Spurs kicked off the Nuno Espirito Santo era perfectly on Sunday evening. Where counter-attacking their way to a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Son Heung-min scored the only goal in a game. In which Jack Grealish was making his league debut for the Citizens. Fellow summer arrival Cristian Romero also enjoyed a cameo for Spurs. While Harry Kane – who is desperate for a move to City – watched on from the stands.
Billed as the headline fixture of the opening weekend, neutrals won’t have enjoyed it as much as some of the other games on offer – but it was still an interesting encounter, nonetheless.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Spurs’ surprising win…
1. Benjamin Mendy is not very good at defending
Considering how much money Pep Guardiola has spent on defenders since taking over at City. The fact that left-back is still somewhat of a problem area is unforgivable.
Defensively, Benjamin Mendy was (once again) pretty hopeless against Spurs. Where he lost 10 of his 14 duels and getting dribbled past on four occasions. Son targeted him from the outset, a tactic every other Premier League forward will be employing if they go up against Mendy this season.
The sooner Oleksandr Zinchenko returns to the starting lineup the better.
2. Son Heung-min is Spurs key man
Tying Son Heung-min down to a new contract was the best piece of business Tottenham did this summer.
The South Korean carried on where he left off last season on Sunday, scoring a tremendous goal to win the game. Racing away on the counter he eventually got the ball back, bamboozled Nathan Ake and bent an effort into the far corner.
Tottenham may be losing Harry Kane before the close of the transfer window but in Son they have one of the best players in the Premier League.
3. This could be Japhet Tanganga’s breakout season for Spurs
Japhet Tanganga has been around the Tottenham squad for some time but this season he could make the right-back spot his own.
He certainly did not do his first team chances any harm against City, shackling Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling with an aggressive display. He was extremely fortunate not to get carded – committing four fouls in the first half – but his methods proved effective.
Matt Doherty is probably stronger going forward and Serge Aurier making another unlikely resurgence can never be ruled out, but Tanganga has likely jumped to the front of the queue for big games now.
4. City need Kevin De Bruyne back
Kevin De Bruyne is not fully fit, meaning he was only trusted for an 11-minute cameo against Spurs.
His appearance may have been fleeting but he made an instant impact, noticeably increasing City’s tempo and picking out a few stunning passes.
De Bruyne’s fitness will need to be managed carefully, but getting him back in the team is a priority. No one else in the City midfield is capable of the same brand of magic.
5. Jack Grealish needs time to adjust
With just a few minutes on the clock in North London Jack Grealish picked the ball up between the lines and began to drive, eventually being bundled over by Oliver Skipp.
It was a reminder of what he is capable of but unfortunately for City this moment did not set the tone for the rest of his afternoon. Although he continued to pick up fouls, he was not quite clicking with Raheem Sterling.
The potential is there for the duo to strike up an unstoppable partnership down the left-hand side over time. However, against Spurs, they often got in each other’s way.
The pair need to be given time to work out the subtleties of their new partnership.
6. The return of fans is going to play a big role this season
As they clung onto their lead towards the end of the game, Tottenham fans serenaded their players with all of the songs that have been tragically missing from Premier League football over the past year and a half.
Throughout proceedings the capacity crowd added a visceral edge to proceedings as well, forcing certain players into uncharacteristic mistakes.
Home advantage is definitely back with a bang. Let’s hope we never have to endure choosing between deathly silence and pumped-in crowd noise ever again.
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