Tottenham Hotspur got their Premier League campaign up and running in N17 as Antonio Conte’s side came back from behind to seal an emphatic 4-1 win over Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to move to the top of the table.
Going into the game, Spurs had not tasted victory in either of their last two meetings with the Saints, and it looked like a similar pattern would emerge once again as the away side took a shock lead in the 12th minute.
Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse latched onto Moussa Djenepo’s clever cut-back to fire in a first-time strike past Hugo Lloris from inside the box to give his side the advantage.
Tottenham, however, came back strong, and they were back on level terms just nine minutes later. Dejan Kulusevski’s whipped cross from the right was met at the back post by Ryan Sessegnon, who scored his first league goal for Spurs to get his side back in it.
Spurs continued to make their pressure pay, and Eric Dier gave his side a deserved lead in the 31st minute.
A diving header from the centre-back at the near post from Son Heung-min’s cross from the left found the net in the 31st minute, as Tottenham completed their comeback.
The home side further extended their advantage in the 60th minute, as a clumsy own goal by Mohammed Salisu made Southampton’s afternoon even worse.
Tottenham then completed the rout three minutes later to get their fourth goal of the game, as Dejan Kulusevski capped off a fantastic individual performance to get on the scoresheet with a low, curling strike.
TALKING POINT – THE PERFECT START FOR TOTTENHAM
There were probably some raised eyebrows from fans before the game, as none of Tottenham’s new summer signings made the starting line-up. That was compounded by the fact that Southampton proved to be somewhat of a bogey side for Spurs last term, as the North Londoners picked up just one point from their two meetings with the Saints last season.
Despite history looking to repeat itself after James Ward-Prowse’s opener, Tottenham did not panic and showed superiority throughout the rest of the game. They scored three good goals, with a slice of luck also coming in the form of an own goal. Two of them came from crosses, showing that Southampton were weak in that area, and that Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min had the freedom to roam into the pockets of space out wide. Both notched up valuable assists.
This performance will definitely please Antonio Conte as they go into a big London derby next weekend against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – DEJAN KULUSEVSKI
What a signing the Swedish attacker has been for Tottenham since joining last January. The 22-year-old has seamlessly fit into their electric front three, and today produced a fantastic performance down the right-hand side to get on the scoresheet and register yet another assist.
His dribbling ability, and the way he cut inside proved to be a real issue for the Southampton defence to deal with, and Antonio Conte will be hoping that Kulusevski continues to produce in his first full Premier League season for Tottenham.
In total, Kulusevski had a passing accuracy of 92%, won four tackles and made a total of three key passes.
Tottenham: Lloris 6, Davies 7, Dier 7, Romero 6, Emerson 7, Bentancur 7, Hojbjerg 7, Sessegnon 7, Kulusevski 9, Son, 8, Kane 6. Subs: Bissouma 5, Doherty 6, Lenglet 6, Perisic 6, Moura 6.
Southampton: Bazunu 6, Djenepo 7, Salisu 5, Bednarek 6, Valery 5, Walker-Peters 7, Romeu 6, Lavia 6, Ward-Prowse 7, A. Armstrong 5, Aribo 6. Subs: S. Armstrong 5, Redmond 6, Stephens 6, Diallo 6, Perraud 6.
12’ – GOAL! (James Ward-Prowse) – The Saints have the lead, and it’s James Ward-Prowse! After a foray forward, Moussa Djenepo gets in an acute cut-back from the left-side touchline near the goal, which goes back into the box. Ward-Prowse opts to hit it first time, and he gets enough on it to see it fly past Lloris after an awkward bounce!
21’ – GOAL! (Ryan Sessegnon) – What a response! Ryan Sessegnon heads in at the back post beyond Gavin Bazunu! A delightful whipped cross from deep on the right by Dejan Kulusevski is met well by the wing-back, and it’s into the back of the net. All square!
31’ – GOAL! (Eric Dier) – Shortly after the corner is delivered, the ball comes back to Son down the left flank. He opts to cross the ball towards the near post, and Eric Dier nods the ball past Bazunu with a diving header! Spurs have come back from behind to lead here!
61’ – OWN GOAL! (Mohammed Salisu) – Tottenham have their third of the afternoon, courtesy of a poor own goal by Mohammed Salisu! Son feeds an overlapping Emerson down the left, and the Brazilian plays a low cross into the box, but no teammates are there to tap the ball in. Luckily for him, Salisu messes up his clearance on the line, and turns the ball into his own net!
63’ – GOAL! (Dejan Kulusevski) – Spurs have four! Emerson’s cut back from the right flank finds Kulusevski inside the box, and the Swede places a nice low curling effort beyond Bazunu and into the bottom-left corner. Surely that is job done now for the Londoners as Southampton seem to have capitulated!