Impressive Tottenham return to open campaign with Southampton thrashing

Tottenham recovered from going down a goal to send Southampton impressively 4-1 in their Premier League opener and showed their newfound strength in depth.

The opening pair Harry Kane and Son Heung-min failed to make it to the scoresheet, but it was fellow attacker Dejan Kulusewski who stole the show in London.

Sweden international Kulusevski set up the equalizer for Ryan Sessagan before moving to a stunning fourth place after a break between his own goals from Eric Dier Heder and Mohamed Salisu.

This supported the growing anticipation around Antonio Conte’s side, who was tipped by many to join champions Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race this season.


Tottenham start their campaign with a win (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Those predictions were widely visible when James Ward-Prause put the Saints into an early lead, but the hosts quickly regrouped to start the new campaign in strong fashion.

Tottenham’s impressive and fast transfer business had generated much excitement among fans, but none of their six new signings made it to the starting line-up.

Visiting boss Ralph Hasenhuttle had no hesitation in throwing in his summer edition alongside former Manchester City youth Gavin Bazunu and teenager Romeo Lavia, while Joe Aribo also debuted.

It took 12 minutes for the first legitimate chance to present itself and Southampton took full advantage of opening the scoring through Ward-Prause.


Southampton’s James Ward-Prause (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Moussa Genpepo turned away from Emerson Royal on the left and went back to the edge of the field where his captain Ward-Prause fired home on a volley, his effort sprung into the field and defeated Spurs captain Hugo Lloris.

The hosts, however, reacted well to accept and were only left behind by nine minutes.

After Southampton tackled several early crosses in the field, they had little answer in the 21st minute when Kulusevski checked back on his left foot and curled up surprisingly for Sessagon, who scored above Kyle Walker-Peters. And sprung up to equalize in the house.

It was only the second goal the left-back scored for Spurs, as a big money move from Fulham in three summers.


Ryan Sessegon was also on the scoresheet (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Conte’s team put their foot on the gas and completed a turnaround in the 31st minute from another unlikely source.

Son saw that his starting corner was cleared when Bazunu had thwarted his left footed attempt shortly before, but was soon caught back and produced a fine inswinging delivery, down for Dyer. Turned out to be perfect for the head in the bottom corner to lean towards and make it 2. 1.

Sessagon was again in the net shortly after half-time but his excellent performance with his right foot was thrown offside.

Tottenham should have already scored two goals, with Kane denying Bazunu before the break and Son useless from six yards when he could have passed his partner in the offense.

While the pair scored 40 goals between them in the Premier League last season, it was Kulusevski who took center stage on the occasion.

The Swede nearly put Sessagon up again with a delicious pass before it came third for the hosts in the 61st minute.

Emerson led a counter-attack and exchanged passes with Pierre-mile Hojberg and Son, before his scuffed cross was put through his own net by an off-balance Salisu.

Kulusevski saved the best until the last minute when he lay on Emerson’s cut back, opened up his body and rolled it into the bottom corner to make it 4-1, giving Spurs the second goal in the span of two minutes.

Conte made a late quadruple replacement and made his debuts for Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet and Yves Bisouma to whet the Tottenham supporters’ appetite for a great opening day.