After having watched Manchester City and Liverpool begin the Premier League with emphatic wins, Tottenham provided extra excitement on Saturday with two late Harry Kane goals bagging a 3-1 victory over promoted Aston Villa.
Spurs’ record signing Tanguy Ndombele also netted on his debut as Mauricio Pochettino’s side was forced to dig deep after conceding an early goal in the late match.
Manchester City delivered its own statement earlier by routing West Ham 5-0 at the London Stadium, a day after Liverpool’s campaign began with a 4-1 win over Norwich.
“They set the standard from minute go,” Kane said of the two pre-season favorites. “We kept with them for a while last year and then fell off towards the second half of the season. It is important we don’t fall too far behind too early. We have got to keep up with them.”
Despite missing a good chance before the break, Kane looked sharp in his first game of the season.
“We talk very highly about him. I think he’s been on a nice holiday,” Pochettino said of the England captain.
The Spurs manager was delighted to see his side fight back after falling behind to John McGinn’s ninth-minute strike, with Ndombele finally leveling in the 73rd.
Kane finished coolly to put Spurs ahead in the 86th, four minutes before the forward sealed the win.
“We knew it would be a tough baptism,” Villa coach Dean Smith said.
Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick and there were three incidents involving VAR as Manchester City started its bid for a third straight title by stretching its winning league run to 15 games.
West Ham might have pulled one back but Ederson was there to make a double-save from Javier Hernandez and Manuel Lanzini.
Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring in the 25th, and Kevin de Bruyne set up Sterling in the 51st, before Jesus had a well-worked team effort ruled out by VAR for offside.
Sterling’s second in the 75th was cleared by VAR before technology intervened again when Sergio Aguero had a penalty saved. Declan Rice was penalized for encroaching in the area and Aguero duly scored at the second attempt in the 86th.
Sterling wrapped it up in injury time to become the first player since Chelsea’s Didier Drogba in 2010-11 to start with a hat trick on the league’s opening weekend.
Brighton beat Watford 3-0 in a dream debut for new manager Graham Potter.
In the 64th minute, Potter sent on two forwards — new signing Neal Maupay and Romanian striker Florin Andone — with Brighton leading 1-0. Both then went on to score.
Potter enjoyed considerable success with Swedish side Ostersunds FK before taking over Championship club Swansea last season.
In the other games, Crystal Palace was held to a goalless draw by 10-man Everton. Ashley Barnes scored twice as Burnley launched its campaign with a 3-0 victory against Southampton, and substitute Billy Sharp scored a late equalizer to help promoted Sheffield United draw 1-1 at Bournemouth.
On Sunday, Manchester United hosts Chelsea, Arsenal visits Newcastle and Wolverhampton travels to Leicester. AP