Copy of 2022-08-06T152614Z_803488134_UP1EI8616VOM7_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-ENGLAND-TOT-SOU-REPORT-1659803322699
Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski (centre) celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Ryan Sessegnon and Emerson Royal. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

London: Tottenham Hotspur underlined their credentials as a team capable of a Premier League title challenge with a confident 4-1 defeat of Southampton to get their campaign up and running today.

The hosts fell behind to a James Ward-Prowse volley in the 12th minute but dominated throughout with goals by Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier and Dejan Kulusevski sealing the win.

Southampton’s lead lasted only nine minutes before Sessegnon powered a header past Southampton’s Premier League debutant keeper Gavin Bazunu from Kulusevski’s cross.

Stooping header

Dier glanced in Son Heung-min’s cross with a stooping header in the 31st minute to put Tottenham ahead, and the hosts should have been out of sight before the interval.

Mohammed Salisu clumsily turned Emerson Royal’s cross into his own net in the 61st minute, and two minutes later Royal set up the impressive Kulusevski to guide an exquisite finish beyond Bazunu whose saves kept the score respectable.

It was quite a statement by Tottenham, who did not even need the usual goal contributions of last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner Son or Harry Kane -- both of whom had several chances to open their tallies for the season.

Tottenham ended the match in cruise control and manager Antonio Conte gave debuts to new signings Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma as substitutes in the second half.

Lively cameo

Midfielder Bissouma enjoyed a lively cameo, getting a yellow card and then almost scoring in the last minute.

Newcastle United made a comfortable start to the new season thanks to goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson in a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, giving the visitors an unhappy return to the Premier League after a 23-year absence.

An own goal by defender Rayan Ait-Nouri gave Leeds United a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening game at Elland Road.

Bournemouth made a winning return to the Premier League by beating Aston Villa 2-0 at home following goals from midfielder Jefferson Lerma and striker Kieffer Moore.