Tottenham came from a goal down to get their Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a comfortable home victory against Southampton.
Spurs fell behind in the 12th minute to James Ward-Prowse’s volley, driving the ball into the ground and watching the bounce beat Hugo Lloris, but Antonio Conte’s side’s response was swift and ruthless.
Ryan Sessegnon headed in his first Premier League goal for the club from an inviting Dejan Kulusevski cross to draw the host’s level and by the half-hour mark, they were in front.
Eric Dier had not scored in three years but met a whipped Son Heung-min delivery with a low, flicked header into the far corner.
Tottenham carried that confidence into the second half and Mohammed Salisu turned Emerson Royal’s cross into his own net before the impressive Kulusevski grabbed a well-taken fourth to cap a dominant display.
A full pre-season under Conte, six new signings and permission to be “dreamers” from their Italian boss means Spurs fans will be expecting big things from their side this campaign.
“Why not win the Champions League and the Premier League?” Conte joked beforehand about his ambitions, though it took Ward-Prowse’s strike, following smart play from Moussa Djenepo, to spark his side into life on an opening day.
With Richarlison suspended and other new recruits still building up to full fitness, there was a familiar look to the Spurs XI, albeit with two unfamiliar names on the scoresheet.
Sessegnon and Dier have been two of the biggest beneficiaries of the Conte era, and both took their headers well to put Spurs in front – the more predictable sources of Son and Kulusevski producing moments of quality to tee up both defenders.
This was the first time Tottenham have played a home Premier League game at 3 pm on Saturday in 973 days, since beating Burnley 5-0 in December 2019, and the first time they have begun a season in this kick-off slot for more than 20 years.
Rarely in those two decades has there been as much optimism in north London and that is unlikely to have been dampened by what for the most part was a confident and entertaining performance.
Sessegnon also had an effort ruled out for offside immediately after the break and opposite wing-back Royal’s low ball forced Salisu into an own goal before the Brazilian teed up Kulusevski to find the bottom corner two minutes later.
The focus at Southampton has been on youth this summer after signing six players with just two over the age of 20, but it was Saints’ Mr Reliable – and last season’s top scorer Ward-Prowse – who got Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side off to a superb start.
That hope was short-lived for the visitors who, as well as having the worst opening-day record of all current Premier League teams, finished last season with four successive defeats and did little to rid themselves of that hangover in north London.
source – BBC