Man City Chase Quadruple As Man Utd Aim To Spoil Tuchel’s Record

File photo: (l to R) Manchester City’s French defender Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City’s Portuguese defender Ruben Dias and Manchester City’s English defender Kyle Walker react after the UEFA Champions League, last 16, 1st-leg football match Borussia Moenchengladbach v Manchester City at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

 

Manchester City have set their sights on a clean sweep of the four major trophies as the runaway Premier League leaders prepare to host high-flying West Ham this weekend.

To have any chance of putting City under pressure, second-placed Manchester United must end Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start as Chelsea boss.

AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the weekend action in the English top-flight.

Man City flex musclesManchester City’s march to the top of the Premier League was not a surprise given their title-winning pedigree, but their record-breaking surge has fuelled belief that they can achieve greatness.

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City chalked up their 19th successive win in all competitions — a record for an English top-flight side — as they eased to a 2-0 victory at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, face Tottenham in the League Cup final and have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Bernardo Silva, who was on the scoresheet against Borussia, gave voice to City’s swaggering confidence after they moved a step closer to an unprecedented quadruple.

Unbeaten in 26 matches stretching back to November, Silva said City could set a new standard of excellence after their domestic treble two years ago.

“We know we have good momentum, but this is just the last 16 of the Champions League,” he said. “We have the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup.

“It is going to be a tough season but we are going to try to win them all.”

Man Utd face Tuchel testManchester United are the closest challengers to Manchester City, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will need a major collapse from their rivals if they are to win the title for the first time since 2013.

File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) and teammates react after conceding their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP).

 

Victory at Chelsea on Sunday is essential to keep United’s faint hopes alive.

That will not be easy given the Blues’ revival under former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel.

Since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January, Tuchel has won six of his eight games in all competitions to lift Chelsea up to fifth place.

But United are unbeaten in five league games and their forward Marcus Rashford believes they are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

“I think we’ve said all season that we’re a team that’s still improving, learning lessons about ourselves every game,” he said.

“We have to concentrate on ourselves and keep giving the best version of us. Ultimately that’s going to make us win the games.”

Alli comes in from the cold after spending much of the season cast into exile by Jose Mourinho, Dele Alli’s return to form has given the Tottenham manager a welcome selection headache.

Alli appeared close to leaving on loan during the January transfer window before the club reportedly blocked the England midfielder’s attempt to rejoin his former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG.

The 24-year-old has since held clear-the-air talks with Mourinho and has been reintegrated into the squad.

Alli used Wednesday’s 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger to underline his qualities, scoring a brilliant overhead kick and providing two assists.

Ninth-placed Tottenham must beat Burnley on Sunday to get back in top-four contention.

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 2, 2021. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

“These are the headaches that I love,” Mourinho said, referring to his selection quandaries. “The headaches that you don’t like are lots of people not performing. Lots of doubts, by negative reasons.

“These are the wonderful problems. The players they need to understand this concept of team, and the intensity of matches. If you have everybody ready or play at this level, it’s the best thing to happen to the team.”

Fixtures:

Saturday (GMT)

Manchester City v West Ham (1230), West Brom v Brighton (1500), Leeds v Aston Villa (1730), Newcastle v Wolves (2000)

Sunday

Crystal Palace v Fulham (1200), Leicester v Arsenal (1200), Tottenham v Burnley (1400), Chelsea v Manchester United (1630), Sheffield United v Liverpool (1915)

Monday

Everton v Southampton (2000)

 

Tottenham ‘Undone By Individual Errors’- Rio Ferdinand

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on February 4, 2021.
Clive Rose / POOL / AFP

 

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes individual mistakes are hampering a consistent display from the Spurs side and makes them not genuine title contenders.

Tottenham lost 5-4 in dramatic fashion to Everton in FA fifth-round tie at Goodison Park which further extended their 31-year wait for a trophy

Ferdinand in an interview says he ‘feels sorry’ for Mourinho, who he claims regularly had to deal with his plans being derailed due to his side’s tendency to commit individual mistakes.

”I actually feel sorry for Mourinho in some ways, because in recent weeks he has changed quite a few times in the way they have approached games,’ the Man Utd legend said.”

”As a manager, you can prepare all you like for each game, but these individual errors are killing you, so in that sense, I feel sorry for him because sometimes it derails his whole plan that he has worked on all week.”

