Righteous Spurs Fans, Get A Grip: Vertonghen Was Right To Dive
Did Dnipro’s Roman Zozulya stick the nut on Jan Vertonghen? Yes. Was it a red card offence? Yes. Would the bloke have been sent off if Jan hadn’t thrown himself to the ground? No. So did Jan do the right thing in throwing himself to the ground? Yes. No further questions your honour.
Twitter was awash with morally indignant Spurs fans last night expressing embarrassment at Vertonghen’s (over)reaction but without it Dnipro would surely have knocked Spurs out the cup. Despite his demented protestations, Zozulya got what he deserved even if the rest of his team and his unfortunate manager didn’t.
Tim Sherwood didn’t really deserve it either and while begrudging him the result would be perverse, the uninspired first half was just more of the same from a team that was once again sent out misshapen and creatively lackluster. At least he’d picked Christian Eriksen for the first time in weeks albeit out of position on the left and it was inevitably the Dane, in tandem with the excellent Adebayor, who was the architect of Spurs’ remarkable recovery from two nil down to three two up. Also worthy of mention was the returning Sandro who stamped his authority on the midfield battle zone before being withdrawn in the second half. A midfield trio comprising the artistry of Eriksen and the ferocity of Sandro plus Paulinho or Dembele is an enticing prospect although whether Sherwood sees that seems doubtful.
In contrast Townsend and Soldado were largely disappointing but the former will have been buoyed by his England call up and just needs some games to get back up to speed while the luckless Spaniard saw a crisp and precise second half finish chalked off for offside. If it had stood, it might have been the confidence boost he’s been crying out for.
Spurs were so poor in the preceding two games that some fans had begun to wonder whether there was enough collective spirit left in the side to achieve anything other than the same old end of season disappointment, but the recovery here - even if it was sparked by a huge slice of luck - suggested that there may be life in them yet. Barring a miracle, fourth place in the League is now out of reach but it would very like Tottenham to go and be the last team ever to lift the Europa League trophy without getting automatic qualification to the Champions League. That little add-on comes into effect next season.
We’d take it though wouldn’t we?