Crystal Palace
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 By John Crace

Jan Vertonghen 8/10 as Spurs end Wembley curse, beat Bournemouth

A Christian Eriksen goal early in the second half gave Spurs their first home Premier League win of the season as they defeated Bournemouth 1-0. The first 45 minutes were largely forgettable, with the visitors intent on keeping men behind the ball and Tottenham lacking either the pace or the guile to find a way through. Indeed it was the visitors who came close to breaking the deadlock with two chances inside a minute midway through the first period.

The game opened out after Spurs took the lead but Tottenham were unable to add to their tally. Unlike against Burnley when they conceded a late equaliser, this time Spurs held on through a nervy last 20 minutes to take all three points.


It wasn't pretty but Spurs have finally beaten their Premier League Wembley jinx. The relief among both the players and the home fans at the final whistle was obvious. Hopefully with this win behind them, the team will be able to relax a bit more in future home games, starting against Liverpool next weekend.


Spurs still look a different team to the one than plays away from Wembley. Once again, they looked nervy and tentative on the ball, with few players willing to commit to forward runs. Their build-up play was often slow and laboured and they are still missing the killer instinct to finish off teams at Wembley when they're there for the taking.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Mauricio Pochettino finally found a way to get his team to a home win but it was a much closer affair than he would have liked. He knows teams like Bournemouth will come to Wembley intent on packing the defence and he has to make Spurs as clinical as they were last season. Changing his formation to a back four with Ben Davies sidelined, it took time for the rest of the team to adjust. Plenty of room for improvement but right now all he will care about is the three points.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
AFC BournemouthAFC Bournemouth
Game Details

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- Had to be alert late on to keep out a near post effort from Spurs old boy, Jermain Defoe. Otherwise had a quiet afternoon and did all the basics well.

DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- It still feels as if Trippier isn't fully on his game. He seems unsure of when to drive forward and when to hold back and his final ball, which made him such a potent threat last season, is now all too often wayward.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- Adjusted well to the changed formation and was quick to snuff out danger. Never lost an aerial challenge and was the lynchpin of the central defence.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 -- Was badly out-muscled midway through the first half and that mistake almost allowed Bournemouth to open the scoring. Needs to show that he can concentrate for the full 90 minutes.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 8 -- Spurs player of the match. Was secure in defence, making one crucial interception late on, and made several telling runs forward in both halves. Not a natural wing back, but what he lacks in pace he makes up for in intelligence and effort.

MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Came close to adding a second goal late on but his shot from inside the area was deflected over the bar. Generally tidy in his familiar role of defensive midfielder but his distribution tends to slow the game down.

MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Was one of Spurs' brightest sparks in midfield during a first half in which his side was struggling. Carried on making forward runs right until the end even when his teammates were opting for the square ball.

Vertonghen was a rock in the Tottenham defence as Mauricio Pochettino's side hung on to beat Bournemouth.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Had a bit of luck when the ball rebounded to him after he had appeared to lose control, but took his goal with his customary poise. Had another effort from outside the box tipped wide, but otherwise tended to play too much from deep.

MF Heung-Min Son, 6 -- Started out on the left but switched over to the right late in the first half. Made a few telling runs but as so often in the past, he tended to delay too long in playing the final ball.

MF Dele Alli, 7 -- Kept going right till the end, but his flicks and touches are still not making the impact they did last season. Came close to getting the goal that will do much to settle him late in injury time.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Saw almost nothing of the ball in the first half. Worked his way into the game in the second half and did find the net with a header only to be ruled offside. Had a few other half-chances but he wasn't at the top of his game. Hopefully he's saving himself for Real Madrid.


MF Moussa Sissoko, NR -- Made an impact when he was brought on late in the game, but his final ball let him down. More clinical passes could have given Spurs the safety margin they craved.

FW Fernando Llorente, NR -- Late replacement for Kane. A couple of nice touches but still no sign of his first goal for the club.

MF Georges-Kevin N'Koudou, NR -- An injury time replacement to wind down the clock. Was upended outside the area when closing in on goal.

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.


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