Man Utd Frustrated By Penalty Row In Chelsea Stalemate, Bale Stars For Spurs

 

Manchester United were left frustrated by a VAR penalty controversy in their 0-0 draw at Chelsea, while the revitalised Gareth Bale struck twice in Tottenham’s 4-0 rout of Burnley on Sunday.

Second-placed United had hoped to close the gap on Manchester City with a victory at Stamford Bridge.

But instead they now sit 12 points behind the Premier League leaders as their title hopes fade following a run of one win from four games.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard, but the stalemate was a blow to his team’s top-four challenge.

The fifth-placed Blues are one point behind fourth-placed West Ham and four ahead of sixth-placed Liverpool, who visit Sheffield United in Sunday’s late game.

Neither side could claim they deserved to win in a game of few clear-cut chances.

The biggest talking point came in the first half when United’s appeal for a penalty was rejected by referee Stuart Attwell after he consulted the pitchside monitor when Callum Hudson-Odoi appeared to handle in a challenge with Mason Greenwood.

After five defeats in their previous six league games, Tottenham eased the pressure on Jose Mourinho with a significant contribution from Bale, who made just his third league start of the season.

The Wales forward’s most impressive display since his season-long loan move from Real Madrid gave him four goals in his last four appearances.

Bale, who had clashed with Tottenham boss Mourinho over his fitness earlier in February, took just 68 seconds to score with a clinical close-range finish from Son Heung-min’s cross.

In the 15th minute, Bale’s superb long pass picked out Harry Kane’s run and the England captain’s shot deflected off James Tarkowski for his 22nd goal of the season.

Lucas Moura netted with a predatory finish after Sergio Reguilon’s cross was deflected into the Brazilian’s path by Tarkowski in the 31st minute.

Bale, in his second spell with Tottenham after leaving for Madrid in 2013, scored again with a cool strike from Son’s 55th-minute pass.

Tottenham are up to eighth, six points behind the top four with a game in hand.

“Sometimes you (the media) like to say things that are not really true but there is not one single manager in the world that doesn’t play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in very good condition,” Mourinho said.

“There is not one, but now he is better than ever. It’s not just about the two goals he scored, it’s fundamentally about his physical performance.”

Arsenal down Leicester

Arsenal delivered a hammer blow to Leicester’s faint hopes of winning the title with an impressive 3-1 win.

Mikel Arteta’s side fell behind to Youri Tielemans’ early goal at the King Power Stadium, but David Luiz equalised and Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty gave Arsenal the lead.

Nicolas Pepe’s second-half goal sealed the Gunners’ second win in their last six league games and their first success at a team in the Premier League’s top three since 2015.

Leicester remain in third place and trail City by 13 points with 12 games remaining.

After Thursday’s shock Europa League exit against Slavia Prague, it was a week to forget for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers.

With Arsenal stuck in mid-table, Arteta has prioritised winning the Europa League as his side’s only hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Having picked his best team for the come-from-behind win against Benfica in the last 32 second leg on Thursday, Arteta left Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka on the bench after the long trip back from the neutral venue in Greece.

After the gamble paid off, Arteta said: “Coming into this game I was concerned. They’re one of the most dangerous teams in the league to play once you go behind against them.

“The reaction was terrific, the team looked really mature.”

Third-bottom Fulham are three points from safety after a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.

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

UK Bans Travels From 11 African Countries Over South Africa COVID-19 Strain

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 31, 2020, a UK border sign welcomes passengers on arrival at Heathrow airport in west London. Ben FATHERS / AFP

 

The United Kingdom is imposing a ban on travellers entering England from 11 African countries for an initial period of two weeks, the government has said.

In a statement on its website, the government explained that the decision was taken in a bid to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) variant identified in South Africa.

While Nigeria is excluded from the list, all the affected countries are in the southern region of the continent.

They include Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola, as well as Seychelles and Mauritius.

The UK stated that new evidence has shown that there was an urgent need to halt travel from the countries, adding that entry into England would be banned to those who have travelled from or through the countries in the last 10 days (as of Thursday).

“The move, in addition to the travel ban imposed on South Africa on 23 December 2020, follows new data on the steep rise in incidence of the new variant, that has vastly increased the risk of community transmission between nine other southern African countries, as well as the Seychelles and Mauritius, which both have strong travel links with South Africa.

