Harry Kane‘s nights of waking up in a cold sweat when August comes around the corner are over.
The Tottenham striker scored the third goal to wrap up his side’s 3-1 win against Fulham at Wembley Stadium. He had never previously hit the back of the net in August for his club.
Lucas Moura gave the hosts the lead late in the first half before Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised early in the second.
Kieran Trippier’s free-kick gave Spurs the lead once more before Kane secured victory.
Here’s a closer look at Kane’s performance.
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on target – 1
Touches – 77
Passes – 53
Key passes – 3
Pass success – 79.3%
Dribbles – 3
Dispossessed – 3
After a lacklustre display away to Newcastle United in the opening week of the 2018/19 Premier League, Kane showed signs of life in this encounter.
He was handed some support up front in the form of Lucas Moura and his overall involvement was more pronounced. After netting a goal that was disallowed and volleying an effort onto the crossbar, he finally broke the August curse with a composed finish.
Link-up play – Kane performed his role as the focal point in attack admirably, holding the ball up well and linking play, even setting Christian Eriksen up inside the box for a shot that was blocked.
Scoring – It sounds simplistic, however it’s been anything but for Kane in August. With Erik Lamela running through the heart of Fulham, he peeled wide, took the pass in his stride and cut inside for a tidy finish.
Poor touch – There were signs of rustiness still and some of Kane’s touches were wayward. He miscontrolled more times than anyone other Spurs player (4).
Shooting – Given the dominance Spurs enjoyed, you’d think Kane would’ve tested the keeper a lot more. An in-form Kane peppers the opposition’s goal with shots. In fact, he refused to pull the trigger on one occasion, choosing to hit the deck for a soft penalty instead.
A much improved performance from the one he mustered last weekend. While not yet at his devastating best, he looked a lot sharper and didn’t tire as quickly this time. Most importantly, he got that elusive August goal and the monkey is now finally off his back. He will only improve in the coming weeks.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock described Kenedy’s stoppage-time penalty miss for Newcastle as “poetic justice” after the Brazilian had escaped a possible first-half red card in the 0-0 draw.
Kenedy wasted the chance to give 10-man Newcastle the three points in the sixth minute of injury time, his weak attempt pushed out by Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
But Warnock suggested Kenedy was lucky to be on the pitch after appearing to kick out at Cardiff’s Spanish midfielder Victor Camarasa in the 33rd-minute.
Kenedy may yet face retrospective disciplinary action over the incident, but Warnock said: “It would have been devastating to lose at that stage.
“But my dad used to say ‘what goes around, comes around’ so I think the penalty miss was poetic justice.
“There’s never a dull moment here. I thought it was a good 0-0, and I’m quite pleased with the whole afternoon apart from not scoring.
“I’m really proud to be manager of the whole club today.
“This is what we’ve worked hard to do and we’re not going to give it up without a fight.”
Cardiff were on top when Newcastle substitute Isaac Hayden was shown a straight red card after 65 minutes.
Craig Pawson deemed Hayden’s tackle on Josh Murphy from behind as dangerous, and the referee made another huge call seconds from the end to punish Cardiff captain Sean Morrison for handball.
Etheridge’s penalty stop was his second in successive games after saving one in the opening game at Bournemouth.
“I think his arm was very close to being outside the box,” Warnock said.
“His body is inside the box but it was a hairline. But no complaints if you put your hand up.”
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez admitted he was unhappy after losing right-back Javier Manquillo to injury and seeing his replacement Hayden sent off.
The problems in that department came on the back of Newcastle losing first-choice right-back DeAndre Yedlin to a knee injury against Tottenham on the opening weekend of the season.
“There were too many things that I didn’t like during that game,” Benitez said.
“There were too many decisions that can go in your favour or against you.
“They say there was a tackle on Manquillo. In the end, I think we can not complain about the referee.”
On a match which saw both sides collect their first points of the season, Benitez added: “It was a very strange game.
“We knew it was going to be physical and a difficult afternoon.
“We put ourselves under pressure and made too many mistakes.
“The effort was there but I was disappointed overall.”
Chris Hughton admits Brighton are wary of the “wonderful” talents of Paul Pogba but do not have a specific plan to try and shackle him.
Pogba produced a captain’s performance as Manchester United started the Premier League season with victory over Leicester last Friday.
The influential 25-year-old, who helped France to World Cup success in the summer, is set to retain the armband when Jose Mourinho’s side visit Brighton on Sunday.
“He’s a very, very good player, there’s no doubt so we have to be guarded against that tactically,” said Albion boss Hughton.
“But no special measures.
“He’s capable of having a very good season. I think he showed that in the summer, I think he’s showed that in good periods at United.
“I think he’s a wonderful athlete, can certainly break very, very well from midfield and I think what he has shown is a passing ability that he’s got.
“He’s a wonderful all-round footballer.”
Pogba’s relationship with United manager Mourinho has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, with the player reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford.
After scoring from the penalty spot in the 2-1 win over the Foxes, he claimed that “there are things that I cannot say otherwise I will get fined” in his post-match interview.
Mourinho has since said he has never been happier with the midfielder, signed from Juventus for £89million two years ago.
Hughton believes disagreements between coaches and players are a common occurrence in the game and thinks high-profile ones will always attract more attention.
“It’s just part and parcel of a manager’s role,” he said.
“Our main responsibility is to win football matches but around that you have to manage a team of players and there are good moments, bad moments, tough moments, easier moments.
“It just happens that some are highlighted more than others.”
Sunday’s televised clash is the Seagulls’ first home game since they memorably beat United 1-0 in May to secure their top-flight status.