James Maddison opened his account for Tottenham Hotspur with the first goal in his side’s impressive 2-0 victory at Bournemouth in the Premier League as the visitors maintained their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday.
The England midfielder, signed from relegated Leicester City, was in scintillating form again for his new club, scoring from close range in the 17th minute and being at the heart of most of Tottenham’s best work.
Bournemouth threatened to get back in the game in the second half, but Dejan Kulusevski doubled Tottenham’s lead just past the hour with a neat finish following a slick build-up.
After that it was comfortable for new manager Ange Postecoglou’s side, who moved top of the standings ahead of the weekend’s other games with seven points from three matches.
Bournemouth have only one point from their three games.
There was much gnashing of teeth amongst Tottenham followers when all-time record scorer Harry Kane was sold to Bayern Munich on the eve of the new season.
But in Maddison they have found another player to pin their hopes on.
Two assists in Tottenham’s opening day draw at Brentford offered an early glimpse of why Tottenham parted with a reported 40 million pounds for the 26-year-old.
He backed that up with a dazzling display in last week’s home win over Manchester United.
Against Bournemouth his range of passing and quick thinking gave Postecoglou’s side an attacking impetus that the hosts found hard to contain.
“I’ll keep doing what I do and bringing the quality I can, repaying the club and why they bought me,” Maddison said.
“That is to be that creative outlet for the team.”
Tottenham took the lead when Pape Matar Sarr, another player impressing for a new-look Spurs side, sliced open Bournemouth’s defence in the 17th minute, and though Maddison’s shot was scuffed he got enough on the ball to send it past Neto.
Sarr and Yves Bissouma controlled the midfield battle for Tottenham and they looked in command and should have added to their lead, with Richarlison twice guilty of poor finishing after being set up by Maddison, the second chance headed wide from a wickedly curling delivery.
Bournemouth started the second half on the front foot and Antoine Semenyo curled a shot agonisingly wide.
Three minutes after Postecoglou took off a frustrated Richarlison, Tottenham sealed the points with an intricate move started by substitute Ivan Perisic down the left.
Full-back Destiny Udogie then exchanged passes with captain Son Heung-min before cutting the ball back for Kulusevski to stroke a neat finish into the opposite corner for his first goal of the campaign.
Maddison could have made it 3-0 with a shot wide when a pass to Son would have been a better option, but there were few complaints from the buoyant visiting fans who have taken an instant shine to the classy playmaker.
Not that he regards himself as a replacement for Kane.
“It’s tough if you’re asking me to try and get 30 goals! It’s a collective. You can’t even look to replace what Harry Kane gives you,” Maddison told the BBC.
“You’ve got to all chip in and look to try and score the same amount of goals from different areas.”