He was also critical of certain players consistently letting the team down

”There are too many players consistently making mistakes, and it is leaving them open and making them have to chase games some of the time,” he also said

The 42-year-old also believes they have to get back to the drawing board to think of themselves as real title hopefuls

”Until they get that right and eradicate those types of mistakes, they can never really consider themselves a team that is really going to challenge consistently.”

Tottenham next turn to the Carabao cup final against Manchester City in April to end a long wait for silverware for the club and fans alike.

Kane’s Return Lifts Mourinho As Spurs End Losing Streak

 

Harry Kane returned from injury to ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho as the Tottenham striker inspired a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Mourinho’s side had lost their previous three Premier League games to put their top four hopes in peril.

Revitalised by Kane’s earlier than expected return from an ankle problem suffered against Liverpool, Tottenham got back to winning ways just when the under-fire Mourinho needed it most.

Kane had missed the last two games, but he made up for lost time by opening the scoring in the second half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Kane’s 20th goal in all competitions this season took him to 208 goals in 317 Tottenham appearances — level in joint second place alongside Bobby Smith in the club’s all-time scoring list.

The England captain’s milestone goal was followed by a Son Heung-min strike moments later that killed off West Brom.

Amid criticism of Mourinho’s negative tactics and talk of rifts with several players, there is a long way to go before seventh-placed Tottenham are completely back on track.

Only three wins from the last 12 league games before this weekend — the same sequence that saw Mourinho’s predecessor Mauricio Pochettino sacked — had left the Portuguese coach in the spotlight.

But, in the midst of Mourinho’s winter of discontent, this was a small step in the right direction as snow flurries swirled around frozen north London.

Thursday’s defeat against Chelsea condemned Mourinho to consecutive home league defeats for the first time as a manager.

– Classy Kane –
In the circumstances, second bottom West Brom were ideal opponents for Tottenham to end their dismal decline.

Kane showed the class that Tottenham miss in his absence when he spun away from his marker and delivered a pin-point pass that Son couldn’t convert.

Inevitably at the heart of all Tottenham’s best moments, Kane was inches away from opening the scoring, taking Serge Aurier’s pass in stride and firing just wide.

There was a little sign of rustiness when Kane shot wide from Son’s pass, but he was back involved moments later when his blocked effort was nearly scrambled in by Lucas Moura.

Shifting Lucas’s pass into his right, Kane looked more like his old self when he unleashed a fierce strike that Sam Johnstone pushed away.

Johnstone made an even better save to keep out Aurier’s close-range diving header.

After being outplayed for the entire first half, West Brom’s Mbaye Diagne threatened to give the visitors a shock lead when his header almost squirmed away from Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris.

Kane’s defence-splitting pass sent Son racing through on goal, but again Johnstone rescued Albion with a good stop.

Tottenham’s incessant pressure finally paid off in the 54th minute as Kane beat the offside trap to collect Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s pass before guiding a low shot into the far corner.

Four minutes later, Son wrapped up the points after a rapier thrust from Mourinho’s men.

Taking Kane’s lay-off, Lucas ran from deep inside his own half to the Albion area and picked out Son, whose clinical finish took him to 17 goals in all competitions this term.

AFP

Kane ‘Optimistic’ Of Quick Return From Injury, Says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane lies on the pitch with an injury during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 28, 2021. (Photo by Nick Potts / POOL / AFP)

 

Harry Kane is “optimistic” he can return from his latest injury setback in just two weeks, according to Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho.

The Spurs striker was sorely missed during Sunday’s dismal 1-0 defeat at lowly Brighton after damaging both ankles in last week’s 3-1 loss to champions Liverpool.

The England captain has undergone scans and, according to his manager, is upbeat about a swift recovery.

He will almost certainly miss home games against Chelsea and West Brom, as well as the FA Cup fifth-round trip to Everton, but could be back to face Premier League leaders Manchester City on February 13.

“The news is pretty good news,” Mourinho told club media. “After Liverpool, no idea. Then the next day we were thinking about three weeks, something like that.

“I do not want to be super-optimistic but Harry is optimistic.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Expected To Boost Defensive Options On Transfer Deadline Day

“He has the experience of some injuries in ankles and in Harry’s mind it is a couple of weeks, so let’s see if he is right.”

Kane has scored or assisted 23 of Tottenham’s 34 Premier League goals this season.

Real Madrid loanee Gareth Bale was given a rare opportunity to impress in his absence against Brighton but was largely ineffective, while Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius went closest to an equaliser after coming off the bench.

Spurs, who topped the table in December, have now won just two of their past nine league games and are six points adrift of the top four.

Captain Hugo Lloris said the team were lacking confidence as they prepare to host Chelsea on Thursday.

