Newcastle Begin New Dawn With Defeat

Newcastle United fans stand behind a banner as they arrive at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England on October 17, 2021, for the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle’s first match since the club was taken over by a wealthy Saudi-led consortium. PHOTO: Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Newcastle’s new dawn under the ownership of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund got off to a disappointing start as Tottenham silenced St James’ Park with a 3-2 win on Sunday.

The defeat leaves Newcastle still in the relegation zone without a Premier League win this season.

Expectations on Tyneside are high for a huge injection of funding by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) to transform Newcastle’s fortunes on the field.

PIF governor Yassir Al-Rumayyan was given a hero’s welcome by the 55,000 crowd when he was presented before kick-off.

READ ALSO: Bayern Crush Leverkusen To Return To Top Of Bundesliga

A jubilant atmosphere was matched by the perfect start for the home side when Callum Wilson headed home Javier Manquillo’s cross inside two minutes.

Al-Rumayyan celebrated wildly in the stands alongside co-owner Amanda Staveley, who has bought a 10 percent stake in the club and been the face of the takeover bid for well over a year.

Staveley said this week her ambition is for the Magpies to become champions of England within the next 10 years.

However, the gulf between where Newcastle are and where the new owners want them to go was exposed after their flying start.

Spurs have had a far from ideal start to the season under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo but in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min they have the star quality Newcastle hope to have in years to come.

Tanguy Ndombele smashed home an equaliser on 17 minutes from Sergio Reguilon’s cross to get the Tottenham revival started.

Kane then ended his wait for a Premier League goal this season with a deft lob over Karl Darlow.

The England captain was intially flagged offside, but a VAR review proved Kane was onside from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s ball over the top.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk and a lot of noise around me and I know that’s always the case when you’re used to scoring goals and the ball just doesn’t drop to you sometimes,” said Kane.

“I’ll always back myself to put the next chance away.”

– Spotlight turns on Bruce –

The game was then stopped for 20 minutes due to a medical emergency for a Newcastle fan.

Tottenham’s Reguilon and Eric Dier alerted the need for a defibrillator and the players were taken off the pitch by referee Andre Marriner.

“We want to say best wishes to the guy in the stands, it was not a good sight to see,” added Kane. “We hear that he might be stable now, so we’re thankful to the medical teams and the fans who were doing the CPR.”

The flow of the game remained the same when it resumed for seven minutes of first-half stoppage time.

Kane turned provider for Spurs’ third as his low cross was converted by Son sliding in at the far post.

Many expected Newcastle’s consortium of owners to dispense with the services of manager Steve Bruce as one of their first points of business.

The former Manchester United captain was handed a reprieve to take charge of his 1,000th game of his managerial career.

But the 60-year-old is deeply unpopular among the Newcastle support and was met with persistent chants of “we want Brucey out” and “you’re getting sacked in the morning” during the second half as Spurs continued to dominate.

“If I was believing everything I saw last week, I might not have been here today,” said Bruce. “My job is to get a few results. Unfortunately, this year, if you’re a manager in the Premier League and you haven’t won in seven or eight, you come under pressure.”

A red card for Jonjo Shelvey seven minutes from time rounded off a miserable day on the field for Newcastle.

Dier’s comical own goal in the final minute gave the 10 men hope.

But Spurs held out to move up to fifth and level on points with fourth-placed Brighton.

Newcastle remain three points adrift of safety and much further from matching the ambitions of their wealthy new owners.

AFP

Chelsea Outclass Tottenham, Move Top Of League Table


Tottenham players react as Chelsea players congratulate Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante after he scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea produced a masterclass on Sunday, beating London rivals Tottenham 0-3 in a Premier League showdown. The victory catapulted the European champions to the top of the table with 13 points after five games.

Both clubs also paid an emotional tribute to their former striker Jimmy Greaves on Sunday.

Thiago Silva put Chelsea ahead early in the second half before N’Golo Kante bagged his first club goal since December 2019.

Antonio Rudiger rounded off Chelsea’s dominant display with a stoppage-time strike as Thomas Tuchel’s latest tactical masterclass paid rich dividends.

Tuchel’s unbeaten side sit top of the Premier League after winning four of their first five games.

Chelsea have only conceded one league goal so far this season despite a tricky fixture list that featured trips to Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.

