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January transfer window: a guide to every Premier League club's plans

fre, 01/01/2021 - 13:00

Loans, not big-money buys, are likely to be flavour of the month, but from top to bottom managers want to do business

Arsenal need to shift a formidable bulk of dead wood before they can make significant efforts to address, among other things, an enduring lack of creativity. Sead Kolasinac has joined Schalke on loan and is among several they hope to move out, at least temporarily. At this point any incomings are likely to be loans, too, with Isco among the names considered before Mikel Arteta looks longer-term in the summer. Nick Ames

Related: Football transfer rumours: Jadon Sancho to Chelsea? Isco to Arsenal?

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

fre, 01/01/2021 - 01:05

Sam Allardyce takes aim at Arsenal, Danny Ings could return to haunt Liverpool and José Mourinho must change tack

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has taken significant stick from laymen convinced their footballing expertise trumps his, but even they must concede that Manchester United are better now than at any stage in the Post-Fergie Wilderness YearsTM. Though it’s hard to envisage United winning the title, they must attack games as if they intend to, and should they fail, it will not be because they were too cautious. Solskjær’s side are too ruthful in attack and defence, but can offset these weaknesses by dominating opponents in midfield. Before their midweek win with Wolves, the Norwegian said “we need to go after them and get after that ball,” but it was not until the final quarter of the game, when Paul Pogba moved further forward, that United did that. They got away with it against Wolves, just, but to achieve the improbable this season, they must be braver from the outset in every game. DH

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Arise Sir Lewis: Hamilton given knighthood in new year honours list

ons, 30/12/2020 - 23:30
  • Rob Burrow awarded MBE for work on MND awareness
  • Anne Keothavong among those also handed honours

A stunning 12 months for Lewis Hamilton on and off the track, which included equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One titles and becoming an increasingly powerful voice for diversity in his sport, has ended with a knighthood in the new year honours list. The 35-year-old becomes the fourth F1 driver to be knighted after two fellow Britons, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, and Australia’s Sir Jack Brabham.

There had been a question mark over whether Hamilton, who also surpassed Schumacher’s record of grand prix victories in 2020, would be knighted given he lives in the tax haven of Monaco. But it was reported that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, had personally intervened to ensure Hamilton would be rewarded for his sporting achievements.

Related: 21 for 2021: the unmissable sporting events over the next 12 months

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Premier League stands firm on Covid suspension after Mourinho anger

ons, 30/12/2020 - 19:16
  • Spurs v Fulham called off after Covid outbreak in visiting squad
  • José Mourinho had expressed frustration at lack of news

The Premier League has insisted it retains full confidence in its Covid‑19 protocols after Wednesday night’s game between Tottenham and Fulham became the second fixture to be called off in the space of three days, raising concerns that the season may have to be put on hold.

As Tottenham responded to the latest postponement with anger behind the scenes, the league continued to play down the possibility of the season being curtailed despite mounting pressure. The growing scale of the problem was illustrated when the Premier League announced a record 18 positive results among players and staff from tests conducted last week. Five of those tests came at Manchester City, whose trip to Everton was called off on Monday.

Related: Newcastle v Liverpool: Premier League – live!

Spurs' fixture with Fulham, due to be played at 18:00 GMT this evening, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting

Full statement: https://t.co/KInrnKDl2D#TOTFUL pic.twitter.com/SjQUpOvVLv

Related: How did Leeds United not realise what would happen when they targeted a women?

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José Mourinho praises Tanguy Ndombele for his 'big evolution' at Spurs

tir, 29/12/2020 - 14:30
  • Midfielder thriving after difficult debut season in 2019-20
  • Gareth Bale out for ‘a few weeks’ with calf injury

José Mourinho has praised Tanguy Ndombele for going through a “big evolution” at Tottenham but said the midfielder still has some way to go before he can be trusted to complete 90 minutes for the team.

