Tottenham embarked on a new chapter without Harry Kane, securing an exhilarating 2-2 draw against Brentford in the Premier League on Sunday. The team’s fresh manager, Ange Postecoglou, lauded the squad’s resilience after a challenging week.
All four goals materialized in a thrilling first half, offering a glimpse of Tottenham’s style under Postecoglou in the absence of their iconic striker.
In the wake of Kane’s transfer to Bayern Munich, Tottenham commanded possession, converting from its sole two shots on target during the opening half. However, they found themselves trailing 2-1 due to defensive lapses.
While both teams adopted a more cautious approach in the second half, the initial 45 minutes of Postecoglou’s tenure highlighted the departure from his predecessor Antonio Conte’s defensive tactics and counterattacking focus.
Despite failing to clinch a victory, securing a draw against Brentford could be interpreted as a promising initial stride, especially considering that Thomas Frank’s side had triumphed over Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool at home in the previous season.
“Football clubs move on pretty quickly,” Postecoglou commented on adapting without Kane. “I haven’t needed to address it, I haven’t needed to give them a warm fuzzy cuddle just to see how they are. We had a game to prepare for and they knew that. I think that was the important thing for us. … We showed a real resilience that we’re going to need because it’s going to be a challenging year for sure.”
The game’s commencement was delayed by six minutes due to water supply issues rendering the stadium toilets unusable. This followed Arsenal’s home match delay against Nottingham Forest by 30 minutes due to a problem with the club’s new digital ticketing system.
“It is the most crazy reason for delaying a Premier League game I ever heard,” remarked Brentford manager Thomas Frank. “I know we normally hit the headlines for a lot of good things. Probably is not the worst thing to hit the headlines with, but yeah, quite crazy. … Probably also the first time in the Premier League wasn’t it? Again, making history.”
Tottenham took the lead when James Maddison delivered an immaculate free-kick, nodded in by Cristian Romero in the 11th minute. However, Romero had to exit the field due to signs of a potential concussion after an earlier head collision.
Brentford equalized via a penalty awarded after Son Heung-min’s slight contact with Mathias Jensen in the area. Bryan Mbeumo converted the spot-kick. Tottenham’s defensive vulnerabilities were exposed again on a counterattack in the 36th minute, as Rico Henry’s cross found Yoane Wissa, whose deflected shot eluded Tottenham’s new goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Emerson Royal restored parity for Tottenham just before halftime, firing a one-time shot from outside the box after another Maddison assist.
Tottenham‘s forward Richarlison, tasked with filling Kane’s void, faced challenges but managed a shot saved by Mark Flekken in the second half.