Norwich City had plenty of possession and a few chances but Tottenham Hotspur had the patience and plan to outlast the Canaries in a big 3-0 win for Spurs.
With all but one team in front of Spurs winning, Chelsea lost to West Ham 2-3, Tottenham Hotspur needed three points to keep pace in the Premier League. Despite a game effort from a Norwich side under Dean Smith determined to play with the ball – Norwich held just over 60% possession – Spurs were able to limit the big chances for Norwich and capitalize on some 1 shots and win by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline.
Norwich in possession, Tottenham in the goals
From the opening of the match, the tone was clear, it was going to be Norwich dominating possession of the ball. Given the positions in the table and relative firepower between the two sides, this may have seemed a bit odd but given the circumstances, it made sense for Spurs.
In the big picture, this is already the 23rd overall match of the season for Tottenham Hotspur, whereas Norwich has only played 16 in all competitions.
Besides more than 700 more minutes of football already on the season, Spurs also last played on Thursday evening creating a quick turnaround. Alternatively, Norwich last played on Tuesday, more than finishing more than 48 hours earlier than Tottenham.
The point is it made sense for Spurs to allow Norwich to have most of the possession, the Canaries attempted 644 passes compared to just 426 for Spurs according to whoscored.com. Fortunately for Tottenham fans, Spurs conceding possession under Conte is not the same as parking the bus under Jose Mourinho.
Like it was for Brentford in the previous match, nothing on the ball was easy or free for Norwich and as soon as Tottenham took possession they were looking to put the Canaries on their heels. The defensive aggression that accompanies Tottenham’s sound shape and structure make conceding possession in Conte’s system a different animal altogether. As defence leads to opportunities in Conte’s system.
Lucas Moura finally gets his goal
It was Oliver Skipp – who was flying all over the field spearheading the defence from the middle of the pitch – winning possession and Tottenham quickly moving the ball. Some intricate passing between Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son had led to Moura with the ball near the top of the box.
As his rocket flew past the fingertips of an outstretched Tim Krul, Moura’s relief in finally scoring again for Spurs in the league was palatable. That goal reassured Spurs and set the tone where despite the lack of possession Tottenham managed 17 shots with 7 on target, compared to 10 and 1 for Norwich.
Tottenham dig deep out wide
Norwich seemed to be having some success on the wings, where Spurs thought they had the advantage, with Emerson Royal out ill. Japhet Tanganga had issues with Dan Williams all day and Sergio Reguilón seemed hobbled from the start with Max Aarons giving him some trouble.
Reguilón ultimately went down with only 20 minutes played, giving Ryan Sessegnon another opportunity to earn some playing time. In this instance, a fit Sessegnon was more impactful than a less than 100% Reguilón and it made a difference giving Spurs control on the left. Sessegnon was not great but he grew into the game and put a couple of dangerous balls into the box.
On the right, Tanganga had little impact most of the game and as a result, William’s confidence grew and he was giving Spurs some fits by the time Matt Doherty came on for Tanganga just past the hour mark. Like Sessegnon’s introduction on the left, this change on the right seemed to settle the pressure and soon thereafter Spurs would take the lead. Doherty was decent enough for his part and was better than Tanganga who had a disappointing day.
Sanchez scores for Spurs too
Harry Kane may not be scoring for Tottenham under Antonio Conte but everyone else is. Davinson Sanchez made it two from the last three matches for Spurs defenders as the Colombian was alert and smashed a loose ball in the box off a corner kick into the net past Krul at 67 minutes.
This goal left Spurs surging for more and looking to put the game away. As Smith was going to his bench to find some game-changers, Son made sure there would be only one result.
Tottenham had been battling with lots of small passes for a bit and the ball found its way to another defender, Ben Davies, in the box. Davies, looking sharp and assured, took a couple of touches and then calmly slid the ball across the box to Son.
Sonny took a touch to get around the defender and then blasted back toward the far corner for Spurs’ third goal and it was game-set-and-match to Tottenham.
Norwich continued to push but just could not find the level to finish the job. Substitute Josh Sargent had a gilt-edged chance on 85 minutes but essentially whiffed on his volley, allowing Skipp – Spurs man of the match – to clear away the danger.
If there was a downside it was the potential loss of Reguilón to a knock and that late on Pierre-Emile Højbjerg seemed to have a slight groin issue but did not come off the pitch.
The victory makes it three from four for Spurs in the Premier League under Conte, as Tottenham wins three matches over eight days. The win lifts Tottenham to fifth-place – at least temporarily Arsenal is yet to play – just two points back of fourth-place West Ham, and Spurs have a game in hand. From there, Tottenham hosts Rennes in a must-win Europa Conference League game and then is back on the road next Sunday at the Amex taking on Brighton.
Next:Spurs ratings from win over Norwich