Despite Antonio Conte’s reluctance, Tottenham could still find the Champions League as their standard. They are firmly in the mix for fourth place, with one game less against West Ham and Arsenal, after a comfortable victory over opponents whose form is becoming of concern. Conte will not have failed to observe Spurs’ propensity to drop during discernible periods, but there was a lot to do here as well, especially a quick start which drew a self-owning goal from Sergi Canós and a truly breakneck break. exhilarating that brought Son Heung -min’s in the second half. They could have won by more while Brentford, who woke up too late to make an impact, is just a shadow of themselves at the start of the season.
As lucky as it is, Spurs’ opener is the result of a determined first spell that could already have paid off by the time an unwilling Canós defeated Álvaro Fernández. Conte surely would have demanded an extended rehearsal of the heartwarming second-half performance that saw Leeds leave 11 days before, although events have conspired to stop their momentum since then. The shoddy loss to Slovenian minnows Mura prompted him to declare his new club’s current level “not that high”, while any hope that a visit to Burnley would quickly banish that memory has been cast aside. in the cold when the snow suffocated the northwest on Sunday.
The same team that would have started at Turf Moor lined up here, with Conte’s advantage being extra time on the training ground. They started off enthusiastically, as if they intended to inform their head coach that he had underestimated the capabilities of his men. The early pressure brought a corner which Ivan Toney cleared; it only took six minutes for any real luck to materialize, however, when Harry Kane transformed into space and slid Lucas Moura through. Fernández saved his practice, from an angle to the right, with a sharp reflex display, but a breakthrough would come soon enough.
It was doubly hard for Canós as the right-back conceded the corner that brought the goal, showing a commendable conscience in deflecting the ball after Eric Dier sought to free Reguilón halfway through. Son Heung-min took the free kick, receiving a return pass and delivering close to the signing. It might have been meat and drink for Pontus Jansson, but Canós, defiantly beside him, hampered his head. The speed of the ricochet left Fernández no chance; a sheepish Ben Davies, who had been closest to Canós, received applause from his teammates and announcer tannoy. Spurs could celebrate the goal from a corner kick for the first time this season.
The rest of the opening period was a reminder that, as Conte seems to know, Spurs are not yet able to consistently maintain the tempo he would prefer. That’s not to say they’ve ceded control: Brentford tends to make a point of asking questions, rain or shine, but caused only the slightest dismay when reluctance to defend the long throw Charlie Goode’s lead Christian Nørgaard over the goal, Davies walking away. Otherwise, Spurs weren’t troubled going into the break, although they only came close once more when a solid run and shot from Son allowed Fernandez to stop firmly with one hand.
The Brentford keeper looks like a sharp sniper, although he’s less reliable under high crosses. Five minutes into the second half, the stadium gasped with anticipation as Kane, fired by Oliver Skipp, looked certain to double his league total for the season. Fernández blocked and Kane again cursed his fortune; Moments later, the striker should have at least claimed an assist when Højbjerg met his cross shot but shot into the side net.
The Spurs were out in force again and there was no doubt now that the game should have been safe. In the 65th minute that was finally the case, and it brought relief because Brentford had just started to sow the seeds of concern. An uncertain defensive header from Davinson Sánchez caused nervousness in the stands; then Toney, with his only sight of goal, scuffed a low shot at Hugo Lloris.
There would be no head of steam for the visitors, however, and that was due to a delightful move from Tottenham. Son sent the ball back to Kane just in his own half and went into the opposing territory as his teammate swept a sumptuous 50-yard pass on the way to Reguilón. The marauding winger’s run was scintillating and his cross precise enough that Son, who had not interrupted his stride, could tap six yards.
Lloris turned Toney down late but Brentford, who lost five in seven, had no comeback.