Nacer Chadli and Eric Dier lead Tottenham into the FA Cup fifth round
Spurs are on their way to Wembley. Well, they're a step closer after progressing to the fifth round of the FA Cup with an easy 4-1 win away to Colchester. A giant-killing upset was never really on the cards from a team lying bottom of League One but Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino took no chances and fielded an almost full-strength side.
After a casual, almost sleepy start Spurs gradually cranked up the pressure and deservedly went ahead through a clean strike from the in-form Nacer Chadli. Thereafter they had several chances to put the game to bed before the interval but lacked both the enthusiasm and the clinical professionalism to do so.
Erik Lamela should have done better when put through by Harry Kane early in the second half and thereafter, for a while, the home side looked more likely to score. The tie was only really settled when Eric Dier's long-range deflected shot found its way into the net midway through the second half.
Chadli picked up his second soon after from a near-post header before Ben Davies gave Colchester a consolation own goal, only for Tom Carroll to add Spurs' fourth almost immediately.
The cup run continues. Spurs rarely got above 80 per cent of their normal work-rate; there again, they didn't need to.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Michel Vorm, 7 -- At last beginning to show some signs of confidence. He wasn't called upon to make any save of note but generally looked in command of his area.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- With little attacking threat to deal with, Trippier had the freedom to indulge his attacking instincts. Delivered some good balls in from the right and looked the sharpest he's been since moving from Burnley.
DF Eric Dier, 8 -- Forced into the centre of defence as a result of Jan Vertonghen's injury, Dier looked a great deal more at home than he had done before Pochettino turned him into a defensive midfielder. Capped a fine display with a deflected long-range goal.
DF Kevin Wimmer, 7 -- A lot was expected of the Austrian defender as he is likely to feature in Pochettino's starting line-up for at least the next two months and he reassured any doubters. Confident on the ball, vocal off it.
DF Ben Davies, 6 -- Not one of his better games. Although he was not that troubled in defence, his passing was often imprecise and predictable. His day was summed up with a late own goal.
MF Tom Carroll, 7 -- Rounded off a good all-round performance by bundling in the fourth goal from close range after excellent work from Chadli. Carroll is becoming more assured but has yet to really impose himself on the midfield.
MF Nabil Bentaleb, 7 -- It's always a good sign in a defensive midfielder when his performance goes largely unnoticed. Brought strength to the middle and tidied up most unforced errors.
MF Nacer Chadli, 8 -- Man of the match. With four goals recently the Belgian has completely rediscovered his mojo and Tottenham look all the better for it as their attacking options have opened up considerably. But for the crossbar, he would have had a hat trick.
MF Erik Lamela, 6 -- A couple of testing long-range strikes apart, the Argentine had another disappointing game. Although he works hard in defence his lack of pace is a genuine drawback as any break in which he is involved is usually contained.
MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- A continuing concern. Another in-out game in which, for long periods, he appeared to have lost interest. There's no doubting his talent but he's missing the edge he had last season.
FW Harry Kane, 7 -- A rare game with no goals but the England striker demonstrated there is more to his game than just finding the net. He held the ball up superbly, brushed past defenders and created several chances that should have been taken by others.
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MF Mousa Dembele, 7 -- The Belgian midfielder has finally become a crowd favourite and Spurs looked a great deal more secure when he replaced Lamela early in the second half.
FW Heung-Min Son, 6 -- He was as industrious as ever though his touch and timing were awry. Created problems for the Colchester defence but no clear-cut chances.
FW Josh Onomah, NR -- A late replacement for Eriksen, he had little chance to make an impact as both sets of players ran down the clock with the game as good as over.
John Crace is a columnist and feature writer for The Guardian. He is also a THFC season-ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.