Tottenham Hotspur managed to maintain their unbeaten run in the Premier League in dramatic fashion yesterday, as the plaudits just keep soaring in for Ange Postecoglou…
How did Spurs play vs Sheffield United?
Having dominated the majority of the game, it should have come as no surprise to see the Lilywhites fall behind against a Sheffield United side with just one point after four games. It just seemed all too familiar, for a Spurs side to roll over at home for a side that, on paper, they should brush aside.
Their 70% possession, 28 shots and 2.12 expected goal tally, via Sofascore, could not break down the rigid and staunch defence of the visitors, who stormed into the lead after Gustavo Hamer’s fine left-footed strike.
However, such is the positivity and unbridled energy that their new regime is already emanating, this team seemingly just don’t know when they are beaten. A well-placed corner in the 98th minute was met by Richarlison, whose subdued celebrations likely hid a wealth of emotion just waiting to pour out after the Brazilian had admitted to the struggles he had been facing earlier in the week.
His day would get even better though, with his direct play and neat outside-of-the-foot pass finding Dejan Kulusevski, who rifled home a 100th-minute winner to send the home fans into raptures. It was the latest comeback in the history of the Premier League, and one which typifies this new attitude in north London.
Whilst the former Everton striker will steal the headlines for the way in which he overcame recent adversity to score and assist, it marked a similarly cathartic moment for the Sweden international too.
How did Dejan Kulusevski play?
Having signed for £25m back in 2022, his blistering start to life with Spurs set the bar impossibly high for him to follow in the future. His five goals and eight assists in just six months were outstanding, which made his two strikes last season in the league especially frustrating.
Everyone is well aware of the talent that the 23-year-old boasts, but for whatever reason that has been silenced in recent years, despite former Celtic star Chris Sutton branding him a “special player” during that stunning initial spell.
So, to see him pop up at a crucial moment would have been euphoric for Kulusevski, whose stellar display had deserved something from the clash.
After all, having played every minute of the gruelling encounter, his 8.5 Sofascore rating was only bettered by Richarlison of those on the home side. Such a figure was buoyed by his relentless creativity, as he managed to post five key passes and create two big chances.
On another day, the former Juventus flyer could have earned a host of assists, with the steadfast visitors holding firm for so long. However, in the end, quality told.
Although Richarlison has struggled over the last 12 months, with just one league goal in the entire last campaign drawing ridicule, Kulusevski has instead been more self-critical. He noted after the conclusion of their miserable last term: “It’s been a long season, when you think of when we started, it feels like about three years ago
“You have to think about a lot of things. I’m happy, I’m grateful, I think I’ve learned a lot. Of course, I’ve been disappointed personally. After the World Cup, I didn’t think I played well enough. Also, the team hasn’t been good enough, especially in the last few months where we tried everything, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Clearly boasting an impressive mindset to push himself to new heights after setbacks, this winning goal could prove to be the catalyst that reignites the career of two of Postecoglou’s struggling attackers. There seems to be little that the 58-year-old tactician cannot do of late.
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