In a scoreline that may flatter Tottenham, some individual excellence undid Preston North End and sent Spurs through in the FA Cup 0-3.
After a first half, where Tottenham held the lion’s share of possession but created few goal-scoring opportunities, a couple of spectacular moments pushed Spurs into an easy win. Although Spurs goalkeeper Fraser Forster was rarely troubled, the game was closer than the result may suggest, although Tottenham thoroughly deserved to advance.
Spurs continue to start slow, despite dominating possession
On the surface, having only two shots on target, outshooting your opponent seven to three, and having almost 72% of the possession would say Tottenham dominated the first half. However, if you watched the game or dug deeper into the statistics, you’d see Spurs struggled to pose a real threat to the Invincibles goal.
The reality is that the backline of Tottenham did most of the passing, with Clement Lenglet, Japhet Tanganga, and Davison Sanchez accounting for more than 40% of the passes in the first half. Both Tanganga (50) and Lenglet (59) had more passing attempts than the front three – Kulusevski, Perisic, and Son (49) – combined.
Despite not creating clearcut chances, Preston needed some nifty goalkeeping and maximum effort defending to keep Spurs out of the net. Regardless, the first half was the result Preston was looking for, but a couple of moments of FA Cup magic changed the game.
Tottenham fans hope this is the start of something from Sonny
It has been a tough season for Heung-min Son, with the South Korean struggling to score after winning the Premier League Golden Boot last season. However, in the second half at Deepdale, Son showed his class several times, ending any hope for the Preston faithful.
Fortunately for Spurs, it was early in the second half when Son struck, preventing Preston from putting pressure on Tottenham. The first goal was almost out of nothing as Sonny picked up the ball in the right center of the pitch about 30 yards from the goal. His touch pushed him and the ball centrally, setting up the angle for a wicked left-footed strike.
On the goal, the ball started well outside of the post and curled – with pace – into the corner, giving Son and Spurs some much-needed relief.
Following the goal, Preston opened up a bit, as did the game, and about twenty minutes later, Preston paid for that openness as Son ended the host’s hope.
A deft Cruyff-like touch from Iven Perisic played Son in on goal, and then a lovely turn from Sonny put him in a shooting position. Having blasted a curler past Freddie Woodman already, this time, Son cut back across the goal, finishing at the right post with his left foot.
The goal deflated the stadium and Preston team as Tottenham continued to dominate the ball and, at that point, the game. As new signing Arnaut Danjuma came on and Harry Kane continued to sit on the bench, the result only got sweeter for Spurs. And then a Danjuma debut goal put the icing on the cake Son had baked.
It was not a pretty game where Spurs should have had seven or eight goals. Instead, it was a professional victory lifted by a couple of superb individual moments.