Tottenham Hotspur face Aston Villa in a home Premier League season opener on Saturday. It is a homecoming for both sides, with Spurs opening up their new stadium for a first league match, and Villa returning to the top-flight. The key player to watch in all of this is Harry Kane, who has finally had some rest and should finally put away his plaguing August curses.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Rested Harry Kane Key Against Villa
Rested Harry Kane’s Summer Holiday
Harry Kane has little chance at a summer holiday in previous successive seasons. This summer he only played 75 minutes for England in the Nations League. Finally, this has meant that the goalscorer has been able to take off his domestic and national team yoke and have a rest. Usually, Kane has a sluggish start in August which could be down to his fatigue. This time around, he should be a little sharper off the mark having had the rest he deserves. For this upcoming match against Villa, his energy levels should be high, eager to impress the home crowd.
The corollary being Kane may thus be able to score even more goals than ever before, which is always a good thing for Tottenham. Crucially, this may let Spurs generate some early form. And, later in the season, the added rest should ward away the inevitable Harry Kane injury.
After the transfer window closed, both clubs emerge with stronger squads. Tottenham have bolstered their midfield with Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, who could form a fantastic midfield pivot between them. The addition of Ryan Sessegnon on the left is a great deal too, helping to strengthen up that side. It is unlikely that any of these players will start, except for Ndombele, perhaps. But, expect to see them coming off the bench to soak up the Tottenham Hotspur stadium atmosphere.
Villa, meanwhile, have had a massive window. They made 12 new signings to shore up their squad. Tom Heaton gives some good Premier League experience between the sticks, and Dean Smith has invested in largely players that he knows of and can put confidence in. The wildcard here is one Wesley Moraes, a towering 6ft 3in centre-forward from Club Brugge. He is brought in to replace Tammy Abraham, and having scored 32 goals in 107 league appearances for his previous club, is probably a risk worth taking.
The clubs last met in the FA Cup in January 2017, with Spurs 2-0 victors thanks to Ben Davies and Son Heung-Min. The last league meeting was in March 2016, where Kane’s two goals helped his team beat the Villans.
Spurs fans won’t forget Kane’s last-gasp deflected free-kick in 2014. Mauricio Pochettino even claimed this vital last-minute winner saved his job.
The last time Aston Villa beat Spurs was in April 2015, in the Tim Sherwood era. Christian Benteke was the only scorer whilst Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the dying minutes.
Tottenham will most likely deploy in some kind of 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela able to push forward from the wings. There is no Juan Foyth at right-back due to injury and Son Heung-Min misses the match due to suspension.
Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker-Peters, Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Lamela, Moura, Harry Kane.
The Villans won their last pre-season game with the following line-up. They are likely to field a 4-2-3-1 formation which they also used against Derby in the play-off final. It will be an almost full squad to pick from, except for James Chester who is out until the end of August.
Tom Heaton, Frederic Guilbert, Tyrone Mings, Bjorn Engels, Matt Targett, John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, Jota, Anwar El Ghazi, Wesley.
A rested Harry Kane will eagerly await this match. With Spurs properly at home and the fans behind them, it will provide a captivating atmosphere for this opening match. Villa’s new faces will need to gel quickly if they want to get a result out of this game. Similarly, Tottenham cannot underestimate Villa, and so they must bring an impressive first performance. In truth, the North London outfit should start as they mean to go on by picking up the three points.
Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa.