Premier League results: Pragmatic Harry Kane lifts Spurs up, as he does, then goes down
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sunderland
Tottenham: Harry Kane 59’
• It was a characteristically contradictory Tottenham Hotspur win. A win both reassuring and ominous.
Tottenham were the better team for much of their 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Sunday, a victory that could have been, as so many Spurs victories, 2-0 or 3-0 or even 4-0. The upside is that it could also easily have been a 1-1 or goalless draw, and was not.
Tottenham are rarely a precise team. For every fine piece of skill by Son Heung-min, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela or Christian Eriksen that often does not turn into a goal, it takes a moment of Harry Kane pragmatism for Spurs to collect their points.
Such was the case here, with a standout showing in particular by Son that was not rewarded on the scoresheet. It was Kane, close to the hour mark, controlling a fortunately-directed ball (that Papy Djilobodji failed to deal with in the Sunderland defence) and poking it on in for the affair’s lone goal.
Spurs are a team with a lot of skill, maybe as much skill collectively as any team in the Premier League. And yet without a singularly sublime talent in the mould of a Sergio Aguero or Alexis Sanchez or Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Eden Hazard, to say nothing of a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. That means, on occasions, on the days not everything is going right and Spurs aren’t smacking Stoke City for four, all their fine play can lead only to a lot of almosts.
Moussa Sissoko firing wide early, or Eric Dier doing the same a bit later. Son or Mousa Dembele having solid efforts saved. All redeemed by Harry Kane finding the right space at the right time and managing make his body direct the ball into the net.
Not always beautiful, not exactly ideal and it might not be enough to win a title. But it has on a good many occasion been enough to win a game. And could, with enough of those days where the almosts are actuals, maybe be title-sufficient. It almost was, after all, last season.
But Kane went down with what looked like a serious ankle injury. And Vincent Janssen, in his brief stead, did about everything imaginable incorrectly in his one moment of note.
Janssen, in his few minutes with Spurs so far this year, has looked like a nicely skilled player who is often, if not impeachably, then still inescapably too imprecise. He fits right in.
Tottenham, to be a title team, need that bit of pragmatism for the times that, for all their quality, their slight lack of world-class talent leaves them, well, lacking. They will be hoping dearly their top striker picked up just a scratch.
Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City
Crystal Palace: James Tomkins 9’; Scott Dann 11’; James McArthur 71’; Andros Townsend 75’
Stoke City: Marko Arnautovic 90+4’
• Crystal Palace beat struggling Stoke City 4-1 on Sunday with defenders James Tomkins and Scott Dann both scoring from set pieces in a three-minute first half spell.
James McArthur and Andros Townsend also scored for the Londoners before Marko Arnautovic grabbed a consolation goal for the Premier League’s bottom team in the dying seconds.
Arnautovic netted Stoke’s third league goal of the season just before the final whistle but Mark Hughes’ side have now lost four straight Premier League games and conceded four goals on three occasions.
Southampton 1-0 Swansea City
Southampton: Charlie Austin 64’
• Charlie Austin scored his third goal in four days to deliver Southampton’s first Premier League win of the season under manager Claude Puel.
After four league games without a victory, the team were seeking to avoid their worst start to a season since 2000/01 and got the break on 63 minutes when Austin chested down a deflected cross and fired an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner.
The win moved Southampton up to 14th place, one ahead of Swansea.
Watford 3-1 Manchester United
Watford: Etienne Capoue 34’; Juan Camilo Zuniga 83’; Troy Deeney 90+5’ (pen)
Manchester United: Marcus Rashford 62’
• Juan Camilo Zuniga scored seven minutes from time and Watford stunned Jose Mourinho’s reeling Manchester United 3-1 at Vicarage Road.
United looked like they were on their way to at least a draw after a botched clearance led to Marcus Rashford firing in an equaliser from close range on 62 minutes. But just over 20 minutes later Zuniga found space in the middle of the box and cleanly directed Roberto Pereyra’s pass into the left corner of the net past David de Gea.
Etienne Capoue had put Watford on top in the first half with a confident finish from Daryl Janmaat, following United conceding possession as they looked to move the ball out of their third. Troy Deeney capped the afternoon with an added-time penalty for the hosts, who moved into eighth on seven points with their second successive win.
