Tottenham Hotspur

Anatomy of a goal: Tanguy Ndombele's looping lob against Sheffield United

Jude Summerfield
Jan 18, 2021, 2:00 PM GMT
Ndombele lobbed Aaron Ramsdale for Tottenham's third on Sunday
Ndombele lobbed Aaron Ramsdale for Tottenham's third on Sunday | MIKE EGERTON/Getty Images

We've been telling you he's good for months now, haven't we?

But no. If there are no goals or assists to be seen, or if the xG is down, a footballer can't be good.

You all laughed at us. Well, are you convinced now? Are you not entertained?

Yes, perhaps a game against the worst team in the Premier League is not the stage for a player to convince the masses of their true pedigree. But Tanguy Ndombele is truly a blockbuster footballer - everything he does excites Tottenham fans, be it his dribbling ability, passing range, or the odd goal.

He's capable of the spectacular, which was most evident during Tottenham's 3-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Spurs had just seen their lead cut in half by David McGoldrick after Serge Aurier and Harry Kane had put them two goals up. What was supposed to be a straightforward win started to feel nightmarishly similar to results that have plagued their season thus far.

Thankfully, they darted straight back into United's half of Bramall Lane with attacking purpose. Steven Bergwijn popped up centrally and passed to Ndombele. The Frenchman popped the ball back to the Dutch winger, with Blades defender Chris Basham horribly out of position after charging forward to close down the danger.

Ndombele drifted into the vacant space and was picked out by Bergwijn's lob, though really, while the ball was cute, there didn't seem to be too much on. The best case outcome would be Ndombele bringing the ball back to a central position to pick out one of the runners in the middle. There wouldn't be much cause for attempting an outside of the boot lob, as you could try it 100 times in training and not get it right once.

But Ndombele is Tottenham's Mr worldwide; a lot of the team is built to produce a result greater than the sum of its parts, but Ndombele is one of the exceptions. He gets to bring a bit of aesthetic appeal to a playing style that can be harsh on the eye nine times out of ten.

Ndombele celebrating with Steven Bergwijn
Ndombele celebrating with Steven Bergwijn | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Bergwijn's chipped pass bounced once to Ndombele's left. Running out of space in the 18-yard box, the former Lyon star flicked the ball with the outside of his right boot towards goal.

The margin for error was extremely slight. The execution of the lob had to be perfect to beat Aaron Ramsdale. Had the trajectory been a little off one way or the other, the score would have remained 2-1, with plenty of time remaining for some implosion.

But no. The ball dropped delightfully into the far corner for Ndombele's third league goal of the season, clinching a victory for Jose Mourinho's side ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

League fixtures against Liverpool, Brighton and Chelsea are on the horizon and with their middling form in recent weeks, Spurs need to produce some more performances reminiscent of their victories over Manchester City and Arsenal earlier in the campaign.

But if Ndombele can keep up this level of form that has seen him become one of the Premier League's best midfielders, Tottenham can be confident of their chances. So long as they take a two-goal lead, that is.

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