They face another test of their title credentials next weekend when champions Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge.

It was fitting that two of Greaves’ old clubs met on the day he passed away aged 81.

Hailed as “the finest marksman this country has ever seen” by Tottenham, Greaves is the club’s record scorer with 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970.

The charismatic Londoner started his career with a prolific spell at Chelsea and netted 44 times in 57 appearances for England, featuring in their 1966 World Cup-winning squad.

An image of Greaves wearing Tottenham’s famous white shirt was displayed on screens inside and outside the club’s north London stadium before kick-off.

In a moving tribute, several former Tottenham greats, including Greaves’ old team-mate Martin Chivers, lined up on the touchline to join both teams and the 62,000 crowd in a minute’s applause.

“Jimmy was an incredible player, a legend for club and country. It’s frightening really how good he was,” said Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who is second behind Greaves with 223 goals for the club.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Scores Third League Goal As Man United Edge West Ham
Former England Striker Jimmy Greaves Dies At 81

Clinical Instincts 

Tottenham players react as Chelsea players congratulate Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante after he scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Kane had urged Tottenham to “put in a great performance” in Greaves’ honour.

But the England captain was unable to land his first league goal this season as Chelsea showed the kind of ruthless instincts Greaves would have approved of.

In a tight first half, Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen shot just over from the edge of the area before Kai Havertz poked narrowly wide after Marcos Alonso’s cross caused chaos in the Tottenham defence.

With Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy absent after complaining of a hip injury in midweek Champions League win over Zenit St Petersburg, Kepa Arrizabalaga made his first start this season.

Tottenham’s frenetic tempo meant Kepa had to stay alert and he rushed off his line to save bravely at Son Heung-min’s feet after the South Korean sprinted onto Giovani Lo Celso’s pass.

In a game-changing move, Tuchel sent on France midfielder Kante for Mason Mount at half-time, neutralising Tottenham’s high press in the process.

Where Chelsea had found it hard to take control before Kante’s introduction, now they were in the groove and Silva struck in the 49th minute.

Alonso’s corner found the Brazilian eight yards out and he rose above Dele Alli to thump a superb header past Hugo Lloris.

It took Eric Dier’s agile goal-line clearance to deny Chelsea a second when the defender blocked Alonso’s close-range strike from Cesar Azpilicueta’s pass.

But Chelsea were rampant and they struck again in the 57th minute when Kante’s 25-yard drive took a wicked deflection off Dier and trickled past the wrong-footed Lloris.

Tottenham lost heart as their second successive league defeat loomed and Rudiger rubbed salt into the wounds with a fine finish from Timo Werner’s cross in the final moments.

AFP

I Will Be Staying At Tottenham – Harry Kane

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 19, 2021, Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane reacts after the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 19, 2021. 
Richard Heathcote / POOL / AFP

 

 

Harry Kane ended speculation over a potential move to Manchester City by announcing on Wednesday he will remain at Tottenham this season.

The 28-year-old is the second top goalscorer in Tottenham’s history with 221 but is yet to win a major trophy at the club or international level.

Kane had made clear his desire to leave his boyhood club in the quest to end his wait for silverware.

However, he still has three years left on a six-year deal signed in 2018, allowing Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to demand a fee well in excess of the £100 million ($137 million) English record City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish earlier this month.

Kane missed his side’s 1-0 victory over City on the opening weekend of the Premier League season after returning late to pre-season training.

However, he was warmly welcomed back by the Tottenham support as he made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in a 1-0 win at Wolves last weekend.

“It was incredible to see the reception from the Spurs fans on Sunday and to read some of the messages of support I’ve had in the last few weeks,” he posted on Twitter.

“I will be staying at Tottenham this summer and will be 100% focused on helping the team achieve success.”

According to reports, Tottenham turned down a City bid of £125 million for their star striker.

Levy will be hoping his gamble in turning that fee down will be rewarded by Kane firing Tottenham back into the Champions League next season.

Under former manager,Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs reached the Champions League in four consecutive seasons between 2016/17 and 2019/20, including reaching the final for the first time in the club’s history in 2018.

The decision to sack Pochettino in November 2019 and replace the Argentine with Jose Mourinho has backfired on Levy as Tottenham have finished sixth and seventh in the Premier League in the past two seasons.

Mourinho was also unable to end Tottenham’s trophy drought that stretches back to 2008.

A prolonged search for Mourinho’s successor upped the pressure on Levy not to lose Kane this summer.

Nearly three months after the former Chelsea manager was sacked, Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed as coach on June 30.

However, Spurs have made light of a disruptive few months by taking maximum points from their opening two league games.

“Great news. Fantastic news,” said Nuno, who hinted Kane could return to the starting line-up for Thursday’s Europa Conference League playoff against Pacos de Ferreira.

“I think since Harry joined us he has been working so this is what we value. His attitude in training has been excellent.

“It’s finished, Harry is going to be with us. He is an option for tomorrow. It is great news for everybody.”

Personal glory could also keep Kane in north London for the long haul.

He is just 45 goals behind the legendary Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham’s all-time top scorer.

City were targeting Kane as a long-term successor to Sergio Aguero at the Etihad.

And Aguero’s record of scoring the most Premier League goals for one club of 184 could go this season with Kane having netted 166 for Spurs.

-AFP

Kane Out Of Spurs Squad As Transfer Saga Continues

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane holds his foot before leaving the pitch injured during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on April 16, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane holds his foot before leaving the pitch injured during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northwest England on April 16, 2021.
PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane was left out of the squad that travelled to Portugal on Wednesday for a Europa Conference League play-off amid continuing speculation over the England captain’s future.

Manchester City are keen to sign Kane and were reported to have tabled a bid of £100 million ($139 million) in June.

Earlier, this week the 28-year-old was named in a 25-man squad for the Europa Conference League play-off against Pacos de Ferreira but did not make the journey on Wednesday.

Kane, who has three years left on his contract, only joined in first-team training on Tuesday after a period of self-isolation last week following his late return from holiday.

He was not involved in Tottenham’s win over Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday after not being deemed match fit enough.

The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday that Kane was angry with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy on a failure to honour a promise that he could leave if the north London club failed to win a trophy or finished outside the top four last season.

Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo is due to give his pre-match media conference at 1700 GMT Wednesday.

-AFP

Man City Shocked 1-0 By Kane-less Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) jumps to make a save from Manchester City’s Dutch defender Nathan Ake (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on August 15, 2021. – Tottenham won the match 1-0. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Tottenham shrugged off the absence of Harry Kane to give Nuno Espirito Santo a dream start as manager as Son Heung-min’s strike beat Premier League champions Manchester City 1-0 on Sunday.

Nuno left Kane out his squad with the England captain closely linked with a move to City, who showed why they are in need of a natural goalscorer in a toothless display.

City have already spent £100 million on Jack Grealish and are prepared to smash the Premier League transfer record once more to get Kane by the end of the month.

The Spurs striker was reportedly in the stadium, but not on the pitch after returning back to pre-season training late in his bid to force a move away from his boyhood club.

Early on it was easy to see why the 28-year-old sees City as the perfect destination for the final years of his prime to earn silverware.

Pep Guardiola’s men penned in the home side for the opening 10 minutes, but were left to rue not taking their chances as they slipped to a fourth defeat in four visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium without scoring.

Grealish could have won a penalty as he was tripped on the edge of the box by Oliver Skipp and Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick was deflected inches wide.

Fernandinho then headed wide with the goal gaping as Hugo Lloris flapped at a cross, while Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez sliced good chances wide.

However, buoyed by the return of a full house to their 62,000 capacity home, Spurs grew into the game and soon started causing City’s makeshift defence problems.

Guardiola left out England internationals John Stones and Kyle Walker due to their lack of pre-season training and Tottenham targeted the pairing of Nathan Ake and Benjamin Mendy on the left of the City defence.

Son saw a deflected shot fly inches wide before the break in a prelude of what was to come in the winning goal.

The South Korean has been a persistent thorn in City’s side and scored his seventh goal against them on 55 minutes as he cut inside Ake and fired low into the bottom corner.

Steven Bergwijn had a huge chance to double Spurs’ lead moments later when he fired into the side-netting as City were again easily cut open on the counter-attack.

Guardiola finally turned to his star-studded bench to turn the game around with Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko introduced.

De Bruyne brought some much-needed speed to City’s approach play and tested Lloris from range.

But even the Belgian could not raise the champions from their slumber in the closing stages as their frustrations boiled over.

Grealish was booked for diving in on Lucas Moura in stoppage time to round off his miserable debut.