Ndombele endured a difficult debut season at Spurs after joining from Lyon for a club-record fee of €62m (£55.45m) in July 2019, and particularly so when Mourinho arrived as Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement four months later. The Portuguese was clearly unimpressed with the player’s fitness levels, with the nadir in their relationship reached in March when, following the 1-1 draw with Burnley, Mourinho singled out Ndombele for criticism, saying: “I know adapting to the Premier League is difficult but he has had enough time and has to give us more than he is giving us.”

Related: José Mourinho unhappy with Tottenham's ambition in Wolves draw

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'We don't kill matches': Mourinho laments late equaliser at Wolves – video

man, 28/12/2020 - 11:17

José Mourinho has called his sides ruthlessness into question after a late Romain Saïss equaliser saw his Tottenham side drop important points at Molineux. 'Our problem was that we scored in the first minute and we had 89 minutes to score more goals and we didn't and for me that was the problem' said the Spurs coach. Tottenham currently sit in fifth place, six points between Liverpool

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Wolves 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened

søn, 27/12/2020 - 22:29

Tanguy Ndombele’s first-minute goal put Spurs in charge, but they opted to sit on a lead again and were caught again, Roman Saiss equalising in the 87th minute; Wolves move above Leeds into 10th spot, while Spurs rise from fifth to sixth

9.29pm GMT

Right then, that’s us done for another weekend – join us for more football, er ... tomorrow, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Friday, and on and on and Ariston. Here’s our match report – ta-ra.

Related: Romain Saïss thwarts Tottenham with late header to earn Wolves draw

9.26pm GMT

Gosh, Spurs didn’t have a shot on target after the 21st minute. That’s not at all good, especially against a team famous for coming on strong in the second half.

9.25pm GMT

Roman Saiss tells Sky his team should be disappointed because they conceded early, played well and created lots of chances, but only scored one. I’m not sure about that chances, but otherwise he’s right, and when he’s encouraged to blame Fabio Silva’s late miss, does a good job of wriggling out of it. His team need to be more consistent, he says, and need to carry on this performance into their next game at Manchester United.

9.15pm GMT

No Premier League side has tossed as many points from winning positions as Spurs, but you just know that if they take the lead in their next game, they’ll try to sit on it. I wonder if the players are still as happy to go along with him.

9.14pm GMT

Spurs move up from sixth to fifth, level on points with Man City, but with a better goal difference having played a game more. Wolves move above Leeds into 11th.

9.11pm GMT

Spurs led for 86 minutes but in the end both sides got what they deserved.

9.10pm GMT

90+6 min Wolves are going to win this! Neves clips a luscious pass over the top for Fabio Silva ... he’s alone and palely loitering ... but he can only head weakly into the ground, ducking into rather than with the ball, and Lloris collects easily! That’s a bad miss, dearie me.

9.09pm GMT

90+5 min Neto has been good in the second half and he dashes around the outside of Doherty before slamming over a low cross that Lloris reaches before Traore.

9.08pm GMT

90+4 min I get sitting on a 1-0 when you have Cech in goal and Carvalho, Terry, Cole and Makalele in front of them, but with these? It makes no sense at all, and is actually a far riskier option than trying to score again.

9.07pm GMT

90+3 min Spurs will go third if they win this, but if they don’t it’s four league games without a win.

9.06pm GMT

90+1 min Vitinha replaces Podence, who’ll have better days but who put in a monumental shift. I really like him, but I think he’s better coming from out to in at the moment.

9.05pm GMT

90 min There’ll be six additional minutes.

9.04pm GMT

90 min Suddenly Spurs are playing on the front foot, as they could’ve been for the last 89 minutes.

9.04pm GMT

89 min Winks lifts a pass over the top that puts Kane in a race with Saiss and the ball. The second it becomes clear the ball’s going to win, the captain of England hurls himself to the ground and beseeches for a penalty. The ref ignores him, but he’s lucky to avoid a booking for that.

