Tottenham maintained their unbeaten start to the season at Wolves, with Dele Alli scoring his first league goal in 17 months and Harry Kane making his long-awaited return from his extended summer break.
In a tense encounter at Molineux, Alli’s ninth-minute penalty was enough to separate the teams. Wolves were unlucky not to come away with a point, despite being cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd.
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When Adama Traore was sent through by Ruben Neves, he shot straight at Hugo Lloris, wasting the best of a string of chances for the hosts. Tottenham, on the other hand, could legitimately argue that they should have won by a larger margin.
It was a memorable day for new Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who was a hugely popular figure during his four years as Wolves manager before leaving in the summer. Now he appears to be restoring some stability to a club that had appeared to be in disarray in recent months.
All of the hype surrounding Harry Kane has overshadowed Nuno’s positive contributions to Tottenham Hotspur since his arrival following the club’s protracted search for Jose Mourinho’s replacement.
One of the tactical changes made by the Portuguese is to put Alli in a slightly deeper role than he is used to. The 25-year-old was a standout for England at the 2018 World Cup, but he has fallen far down Gareth Southgate’s priority list since then. He appears to have benefited from a new manager as well as a summer off.
Alli was heavily involved at Molineux, taking advantage of the cover provided by defensive midfield duo Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp, after a decent opening-day contribution to the memorable win against Manchester City.
There’s nothing wrong with his confidence, either, given that Alli was the one who was brought down by Sa as he ran onto Sergio Reguilon’s through-ball before calmly rolling the penalty into the bottom corner.
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The time span between Alli’s last two top-flight goals was exactly the same as the time span between full stadiums being at games, as his previous effort at Burnley was in the weekend before lockdown in March 2020.