Guardiola remains tight-lipped on possible Harry Kane transfer
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Harry Kane was included amongst the Tottenham substitutes for the first time this season after missing their opening game of the season against Manchester City. But his presence on the bench, rather than leading Nuno Espirito Santo’s frontline, was telling as Spurs battled to preserve their 100 per cent record.
The England international was deemed fit enough to be included in the 20-man squad after missing the home match against Man City.
But while he got a run-out late on, it was yet another occasion where Spurs showed they could cope without their talisman, as Dele Alli’s penalty was enough to secure a 1-0 win over Wolves.
The visitors had to hustle and suffer for large periods of the game as an energetic Wolves side pushed for an equaliser, buoyed by a raucous atmosphere at Molineux.
With just over a week to go before the August 31 transfer deadline, a big-money move to Manchester City remains a possibility as talks over a £120million transfer reportedly continue.
But as Spurs gained maximum points from their first two games, have they begun to find life easier than expected without Kane?
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Alli back to his best
This was vintage Alli, for the right and wrong reasons, but further proof that the midfielder is rediscovering his confidence after a difficult two years.
He has had his injury problems at exactly the worst time in his career, but he has been fit for 18 months now — it can no longer be used as an excuse.
However, the good news for Spurs fans is there are small glimpses that the midfielder who scored 18 gioals in 2016-17 is on his way back to the top.
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Alli ghosted in behind the defence after a superb pass from Sergio Reguilon. Alli knew where goalkeeper Jose Sa was as he strode off his line to make himself big and didn’t make an actual movement towards Alli.
But the midfielder used his experience and opted to take a leaf out of Harry Kane’s book, almost forcing the contact between himself and Sa by leaving a trailing leg.
It was not a case of deception but intelligent play, although some would question the validity of the penalty decision.
Still, referee Stuart Atwell pointed to the spot and Alli, with ice in his veins, rolled home the spot-kick after just nine minutes.
It was his first goal since March 2020 and showed that perhaps under Nuno, this was the first step in Alli’s long road to redemption.
Tottenham should sign Traore
With every game that the Adama Traore gallops away from his opposition defenders with consummate ease, it becomes even more inexplicable that no club has made a concrete attempt to sign him.
If Wolves are to face a difficult season ahead as expected, Bruno Lage will be desperate to cling onto the 25-year-old.
He was simply superb at Molineux, providing absolutely everything a manager could ask from a winger: pace, running in behind, taking on defenders and creating chances for his team-mates.
The only thing that was lacking, as was seen against Leicester, was his finishing. That he scored just three times in 2020-21 and missed another sitter on Sunday proves it is a question Traore has failed to answer so far.
There are some doubts over how much longer Traore will stay with the Midlands outfit, amid reported interest from Liverpool and Leeds.
And even though he did not end up on the scoresheet, performances like this suggest he would make a fine attacking replacement if Kane leaves, should Nuno be keen for a reunion.
Tanganga still has a lot to learn
Having been left a little bit dazed after a horrible clash of heads with Marcal early on, Adama Traore did his best to twist Japhet Tanganga into knots with his dazzling footwork.
Just as the defender put in a man of the match display against Manchester City to keep Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling quiet, he was alert to the danger Traore would pose early on.
The 21-year-old did his best to unsettle his opponent, barging into the attacker as he tried to turn.
But to no avail, as the Spain international raced away several times down the left-hand side and kept on coming.
There are still some signs that Tanganga needs to mature, making a very rash challenge on Wolves wing-back Marcal to pick up a booking.
That put him in a difficult position for the second half, going up against a player as dangerous as Traore and putting Spurs at risk of going a man down.
It was a difficult test and one he passed, as Wolves failed to find the net, but there is still some improvement ahead for Tangana to make.
Nuno cannot rely on counter tactics
In the four years he spent with Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo executed a counter-attacking plan with a 3-4-3 setup.
But if facing his former club taught him anything in his second competitive match in the Spurs dugout, it was that those tactics surely have a limited shelf life.
It worked a treat in the 1-0 win over Manchester City. The hosts were expected to dominate the ball and by frustrating the champions, Spurs took their chance when it arrived on the counter with Heung-min Son.
But being under constant pressure can wear down defenders and use up a lot of energy and it proved in the second half as Spurs laboured to the final whistle.
Even if Spurs took the lead through Alli’s penalty, they spent the majority of the first half breathing heavily after coming under intense pressure.
Nuno’s side simply could not hang onto the ball in midfield as Wolves squeezed them for possession and they looked vulnerable in transitions. Son has rarely had a more quiet afternoon.
Raul Jimenez had a lot of joy going up against Davinson Sanchez, while Traore was a constant menace for the Colombian and also Tanganga.
There will be tougher tests ahead and for now, Nuno will use the tactic he knows best after taking six points from his first two games.
But eventually, their luck will run out and Nuno must be aware they need a Plan B that involves controlling the ball and dominating sides, rather than waiting for opportunites to attack like he did at Wolves.
Spurs fans will forgive Kane
As Kane warmed up along the touchline during the second half, the message was clear: “Harry Kane, he’s one of our own”.
And as he came on for Son on 72 minutes, the chanting continued.
They did their utmost to make their adoration known to the No.10, in case there was any doubt.
If this was their last chance to plead for the 28-year-old to stay and keep out of Man City’s clutches, they had done their best to display their affection. Now it is up to Daniel Levy and the powers at the Etihad to talk things through.
But if Kane remains at the club beyond the transfer window, he has been left in no doubt that he will be quickly forgiven for trying to force a move away.
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