“It’s the moment to stick together but there is a lot of disappointment from the players, from the manager and coaching staff, from the fans because we expect more from us,” he said.

“It’s a situation we need to fix as a team. The confidence will be back as soon as we get one good result.”

He Feels ‘Happy’ Sitting On The Bench – Souness Slams Bale’s Attitude

 

Football pundit, Graeme Souness, has criticised the Tottenham forward Gareth Bale for his  mental attitude towards the game after delivering another below-par showing in the defeat by Brighton.

Bale who was given a rare start against the Seagulls on Sunday evening in place of the injured talismanic Harry Kane found himself substituted after an hour following an ineffectual  performance.

Souness was furious with the Welshman’s performance after they lost further  ground on the Champions League spot.

”I am looking at him, a world-class player, he comes back to the club he professes to love and it’s as if he has been happy to sit on the bench,” he told Sky Sports.

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline as Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh striker Gareth Bale (L) leaves the game, substituted during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on January 31, 2021.
ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP

 

The Liverpool legend admitted limited playing time as a possible cause but feels the 31-year-old  needs to openly declare his frustration at not being played regularly.

”Now, if he is not happy with that, and that is what he was accused of at Real Madrid, then be vocal about it.” he stated.

”Let the Spurs supporters know you are not happy and not getting enough minutes.”

He however believes that Bale  is at the peak of his career and needs to generate a  fuss at the North London club

”I played my best football at 31. This should be his best years, coming back where he is much-loved,” he remarked.

”During games, subs are being made and the camera goes on him. He is not perturbed at not being one of the players going on.”’

Bale has made just six starts this campaign, despite the anticipation and excitement that surrounded his much-heralded arrival during the summer.

FA Cup: Leeds Stunned By Crawley As Spurs, City, Chelsea Reach Next Round

Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli (L) vies with Marine’s English defender Anthony Miley (R) during the English FA Cup third round football match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park ground in Crosby, north west England, on January 10, 2021.
Martin Rickett / POOL / AFP

 

Leeds suffered a humiliating FA Cup exit against Crawley as the League Two side swept to a stunning 3-0 win, while eighth tier Marine’s hopes of causing the competition’s greatest shock were crushed in a 5-0 defeat against Tottenham.

After the spiking coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc with matches across the third round on Friday and Saturday, the FA Cup was back on more familiar ground on Sunday as Leeds became the competition’s latest big name to be knocked out by a feisty underdog.

While Marine’s romantic adventure was cut short by Carlos Vinicius’s hat-trick and Chelsea and Manchester City progressed to the fourth round with ease, Crawley’s unexpected success encapsulated the FA Cup’s unique charm at a time when football is badly in need of some positive news.

READ ALSO: Atletico Madrid Game Postponed Due To Snowstorm

Numerous clubs have been hit by Covid-19 problems as the new variant sweeps across Britain, forcing Aston Villa and Derby to field teams of youth players for third round defeats against Liverpool and non-league Chorley respectively.

Despite calls for the English season to be halted, the FA Cup goes on for now and Crawley relished their chance to steal the spotlight.

Leeds sit 12th in the Premier League after a fine first season back in the top-flight, but boss Marcelo Bielsa paid the price for making seven changes at The People’s Pension Stadium in leafy Sussex.

On a fairytale day for Crawley, it was fitting that Nick Tsaroulla should open the scoring with his first career goal in the 51st minute.

Ashley Nadesan’s low shot crept under Kiko Casilla to double Crawley’s lead two minutes later and Jordan Tunnicliffe wrapped up the victory after 70 minutes.

“These players have got a lot to prove to the clubs who have released them and we’ve showed what we can do against a really good side,” Crawley boss John Yems said.

Rubbing salt into Leeds’ wounds, Crawley handed a debut to former reality television star Mark Wright as a late substitute.

How much Bielsa knew about Wright is in doubt, but he insisted he wasn’t surprised by Crawley’s display.

“It’s not a question of surprise. We knew the characteristics of their players. We had the ball for a long period of time but we couldn’t do much with it,” Bielsa said.

– Vibrant Vinicius –
Marine, of the Northern Premier League Division One North West, were trying to bridge the biggest gap — 161 places — between opponents in FA Cup history.

Marine’s squad is comprised of teachers, NHS staff, bin men and factory workers, with their tiny stadium in the Merseyside town of Crosby providing a surreal setting for the visit of Jose Mourinho’s stars.

Appropriately for a match against a team named after a local pub, virus restrictions meant Tottenham had to change in a stadium function room with a bar.