“Urgent restrictions are, therefore, now needed to prevent the spread of this strain in the UK. The measures will be in place for an initial period of two weeks while the scientific data and alternative ways to protect the UK and our partners in Africa are reviewed,” the statement read.

The government, however, stressed that the ban does not affect British and Irish nationals, as well as longer-term visa holders and permanent residents in the UK.

It said such persons would be able to enter but would be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.

Following the ban on the countries, the UK said it has removed Botswana, Seychelles and Mauritius from its travel corridor list, with the changes taking effect from 4am on Saturday.

The statement added,

Any exemptions usually in place – including for those related to employment – will not apply and those British nationals arriving into England from the other southern African countries, Seychelles and Mauritius after 4am on Saturday 9 January cannot be released from self-isolation through Test to Release.

People sharing a household with anyone self-isolating from these countries will also have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Ministers have also removed Israel (and Jerusalem) from the government’s travel corridor list, as data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The decision to remove Israel (and Jerusalem) has been made following a sustained and accelerating increase in COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of the population, similar in trajectory to the UK.

National restrictions for England introduced on 6 January 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.

This means people can no longer travel to take holidays or travel internationally unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. Those in breach of the rules face penalties starting at £200, rising to a maximum of £6,400.

People in all countries affected by the travel ban are encouraged to follow the local rules and check FCDO travel advice for further information.

All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a complete passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.

Assange Faces UK Court Ruling On Extradition To US

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London./AFP

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces a UK court ruling on Monday over whether he should be extradited to the United States on espionage charges for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret documents online.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser is due to give her decision at the Old Bailey court in central London from 1000 GMT, in a case that has become a cause celebre for media freedom.

Assange, 49, faces 18 charges in the United States relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The extradition hearing follows over a decade of international legal controversies surrounding the Australian publisher.

Monday’s court decision is subject to appeal, meaning legal proceedings in the country could still continue before any possible extradition.

If convicted in the United States, Assange could be jailed for up to 175 years.

Before the ruling, both Germany and a UN rights expert expressed concern over the human rights and humanitarian problems presented by the extradition.

Assange suffers from a respiratory condition that makes him more vulnerable to Covid-19, which has infected several inmates at the high-security prison in southeast London where he has been held.

Defence witnesses called during the hearing said Assange’s history of depression meant he would be a suicide risk if sent to the United States and locked up in a maximum-security prison.

He has also complained of hearing imaginary voices and music during his detention.

Clear message

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, told AFP on Sunday that he was “almost certain” the court will rule against Assange.

“We’ve seen such bias in the proceedings, there have been so many violations against Julian in the proceedings, that unfortunately I’m almost certain that the decision tomorrow will be that he should be extradited.”

In an earlier statement, he said that “the mere fact that this case has made it to court, let alone gone on this long, is an historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech”.

United Nations special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has urged US President Donald Trump to pardon Assange, saying he is not “an enemy of the American people”.

“In pardoning Mr. Assange, Mr. President, you would send a clear message of justice, truth, and humanity to the American people and to the world,” he wrote in December.

“You would rehabilitate a courageous man who has suffered injustice, persecution, and humiliation for more than a decade, simply for telling the truth.”

The prospect of a possible pardon from the outgoing US leader has gained ground following a slew of pardons granted to a number of Trump’s political allies.

The UK hearing in February last year was told Trump promised to pardon Assange if he testified Russia hacked into the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election campaign.

WikiLeaks later published the emails, which proved politically damaging to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton before the vote.

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee and the mother of his two young sons, has appealed to Trump directly. “The people want you to pardon Assange. Please listen,” she wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

In court, his lawyers have argued the charges against him are political while outside supporters have mounted a noisy daily vigil.

Baraitser will have to decide whether the US request for extradition is compatible with human rights.

Washington for its part claims Assange helped intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal the documents before exposing confidential sources around the world.

After Sweden first issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 over allegations of sexual assault, he sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he remained from 2012 until 2019.

In April 2019, Ecuador, by then ruled by right-wing President Lenin Moreno, revoked his citizenship.

The following day, British police dragged Assange out of the embassy, having been informed that his asylum had been withdrawn. He was arrested by British police for breaching his bail terms.

The earlier Swedish assault investigation against him was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

#EndSARS: UK Parliament Wants Nigerian Officials, Security Agencies Sanctioned For Rights Abuses

 

The Parliament of the United Kingdom on Monday held a debate following e-petitions received accusing the Nigerian government and security officials of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.

