I am very grateful to Declan Mulcahy for this excellent and comprehensive report.
Saturday 20 August 2022, 12:30pm
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-2-1):
1 H Lloris (c); 6 D Sanchez, 15 E Dier, 33 B Davies; 12 Emerson Royal, 5 P-E Hojbjerg, 30 R Bentancur; 14 I Perisic (19 R Sessegnon 76); 21 D Kulusevski (38 Y Bissouma 86), 7 H-M Son (9 Richarlison 76); 10 H Kane
Subs not used: 20 F Forster, 2 M Doherty, 25 J Tanganga, 34 C Lenglet, 27 Lucas Moura, 11 B Gil
Booked: Hojbjerg (11 foul on Guedes), Kane (67 confrontation with Collins)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-5-2): Bruno Lage
1 J Sa, 19 Jonny, 4 N Collins, 23 M Kilman; 7 P Neto (37 A Traore 71), 27 M Nunes, 8 R Neves (c), 28 J Moutinho (32 L Dendoncker 58), 3 R Ait Nouri (22 N Semedo 71); 10 D Podence (9 R Jimenez 59), 17 G Guedes (11 H-C Hwang 81)
Subs not used: 13 M Sarkic, 15 W Boly, 24 Toti Gomes, 39 L Cundle
Booked: Ait Nouri (56 foul on Kulusevski), Collins (67 confrontation with Kane)
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Attendance: 61,298
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes.
Fourth Official: Robert Jones.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Lee Betts.
Spurs and Kane achieve new milestones in hard-fought win
On paper this should have been a reasonably easy fixture for Spurs. It was far from it. They had to work hard for the points against a well-organised Wolves team. They were fortunate that Wolves are in a goal drought having gone 264 minutes without scoring a goal.
Spurs made two changes from the team against Chelsea with Sanchez making his first appearance of the season replacing the injured Romero. Ivan Perisic made his full debut taking over from Sessegnon. Antonio Conte was present on the touch line having escaped a suspension following his contretemps with Thomas Tuchel at the conclusion of the Chelsea game last weekend.
Bruno Lage made three changes from the Wolves team which drew 0-0 with Fulham last weekend. Matheus Nunes made his club debut, Goncalo Guedes made his full debut and Joao Moutinho returned from injury at the expense of Gibbs-White, Dendoncker and Hwang. Gibbs-White had joined Nottingham Forest during the week. Both of Wolves goal-scorers in the unexpected 2-0 win at this venue last season, Dendoncker and Jimenez were thus on the bench, the latter on his return from injury. Also among the substitutes was Adama Traore, a Spurs target last season, who had returned to Wolves after his unsuccessful stint with Barcelona. Wolves selected seven Portuguese players the joint-most ever from one country in a Premier League match with the exception of the home nations.
Spurs played poorly for most of the first half. During the first twenty minutes Kulusevski and Emerson mounted a few forays down the right flank without creating any chances.
Wolves were far more effective. Neves had two attempts from outside the box one of which Lloris saved and the other was narrowly wide. Hojbjerg was booked early in game fouling Guedes when Wolves attempted to counter-attack.
The difference between the two sides after the first twenty minutes was more pronounced. Neto had a shot blocked in the box. The ball rebounded to Podence. It was a clear opportunity but he shot wide.
Then Guedes made a run into the box but Sanchez did enough to neutralize his shot.
Neves set Nunes up for a header which went narrowly wide. In time added on Sanchez failed to clear from Guedes and Nunes’s shot deflected wide.
Spurs created only one chance in the half with a minute remaining. Perisic crossed from the left. Kane rose for a fine headed effort which was tipped over by Sa.
Given the somewhat disappointing first half it was a surprise that Conte didn’t make any changes at the interval. However there was an immediate improvement. Within the first two minutes Spurs won two corners. From one Sanchez rose unopposed but was unable to connect with the ball. A couple of other headed efforts followed. Son had an opportunity but headed over. Kane had one header hit the bar after a Kulusevski cross and another was tipped over by Sa.
Wolves had a chance when Ait-Nouri made a run down the left into the box but Lloris saved. Shortly afterwards the same Wolves player ended a run by Kulusevski.
Son had a chance but Collins blocked his effort. A few minutes later Kulusevski set Kane up but Wolves' new centre-back was there again to block the shot. Son then hit the right post with a shot.
Collins was in action again conceding a corner. Son took the corner on the left. Perisic flicked it on and Kane on the other side of the goal scored with a header. It was Kane’s 185th Premier league goal and his 250th competitive goal for the club. It came 10 years and two days after Kane made his Premier League debut for Spurs away to Newcastle United on 18 August 2012.
Kane’s 185 Premier League goals put him in fourth position in terms of goals scored in the Premier League behind Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andrew Cole (187). The three players above him all scored for more than one Premier League team. So Kane’s 185 goals are the most scored by a player for one Premier League team.
This was Spurs 1,000th home Premier League goal. Their home record is as follows:
P W D L F - A GD Pts
578 313 132 133 1000-619 381 1071
They are the fifth team to score 1,000 home Premier League goals after Manchester United (1,215), Arsenal (1,158), Liverpool (1,157) and Chelsea (1,123).
Shortly after the goal Neves appeared to have fouled Kane but wasn’t penalised. The next time Kane encountered Neves he gave him a gentle nudge. Collins reacted immediately and pushed Kane. They stood up to each other and both were booked for their pains.
Perisic made a fine run down the left towards the box. He could have unleashed a shot. Instead he sent a pass into the box but there was no one there to collect it.
Son conceded a free kick outside the Spurs penalty area but Neves’s shot was narrowly wide. Soon after Richarlison replaced Son and Sessegnon came on for Perisic. Wolves are an unlucky team for Son.
This is the eighth time he has played against them and has never scored.
About five minutes after his arrival Richarlison made a good run into the box but was halted by Neves.
Wolves to their credit never gave up and had three consecutive corners around the 90th minute.
This was a hard-earned win and the points weren’t safe until the final whistle. Perisic and Kane were Spurs two best players. Collins looks like a very good signing for Wolves.
Lage said afterwards “We controlled the game in the first half and created chances but in the end we go without any points.” This was Wolves 10th consecutive Premier League game without a win.
Conte meanwhile praised Kane. "We are talking about a world-class striker but what makes me happy is not only with the ball that we have a top scorer, we have a player that is involved and works a lot for the team".
After three games last season Spurs had won all the games 1-0 and topped the table. They currently are second but will likely drop down another place before the end of the weekend.
There are some very encouraging aspects to the start of this season. Last season they lost all three corresponding fixtures. So the results this year represent a gain of seven points. In the last two games they have drawn away against a top team and won at home today without playing at their best. Winning points while underperforming is a hallmark of a good team and hopefully the first three matches have provided a foundation to build on for the season.