Impressive Spurs dispatch leaky Colchester


Colchester 1-4 Tottenham –

A brace from Nacer Chadli helped Tottenham Hotspur progress to the FA Cup Fifth Round with a 4-1 over Colchester United. The League One hosts had their chances to draw level early in the second half, but Eric Dier’s fortuitous strike killed them off and the rest of the game was fairly comfortable for the visitors.

The two clubs, though 64 places apart and facing very different circumstances, share a similar philosophy. Both Kevin Keen and Mauricio Pochettino want to build teams of youthful exuberance, they are passionate about developing young, British players, for not dissimilar reasons. Colchester do not have the finances to compete with a lot of clubs in League One and have had to rely on youth. Equally, shrewd recruitment and impressive coaching, rather than unlimited funds, has seen Tottenham enter the Premier League title equation this term.

The North London side have plenty of depth in their squad and that was evident early on, as they started on the front foot. Colchester had to re-shuffle their defence as Alex Wynter picked up an injury after a collision with Tom Eastman, who also got blood to the head. Both players had to be taken off as Frankie Kent came on for Wynter and Matthew Briggs, for Eastman a little while later, meaning Keen’s pre-match plans went out of the window in the first quarter of the game.

Kieran Trippier made some good forward runs and was getting a lot of space on the right flank. Kane Vincent-Young, once released by Spurs, was not given enough protection on the left by veteran Darren Ambrose. One Tottenham attack down the right was only temporarily cleared and Christian Eriksen’s half volley was beaten away by Kean.


Chris Porter –

Colchester rarely threatened going forward early on, as main striker Chris Porter looked isolated against Kevin Wimmer and auxiliary centre-back Eric Dier. It did not come as a surprise when Tottenham opened the scoring, nor that Chadli scored the goal. The Belgian collected the ball and placed it to the goalkeepers right from 20 yards out.

Colchester responded stubbornly to conceding the goal and with Tom Carroll and Nabil Bentaleb prone to giving the ball away in midfield, they got into some good positions. Their better attacking moves tended to come through George Moncur, who linked play well and held onto the ball in forward areas. However, their final balls into the box needed more quality if they were going to test Michel Vorm, who had communication problems with his defence on a couple of occasions.

The U’s took heart from their positive end to the first half and started the second very strongly. The hosts were not giving Tottenham as much time on the ball now, as their home fans started to get behind their team. Ambrose and Massey went close before the former swung in a tantalizing cross from the right, but Chris Porter tried to get his foot to the ball, when he should have attempted a diving header.

The home side’s momentum was broken up when Harry Kane ran in behind the defence and picked out the hardworking Chadli in the box, who hit the bar with a firm effort. The North Londoners got their second goal in cruel fashion, when Eric Dier’s strike took a massive deflection off Matthew Briggs and looped into the net.

That goal took the proverbial wind out of Colchester sails and Spurs took control, keeping the ball in the middle of the park better than they did in the first half. On 74 minutes, Marvin Sordell hit the outside of the post when one-on-one with the goalkeeper after Dier’s error, his miss ending any hopes of a U’s resurgence.


Kieran Trippier –

Gavin Massey had been Colchester’s most direct forward runner in the second half. For the most part, his move to the left hand-side restricted Trippier’s impact, yet there was still time for the former Burnley right-back to contribute to a Tottenham goal. He swung a cross in and Frankie Kent, who had made some key blocks, sadly headed into his own net to give the away side a three goal lead.

Carroll’s performance for Spurs improved with Moussa Dembele on the field and he was allowed to move a touch further forward. The 24-year-old converted Chadli’s cross from the left, as the ball knocked the inside of the bar on its way in to cap off an ultimately comfortable away win.

Colchester cannot be too downhearted by the result. They looked bright in patches and saw good individual displays from the likes of George Moncur and Gavin Massey. However, their defence needed more protection at times and manager Kevin will be keen to re-organize the side. If the Essex side are to bridge the seven point gap between themselves and League One safety, they will need to find a balance that allows them to stay disciplined without losing their attacking threat.

Tottenham put in a professional performance and deserved to win based on the chances they created. This could be a special season for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who are in the last 32 of the Europa League and have a realistic chance of winning the Premier League title. Saturday’s game proved that they have the depth in their squad required to compete on all three fronts.