Theresa Villers, a member of the parliament at the opening of the debate said 220,330 people had signed the e-petition and they have a credible case.

Villers said the petition was prompted by disturbing violence in Nigeria over recent weeks and the petitioners have a credible case.

“I believe that the petitioners have a credible case for the imposition of individualised sanctions such as travel bans and assets freezing.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: UK Lawmaker Seeks Review Of Funding For Nigerian Security Agencies

“Of course I appreciate there are real sensitivities which might be considered as interfering into domestic affairs of another country especially where there was a previous colonial involvement.

“But I still hope that Ministers should give serious considerations to what the e-petitioners requests,” she said.

While condemning the suppression of peaceful protesters through travel ban and asset freezing, Villers said the plight of the Nigerian youths must never be forgotten.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Petitioner Dies One Week Before Lagos Panel Hears His Case

Another lawmaker, Kate Osamor in her contribution said the situation is a serious one and that the #EndSARS protesters are not only demanding an end to police brutality but also demanding “a truly democratic Nigeria.”

Osamor who is of Nigerian descent called for the review of the country’s funding of some security agencies and describing the #EndSARS protests as a movement peacefully demanding an end to brutality, extortion, and extrajudicial executions and for a truly democratic Nigeria.

Osamor argued that the funds used in backing Nigeria’s security agencies should be channeled to other projects.

“Today, we need to consider how the government should respond to both the movement itself and the violent actions of the Nigerian regime,” Osamor, a Labour and Co-operative lawmaker, representing Edmonton, said.

Following the debate, the lawmakers demanded the UK government to consider imposing sanctions on officials who are found culpable of human rights abuses of Nigerian citizens.

In her contribution, one of the lawmakers who said she has friends in Nigeria and they have all expressed concern concerning the issue of human rights abuses in the country said, “If those who ordered and facilitated the killings of unarmed protesters are not held accountable, then the UK government should advocate that independent investigations take place.”

The lawmakers said any individuals found responsible for these atrocities following investigations by the Nigerian government must face sanctions.

 

A Petition For Sanctions

Monday’s debate followed a petition brought to the lawmakers by one Silas Ojo, seeking  to sanction those who allegedly abused people during the protests/

As of Sunday evening, the petition had garnered 220,315 signatures, according to the UK Parliament’s website, crossing the 100, 000 mark needed for a petition to be debated by the lawmakers. 

Early last month, thousands of Nigerians thronged to the streets, calling for an end to police brutality and extra-judicial killings by the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

A largely peaceful demonstration in several parts of the country, however, later turned violent with arson, looting, and killing of security personnel and civilians alike after it was hijacked by hoodlums.

UK PM Defends COVID-19 Contracts After Watchdog Criticism

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during his visit to the Tollgate Medical Centre in Becton, east London on July 24, 2020.. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn / POOL / AFP)

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday defended his government’s coronavirus response, following claims of rampant cronyism and watchdog criticism that its awarding of lucrative supply contracts lacked transparency.

A probe by state auditors found the UK government has failed to account clearly for all of the £18 billion ($24 billion, 20 billion euros) it has spent on supplies and services linked to the pandemic.

The report by the National Audit Office (NAO) came as the ruling Conservatives also faced mounting attacks from opposition parties for allegedly handing out profitable Covid-19 contracts to well-connected business figures and donors.

“I’m very proud of what has been achieved,” Johnson told lawmakers in response to the criticism, adding his government had “shifted heaven and earth” to source enough personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.

“We were facing a very difficult situation where across the world there (were) not adequate supplies of PPE.”

However, opposition Labour MP Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the NAO report’s findings may be just the “tip of the iceberg”.

She called on ministers to “come clean” and publish all information about the contracts they had awarded.

“By not being transparent about when these contracts were awarded and what they were doing, it lays the government open to these accusations,” she told the BBC.

– ‘Audit trail’ –
The NAO discovered that up to July 31, more than 8,600 contracts worth £18 billion in total had been dished out by the government, including £10.5 billion without any competitive process.

Ministers set up a “high priority lane” to favour companies recommended by their departments, civil servants, other MPs and senior staff from the National Health Service (NHS).

“We found inadequate documentation in a number of cases on how the risks of procuring suppliers without competition had been mitigated,” its report said.

Some contracts were awarded retrospectively, after work had already been carried out, and there was “not always a clear audit trail to support key procurement decisions”, it added.

The government was able to invoke emergency powers earlier this year to bypass normal tendering rules that regulate official contracts.

NAO chief Gareth Davies recognised the government faced “exceptional circumstances” when the pandemic took hold and that it faced a struggle to secure supplies of PPE in a strained global marketplace.

But he said it was “essential that decisions are properly documented and made transparent” if the government was to maintain the public trust that taxpayers’ money is being well spent.

“The evidence set out in our report shows that these standards of transparency and documentation were not consistently met in the first phase of the pandemic,” Davies added.

– Unmasking problems –
The NAO found that PestFix, a pest control company, was mistakenly put in the high priority lane and then delivered 600,000 masks which failed to meet the government’s PPE specifications.

Medical gowns it supplied also failed to meet correct standards but the Health and Safety Executive regulator came under “political” pressure to allow their use, the BBC reported this week.

The NAO report listed other companies, including ones engaged in public relations and artificial intelligence, linked to serving ministers that benefited from fast-track contracts.

It did not suggest any impropriety but said the awards lacked transparency.

The findings come after the Sunday Times reported last weekend that the government had awarded £1.5 billion during the first wave of the pandemic to companies linked to the Conservatives.

Meanwhile, a BBC investigation reported this week that a Spanish businessman who acted as a go-between to secure PPE for health staff had been paid £21 million in taxpayers’ money.

Chelsea Cruise As Werner’s Penalty Double Sinks Rennes

 

Frank Lampard praised Jorginho’s professionalism after the Italian gave penalty duties to Timo Werner as Chelsea powered to a 3-0 win against 10-man Rennes in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Werner netted twice from the spot before half-time at Stamford Bridge after Rennes defender Dalbert conceded both penalties.

Dalbert was sent off after the second penalty and Chelsea made the most of their numerical advantage to score again through Tammy Abraham early in the second half.

Werner has taken over from Jorginho as Chelsea’s penalty taker after the midfielder’s recent misses and Lampard was pleased with the way he handled the change.

“It was not an easy decision, because Jorginho has been pretty faultless for us,” Lampard said.

“Timo came in and scored one in our last European game. I had a conversation with Jorginho and his answer was perfect for a professional. He doesn’t care who takes them, he just wants us to score.

“Timo is the taker at the moment, and he took them emphatically, so I’m happy.”

Lampard’s side are top of Group E with seven points after three games and look well set to qualify for the last 16.

Chelsea have started a Champions League campaign with three consecutive clean-sheets in the group stage for the first time since 2009-10.

As well as keeping five successive clean-sheets in all competitions for the first time in 10 years, banishing the defensive problems that ailed them earlier this season, the Blues have scored 10 goals in their last three games.

The combination of a well-drilled defence and a potent attack is a welcome sight for Lampard, who has been working overtime to find the right formula after spending over £200 million ($259 million) on new signings in the close-season.

“Those stats and runs are great, but you cannot come off them at all, so that is why I am pleased we saw it through to the end of the game,” Lampard said.

“We deserved it. We are working as a collective and we have to keep that base.”

Chelsea are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and Lampard’s only concern was the absence of Kai Havertz, who was left out of the squad after going into self-isolation following a positive coronavirus test.

Penalty controversy

Werner opened the scoring in the 10th minute.

His deft touch induced a rash tackle from Dalbert just inside the area, winning a penalty that the German striker calmly converted.

Dalbert’s disastrous day was complete in the 41st minute when he stuck out a foot to block Abraham’s shot and diverted it onto his arm.

After a video review, the penalty was awarded and Dalbert was dismissed for his second booking.

It was a harsh decision, but Werner lashed the spot-kick high into the roof of the net for his seventh goal of the season.

Werner, a close-season signing from Leipzig, has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his past 14 appearances in the Champions League.

Chelsea went for the kill after half-time and Jorginho’s defence-splitting pass found Abraham, whose shot was blocked by Alfred Gomis.

Abraham got his goal anyway in the 50th minute, meeting Reece James’ cross with a close-range finish for his third goal of the season and his first since September.

Werner nearly notched his hat-trick from James’ cross, but Damien Da Silva cleared away from the striker as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Gomis made a good save to deny Olivier Giroud in the closing stages, but Chelsea had already done enough damage.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy, who joined from Rennes in September, was rarely tested against his old club.

Mendy did make one good save to keep out Jeremy Dokumade’s strike in the final moments, giving the Senegal international six clean-sheets in his last six appearances.

UK Says US Ties Will Go ‘From Strength To Strength’ Whoever Wins

File: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Britain on Wednesday insisted its close partnership with the United States was in safe hands whoever comes out on top of the tumultuous presidential election while noting disaccord over the Paris climate pact.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a populist ally of President Donald Trump, stayed up into the night to follow the results coming in, according to a Downing Street spokesman.

But Johnson refused to be drawn in parliament when grilled about the Republican’s premature claim of victory and his intention to ask the Supreme Court to halt the vote counting.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps came closer to breaching UK neutrality over the election, in discussing Britain’s support for action on climate change as it prepares to host a major UN summit next year.

“One can imagine that one of those candidates would be more enthusiastic (on climate policy) as president than the other,” he told ITV News, referring to Democrat Joe Biden.

Former prime minister Theresa May noted that the election dispute coincided with Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord taking effect on Wednesday.

“We will soon know who will be the next US president. But, sadly, today also marks the US leaving the Paris accord — the world’s foremost attempt to build consensus on climate change,” she tweeted.

“Whoever is elected has an immense responsibility to help tackle our planet’s greatest challenge.”

Britain is due next year to convene the UN’s COP 26 climate summit, and Johnson’s spokesman said the government was looking forward to a “successful hosting” of the multinational meeting, which has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously we’ve made clear to the US administration throughout this process that we remain firm supporters of the Paris Agreement,” the spokesman told reporters.

He added that the transatlantic relationship would “go from strength to strength whichever candidate wins the election”.

“Across trade, security, intelligence, defence, innovation and culture, few countries do more together.”

For his part, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I’m not worried about the relationship.”

“The contours of the opportunities and the risks always shift a little bit, but that needs to be set against the context of this bedrock and this wider set of interests which are so strong,” he told Sky News.

Raab also downplayed concerns expressed by Biden over the UK’s plans for Northern Ireland after its Brexit divorce from the European Union.

Spurs Hit Man Utd For Six, Arsenal Edge Blades

 

Jose Mourinho humiliated his former club Manchester United as Tottenham swept to a stunning 6-1 win at Old Trafford, while Arsenal moved into the Premier League’s top four with a 2-1 victory against Sheffield United on Sunday.

Tottenham boss Mourinho was sacked by United in 2018 after a turbulent reign, but it was his successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was left red-faced after a shambolic display from the hosts.

Despite taking the lead through Bruno Fernandes’ second-minute penalty, United collapsed as they conceded four goals in the first half of a league match for the first time since 1957.

Tanguy Ndombele equalised in the fourth minute after dismal defending from Harry Maguire and South Korea forward Son Heung-min made it two from Harry Kane’s seventh minute quick free-kick.

United were reduced to 10 men when Anthony Martial was harshly sent off in the 28th minute for his reaction to a push from Erik Lamela.

That opened the floodgates as United surrendered, with Kane grabbing Tottenham’s third in the 31st minute after stealing Eric Bailly’s weak pass.

READ ALSO: Tottenham Hit 10-Man Man Utd For Six On Mourinho’s Return

United were in disarray and Serge Aurier crossed for Son’s close-range finish in the 37th minute.

Aurier drilled home in the 51st minute and Kane made it six with a 79th-minute penalty.

It was just the third time United had conceded six goals in the Premier League era started in 1992.

Solskjaer’s team have lost their first two home games for the first time since 1986 and sit just two places above the relegation zone after their heaviest home defeat since Manchester City beat them 6-1 in 2011.

Tottenham are up to fifth place after their second league win this term, ending a run of four games in eight days that included knocking Chelsea, another of Mourinho’s old clubs, out of the League Cup on Tuesday.

– Saka shines –
Arsenal have taken nine points from their opening four games as they look to return to Champions League football for the first time in five years next season.

But the Gunners were fortunate to take all three points at the Emirates as they had an early escape when David Luiz escaped a red card for a pull on Oli Burke.

Mikel Arteta’s men got going after the break and a fine team move opened the scoring on the hour mark when Bukayo Saka headed home Hector Bellerin’s cross at the far post.

Bellerin was the provider again moments later as Nicolas Pepe drove forward to curl the ball in off the far post.

David McGoldrick halved the deficit seven minutes from time with the Blades first league goal of the season, but they remain without a point.

Leicester rocked

Leicester’s perfect start came to a shuddering halt with a 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham, just a week after the Foxes thrashed Manchester City 5-2.

