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Leicester vs Tottenham – Match Preview

 

After suffering a heavy defeat to Arsenal last weekend, Tottenham had to bounce back in the best possible way against Southampton in midweek and thanks to a comfortable win by three goals to nil, that is exactly what they managed to do.

And thanks to a combination of results elsewhere that saw their London rivals drop points, it means that Mauricio Pochettino’s men have reclaimed third spot before Saturday’s visit to the King Power Stadium.

It is there where they will face a Leicester City side who are unbeaten in their last six league outings, a run of form which sees them currently occupy ninth place in the table. It is fair to say that Claude Puel’s men are going under the radar as of late, as they prove to be a tough but to crack.

The Foxes were reunited with an old face on Wednesday night as Claudio Ranieri bought his Fulham side to the East Midlands, while it was a trip that proved relatively fruitful for the Cottagers as they managed to earn a much needed point in their bid to stave off relegation.

The question for Leicester is whether or not they can continue their impressive run of form and in turn become a genuine contender for the Europa League places this season, especially as just one point separates themselves and Everton who currently lie in sixth.

To do so they will have to continue their unbeaten run, one that could be in danger with the visit of Tottenham on the horizon. That said, Leicester do seem to have their upcoming opponent’s number after a spate of recent wins.

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Arsenal vs Tottenham – Match Preview

 

The battle lines have been drawn in North London as this Sunday sees the first of two clashes between Arsenal and Tottenham in the space of the next month.

Later in December, these arch rivals will square off in the Carabao Cup Quarter-finals, but this weekend the stakes are arguably much higher.

That is because it is Premier League points that are on offer with Unai Emery’s men looking to not only extend their unbeaten run which has been in place since August, but also they will look to leapfrog ahead of Tottenham in the table.

The Gunners go into this clash sitting three points behind Spurs, but safe in the knowledge that a win in front of their own fans would see them move ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s men by virtue of goal difference.

That might be easier said than done though as Tottenham will come into this fixture with their tails up after making incredibly light work of crosstown rivals Chelsea last weekend, a win that sees them start the weekend lying third in the table.

And that is a position that they would like to solidify as they stay on the fringes of this season’s title race, and they cannot afford to cede any further ground to Manchester City and Liverpool if they want to be considered bona fide contenders.

Their hopes of success have been given a real shot in the arm after that win over Chelsea, it was a performance where Tottenham were on top from minute one. A point that was reinforced when Dele Alli opened the scoring early on.

The England international was only a substitute in England’s recent win over Croatia in the Nations League, but he showed any doubters why he should be in the starting eleven after a very impressive performance over Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Arsenal also ended up on top last weekend but admittedly their win was not as impressive. At the same time though that win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium is the kind of game that they would have struggled with last season under former manager Arsene Wenger.

Unai Emery’s men are of a different ilk and although they needed a large slice of fortune after Jefferson Lerma’s bizarre own goal gave them the lead, it is fair to say that they were good value for all three points in the end.

Arsenal were given a recent test at home to Liverpool recently, one that saw earn a creditable draw against the team that are currently second in the table and this weekend will provide a measure of just what the red half of North London can do this season.

Last year at this ground, Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners in a particularly one sided performance. However, in the grand scheme of things it counted for very little as the limped to a sixth place finish in the Premier League.

These two outfits are two of the Premier League form teams going into the clash, so something will have to give. At the same time, the form book does have a habit of going out the window in clashes such as this. If it ends in a draw then Tottenham will be the happier of the two sides come full time.

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Wolves vs Tottenham – Match Previe

 

We don’t often see a late night Saturday kick-off time in the Premier League, however this weekend is a rare exception as Wolves play host to Tottenham at Molineux with both teams looking to return to winning ways.

Hosts Wolves come into this game having suffered back to back top flight defeats, after coming worse off in their clashes with both Watford and Brighton. Not only that, but the promoted side have failed to find the net in either game.

That said Tottenham have not fared all that well recently as they fell to their third league defeat of the season in their last outing. Monday night saw them go head to head with Manchester City at Wembley in a clash that was not really one for the ages.

It was a tie that was decided as early as the sixth minute when Riyad Mahrez slotted home from close range. Not only did that give Pep Guardiola’s men all three points, but also return them to the top of the Premier League table.

The game was arguably not helped by the fact that the NFL had played there a day earlier, making the surface something more akin to beach football. However, it was an issue that both sides would have had to deal with and City passed the test with flying colours.

For Tottenham it was a missed opportunity to leapfrog the defending league champions as they have ceded ground to the teams above them in not just the title race but also the top four and it perhaps is that defeat which signifies that the North London outfit will not be real contenders this season.

