A Steven Bergwijn debut goal for Tottenham Hotspur helped his new club to three points against outgoing Champions Manchester City. Jose Mourinho brought in Bergwijn, Gedson Fernandes and made the loan deal for Giovanni Lo Celso permanent. With Harry Kane still injured, the one position Spurs didn’t strengthen was up front.
Steven Bergwijn Debut Delights Spurs Fans
Bergwijn arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium from PSV Eindhoven and Jose Mourinho was quick to give him his first start for his new club. A physical and pacy winger, Mourinho went into the game hoping he could create or score the goals that Tottenham have struggled to come by since the injury to Harry Kane. In the 63rd minute the winger didn’t disappoint. He was struggling with the intensity of the English game but has an eye for goal. Lucas Moura reversed a ball over to Bergwijn who took the ball on his chest and with Fernandinho bearing down on him, fired home to give Spurs the lead.
VAR Controversy Takes Centre Stage Once More
VAR hasn’t won itself too many friends in its first full season in the Premier League and on 12 minutes it was called into action. Raheem Sterling went in on Dele Alli. VAR looked at the challenge and decided it was not a red card and a yellow card was enough. With studs showing it was a dangerous challenge and Mourinho was incandescent with rage when he saw it on the touchline monitor. Why the match official, Mike Dean didn’t check the monitor himself is another question. Had he seen the challenge, surely he would have issued a straight red card for dangerous play.
Half an hour later and Serge Aurier challenged Sergio Aguero in the penalty box. Mike Dean waved play on and signalled that Aurier took the ball. The game continued until two minutes later the decision came through to Mike Dean and a penalty was awarded. The time it is taking for decisions to be made is getting out of hand. It is ruining the spectacle of a fast and furious Premier League. Ilkay Gundogan hit a poor shot that Hugo Lloris saved. The controversy wasn’t over yet. Sterling pounced on the loose ball and went down under Lloris’ challenge. VAR checked. No penalty. No second yellow card for Sterling either.
Manchester City’s Tactical Fouls Bite Back
Pep Guardiola’ s teams are known for their quality. Equally for some cynical fouling. Kyle Walker, Rodri and Olexandr Zinchenko were all guilty of needless and cynical fouls. Zinchenko struck again in the second half when he just blocked off Harry Winks. This time there was to be no VAR interference. Mike Dean brandished a second yellow followed by the red card and gave Spurs the impetus they so badly needed. Tanguy N’Dombele came off the bench to set up Son Heung-Min to give the home side all three points.
Mourinho Can Succeed At Tottenham – Given Time
What happens this season won’t define Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Tottenham Hotspur. Success will define it and Mourinho can bring success. Whilst Lady Luck shone on Spurs against Manchester City at times, this was the first sight of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur. Bergwijn is the type of player Mourinho loves. Think back to the kinds of tricky wingers in Damian Duff at Chelsea, Arjen Robben. Spurs didn’t have that. They do now.
Lo Celso is improving game on game. Against City he played more defensively and was superb. He has skill, a good range of passing and looks to move things forward. Harry Winks wins challenges and is starting to show signs that his injury woes might be behind him.
Tottenham fans have had to be very patient in their wait for success. If they give Jose Mourinho time, they could just get their dreams turned into reality. Steven Bergwijn has his dream debut under his belt and now Spurs move onto a competition they will look to win; The FA Cup replay against Southampton on Wednesday 5th February 2020.