Tottenham Hotspur were made to battle for a winning start to the season as they beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening.
Villa enjoyed a dream start as John McGinn finished coolly with less than ten minutes on the clock. The newly-promoted side put up a brilliant effort to keep the lead but they could not do anything as Tanguy Ndombele struck with a bolt out of the blue in the 73rd minute. Then, Harry Kane, quiet for most of the afternoon, showed typically predatory instincts late on to notch two goals and steal victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Villa shock North London through McGinn
The hosts had an opportunity right from kick-off as Lucas Moura robbed the ball and ran at the heart of the Aston Villa defence only to fire his shot over the crossbar. The Brazilian then had another chance as he connected with Danny Rose’s cross but his header did not trouble Tom Heaton.
Despite those early openings, it was the newly-promoted side that stole an early march. Tyrone Mings’ lofted ball picked out McGinn and he managed to hold off the challenge of Danny Rose to tuck neatly into the far corner of Hugo Lloris’ net.
They nearly doubled that lead as new signing Trezeguet was released behind the Tottenham defence but had his effort blocked.
Tottenham frustrated heading into the break
Villa’s positive start continued throughout the first-half. They could have extended the advantage on the counter-attack as Jack Grealish again teed-up Trezeguet but the Egyptian’s shot was not powerful enough to trouble Lloris.
Spurs struggled throughout the first-half to create any real opportunities to equalise but Kane should have done better when a chance came his way just before the break. The mercurial forward connected well with Ndombele’s cross but could only lift the ball over the crossbar. His blushes were then spared as he passed the ball wide when one-on-one but the offside flag was lifted.
Ndombele powers Spurs level
Another opportunity to draw level came just after the break as the ball fell to Moussa Sissoko at the back post but somehow he could only fire it wide.
Villa were under pretty much constant pressure throughout the second-half and Spurs’ equaliser eventually did come. Just as Dean Smith’s men thought they had been left off the hook thanks to Heaton’s stunning save from Davinson Sanchez’s instinctive effort, Ndombele unleashed a stunning drive that powered into the bottom corner.
The former Burnley man was at top-form again though to stop substitute Christian Eriksen’s great free-kick.
Kane the man for Spurs again
Despite Villa’s promising performance, the points slipped through their fingers in the worst possible way in the final few minutes. Grealish got caught on the ball and it bounced around the Villa penalty area before finding its way to Kane only yards from goal. He showed razor sharp instincts to power the ball high into the net.
He followed that up with a brilliant strike as he picked up the ball on the edge of the Villa penalty area, cut inside and then stroked it into the far corner of the Villa net to finally confirm what was a hard-fought opening victory.
Spurs will certainly breathe a sigh of relief after getting off to a perfect start to season. A shock certainly looked on the cards following McGinn’s opener. Villa defended brilliantly and really restricted Spurs to only a few chances in the first-half. Tottenham were far better in the second-half though and were probably deserving of their victory in the end.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (); Rose (), Alderweireld (), Sanchez (), Walker-Peters (); Ndombele (7) (Skipp (N/A), 90+2′), Winks (6) (Eriksen (), 64′), Sissoko (); Moura (), Lamela (N’Koudou (N/A), 88′), Kane ().
Aston Villa: Heaton (); Taylor (), Mings (), Engels (), Elmohamady (); El Ghazi (), Grealish (), Hourihane (6) (Luiz (N/A), 82′), McGinn (), Trezeguet (7) (Jota (), 59′); Wesley (6) (Kodjia (), 74′).
Goals: McGinn (9′), Ndombele (73′), Kane (86′, 90′)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Yellow Cards: Lamela (87′)
Red Cards: N/A
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