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Son growing in stature for Spurs


Transfer Rater: Alderweireld to Man United

 By Ben Pearce

Llorente, Lucas, Son all get 9/10 in snowy FA Cup win at Wembley

The ESPN FC boys debate what went right and what went wrong with VAR in the FA Cup replay between Tottenham and Rochdale.
Fernando Llorente's second-half hat trick propelled Tottenham past Rochdale and into the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Tottenham had to overcome freezing conditions and a series of controversial decisions at Wembley before eventually strolling into the FA Cup quarterfinals.

An early strike was ruled out by the video assistant referee on questionable grounds. And, when the VAR made amends by upgrading a free kick to a penalty, Son Heung-Min's successful spot-kick was also chalked off because of a pause in his run-up.

Spurs were 1-0 up at that point, thanks to Son, but insult was added to injury as Rochdale equalised. The north Londoners composed themselves, however, and ran away with the game in the second half.

Fernando Llorente hit a quickfire hat trick and Son doubled his tally, while youngster Kyle Walker-Peters scored his first goal for the club in a 6-1 rout.


Tottenham have real competition between their attacking midfielders. With Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli watching from the bench, Son, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura all gave Rochdale a torrid time.

Llorente's treble should give him much-needed confidence and Kieran Trippier maintained his fine form, while academy graduate Walker-Peters' strike was a nice moment.

Spurs will fancy their chances of beating Swansea in the quarterfinal too.


This was not a good advert for VAR -- the system caused more confusion and controversy than it solved.

Perhaps Llorente did commit a foul when Spurs first put the ball in the net, but it is debatable. The original call to let the goal stand was hardly a "clear and obvious error" -- which is when VAR is meant to be employed. Fans were left confused and frustrated as a number of decisions were reviewed, and five minutes had to be added to the first half because of the stoppages.

Meanwhile, Danny Rose and Harry Winks looked little better than in the original tie at Rochdale.

Manager rating out of 10

8 - Mauricio Pochettino rightly took the chance to rest his top men and show his faith in his second-string players, and he was rewarded with a high-scoring victory.

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

GK Michel Vorm, 6 -- Couldn't do much about the goal but should have cleared his lines quicker just before Rochdale hit the post, nearly taking the lead.

DF Kieran Trippier, 8 -- Played a good pass between the lines to Lamela in the build-up to the opening goal and won the penalty that was chalked off. The right-back was involved in the fourth goal too, freeing Moussa Sissoko on the overlap, while creating other chances throughout.

DF Juan Foyth, 6 -- Played some neat passes into midfield but looked vulnerable in the first half and needed help on a few occasions.

DF Eric Dier, 6 -- Wasn't as secure as against Crystal Palace, but he was in an unfamiliar position as the left-sided centre-back, and there was a lack of midfield protection at times.

DF Danny Rose, 5 -- Very quiet and looked to be trying to force the issue when he did get up field. Trippier was far more involved on the other flank.

MF Harry Winks, 5 -- His passing was inconsistent and he lost some physical battles too. The upshot was that Sissoko had to take on greater responsibility in possession, and Spurs looked weak in central midfield in the first half.

Fernando Llorente scored a hat trick for Tottenham in their FA Cup win against Rochdale.

MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Struggled to become the deep-lying playmaker that Spurs needed, often taking too many touches rather than passing the ball quickly, and a heavy touch on the right flank drew familiar groans. But he covered plenty of ground and was involved in the hosts' fourth goal after overlapping down the right.

MF Lucas Moura, 9 -- Set up two of Llorente's goals and also played in Lamela when the Argentinian gifted Son his second strike. The Brazilian had a penalty appeal turned down too.

MF Erik Lamela, 9 -- Excelled in the No. 10 role, setting up both of Son's goals, playing a key part in Llorente's first and having one of his own dubiously disallowed by VAR, while hitting the post with a free kick.

MF Son Heung-Min, 9 -- Scored twice, set up Llorente's header and played a key role in another goal, threading a through ball to Lucas when the Brazilian laid on Llorente's third strike. He may need to rethink his penalty routine though as his pause was deemed illegal and resulted in a booking.

FW Fernando Llorente, 9 -- After two months of wayward finishing, the Spaniard scored three times in 12 minutes here. His last two goals were laid on a plate but the first was well-taken as he ran in behind the defence and chipped the ball over Josh Lillis.


MF Mousa Dembele, 7 -- Replaced Winks and simply had fun in the snow, showing off his ability to waltz past players when the game was already won.

MF Dele Alli, NR -- Overcomplicated a good goalscoring opportunity but set up Walker-Peters' strike with a well-disguised pass.

DF Kyle Walker-Peters, NR -- Scored his first Tottenham goal after a one-two with Alli.

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


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