5 talking points from Tottenham’s 5-0 EFL Cup victory over Gillingham
22:00 21 September 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Tottenham thrashed League One outfit Gillingham 5-0 at White Hart Lane in the third round of the EFL Cup, with Christian Eriksen scoring twice, Vincent Janssen and Josh Onomah hitting their first goals for the club and Erik Lamela also registering. Here are five talking points.
1. Kevin Wimmer’s return from exile
The Austria international impressed when deputising for Jan Vertonghen last season and represented his country at Euro 2016 during the summer. But he has suddenly and surprisingly fallen out of favour at the start of this season, finding himself below 18-year-old Cameron Carter-Vickers in Mauricio Pochettino’s pecking order. This was his first appearance of the season in Tottenham’s matchday squad, let alone on the pitch.
Wimmer’s return to action has allayed some of the conspiracy theories and suggestions of a falling-out with his manager - he is clearly fit and available. However, his prospects have not necessarily improved after this comfortable run-out. After all, Federico Fazio’s one and only game for Spurs last season came in this game – the third round of the League Cup.
2. Vincent Janssen opens his account
The spotlight has fallen on the Dutchman rather earlier than everyone planned after Harry Kane’s injury – can he step up and fill the gap left by last season’s Premier League golden boot-winner?
It is a big challenge and Janssen seemed to recognise the importance of a good start and a confidence-boosting first goal against Gillingham tonight.
He was frustrated on a number of occasions in the first half, missing the target with a few attempts and at one stage rounding the goalkeeper but seeing his shot blocked on the line by a defender.
In the end Janssen was gifted his all-important entry on the scoresheet in the 51st minute as Kieran Trippier won a penalty. He seized the ball and slotted home confidently – and that was not the extent of his contribution by any means.
The Spurs striker also helped to create opportunities for his team-mates, leading the line effectively, holding the ball up strongly, running the channels dilligently and linking up cleverly with those around him. Indeed, he was he who set up Lamela’s goal in the second half.
3. Harry Winks is coming of age
The 20-year-old got his first full start for Spurs and impressively took control in central midfield, orchestrating quick passing moves and keeping the home side on the front foot.
His senior team-mates – international players such as Eriksen and Lamela - clearly trust him and are happy to give him the ball, which speaks volumes.
Winks’ partnership with Tom Carroll looked a little lightweight when the line-up was announced, but they were never really tested defensively and were able to focus on their strengths – keeping the ball moving and creating chances for those ahead of them.
4. Four debutants
Carter-Vickers was named in the starting line-up, making his first appearance for the club, and substitutes Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Marcus Edwards and Anton Walkes then followed suit in the second half.
Carter-Vickers looked comfortable at the back, winning his early headers and looking physically strong in the tackle. This proved to be a very gentle introduction against a League One side who offered very little as an attacking force, and much sterner tests like ahead, but this was a confident start to life in Spurs’ back line.
Nkoudou looked lively on the left flank, while Edwards – who was compared to a young Lionel Messi by Pochettino this week - saw a shot tipped over by Stuart Nelson while Walkes had a solid cameo appearance at left-back for the final 10 minutes.
5. Eriksen and Lamela put on a show
While much of the focus was on Tottenham’s youngsters, Gillingham had the huge misfortune of facing both Eriksen and Lamela, who enjoyed themselves immensely and did most of the damage.
Eriksen broke the deadlock with a swerving 30-yard strike and then made it 2-0 early in the second half – set up by Lamela, also laid on Onomah’s goal before deservedly finding the net himself.
Pochettino has always said that it is important to find the right balance between youth and experience and, while Eriksen and Lamela are only 24 themselves, they led by example and produced the goods as Tottenham cruised into the fourth round.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs