https://japantoday.com-By Steven GRIFFITHS
Harry Kane’s double earned a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest that lifted Tottenham to third in the Premier League, while Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard is under intense pressure after a 1-0 defeat against West Ham on Sunday.
Antonio Conte’s side have made an encouraging start to the campaign. Kane ensured they maintained that momentum at the City Ground.
The England captain put Tottenham ahead with a clinical finish after collecting Dejan Kulusevski’s pass just outside the Forest area in the fifth minute.
It was Kane’s 200th league goal, including his Tottenham career and loan spells at Millwall, Leicester and Leyton Orient.
Kane wasted a chance to increase Tottenham’s lead 11 minutes after half-time when Steve Cook handled Ivan Perisic’s cross.
Dean Henderson saved Kane’s penalty as he missed from the spot in the league for the first time since 2018.
Kane made amends with his fourth goal this season in the 81st minute.
Richarlison won the ball back and crossed for the striker to head into the empty net.
With three wins from four games, Tottenham are level on points with second placed Manchester City and two points behind leaders Arsenal as the two north London rivals set the early pace.
“The game was really tough. To play in this stadium is not easy. There is a lot of noise around the pitch,” Conte said. “Forest won many duels but in the second half I thought we did much better to control the game. The players are improving in their resilience and learning to suffer together and be compact.”
West Ham arrived at Villa Park bottom of the table after losing their first three games without scoring.
Pablo Fornals’ goal late in the second half ended West Ham’s wait to get off the mark as they climbed out of the relegation zone.
Fornals’ shot deflected off Villa defender Ezri Konsa and looped over keeper Emiliano Martinez to break the deadlock with 15 minutes left.
The Hammers, beaten by Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and Brighton, are now level on points with Villa, who have lost three of their first four matches.
Villa’s latest setback will only add to the scrutiny on Gerrard amid talk of dressing room unrest with the former Liverpool and England midfielder.
A midweek League Cup second round win at third-tier Bolton had given Gerrard a little breathing space.
But Villa fans are growing increasingly restless with Gerrard, who has struggled to make a sustained impact since leaving Rangers to succeed Dean Smith last season.
“I have got two ears and I hear a lot of things. I heard the fans’ frustration and last time I checked my ears were still working so, yeah, I pick up on everything,” Gerrard said.
“I’ve been in the game long enough. If you lose three games out of four it is not the start the supporters wanted and certainly not the start that I wanted, so of course I understand. We certainly share our supporters’ frustration and there is no one more frustrated than me.”
With matches against Premier League leaders Arsenal and champions Manchester City looming as their next two fixtures, Villa could be deeper in trouble by early September.
West Ham boss David Moyes added: “The performance was really in truth not the most important thing today, the result was.”
At Molineux, Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves gave his side the lead seven minutes before half-time when he drilled a superb strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
But Allan Saint-Maximin matched Neves’ goal as he blasted a brilliant volleyed equaliser from 20 yards in stoppage-time to rescue a 1-1 draw.
Newcastle are up to seventh after an unbeaten start which has extended to four matches, a sequence that includes three successive draws.
Second-bottom Wolves remain without a win in the league after two draws and two losses.