Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Saturday, 15:00

Tottenham 4

  • R Sessegnon 21'
  • Dier 31'
  • Salisu 61' (og)
  • Kulusevski 63'

Southampton 1

  • Ward-Prowse 12'

Embed from Getty Images

James Ward-Prowse scored first, but it was all for nothing as Saints were overrun

Match Report

|So, first match of the season and everyone is level. Well, they would have been, but for Friday nights game, where Crystal Palace were beaten by Arsenal.

Saints having made six signings so far, the question of concern was how many would make their debuts and who would they be? The clear favourites seemed to be midfielder Joe Aribo and goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

When the team was announced, there was some surprise in the line-up, with both Aribo and Bazunu making their debuts, but also 18 year old midfielder, Roméo Lavia. The formation was obviously the 5-3-2 that has been used in preseason. The unknown was how Ralph would use the allowed five substitutes as the game unfolded.

Kick off in the magnificent Tottenham stadium took place in the sunshine and Saints were on the front foot straight away.

Walker-Peters went down the right and passed back to the advancing Yan Valery. He paused looked up and floated a teasing cross in towards Adam Armstrong and JWP who were both lurking in the box. Romero out jumped them and headed away, but only as far as the unmarked Djenepo, who stepped inside the advancing defender, who promptly fell on his backside. This allowed Djenepo all the time in the world to pick out JWP advancing back into the area on his own. The captain volleyed it into the ground and it deceived all the defenders as it flew into the top left corner of the net. 0-1!

All the pre-season optimism seemed justified. Here were the much touted Tottenham side pegged pack and conceding after just 12 minutes.

Well boys and girls, that was as good as it got. Just over eight minutes later Spurs worked the ball wide on the right and a perfect cross came over beyond the far post in time to meet Sessegnon, who had got goal side of KWP and headed beyond Gavin Bazunu into the net. 1-1.

Apart from picking the ball out of the net, Bazunu had not had a lot to do in the first 15 minutes, but he then had to get down fairly smartly to save from Son as Valery had slipped while covering the Spurs No.7.

Spurs were coming forward in waves now, but Saints were coping. Just.

Then after a Spurs corner was cleared the ball was worked around the penalty area, until it found Son on the Saints right and sent a low cross in, which Dier diverted into the bottom far corner with a well judged stooping header. 2-1 and only half an hour gone. Baz was having a bit of a baptism of fire...

Baz was soon back into action, tipping a low shot by Davies from distance around the post.

There was still the feeling that Saints were in this game with a chance, even though they were starting to make mistakes. The rookie keeper in particular was making some poor clearances, one of which led to Son skying a shot way over the bar in a most uncharacteristic fashion.

Right on the cusp of halftime Spurs stepped up a gear and Kane drew an excellent stop from Baz, right at the foot of the near post. Half time couldn't come soon enough.

And breathe... 2-1 at the half.

With five substitutions to use, Ralph chose to make two changes for the second half. The anonymous Adam Armstrong was replaced by Stuart Armstrong and Yan Valery (Who I thought had done well), was replaced by Jack Stephens. Maybe the thinking with the defensive change was that Jack is nothing if not vocal and the defensive line certainly needed organising.

Nice thought. Within seconds of the restart, Sessegnon had the ball in the net again, but what looked a clear offside was confirmed by VAR. Still 2-1.

Then came the game changer. Spurs swept forward in possession. Royal from the byeline cut back across the face of the goal and under no pressure, Salisu seemed to almost fall over his own feet and ended up with his right side to goal, prodding it home with his left. The looks on the defenders faces said it all. An own goal and a real head in hands moment. 3-1 and still about half an hour to go.

Saints heads went down and the almost inevitable happened. They conceded again within two minutes.

Royal was on his own down Saints left, got to the byeline and cut back to Kulusevski, who shot through aline of defenders past Baz into the far corner. Game. Set. Match. 4-1

Ralph sent on Perraud for Djenepo and Diallo for Romeu with about 15 minutes to go, but really it was a lost cause.

Aribo managed to draw a save from Lloris near the end and Son sent a shot straight at Baz and that was really the end of the action, but the thing that baffled me the most was Ralph substituting Walker-Peters for Redmond in the 92 minute. Why??

In spite of the scoreline there was some good football played at times and the three new boys acquitted themselves well, particularly Roméo Lavia, who looked mature way beyond his 18 years.

Summing up, good in parts, bad in parts. All the same problems are there, only the actors have changed. We still need a leader, we still need a wise head at the heart of the defence and my goodness, we still need a decent striker. You think of all the good ones we have had over the years...

I am not going to insult anyones intelligence by choosing a man of the match but I suppose of them all, Lavia way exceeded my expectations.

Onwards to St.Mary's and the first home match of the season against Leeds (or 'Dirty Leeds' as my sister-in-law refers to both the football and rugby league sides from that city). With projected temperatures in excess of 35C the match should be memorable.

IBO Reporter: channonite

Embed from Getty Images

James Ward-Prowse celebrates before it all went wrong



  • 1 Lloris
  • 17 Romero
  • 15 Dier
  • 33 Davies (Lenglet 86')
  • 12 Emerson Royal (Doherty 87')
  • 30 Bentancur, Bkd 75' (Bissouma 86', Bkd 88')
  • 5 Højbjerg
  • 19 R Sessegnon, Bkd 24' (Perisic 66')
  • 21 Kulusevski (Lucas Moura 86')
  • 7 Son Heung-Min
  • 10 Kane


  • 2 Doherty
  • 6 D Sánchez
  • 11 Gil
  • 14 Perisic
  • 20 Forster
  • 24 Spence
  • 27 Lucas Moura
  • 34 Lenglet
  • 38 Bissouma


  • 31 Bazunu
  • 2 Walker-Peters (Redmond 90+2')
  • 43 Valery (Stephens 45')
  • 35 Bednarek
  • 22 Salisu
  • 19 Djenepo (Perraud 72')
  • 8 Ward-Prowse
  • 45 Lavia
  • 6 Romeu (Diallo 75')
  • 7 Aribo
  • 9 A Armstrong (S Armstrong 45')


  • 1 McCarthy
  • 5 Stephens
  • 10 Adams
  • 11 Redmond
  • 15 Perraud
  • 17 S Armstrong
  • 24 Elyounoussi
  • 27 Diallo
  • 37 Bella Kotchap

Match Stats


  • Possession 58%
  • Shots 18
  • Shots on Target 8
  • Corners 10
  • Fouls 11


  • Possession 42%
  • Shots 10
  • Shots on Target 2
  • Corners 2
  • Fouls 6

Officials & Attendance

  • Referee: Andre Marriner
  • Assistants: Simon Long, Richard West
  • Fourth official: Tim Robinson
  • VAR: Paul Tierney
  • Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall

  • Attendance: 61,732

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