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Transfer Rater: Martial to Juventus

Football Whispers
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Transfer Rater: Hector Herrera to Tottenham

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Transfer Rater: De Jong and Diawara to Tottenham

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 By Ben Pearce

Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Fernando Llorente lead Spurs to wet victory

It certainly wasn't pretty but Tottenham came through the storm and got the job done, banking all three points in terrible conditions at the Liberty Stadium.

In the first half, the swirling wind and torrential rain made attractive football virtually impossible, levelling the playing field against the league's bottom team. But Spurs nonetheless grabbed an early and valuable lead as Fernando Llorente headed home against his old club.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were given a few scares in the second period but survived, and Dele Alli eventually put them out of sight in the 88th minute.

Positives

Spurs have struggled to find a reliable backup striker in recent years, but this was Llorente's second goal in two starts. With Alli also scoring for the second game in a row, the north Londoners showed they can cope without Harry Kane, who spent the first 68 minutes on the bench -- even if it was Kane who coolly set up Alli's late strike.

At the other end of the pitch, Tottenham kept their third clean sheet in five matches, while Victor Wanyama made a welcome return as a substitute. This was also Spurs' third consecutive victory, which took them up to fifth place in the table. The sense of confidence and momentum is only increasing ahead of Thursday's London derby against West Ham at Wembley

Negatives

Danny Rose missed the match due to a knee problem, the same knee he injured last January that sidelined him until October. That is a worry.

Erik Lamela was out of action for even longer (13 months, in fact) and Spurs fans are willing him to return to his best, but he had a disappointing outing Tuesday. In fairness, he was not the only one, and the conditions made intricate build-up play virtually impossible in the first half.

Indeed, Spurs' travelling supporters at times might have questioned their decision to make the journey, sitting in the rain and watching an ugly first-half scrap on a sodden pitch, even if they departed celebrating another victory.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Mauricio Pochettino's decision to rest Kane and trust Llorente was quickly justified, and he was quite right to withdraw Davinson Sanchez before the hour mark just after he had escaped a second booking for hacking down Martin Olsson.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Made a smart stop from Luciano Narsingh at his near post but was then indebted to Ben Davies, who stopped a certain goal when Jordan Ayew rounded Lloris.

DF Kieran Trippier, 6 -- Delivered an enticing low ball early on but otherwise struggled with the conditions, playing a few loose passes and losing his footing. Still played his part in a clean sheet.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 -- Defended strongly in the first half, keeping his eye on the ball in the swirling winds. But after a first-half booking, the Colombia international was fortunate not to get a yellow card in the second half, and was withdrawn for his own safety in the 59th minute.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 8 -- Calmness personified at the heart of the storm and kept trying to play out from the back as usual.

DF Ben Davies, 6 -- Struggled to make an impact going forward and was beaten for pace by substitute Narsingh on a few occasions in the second half. But the Wales international also made some important blocks and last-ditch tackles, most notably when Ayew went round Lloris.

Fernando Llorente started the scoring against his old side with a goal in the 12th minute.

MF Eric Dier, 8 -- Helped Spurs win the midfield battle and then defended well after replacing Sanchez at the heart of the rearguard, positioning himself intelligently and making an important late header under pressure on a corner.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Dropped into a deeper role than usual alongside Dier, but it was his set pieces which were most effective. His free kick set up Llorente's early opener, and the Denmark international also tested Lukasz Fabianski in the second half.

MF Erik Lamela, 4 -- Largely anonymous and looked out of sync with Trippier on the right-hand side.

MF Dele Alli, 7 -- Worked hard, trying to make things happen in frustrating conditions, and got his reward late as he scored for the second successive match.

MF Heung-Min Son, 5 -- Sent a side-footed volley narrowly wide and could have been awarded a penalty in the closing stages, but otherwise this was a quiet outing.

FW Fernando Llorente, 7 -- Gave Spurs the early breakthrough, even if he was offside, and produced some other neat touches with his back to goal.

Substitutes

MF Victor Wanyama, 6 -- Made his return after four and a half months out injured. And although Swansea's threat seemed to grow, he made some useful challenges and clearances.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Set up Alli's late goal with a superb cross-field pass.

MF Moussa Sissoko, N/A -- Replaced Lamela to help the visitors see out the final 13 minutes.

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.

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