This could have been an absolutely brutal stretch for Tottenham Hotspur, after suffering January injuries to two of their top players in Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Instead, Spurs have gone undefeated and undrawn in their past four Premier League games, and on Wednesday in the home leg of their Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund, they put a whupping on on the also injury-hampered German squad, winning 3-0 on a trio second-half goals.
Each of the scores came on picture-perfect crosses that found their targets right in front of the net. The first, almost immediately after halftime ended, came off the foot of Jan Vertonghen. The central defender, playing out of position as a left wing back with Danny Rose not fit, found Son Heung-min wide open from six yards out for an easy goal. Son, who’s had to shoulder the major share of the scoring load with Kane and Dele out, has now picked up a goal in each of Tottenham’s last four games.
And Vertonghen, of all people, earned himself a nice thank-you for his assist on Son’s goal with this fantastic ball from Serge Aurier, who got it to the newly discovered offensive weapon behind the Dortmund line at point-blank range to create a beautiful left-foot finish. Vertonghen’s goal was only his fifth in 200 games as a Spurs player.
And it was the substitute striker Fernando Llorente, who often causes more frustration than excitement, who put the icing on top just a few minutes later. On a corner from Christian Eriksen, Llorente got just the right touch on the ball with his head only a few feet from the goal line, burying Dortmund and sealing a special night at Wembley.
Tottenham’s lead after the first leg may not be quite insurmountable—and neither is their nine-point cushion for third place in the EPL table—but with nine days until their next match in any competition, this brilliant result helps gives the squad a well-deserved opportunity to relax for a while. These past few weeks might have proved murderous for a Spurs group not known for its depth, but instead, it’s their rivals who are imploding, not them. The return of their stars may be imminent, but so far, Tottenham hasn’t needed them in order to keep winning.