Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Sevilla: honors even in a fierce friendly

Tottenham Hotspur’s first pre-season friendly in Korea was a thrilling affair with goals galore, a 6-3 win for Spurs against a K-League star side. Their second game, at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, was completely different. Spurs faced a Sevilla side (with Erik Lamela!) who seemed to see this less as a friendly and more as a warm-up for a potential Champions League game this coming season. Ivan Rakitic’s powerful goal for Sevilla canceled out an earlier strike from Harry Kane (who had another called up for offside) as Tottenham drew 1-1 with Sevilla.

Ben Davies was substituted as a precaution in his first game of the pre-season after landing awkwardly on his ankle, and we also got significant second-half minutes from Dejan Kulusevski. Yves Bissouma and Fraser Forster again missed the game due to positive COVID tests; they will return to England on Tuesday, after the rest of the squad.

Here are my reactions to the game.

First half reactions

  • Dive kits still suck (but they didn’t look so bad in the field)
  • So compare that with the K-League game and it was a lot less “friendly” of a competition. Lots of tough tackles, and Richarlison paid the price. He was down at least four times in the first ten minutes. Sevilla were playing very aggressively for what is supposed to be a training and fitness game and it seemed to take Spurs by surprise at first.
  • Son definitely caught Montiel with a bloody first-half elbow, but it wasn’t 100% on Son, and the contact seemed incidental. There was apparently a fight outside the tunnel after the half-time whistle which was broken up by new best friends Romero and Richarlison.
  • It was our first chance to see Richarlison in the strike group with Son and Kane. I was worried about how/if Richy would bond with the other two, but he seemed to be doing his best to do so. The mind meld isn’t here yet, but there were promising signs.
  • So um let’s talk about Lucas at RWB. As much as we at Carty Free Towers appreciate Antonio Conte converting an attacking player into a winger, Lucas had an odd one. Some good moves and some decent crosses going forward, and seemed to link up well with Richarlison, but those attacking instincts worked against him at times. Even so, it sounded like he had worked on The Patterns™. I wonder if we’ll see him more there, despite Djed Spence, especially in situations where Spurs need to chase a game.
  • Harry Kane had a goal called up, correctly, for offside in this one, but it was one hell of a shot – a powerful, low shot into the bottom corner. Vintage Kane. If he keeps looking for those shots, he will have a lot of goals this season.
  • It’s the start of pre-season, so don’t think about it too much, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had a nightmare in the first half. ‘General Ho’ had a few gifts and hospital passes that gave Sevilla chances.

Second half reactions

  • I thought Skippy played pretty well in the first half, but Bentancur was a big improvement over Skipp when he came on in the second half. He had the game-starting turnover for Kane’s second-half goal, and put a crisp (and clean!) tackle into the Spurs box that surely saved a goal. Really a good change. I’m desperately curious what Conte will do with this performance going forward and who he will prefer in his first-choice XI, given that we haven’t seen Bissouma yet.
  • The story of the second half was Sevilla’s high pressure against Tottenham’s insistence on playing at the back. Often Tottenham could force their way through Sevilla’s press, but sometimes they didn’t, and one of the times they didn’t lead to Rakitic’s equaliser. A goddamn goal from Rakitic, though.
  • Probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the replacement of Tottenham’s top defender (Romero) with Tanganga has made Spurs’ back line a little more slippery. I think Tanganga will probably be loaned out.
  • Unsurprisingly, there was a noticeable drop in intensity once Spurs made big subs and brought in Parrott, Sarr and Gil. This is not a criticism, just an observation.
  • Davies’ injury and replacement looked bad, but he was doing well. Probably just Spurs being super cautious (and undoubtedly the right choice in pre-season).
  • I have to say I was quite impressed with Pape Matar Sarr today during his 20 minute under-appearance. Fairly composed, showed well for the ball. I think there’s something there, but I don’t know if it’s enough for Conte to keep him at Tottenham this season.
  • It’s no surprise that Tottenham failed to step on Sevilla in a pre-season international friendly. They are good, and they are a Champions League team! Spurs can’t draw them as they’re both in Pot 2, but could face them in knockouts. A good warm-up against a side that like to press, a taste of what they’re likely to see against the Premier League’s top sides.
  • Spurs’ tour of Korea looked super fun. It was nice to follow them on their Korean adventures. Next stop: Scotland, and a game against Rangers at Ibrox on July 23.
  • Build the Lamela statue.

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