Harry Kane scored from the spot in his 400th appearance for the club before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg netted the winner in what was a dominating second-half spell from the home side.
It was the second consecutive game in which Matt Doherty started at right wing-back in the absence of the suspended Emerson Royal and the 30-year-old defender may have just fired his biggest statement yet in his bid to win starting honours.
In what was described as a “very astute” and “confident” performance by SportsJOE, the Irishman put in a display to remember on the right flank. He was frequently involved in the play, registering the fifth-most touches of the ball (76) and 51 accurate passes – a better rate than his wing-back counterpart Ivan Perisic and even Hojbjerg in midfield.
Also via SofaScore, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man – who cost around £15m in the summer of 2020 – registered two shots, one of which being on target and led to the penalty being won. Furthermore, Doherty put in two tackles and won six duels, both on the ground and in the air.
If we’re talking about what’s expected of a wing-back in Conte’s system, then this display pretty much epitomised it. He got forward to contribute in and around the penalty box but also did his defensive duties some justice, too.
Between him and Emerson, there is surely no debate to be had any more as the Irishman looks to have won that spot after catching the eye in back-to-back outings.
Doherty was lauded as “immense” by Gallows drummer and season-ticket holder Lee Barratt, whilst football.london’s Alasdair Gold waxed lyrical about his performance in his post-match column: ‘Much improved as the game wore on with plenty of runs forward, winning free-kicks and earning yellow cards for Everton players. Was involved in most things Spurs did well in the second half.’
After being withdrawn with mere injury time left on the clock, the energetic wing-back was greeted with a massive hug from his manager, who after the game was buzzing with what he saw. He told reporters (via Gold):
“I’m really happy for Matthew. He played a good game against Brighton but today he was better. He was good against Brighton but today I saw Matt Doherty of last season. I said to him ‘now finally you are the player I know!’.”
The £65k-per-week dynamo has certainly staked his claim to be the right wing-back starter for the foreseeable future.
He has one more crack at it against Manchester United in midweek before Emerson returns and if he performs as good as that again, then it’s hard to see the Brazilian breaking back into the side because Doherty has just made one hell of a statement to Conte.