Football Features

Tottenham 4-0 Huddersfield: Key winners and losers as Lucas Moura stakes his claim

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:24, 13 April 2019

Tottenham Hotspur returned to third in the Premier League with a 4-0 win over already-relegated Huddersfield Town.

After a dull start, Tottenham took the lead midway through the first half via Victor Wanyama before Lucas Moura doubled it just moments later.

Lucas then rounded off the win late on with two more goals to complete his hat-trick, earning Spurs a third consecutive win across all competitions.

But who were the winners and losers from the game?

Winner: Lucas Moura

Tottenham weren’t great in the opening stages of the match and looked to be struggling to break down a defence which was there for the taking. With no Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Son Heung-min, it was up to Christian Eriksen and Lucas Moura to provide the attacking force.

While Eriksen looked slightly lost without Kane and Alli to link up with, Lucas was on the ball and ready to be the man to pull Spurs through a potentially tough period.

From the start, the Brazilian looked to get at the Huddersfield defence in the most direct way possible and could have won himself a penalty inside five minutes after challenging Ben Hamer for the ball – with the goalkeeper appearing to pull him back.

Despite being lined up to play down the middle alongside Fernando Llorente, Lucas found himself attacking mostly down the wings, frequently switching flanks to keep the Huddersfield defence guessing. His penalty appeal came from the left, but he caused the most damage on the right, doubling Tottenham’s lead midway through the first half.

With a neat off-the-ball run, Lucas found himself in space and in the right position to receive Moussa Sissoko’s pass. The Brazilian was unfazed by the slightly wider angle and drilled a first-time effort across Hamer and into the bottom left corner of the net.

And with the game closing out, Lucas was there to put the result beyond Huddersfield, finishing Eriksen’s cross with a good first touch and shot and completing his hat-trick in injury time.

It brought up his 10th, 11th and 12th goals for Tottenham this season and potentially showed that he can lead the line alongside Son Heung-min when Spurs travel to the Etihad on Wednesday.

Loser: Ben Hamer

With relegation confirmed, Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert has started to name his starting XIs with the Championship in mind, looking at players who are almost certain to be at the Terriers next season.

As a result, Ben Hamer has started the past three matches in goal for Huddersfield, with first choice goalkeeper Jonas Lossl’s contract up in the summer.

Last week, Hamer had a game to forget, conceding four goals against former club Leicester City and it looks as though he was slightly affected by that on Saturday.

The 31-year-old did not look confident in himself at all, dropping easy catches from crosses with a tiny bit of pressure was applied – even by the small Lucas.

Hamer was fortunate not to concede a penalty against Lucas inside five minutes, dropping a ball from a cross with the Brazilian challenging him. In his attempts to win the ball back, Hamer appeared to pull on Lucas’ shirt, impeding him before finally reclaiming possession.

Lucas had the last laugh too, doubling Tottenham’s lead with a good finish across Hamer – moments after the goalkeeper had been beaten with a simple fake shot from Wanyama – before scoring two more for a hat-trick late on.

Winner: Moussa Sissoko

A year ago, you would have been hard pushed to find a Tottenham fan hoping for Moussa Sissoko to stay at the club. The Frenchman had been seriously underwhelming since his move from Newcastle United in 2016 and most Spurs fans were hoping last summer would be the opportunity for the club to cut Sissoko loose and try to move on from a disastrous transfer.

But in a summer of inactivity, Sissoko stayed put to provide back up for Tottenham’s midfield in case of injury. Even when that time arrived in November, hardly anyone could have expected the Frenchman to be anything more than a stopgap. But Sissoko has proven everybody wrong.

Sissoko has been marvellous for Tottenham since breaking back into the team in a more central role, bringing driving runs from deep while also providing defensive solidity.

Against Huddersfield, Sissoko played a big role in Tottenham’s second, advancing with the ball to play in Lucas with a neat pass, leaving the Brazilian to finish.

His re-emergence has ensured Tottenham have not suffered too much from the loss of Mousa Dembele, with the Belgian leaving in January – as former Spurs centre-back Ledley King explained on Saturday.

During Sky Sport’s coverage of the match, King said: “We all know how big a player Dembele was, how important he was, I feel like Sissoko has almost filled that space.

“His physical presence, his power, very difficult to get past and he’s got that driving force, which we know Dembele did have, the ability to beat a man and he’s shown that side as well.”

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Loser: Karlan Grant

Like Hamer, Karlan Grant has been given an extended run in the Huddersfield team with an eye on next season, as the 21-year-old has shown some promise over the campaign.

With Huddersfield’s strikers struggling over the campaign, now was Grant’s chance to show why he should be starting on ability and not just because he’s likely to stay.

But against Tottenham, the 21-year-old barely had a chance. Huddersfield were simply terrible in attack, as the wide players failed to provide Grant with good enough service to actually do something.

And even when they did, Grant was left with too much to do, fashioning his first shot of the game after 70 minutes with a breaking run from just inside the Tottenham half.

Up against the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen, Grant had no chance of scoring and his shot was eventually blocked into the hands of Hugo Lloris.

Winner: Victor Wanyama

At one point, Victor Wanyama was the master destroyer of the Tottenham midfield, completing a wonderful partnership alongside Mousa Dembele as Mauricio Pochettino looks to turn Spurs into a formidable team.

But his role has suffered in recent years with injury problems curtailing his career, combined with the remarkable return to form of Moussa Sissoko and emergence of Harry Winks. Prior to Saturday’s game against Huddersfield, the Kenyan had made just 13 appearances across all competitions this season, playing just 463 minutes in those matches.

With Pochettino clearly, and rightly, prioritising Wednesday’s Champions League second leg against Manchester City, Wanyama was given just his third Premier League start of the season. And though it was against already-relegated Huddersfield Town, the midfielder looked strong.

Partnering Sissoko in a midfield duo with Spurs lining up with a back three, Wanyama sat deep allowing the Frenchman to push forward and wreak havoc on an out-of-sorts Huddersfield defence. But it was Wanyama who gave Spurs the lead with a goal Dele Alli would have been proud of.

With Spurs looking to make something from their early possession, Ben Davies played the ball into Fernando Llorente on the edge of the area. The Spaniard miscontrolled but Wanyama was there to run onto the loose ball, rounding both Terrence Kongolo and Ben Hamer to give the home side the lead.

It was Wanyama’s first goal in over a year and eased worries around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, putting Spurs in steady control.

Loser: Jan Siewert

It was always going to be tough for any manager replacing David Wagner to keep Huddersfield up, and it’s possible Jan Siewert was brought in to prepare for next season’s Championship fight for promotion.

But the German has had no positive impact on this Huddersfield side. His team selections are often baffling, the tactics non-existent and his team lacking any kind of motivation – even to ensure their brilliant fans have something to cheer about on the way down.

Though they were up against a top four side in Tottenham, Huddersfield showed little proof that they can actually fight for promotion next season unless a massive overhaul takes place.

Some have even whispered the idea of Huddersfield being more likely of following in Sunderland’s footsteps with a double relegation should they keep faith in Siewert.

Not a promising start to his Huddersfield career.