9.02pm GMT

People never change, and Jose Mourinho will never learn! Neto’s corner is much better than Moutinho’s have been and Saiss meets it with an excellent header at the front post, getting in front of Davies. That’s what happens when you put faith in your ok defenders rather than in your wonderful strikers.

9.00pm GMT

86 min Wolves have really stuck at this, but they’re just lacking a bit in attack and their set-pieces have been dreadful.Here comes another corner though...

8.58pm GMT

84 min A change apiece, Wolves sending on Otasowie for Moutinho and Spurs replacing Son with Lamela. He and Kane have been poor today, but I’m sure Wolves will be glad to see the back of him

8.57pm GMT

83 min “I think we should just enjoy McLean, and Clough, and Ferguson for what they were, and what they achieved,” says Simon McMahon. “No doubt in 30 years we might look back and wonder whether Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp would survive in the modern game. Managers, and players, by definition belong in their own era. McLean was, in many respects, actually ahead of his time, and as a person was in actual fact nothing like his managerial persona. Anyway, cheers to you and all football fans. Hope you are well, and stay safe! Here’s to 2021!”

The greats of any era would be great in every era, more or less. And agreed, tactically Wee Jim was ahead of pretty much all of his contemporaries.

8.56pm GMT

82 min Wolves win a corner down the left and Moutinho dutifully clips it into the middle, but no one’s arsed to attack it and Winks heads clear under nae pressure.

8.55pm GMT

80 min Neto runs out of position skating a cross the face of the Spurs defence but Son then gives the ball away to Neves, who has time to pick a pass but instead drills a low shot that has Lloris scurrying but which he’s always gathering.

8.53pm GMT

79 min After Podence can’t find a decent cross, Berwign looks to have skipped away down the left, but a poor touch allows Neves to come across and collect possession.

8.52pm GMT

78 min “The colour of the referee’s shirt is ‘Real Madrid Away 2017’,” reckons Matt Dony. I think there’s a more luminous quality to it.

8.51pm GMT

77 min Wolves have played well second half, but they’ve not created much in the way of chances. Which I guess means that Spurs have defended pretty well.

8.51pm GMT

76 min Traore stands up Davies, then sticks the ball one side and goes down the other as yerman does everything he can to insert his body in the road. He just about does enough, but has a proper result when the ref appraises a free-kick.

8.49pm GMT

75 min Ait-Nouri replaces Marcal.

8.49pm GMT

74 min Kane finds himself down the left and swivels into a cross that Saiss does really well to clout clear, given the speed of the ball and his proximity to his own goal.

8.48pm GMT

73 min “Jeez, Mourinho has just spent an age giving Bergwijn a page-by-page run-through of what appears to be the illustrated version of Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid before sending him on. Hope he has a good memory” emails Justin Kavanagh.

I guess this kind of thing is pretty common in the NFL and NBA, so there’s no reason to think footballers can’t cope, even if the game if less formulaic.

8.47pm GMT

72 min Marcal looks to ease away from Son but slips and looks to have strained something. On comes the physio to administer treatment and Marcal has a stand at the side, but is quickly back running again.

8.45pm GMT

70 min Spurs send Sissoko on for Ndombele. Mourinho is backing his defenders to see it out again.

8.45pm GMT

69 min Semedo sticks out a go go Gadget leg and leaves one on Ndombele; he’s booked.

8.44pm GMT

68 min Neto finds space outside the box and fairly rattles a shot that’s deflected behind. The corner comes to nowt, but Wolves are taking it to them.

8.43pm GMT

68 min Spurs break down the right but Son is too late to square to Kane, who then prods through a set of legs when he might’ve shot and can’t collect around the other side. That’s rare for him – usually he pops off so early it’s almost before the game started.

8.42pm GMT

67 min I absolutely love the colour of the ref’s top - this is the only photo I can find and it doesn’t do it justice. But what colour do we reckon it is? Mauve?

