Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 1: Five things we learnt as Son shines
- Credit: PA/Nick Potts
In a change from form, Spurs found a win in a high-tempo march against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Going into the game, Spurs sat an awkward point behind their opponents, despite a perfect start to the season, on paper. It's early days for Nuno Espírito Santo but some poor performances and a lack of clear direction have put him under pressure.
After they came on to wake Spurs from their slumber in Europe in midweek, there were starts for Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura.
The best move of the opening 20 came via an elegant turn by Hojbjerg and a ball through to Son. Kane was unable to direct the ball back across goal when the cross came in.
Five minutes later, Cash committed himself, allowing Son to spin past on the wing but all that resulted was a snatched Kane shot from the edge of the box.
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It lifted the team though, and a better chance came when Kane spotted Martinez off his line from near the centre circle. The keeper just got his gloves to it but home team edged nearer with a Son shot that went wide.
The breakthrough came shortly after, with a driving run by Hojbjerg, who fed Son and then, getting the ball back on the edge of the box, calmly passed into the net.
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There was Villa pressure at the end of the half, not least with Watkins finding space in the box before McGinn lashed a ferocious strike wide.
Villa started the second half well, as they did the first, drawing blocks from Skipp and Romero.
But again Spurs picked up the pace. Emerson Royal had a shot blocked and the Son was unable to convert a tempting volley.
The chances began to flow for Son, with a shot from the edge flying over and a touch wide after Kane's whipped ball along the ground.
After a harmless Cash shot and good Villa pressure, the ball again came to Son, who made it to the six-yard box before Martinez made the save.
From the corner we had a glimpse of what Ndombele can do, with a lovely turn and run before a tame shot.
When the equaliser came, it was a Matt Targett ball, poked home by Ollie Watkins.
The lead was short lived. Son had been threatening a breakthrough and a low cross led to a Targett own-goal for 2-1.
Villa remained dangerous, Lloris holding on to an Ings shot.
But Spurs continued to threaten - Kane, Son, Lo Celso and Royal all finding space.
A deft back heel from Kane put Lo Celso through, only for Mings to block. And then Kane found himself through and twice unable to beat Martinez.
The volume from the crowd rose as five minutes of injury time was announced, but some canny play, keeping the ball in the corner saw Spurs get over the line for a hard-fought win.
1. Son's electric
In England we may be obsessed with our talismanic, old-fashioned centre forward, but Heung-Min Son is the real Spurs superstar. How huge offers from the world's richest clubs haven't tested his loyalty is beyond me.
2. Is Oliver Skipp good enough?
After a popular spell at Norwich, Oliver Skipp has had a lot of game time this season. He's consistent and keeps things simple, but he seems to slow the game down and he's passing so far back that when he does give the ball away, it's in a dangerous position.
He's a sideways passer, and with Hojbjerg beside him, Ndombele struggling to find his form, and Lo Celso on the bench, there's often a link missing between midfield and attack.
The young man might be good enough, but is it right for the team being fielded?
3. Ndombele has something in the locker
We all know Ndombele has something in the locker, we just wish he would bring it out more often. He has the potential to influence the game as Mousa Dembélé did at his peak.
You suspect, though, that with Lo Celso and Dele challenging for places, he doesn't have long to earn his spot.
4. Emerson Royal looks like a Spurs player
I don't know what that really means either, but he has slotted in nicely at right back, instilling less fear in fans than Serge Aurier did.
Royal had a difficult debut toe to toe with Chelsea's Lukaku, but even from a standing start in that game, he put up a fight.
But he looks positive and composed, and if Spurs find some real form, I expect him to be part of it.
5. When will we turn to Bryan?
He's arousing cheers every time he steps out to warm up but Bryan Gil is still awaiting a real run-out. It's as if fans can sense a hero in the making.
But though Spurs are struggling to create chances, Moura is still playing well and taking up that spot alongside Kane and Son.