Newcastle - Dele Alli silenced the complaints about
Tottenham's lack of signings as the England midfielder sealed a 2-1 win at
Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino's side are the first club in the Premier
League era not to make a single signing since the introduction of the
pre-season transfer window.
That low-key approach has frustrated Tottenham fans, but
Alli lifted the gloom with a clinical header to seal at the points at St James'
Jan Vertonghen opened the scoring with an early header and
Joselu's equaliser was quickly erased by Alli as all three goals came in the
first 18 minutes.
Despite Tottenham's hard-fought victory, there was another
August blank for Harry Kane, who started even though the England striker had
only returned to training on Monday following his notable World Cup exploits.
The World Cup Golden Boot winner has now gone 14 games
spanning 988 minutes without scoring in the opening month of the campaign,
though on this occasion, it mattered little.
The season kicked-off to the backdrop of a protest staged by
hundreds of Newcastle fans outside the nearby branch of Mike Ashley's Sports
Ashley, the club's notoriously parsimonious billionaire
owner, saw fit to spend $11.5 million on the ailing department store group
House of Fraser. Meanwhile his Magpies posted a net transfer profit of 20
million, despite the arrival of seven new signings, the most expensive of
which, Japanese international forward Yoshinori Muto, cost 9.5m from German
Tottenham fans appear rather less dissatisfied, despite
their club failing to make a single addition to Pochettino's squad since the
end of last season.
Such inactivity proved no impediment as the visitors rode
their luck to seal a repeat of their opening day victory at St James' Park 12
The visitors took an eighth-minute lead when Christian
Eriksen's corner was headed towards goal by Davinson Sanchez, allowing fellow
defender Vertonghen to find the net off the underside of the bar with a deft
glancing header which crossed the line before Martin Dubravka was able to claw
the ball back.
Newcastle were level within three minutes when Sanchez and
Vertonghen were caught ball-watching as Matt Ritchie sent over an inviting
centre from the right which Joselu headed into the bottom corner of the net
past an exposed Hugo Lloris.
With momentum on their side and a full-house roaring them
on, Benitez's side looked set to build from a position of strength.
But thanks to more questionable defending, their parity
lasted just seven minutes.
Tottenham's second goal was simple in its construction and
should have been comfortably dealt with.
Newcastle allowed Alli a free run at the far post to send a
precise header back across Dubravka into the far corner from Serge Aurier's
inviting cross, which was whipped in from the right.
An increasingly open second period surprisingly failed to
produce further addition to the score, as both goalkeepers excelled.
Dubravka saved well to deny Alli when the midfielder
deflected Kane's mis-hit shot towards goal.
Newcastle's Slovakian keeper provided an even better stop to
keep out a well-struck effort from Moussa Sissoko.
Not to be outdone at the other end, Lloris stood up well to
block Ayoze Perez's shot.
The Frenchman was fortunate, however, as Kenedy's control
let the Brazilian down at a crucial point, when a more assured first touch
would have put the on-loan Chelsea midfielder in on goal.
Mo Diame and substitute Salomon Rondon both struck the
woodwork as Newcastle pressed for what would have been a fully deserved
equaliser, but Tottenham held firm.