Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 AFC Bournemouth - 14-Oct-2017 : Match Report
Tottenham are finally off the mark at Wembley after Christian Eriksen sealed a narrow win over Bournemouth and his side's first Premier League victory under the arch.
This was still not the imperious Spurs of White Hart Lane last season but Eriksen at least gave their stop-start display a positive finish, his second-half strike securing a morale-boosting 1-0 victory.
While Mauricio Pochettino's men stay third, five points off league leaders Manchester City, Bournemouth remain pointless from what is now four league games on the road. They sit 19th.
Harry Kane has rightly taken the plaudits in recent weeks for his relentless scoring form but on a rare off-day - his first game in six without a goal - it was Eriksen's turn to assume the limelight.
Eriksen has been by far Tottenham's best supporting act during Kane's golden streak and after scoring twice in two games for Denmark over the international break, another here means he now has four in five for club and country.
Bournemouth certainly had chances of their own but Eddie Howe must add some edge to their creativity if they are to avoid a relegation battle this term. The Cherries have managed only four goals in eight league games so far.
With Ben Davies ill, Jan Vertonghen started on the left side of a back four for Spurs while Joshua King was passed fit for the visitors after shaking off a hamstring injury.
The opening 45 minutes was almost entirely forgettable except for two Bournemouth chances that arrived in quick succession.
First Adam Smith, once of Tottenham's academy, pulled back for Junior Stanislas but the finish was deflected wide of the shoulder of Davinson Sanchez.
Then from the resulting corner Toby Alderweireld almost turned the ball into his own net but Hugo Lloris was quick to get down and claw it away to safety.
Otherwise, it looked like the same old Wembley story for Spurs, possession aplenty but tempo lacking and chances few and far between.
Two minutes into the second period, however, Tottenham struck.
Eriksen received a pass inside from Son Heung-min and while Simon Francis slid in to block the Dane's drive forward the ball cannoned kindly, allowing the midfielder to steer into the bottom corner.
Spurs now had a spring in their step and Kane might have had a hat-trick before the hour mark as he saw a headed goal correctly chalked off for offside before Asmir Begovic pulled off two excellent close-range saves.
Kane then sliced an ambitious volley out for a throw-in soon after. It might have found the top corner in September.
The upshot, however, was that Bournemouth were still in the contest and when Jermain Defoe came on to a rapturous reception with 15 minutes to play, the stage seemed set for the striker to upset his former club.
He almost did too, forcing Lloris into a smart save at his near post after fellow substitute Jordon Ibe had played a neat reverse pass.
Dele Alli could have added a final flourish but headed wide, while a four versus one counter-attack resulted only in Harry Winks firing over. There is still room for improvement.