8.40pm GMT

65 min Wolves win a free-kick 40-odd yards out and close to the right touchline, so Moutinho takes it quickly, clipping a clever pass in between Lloris and Neto ... but the keeper is paying attention and gets out first to improvise a clearing fly-kick.

8.38pm GMT

63 min Reguilon, who ended up playing left-midfield, more or less, is replaced by Bergwijn. Mourinho must want his team higher up the pitch and rightly so – the pressure isn’t wild, but another 30 of this and you’d expect Wolves to find an equaliser.

8.37pm GMT

62 min It’s been all Wolves this half, and Mourinho looks to be bringing on Bergwijn as the physio comes on to treat an irritated Dier, who has to step off the pitch as a consequence.

8.36pm GMT

60 min Excellent from Neto, skirting around the outside of Doherty and driving a low cross that hits Reguilon and bounces into Silva’s path. But Lloris is out quickly, wearing a toe on the phizog as the men contest the ball. He’s fine.

8.34pm GMT

59 min I’m not sure why, but Kane allows Dier to take the free-kick, 25 yards out, left of centre, and he duly clips it wide with unarguable authority.

8.33pm GMT

58 min Coady tries to clip the ball over Ndombele’s challenge but Ndombele just runs through him so Coady has no choice but to bring him down. Kane wants a red card, seemingly telling the ref that his mate with in, but there was defenders on the cover so a booking is the correct call.

8.32pm GMT

57 min Spurs sat on a one-goal lead against both Palace and Liverpool, getting caught both times. It might work here, but it can’t be the best way of going about things given Spurs’ defenders and attackers.

8.30pm GMT

56 min Traore really looks in the mood - Wolves need to get him on the ball as often as possible. But this time it’s Semedo raiding down the right, only to wallop a cross miles away from anyone.

8.29pm GMT

55 min Reguilon nashes down the left but can’t find a crossing angle and Wolves are soon back in amongst them.

8.28pm GMT

53 min Podence has real chutzpah, turning up outside the box to prompt. He needs to work out what kind of player he wants to be because his team need men in the box, but he’s so sharp outside it, though his combination with Neto doesn’t quite work out here.


8.26pm GMT

52 min Moutinho clips flat to the near post, where it’s summarily headed away.

8.26pm GMT

52 min Wolves maintain the pressure, winning a corner down the left....

8.25pm GMT

51 min Wolves are coming, Podence spreading play to Traore, who has a look then cuts a low cross back to no one.

8.24pm GMT

50 min Wolves have started the half well and Neto zooms to the line before cutting back a cross, just, that Silva can’t quite reach to turn goalwards.

8.24pm GMT

48 min “Could use what Alli does at Goodison,” returns Brad Wilson. “Mr. A will get the most from him.”

I’m not sure there’s room for Alli and James in the same team, but it depends a bit on what kind of player Alli is going to be. I always hoped he’d become a box-to-box general, but I’m not sure he’ll get there now.

8.22pm GMT

46 min Immediately, Semedo carries forwards and nips a ball in behind Dier for Silva, who tries to get in front, taking the ball away before collapsing flat like a gymnast, legs straight and touching. VAR has a look for a penalty but sees nothing; he corner yields another, which comes to nothing, but Podence was booked for mouth.

8.19pm GMT

46 min Off we go again!

8.13pm GMT

I wonder how long a man like that would last as a manager now?” wonders Brad Wilson of McLean. “Ten minutes? A day?”

Also, it’s very hard to see how he’d have stayed at Tannadice so long. I always think that if Alex Ferguson had been 10 years younger he might never have made it to Man United, because he’d have been at Palace or somewhere the second he won his first trophy with Aberdeen.

8.05pm GMT

Half-time entertainment: the great Wee Jim McLean left us yesterday. Here’s what made him so special...

Related: The forgotten story of ... Dundee United's glory years under Jim McLean | Daniel Harris

8.04pm GMT

Spurs got going before Wolves, and that’s the difference here – otherwise, it’s been pretty even with neither side creating much.

