Tottenham 2-1 Luton: Another late comeback spurred on by super-sub Brennan Johnson

Tottenham overturned an early deficit and escaped with a 2-1 victory over Luton Town, but only just by the skin of their teeth, to go level with Aston Villa for 4th place in the Premier League on Saturday.

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Now level on games played for a couple hours, Tottenham join Aston Villa on 56 points, nine above Manchester United, who have a game in hand, in 6th place. It is a most unfortunate result for Luton (22 points), who slipped back into the relegation zone after Nottingham Forest drew Crystal Palace. Forest's goal difference is currently three better than Luton.

Slow start + furious comeback = a familiar (but unsustainable) formula for Tottenham

A month ago, after Spurs turned in a stinker of an overall performance but came back to beat Crystal Palace with three goals in the final 15 minutes, spurred on by Brennan Johnson's introduction off the bench in that game as well, I wrote the following about the team and manager:

At this point in the Postecoglou project, Tottenham rely very heavily on counter-attacks to generate scoring chances. It has, largely, served them well this season (especially early on, before opponents starting showing them a bit more respect with their own shape and structure), but they struggled badly on Saturday as Crystal Palace had so little of the ball that opportunities to counter were very few and far between. Instead, they aimlessly passed the ball around the final third and settled for 28 crosses into the box, without a natural center forward in the team to target.

Those observations were painfully apparent once again on Saturday, as Dejan Kulusevski, Timo Werner and James Maddison most left Son Heung-min to feed on scraps. Maddison barely had a meaningful touch in the first half, while Kulusevski gave the ball away in key moments without so much as a threat of pressure, and Werner dragged a big chance inches wide of the post after rinsing the last defender one-on-one. And those were the good moments for the Tottenham attack. Most of the time, they made it far too easy for Luton to usher midfielders and wingers out wide, 15 or 20 yards from the nearest white shirt and nowhere to play the next pass. Spurs don't miss Harry Kane's goals nearly as much as they miss the brilliant long-range passing and playmaking he would provide when dropping into midfield.

Luton's opener came with just three minutes on the clock, as they executed a quick and precise counter-attack starting on the edge of their own penalty area. Spurs looked like they were the ones soon to be in on goal, but Kulusevski missed two free runners with a wayward pass, and Andros Townsend off and running down the right wing. The former Spurs man crossed for Ross Barkley, who took a look around the penalty area and squard a pass to Tahith Chong on the left. Chong fired low and off the inside of the far post to make it 1-0.

Tottenham were an inch or two from equalizing in the 20th minute, when Son rounded the goalkeeper and threaded a strike through the smallest of windows. The ball narrowly missed a recovering defender and struck the front of the near, then the front of the far post, and bounced back into play.

Kulusevski came off at halftime to make way for Johnson, who for the second time in a month flipped the game in Spurs' favor. Straight after the restart, Johnson raced up and down the right wing and caused the Luton defense all kinds of problems. It was his cross in the 51st minute that forced Issa Kabore to put the ball into his own goal and level the game at 1-1, and the 22-year-old was far from finished for the day.

Johnson and 60,000-plus inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium all thought he had equalized in the 78th minute, as the ball rolled agonizingly slow across the goal line, hit the inside of the far post and was booted clear before it had fully crossed the line. The cross came in from Giovani Lo Celso and Johnson got a touch in front of goal, but the ball somehow never triggered the goal-decision system.

A few minutes later, it was Johnson who got on the end of Timo Werner's cross and cleverly laid it off for Son to run onto. Son struck the ball into a sea of bodies, got the benefit of a deflection as Thomas Kaminski was wrong-footed, and another comeback was complete.

What’s next?

Matchweek 31 will arrive quickly with a midweek set of fixtures this week. It'll be a hotly contested London derby for Spurs, as they head to the east side of the city to meet West Ham United on Tuesday (3:15 pm ET). Luton will visit the other north London side, current PL leaders Arsenal, on Wednesday (2:30 pm ET).

Player ratings - Tottenham vs Luton Town

Tottenham vs Luton Town player ratings
Tottenham vs Luton Town player ratings

Tottenham vs Luton Town, final score: 2-1

Goalscorers: Tahith Chong (3'), Issa Kabore (51' - OG), Son Heung-min (86')

3rd minute - GOAL - Tahith Chong pings an early opener off the inside of the post

51st minute - GOAL - Issa Kabore thumps Brennan Johnson’s cross into his own net

86th minute - GOAL - Son Heung-min slots the winner home after Brennan Johnson assists

How to watch Tottenham vs Luton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET Saturday (March 30)
TV Channel: Peacock Premium
Online: Watch live on Peacock Premium

Tottenham starting lineup

Vicario — Porro, Romero, Dragusin, Udogie — Bissouma, Sarr — Kulusevski, Maddison, Werner, Son

Luton Town starting lineup

Kaminski — Burke, Mengi, Kabore — Mpanzu, Barkley, Berry, Doughty — Townsend, Chong, Morris

Tottenham focus, team news

The big injury focus is on whether or not Micky van de Ven will be fit after his most recent hamstring injury. Spurs are hoping the Dutch center back will be available and that would be a huge boost as he's so influential to how they play with a high line. In attack, Son, Maddison, Kulusevski and Richarlison could start as Spurs go all-out for the win.

OUT: Manor Solomon (knee), Ryan Sessegnon (thigh), Fraser Forster (foot)

Luton focus, team news

Well, Luton have been hammered by injuries in recent weeks and they are missing so many key players. But they just keep on scrapping and Rob Edwards has so many squad players like Luke Berry, Cauley Woodrow and Jordan Clark stepping up in the Hatters' time of need. It is so impressive they are out of the relegation zone at this stage of the season given all of the injuries and adversity they have faced.

OUT: Elijah Adebayo (thigh), Albert Sambi Lokonga (thigh), Chiedozie Ogbene (hamstring), Jacob Brown (knee), Tom Lockyer (heart), Dan Potts (thigh), Marvelous Nakamba (knee), Mads Andersen (calf), Amari'i Bell (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Gabriel Osho (knee)