Kane ends August hoodoo as dominant Spurs beat Fulham
Mauricio Pochettino's men make it a 100 per cent start after two games of the season, as England striker ends bizarre run
18 August, 2018 — By Dan Carrier
FA Premier League
SPURS 3 (Moura 43, Trippier 74, Kane 77)
FULHAM 1 (Mitrovic 52)
HARRY Kane struck a clinical goal this afternoon in a 3-1 victory over Fulham – ending a bizarre run that had seen England’s deadliest forward never score in the Premier League during August.
Kane’s second-half finish guaranteed Mauricio Pochettino’s men three points, making it a 100 per cent start after two games.
Speaking after the match, Kane said: “There has been a lot of talk about this every year. It is just one of those things you can’t explain. It is nice to put it to bed and we got the win – that is what is important.”
Lucas Moura had given Spurs a first-half lead with a peach of a curler – his first in the Premier League – and it was all the home team deserved.
Spurs dominated possession, but while they could have been three up at half-time, Fulham showed glimpses when they did break forward, with Hugo Lloris called on to make two sharp saves.
Despite going behind on 43 minutes, Fulham came out punching and got back on level terms through Alesandar Mitrovic – moments previously he had struck a post before stooping low to head in on 52 minutes.
This brief Fulham spell prompted Pochettino to browse his subs bench and pick the tools for the job. On came Mousa Dembele for defender Davinson Sanchez and the extra midfield muscle turned the tide back in Tottenham’s favour.
Spurs crunched and cranked through the early-season gears and when Dele Alli was fouled after a bombastic forward run, Trippier stepped up to take the free-kick from 30 yards out. As England fans had seen in the World Cup, Trippier can hit them from distance, and the full-back sent a brilliant effort over the wall to put Spurs in front again.
On 77 minutes, substitute Erik Lamela zig-zagged through the Fulham midfield and played in Kane. The forward composed himself and got that first-ever August strike.
There has been a fear expressed among fans that Spurs are gradually running their thoroughbred into the ground. The striker came back quickly after an ankle injury in the Spring, with a question mark over whether he could have properly recovered. Then there were the minutes he clocked up at the World Cup, and a pre-season that lasted just five days.
Added to this, Spurs have failed to find a suitable back-up – someone to genuinely offer any competition, or just allow him a day off. Fernando Llorente, at 33, was only ever going to be a bit-part sub while the abandonment of Vincent Janssen, so soon after splurging £18m on the Dutch forward, is possibly the most baffling of Tottenham’s recent transfer decisions.
So the burden has yet again shifted to Tottenham’s talisman – and how he reacted today.
While at times he still looked sluggish, there is something about his enduring quality that means you can never write him off. Moments before he scored he rattled the bar with an instinctive volley, and his finish had the hallmarks of a dead eyed predator: a shift from his left to right, a drop of the shoulder, and a side foot into the one place the keeper was never going to reach. It is exciting to think what this side can achieve when Kane gets back to his explosive best.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Davies, Sanchez (Dembele, 63) Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dier (Lamela, 73), Moura, Kane (Winks, 89), Alli, Eriksen.
Subs not used: Rose, Vorm, Sissoko, Aurier.
Fulham: Fabri, Fosu-mensha, Chambers, Le Marchand, Bryan (Christie, 85), Cairney (Johansen, 73) Zambo Anguissa, Seri, Sessegnon, Mitrovic, Kamara (Schurrle, 88)
Subs not used: McDonald, Kebano, Johansen, Vietto, Rico.