Tottenham bounced back from their midweek Champions League disappointment to earn a hard-fought 1-0 win against Cardiff.
Eric Dier proved to be the match-winner, scoring in the eighth minute to record Spurs’ sixth league win of the season in a game that saw Joe Ralls sent off for a cynical lunge on Lucas Moura just before the hour mark.
In what was the final fixture for both sides ahead of the international break, here are three things we learned following the game at Wembley.
1. Tottenham Need to Be More Clinical
Despite not having Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli available for the game, among a host of other first team regulars, Mauricio Pochettino was able to select a side containing the attacking talents of Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, although Tottenham were wasteful.
The aforementioned trio however failed to convert a host of chances, along with the rest of the team, that would’ve made their afternoon at Wembley a lot more comfortable, and even had 30 minutes to play against a ten-man Cardiff side following the red card.
Although Spurs were able to claim all three points, Pochettino will want his side to be more clinical in future, as a team with more attacking impetus than Cardiff would’ve punished them.
2. Cardiff Lacking Premier League Quality
While Cardiff’s effort can’t be questioned, Neil Warnock’s side didn’t have the quality to take anything from the game at Wembley.
The Welsh side had two glorious opportunities to score in each half, but were denied by Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris respectively, although barring those chances that stemmed from a direct approach, they weren’t able to truly trouble Tottenham.
Cardiff are without a win all season, and it could be a long campaign for the newly promoted side if their struggles persist.
3. Keeping Toby Alderweireld Is a Must
Toby Alderweirld‘s future at Tottenham has been well documented – with his contract set to expire at the end of this season – although his performance against Cardiff proved how important it is that Spurs keep hold of him.
The Belgium international was the best player on the pitch, as the 29-year-old showcased his defence capabilities with a brilliant clearance off the line to deny Josh Murphy in the first half, although the centre back impressed in so many situations.
Comfortable on the ball as well as in the air, Alderweireld was a reassuring factor in Tottenham’s defence, proving why he’s the club’s best defender.