8.02pm GMT

45+1 min Traore finds the ball deep inside his own half and Kane misses with a trip so Winks does not. He’s booked, but it had to be done because Wolves were away.

8.02pm GMT

45 min There’ll be two added minutes.

8.01pm GMT

45 min Talking of which, this isn’t a bad game, but it’s one of those you can feel would be immeasurably improved by a crowd. The actual play isn’t bad, but there’s a layer of intensity that’s not quite there.

8.00pm GMT

44 min “What do you think is the reason behind so many very early goals this season?” asks Justin Kavanagh. |There seems to be a serious increase in scores in the first five minutes of games. Are keeping it tight and early reducers now a thing of a long-distant past?”

I wonder if the absence of crowds means that players are more relaxed on the pitch so more disposed towards hitting their stride early and being careless early.

7.59pm GMT

42 min Cut to Dele Alli sat under a blanket. I really hope he gets his career going again - I love the devil with which he plays. He’s not really what Paris need unless he’s ready to play deeper, but I’d not be surprised if Pochettino takes him there anyway.

7.57pm GMT

40 min But have a look! Neves drives down the left and crosses long, Traore retrieving the ball and digging out a pass to round about the penalty spot. Sanchez is up but his clearing header is weak, falling nicely for Podence, whose volley is dragged a little and ends up as an easy save for Lloris. That was Wolves’ best chance so far.

7.55pm GMT

39 min Wolves look to have run out of ideas already – their combination play isn’t really good enough – but as I type that, Neto and Podence exchange passes, the ball not dropping quickly enough for the latter to shoot.

7.53pm GMT

37 min Reguilon has been given a lot of licence, collecting a pass slid into his stride by Kane but unable to find space to shoot or give it back thereafter.

7.52pm GMT

35 min Spurs are disappearing time wherever they can, knocking the ball along the back 17 and asking Wolves to try and take it, while they attempt to pass around them.

7.50pm GMT

33 min Wolves need to get Podence and Traore on the ball more than they have done so far, but I’m not sure how he makes that happen. Tell Neves and Moutinhoto move it quicker, I guess.

7.48pm GMT

32 min It’s gone a little quiet, which will delight Mourinho.

7.47pm GMT

30 min This is a much more open game than I feared. And even if Wolves lose it, this seems like a much better way for them – they score far too few goals for a team with such good attackers, and sing them properly is the only way they’ll get to the next level.

7.45pm GMT

28 min Hello! Semedo squares up Davies and lanks by him on the outside, snapping over a low cross that Silva is onto! He does everything right, using its pace to flick towards the near post, but his radar is off and he can only ruffle the side-netting.

7.44pm GMT

27 min Why are Spurs playing in Arsenal’s away kit from 1983-84?

7.42pm GMT

26 min Traore races towards the line and digs out a cross, that flies well beyond the far post.

7.41pm GMT

25 min Wolves were starting to come onto a game just before that stoppage but it’s Spurs who start the stronger after it, Ndombele - who’s proper enjoying himself - beating a man before sliding a ball in behind Coady for Kane, Under normal circumstances, Kane’s getting nowhere near that, but Coady looks to have lost a step, so he’s beaten by the ball not by the defender.

7.39pm GMT

24 min Coady is up and we’re back underway.

7.38pm GMT

22 min Coady goes down holding a long limb. We’ve not yet seen what happened to him, but I don’t think it was in a challenge.

7.37pm GMT

21 min Brilliant from Ndombele, intercepting a pass and driving forward while wearing various challenges. As he nears the Spurs box, he has an option either side - Kane right, Reguilon left – so of course he picks the latter, who plops a poor shot straight at Rui Patricio.

7.36pm GMT

20 min Wolves move the ball about midfield before Neto tries to finds Marcal down the line, overhitting his pass to his obvious disgust.

