EPL

Two assists for James Maddison as Tottenham move on without Harry Kane with draw

By Sports Desk August 13, 2023

James Maddison provided two assists to help fill the creative void left by Harry Kane’s departure, but Tottenham could only start the Ange Postecoglou era with a 2-2 Premier League draw at Brentford.

Kane’s exit to Bayern Munich – coupled with four full debutants being used in their season opener – contributed to the start of a new dawn at Spurs and along with hosts Brentford, they produced an entertaining affair in west London.

New vice-captain Cristian Romero headed Tottenham in front after 11 minutes, but quick-fire efforts from Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa turned around this Premier League opener for the Bees.

Emerson Royal was able to level on the stroke of half-time after another assist by Maddison, who was wearing the number 10 shirt, and despite both teams fashioning further chances in the second half, the spoils were shared.

It had been a whirlwind period for everyone involved at Tottenham with Kane beginning his journey to Germany on Friday and making his debut for Bayern on Saturday night. By that point, his former club had moved on.

Son Heung-min was confirmed as Spurs’ new captain, with Hugo Lloris still expected to depart before September 1, and Postecoglou handed out several debuts during his own Premier League bow.

A slight delay occurred to kick-off at Brentford due to a sanitation issue inside the stadium, but it took only 11 minutes for Tottenham to score the first goal of this new era.

Maddison curled in a free-kick for fellow vice-captain Romero to head home but that would prove the World Cup winner’s last involvement.

Romero had clashed heads with Mbeumo after five minutes and despite insisting he could carry on, Davinson Sanchez was introduced.

Brentford started to grow into proceedings and Tottenham’s new number one Guglielmo Vicario saved well from Mbeumo before Son started his captaincy duties with a low point.

The Spurs forward caught Mathias Jensen inside the area and – while it looked innocuous at first glance – VAR told referee Robert Jones to review the incident with the pitchside monitor and he pointed to the penalty spot.

With Brentford without the banned Ivan Toney due to repeated betting breaches, Mbeumo took on the spot-kick responsibility and slotted the ball home after 26 minutes in a similar fashion to his fellow strike partner.

Nine minutes later, Thomas Frank’s side were ahead when Rico Henry got in behind Emerson too easily on the right and cut back, where Wissa’s shot was deflected beyond Vicario by fellow debutant Micky Van De Ven.

A booking for Oliver Skipp on the stroke of half-time made it five yellows handed out to the visitors, which included coach Ryan Mason and those minor delays contributed towards 11 minutes being added on at the end of the first half.

It proved enough time for Tottenham to go in level after Emerson rifled home from 22 yards following Maddison’s pass to continue his resurgence after he was booed onto the pitch against Aston Villa at the start of 2023.

Brentford substitute Mikkel Damsgaard should have made it 3-2 after 58 minutes, but he scuffed his effort straight at Vicario from 12 yards after the Italian had punched away Vitaly Janelt’s cross.

Spurs improved afterwards with Son testing Mark Flekken, who produced a strong display after replacing Arsenal-bound David Raya.

Flekken was equal to Richarlison’s 64th-minute effort when Maddison had slipped through the Brazil forward before a host of changes were made by both managers.

Van De Ven breathed a sigh of relief after VAR decided to not intervene when he caught Bees substitute Kevin Schade inside the area with 12 minutes left.

And it proved the final noteworthy moment of an entertaining opener, which showed both sides there was life without talismans Kane and Toney.

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