Some Spurs fans were understandably concerned about the threat of Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho as the two sides met for the second leg of their last 16 Champions League clash on March 5th, but the England international was well-marshalled throughout the 90 minutes by Ben Davies. The left-back had been selected ahead of Danny Rose, but despite many supporters casting doubt on the Welshman’s ability, he put in an outstanding display, which enabled the Lilywhites to ease into the quarter-finals of the competition.
Davies has never managed to completely endear himself to the Spurs faithful since arriving from Swansea, and he’s endured significant criticism on social media over the past couple of months. Alongside fellow full-back Kieran Trippier, he’s been targetted by supporters who have regularly lamented his lack of ability in the final third. The Welsh International hasn’t been helped by niggling injuries, which have hampered his progress this season, but his performance against the Bundesliga outfit will surely have silenced his critics once and for all.
The 25-year old showed no ill-effects of his recent groin problem at Signal Iduna Park with a commanding performance which helped Mauricio Pochettino’s side keep back-to-back clean sheets against the free-scoring Germans. Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten at home in the Bundesliga, and Lucien Favre’s side have netted 40 times in their first twelve matches in North Rhine-Westphalia, but they were unable to breach the Spurs rearguard in just over 180 minutes of football.
He played as part of a back five and was given clear instructions to drop in and support Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. The system helped nulify the threat of Paco Alcacer, who returned to the Dortmund starting eleven, and despite some early promise, the former Barcelona man endured a frustrating evening at the Westfalenstadion.
Davies ended the game with the highest number of blocks as well as completing five clearances throughout the 90 minutes. He had an 81% pass accuracy during the game and was rarely wasteful in possession. Despite these impressive statistics, his most telling contribution was his superb goal-saving interception on 34 minutes, which saw him deflect a Marco Reus shot out for a corner. Spurs were forced to weather the storm during a hectic first half, and Davies’ instinctive stop helped keep the game goalless.
Tottenham will be hoping for a favourable draw in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and they are currently available at 5/1 in the latest football betting to reach this year’s final, which will be held at the Wanda Metropolitano. There is still a long way to go before they can begin preparing for the showpiece event, but their recent performances in the competition will give fans plenty of optimism heading into the last eight. There is also the possibility that they could return to White Hart Lane in time for their quarter-final clash.
Ben Davies’ performance against Dortmund caught the eye, and he will surely be one of the first names on the team-sheet when Spurs return to Champions League action at the beginning of April. His diligent and determined performance should help silence his doubters for the foreseeable future, and his steady presence and calm approach to defending surely gives the Lilywhites a realistic chance of making it all the way to Madrid.