Improving Spurs are finally wasting chances

Posted by Dan Fitch

Ian Horrocks/Getty ImagesJermain Defoe may have spurned chances to score in Tottenham's win, but it was at least a sign that Spurs' attack is on the mend.

It makes a nice difference to be moaning about the chances Spurs wasted on Saturay, rather than the ones that they failed to create.

Tottenham have now won their past two away games and are tied for fifth, just three points off second place. Crisis? What crisis?

It would be wrong to suggest that Spurs have truly turned the corner, but things look to be moving in the right direction. The most impressive thing has been the character that the side have shown. Heads dropped when the first two goals were conceded against Manchester City, but in both of the past two games they have gone behind, only to triumph with a 2-1 victory.

- Report: Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham

There were more changes from midweek. An injury to Vlad Chiriches saw Kyle Naughton come in at left-back, with Jan Vertonghen moving along to centre-back. Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby and Nacer Chadli also returned to the starting XI.

One member of the team that didn't change from the win over Fulham was Jermain Defoe. The striker looked sharp but spurned numerous chances to score. Roberto Soldado must have been left feeling frustrated on the sidelines. How he'd have wished to have been fed even half of the chances that Defoe enjoyed Saturday night.

Tottenham went behind after another bad mistake from Hugo Lloris when the French goalkeeper came out and flapped at a cross that he should have either left or caught cleanly.

They got back into the game just before halftime. Nacer Chadli got on the end of a cross to head the ball across goal and Paulinho finished. It was welcome to see Spurs score from inside the area, having only netted from long-range of late.

Early in the second-half Spurs took the lead. A great run and cross from Mousa Dembele was turned in by Sunderland's John O'Shea to give Tottenham a lead.

If Spurs' lead was fortuitous, then at least it can be said that the team has deserved some luck in recent weeks. Having taken the lead, you could see the side building with confidence.

Lewis Holtby put in a great performance and was instrumental in Tottenham's best work. Overall, the midfield balance looked good, with Capoue holding and Paulinho breaking from deep.

Yet the most impressive player for me was Andros Townsend when he came on with 15 minutes to go. I'll be the first to admit that I have a slightly vested interest, having long insisted that he'd be at his best on the left-hand side. Townsend's quarter of an hour saw him put in a couple of great crosses, both of which were missed. Soldado would thrive off such opportunities and with Aaron Lennon impressing again on the right, we can only hope that Andre Villas-Boas will unleash both wingers on their natural flanks soon.

The team has needed some confidence. They've looked nervous of late, but they will need some self-belief when high-flying Liverpool visit next weekend.

Spurs will have to up their game against such a challenge, yet all fans will be feeling much more comfortable than they were a couple of weeks ago. This side doesn't look like it's ready to give up on Villas-Boas yet.


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