If you have watched football long enough, you may have heard pundits comment that a mere scoreline isn’t a fair retelling of a match. The 4-0 tally Tottenham put up against Stoke proves the adage true; the scoreboard fails to convey just how comprehensive Spurs were in victory.
Here’s what we learned:
3This starting eleven now selects itself
For those who have been paying attention, you’ve likely already reached this conclusion. This match surely served only as a reminder. Short of injury, the eleven players who started at the Britannia this evening will be the eleven who see this season through.
Early on in the campaign, competitions were waged in several areas. Danny Rose and Ben Davies took turns impressing at left-back, Son Heung-min threatened Erik Lamela’s job security for a time, and Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, and Nacer Chadli all tried to hold down a spot before Alli staked his claim.
But now, with his team in top form, manager Mauricio Pochettino is surely past tinkering.
2Dele Alli is among the Premier League’s best
Qualifying praise for Dele Alli by noting his youth is no longer necessary. He is simply one of the finest players in the Premier League.
By both creating and finishing on the evening, Alli’s talents were on full display. He showed keen instincts in finding the gap in the Stoke defense for his first goal and his form in taking Christian Eriksen’s cross on the volley for his second was impeccable.
He is no doubt the favorite for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, but it wouldn’t take much to argue that he could have been among the finalists for the senior award as well.
1“Big club” status perhaps not far off
Another common remark in footballing parlance is the deeming of some as so-called “big clubs.” While the exact criteria is a matter of debate, onlookers will comment on a club’s supposed “size” by the caliber of player they are or aren’t able to attract. Spurs, it seems, have the prospect of making themselves into a “big club” by doing little more than standing pat.
With Pochettino on board, the culture change at the club has been dramatic. And with elder statesmen Mousa Dembélé and Jan Vertonghen not yet 30 and the majority of key players still in their early 20s, the hope for supporters is that they will grow in stature along with the club.
Of course, new stars are not out of the question for a team with Champions League football on the horizon. But for those who took part in today’s dismantling of Stoke, only the next match matters.