

Seeing Højbjerg run around defensively makes you appreciate even more what Sonny contributes offensively and vise versa. With players like that leading the charge and setting the example, it does nothing but instills confidence in the team and bodes well for ongoing success.

So those were our takeaways, what did you see?