Tottenham’s League Cup tie at Leyton Orient was called off on Tuesday after several of their League Two opponents tested positive for the coronavirus.
Just two hours before Jose Mourinho’s side were due to play the third round match at the Breyer Group Stadium, the English Football League announced it had been postponed.
Orient had already shut down their training ground as a result of the virus outbreak in their first-team squad.
“Tonight’s Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this evening as scheduled,” an Orient statement said.
“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the fixture not taking place tonight and a further update will be provided in due course.
“Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club’s Covid-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible.”
Reports said Tottenham could be awarded a bye into the fourth round against Chelsea or Barnsley under League Cup rules.
Orient are keen for the tie to be rearranged, but with the next round scheduled for next week there is little room to fit it in.
The fourth tier club had revealed the positive cases on Monday, with reports claiming Tottenham had paid for their opponents’ testing after Orient’s game against Mansfield on Saturday.
Football League clubs no longer have to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis this season, as is still the case in the Premier League.
Tottenham may not be disappointed at the match being called off in the midst of a hectic spell of five games in 10 days that Mourinho had branded “crazy”.
They played on Sunday at Southampton in the Premier League and will travel to Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija on Thursday.
Dele Alli’s Tottenham future is in doubt after he was dropped for their Premier League match at Southampton on Sunday as Jose Mourinho claimed he has “too many players”.
Alli was substituted at half-time of Tottenham’s defeat against Everton last weekend and was missing from the squad for their Europa League qualifier against Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday.
The England international was expected to return against Southampton, but Tottenham manager Mourinho did not include him in the matchday squad.
Alli has endured a difficult period over the last two years, with his form dipping badly.
Mourinho was seen accusing him of being “lazy” in training during the All or Nothing documentary that captured life behind the scenes at Tottenham last season.
Alli was linked with a move to Real Madrid as part of the deal that eventually saw Gareth Bale join Tottenham on loan on Saturday, while Manchester United are reported to be interested in the 24-year-old.
Asked if Alli had been left out for fitness reasons, Mourinho’s response suggested there was no guarantee he would get back in the team any time soon.
“No. We have a huge squad, a squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“I never had it, I don’t like to have it and it’s not easy for me. I start with Son, with Lucas and with Harry Kane and on the bench I still have Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn.
“We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”
Liverpool surged 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a dominant second-half display as Mohamed Salah scored twice in a 4-0 rout of Southampton on Saturday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson also scored and the runaway leaders have collected an astonishing 100 league points from the last 102 available to them.
A 24th victory in 25 league matches this season and ninth clean sheet in 10 games underlined how Jurgen Klopp’s side have turned the title race into a procession.
Southampton’s spirited performance at Anfield was undone, in controversial fashion, two minutes into the second half after Danny Ings appealed that he had been tripped by Fabinho on his way into the home area.
Liverpool broke immediately upfield, Oxlade-Chamberlain spearheading a counter-attack which ended in an exchange of passes with Roberto Firmino, and a brilliant finish into the bottom corner of the Southampton goal.
The visitors appealed furiously that they should have been awarded the earlier penalty only to be met with an unfavourable decision from VAR.
That proved to be a moot point eventually with Henderson and Salah adding goals in quick succession after the hour.
Henderson doubled the lead from a move started when he closed down a clearance from keeper Alex McCarthy and Trent Alexander-Arnold returned it upfield.
Firmino chased the pass down and laid the ball off for Henderson to drive in an unstoppable finish.
Twelve minutes later Henderson himself set up the third, with a magnificent pass which just eluded Jan Bednarek and allowed Salah to chase through and lift the ball over the keeper.
Firmino and substitute Takumi Minamino wasted glorious chances to add to the score before Salah did just that in the final minute to give Liverpool their 20th successive home league win.
It came from more strong play by Firmino, who held off defender Jack Stephens before squaring for his Egyptian team-mate to score with an untidy, deflected shot.
Yet, despite the impressive weight of statistical form that Liverpool brought into the game, Southampton were themselves looking for a fifth consecutive league away win and could have been on course for it by the interval.
The first period ended with the Saints actually out-performing the leaders and, with better finishing, they would have been in control.
Instead, Liverpool could point to their best, and only real, chance of the first half and bemoan the fact they were denied what looked a strong penalty appeal on the half hour.
Virgil van Dijk missed a good opportunity with only McCarthy to beat, back-heeling at the keeper who then did well to block Firmino’s follow-up effort.
Liverpool retained possession and Jordan Henderson crossed into the six-yard area where Firmino appeared to be brought down on the goalline by Shane Long.
Despite the vocal appeals from Liverpool players and crowd alike, VAR chose not to overrule referee Kevin Friend, a reprieve that Southampton looked in the mood to take advantage of before the half expired.
They were helped by a series of uncharacteristic Liverpool errors, both forced and unforced, which gifted the visitors a series of chances.
An Ings shot was well blocked by Joe Gomez, after Firmino gave the ball straight to him, a Gomez error allowed Long a strike which Alisson parried while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ings, again, had promising openings.
It was all part of an enthralling, if goalless, first half, with Moussa Djenepo’s shot having been tipped over earlier by Alisson and McCarthy doing likewise at the other end to deny Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But Liverpool’s strong start to the second half altered the dynamic of the game and moved the Reds another step closer to their first English title since 1990.
West Ham crashed out of the FA Cup as their former manager Slaven Bilic led West Bromwich Albion to a surprise 1-0 win, while Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in Saturday’s fourth-round action.
Albion boss Bilic, sacked by the Hammers in 2017, made eight changes as he prioritised the Championship leaders’ push to return to the Premier League.
But Albion took a shock lead at the London Stadium when Conor Townsend drilled in his first goal for the club after nine minutes.
West Ham, struggling in the top-flight under new boss David Moyes and now without a win in four games, were given a lifeline when West Brom’s Semi Ajayi was sent off in the 72nd minute after his push earned a second yellow card.
Sebastien Haller should have equalised with a headed chance and Manuel Lanzini then dragged his shot wide, but Albion held on.
West Ham were jeered off by their furious fans, while Croatian Bilic, who also played for the east Londoners, celebrated a sweet success with his Albion players.
At St Mary’s, Christian Eriksen was left out amid reports in Italy suggesting the Tottenham midfielder has agreed to a move to Inter Milan, while Gedson Fernandes made his full debut for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Tottenham’s last visit to Southampton was a painful one, with Harry Kane suffering a torn hamstring in a Premier League defeat on New Year’s Day, a clash that saw Mourinho embroiled in a touchline row with a member of the Saints’ coaching staff.
Mourinho’s side struck in the 58th minute on their return to the south coast.
South Korea forward Son Heung-min fired home from Erik Lamela’s pass for his 12th goal of the season.
But Southampton hit back to equalise through Sofiane Boufal’s powerful strike from Danny Ings’ cross in the 87th minute.
Newcastle had to settle for an embarrassing 0-0 draw with third tier Oxford at St James’ Park as their wretched FA Cup form haunted them again.
Steve Bruce’s side are looking to make the fifth round for the first time since 2006, but they needed a replay to beat minnows Rochdale in the previous round and they will have to go the distance again after this limp display.
Burnley and Norwich made a combined total of 12 changes at Turf Moor, with the Canaries running out 2-1 winners.
Grant Hanley’s 53rd-minute goal and a 57th-minute strike from Josip Drmic put Norwich in control before Erik Pieters reduced the deficit in the 74th minute.
Cardiff fans were warned not to sing “racist or homophobic songs” after two incidents were reported during their 1-1 draw at fellow Championship side Reading.
Sheffield United won 2-0 at second-tier Millwall through Muhamed Besic’s 62nd-minute goal and Oliver Norwood’s 84th-minute strike.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s early goal sealed a 1-0 win for Leicester at Championship side Brentford.
Brendan Rodgers’ team are chasing a trip to Wembley on two fronts and they took the next step in the FA Cup after surviving a hard-fought fourth-round clash in west London.
Leicester, who have never won the FA Cup, are hoping to reach the final for the first time since 1969.
In the League Cup, they are through to the semi-finals and head to Aston Villa in the second leg on Tuesday after being held to a 1-1 draw in the first match at the King Power Stadium.
Despite Jamie Vardy’s absence with a glute injury, it took Leicester just four minutes to go ahead when Nigerian striker Iheanacho met James Justin’s cross with a clinical close-range finish.
Chelsea travel to second-tier Hull in Saturday’s late game.
Tottenham’s push for a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered another setback on Wednesday as Danny Ings’s winner handed Southampton a well-deserved 1-0 win at St Mary’s, while England striker Harry Kane limped off with a hamstring injury.
Ings produced the one real moment of quality in the game by lifting the ball over Toby Alderweireld before firing home his ninth goal in as many Premier League starts to lift the Saints up to 12th, six points clear of the relegation zone.
There was little response from Jose Mourinho’s men as they slipped six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, apart from the moment when Kane injured himself as he converted Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but was flagged offside before hobbling down the tunnel.
Ings’s goals have shot Southampton out of the bottom three in recent weeks and Spurs were unable to cope with the threat the former Liverpool striker early on.
Inside the first five minutes, Ings saw a shot blocked inside the area before right-back Cedric Soares headed wastefully wide from Ryan Bertrand’s teasing cross.
Tottenham also had their chances at the other end in an open start as Alex McCarthy turned Kane’s deflected effort behind and Dele Alli saw half-hearted claims for a penalty waived away.
Spurs have now gone a calendar year without a clean sheet away from home in the league and it was no surprise that Ings proved too sharp and skillful for a defence that Mourinho has been unable to tighten up since taking charge six weeks ago.
Jack Stephens’s long ball over the top caught the Tottenham backline square and Ings coolly flicked the ball over the head of Alderweireld before slotting his 15th goal of the season past the helpless Paulo Gazzaniga.
Southampton could have been further ahead by the break as only a last-ditch block from Alderweireld prevented Nathan Redmond turning in Stuart Armstrong’s dangerous cross.
The Belgian defender was lucky to escape without conceding a penalty early in the second period as his arms were raised when he blocked Redmond’s cross inside the penalty area.
Referee Mike Dean waived away claims for a spot-kick and was surprisingly not overruled by a VAR review.
Southampton had only kept one clean sheet in the league since mid-September, but they coped comfortably as Kane, Alli, Eriksen, and Lucas Moura struggled to create.
Tottenham’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Kane pulled up as he slotted home Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time, but was flagged offside.
The visitors ended the game in search of an equaliser without a recognised striker on the pitch with Son Heung-min also absent due to suspension.
Mourinho’s frustration boiled over as he was shown a yellow card after an altercation with the Southampton bench.
Moura’s deflected shot that skewed just wide was the closest Tottenham came to an equaliser, but even a point would have been more than they deserved to leave Mourinho with plenty to ponder ahead of Liverpool’s visit in their next league outing in 10 days’ time.
Frank Lampard said Chelsea had to improve their home form if they were to remain in the top four following a 2-0 loss to Southampton on Thursday.
After an impressive 2-0 win away to Tottenham, Chelsea and their fans probably expected a win against a Southampton side battling to avoid relegation.
But Chelsea rarely threatened before or after Michael Obafemi put the Saints ahead in the 31st minute with the second Premier League goal of his career.
And when Nathan Redmond doubled that lead in the 73rd minute, the contest was effectively over.
The result meant Chelsea had suffered back-to-back home league defeats for the first time since 2011, with Bournemouth’s fellow south coast side Southampton having won the previous match at Stamford Bridge.
“You need a form of consistency to come in the top four in the Premier League,” said Chelsea manager Lampard, whose side are still fourth in the table.
“Everyone is striving for it. We are in it at Christmas and people probably would have doubted that so from that perspective we can probably be happy.
“But to stay there and move onwards and upwards we have to win more than we have recently at home.”
Youthful teams often struggle for consistency, but Chelsea’s problems are especially acute at their west London home, where they have won only four league games so far this season.
“We have to work and we have to do more in an attacking sense,” said Lampard.
“You can’t have 70 percent of possession and control as we did in the first half and not do more, not hit better crosses, make better final passes, get more clear chances at goal.”
‘Test of character’
And Chelsea are feeling the tension, with their manager admitting: “When you are on the run we are on, there is more pressure because everyone talks about it and we feel it.
“We want to perform well in front of our own fans and give them something to be happy about.”
The former Chelsea and England midfielder added: “People come here and respect us as Chelsea in the way they are setting up but we are not playing like the Chelsea that can break that down.
“I learn about the players particularly in games like that…Games like today’s are a test of character as much as ability.”
Meanwhile Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said that West Ham and Bournemouth’s victories at Stamford Bridge had led his side to think “‘why can’t we do it too?'”
Southampton’s opener came after Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi lost possession, the move ending when Obafemi curled a left-foot shot around Kepa Arrizabalaga from 20 yards.
The Saints, retaining possession well, could now afford to sit back and pounce on Chelsea errors, with a Blues mistake contributing to their second goal.
N’Golo Kante, in trying to dispossess Stuart Armstrong after a 30-pass move, succeeded only in playing the ball into the path of Redmond, who lifted the ball over Arrizabalaga and into the net.
“Sure you have to have a tactical plan but you need passion or it doesn’t work,” Hasenhuttl said.
“I’m proud of the moments when we win the ball, but we showed we can pass the ball as well.
“We have had some good performances on the road but this was the best.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery and his players were booed off despite Alexandre Lacazette’s 96th-minute equaliser denying Southampton a first win at the Gunners since 1987 in a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Emirates on Saturday.
Emery’s chances of remaining in charge fade with every passing week as a point at home to a side languishing in the relegation zone does little to further his side’s chances of achieving a top-four finish.
The Spaniard has received a vote of confidence from the board of a club that does not often fire managers, but many fans had already lost faith in him before this setback.
Lacazette’s goal, his second of the match, at least avoided an embarrassing defeat, but Arsenal have won just two of their last 11 Premier League games and slip down to seventh in the table behind Wolves and Burnley.
Despite their lowly status, Southampton were the better side and peppered the Arsenal goal with 21 shots to the home side’s 12.
Stuart Armstrong flashed an early Southampton opportunity narrowly wide but Arsenal didn’t heed the warning and were caught out by a ninth-minute free-kick.
Nathan Redmond, the man fouled, was still on the ground when Ryan Bertrand played it quickly to Danny Ings, who strode into space on the left before unleashing a low drive that went past goalkeeper Bernd Leno and in off a post.
That prompted boos from some home fans but the mood was in no way lightened by Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse firing the game’s next chance straight at Leno.
Lacazette changed the narrative with an equaliser in the 18th minute. Mesut Ozil’s cross from the left found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in space in the box and although Bertrand blocked his shot the rebound fell to the France striker to fire home on the turn.
The second half was frantic from the start as Leno had to make a save from team-mate Lucas Torreira, who poked the ball towards his own goal in the act of dispossessing the lively Michael Obafemi.
Southampton then survived a VAR check for a penalty when Armstrong stuck up a hand to stop the ball smashing him in the face.
Arsenal’s club-record signing Nicolas Pepe started on the bench for the third straight game, but looked lively after being introduced at half-time and hit the bar with an acrobatic back-post effort that reared up off the turf.
But it was the visitors who continued to pose the greater threat and they were awarded a penalty when Kieran Tierney pushed Ings over to stop him reaching a dangerous Obafemi cross. Ward-Prowse’s first effort was saved by Leno, but he made it 2-1 on the rebound.
Joe Willock then prevented Saints replacement Moussa Djenepo from wrapping up victory with a block of a goalbound shot, with Djenepo firing wide from just seven yards out during seven minutes of added time.
Those misses proved to be costly as Arsenal substitute Gabriel Martinelli found Lacazette unmarked at the back post for a smart finish and an undeserved equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.
Tottenham Hotspur sacked manager Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday just five months after reaching the Champions League final following a poor start to the Premier League season.
