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Tottenham 4-1 Southampton: Player ratings as Kulusevski scores 10/10

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Tottenham started the 2022-23 campaign just as they ended the last, with a confident performance fully deserving of the comprehensive 4-1 victory. 

While all the big guns were firing for Spurs, the first two goals came from unheralded sources, with Eric Dier and Ryan Sessegnon showcasing their ability to get on the scoresheet.

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Here’s the player ratings from a superb opening day win over Southampton.

Defence

Hugo Lloris 7/10

Spurs’ club captain made a sublime low save off of Joseph Ayodele-Aribo in the 74th minute, his only challenging stop of the afternoon. Hugo Lloris had to pick out of his net early in the first half, but had no chance on James Ward-Prowse’s volleyed effort.

Ben Davies 8/10

Ben Davies started the season where he left off in May. He enjoyed a sturdy, accomplished opener which included a threatening long-range first half effort on goal. Davies wasn’t put under too much duress, but will be happy with his performance. He wasn’t at all culpable on the Saints’ lone goal.

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Cristian Romero 8/10

Aggressive, tenacious and positionally sound, Cristian Romero had another solid outing at the back. He is irreplaceable in Spurs’ rearguard and had one interception and three clearances.

Eric Dier 9/10

It’s a memorable, albeit rare moment any time Eric Dier scores a goal. And what a goal it was. The Englishman slotted home a deft header the most accomplished forwards would be proud of. He was also stable defensively and made all the right decisions in possession.

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Midfield

Emerson Royal 8.5/10

Emerson Royal started the match as one of Spurs’ most lively players. He was strong on the ball, made excellent runs and even better decisions. The work he’s done in the off-season has paid off, as his final ball was markedly better than it was last season. Early, but promising signs.

Royal had trouble staying with Moussa Djenepo on Saints’ lone goal, with the crafty winger dummying multiple times to create space. Royal wasn’t able to get in a decisive tackle, but can’t be held solely culpable for the Ward-Prowse finish.

Ryan Sessegnon 9/10

Ryan Sessegnon had an outstanding first half. He smashed his header home with confidence and had multiple dangerous crosses just miss their intended targets. It was an incredibly promising start for the left back.

Sessegnon missed a sitter in the second half after receiving another exquisite pass from Dejan Kulusevski, but was otherwise on the money throughout.

Pierre Hojbjerg 6.5/10

Pierre Hojbjerg was solid, if not spectacular. The Dane was the most disappointing player of the afternoon and misjudged the flight of Djenepo’s cross on Southampton’s goal. He should have stepped back and gotten closer to Ward-Prowse rather than commit to a header he couldn’t reach.

He calmed down and was solid afterward.

Rodrigo Bentancur 8/10

So calm and poised, Rodrigo Bentancur pulled the strings from midfield like he did so often at the tail end of last season. He made some brilliant passes and was influential throughout.

Harry Kane 7.5/10

Like Sonny, Kane was ever so slightly off the mark with a number of touches. He was still dangerous and caused Southampton’s backline fits, but wasn’t as precise or lethal as we’ve come to expect. That will change in the coming matches.

Son Heung-min 8/10

Son Heung-min set up Spurs’ second with a precise low cross for Dier, who deftly headed past Gavin Bazuna. The South Korean, who knocked a few errant passes, was by no means at his sharpest. He held on to the ball too long at the tail end of the first half when he should have provided for Harry Kane who was in acres of space.

However, Sonny was still a thorn in the Saints’ side.

Dejan Kulusevski 10/10

Even though they know he’ll shift quickly at some stage on to his sublime left foot, most defenders cannot stop Dejan Kulusevski. He was Spurs’ most dangerous player, setting up the first with a brilliantly whipped ball to the back post for an on-rushing Sessegnon, who had the easiest of tasks.

Kulu set up Sessegnon for another sitter early in the second half and had numerous teasing crosses begging for a teammate to get a touch. Overall, Kulu enjoyed an outstanding season opener and the Swede got his just deserts when he finished with aplomb in the 63rd minute.

Ivan Perisic 8/10

The wily veteran showcased his impeccable crossing ability in his brief cameo. The Croatian is going to be an absolute beast for Spurs as the season wears on.

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