Marine’s ground is lined on one side by houses, so a few lucky locals were able to watch for free as Neil Kengni almost gave Marine the lead when his 30-yard drive cannoned off the bar.

Tottenham, without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, took control in the 24th minute when Vinicius finished off Dele Alli’s pass.

Vinicius, on loan from Benfica, was on target again after 30 minutes.

Lucas Moura struck with a fine free-kick in the 32nd minute and Vinicius completed his treble five minutes later

Alfie Devine enjoyed a debut to remember when the substitute fired home in the 60th minute, making him Tottenham’s youngest ever scorer at 16 years and 163 days.

“The boys were professionals and didn’t stop until the game was over. The attitude means a lot for me and also for the competition and to Marine’s guys, because they felt we played seriously,” Mourinho said.

Chelsea, FA Cup runners-up last season, thrashed League Two team Morecambe 4-0.

Mason Mount marked his 22nd birthday with a 25-yard strike and, after 12 games without a goal, Timo Werner finally got on the scoresheet in the 44th minute.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz netted in the second half.

Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win against second tier Birmingham at the Etihad Stadium, with two goals from Bernardo Silva and one from Phil Foden.

AFP

Spurs Win Comfortably Against Leeds As More Matches Suffer COVID-19 Gloom

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 2, 2021.
Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were again Tottenham’s talismen in a 3-0 win over Leeds to kickstart their title challenge on Saturday but a third Premier League game this week was postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks.

Burnley’s clash with Fulham, scheduled for Sunday, was called off due to a number of positive cases among the Fulham squad.

Fulham’s trip to Tottenham was also postponed just hours before kick-off on Wednesday, to the frustration of Spurs boss Jose Mourinho.

But even as his side ended a four-game winless run with a return to form against Leeds, Mourinho also lambasted three of his players for breaking coronavirus restrictions.

Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and Sergio Reguilon were pictured attending a large party with family and friends over Christmas along with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini.

“We are extremely disappointed and strongly condemn this image showing some of our players with family and friends together at Christmas, particularly as we know the sacrifices everybody around the country made to stay safe over the festive period,” a Tottenham statement said. “The matter will be dealt with internally.”

The latest breach by players will do little to ease the pressure on the Premier League to halt the season as a “circuit-breaking” measure to cope with the soaring infection rates across England.

Despite the latest postponement, the Premier League again insisted there were no plans for a pause.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled,” the league said in a statement.

– ‘Telepathic’ Tottenham duo –

On the field, Kane and Son ended two games without a goal to move Tottenham up to third and within four points of leaders Liverpool and Manchester United.

Kane opened the scoring from the penalty spot before turning provider for Son to slot home his 100th goal for the club.

It was the 13th time Kane and Son had combined for a goal this term, equalling the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn in 1994-95.

“He knew I was there. Sometimes it is telepathic,” said Son

“To score 100 goals with one team is a big thing. I’m very proud. It’s a good way to start the new year.”

The South Korean then also got an assist early in the second-half when his corner was headed home by Toby Alderweireld.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United remain without a win all season as they crept ever closer to a return to the Championship with a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Jeffrey Schlupp opened the scoring after just four minutes before he was forced off with an injury and made way for Eberechi Eze.

The England under-21 international then ran from deep inside his own half past a couple of weak challenges before slotting into the far corner in first-half stoppage time.

A first win in six games eased the Eagles’ woes and moved them up to 12th.

The Blades, meanwhile, remain on just two points from 17 games, 11 adrift of safety.

-AFP

Spurs VS Fulham Premier League Match Postponed Over COVID-19 Cases

Fulham’s English midfielder Harrison Reed lays on the pitch behind the wall formed by his teammates to stop a free kick during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Southampton at Craven Cottage in London on December 26, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)

 

Tottenham’s Premier League home match against Fulham was postponed three hours before the scheduled kick-off on Wednesday after a coronavirus outbreak at the visiting club.

Fulham returned a number of positive test results on Tuesday and, after more came in on Wednesday, the Premier League decided to call the match off. Kick-off was due to be at 1800 GMT.

It is the third top-flight game to be wiped out by the virus, following Newcastle’s match with Aston Villa earlier this month and Monday’s game between Everton and Manchester City.

Fulham asked for the game to be called off after more of their players felt unwell, which the Premier League board sanctioned on Wednesday.

The entire Cottagers squad will now be re-tested.

The league said in a statement: “Fulham FC’s match at Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played at 6:00 pm this evening, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting this afternoon.

“Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today.

Despite the rising number of cases across the English top-flight, the Premier League said it intended to continue playing.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its Covid-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled,” the statement said.

“The League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in due course.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho had suggested he was getting impatient at the uncertainty over the fixture.

Mourinho posted a video — filmed at 1402 GMT, as indicated on a clock on a TV screen — from the lounge where his staff were waiting for news with a message saying, “We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world”.

Tottenham’s Son Wins Puskas Award For Burnley Goal

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on February 16, 2020. Justin TALLIS / AFP

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s forward, Son Heung-min has won the 2020 FIFA Puskas Award.

The award, established in 2009, is given to the player who scores the “most aesthetically significant, or ‘most beautiful’, goal of the calendar year.”

Son won the award for his goal against Burnley in the English premier league.

“Twelve thrilling seconds were all it took for Son Heungmin to take the ball from his own 18-yard box and find the net at the other end,” FIFA said.

“The goal showcased everything that has led Tottenham Hotspur fans to fall in love with their Korea Republic star, with pace, power, persistence and clinical finishing all on show.

“Gary Lineker, himself a former Spurs favourite, described it as ‘one of the greatest individual goals you’re ever likely to see’, and the public agreed, voting in huge numbers to crown this superb solo strike as the year’s best.”

Liverpool Hit Wolves For Four, Stretch Unbeaten League Home Run To 65

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on December 6, 2020. Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool celebrated their first appearance in front of their fans as English champions on Sunday by humbling Wolves 4-0 to join Tottenham at the top of the Premier League table.

Mohamed Salah capitalised on an error by Wolves captain Conor Coady to open the scoring midway through the first half as 2,000 supporters celebrated joyously.

Georginio Wijnaldum doubled Liverpool’s lead with a wonderful curled finish from distance shortly before the hour mark and Joel Matip put the game beyond Wolves before a late own goal added gloss to the scoreline.

The comfortable win took Jurgen Klopp’s men to 24 points — behind leaders Spurs on goal difference, with a summit meeting between the two teams on December 16.

READ ALSO: Son Shines As Tottenham Bash North London Rivals Arsenal

The visitors started brightly and Ruben Neves hit the roof of the net with an early free-kick.

The lively Sadio Mane had a chance to put Liverpool in front in the 12th minute from an Andy Robertson cross from the left but the Senegal forward could not keep his header on target.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 6, 2020. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Both teams looked sharp on the break and stand-in Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was forced to scramble to his right to keep out a cute chipped effort from Daniel Podence.

But the 2,000 home fans inside Anfield — allowed into the stadium after coronavirus restrictions were eased in certain parts of England — had something to cheer in the 24th minute.

There did not appear to be much danger when Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson sent a long ball over the top into the Wolves penalty area.

But Coady, who used to be on Liverpool’s books, got his calculations wrong. The ball came off his chest and Salah nipped in to fire home left-footed.

Wolves were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half after Mane was adjudged to have fouled Coady.

But VAR ruled out the spot-kick after the TV replay showed there had been no contact.

Wolves searched for a way back into the match in the early stages of the second half and Coady found himself in a threatening position in the Liverpool box before Fabinho whipped the ball away.

Seconds later, Liverpool were charging forward again on the counter-attack, towards the Kop.

Henderson played a long ball which Wijnaldum collected before producing a measured finish into the top left-hand corner of Rui Patricio’s net.

Liverpool put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute when Salah’s inswinging cross was met by Joel Matip from close range.

By now the home side were in total control, with Salah trying to dance his way through Wolves defenders.

Liverpool’s fourth goal came when substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold, returning from injury, produced a delicious cross from the right which was turned in by Nelson Semedo for an own goal.

AFP

Son Shines As Tottenham Bash North London Rivals Arsenal

The defeat to Spurs is Arsenal’s second in a row in the league. Photo: [email protected]

 

South Korean star, Son Heung-min and English forward, Harry Kane netted a goal each in the first half to hand Tottenham a comfortable 2-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday, condemning the Gunners to a second consecutive league defeat. 

A crowd of 2,000 Tottenham fans were in attendance for the first time in nine months to enjoy seeing their side inflict another blow to a rapidly unravelling season for the Gunners.

Spurs are unbeaten in 10 league games and have taken seven points from a difficult run against Manchester City, Chelsea and their north London rivals over the past three games.

“We grew up. I can imagine lots of people can imagine three matches in a row against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, would be a moment for us to drop points and go back to normality,” said Mourinho. “But we didn’t go back to normality. We are there. I believe one more week at the top of the table unless Liverpool win by many.”