Not only that but they have a nightmare schedule with four games having to be played in just over a week, the trip to the West Midlands will be the third of those and you have to wonder just how many changes will have to be made when the face last season’s EFL Championship winners.

Change is not something that Nuno Espirito Santo has had to deal with this season, he has made just the one line up switch in the first 10 games of the campaign. Something that signifies that he has a tried and trusted first eleven.

However, after back to back league defeats it may well be the perfect opportunity in which to ring the changes and freshen up his starting eleven, especially if Tottenham make the journey out of London while showing signs of Carabao Cup fatigue.

Manchester City came to Molineux earlier in the season and were held at Molineux, a result that makes you think that perhaps they won’t be the early team out of the ‘Big Six’ to go there and drop points during this campaign.

Wolves have been very easy on the eye this season and if there was one criticism it is perhaps the fact that they have not been clinical when it really matters. If they can show a cutting edge on Saturday, then there is no reason why they cannot get at least a point from their clash with Tottenham.

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Tottenham vs Fulham – Match Preview

 

Fulham find themselves playing in another London derby this weekend as they make a relatively quick return to Wembley.

It was only as recent as May that they won the Championship Play-Off Final against Aston Villa.

That win saw them reach the promised land of the Premier League for the first time since their relegation back in 2014. However, they did not get off to the fairy tale start they had hoped for last weekend after a home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The West London club have spent big over the course of the Summer and this has raised expectations, however with so many new faces it may take some time for the team to form a cohesive unit.

They go up against a Tottenham side that have not had the best of the weeks, after failing to buy anyone in the Summer transfer window they were then dealt the devastating blow after being told that their new stadium will not be ready for its planned October opening.

They have at least had a positive result on the pitch though to soften the blow, one that came away at Newcastle. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came away eventual 2-1 winners at St James’ Park but they were certainly made to work for their victory.

Jan Vertonghen may not have been a fan of goal line technology going into the game, but he certainly would have been at the end of it. His headed opener was adjudged to have crossed the line by a margin of 9mm.

Had there not been any technology in place, then quite simply that would have not been a goal as the referee would have been able to make the correct call. If technology assisted Tottenham to start with then it is fair to say they rode their luck soon after.

It was perhaps not the best performance from a side that welcomed back a whole host of players from World Cup duty, so perhaps the main objective was just making sure that they bought maximum points back to the capital.

Harry Kane’s barren August run continues and that is something he will look to put right this weekend, however on the evidence of his performance against Newcastle there are question marks over his fitness still.

It looks like he is not quite got the sharpness that has been evident in the past and this is something that his manager will have to keep a keen eye on. Tottenham must be really careful not to overwork him, for the simple fact that they have a paucity of attacking options to replace him.

However, at the same time it only needs a goal to spark things into life for Kane and he will be licking his lips at the prospect of going up against a club that has come up from England’s second tier last season.

With that in mind, this will be the perfect fixture for Kane to break his August hoodoo and also to placate the Tottenham fans after the stadium frustrations of the past week. This should be a relatively comfortable home win.

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Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1: Late Kane header snatches victory

Harry Kane netted his 150th goal in club football as a late header claimed a vital 1-0 victory for Tottenham against Crystal Palace, handing a hammer blow to the Eagles’ bid for Premier League survival in the process.

Having missed a gilt-edged opportunity earlier in the second half, Kane made amends in the 88th minute of Sunday’s clash at Selhurst Park, powering home a brilliant header from Christian Eriksen’s corner.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had dominated throughout, but often struggled to break down Palace’s stubborn defence.

Eriksen did manage to carve out an opening in the 54th minute, only for Kane to volley wide from inside the six-yard box.

It was Kane’s second big opportunity of the game, with Wayne Hennessey having pulled off an excellent stop to deny the Premier League’s leading scorer early on.

Palace’s injury woes were compounded late on when defender James Tomkins went down in innocuous fashion, and his absence was felt when Kane finally headed home the winner with the final whistle fast approaching.

Palace were fortunate not to concede a penalty inside eight minutes – Hennessey’s indecision almost proving costly when he brought down Ben Davies, but Kevin Friend waved play on.

Hennessey atoned moments later, though, rushing out to deny Kane following Patrick van Aanholt’s poor clearance, before James McArthur saw a goal-bound strike blocked at the other end.

Referee Friend did point to the spot on the half-hour mark after Timothy Fosu-Mensah brought down Kane, only for the official to quickly change his decision with the linesman’s flag correctly raised for offside.

For all Tottenham’s domination, Palace could have snatched the lead when Andros Townsend broke clear of his marker just prior to half-time, but the winger failed to generate enough power on his effort to beat Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham continued on the front foot after the restart, and Eriksen should have done better with a close-range effort five minutes into the second half, but it was Kane who wasted the best opportunity of the game soon after.

Aurier and Eriksen combined superbly to tee up the England striker, who – despite being unmarked – somehow failed to convert from five yards out.

Former Paris-Saint Germain defender Aurier was the next to try his luck, forcing Hennessey into a fine save with a venomous strike.

The Ivory Coast international was involved at the other end shortly after, doing brilliantly to deny Alexander Sorloth.

Lucas Moura was soon introduced for his Premier League debut as Pochettino pushed for a winner – Hennessey getting down low to prevent Davies’ strike finding the bottom-left corner.

A late injury to Tomkins made things even more difficult for Palace, with Aurier failing to tuck home into an open goal before Kane shot just wide.

But Tottenham finally got the goal their performance warranted as Kane leapt high above his markers to connect with Eriksen’s delightful cross and break Palace’s resolve, as Pochettino’s side moved up, temporarily at least, into the top four.

Key Opta stats:

– Spurs are now unbeaten in their last 15 games in all competitions (W9 D6); their longest run since going 16 without defeat between December 1998 and March 1999.
– Harry Kane scored the 150th goal of his club career in all competitions, with 134 of those coming as a Spurs player.
– The England international’s goals have been worth more points to his club than any other player in the Premier League this season (14).
– Kane has netted 23 goals in 34 Premier League London derbies – equalling Didier Drogba’s total in the competition (23 in 64).
– Crystal Palace are winless in their last five Premier League games (D2 L3); their worst run since Roy Hodgson took charge back in September 2017.
– Spurs have conceded just one goal in their last six games against the Eagles in the Premier League, winning all six meetings.
– In fact, Spurs have won three consecutive away league games against Crystal Palace for the first time in their history.
– Only Darren Anderton (67) has provided more assists for Spurs in the Premier League than Christian Eriksen (45), who is now joint-second for the club alongside Aaron Lennon.
– The Eagles haven’t won any of their eight Premier League games when Wilfried Zaha didn’t feature this season (P8 W0 D0 L8).

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Rochdale 2 Tottenham 2: Davies denies Kane in FA Cup classic

Steve Davies scored a famous FA Cup goal as Rochdale earned a richly deserved Wembley replay by snatching a dramatic 2-2 fifth-round draw with Tottenham.

Spurs substitute Harry Kane looked to have averted an upset with a penalty two minutes from the end, but Davies – who came off the home bench – popped up in stoppage time to preserve a magical cup run for League One’s bottom side.

Spurs started with an entirely different XI to the one that fought back from two goals down to draw at Juventus in midweek, but 10 senior internationals were fielded, with Mauricio Pochettino perhaps wary of a replay after Newport County took his team to a second contest in the previous round.

Regardless, an evident lack of understanding between Spurs players plagued them and Rochdale made the most of the £500,000 relaid pitch to score a brilliantly worked opener through Ian Henderson – the Dale captain scoring his sixth FA Cup goal of the season, no player has more.

By virtue of three appearances as a young player at Norwich, Henderson was the hosts’ only starter with Premier League experience, but 22-year-old Callum Camps also delivered a midfield performance that could attract attention from scouts further up the pyramid.

Dale’s composure and tenacity looked to have been outdone by greater top-flight nous in the second half as Lucas Moura capped his full Spurs debut with a well-taken goal, before Dele Alli was fouled in the box and Kane stepped up to smash home and quieten the ground at which he made his senior bow seven years ago.

But Spotland was rocking three minutes into stoppage time when Davies calmly found the corner to send Keith Hill’s men to a Wembley replay with a quarter-final tie against Swansea City or Sheffield Wednesday up for grabs.

Spurs’ makeshift side took time to find their rhythm and Rochdale snapped into them, Henderson shooting into Michel Vorm’s arms after Victor Wanyama coughed up possession in his own half.

Fernando Llorente ought to have done much better than shoot off-target from 12 yards after Josh Lillis twice saved from Son Heung-min and Lucas fired over after Kieran Trippier’s flash across the box was not converted.

Just beyond the half-hour, Camps played a top-flight pass over the Spurs defence for Henderson, but a slashed effort drifted harmlessly wide when Vorm should have been tested.

Spurs remained jittery and Rochdale produced a beautiful passage of play to move ahead on the brink of half-time.

Once again Rochdale picked a Spurs pocket, Harry Winks robbed this time, before Stephen Humphrys picking out Andy Cannon, whose decisive touch to Henderson allowed the captain to smash home, with Pochettino’s defence caught out of position.

Pochettino saw no reason to change things at the interval and a patient approach got them level as Dale’s back three faltered for the first time just before the hour.

Jim McNulty followed Llorente deep, but he could not win the ball, and Moussa Sissoko sharply found Lucas darting into the space, with the winger producing a composed lift over Lillis one-on-one.

The inventive Camps almost caught Vorm out from a free-kick but Spurs had more gears to go through, with Pochettino introducing Erik Lamela, Alli and Kane from the bench.

And Spurs were ahead in the 88th minute after Harrison McGahey clumsily fouled Alli and Kane ruthlessly smashed beyond Lillis from 12 yards.

Incredibly, though, the drama was not over. Spurs’ attacking subs perhaps short-changed them at the back as a left-wing cross was flicked into the path of the unmarked Davies, who took a touch and buried a famous finish into the bottom corner.

Key Opta Stats:

– Rochdale have gone six games unbeaten in the FA Cup (W4 D2) for just the second occasion in their history, having previously done so in January 1976.
– In fact, January 1976 was also the last time they avoided defeat to a top-flight side in the FA Cup, when they drew 0-0 with Norwich City.
– Spurs have lost just once in their last 22 FA Cup fixtures against sides from outside the Premier League; this was just the sixth time they have failed to win in those matches (W16 D5 L1).
– Mauricio Pochettino has maintained his record of having never lost to a side from a lower division than the Premier League as a manager in English football (P19 W16 D3 L0).
– Spurs have now drawn five consecutive away games in all competitions, the joint-longest such streak in their history (also April 1957, November 1973, February 1982, October 1988 and February 1999).
– Harry Kane has scored eight goals in his last six FA Cup games for Tottenham.

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Burnley 0 Tottenham 3: Kane hat-trick sends Spurs above Arsenal

A hat-trick from Harry Kane ensured Tottenham moved above Arsenal into fifth place in the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.

Kane’s treble was enough to give Spurs their first back-to-back wins at Turf Moor for 92 years and lift them above Sean Dyche’s side and the Gunners in the standings.

The clash represented a difficult prospect for Mauricio Pochettino’s men after their chastening 4-1 loss to Manchester City last week, but they were the stronger team for the majority of the game and should really have added more goals in between Kane’s first two.

They took control when the England international scored from the spot in only the seventh minute after Dele Alli had been fouled and, although Burnley enjoyed a good 20-minute spell in the middle of the match, they rarely had Hugo Lloris troubled in the visiting goal.

Kane at last produced a composed finish after Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min had wasted one-on-one opportunities to make the points safe, firing low into the net on the counter-attack.

The 24-year-old completed his treble with an emphatic left-footed finish with 11 minutes left to make the points secure and move onto 36 Premier League goals for 2017, level with the calendar-year record set by Alan Shearer in 1995.

Spurs are now only a point behind fourth-place Liverpool and two above Burnley, who sit seventh after suffering only their fifth league defeat of the season.

Alli was lucky to escape a red card in the defeat to Manchester City and he was perhaps fortunate only to be booked after just four minutes in Lancashire, when he lunged into a challenge on Charlie Taylor.

Burnley fans were further incensed when Alli was brought down by Kevin Long just two minutes later, allowing Kane to dispatch his penalty high into the net and put Spurs in front.

Kane shot inches wide after an Alli shot deflected into his path and Sissoko was denied by Nick Pope with 22 minutes played, but the visitors’ dominance began to wane towards the end of the half as Burnley began to threaten.

The hosts continued their good spell after the break but they were given two real let-offs by Spurs on the break, First, Son blazed over from barely eight yards out after Serge Aurier set him up completely unmarked, before Kane overhit a simple pass to Christian Eriksen when Burnley had only one covering defender.

But with 68 minutes played, Spurs at last doubled their lead. Sissoko intercepted the ball near the halfway line and sent a fine throughball to Kane, who kept his composure to slot beneath Pope from inside the penalty area.

Kane closed to within one goal of a new milestone in the Premier League when he completed his seventh hat-trick of the year in all competitions, collecting Alli’s pass before drilling low across Pope’s goal and into the bottom-right corner in stylish fashion.

He will surpass Shearer’s 22-year record with a goal against Southampton at Wembley on Boxing Day, when Spurs will seek a fourth home win in a row in all competitions.

