Yesterday evening Spurs took on Stevenage in a pre-season friendly in front front of a packed crowd of over 5,000 at the Lamex stadium. A repeat of last years FA Cup Fifth Round Tie, both sides came into the game on the back of transitional periods over the Summer.
Spurs struggled to break down Stevenage in the first half but our class shone through eventually in the second period with goals from new boy Gylfi Sigurdsson and Iago Falque sealing a routine win. Having been at the game to watch AVB's side for the first time, here are my player ratings for the match:
Carlo Cudicini - 6
Had very little to do. Only danger for the Italian came from back passes being chased down but these were handled with ease.
Kyle Walker - 6
Having missed out on the European Championships through injury, Walker was given an hour to get back into the swing of things. He looked fairly rusty with rare forays forward but defended solidly.
Younes Kaboul - 8
The beast at the back. Kaboul seemed to adapt to AVB's high defensive line tactics like a duck to water. Won all of his aerial battles and just generally looked extremely comfortable at all times.
Michael Dawson - 7
Coming back from a long term injury, he seemed to struggle for pace when balls were knocked over the top of the defence. Was a strong aerial presence however and retained possession well.
Kyle Naughton - 5
Impressed playing out of position at left back. Not afraid to get forward and displayed good control and first touch. Pace is evident and was used as an advantage to get back when defending.
Aaron Lennon - 5
The flying winger struggled to match up to his usual high standards and was largely ineffective. He may have struggled with with understanding his position as Pienaar and Bentley seemed to have been given instructions to roam.
Jake Livermore - 6
A few misplaced passes early on to gift Stevenage possession but grew into the game with some hearty tackles and improved passing.
Jermaine Jenas - 4
Game showed Jenas to be a fair distance behind his central midfield counterparts as his anonymity meant the game seemed to pass him by.
David Bentley - 5
Employed initially behind the front man, Bentley seemed confused with his position, similar to Lennon. Often drifting into Lennon's space which caused congestion. Looked determined to prove himself and worked hard but made no real impact.
Steven Pienaar - 7
Given more freedom in AVB's midfield system, Pienaar flourished with all decent attacks coming through the South African. Touch was good and barely misplaced a pass.
Harry Kane - 5
The youngster was handed a start with Defoe yet to return to training after the Euro's. Outmuscled and beaten to every header by the Stevenage central pair of Ashton and Roberts but came close to opening the scoring but for a good save from Boro's Chris Day.
Brad Friedel - 6
Like Cudicini had very little to do between the sticks, but had to be aware to get his body behind a strike from distance early on in the second half.
Adam Smith - 6
Replaced the tired Walker and looked comfortable in nullifying Stevenage's left hand side. Showed desire to get forward and composure on the ball.
William Gallas - 7
Don't write him off just yet. Marshalled the defence well, keeping the back line organised and looked good on the ball.
Jan Vertonghen - 6
Our new Belgian centre back showed glimpses of his class with some good interceptions from a couple of Stevenage attempted through balls. One of the easier games he is likely to face for Spurs.
Sebastian Bassong - 6
Very little threat came to Bassong from Stevenage's right hand side so despite playing out of position he looked at ease.
Iago Falque - 7
Sometimes chose the wrong option but showed plenty of talent in his thirty minute cameo. Not afraid to run at defence and whilst his goal had a touch of luck about it through a deflection, his good work in running from the halfway line with the ball meant it couldn't be begrudged.
Tom Huddlestone - 5
Back from a major injury lay off, Tom understandably struggled in his 30 minute appearance. Made the easy passes well but long passes were over hit.
Tom Carroll - 7
The young lad will always have his doubters due to his size but he took the game by the scruff of the neck. Stung the keepers palms with a swerving shot from distance and kept the ball moving in Modric-esque style.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 7
His class shone through, looking comfortable on the ball and composed. Took advantage of Townsend's good work to get his first goal in a Spurs shirt with a neat finish into the bottom right corner.
Andros Townsend - 8 (Man of the Match)
Ran the Stevenage defence ragged. Caused problems constantly and it was his good work, breaking down the left flank and bursting past the Stevenage full back that lead to the first goal. This season could see him breakthrough to the first team, similar to Livermore last year.
Souleymane Coulibaly - 6
Showed good energy, panicking Stevenage defenders into a few mistakes. Made good runs and experience will make him a more composed and accurate finisher.
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