Mourinho’s men moved two points clear of Chelsea at the summit, but Liverpool can move level on points at the top with victory over Wolves later at Anfield.

A first league title in 60 years for Tottenham may depend on keeping Kane and Son fit as they have hit a combined 27 goals in all competitions this season.

The South Korean opened the scoring in stunning fashion as he collected Kane’s pass down the left and cut inside to curl into the top corner.

That was the 10th of Son’s 13 goals this season for which Kane provided the assist.

By contrast, Arsenal have scored just 10 goals in 11 league games all season and despite plenty of intricate build-up play, Mikel Arteta’s men again failed to provide any cutting edge in the final third.

“We have to score goals. If not, it’s unsustainable” said Arteta, whose side are languishing in 15th after a fifth defeat in seven games.

– ‘He makes me look good’ –

The difference between the teams was summed up in first-half stoppage time as from what appeared a dangerous Arsenal attack, one long ball set Spurs on a four against two break as Thomas Partey had already pulled up with an injury.

Son took his time before feeding Kane, who smashed in off the underside of the bar from a narrow angle to become the all-time top goalscorer in north London derbies.

READ ALSO: Mbappe Scores 100th Goal For PSG

“That’s exactly what we set out for,” said Kane. “Sonny and I are feeling good. When he’s picking up passes and sticking it top bins, he makes me look good!

“For us it’s one game at a time, but results like this and the last couple of weeks will only help us.”

Arteta was angry at Partey for not saying on the field and leaving his side exposed.

The Ghanaian came to the side of the pitch waiting to be substituted after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury as Spurs raced up the field.

“I applaud their first goal, it is world class, but the second goal we are a man down, we leave a massive gap and they take advantage. He has to stay on the pitch. It looks like the same injury he has already had.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still to score a Premier League goal from open play since signing a lucrative new contract worth a reported £55 million ($73 million) over three years in September.

The closest the Arsenal captain came to breaking his drought was a header from Kieran Tierney’s excellent cross that Aubameyang headed over.

Hugo Lloris twice saved from Alexandre Lacazette headers low to his right as Arsenal camped in the Spurs half for the second period without any reward.

The visitors enjoyed 68 percent possession and had more shots on goal, but did not have the class in front of goal shown by Kane and Son to make the difference.

AFP

 

Tottenham Take Back Top Spot With Goalless Chelsea Draw

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (3L) jumps while defending a corner during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on November 29, 2020. JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP

 

Tottenham moved back to the top of the Premier League after grinding out a 0-0 draw at Chelsea that bolstered their claim to be contenders for a first league title in 60 years.

Chelsea enjoyed the better of a game of few chances, but Spurs showed the resilience and steel of Mourinho’s three Premier League title-winning seasons when Chelsea manager to hold out for a fourth consecutive clean sheet.

A share of the spoils means Chelsea remain just two points behind their London rivals in third, with Liverpool trailing Tottenham only on goal difference.

By extending a now nine-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, Mourinho also ensured he did not lose three consecutive league meetings to the same manager for the first time in his career and to one of his former players, Frank Lampard.

Lampard showed what he has learned from the Portuguese as the cautious tactics from both saw the sides largely cancel each other out.

Chelsea were wary not to give Tottenham any chance to counter-attack in the manner that cut open Manchester United and Manchester City in recent weeks.

Spurs showed why with a sprightly team move that ended with Steven Bergwijn turning inside and blasting just over the bar early on.

The arrival of Edouard Mendy has resulted in a huge upturn in Chelsea’s defensive record and the Senegalese produced a smart stop to deny Serge Aurier’s strike from outside the box.

But that was the only effort on goal either side managed before the break as Chelsea controlled possession with little potent threat.

Timo Werner did produce an exquisite finish to fire in off the far post, but the goal was ruled out for offside against the German international.

Chelsea began to push with more purpose early in the second half as three times Tammy Abraham could not get a clean contact on inviting crosses from Reece James and Werner.

Lampard showed his intent to try and win the game by throwing on Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud in the final quarter, while Mourinho kept Gareth Bale in reserve for the full 90 minutes.

Hugo Lloris was finally forced into a meaningful save 10 minutes from time when the Spurs captain turned Mason Mount’s powerful strike behind.

But the biggest chance to win the game came in stoppage time when Giroud pounced on a weak header from Joe Rodon, but he did not get enough on his attempted lob over Lloris and his French teammate easily saved.