Liverpool can now leapfrog Leicester to move joint top of the table alongside Merseyside rivals Everton if they win at Aston Villa later on Sunday.

West Ham manager David Moyes was again taking charge from home after testing positive for coronavirus.

But just as in a 4-0 win over Wolves last weekend, the Hammers did not miss his presence as goals from Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen gave the visitors a full deserved three points.

At St Mary’s, Southampton won their second successive game by seeing off lowly West Brom 2-0.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side dominated throughout but had to wait until the 41st minute to open the scoring when Moussa Djenepo’s clever drag-back eluded Jake Livermore before the winger stroked his finish into the bottom corner.

Oriol Romeu met Stuart Armstrong’s cross with a brilliant volley from the edge of the area in the 69th minute.

Wolves beat Fulham 1-0 at Molineux as Pedro Neto’s 56th minute goal clinched their second league win of the season.

Tottenham Hit 10-Man Man Utd For Six On Mourinho’s Return

 

 

Tottenham cashed in on Anthony Martial’s first-half red card to thrash Manchester United 6-1 as Jose Mourinho enjoyed a dream return to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs opened up a disorganised United defence at will even before Martial was harshly punished for an off-the-ball clash with Erik Lamela.

Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier were also on target for Tottenham, who showed no ill-effects of a draining week in their fourth match in eight days.

United’s worst home defeat since 2011 will turn the spotlight onto them ahead of the transfer deadline on Monday.

Uruguayan striker Edison Cavani is reportedly set to join the Red Devils, but it is at the other end of the field Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are in desperate need of reinforcements.

Mourinho, who was sacked as United boss in December 2018, has claimed his old club are too often the beneficiaries of dubious penalty decisions. But he could have no complaints when Davinson Sanchez upended Martial inside the area in the first minute.

Bruno Fernandes coolly slotted home the spot-kick to seemingly give the home side the perfect start.

However, within four minutes it was 1-1 as calamitous defending from Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw presented Ndombele with the chance to sweep home an equaliser from close range.

Kane was the provider for all four of Son’s goals in a 5-2 win at Southampton two weeks ago and the two combined to perfection once more as Spurs took the lead three minutes later.

Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were caught ball watching as Kane’s quickly taken free-kick was perfect for the South-Korean to race through and dink the ball over the advancing David De Gea.

The visitors could have had plenty more as a poor touch from Son denied him another one-on-one with De Gea before the Spaniard saved from Aurier.

Any chance of a United revival went with Martial as he was shown a straight red card for raising his hands to Lamela’s face in retaliation to an elbow from the Argentine, which went unpunished from VAR.

Even that decision, though, could not mask a disastrous performance from United, who gifted another goal away within two minutes of losing a man.

Kane intercepted Bailly’s attempt to play out from inside his own box and when the ball broke to Son, he unselfishly squared for Kane to slot into an unguarded net.

Son had been a major injury doubt after suffering a hamstring problem in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle, but he was full of energy as he burst into the box to flick his seventh goal of the season between De Gea’s legs.

Solskjaer introduced holding midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred at half-time in a bid to stem the tide, but United were cut open again when Paul Pogba failed to track Aurier’s run and he fired into the far corner from Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg’s perfect pass.

Pogba was at fault again for the sixth as he dived in on Ben Davies and Kane converted emphatically from the penalty spot.

A second straight home defeat to start the season drops United to just above the relegation zone in 16th, while Tottenham move up to fifth.

Bamford Strikes Late As Leeds Blunt Blades

 

Patrick Bamford scored a dramatic late winner as Premier League new boys Leeds snatched a 1-0 victory at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United on Sunday.

Marcelo Bielsa’s promoted side earned their second successive league win thanks to Bamford’s header with just two minutes left.

Bamford’s third goal of the season settled a hard-fought clash that was dominated by superb displays from Leeds keeper Illan Meslier and Blades stopper Aaron Ramsdale.

Leeds look well-equipped to enjoy a strong showing in their first season back in the top-flight for 16 years.

On their return to the Premier League, Leeds’ first two games produced 14 goals and they were the first top-flight side to both score and concede seven goals in their first two matches since Liverpool in the 1932-33 season.

But they needed just one goal to earn a valuable victory at Bramall Lane.

“It was a just result. The first half was even. We could have scored, but we could have conceded and the second half was a lot better for us,” said Bielsa, who refused to discuss reports linking Leeds with a move for Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell.

