After Dejan Kulusevski thumped in Tottenham’s second goal, the killer blow for Nottingham Forest, Steve Cooper swivelled on his feet, dragged his fingers down his cheeks and retreated towards the home dugout. Quite how many more times Cooper will be able to call this place home depends on how dimly the Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, views this latest defeat, a fifth in the past six matches. By the time Bournemouth depart the City Ground on 23 December Forest could, if results do not go their way, find themselves in the relegation zone.
Forest have won one of their past 13 matches and Cooper is on increasingly rocky terrain. Spurs finished with 10 men, Yves Bissouma seeing red for a crude takedown of Ryan Yates with 20 minutes to play, but goals from Richarlison and Kulusevski ensured successive victories for Ange Postecoglou’s side. The last time Richarlison managed back-to-back league goals, his manager was Frank Lampard and Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli were among his Everton clubmates.
Richarlison is only one more goal away from doubling last season’s tally in all competitions, after his fifth of the campaign here. “Richarlison is a goalmouth monster,” Postecoglou said. “I’m really pleased with him in training and I was confident that he could go out there and do a job for us. He is in a better space physically and mentally. It was hard for him [last season] but he soldiered on. He is definitely feeling a lot better about himself.”
Tottenham Hotspur ensured they stayed on the heels of the top four after backing up their demolition of Newcastle United with a controlled win against Nottingham Forest.
After a spell of five games without a win and with a growing injury list, Tottenham have shown in their past two games that they are back on track but victory came at a price as Yves Bissouma was sent off for the second time this season. He will serve a four-game ban.
Given Tottenham’s injury problems Ange Postecoglou could do without the Ivory Coast midfielder missing league games against Everton, Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth before he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations, with the final match of his ban coming after he returns from the tournament.
His red card, for a lunge on Ryan Yates in the second half, means he has had three different suspensions.
The Richarlison renaissance at Tottenham continues to gather momentum, and even the trademark pigeon dance is back.
The Brazilian has struggled to consistently deliver since that £60 million move from Everton last July, but a third goal inside a week provided further evidence that he can flourish under Ange Postecoglou.
With captain Son Heung-min expected to miss up to six weeks early next year with the Asia Cup tournament, the emergence of Richarlison and consistency of the excellent Dejan Kulusevski will be crucial.
Kulusevski scored the second goal and provided the assist for Richarlison, which means he has now created 17 goals in the Premier League, the fifth-most of any player since his first start in the competition in February 2022.
It would not be Tottenham without a few scares, and they will now be without midfielder Yves Bissouma for four matches after he was sent off in the second half for serious foul play.
Tottenham moved level with Manchester City for the Champions League places after goals from Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski earned them a 2-0 over Nottingham Forest despite the second-half dismissal of Yves Bissouma.
After a relatively even opening 45 minutes, the visitors went ahead when Kulusevski picked out Richarlison to head home before turning goalscorer to double the advantage.
Bissouma 70th-minute dismissal for a high lunge on Ryan Yates made for a nervy final 20 minutes, but Guglielmo Vicario was relatively unscathed as Tottenham made it back-to-back wins for the first time since October.
Son Heung-min broke through early down the inside left channel, but saw his close-range effort well blocked by Matt Turner in the Forest goal.
Tottenham dominated the early stages, however, their patient build-up play failed to open up the Forest backline and was the home side who created a great chance to open the scoring with 18 minutes on the clock.
Steve Cooper could not hide his frustration at goalkeeper Matt Turner after his errors in the defeat by Tottenham kept the Nottingham Forest boss firmly under pressure.
Turner was slow to react when Richarlison headed in Dejan Kulusevski’s cross for Spurs’ opener and Kulusevski’s shot for the second beat Turner even though it was straight at him. To make matters worse, it was Turner’s poor clearance that let Kulusevski in.
Forest have won only one of their last 13 games and Cooper’s short-term future remains in doubt with owner Evangelos Marinakis considering his options.
‘It is not something that should happen at this level,’ said Cooper when asked about Turner’s mistake for the second goal. ‘We have to own stuff we can do better – sometimes it will be individual, sometimes collective. We’ll review it over the weekend.
‘There are real little moments of quality we are not delivering. I have no complaints with the commitment but we are not managing defining moments. We have to strive to do better.’
Tottenham secured back-to-back victories for the first time since October as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 on Friday night
Fresh off the back of last weekend’s 4-1 win over Newcastle, Tottenham started the brighter of the two sides and almost took the lead within three minutes. Dejan Kulusevski found a pocket of space on the edge of the area and he played the ball through to Son Heung-min, but his effort was saved by Matt Turner.
Tottenham dominated possession during the first-half, but didn’t find the breakthrough until just before the break, as Richarlison headed home Kulusevski’s delightful cross. Despite a slow start to the second period, Ange Postecoglou’s side doubled their advantage in the 65th minute, as Kulusevski pounced on an error to fire home his fifth goal of the campaign.
Spurs were forced to play the final 20 minutes plus stoppage-time with 10 players, however, when Yves Bissouma was sent off for the second time this season. But, despite the man advantage, Forest were unable to get back into the game as Tottenham held out to move level on points with fourth-place Manchester City. Here are five talking points from The City Ground.
They are the words Tottenham fans must have thought they would never read – but Richarlison cannot stop scoring.
The Brazilian striker had been fast-tracking his way towards the top of the list of Spurs’ worst ever signings.
But having now scored in back-to-back games for the first time since leaving Everton in a £50million move in 2022 – he has actually got three goals in those two matches – maybe Richarlison is not such a lost cause after all.
He only managed to score three times last season and had scored juit a couple this term before grabbing two in Sunday’s 4-1 demolition of Newcastle.
But he put Spurs ahead with a header in first half injury-time and the player who created the goal with a magnificent cross, Dejan Kulusevski, grabbed the second following some terrible goalkeeping by Matt Turner
Tottenham were forced to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men because Yves Bissouma was handed a red card after raking his studs down the leg of Ryan Yates.