|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)||WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 (0)|
|Date : – Saturday 20th August 2022||Kick off : – 12.30|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,298|
|Referee : – Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)||Linesmen : – Mr. Adrian Homes; Mr. Mark Scholes|
|Fourth official : – Robert Jones|
|VAR official : – Lee Mason||VAR Assistant : – Lee Betts|
|Weather : – Sunny, very warm|
|Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Paxton Road end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 8 minutes
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS|
|Kane 63m 36s||None|
|Ait-Nouri (foul on Kulusevski) 56||Hojbjerg (foul on Guedes) 11|
|Collins (confrontation with Kane) 67||Kane (confrontation with Collins) 67|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS|
|1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)||1.||Jose SA|
|6.||Davinson SANCHEZ||19.||JONNY Otto|
|15.||Eric DIER||4.||Nathan COLLINS|
|33.||Ben DAVIES||23.||Max KILMAN|
|12.||Emerson ROYAL||3.||Rayan AIT-NOURI ( 22. Nelson SEMEDO 71)|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||28.||Joao MOUTINHO ( 32. Leander DENDONCKER 58)|
|30.||Rodrigo BENTACUR||8.||Ruben NEVES (c)|
|14.||Ivan PERISIC ( 19. Ryan SESSEGNON 76)||27.||Matheus NUNES|
|7.||Pedro NETO ( 37. Adama TRAORE 71)|
|21.||Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 38. Yves BISSOUMA 86)|
|7.||Heung-Min SON ( 9. RICHARLISON 76 )||10.||Daniel PODENCE ( 9. Raul JIMINEZ 59)|
|17.||Goncalo GUEDES ( 11. Hee-Chan HWANG 81)|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||13.||Matija SARKIC|
|25.||Japhet TANGANGA||15.||Willy BOLY|
|34.||Clement LENGLET||24.||Toti GOMES|
|2.||Matt DOHERTY||39.||Luke CUNDLE|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Manager : – Antonio Conte||Manager : – Bruno Lage|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – Castore|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – AstroPay
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – 12Bet
|Colours : – White shirts with volt yellow trim between two navy blue lines
Navy Blue shorts
White socks with volt yellow line between two navy blue bands around shin
|Colours : – Gold shirts with black trim
Black shorts with Gold trim
|In a match that wasn’t the greatest watch of all-time, Harry Kane’s single goal decided it and pushed him into the realms of all-time goal-scoring legends. His 185th Premier League goal – all scored for one club, giving him a new record – was his 250th for Spurs and it took the club’s total to 1,000 goals at home in Premier League matches and it was just what Wolverhampton Wanderers were missing from their game.
Much like last week, Spurs were poor in the first half and for all the territorial dominance the visitors had as they pressed high up the pitch, the lack of a clinical finisher meant that any hope that they had of getting anything from the game went begging. It is not hard to see why, although good technically, they are a side on a poor run stretching back to last season, this being their 10th Premier League match without a win. While their fans were generally supportive of the team, there were rumblings overheard afterwards that Bruno Lage might not be the man to take them forward as the Portuguese heavy team struggle to score. They were well organised, with a back three becoming seven when they didn’t have the ball in their own half, which made it difficult for Spurs to find any space to play in or to find a way around the myriad gold shirts. However, to maintain that for the whole of the match takes a lot of stamina and a lot of concentration.
It was a quiet start to the game, with the first effort on goal coming from Neves, who hit a volley from a cleared corner straight down Lloris’ throat. The Wolves captain, who is sought after by Manchester United and the Woolwich side, spent a lot of time in the referee’s ear and an equal amount of time on the floor, as he was happy to dish out the fouls, but didn’t like being tackled and enjoyed nothing more to moan about it when he wasn’t given what he wanted.
In trying to play out from the back, Wolves had a plan to close them down quickly and force Spurs into playing long. When the ball did get to Son, he was brought down by Collins wide on our left wing and from the resulting free-kick, any hint of the effect that set-piece coach Gianni Vio has had appeared absent, as Sonny played the ball straight off and into the side-netting at the near post. As Wolves played the ball out, a pass through the middle of the Spurs midfield freed Guedes just inside his own half and as Ben Davies and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg challenged, the player went down and the Dane was booked.
