Opinion

Toby Alderweireld was Tottenham’s unsung hero in narrow Cardiff victory

Toby Alderweireld was Tottenham’s unsung hero in narrow Cardiff victory

Tottenham supporters have been reasonably satisfied in recent times after seeing their team get back to winning ways with victory in the Premier League at the weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men went into their meeting with lowly Cardiff City off the back of losing 4-2 to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night, thus leaving the North Londoners with no points from their first two group stage matches. Yet things are a lot better for Spurs in the Premier League at present as Eric Dier’s strike was enough to seal a narrow 1-0 win over Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds at Wembley on Saturday, a result which moved Pochettino’s team to within two points of top spot.

Thus, there have been many happy Tottenham fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom have been praising the efforts of midfielder Dier in netting the all-important goal against the South Wales club at the weekend.

Yet it was far from a vintage display from Pochettino’s side at the national stadium at the weekend, with it arguable that defender Toby Alderweireld, who earns £80,000 a week as per Spotrac, was their unsung hero at Wembley on Saturday.

The centre back has forced his way back into Pochettino’s first team plans this term after struggling for regular football last time round, and he is certainly showing his worth in the early stages of this season, including an excellent display against Cardiff at the weekend.

The Belgium international had 81 touches of the ball and completed 61 of the 71 passes he attempted over the course of the 90 minutes, thus underlining that he was often in the game seeking to make an influence, helping Spurs to 76% possession during the match.

But in scoring after just eight minutes, there was always the concern that Cardiff could get themselves back into the match with just one attack, moment of brilliance, or Tottenham mistake, but Alderweireld helped to keep things very solid indeed at the back, including making a vital clearance off the line in the first half.

In fact, the 29-year-old won both of the tackles he attempted over the course of the match and made six clearances overall, and while he didn’t deal brilliantly aerially in winning just one of his three duels in the air, he more than made up for that by dominating on the ground.

Special mentions must also go to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who made a fine save late on to preserve the three points, and indeed Alderweireld’s centre back partner Davinson Sanchez, whose team-high 11 clearances also underlined his alertness and concentration in helping Pochettino’s team see the game out.

Yet it was the display of Belgian star Alderweireld which hasn’t really hit the headlines in recent times, which is why he was their unsung hero in victory over Warnock’s Cardiff on Saturday.

Tottenham fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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