Opinion: Five things we learned from Spurs’ 4-1 win against Southampton

Rodrigo Bentancur
(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur secured their first three points of the Premier League season this afternoon with an impressive 4-1 win over Southampton.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned from the match:

Top of the league

With three points and three goal difference, Tottenham are now top of the table! But in all seriousness, it was important for the lads to start fast and get the fans on side this summer, carrying the momentum through from last season and a positive transfer window.

Playmaker? What playmaker?

Today was the perfect advert of why, if Spurs choose not to sign a playmaker, Conte’s system doesn’t always need one. There is such an emphasis on wing-backs creating/scoring goals, and the two pocket players cutting in off the flanks that an out-and-out playmaker doesn’t necessarily fit. Sessegnon scored Spurs’ first goal and another that was called offside, while Emerson created two. In this system, the midfield play is more about Bentancur and Hojbjerg picking progressive passes through the lines, and both did that well today.

Attack not reliant on Kane and Son

Leading on from that last point, it was actually refreshing to see Spurs score four without it being the Kane and Son show. There should be goals all over the pitch for Spurs, especially in a wing-back system, and that was on show today. When Kane and Son are in that mood, they can win a game on their own, but Spurs should be equally comfortable in winning/scoring with others players at the forefront too.

New signings/unchanged line-up

It was interesting, but not surprising to see Conte name his normal line-up from last season despite making six signings this summer. Fitness is king with Conte, so the consistent XI who have all had a good pre-season were always likely to get the nod. The new guys will have to fight their way in, which is always the best way to maintain high standards. It was good to see Perisic, Lenglet, and Bissouma make their debuts though.

Man of the Match

For me, it has to be either Ryan Sessegnon or Rodrigo Bentancur. Sess personified the Conte wing-back system with his energy, pressing, perfectly-timed runs, and clinical finishing. Meanwhile, Bentancur was the often underappreciated composer from midfield, with every pass being positive and purposeful in getting Spurs down the pitch. But the best thing is I could probably make a case for 4 or 5 players today. COYS!

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