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Gylfi Sigurdsson bagged a brace as Tottenham Hotspur produced an impressive performance to beat Norwich City 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
The Iceland midfielder netted one either side of half-time, but the scoreline could have been greater such was the hosts' control of the game. Spurs created numerous chances, with new signings Christian Eriksen and Paulinho particularly impressive.
Norwich were without Ryan Bennett (knee) and long-term absentee Elliot Bennett, but close-season signing Gary Hooper, still awaiting his debut due to a shin injury, made the bench. Andre Villas Boas, meanwhile, handed a debut to Eriksen and named club-record signing Erik Lamela among his substitutes. Emmanuel Adebayor, Etienne Capoue and Aaron Lennon all missed out through injury.
Spurs started the match quickly, creating two chances within the first four minutes as they went on the front foot. The hosts were yet to score from open play this season but first Sigurdsson and then Andros Townsend almost rectified this, both missing the target with shots from just outside the area.
Eriksen then had a good chance, jinking inside from the right and shooting low to draw a good save from John Ruddy. Roberto Soldado's audacious back-heel from the rebound was saved by a combination of defender Sebastien Bassong and a post. Ex-Spurs defender Bassong again came to Norwich's rescue minutes later. Mousa Dembele took out two defenders with a feint and cut-back to Soldado, but the Cameroon international blocked his goal-bound effort.
A Spurs goal came in the 28th minute when Eriksen laid the ball into Sigurdsson's path as he burst into the area and the former Hoffenheim man finished coolly past Ruddy.
Norwich had not been in the game, but they had a half-chance 34 minutes in through Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The Dutchman met Nathan Redmond's left-wing cross but was thwarted by a last-ditch Danny Rose tackle. Rose was involved at the other end shortly before the interval, but his first-time strike at the back post soared well over.
Spurs picked up where they left off after half-time and were soon 2-0 up. Paulinho’s low cross from the right evaded Ruddy’s dive, presenting Sigurdsson with an open goal. The midfielder came close to getting his hat-trick on the hour mark, but Ruddy was equal to his rasping 20-yard drive.
Norwich were under concerted Spurs pressure and Michael Turner made a fantastic intervention to deflect Townsend’s right-wing cross over the bar to prevent a third, with Soldado lurking behind him. Chris Hughton’s side had a chance on 68 minutes, the ball breaking to Van Wolfswinkel in the area, but Rose foiled the former Sporting Lisbon striker with a good block.
Eriksen made way for Lewis Holtby in the 71st minute, bringing a standing ovation from the White Hart Lane crowd in appreciation of an impressive debut from the ex-Ajax playmaker.
Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas: "Sigurdsson is a big fighter in this squad, always hoping for his opportunity to arrive. When it does arrive, he puts on performances like this. It was the same for him last season, in February and March. We saw his best level today."
"Eriksen already has so much experience from Ajax, he really linked the game well for us in the final third today. It's easy for him to find his passes when his quality is so good. The second goal early in the second half gave us immense tranquillity. I think we played really well, and created great moments of football."
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "It was a real tough day for us. We came up against a Tottenham side with the quality they've got. Not only on the pitch but the choices they've got off the bench as well. We tried to stay in the game and up the energy in the second-half which I think we did but in the first half, it was tough for us with the movement they've got."
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