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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Kenilworth Road

Ten-man Spurs inch to the top of the table - after surviving Luton scare


Luton Town (0) 0

Tottenham (0) 1 van de Ven 53


It is way too early to get carried away with league tables, but Spurs fans won't mind the current read-outs one bit.


They did just enough - despite a dramatic fall-off in standards from recent weeks and the loss of Yves Bissouma to a red card just before the break.


A strike early in the second half from Micky van de Ven did the job in this lunchtime assignment.


With Arsenal and leaders Man City not meeting until tomorrow, they can enjoy their status for at least a day - as well as the satisfaction of knowing they remain unbeaten going into the latest international break.


Spurs seemed determined to make heavy weather of what should have been a much easier challenge after the drama of those big clashes against Arsenal and Liverpool on successive weekends.


And having started out by peppering the Luton goal and carving out some clear openings early on, they succumbed to the Hatters' expert chaos technique of inducing broken play by disrupting the flow with strategic fouls and sheer gutsy in-your-face effort.


The game became progressively dishevelled and Ange Postecoglou's men started to feel the burn. Even more so on the stroke of half-time when they lost Bissouma - red carded after picking up a second yellow for taking a dive in a bid to win a free-kick just outside the Luton box.


Spurs rejigged at the break, with Richarlison - who missed a great chance in the opening minutes from close range - hooked in favour of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the 10 men went ahead soon after the restart when James Maddison got the better of Alfie Doughty to wriggle to the byline and pull back for Van de Ven to sidefoot home.


It was still far from plain-sailing. Spurs were grateful that Elijah Adebayo skewed wide with the goal at his mercy and that Guglielmo Vicario proved equal to a Carlton Morris stinger. Jacob Brown also headed miles over when he should have done better.


Pedro Porro could have made the game safe with a fine curling effort with the outside of his right boot - the ball sailing inches wide - but for Spurs, the strain remained, with Hojbjerg cautioned for stopping the lively Chiedozie Ogbene from getting away down the attacking side's right flank.


There were a few more corners and lofted balls to deal with before the end but Spurs held on for the points - their unspectacular day's work done.


Hatters: (3-4-2-1) Kaminski - Burke, Lockyer (Barkley 81), Andersen (Mengi 59) - Brown (Berry 66), Mpanzu (Chong 67), Nakamba, Doughty - Adebayo (Woodrow 67), Ogbene - Morris


Spurs: (4-2-3-1) Vicario - Porro, Romero, van de Ven, Udogie (Davies 82) - Sarr, Bissouma - Kulusevski (Veliz 90+2), Maddison (Skipp 76), Richarlison (Hojbjerg h/t) - Son (Emerson Royal 76)


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