A second half header from Harry Kane continued Tottenham’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season after a 1-0 victory over Wolves at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It was the visitors who began the game as the livelier team, with Goncalo Guedes proving particularly threatening. The Portuguese was thwarted by a sliding challenge by Davinson Sanchez before he fired inches wide of Hugo Lloris’ near post from the edge of the penalty area.
Son Heung-min attempted an audacious free-kick from a narrow angle that trickled into the side netting as the home crowd began to grow restless amid pressure from Wolves in the opposite direction.
Wolves ought to have worked the Spurs goal just after the half-hour mark when the ball fell invitingly to Daniel Podence inside the penalty area following Pedro Neto’s effort from distance, but the Portuguese snatched at his effort.
Kane was then inches away from giving the home side the lead from a corner, but a crucial intervention from Max Kilman denied the England international lurking at the back post.
Matheus Nunes almost marked his Wolves debut with a goal shortly before half-time. A delicious pick-out from Ruben Neves allowed the midfielder to steal a march on Ben Davies, but his glancing header trickled inches wide of Lloris’ far post.
Spurs emerged for the second half with renewed intent as Kane clattered the crossbar with a header from inside the penalty area. Nathan Collins then denied Son a near-certain strike on the goal when he recovered to nip the ball away from the forward with only Jose Sa to beat.
Kane was denied from Collins minutes later after a Dejan Kulusevski pull-back, while Son struck the outside of the post from close-range as the home side cranked up the pressure.
And it told in the 63rd minute when Kane, having been denied from a similar position in the first half, headed Antonio Conte’s side ahead. Ivan Perisic ghosted infront of Rayan Ait-Nouri at the front post to flick his header across goal where Kane had the simplest of tasks in nodding into an unguarded net.
Ruben Neves nearly snatched an equaliser for the visitors when his curling free-kick sneaked inches wide of Lloris’ near post from 25 yards out as the home side clung on for victory.
Here’s how both teams rated.
GK: Hugo Lloris – 5/10 – Wolves struggled to test him with shots on target and he wasn’t required to produce any heroics.
RCB: Davinson Sanchez – 4/10 – Wolves seemed content to sit off the Colombian when he received possession. Lacked some basic defensive instincts and was involved in a mix-up with Lloris on the stroke of half-time that almost led to a Wolves goal.
CB: Eric Dier – 5/10 – Struggled with the diminutive movement of Guedes, who often dropped off in search of the ball.
LCB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – One of the few Spurs players who looked to inject some directness into their attacking play in a lacklustre first half. Assured defensively.
RWB: Emerson Royal – 4/10 – Can’t fault his endeavour, but his lack of guile in possession was evident throughout.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 7/10 – Booked inside 11 minutes for illegally preventing a counter-attack, curbing his aggressive instincts. But he certainly drove Spurs forward in the second half.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur – 5/10 – Pedestrian in possession and lacked penetration with his distribution. A non-factor for most of the afternoon.
LWB: Ivan Perisic – 8/10 – Delivered from a seemingly impossible position towards Kane in the first half that almost led to the opening goal. Really direct in his dribbling and it was his flick-on at the front post which created Kane’s opener.
RW: Dejan Kulusevski – 6/10 – Drew a couple of smart fouls for Spurs on the break and improved as an attacking threat in the second half. Supplied both Kane and Son after the interval.
ST: Harry Kane – 8/10 – Started the game on the periphery, but grew into the match as it developed and ultimately had the final say. Lurked with his usual predatory instinct at the back post to break the deadlock from a corner.
LW: Son Heung-min – 6/10 – Like all of Spurs’ attacking trio, he worked his way into the game as an attacking force after the interval. Struck the post with a decent chance from a Kulusevski effort.
SUB: Ryan Sessegnon (76′ for Perisic) – N/A
SUB: Richarlison (76′ for Son) – N/A
SUB: Yves Bissouma (86′ for Kulusevski) – N/A
Manager: Antonio Conte – 6/10 – His decision to hand a first start to Perisic bore fruit after the Croatian teed up the decisive goal.
GK: Jose Sa – 6/10 – Really assured in possession, pinging a couple of supreme long passes which sprung Wolves in-behind.
RB: Jonny – 6/10 – Often tucked infield to form a back three in possession, helping to marshal the threat from Son sprinting in-behind.
CB: Nathan Collins – 6/10 – Conceded a cheap foul on Son on the byline which set the tone for his aggressive performance. Denied the South Korean an almost certain goal with a good recovery tackle, but he switched off the back post to allow Kane to sneak in and score.
CB: Max Kilman – 5/10 – Made a crucial intervention with his head from a corner to deny Kane a tap-in in the first half. Really assured defensively.
LB: Rayan Ait-Nouri – 7/10 – Provided assurance in possession, always looking to overlap down the flank and pose danger to Tottenham. Wolves’ most threatening player.
CM: Joao Moutinho – 5/10 – Showed a few nice touches, although he struggled to influence the game in the same way as Neves.
CM: Ruben Neves – 8/10 – Really confident taking the ball with his back to goal deep in the pitch, while he proved a constant creative thorn for Spurs in the final third. Terrific display.
CM: Matheus Nunes – 6/10 – Thrown straight into the side following his club-record move and almost marked his debut with a goal before the interval, heading narrowly wide.
RW: Pedro Neto – 6/10 – Had the unenviable task of having to track Perisic back into his own half, but he fulfilled his defensive obligations to a tee. A direct threat on the ball, but his final pass was absent.
ST: Goncalo Guedes – 6/10 – Looked lively on his debut in a Wolves jersey, having a sighting at goal in the first half. Struggled to occupy Dier from a physical perspective.
LW: Daniel Podence – 5/10 – Had a decent sighting at goal in the first half when he snatched at a loose ball inside the Tottenham penalty area. Showed a lot of promise in his ability to link with Ait-Nouri on the left.
SUB: Leander Dendoncker (58′ for Moutinho) – 5/10 – Had more of an impact on proceedings than Moutinho.
SUB: Raul Jimenez (59′ for Podence) – 6/10 – Offered a physical threat upfront for Wolves and looked lively.
SUB: Nelson Semedo (71′ for Ait-Nouri) – N/A
SUB: Adama Traore (71′ for Neto) – N/A
SUB: Hwang Hee-chan (81′ for Guedes) – N/A
Manager: Bruno Lage – 6/10 – Could do little to improve his side’s lack of killer instinct in the final third.