Davinson Sanchez, in for the injured Romero, had a fine match and made two good tackles in the Spurs box, as Ait-Nouri tried to bundle his way past him and while the ball was difficult to keep away from the Spurs defensive third, only a shot from Neves that whizzed wide of the goal was coming from their possession. Their best chance came in the 34th minute, when Neves shot was charged down by Rodrigo Bentancur, with the ball coming off him and pinballing around our penalty box. It hit Royal without him knowing much about it, bounced back into the middle of the penalty area and with Sanchez, unable to reach it, Podence had space to hit the ball as it bounced up. However, he got over it too much and dug the ball into the ground, but bounced it wide from a position not too far away from where Ward-Prowse scored on the opening day of the season with a similar effort.
Referee Simon Hooper was having a nightmare from the start. Having spent most of his time officiating in the Championship, it showed. Inconsistency in letting some “contact” go, while penalising others and not even being able to determine that a Son corner coming off Kilman’s head and going out the other side was not a corner. While Sa was taking an age over every goal-kick, it was late in the game when he warned Hugo for time-wasting the first occasion he took more than the usual time to take a place-kick. I thought the whole reason for referees to work their way up was to improve, but the way he reffed this match failed to help the game flow or for the players to understand what was going to be given and what wasn’t.
Still keeping the ball up the pitch, Wolves found Guedes for a shot, but it lacked any power and Lloris was easily behind it, although he was left standing when Neves’ flighted a ball into the middle of the penalty area from the right and Matheus Nunes, who glanced a header at goal that missed by about a foot. Harry Kane went similarly close with a looping header from Ivan Perisic’s cross from a tight position on the left wing. Outjumping Kilman, the ball was heading towards the top corner until Sa reached up to push the ball wide. Nothing came from Tottenham’s corner leading to a long hoof forward that caught Sanchez’s back as it came down and Davies was in the right place to deflect a shot from Nunes into the side netting, with the half ending when Wolves put the ball over the bar from it.
It was far from the most exhilarating 45 minutes of football, but Spurs had to dig in to deny Wolves any clear-cut chances and for their part, Wolves didn’t look like they would e able to take them if they came along. The half-time interview with Paul Coyte saw Martin Chivers take us through his two goals at Molineux in the first leg of the UEFA Cup Final of 1972.
Coming out for the restart, Spurs looked a different side. Winning two quick corners, the second almost found Sanchez in the middle, but he couldn’t make contact with the ball. The Kane provided a cross for Son to head over the bar before Kane produced a diving header to put Kulusevski’s right wing cross against the crossbar. It came out to Sonny, but the ball wouldn’t come down for him and he could only hit a weak bobbling shot straight to Sa. Dejan was proving a problem for Wolves down our right wing, so it was no surprise that Ait-Nouri was booked for pulling the Swede back by his shoulders in what would have been considered dangerous even in rugby. Kane was alert and knocked the free-kick forward quickly to send Son away, but he didn’t bring it under control and the chance was gone.
There was a shout for a penalty when a Kane header from a corner hit Collins, but it wasn’t likely to be a penalty if it had hit his arm, but soon after Kulusevski came in off the right wing and played Son into the right hand channel in the area. Taking the ball first time, his shot appeared to be deflected onto the near post by Collins, but a goal-kick was given and with this ref we shouldn’t have been surprised. But it didn’t really matter, as four minutes later Spurs went ahead. Perisic’s step over fooled Jonny, although Collins blocked his cross and when Son played the corner into an area ahead of the near post, Perisic stooped to help the ball on to the far post, where Harry Kane was alone to head into an empty net. Collins raged at the referee claiming he had been held, but it had been him doing the holding and when he let go, he forgot to make our striker, who had as easy a chance to score as any of his previous 249 goals. And yes … the set-piece coach worked a wonder there, as he did for the equalising goal at the end of the Chelsea match !
So, a moment’s lack of concentration handed Tottenham the opening, but Collins hadn’t finished feeling aggrieved about the goal as when Wolves went forward, the ball was cleared to Kane, with Neves diving into a tackle on him and then abusing him to get up. Wolves won a corner, Kane was running back to defend it, when Neves stepped across him and then went down like a sack of spuds, with Collins then barging into Harry before the players all surrounded them. Hooper, seemingly not knowing what was going on (much like the rest of his afternoon) booked Kane and Collins, while Neves got away with his sordid part in the affair.