The Blades have now lost six successive league games dating back to last season and they remain without a league goal this term.

“I’ll be glad to see the back of September. Have we got another game in September? I don’t think we have. So, a fresh start in October at Arsenal!” Blades boss Chris Wilder said.

The bad news kept on coming just before kick-off when Blades defender Jack O’Connell was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

Leeds made a lively start to the first Yorkshire derby in the Premier League since 2001 as Luke Ayling tested Ramsdale from long range.

The Blades’ lack of confidence was clear and John Lundstram should have ended their barren run when he met Ben Osborn’s cross with a low strike, but Meslier flung himself to his right to make a superb save.

Ramsdale matched Meslier’s impressive stop with a fine save of his own as he kept out a rising drive from Stuart Dallas.

Meslier was unconvincing in Leeds’ first two games this season, but the 20-year-old made another good save to repel George Baldock’s rising drive.

Helder Costa and Bamford had strikes turned away by Ramsdale as the keepers remained on top at both ends.

Even when Dallas managed to get past Ramsdale, Chris Basham was there to clear off the line.

Ian Poveda came on for Leeds and the former Manchester City youngster immediately saw Ramsdale push his shot over.

But Bamford finally broke the deadlock in the 88th minute as he ended Ramsdale’s resistance with a close-range header from Harrison’s cross.

Man City Pounce On Varane Mistakes To Dump Out Real Madrid

 

Manchester City took advantage of two shocking mistakes by Raphael Varane to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their Champions League last 16-second leg on Friday and advance to the quarter-finals as Pep Guardiola came out on top in his duel with Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman had never been knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition as Real coach, leading them to three consecutive victories between 2016 and 2018 in his first spell before returning to the job last year.

But Madrid had been left with a mountain to climb in this tie after throwing away the lead to lose 2-1 in the first leg in Spain in February, before the coronavirus forced the competition into hibernation.

An identical defeat at an empty Etihad Stadium means it is City who advance 4-2 on aggregate.

READ ALSO: Lyon Hold Off Juventus To Reach Champions League Quarter-Finals

Without Sergio Ramos due to suspension, Real were undone by mistakes by their other first-choice centre-back.

Varane was dispossessed inside the box in the ninth minute allowing Raheem Sterling to put City ahead, and his poor headed backpass attempt gifted Gabriel Jesus another goal midway through the second half.

Before that second goal the tie had been in the balance with the in-form Karim Benzema having scored for the visitors just before the half-hour mark.

The circumstances may be highly unusual, but this is still City’s finest Champions League result, their most significant victory in a knock-out tie.

Their best performance in the competition remains a run to the semi-finals in 2016, when they went out rather limply to Real.

Now they should very possibly be considered the favourites to win the competition in Lisbon on August 23.

If they do so, the victory would taste all the sweeter coming so soon after their successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport against a two-year ban from Europe handed down by UEFA for breaches of their Financial Fair Play rules.

They have already qualified for next season’s tournament after coming second in the Premier League but now they can look forward to facing Lyon in the quarter-finals next Saturday at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Real, meanwhile, will get over this.

They have dined out on success in the Champions League in recent years but their main objective after the coronavirus shutdown was to win La Liga and they did that.

Zidane’s team overhauled Barcelona thanks to 10 successive victories after La Liga returned in June but they were not especially prolific in front of goal during that run, despite Benzema’s fine form.

Uphill struggle

It was already going to be an uphill struggle for them in the absence of Ramos, sent off late in the first leg, and their task became even harder after they conceded an early opener.

City’s high pressing paid off as Varane was barged off the ball in his own area by Jesus, who squared for Sterling to roll in.

There was a response from the 13-time European champions, though, with Benzema and Eden Hazard both forcing saves from Ederson before their equaliser on the night arrived in the 28th minute.

A fine move ended with Benzema feeding Rodrygo and the young Brazilian clipping in a cross from the right for the Frenchman, who rose above Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho to head in from the edge of the six-yard box.

It was his 65th goal in the Champions League, putting him one clear of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski on the overall list and behind only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Raul.

Unfortunately for Real, Benzema was not able to add to that tally and this tie was effectively ended by another Varane blooper.

The Frenchman struggled with an awkward high ball downfield and his header back towards Thibaut Courtois was short, allowing Jesus to prod it beyond the goalkeeper and into the net.

Real will not return to Lisbon, where they won the Champions League in 2014, but the dream remains alive for Guardiola and City.

AFP