Premier League
TottenhamTottenham Hotspur3Aston VillaAston Villa1

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
John McGinn scored in Aston Villa's play-off final win over Derby County in May
Villa goal scorer John McGinn was also on target in the play-off final win over Derby County in May

Harry Kane says Tottenham are aware of the standards they have to reach to be competitive this season after they suffered a scare before overcoming Aston Villa.

Liverpool beat Norwich City 4-1 on Friday before champions Manchester City thrashed West Ham 5-0 to get their campaigns off to convincing starts.

Spurs were on course for a surprise defeat at home to newly promoted Villa in the late game on Saturday before scoring three times in the final 17 minutes to win 3-1, Kane grabbing two of the goals.

They were the England captain's first goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which opened in April, and Kane added: "Liverpool set the standard, then City so we know it's going to be a tough, long season.

"We have got off to a winning start and there are still lots of things to work on."

Kane gets Spurs out of jail

Despite the score, this was far from a straightforward victory for last season's Champions League runners-up.

Tottenham were sluggish for long periods and were heading for defeat before turning the game on its head after substitute Christian Eriksen injected some much-needed creativity to the team.

Despite failing to sign Argentine forward Paulo Dybala, Spurs have strengthened significantly this summer in an attempt to improve on last season's fourth-place finish.

But they started in similar fashion to their lacklustre form at the end of the 2018-19 season, when they won just one of their last five domestic games.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was missing several important players because of injury and fitness, including Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, and new additions Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani lo Celso.

The team lacked invention and sharpness before new club record £53.8m signing Tanguy Ndombele cancelled out John McGinn's opener after Villa failed to clear their lines following Tom Heaton's save to keep out Davinson Sanchez.

Suddenly, Spurs had confidence and momentum and Kane, who had never scored in August until last season, made sure of the points with a quick-fire double in the final four minutes.

He made it 2-1 after Jack Grealish, a Spurs transfer target 12 months ago, lost possession, and then wrapped it up with a clinical finish which left Villa crestfallen.

It was hardly vintage Spurs but at least they are up and running before next Saturday's visit to champions Manchester City.

Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Mauricio Pochettino pleased after winning start

Villa's harsh reminder of life in the Premier League

For long periods, Villa looked set to mark their return to the Premier League with at least a point.

In the end, the team that finished fifth in the Championship table last season were handed a cruel reminder of the realities of Premier League football.

Tottenham only managed one shot on target in the first half, but by the end of the 90 minutes they had produced 31 efforts in total - 10 of which were blocked as Villa defended heroically for long spells.

Having been absent from the top flight for three years, Villa quickly made up for lost time by scoring with their first shot to stun the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

McGinn kept his cool to slot past Hugo Lloris after Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose failed to get a challenge in on the Scotland midfielder.

Spurs were a shadow of the team that beat Manchester City and Ajax on the way to last season's Champions League final and Villa had opportunities to extend their advantage.

New signing Trezeguet created space for an opening but could not finish while Grealish also had a chance, before Tottenham turned the game on its head in the closing stages.

Despite defeat, Villa boss Dean Smith will be positive about the next nine months. His side played with freedom and a spirit which suggests they are capable of holding their own at this level.

Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Dean Smith focusing on positives after defeat by Spurs

Man of the match - Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Tottenham forward Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Aston Villa
But for Harry Kane, Spurs would have started the season without a win. Villa did a good job at frustrating the hosts before the England captain struck two late blows

'We were confused' - what they said

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: "We were a bit confused and that is my fault, I'm the manager, but we made a lot of mistakes and didn't work well in the first half.

"In the second half we fixed the problems, our positional game was completely different and we moved the ball better.

"It's very important for us to start with a victory, we have a lot of work to do."

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: "We want to be competitive in this league. Next week we'll be walking out at Villa Park - but we'll be doing so with zero points and that's something we have to work on.

"The better team won on the day in the second half. We were perhaps unfortunate with the goals. Their physicality shone through in the end.

"The first half performance and our defensive organisation was very good. They're not Champions League finalists for nothing - they have a very well coached group of players.

"We're always learning lessons, today's game has set a standard for us."

A game for the debutants to remember - the stats

  • With Aston Villa's John McGinn and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele each finding the net, this game was the first match to see both sides have a player score a Premier League debut goal since Burnley (Scott Arfield) v Chelsea (Diego Costa) in August 2014.
  • Ndombele is the first player to score on his Premier League debut for Tottenham since Eric Dier against West Ham in August 2014.
  • Kane has scored six goals in six Premier League appearances against Aston Villa.
  • Villa's Jack Grealish has lost each of his last 19 Premier League games, the longest run of consecutive defeats suffered by a player in the history of the competition.
  • Tottenham have won 37 Premier League games after finding themselves behind at half-time, more than any other side.
  • Villa are winless in their last 19 Premier League away games (D3 L16), losing their last eight in a row.

What's next?

Tottenham visit champions Manchester City (17:30 BST) next Saturday while Villa entertain Bournemouth (15:00) on the same day.

Line-ups

Tottenham

Formation 4-3-1-2

  • 1Lloris
  • 16Walker-Peters
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 3Rose
  • 28NdombeleSubstituted forSkippat 90+2'minutes
  • 8WinksSubstituted forEriksenat 64'minutes
  • 17Sissoko
  • 11LamelaBooked at 87minsSubstituted forNkoudouat 88'minutes
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 12Wanyama
  • 14Nkoudou
  • 15Dier
  • 22Gazzaniga
  • 23Eriksen
  • 24Aurier
  • 29Skipp

Aston Villa

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Heaton
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 22Engels
  • 40Mings
  • 3Taylor
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forDouglas Luizat 82'minutes
  • 17TrézéguetSubstituted forJotaat 59'minutes
  • 7McGinn
  • 10Grealish
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 9WesleySubstituted forKodjiaat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 8Lansbury
  • 12Steer
  • 15Konsa
  • 18Targett
  • 23Jota
  • 26Kodjia
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
60,407

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home70%
Away30%
Shots
Home31
Away7
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home14
Away0
Fouls
Home13
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Aston Villa 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Aston Villa 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Kane.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Douglas Luiz.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Oliver Skipp replaces Tanguy Ndombele.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).

  7. Post update

    Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Goal!

    Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, Aston Villa 1. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou replaces Erik Lamela.

  12. Booking

    Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Aston Villa 1. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Tyrone Mings.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur).

  18. Post update

    John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Douglas Luiz replaces Conor Hourihane.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Danny Rose with a cross following a corner.

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