A reinvigorated Tottenham Hotspur marked the arrival of Gareth Bale with a 5-2 rout of Southampton in the English Premier League on Sunday.
South Korea’s Son Heung-min, whose place is theoretically in jeopardy with the arrival of Bale on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, scored four of the goals, with Harry Kane adding the other in a comprehensive victory after a shaky start.
The north London side fell behind at St Mary’s to a Danny Ings goal in the first half with Southampton looking the more threatening side although Kane twice had the ball in the net only for both efforts to be ruled out for offside.
However, the course of the match changed on the stroke of halftime as Tanguy Ndombele produced a fine piece of skill before finding Kane, who helped the ball on for Son to shoot home into the far corner.
It was a finish worthy of Bale at his best and a precursor to more goals in the second half, only two minutes old when Kane dropped deep and found Son running through to score his second and to put Spurs ahead for the first time.
His first Premier League hat-trick in the 64th minute was almost a carbon copy, with Southampton’s high defensive line exposed again by England international Kane, with Son finishing clinically.
The best assist from Kane was still to come as his exquisite curled pass found his strike partner for his fourth.
Kane deservedly got on the scoresheet with 10 minutes remaining as substitute Erik Lamela’s shot hit the post and he was quicker to the rebound.
Ings, speculatively linked in reports with a move to Tottenham, scored his second from the penalty spot after Matt Doherty was ruled by the video assistant referee (VAR) to have handled in the closing moments of an incident-filled match.
Dele Alli left out
Eyebrows were raised before the start when Dele Alli, substituted at halftime in Tottenham’s disappointing opening day 1-0 defeat to Everton, was left out of the matchday squad altogether, raising questions about his future with the new arrivals at the club.
Manager Jose Mourinho, when asked about his omission, said: “We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”
With Tottenham facing a hectic early programme and with Bale unavailable through injury until later in October, Alli may well be called up, but the England international was linked with a move to Madrid as part of the Bale deal and there is also reported interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Kane said he was “proud” of Son for his hat-trick and looked forward to the extra quality afforded by Tottenham’s new acquisitions.
“It’s great to have Sergio (Reguilon) and Gareth joining, there’s a lot of games and it’s a busy schedule so we need the whole squad,” Kane said.
“We know how good Gareth is with his goals and assists. It’s great to have competition for places in that area and I’m sure he’ll be excited to get back out and play for Spurs.”
Son, the first South Korean to score a hat-trick in the EPL, paid tribute to his strike partner Kane.
“It’s incredible to score four goals in the Premier League, it’s a big honor,” he told BT Sport.
‘I wouldn’t have scored four goals without this guy (Kane). He’s amazing. Four assists, he deserved the man of the match today,” Son added.
Liverpool beats 10-man Chelsea
Later Sunday saw the first clash of the season between ‘top six” teams with Liverpool emerging 2-0 winners at Chelsea to make it two wins from two to start the title defense.
A red card for Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen at the end of a tepid first half proved the crucial moment, the Dane hauling down Sadio Mane as he latched on to a Jordan Henderson through ball.
Initially shown yellow, the decision was changed to red by VAR and Chelsea was left with 10 men for the remainder of the match.
It told early in the second half as Mane scored with a header from a Robert Firmino cross and was then gifted his second by a calamitous error from home keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Already under fire for error-prone performances, Kepa was caught out by Mane trying to play out from the back, the Liverpool striker slotting the ball into an empty net.
Thiago Alcantara, who came on as a substitute to make his Liverpool debut after halftime, then conceded a penalty for a foul on Chelsea new boy Timo Werner, taking the gloss off an assured debut in the Reds midfield.
But to complete a sorry afternoon for Frank Lampard’s men, Alisson Becker saved Jorginho’s spot kick.
Lampard later lamented the errors by Kepa and others that cost his team the chance of salvaging something from the match.
“These things do happen but it’s obviously a clear mistake. You play half the game with 10 men, you don’t make the mistake for the second and you score the penalty it’s 1-1,” he told Sky Sports.
In the other afternoon kick off, Brighton won 3-0 at Newcastle, with Neal Maupay scoring twice.