No signings? No problem for Spurs as Alli sinks Newcastle


Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Dele Alli silenced the complaints about Tottenham’s lack of signings as the England midfielder sealed a 2-1 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are the first club in the Premier League era not to make a single signing since the introduction of the pre-season transfer window.

That low-key approach has frustrated Tottenham fans, but Alli lifted the gloom with a clinical header to seal at the points at St James’ Park.

Jan Vertonghen opened the scoring with an early header and Joselu’s equaliser was quickly erased by Alli as all three goals came in the first 18 minutes.

Despite Tottenham’s hard-fought victory, there was another August blank for Harry Kane, who started even though the England striker had only returned to training on Monday following his notable World Cup exploits. 

The World Cup Golden Boot winner has now gone 14 games spanning 988 minutes without scoring in the opening month of the campaign, though on this occasion, it mattered little.

The season kicked-off to the backdrop of a protest staged by hundreds of Newcastle fans outside the nearby branch of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.

Ashley, the club’s notoriously parsimonious billionaire owner, saw fit to spend £90 million (10.6 million euros, $11.5 million) on the ailing department store group House of Fraser. Meanwhile his Magpies posted a net transfer profit of £20 million, despite the arrival of seven new signings, the most expensive of which, Japanese international forward Yoshinori Muto, cost £9.5m from German side Mainz.

— Deft header —

Tottenham fans appear rather less dissatisfied, despite their club failing to make a single addition to Pochettino’s squad since the end of last season. 

Such inactivity proved no impediment as the visitors rode their luck to seal a repeat of their opening day victory at St James’ Park 12 months ago.

The visitors took an eighth-minute lead when Christian Eriksen’s corner was headed towards goal by Davinson Sanchez, allowing fellow defender Vertonghen to find the net off the underside of the bar with a deft glancing header which crossed the line before Martin Dubravka was able to claw the ball back.

Newcastle were level within three minutes when Sanchez and Vertonghen were caught ball-watching as Matt Ritchie sent over an inviting centre from the right which Joselu headed into the bottom corner of the net past an exposed Hugo Lloris. 

With momentum on their side and a full-house roaring them on, Benitez’s side looked set to build from a position of strength.

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