Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 1
A debut goal for Tanguy Ndombele and two late goals from Harry Kane – who else – gave Spurs a winning start to the season.
The Champions League runners-up were made to toil far more than they would have liked by newly-promoted Villa, who led at half-time, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men got over the line after a dominant second half display.
The worry for Tottenham was that it needed the introduction of Christian Eriksen to turn things around for them. The Dane has been angling for a move from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and yet he clearly remains such a vital piece of the jigsaw.
Villa were excellent in the first half. Well organised and quick on the break, they threatened to pull off a shock, but they eventually wilted against Tottenham’s relentless probing.
They will be encouraged that they held out until the 73rd minute when Ndombele made it 1-1.
The 22-year-old French midfielder, a £54million summer signing from Lyon, enjoyed a lively match and was in the right place at the right time to fire into the bottom corner.
Soon after, Eriksen’s free-kick from the D was just about turned aside by Tom Heaton in the Villa goal as the home side ramped up the pressure.
But it was not until four minutes from time that Spurs finally led. Villa skipper Jack Grealish was caught napping on the ball by Erik Lamela and although the Argentine’s subsequent shot was blocked, the ricochet fell kindly to Kane inside the area and the outcome was inevitable.
With Dean Smith’s men tiring, Moussa Sissoko’s run found Kane on the edge of the area and the England striker placed a calm shot into the far corner to seal the deal.
Spurs had set off with intent – Lucas Moura going close with a shot over the bar and a stooping header – but were given an early jolt when last year’s Championship play-off winners took a ninth-minute lead.
All it took was ball launched from deep by newcomer Tyrone Mings to expose the Spurs defence. Davinson Sanchez failed to cut out the long ball from the left and Danny Rose could not close down John McGinn quickly enough – the Scot placing a neat shot across Hugo Lloris.
Spurs began to get their act together and Kane went close twice as the first half drew to a close, heading over a neat chip from Ndombele, then sliding a ball past the onrushing Heaton but wide of the far post.
After the break, Sissoko pulled a shot horribly wide from close range after being picked out at the far post by Lamela. Mings got in the way of a low effort from Kane.
Mings was also there to clear when Lamela picked up a loose clearing header from Heaton, but could not take advantage of the keeper being stranded outside the area.
But Spurs continued to build a head of steam, helped in no small part by the arrival of Eriksen just past the hour. Sanchez thought he had scored when he turned an Eriksen cross goalwards. Heaton made a dramatic save but in the aftermath, Kane and Moura worked the ball back for Ndombele to put away. It was to be the turning point.
Before kick-off, Spurs introduced deadline day signings Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham and Giovani lo Celso from Real Betis to the crowd. For too much of the match, home fans must have been fearing that that would be the highlight of a difficult afternoon. Ndombele and Kane ensured it was not.
Tottenham: Lloris – Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose – Ndombele (Skipp 90), Winks (Eriksen 64), Sissoko – Moura, Kane, Lamela (Nkoudou 88). Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Wanyama, Dier, Aurier