City have now lost their last three competitive games 1-0 after defeats in the Champions League final last season to Chelsea and Leicester in last weekend’s Community Shield.

Guardiola’s men should only get stronger with the return of many internationals and possibly Kane.

However, they have already ceded ground to Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, who all displayed their title credentials with convincing wins on Saturday.

AFP

Leeds United Dampen Tottenham’s Hopes Of Top-Four Finish

Leeds United’s Brazilian-born Spanish striker Rodrigo celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on May 8, 2021.
Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

 

Leeds beat managerless Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday to put a huge dent in Spurs’ ambitions of securing a coveted Premier League top-four spot.

Son Heung-min cancelled out Stuart Dallas’s early goal for Leeds midway the first half but Patrick Bamford restored the home side’s lead shortly before the break and substitute Rodrigo struck late on.

Spurs, who sacked Jose Mourinho last month, remain five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea but now have just three games left — one fewer than their London rivals.

It means Tottenham, beaten Champions League finalists in 2019, are almost certain to miss out on playing in Europe’s elite club competition for a second consecutive season.

Leeds, who climbed above Arsenal into ninth place with the win, took an early lead when Dallas smashed home after Spurs failed to deal with a teasing cross from Jack Harrison.

Harrison fizzed the ball across the box from the left and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris did well to keep the ball out after Sergio Regilon nearly put through his own goal.

 

Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP

 

But Lloris could nothing to prevent Dallas from smashing home from close range at the back post.

Tottenham were level in the 25th minute when Son Heung-min steered home Dele Alli’s clever through ball.

But Leeds regained the lead in the 42nd minute as Bamford finished from close range for his 15th goal of the season following Ezgjan Alioski’s cut-back.

Harry Kane had a goal ruled out for offside early in the second half as Spurs pushed for an equaliser and then rattled the bar from a free-kick with less than 20 minutes to go.

But it was Leeds who struck again to seal the three points, with Rodrigo finishing after a cross from fellow substitute Raphinha with just six minutes left.

-AFP

Son Gives Spurs Winning Start To Life After Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min takes a penalty and scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on April 21, 2021. (Photo by Clive Rose / POOL / AFP) 

 

 

Tottenham made a winning start to life after Jose Mourinho as Son Heung-min’s last-minute penalty sealed a vital 2-1 victory against Southampton in their first match since withdrawing from the controversial European Super League on Wednesday.

Mourinho was sacked on Monday after 17 turbulent months in charge of the north London club, but his shock exit was overshadowed by the fall-out from the bitter Super League row.

Languishing outside the top four and knocked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb, Tottenham would have benefitted more than most from the proposed Super League.

But instead they were forced to become one of six Premier League clubs to withdraw from the reviled breakaway tournament on Tuesday after a furious backlash.

Celebrating the Super League’s demise and calling for Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to quit, a handful of fans gathered outside the stadium holding signs that read: “We said no to Super League” and “Thanks for NO memories. Time to say goodbye. Levy out”.

The Super League was dead in the water just 48 hours after its creation, forcing Tottenham to focus on a more traditional way of making it into Europe’s elite.

Against that backdrop, a win in the first match of the post-Mourinho era was essential and they achieved it thanks to their first recovery from a half-time deficit this season.

Danny Ings put Southampton ahead, but Gareth Bale equalised before Son converted a last-gasp penalty.

Tottenham move into sixth place, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Mourinho’s failure to lead Tottenham into the top four and a deteriorating relationship with his squad proved his downfall.

The axe fell just six days before Tottenham’s bid to win a first trophy since 2008 against Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Mourinho.

But for now, former Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason has been placed in charge on a caretaker basis and this was an encouraging start before he has to pit his wits against City boss Pep Guardiola.

– Winning start for Mason –
Aged just 29, Mason, who has been working in Tottenham’s youth academy, is the youngest boss in Premier League history and the first younger than 30 to manage in the English top flight since QPR’s Frank Sibley in 1977.

“I thought it was fantastic. I’m so proud of the boys,” Mason said.

“Tonight was important for many reasons; a change of manager, a lot has gone on at the club in the last 48 hours. It was important to get back to winning ways.”

Southampton deservedly took the lead in the 30th minute when Ings timed his run perfectly to meet James Ward-Prowse’s corner with a superb glancing header into the far corner.