Perisic was making light of his age as he ran at the Wolves defence, who didn’t know which way he was going to go and he got into the box with a shot on, but he tried to play it inside to Hojbjerg and the pass got cut out. From a Perisic long-throw, Collins headed it up into the air and Royal won it, going upwards again and having fallen to the floor, the Brazilian tried to play the ball goal-wards with his studs, with the ball blocked and knocked out for a corner. After a couple of substitutions, Wolves got a free-kick when he caught Neves 25 yards out and the permanently aggrieved midfielder got up to take it (not that injured then ?) and tried to bend it in to the bottom corner of Hugo’s goal but the ball missed the left hand post by about two feet. Lloris was hurrying across his line, but covering it in case it had been on target.
Conte decided it was time to bring on some fresh legs, with Sessegnon taking over from Perisic and Richarlison for Son, who ironically was just starting to get into the match. Also ironically, Neves was in the ref’s ear again about the Spurs players not leaving at the nearest point. When the score had been 0-0 and the visitors made two substitutions, they made them one after the other, with players slowly walking to the halfway line to go off from some distance away. When they made two substitutions at 1-0 down, they went off at the nearest point, so when the boot was on the other foot, he wasn’t best pleased. One of their latter subs was Adama Traore and with him bombing on and only a one goal lead, it was a little concerning that he had come on. As it turned out, we needn’t had worried. His touch was poor, his passing loose and when Wolves worked the ball from left to right across the pitch to him in space, instead of putting the ball into the box, he played it back inside with a square pass, with his team-mates exasperated at him. On this cameo, £10 million seems a lot to pay for him.
in contrast, Richarlison was everything that Troare was not. Racing to close players down, linking with his team-mates and running at the visiting defence. Taking the ball past the last man, Neves had to track back to challenge him in the box as he was about to shoot. The crowd wanted a penalty, but again, it didn’t look likely. When we conceded a corner, Dier’s towering header cleared it and Hojbjerg was sent away, running the ball over half the length f the pitch to win a throw-in deep into the Wolves half.
Sub Jiminez made a mazy run into the Spurs box, going past a couple of players before spurning the chance to shoot from a narrow angle, choosing to play the ball across the face of goal, where it was kicked away. At the other end Sessegnon’s low ball across goal looked for Richarlison, but was deflected back to Sa and Hojbjerg tried a shot that didn’t tax Sa, who booted it upfield to Jiminez. He won the header, but as he was the only gold shirt up there, Spurs tidied it up as Lage went ballistic on the touchline. Another burst forward from the left by Richarlison into the box with two opponents for company ended with him taking the shot really early to try and catch the keeper out, but the ball flashed the wrong side of the near post.
A sunny afternoon, made better by the 1-0 win and against a team who are set up to make life difficult, it was all the more pleasing. Games like this have proved beyond Spurs in the past, with teams sitting deep and Tottenham unable to work out how to overcome it. Having taken points we didn’t get in the corresponding fixtures last season against South Coast Big Club and Chelsea, this was another +3 points as we lost 0-2 here last season against Wolves, when they played much the same way. Conte hit the nail on the head when he said the team have to have more resilience. It won’t help in every instance, but hopefully it will more often than not.
The limelight fell rightly upon Harry Kane with his match-winning goal that broke more records than the religious US zealots when John Lennon claimed the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. However, for me the man of the match was Rodrigo Bentancur. Since his arrival he has run the Spurs midfield, floating across the turf as he moves forward with the ball, crunching into tackles and showing a presence on the ball that has rarely been seen since Mousa Dembele wore the Lilywhite shirt. Different in style, but equally effective, today Rodrigo was all over the pitch. Linking play to create attacks, breaking the lines with his runs with the ball and winning the ball back in his own penalty area, it was the sort of display that doesn’t catch the eye like others do, but one that was the foundation of Tottenham’s success.
It was a game where Wolves were huffing and puffing, but in the end they could not blow the Spurs defensive doors down and the three little points added to our total to put us top of the league for a few hours.
THE HEATHROW SPUR
|Leicester City||1||South Coast Big Club||2|
|Crystal Palace||3||Aston Villa||1|
|AFC Bournemouth||0||Woolwich Wanderers||3|
|West Ham United London||0||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|Newcash United||3||Mancashter City||3|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|5||Brighton & Hove Albion||3||2||1||0||4||1||7||+3|
|11||South Coast Big Club||3||1||1||1||5||7||4||-2|
|20||West Ham United London||3||0||0||3||0||5||0||-5|