Eriksen shines as Spurs cruise
The post Gareth Bale era at Tottenham started with a bang as Christian Eriksen dazzled on his debut in an easy 2-0 win over Norwich.
Although it was common knowledge that Bale was off to Madrid this summer, this was the first game Spurs had played since the Welshman signed for the Spanish giants, and there were plenty of questions for Andre Villas-Boas' men to answer.
After not scoring from open play in their first three games - the last one a painful loss at Arsenal - there were worries that Tottenham lacked creativity and a killer instinct in front of goal.
Those questions were well and truly answered at White Hart Lane this afternoon as Eriksen put on a skilful and dynamic display in his first game in the white shirt of Spurs.
Eriksen had a part to play in the two goals - both of them scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson - and the Dane slotted perfectly in to the side even though he has just had three training sessions with his new team-mates following his B#11.5million move from Ajax.
Andros Townsend also showed Bale-esque qualities down the flank, cutting in to test John Ruddy, while there was also an industrious display from Danny Rose at left-back.
So after registering three wins in four matches, the season seems to be shaping up well for Villas-Boas despite the loss of Bale.
Bale's importance to Tottenham was underlined prior to kick-off when the big screen at White Hart Lane showed replays of the Welshman's stunning strikes against the Canaries over the last two seasons.
But Townsend, the man many have looked to as a natural replacement for Bale, started off with a performance that the Real Madrid star would have been proud of.
The winger cut in off the right wing and shimmied past a defender before cracking a low drive just wide.
Spurs dominated the opening quarter, but they were restricted to long shots as the Canaries defence stood strong.
The home side soon began to unlock the Norwich back line, though, and Eriksen was at the centre of it all.
The Dane picked the ball up off Rose and twisted and turned past two Norwich defenders before firing in a low shot, which Ruddy spilled. Roberto Soldado backheeled the loose ball towards goal, but the woodwork denied the Spaniard what would have been a special goal.
Eriksen's corner then fell into the path of Mousa Dembele, who turned Johnson inside out to find Soldado, but the Spaniard was denied again - this time by the out-stretched leg of Sebastien Bassong.
A few minutes later Spurs were ahead thanks to a wonderful team goal. Danny Rose picked up the ball of Dembele and squared the ball to Eriksen who fed Sigurdsson in and he slotted the ball beyond Ruddy.
Tottenham's first goal from open play in 297 minutes gave the atmosphere a big lift inside White Hart Lane and the hosts went for the kill.
Steven Whittaker and Javier Garrido had no answer to the pace of Rose and Townsend as Tottenham piled on the pressure down the flanks.
Rose whipped in a dangerous cross that Norwich just cleared before Soldado could head in.
Townsend, Eriksen and Rose all wasted chances just before the break.
Villas-Boas became angry at his team's failure to add a second, and they almost paid for their profligacy when Jan Vertonghen lost his footing in his own box while tracking Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. Luckily for Spurs, Rose put a foot in to deny the Dutchman.
The home crowd only had to wait three minutes after the restart for Tottenham to double their lead.
Eriksen picked the ball up in the centre and fed Paulinho, who fired a low ball through Ruddy's hands to the back post where the unmarked Sigurdsson tapped in.
Tottenham were playing with the same attacking fluency and verve that they had with Bale in their side last season.
The passing was slick and the skills on display from the likes of Eriksen and Townsend were mind-boggling at times.
Sigurdsson stung Ruddy's palms with a 30-yard drive and Townsend and Rose also went close to making it 3-0.
Van Wolfswinkel was presented with a great chance to pull one back when he seized upon a loose ball in the box but Rose put in a crunch tackle to deny the Dutchman.
Eriksen and Sigurdsson received standing ovations when they came off and Lamela also had a warm welcome when he was introduced late on.
Hugo Lloris was lucky to escape with just a yellow card when he punched the ball marginally outside his own area with five minutes left.