Key Opta Facts:

– Kane’s third goal against Burnley was his 46th club strike in all competitions in 2017; only Edinson Cavani and Lionel Messi (50 each) have more among players in the big five European leagues.
– Burnley conceded as many goals in this game as they had in their previous nine at Turf Moor combined this season.
– Spurs are the first visiting team to score three or more in a Premier League game at Turf Moor since Crystal Palace in January 2015 (3-2).
– Kane has now scored 93 goals in the Premier League – second only to Teddy Sheringham (97) for goals in the competition for Spurs.

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Watford 1 Tottenham 1: Sanchez sent off as 10-man Spurs earn away poin

Watford missed a chance to inflict more away misery on 10-man Tottenham as the two sides fought out a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Davinson Sanchez was shown a straight red card for catching Richarlison with a stray elbow in the 52nd minute, hampering his side’s hopes of making up ground on the top four.

But the home team will feel most frustrated after failing to make their numerical advantage count.

The Hornets earlier opened the scoring through Christian Kabasele, the defender heading in his second goal in five Premier League matches from Tom Cleverley’s corner.

Tottenham, facing the prospect of a fourth consecutive away defeat in the league, quickly restored parity through Son Heung-min.

And although Sanchez’s dismissal re-opened the door for Marco Silva’s side, Spurs survived the scare of a long-range Abdoulaye Doucoure shot against the upright to claim a hard-earned point and recapture sixth from Burnley.

Harry Kane appeared set to give his side the perfect start inside five minutes, but the England striker was unable to connect with Kieran Trippier’s enticing low ball across the face.

Instead, it was left to Kabasele to open the scoring as he got away from Eric Dier, rose above Kane and nodded Cleverley’s corner inside the far post.

Spurs needed a quick response to calm the nerves and they got it in the 25th minute. Christian Eriksen found space on the right and measured a perfect low pass to the far post for the recalled Son to tap home.

Richarlison had seen his appeal for a penalty waved away moments before the equaliser, which proved to be the final real action of a tightly-contested first half.

The contest turned on its head when Sanchez was shown a straight red just seven minutes after the restart, the defender adjudged to have caught Richarlison with an elbow to the face.

And the Hornets came within inches of making their advantage count when Doucoure’s superb curling effort from distance struck the inside of the right post and somehow stayed out.

Heurelho Gomes needed treatment after appearing to collide with team-mate Adrian Mariappa and the break in play allowed Mauricio Pochettino’s men to regain a foothold.

Moussa Sissoko next threatened on the counter-attack soon after being introduced in place of Eriksen, although the midfielder’s miscued attempt proved to be the closest they came to a winner.

Watford, meanwhile, were restricted to shots from outside the area and were unable to sufficiently stretch the visitors’ defence, as they failed to claim what would have been a first win in this fixture since the 1986-87 season.

Key Opta stats:

– Watford have failed to win all of their previous nine Premier League encounters with Tottenham Hotspur (W0 D3 L6); the most games they’ve played against any opponent without winning in the competition.
– Christian Eriksen provided his first Premier League assist since the opening weekend vs Newcastle, ending a run of 13 appearances without one.
– Son Heung-min has scored four and assisted two more in his last seven starts in all competitions for Tottenham.
– Christian Kabasele has scored two goals in 14 Premier League games this season, equalling his tally from last season in 16 appearances. All four of his goals in the competition have come from corner situations.
– Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven PL games, after registering four shut-outs in the five games before that.
– Tottenham been shown two red cards in their last 10 Premier League games, as many as in their previous 111 in the competition.

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Tottenham 1 West Brom 1: Kane grabs a point as Spurs lose more ground

Harry Kane scored his ninth Premier League goal of the season but Tottenham’s dwindling title hopes were dealt another blow as managerless West Brom left Wembley with a 1-1 draw.

Salomon Rondon gave Albion and their unheralded caretaker manager Gary Megson an early advantage five days on from Tony Pulis’ sacking.

The visitors looked set for a first league victory since August until their massed defensive ranks were punctured by a typically expert piece of movement and poaching from Kane in the 74th minute.

A winner proved elusive and Mauricio Pochettino – who once again raised eyebrows pre-match by omitting Danny Rose from Tottenham’s matchday squad – has presided over a solitary league victory in his past four attempts.

Spurs fall five points behind second-placed Manchester United, while leaders Manchester City will be 13 points better off if they can beat Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

A dispiriting week meant West Brom – who edged a point clear of the relegation zone – emerged at Wembley with few expectations but they stunned the majority of those inside the national stadium after four minutes.

Dele Alli was caught napping in midfield by fellow England international Jake Livermore, who fed Rondon to outmuscle Davinson Sanchez and smuggle a finish beyond a static Hugo Lloris and into the bottom left corner.