7.35pm GMT

19 min I really enjoy Podence’s calmness on the ball and low centre of gravity, skills he deploys to good effect when squaring up Reguilon down the side of the box. But after some nice feet and just when things open up, he slides a square pass to no one.

7.34pm GMT

18 min ...and he curls directly into the wall. That was not a good effort.

7.34pm GMT

18 min Wolves win a free-kick 25 or so yards out, just right of centre. Saiss is going to have a dig...

7.33pm GMT

16 min Wolves have been better these last few minutes.

7.31pm GMT

14 min Ndombele picks up possession just outside the Wolves box and ducks back inside, sending Marcal for a bag of balti before clipping a fine cross into the middle that Reguilon – that is not a misprint, please do not adjust your television sets – heads wide.

7.30pm GMT

13 min Podence goes down in a tackle with Sanchez, out wide, and stays down suggesting he’s had his achilles felt. It didn’t look like much, but he asks for treatment before getting up as good as new.

7.28pm GMT

12 min Lovely from Traore, who weaves infield and around two half-hearted challenges before sliding a square pass to Podence. His best chance to shoot comes immediately, but on the edge of the box, reckons he can fashion a better one so winds up bobbling a poor one that Lloris saves easily.

7.26pm GMT

9 min Wolves are struggling to get into this. I’m not sure how Neves and Moutinho will be able to compete with Hojbjerg, winks and Ndombele, because even if they have the passing, they don’t have the legs.

7.24pm GMT

7 min Mourinho will be delighted with Spurs’ start to this game. They made the goal because Davies passed forward and Son was alive to opportunity , and they’ve carried on making the running. As I type that, Winks slides a pass into space for Doherty and Marcal does well to poke away from him, only for the ref to appraise a foul. The free-kick comes to nowt.

7.22pm GMT

6 min Ndombele needs to score more – Spurs can rely on Son and Kane to get most of their goals, but there’ll be times when other players need to get involved. Ndombele has so many attributes that he must be capable, it’s whether he can get into the right positions at the right times.

7.20pm GMT

4 min As we thought, Wolves are playing a back four, Spurs a back five - or seven when the midfielders drop in. Meanwhile, Podence dashes in behind Doherty and smites a low cross that eludes everyone.

7.20pm GMT

3 min For the sake of the spectacle, a Wolves goal would probably have been better, but this is still helpful.

7.19pm GMT

This is a very soft goal, but it puts Wolves bang in trouble. The corner is a poor one, making its way over to the far side of the box, where Davies lays back for Ndombele. From 18 yards, he connects well enough, but doesn’t hit the corner or even close to it, it’s just that Saiss sticks out a leg to block and misses. If we’re being kind, it left Rui Patricio unsighted and consequently, his dive comes too late to stop the ball fizzing by, but if we’re being real ye’ve gottae stop those.

7.17pm GMT

1 min A long, straight ball from Davies seeks Kane but finds Son, and he dashes by Saiss before swivelling into a cross that wins a corner.

7.16pm GMT

1 min Away we go!

7.16pm GMT

The players take a knee. Fight racism and injustice – it’s incumbent upon all of us.

7.12pm GMT

Here come the teams!

7.12pm GMT

Email! “This title race,” says Digvijay Yadav, “presuming there will be one between United and Liverpool – is 2008-09 in reverse and I am not sure I quite like having the shoe on the other foot.”

Yep, I see the similarity – although that Liverpool side was much closer to its peak than this United one. They do look like the two best teams, but United don’t have the necessary ruthlessness at either end of the pitch. If they win their next two then also win at Anfield, we’ll see – the kind of run they found at the end of last season would take them close – but usually, the best side gets however many points they need, and that’s Liverpool.

7.07pm GMT

Looking again at the Spurs team, I guess it’s possible that Davies plays left-back with Reguilon ahead of him. That would give a good buffer against Traore, but might expose Doherty on the other side, whose used to playing as wing-back alongside a three.