Everton 3-1 Middlesbrough
Everton: Gareth Barry 24’; Seamus Coleman 42’; Romelu Lukaku 45+2’
Middlesbrough: Maarten Stekelenburg (og) 21’
A contested own goal by Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg put Boro in front at Goodison Park, but Barry equalised almost immediately for Ronald Koeman’s team.
The 35-year-old former England midfielder became only the third player to reach the milestone of 600 matches in the post-1992 Premier League era after Ryan Giggs (632) and Frank Lampard (609).
Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku struck before half-time, the latter scoring his fourth goal in two games, to give Everton their best ever start to a Premier League season.
Koeman’s men, who remain unbeaten, moved back to within two points of leaders Manchester City, three points clear of Arsenal, Chelsea and local rivals Liverpool.
Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne 15’; Kelechi Iheanacho 25’; Raheem Sterling 48’; Ilkay Gundogan 66’
• Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho shone as Manchester City crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday to provisionally go five points clear in the Premier League.
League debutant Ilkay Gundogan also found the net for Pep Guardiola’s City, who have made their best ever start to a season with eight consecutive wins in all competitions.
Jack Wilshere gave away the free-kick that led to City’s 15th-minute opener, De Bruyne cleverly stroking the set-piece beneath the jumping wall and into the bottom corner.
The Belgian was involved in the hosts’ second goal 10 minutes later, moving Nolito’s pass on to Sterling, who unselfishly teed up Iheanacho -- deputising for the suspended Sergio Aguero -- to score.
Sterling added a third early in the second half, squeezing a shot over the line after Iheanacho had returned the favour, before De Bruyne set up Gundogan for City’s fourth.
The only disappointment for Guardiola was the late dismissal of Nolito for leaning his head towards Adam Smith.
Hull City 1-4 Arsenal
Hull: Robert Snodgrass (pen) 79’
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez 17’; (Sanchez missed pen 41’); Theo Walcott 55’; Sanchez 83’; Granit Xhaka 90+2’
• Arsenal are on 10 points after winning 4-1 at Hull City to register a third consecutive league win for the first time since last December.
Alexis Sanchez claimed his first goal of the afternoon when Alex Iwobi’s shot flicked off him and into the net in the 17th minute.
After Theo Walcott had chipped in to make it 2-0, Robert Snodgrass reduced the arrears with a 79th-minute penalty following a foul on Hull debutant Dieumerci Mbokani by visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech.
But Sanchez made the game safe six minutes later by lashing home after Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic had saved from Walcott and substitute Granit Xhaka added a stunning late goal from long range.
Leicester City 3-0 Burnley
Leicester: Islam Slimani 45+1’; Slimani 48’; Ben Mee (og) 78’
• Leicester moved into ninth place after Islam Slimani put paid to Burnley at the King Power Stadium.
Algeria international Slimani was making his league debut after his £28 million (Dh133.7m) transfer from Sporting Lisbon.
He scored a pair of headers either side of half-time, nodding in a Christian Fuchs free-kick in first-half stoppage time and then heading home from strike partner Jamie Vardy’s flick.
Ben Mee’s own goal from Riyad Mahrez’s cross completed the scoring in the 78th minute.
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 West Ham United
West Brom: Nacer Chadli (pen) 8’; Salomon Rondon 37’; James McClean 44’; Chadli 56’
West Ham: Michail Antonio 61’; Manuel Lanzini (pen) 65’
• West Brom withstood a late West Ham United fightback to claim an entertaining 4-2 win at The Hawthorns.
Nacer Chadli scored twice and helped create goals for Salomon Rondon and James McClean as the hosts raced into a 4-0 lead by the 56th minute.
West Ham replied through a header from Michail Antonio – his fifth goal in four games – and a Manuel Lanzini penalty, but West Brom saw out the rest of the game in relative serenity.
Chelsea 1 Liverpool 2
Chelsea: Diego Costa (61’)
Liverpool: Dejan Lovren (17’); Jordan Henderson (36’)
In a dominant first-half display, Liverpool took the lead through Dejan Lovren before England midfielder Henderson curled home a superb effort from distance in the 36th minute.
Diego Costa reduced the arrears in the second half with his fifth goal of the campaign, but Jurgen Klopp’s men held out to register another eye-catching Premier League win.
“We played football like hell,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “It was really nice to watch. In the second half it was a bit more difficult. After their goal, we managed it well.”
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Published: September 17, 2016 04:00 AM