Tottenham have crushed League One outfit Gillingham 5-0 in the third round of the English Football League Cup. It took half an hour for Spurs to break down their opposition, but having gone in just one up at the break, the floodgates opened from the resumption.
Spurs’ starting lineup was very similar to the one predicted here yesterday, Erik Lamela the only change as he took the place of Moussa Sissoko. Christian Eriksen also started and played as though he had a point to prove, opening the scoring with a strike from near 30 yards that was breathtaking in its’ simplicity and execution. Collecting from a short Lamela prod, he pushed forward and thumped, yet eased the ball on his right with such precision and over the flailing keeper’s outstretched arms.
Both Lamela and Eriksen got involved soon after the resumption in play as a break way from the half saw Lamela weave through two opponents before laying off smartly to Eriksen. Eriksen dribbled once before offloading a poke with the outside of his right amidst the closing in Gillingham defenders and goal keepers. 2-0 Spurs, 2 Eriksen goals and 2 Lamela assists.
Spurs were simply far too powerful, quick and strong, and Kieran Trippier’s run from full back into the box found a poorly timed challenge and awarding of a penalty. Importantly Vincent Janssen tucked away the spot kick on his left for his first Spurs goal in official competition as Tottenham made it 3-0 after 50 minutes.
15 minutes later Lamela made it a hat trick of assists, threading a pass to the unmarked Josh Onomah on the edge of the box. Onomah had time to steady produce a calm finish, passing the ball on his right past the keeper to spark celebrations amongst the home crowd for one of their own from the academy. With both Janssen and Onomah registering their first competitive Spurs goals, the night could hardly get any better for the home team.
Yet there was one more to come, Lamela deservedly getting on the scoresheet. Tom Carroll’s probing pass from midfield found Janssen, who showed his strength to hold up and off two defenders before finding the oncoming Lamela. His run rewarded, the Argentinian produced a tidy left footed strike across goal to confirm his man of the match status.
In a resounding performance where a wealth of young and squad players saw game time, the night was a complete success for Tottenham. The only two questions to come from this are who was the man of the match, Lamela or Eriksen? And with Lamela playing a full game tonight, where does that leave him for the weekend? He may yet be benched again, with Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko set to return.
Spurs now face the daunting prospect of Liverpool at Anfield in the League Cup Round of 16. However that fixture is not until late October, so they will set their minds firstly to Middlesborough on Saturday in yet another crucial Premier League clash, followed by Moscow in the Champions League next week.