Sheriff vs Tottenham: A Mixed Perfromance From Spurs' Fringe Players

25/10/2013 13:00 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

It's funny how you find yourself pondering things more during Europa League matches than Premier League games and with Spurs at the moment there is plenty to consider.

That being said the question that refused to go away during Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Tottenham was: why is Sam Matterface commentating on ITV 4? How could a presenting powerhouse like the 'Matterhorn' fall so far so quickly? Now, it's been a few years since I've had Sky Sports but the most likely scenario for such a move I could come up with is that Sam touched the 'SkyPad' during a tense Deadline Day and was subsequently forced out by a furious and over protective Bryan Swanson. Other suggestions are welcomed.

Anyway, enough about that, it's exciting times for Tottenham at the moment but you wouldn't have known it if you watched them play on Thursday evening. Fielding a team which included arguably nine first choice players they played with all the style and fluidity of Chucky doing the robot (the doll not the Rugrat). Rarely did Spurs enter the final third and when they did the passing was woeful. Sure, Sheriff put men behind the ball and pressed well but there was an insistence on tapping the ball around without movement or a sense of purpose.

It was an occasion for some of Tottenham's fringe players to show what they're worth; Eriksen who started his Spurs career so brightly but has subsequently fallen out of favour was the only one to show promise. He got an assist with Tottenham's first attack and beautifully delivered a back heel through the Sheriff defence for his second assist. Unfortunately the player on the end of the pass happened to be Aaron Lennon who drilled his shot straight at the keeper.

Lennon's had the 'he's a good winger but there's no end product' label thrown at him throughout his career and he was to live up to it. His problem has always been that he lacks self confidence and is shy to have a go, which unfortunately for him is not a trait he shares with Andros Townsend. I remember watching Spurs at the Lane on another glorious Europa night two years ago where Townsend was handed a rare start. He was the epitome of a young nippy winger and endlessly ran circles round Shamrock Rovers only to turn around and do it again before even considering doing something useful. It seems as though Andros' spell at QPR has really brought him to life and who would have thought otherwise; Harry Redknapp has a proven track record at taking young wingers and turning them into world class players, just look at how he singlehandedly transformed Gareth Bale into the most expensive player in the world (well that's what he says in his book anyway).

If Lennon wants to get back into the first team he might need a little help, especially when the competition is club record signing, wonder kid Erik Lamela. Lamela himself had yet another quiet game, he's been unfortunate in that Sigurdsson has happened to find some form for the first time in a year just as he arrived but from what I've seen he's lucky that the £30 million Spurs spent on him was part of the Bale bonanza and not real Pounds Sterling.

The other two youngsters on show: Kyle Naughton and Zeki Fryers managed to bring back happy memories of decent full backs. Sadly the reminiscing was about Benoit Assou-Ekotto who despite being the best full back at the club has been forced out on loan to QPR, a bizarre decision only made more absurd when both of the aforementioned upstarts picked up injuries. As such Kyle Walker is the only recognised fit full back remaining.

Despite the unrelenting dire game there was more than just Eriksen's spark to note and for that we have to thank Vlad Chiriches who it turns out is the most casual central defender in the world. Not once but twice as the last man he nonchalantly flicked the ball over the ensuing striker only to pass the ball away wondering what all the fuss from the crowd was about. It came as quite a shock when he minutes later flew in to save Spurs' blushes with a last ditch diving block after Hugo Lloris had been rounded leaving a goal inevitable. Chiriches has only made a couple of appearances but he's looked solid throughout and is showing good, reliable qualities.

Options up front is another issue for Andre Villas Boas with neither Soldado or Defoe performing when it's required although the latter did brighten the dank occasion with a rasping shot late on. Both he and Soldado will undoubtedly feel under pressure to perform now that Adebayor is back in the squad...

Still it wasn't all bad, Andy Townsend was commentating on the Swansea match.