Tottenham 4-1 Southampton: Kulusevski shines as Spurs smash sorry Saints

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Tottenham fought back to beat Southampton 4-1 and get their 2022-23 campaign off to a winning start, with Dejan Kulusevski proving key.

Antonio Conte elected not to hand starts to his new signings, five of which were on the bench while Richarlison served a one-match suspension, but the old guard proved to be fully capable on Saturday.

James Ward-Prowse volleyed Southampton into an early lead but Spurs hit back before half-time – Ryan Sessegnon and Eric Dier both heading home to turn the tide.

Further gloss was added in the second half, with Mohammed Salisu turning the ball into his own net before Kulusevski capped off a fine individual display with a goal as Spurs eased their way to all three points.

Southampton came flying out the blocks and took the lead in the 12th minute, as Moussa Djenepo clipped a byline cross to Ward-Prowse, who finished in style.

Spurs were soon level, though, with Sessegnon on hand at the far post to head in Kulusevski's inviting cross.

The hosts' dominance paid dividends with a second 10 minutes later – Son Heung-min the provider as his delivery was headed in by Dier.

With Spurs in full flow, Ben Davies tested Gavin Bazunu from distance and Son drilled over after dancing through Southampton's defence.

Any threat of a Southampton comeback was quelled in the second half, with Salisu diverting Emerson Royal's cross into his own net.

Having teed up Spurs's equaliser and generally proving a menace throughout, Kulusevski grabbed a deserved goal of his own just after the hour, cutting inside and sweeping home a left-footed shot to wrap up a statement victory for Conte.

What does it mean? Spurs show strength

Investing heavily in the transfer window, Spurs were able to sweep aside Southampton without relying on their new additions and a dominant play displayed the strength in depth that Conte has at his disposal.

While Kulusevski starred, Son also helped pulled the strings in the final third, creating four chances and contributing seven crosses – both of which were more than any other player.

Kulu the key man

A first-half assist was Kulusevski's ninth since making his debut for Spurs in February, more than anyone else in the Premier League and only behind Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele (11) across Europe's top-five leagues in that time.

Adding his own name to the scoresheet in the second half, despite having a personal expected goals (xG) of just 0.08, the Sweden international's showing suggests he can compete amongst the best across the continent, and Spurs new boy Richarlison might be hard pushed to displace him when he returns to the fold.

Kane's slow start

Spurs had three separate scorers and as many different players setting up a goal but Harry Kane's name was not among them, with the England captain overshadowed by those around him.

Slow starts are nothing new for the striker, however, with Kane finding the net just once in nine opening day appearances in the Premier League.

Key Opta Facts

- Tottenham's 4-1 victory is their biggest win on the opening day of a league season since August 1986, when they defeated Aston Villa (3-0).
- Southampton have lost all four of their opening games of a Premier League season under Hasenhuttl – the worst 100 per cent losing record for a manager in the competition.
- Tottenham have won 10 of their last 12 home Premier League games against Southampton (L2), scoring at least twice in nine of those matches.
- Kulusevski has both scored and assisted in the Premier League for the third time since signing for Spurs.
- Ward-Prowse has either scored (two) or assisted (three) in each of his last four Premier League matches against Tottenham.

What's next?

Tottenham travel across London to challenge Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Sunday, while Southampton host Leeds United a day earlier.

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