Who needs Harry Kane? Well, Tottenham, because on the evidence of Sunday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City new manager Nuno Espírito Santo has already had a transformative effect on the defense. And also City, because on Sunday's evidence they desperately need a striker.
With Kane left out of the squad entirely due to his very public dalliances with City, Spurs produced an electric performance from front to back with Japhet Tanganga going toe-to-toe with Jack Grealish, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg flying into tackles and Lucas Moura always excellent in possession.
There was a clear Kane-sized hole in City’s attack as the side controlled 66% possession and completed 536 passes but only generated four shots on target. Grealish and Raheem Sterling — who combined to draw over 150 fouls last season — are going to be a nightmare for defenders across England this season, but Spurs put on a masterclass in shutting them down with physical play that was roared on inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
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The winner arrived following a glorious counter by Spurs in the 55th minute. Moura got it started with a beautiful overhead flick that allowed Steven Bergwijn to run at the heart of City. The Dutchman played it out wide to Son Heung-min, but as six City defenders got back behind the ball, Son shifted inside onto his left foot and sent a rasping drive inside the far post.
Son shines once again in North London!Tottenham lead the defending Premier League champs! #MyPLMorning
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Minutes later Bergwijn should’ve made it 2-0 to take the roof off the place, but the 23-year-old struck the side-netting with only Ederson to beat.
El neerlandés no aprovechó el contragolpe y su disparo se fue por un costado de la portería de @edersonmoraes93
⚽ #Tottenham 1-0 #ManCity
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Towards the end, the chants of “Are you watching Harry Kane?” came cascading down from the terraces, but this was a day to remember for Espírito Santo and the 14 players who fought for every ball for Tottenham.
“Amazing! It was a good day,” Tottenham’s new boss said. “Hard work for the boys, they worked really hard, the distance they covered, the balance, the fight. Still a long way to go but most of the things the boys did well. We are knowing each other better and it is about creating this energy between us to keep us moving forward. There is always something new and always something to improve.”
Spurs return to action next Sunday against Wolves. City looks to rebound on Saturday when hosting Norwich City.