Ndombele scores stunner as Spurs blunt Blades
Ndombele nets a contender for goal-of-the-season, while Kane also scores a peach as Tottenham win 3-1 away at Sheffield United
17 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1 (McGoldrick 59)
SPURS 3 (Aurier 5, Kane 40, Ndombele 62)
A PEACH of a goal by Tanguy Ndombele ensured Spurs registered their first ever Premier League win at struggling Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane Stadium this afternoon (Sunday).
The French midfielder restored a two-goal lead at a crucial time in the match for Jose Mourinho’s team, who have in recent weeks struggled to keep up with the pace at the top of table.
Tottenham went into the game having earned just six points out of a possible 18 – and having thrown away leads against bottom half clubs such as Fulham, Newcastle, West Ham, Wolves and Crystal Palace this season.
After the match, Mourinho said: “It was a good performance. Good energy from the team, consistent, strong-minded, dominant, pressing a lot.
“A very basic mistake made it 2-1 and the game was open again – but we showed great mentality and scored an incredible goal.”
Mourinho had gone for three at the back, drafting in Joe Rodon for just his second start since his summer move from Swansea. The 23-year-old was accomplished throughout and the formation gave Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon license to operate as wingers.
There was no place in the squad for Dele Alli, fuelling speculation that the player will be somewhere else – possibly Paris Saint-Germain – by the end of January.
With Ndombele showing his class in what would be Alli’s most natural position, there seems little the one-time first choice midfielder can do to get his Spurs career back on track.
On the pitch Tottenham started brightly, pressing back Sheffield United, as if they were trying to exorcise the lingering bad vibes following their midweek draw at home to Fulham – and they got some joy from their quick start on just four minutes.
Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale did well to tip an excellent goal-bound effort by Steven Bergjwin over the bar. From the resulting corner Heung-Min Son flipped a ball to the near post and Aurier rose highest to head home powerfully.
The goal settled any nerves, and gave Spurs a sense of real intent. Just three minutes later, Harry Kane released Son and his effort beat Ramsdale but skimmed away off the outside of the post.
Tottenham doubled their advantage late on in the first-half with a real cracker. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, making up for an off colour performance against Fulham, was everywhere and when he won the ball high-up, he had options across the pitch.
He found Kane centrally with a short ball that took Sheffield United’s midfielders out of the game – and the England striker, who is closing in on Double winner Bobby Smith’s goal record, stepped forward into a yard of space and placed a low, long range effort into the far corner.
Spurs, who last enjoyed taking all three points off the Blades in Yorkshire in 1975, have seen their confidence take some blows in recent weeks as they have failed to see out games. And they had another little wobble on 60 minutes.
The home side, buoyed by their manager Chris Wilder’s half-time pep talk, pulled a goal back courtesy of a powerful header from forward David McGoldrick. But just as they might have felt there was a chink of light, Spurs replied.
Ndombele prompted a give-and-go with Son, and raced into the box for the return: the pass back to the midfielder was hit at an awkward angle, and it looked like Ndombele had no right to get near it. Instead, he would finish spectacularly.
Showing his class, Ndombele looked up, and as the ball dropped, he delicately lifted it back across the keeper so it looped over Ramsdale and into the net. It was nothing short of sensational, and a real contender for goal-of-the-season.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Sheffield United. And Spurs were happy to see the game out and return home to north London with three vital points.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Basham (Sharp, 74), Egan, Ampadu, Bogle, Lundstram, Norwood (Brian, 67), Fleck, Stevens, McGoldrick, Burke (Brewster, 70)
Substitutes not used: Foderingham, Baldock, Lowe, Jagielka
Spurs: Lloris, Rodon, Dier, Davies, Aurier, Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Reguilon (Sanchez, 90+4), Bergwijn (Moura, 87), Kane, Son (Vinicius, 90)
Substitutes not used: Hart, Alderweireld, Fernandes, Sissoko, Lamela, Bale