“The club can today announce that Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez have been relieved of their duties,” Tottenham, who sit 14th in the Premier League, said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, joined Spurs from Southampton in 2014 and has been instrumental in turning Tottenham into Champions League regulars over the past four seasons.
That culminated in a dramatic run to the club’s first-ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
However, domestically results have been on the decline since February.
Spurs had the faltering fortunes of Arsenal and Manchester United to thank for them clinging onto a top-four finish last season as they won just three of their final 12 league games.
That form has continued at the start of this season with just three wins from their opening 12 games leaving Tottenham already 11 points outside the top four and 20 behind leaders Liverpool.
“We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.
“It falls to the board to make the difficult decisions — this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff — but we do so in the club’s best interests.”
Southampton’s players and coaching staff are to donate their wages from last Friday to the Saints Foundation in a first step towards redeeming themselves following the 9-0 thrashing by Leicester City.
Friday’s rout equalled Manchester United’s 9-0 demolition of Ipswich at Old Trafford in March 1995 for the biggest win in Premier League history.
Saints manager Ralph Hassenhuttl — who accepted the blame for the humiliation — has the daunting task of rebuilding his players morale ahead of two trips to Manchester City this week.
Southampton play League Cup holders City in the fourth round of the competition on Tuesday and are back there on Saturday for a Premier League clash.
“Southampton Football Club’s first-team players and coaching staff have announced they will be donating their wages from last Friday to Saints Foundation,” the club said in a statement.
“The squad has been in at Staplewood Campus throughout the weekend, working on putting things right for the club’s supporters.
“As the first step towards that, the group has decided that they wish to donate their wages from the day of the Leicester game to Saints Foundation, in order to help the vital work that is conducted by the charity.”
The foundation helps children, young people and troubled adults in the Southampton area.
The 22-year-old striker has won two caps for England in friendlies against Brazil and Germany in 2017, but he had flirted with switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, who he qualifies for through his father.
Tomori, 21, is also eligible to represent Nigeria, but the centre-back showed his England credentials with another composed display to keep Southampton largely at bay.
Mount, 20, bagged Chelsea’s second goal to once again showcase the predatory instincts that have helped the midfielder make a smooth transition to the Premier League following last season’s loan alongside Tomori at Derby.
Danny Ings got one back for Southampton, but N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi struck to make it four successive wins in all competitions for Chelsea, who are beginning to thrive in Frank Lampard’s first season in charge.
Chelsea are up to fifth in the Premier League heading into what promises to be a memorable international break for the club’s three young talents.
Southampton have won just two of their last 13 league games and are winless in their last six home matches.
Southampton threatened in the opening minutes when Nathan Redmond hit a swerving strike that flashed just over from long-range.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was starting for Chelsea for the first time in the league this season and the England winger created their first chance with a burst that ended with Abraham shooting straight at Angus Gunn.
It was a warning that Southampton failed to heed as Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute.
Hudson-Odoi floated a long pass towards Abraham and he nipped ahead of Saints defender Maya Yoshida to reach it on the edge of the area.
With Gunn having sprinted off his line, Abraham lofted his shot high over the keeper and the ball crossed the line despite Yoshida’s despairing attempt to clear with a bicycle kick.
Southampton’s creaky defence imploded again in the 24th minute as Jan Bednarek carelessly surrendered possession to Willian.
Jorginho played a return pass to Willian who slipped the ball through to Mount. The youngster glided into the area and slotted past Gunn.
Mount should have scored again when he drove wastefully wide from Abraham’s pass.
Chelsea had kept only one league clean-sheet in seven games under Lampard and they were breached easily in the 30th minute.
Yan Valery was allowed to drift past four Chelsea defenders without a single challenge and he whipped a cross to Ings, who got across Kurt Zouma to poke his shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Valery had played a key role in Southampton’s goal but he was guilty of deserting his post in the 40th minute and Marcos Alonso moved into the space vacated by the defender.
Alonso’s pass found Kante on the edge of the area and the France midfielder unloaded a shot that took a big deflection of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on its way past the wrong-footed Gunn.
Batshuayi came off the bench to wrap up Chelsea’s stroll on the south-coast with a clinical finish in the 89th minute.