Wake me up when September begins. That was a nice return to form and a well-deserved thrashing of a Toffee side that doesn’t seem to know how it should play with Rooney, Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, et. al on the pitch. And welcome to the Premier League Davison Sanchez—an assured and strong performance from our new center back. I suspect three in the back is here to stay this season.
Kane will of course dominate the headlines for a fortunate but well-placed cross which left Jordan Pickford flat-footed for the opener, and an easy and incisive flick to seal the deal early in the second half. But he easily could have scored two others and we can only salivate about what his output will be once he starts becoming more clinical. (Alan Shearer: beware) Christian Eriksen was typically brilliant, but I also thought Dele had his best game of the season, as but for one selfish try from 25 yards out late in the game he was buzzing around Everton’s defence the whole day. Mousa Sissoko also showed a great amount of energy, just missed both a goal (blocked by a Toffee defender headed for the right corner) and at least one perfect centering pass before his ankle injury cut short his day. Yes, he was caught offsides unnecessarily twice on promising breaks and he bottled the one great header chance he was given, but the man played well.
Eric Dier as the only holding midfielder also had an excellent game, distributing very effectively. The defence but for Ben Davies being outrun once in the first half (Danny—we miss you) and a bit of madness where first Tripper and then Lloris tried to gift Everton a goal, was impeccable. Davies played the faster Martina perfectly in the second half, using his body to shield the attacker from the ball and win a foul. Trippier returned to form and Sanchez, despite obvious Everton attempts to disrupt him early on, was airtight the entire afternoon. The Belgians were what they always are.
In short, a solid performance by a team that looked every bit the title contenders they were the past two seasons. And now—hoodoo or no hoodoo—comes perhaps the most important game of the fall. I see very little way that Spurs can advance beyond group stage without winning at least a point v Dortmund—an outright victory might be necessary. This is a chance to make a statement about the growth of this club, and about the venue. Look for Serge Aurier and Son to play for Trippier and Sissoko—I would not be surprised to see Dembele in for Dier as well, though either are good options in the absence of Wanyama. Costa Rica and to a lesser extent Honduras bullied the young American Pulisic in the two World Cup qualifying games—hopefully someone paid attention and also Poch has a plan for Aubameyang. It should be a terrific game—the kind of night we should expect to continue for years to come.