Spurs traveled north into Scotland and paid Hearts a visit at Tynecastle in the qualifying round of the Europa League last week. Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his dislike of the Europa League mainly because of the scheduling and the possibility of long distance travel. He was very public as were his assistant coaches that many of the younger players would be appearing in the Europa League matches, so senior players can focus on league matches as Spurs turn their attention to a Champions League spot and possibility of the league title. However, Harry didn’t want to underestimate Hearts and took many of his key starters to Tynecastle. Harry fielded a mix of young and first team players. Spurs provided an excellent display of their talent and ability with a complete destruction of Hearts ending in a 5-0 victory for the north London side.
In watching the first half of the match I was in awe with the speed, passing and the flow that Spurs provided on the pitch. I think Spurs went into the match with a healthy respect for their opponent. I was truly delighted in what I witnessed. I think this was one of their best matches that I have seen them play in a very long time. What I liked was the fusion of the established players along the young players of the club. Harry put together a very impressive squad.
Redknapp went with Gomes in goal, which I had a feeling he would. Give credit to Gomes he did keep a clean sheet. However, in evaluating his performance I am not convinced that he should be the starting goalkeeper. I witnessed some of the same silly and sloppy errors. However, the defense did a very good job in clearing the box of danger particularly in the first ten minutes of the second half when Hearts were really threatening.
With all the stories I have read concerning the ultimate fate of Modric. I was pleased how well the midfield performed against Hearts. Both Modric and Sandro were absent from the match due to injury. As I have stated in pervious articles I am still yet to be sold on the ability of Sandro. I firmly believe he requires more time to establish himself as a regular first team player. If Modric is to be sold to Chelsea I think the club will do just fine as displayed on Thursday night. If Spurs wanted to tell their critics that they are a dead team without Modric I think their display in Scotland would suggest otherwise. Aaron Lennon, Niko Kranjcar, Gareth Bale and Jake Livermore along with Rafael van der Vaart did a marvelous job in the midfield with Rafael van der Vaart scoring a goal within five minutes of play. Hearts did a poor job containing the Dutch midfielder further demonstrating what a great deal van der Vaart has been for the club. I really hope to see more of Jake Livermore in the regular squad. I thought he did a fantastic job along with Kranjcar in the center of the midfield. Kranjcar had been sidelined for much of last season but did remarkable well in this game and dominated the center midfield as Harry stated in the post match summary. I still think Harry plans to sell Kranjcar but he certainly helped his case for a possible future at Spurs. If nothing else Kranjcar provided an excellent display for any possible buyers. The speed and the mobility provided by Bale and Lennon were excellent with both scoring goals. The introduction of Andros Townsend shows that Spurs has a wealth of young talent, which Harry should use more often instead of loaning them out.