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Harry Kane ends August goal hex, Mousa Dembele changes the game vs. Fulham

Harry Kane scored an August goal for the first time in his career, adding to goals from Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier in Spurs' win over Fulham.
Harry Kane scored an August goal for the first time in his career, adding to goals from Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier in Spurs' win over Fulham.
Mauricio Pochettino admitted it was important for Harry Kane to finally score a goal in August.

Tottenham Hotspur maintained their winning start to the season, responding to a Fulham fight back by scoring twice in the final 16 minutes at Wembley.

Lucas Moura gave Spurs a deserved half-time advantage with a fine 20-yard, curling strike, but the North Londoners had a wobble after the break and Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with a close-range header.

Kieran Trippier restored Tottenham's lead with a 74th-minute free kick though, and Harry Kane then put the hosts out of sight, scoring his first ever Premier League goal in the month of August.

Positives

This is the first time Spurs have won their opening two league matches since Mauricio Pochettino's first season in charge, in 2014-15. They remain among the early pacesetters and have some margin for error ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.

Moura has offered further evidence that he can boost Tottenham's strength in depth, and Pochettino's substitutes made an impact -- Mousa Dembele helped to swing the game back in Spurs' favour when they were struggling at 1-1, and Erik Lamela set up Kane's goal.

Toby Alderweireld's return to the lineup was also encouraging, suggesting he could stay beyond the end of this month, while Danny Rose was named in the squad too.

With Harry Winks making his own return, after injury, Pochettino is being given an increasing number of selection headaches.

Negatives

Spurs' defending has been suspect in both of their matches so far, and Pochettino questioned after the match how a team with three centre-backs, two full-backs and a holding midfielder managed to throw away the lead.

Spurs have also needed to bring Dembele off the bench in both games, to restore some control in midfield. With the 31-year-old's long-term future in doubt, their reliance on him remains a concern.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Pochettino's decision to start with a 3-1-4-2 formation was justified in the first half, when his side should have scored more than once. When things went wrong after the break, the Argentine responded well, switching to four at the back and introducing two men who played important roles in securing all three points.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 8 -- Made a good low save to deny Tom Cairney and rushed out quickly to smother a shot from Ryan Sessegnon. Couldn't do much about the close-range goal.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 6 -- The Belgian made a welcome return to the side. His 1v1 defending was solid as usual but his passing was rusty.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 5 -- Slipped over when Fulham scored their goal, leaving Mitrovic unmarked to head home, and was substituted when Pochettino introduced Dembele.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 5 -- Played Sessegnon onside in the first half and stopped running when the youngster and Mitrovic got in behind either side of him to bring Fulham level.

DF Kieran Trippier, 8 -- While some of his crosses lacked accuracy, he more than made up for that by crucially restoring Spurs' lead with a fine free kick.

DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Worked hard to get up and down the flank and created an early chance for Lucas with a driven cross which was headed wide.

MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Had a good first half, recycling the ball quickly and helping Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli to keep Spurs on the front foot, while having the odd foray forward himself. But Fulham got on top in midfield early in the second half, and Pochettino had to introduce Dembele to regain control.

Mousa Dembele haunted ex-club Fulham, coming off the bench to wrestle the game back in Tottenham's favour.
Mousa Dembele haunted ex-club Fulham, coming off the bench to wrestle the game back in Spurs' favour.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Oozed creativity in the first half, helping to pull the strings in central areas while also making bursting runs in behind, and he tested Fabri with a free kick.

MF Dele Alli, 8 -- Repeatedly helped Tottenham dissect Fulham, especially in the first half, with some beautifully deft touches, while providing a goal threat of his own.

FW Lucas Moura, 7 -- Squandered two good early chances, heading wide at close range and taking a heavy touch when clean through. But he took his opening goal beautifully, finding the top left corner from the edge of the box.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Enjoyed a much better outing than his previous one against Newcastle. He was much more involved and his long-range passing was excellent. Kane lacked a bit of sharpness in the box in the first half but went on to hit the crossbar and then find the bottom corner clinically in the second.

Substitutes

MF Mousa Dembele, 8 -- Entered the fray at an important moment, when Spurs had conceded an equaliser and were on the back foot. The Belgian quickly helped the hosts to get back on top and put his ex-club Fulham under sustained pressure.

MF Erik Lamela, 8 -- Also had a big impact off the bench, driving forward and freeing Kane to set up Spurs' third goal while also creating a good chance for Alli.

MF Harry Winks, N/R -- Had little time to make an impact, but his return from injury was nonetheless a welcome one.

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