Dele Alli made Wolves pay the penalty for having lots of the ball and plenty of attacking intent without having the end product to punish Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux.
Harry Kane took his place in the Tottenham Hotspur squad that faced Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on, with the match also marking a 300th league appearance the club for captain Hugo Lloris.
Raul Jiminez made a welcome return to the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ starting 11 following nine months out since fracturing his skull in late 2020.
Wolves Pay Penalty for Final Third Profligacy
Wolves Show Attacking Intent but Lack End Product
Wolves’ new manager Bruno Lage got his players fired up for this match against former manager Nuno Espírito Santo and their start was electric with wave after wave of attack putting Spurs on the back foot. Adama Traore was causing Japhet Tanganga all sorts of issues on the Wolves left hand side with his pace and brute strength. Lucas Moura and Oliver Skipp both tried to help their colleague out but they just bounced off the winger like he was made out of armour plating.
Traore is undoubtedly exciting to watch when he runs at defenders, but his final ball is still an area of his game he must work on. For all of Wolves’ attacking intent – for much of the first half they had nine players encamped in the Spurs half of the pitch – Lloris was rarely troubled and on seven minutes, it was Tottenham who took the lead.
Sergio Reguilon played a neat ball behind the Wolves back line and Dele nipped in ahead of keeper Jose Sa to win and then score the penalty. It was clever play from Dele, who left his leg behind. VAR did check to see if there was a case for simulation, but the penalty stood and Spurs were ahead.
Harry Kane Returns
Kane started on the bench for Tottenham and entered the field of play in the 71st minute to boos from the home fans and rapturous applause and chants of ‘he’s one of our own’ from the otherwise subdued away support. Ten minutes later and Kane nearly grabbed Spurs’ second after some brilliant play by Steven Bergwijn. As Kane tried to slip the ball under the advancing Sa, however, the keeper was equal to his effort.
Whether Kane remains at Tottenham remains to be seen, but when he did come on, he linked up the play between the defence and attack much better and Spurs were more cohesive. They will undoubtedly be a weaker team should he leave. Daniel Levy still holds the cards over the transfer saga, and if he does finally give in to Manchester City, he will be leaving his club with little time to spend the money. It is vital that the chairman makes assurances over the situation rather than remaining silent as has often been the case during his tenure at the North London club.
Adama Traore – A Frustrating Enigma
Traore is a good football player. Everything he does is positive. He runs at players, he is almost impossible to tackle or move off the ball but he is also frustrating, especially for the fans that watch him every week. He simply does not have the needed end product. He gets past players and has chances to cross as he showed against Tottenham, but he rarely beats the first man. On top of this, his shots are often wayward, meaning all this endeavours come to nought all to often.
Bruno Lage needs to work with the player and polish that rough side of his game otherwise he will be a player that could have been great but never achieves his potential. Had he possessed that end product, Tottenham would surely have been looking at a defeat. Along with his teammates, however, he managed to let Spurs off the hook time and time again. Although, it must be said, Tottenham look a more formidable backline this season than under Jose Mourinho.
Tottenham Impressive at the Back
For all of the attacks that Wolves launched at the Spurs defence, the north London side stood firm with Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier looking a more coherent backline than they had last season. Oliver Skipp and Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg also offered a stronger protection in front of the defence.
With two wins and no goals conceded, Spurs may just have found a formula to build upon and, whilst the performance was not at all easy on the eye, it was determined and everyone did the job asked of them against an energetic and powerful Wolves side.
Wolves’ next game is at home to Manchester United whilst Spurs are at home to Watford. For Tottenham it will be an opportunity to start the season with three wins in a row whilst Wolves need to ensure that they start to pick up the points that their performances deserve.
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