Tottenham were without England captain Harry Kane after the striker suffered an ankle injury in Friday’s draw at Everton.

In Kane’s absence, Tottenham were toothless in the first half, but they improved after the break.

Bale provided a rare moment of inspiration as he equalised with Tottenham’s first shot on target in the 60th minute.

Pouncing on Lucas Moura’s blocked shot, the Wales forward curled home from an acute angle inside the Southampton area.

A helping hand from VAR set up Son’s winner as Moussa Djenepo’s foul on Harry Winks was upgraded to a penalty after initially being ruled a free-kick just outside the area.

Son made no mistake from the spot to give Tottenham their first win in four games.

Later on Wednesday, leaders Manchester City can move a step closer to a third Premier League title in four seasons if they win at Aston Villa.

Guardiola’s side, knocked out of the FA Cup semi-finals by Chelsea on Saturday, are eight points clear of second placed Manchester United with six games left.

Jose Mourinho Sacked As Tottenham Coach

Jose Mourinho (file photo)

 

Jose Mourinho has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspurs on Monday morning less than a week to Manchester City clash in the Carabao final.

Tottenham have been struggling this season to make an entry into the top four of the EPL log table, to stand a chance of playing European football next season,

The Portuguese sacking was confirmed via a public statement on the club’s website

“The Club can today announce that Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff Joao Sacramento, Nuno Santos, Carlos Lalin, and Giovanni Cerra have been relieved of their duties,” the statement read.

Chairman of Tottenham, Daniel Levy, praised Mourinho for his professionalism and enormous toughness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Jose is a true professional who showed enormous resilience during the pandemic,” he said.

“On a personal level, I have enjoyed working with him and regret that things have not worked out as we both had envisaged.”

“He will always be welcome here and we should like to thank him and his coaching staff for their contribution,” he stated regrettably.

According to the statement, former Tottenham midfielder, Ryan Mason, would take over as caretaker coach in the stead of the two-time champions league winning coach.

“Ryan Mason will take First Team training today and a further update will follow in due course.”

Mourinho had been in charge at Spurs since November 2019, replacing Mauricio Pochettino, signing a deal until the end of the 2023 season.

The news comes less than 24 hours since Tottenham announced they were one of 12 clubs planning to launch a breakaway European Super League

 

Spurs To Take Action After Korean Star Son Suffers Racial Abuse

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) and Tottenham Hotspur at the Rajko Mitic stadium in Belgrade, on November 6, 2019.
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

 

Tottenham Hotspur are to take action after Korean star Son Heung-min was subjected to “abhorrent racist abuse” on social media following Sunday’s 3-1 defeat by Manchester United.

Son is the second Spurs player in as many matches to suffer such abuse following Davinson Sanchez after the 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on April 4.

Son scored Spurs’s goal but was involved in a controversial incident when he went down clutching his face after contact with Scott McTominay.

That resulted in an Edinson Cavani goal being ruled out and post match criticism of the Korean by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“Another matchday and more abhorrent racial abuse suffered by one of our players,” said a Spurs statement.

“This has again been reported to the platforms and we shall now undertake a full review alongside the Premier League to determine the most effective action moving forward.”

Tottenham said last week they wanted “social media platforms to take action” after the abuse of Colombian international defender Sanchez.

Several clubs have already taken a stand.

Scottish champions Rangers, and English Championship outfits Swansea and Birmingham announced on Friday they would boycott social media platforms for a week.

Spurs and Wales star Gareth Bale has said he would be in favour of boycotting social media if it was a mass movement.

France’s record goalscorer Thierry Henry went further last month in quitting all social media until platforms do more to tackle racism and harassment.

Like many tech giants, Twitter is under increasing scrutiny for facilitating torrents of invective, commonly from anonymous accounts, in posts that are often racist or misogynistic.

Twitter said in a statement in March “there is no room for racist abuse” on its platform and it was working to crack down on abuse against footballers.

However, they have defended permitting accounts where an individual uses a pseudonym.

“We believe everyone has the right to share their voice without requiring a government ID to do so,” they said.

“Pseudonymity has been a vital tool for speaking out in oppressive regimes, it is no less critical in democratic societies.”

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.

READ ALSO: Tiger Woods Transferred To Los Angeles Hospital For Further Treatment

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