Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa

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Villa goal scorer John McGinn was also on target in the play-off final win over Derby County in May

Harry Kane scored two late goals as Tottenham came from behind to beat newly promoted Aston Villa.

John McGinn’s beautifully composed finish, after Tyrone Mings’ long ball forward caught out the Spurs defence, put Dean Smith’s side ahead.

Tottenham were sluggish for long periods before their new £53.8m club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele equalised from outside the penalty area moments after new Villa keeper Tom Heaton had denied Davinson Sanchez with a flying save.

With four minutes remaining, Kane’s emphatic finish from 10 yards put the hosts ahead before the England captain sealed the points from the edge of the penalty area.

They were Kane’s first goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which opened in April.

Kane gets Spurs out of jail

Despite the score, this was far from a straightforward victory for last season’s Champions League runners-up.

Tottenham were sluggish for long periods and were heading for a surprise defeat before scoring three times in the final 17 minutes after substitute Christian Eriksen injected some much needed energy to the attack.

Despite failing to sign Argentine forward Paulo Dybala, Spurs have strengthened significantly this summer in an attempt to improve on last season’s fourth place.

But they started in similar fashion to their lacklustre form at the end of the 2018-19 season, when they won just one of their last five domestic games.

Pochettino was missing several important players because of injury and fitness, including Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, and new additions Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani lo Celso.

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The team lacked invention and sharpness before Ndombele equalised after Villa failed to clear their lines following Heaton’s save to keep out Sanchez.

Suddenly, Spurs had confidence and momentum and Kane, who had never scored in August until last season, made sure of the points by scoring twice in the final four minutes.

He made it 2-1 after Jack Grealish, a Spurs transfer target 12 months ago, lost possession, and then wrapped it up with a clinical finish which left Villa crestfallen.

It was hardly vintage Spurs but at least they are up and running before next Saturday’s visit to champions Manchester City.

Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Mauricio Pochettino pleased after winning start

Villa’s harsh reminder of life in the Premier League

For long periods, Villa were good value for at least a point.

In the end, the team that finished fifth in the Championship table last season were handed a cruel reminder of the realities of Premier League football.

Tottenham only managed one shot on target in the first half, but by the end of the 90 minutes they had produced 31 efforts in total – 10 of which were blocked as Villa defended heroically for long spells.

Having been absent from the top flight for three years, Villa quickly made up for lost time by scoring with their first shot to stun the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

McGinn kept his cool to slot past Hugo Lloris after Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose failed to get a challenge in on the Scotland midfielder.

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Spurs were a shadow of the team that beat Manchester City and Ajax on the way to last season’s Champions League final and Villa had opportunities to extend their advantage.

New signing Trezeguet created space for an opening but could not finish while Grealish also had a chance, before Tottenham turned the game on its head in the closing stages.

Despite defeat, Smith will be positive about the next nine months. His side played with freedom and a spirit which suggests they are capable of holding their own at this level.

Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Dean Smith focusing on positives after defeat by Spurs

Man of the match – Harry Kane (Tottenham)

But for Harry Kane, Spurs would have started the season without a win. Villa did a good job at frustrating the hosts before the England captain struck two late blows

‘We were confused’ – what they said

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: “We were a bit confused and that is my fault, I’m the manager, but we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t work well in the first half.

“In the second half we fixed the problems, our positional game was completely different and we moved the ball better.

“It’s very important for us to start with a victory, we have a lot of work to do.”

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: “We want to be competitive in this league. Next week we’ll be walking out at Villa Park – but we’ll be doing so with zero points and that’s something we have to work on.

“The better team won on the day in the second half. We were perhaps unfortunate with the goals. Their physicality shone through in the end.

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“The first half performance and our defensive organisation was very good. They’re not Champions League finalists for nothing – they have a very well coached group of players.

“We’re always learning lessons, today’s game has set a standard for us.”

A game for the debutants to remember – the stats

  • With Aston Villa’s John McGinn and Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele each finding the net, this game was the first match to see both sides have a player score a Premier League debut goal since Burnley (Scott Arfield) v Chelsea (Diego Costa) in August 2014.
  • Ndombele is the first player to score on his Premier League debut for Tottenham since Eric Dier against West Ham in August 2014.
  • Kane has scored six goals in six Premier League appearances against Aston Villa.
  • Villa’s Jack Grealish has lost each of his last 19 Premier League games, the longest run of consecutive defeats suffered by a player in the history of the competition.
  • Tottenham have won 37 Premier League games after finding themselves behind at half-time, more than any other side.
  • Villa are winless in their last 19 Premier League away games (D3 L16), losing their last eight in a row.

What’s next?

Tottenham can expect a much sterner test next Saturday when they visit champions Manchester City (17:30 BST) while Villa entertain Bournemouth (15:00) on the same day.





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