7.05pm GMT

Nuno tells Sky that Raul Jimenez will be in the crowd and it’s nice to have him around. He hopes Adama Traore will show his talent, but is not after revenge following Spurs’ late win at Molineux last term.

Mourinho has made four changes, not because of poor play or fixture congestion, but because “It’s just normal”. He has a good squad and lots of options, so has picked the best team available to him, but won’t say whether he’s gone to five at the back.

6.56pm GMT

Of course you can. “Really good organisation” was how he put it, but what he really meant was:

6.54pm GMT

Geoff Shreeves has just asked Sam Allardyce what the key to today’s result was. Can you guess what he answered?

6.51pm GMT

All that said, the class of Son and Kane remains the factor most likely to decide this match, and though they probably expected to be up against a three centre-backs, they’re probably looking forward to bullying two. Wolves don’t have a particular antidote to that, because they’ve only two central midfielders and neither is into that kind of thing, but if Spurs allow them the majority of the possession, they might be able to keep the ball closer to the other end.

6.48pm GMT

I’m looking forward to seeing how Podence does today. He looks a really good player, full of confidence, attitude and bustle, and I think Spurs’ three centre-backs might find him hard to find. Similarly, I’m excited to see Adama Traore have a go at Sergio Reguilon, who might be able to match him for pace but will have to come up with something when they’re involved in a physical tussle.

6.42pm GMT

I’d love to know what Mourinho thinks Spurs can do this season, and how he thinks he can bring it about. He’ll fancy himself to nab the League Cup – if he can, that’ll satisfy most of Spurs’ support – but for a while it looked like he thought the title was in play too. And it is, but surely not to a team who sit back in every game, thereby inviting pressure onto a sketchy defence.

6.38pm GMT

This should be a more entertaining match than I feared. With that XI, Wolves have little choice but to push the pace, and Traore and Podence in particular have the chops to find space between wing-backs and centre-backs. Spurs will still be stodgy, but hopefully we’ll get a clash of styles, which will make for something enjoyable.

6.34pm GMT

At Anfield, West Brom snatched a late equaliser against Liverpool. Rob Smyth has all the reaction.

Related: Liverpool 1-1 West Brom: Premier League – live!

6.33pm GMT

As for Spurs, they move to a back five – perhaps Mourinho wanted to match up with Wolves, then back his better players. So he brings in Sanchez, with Alderweireld dropping to the bench, and Davies; outside them, Aurier is punished for his Leicester misbehaviour and replaced by Doherty, returning to his former club. Otherwise, Sissoko drops out of a midfield that’ll be missing Lo Celso for the entirety of holiday period – Winks comes in – which is to say there’s not loads in the way of creativity there. However, given Wolves’ line-up, there should be joy to be had on the counter.

6.29pm GMT

So what does it all mean? Well, Wolves have been struggling with things recently, forcing Nuno to try things outside of his usual three at the back. But tonight, he’s got no choice because Willy Bly isn’t fit, so he goes for flat four, leaving out Kilman and bringing in Marcal for Ait-Nouri at left-back. This allows him to deploy an extra attacker, so as well as Traore replaing Otasowie, Silva also comes in to act as a focal point, which is to say that with a two-man midfield of Moutinho and Neves, Wolves are absolutely going for it.

6.22pm GMT

Wolverhampton Wanderers (a quizzical 4-2-3-1): Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Marcal; Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Podence, Neto; Silva. Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Vitinha, Perry, Cundle, Kilman, Otasowie, Corbeanu.

Tottenham Hotspur (a scroogalacious 5-3-2): Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Winks, Ndombele; Son, Kane. Subs: Hart, Alderweireld, Lamela, Rodon, Sissoko, Alli, Bergwijn, Aurier, Tangana.

12.50pm GMT

Football is a sport of eternal questions, but with this particular fixture, one in particular stands out: will the ball leave the centre-circle? What’s bizarre about it all is that both sides have excellent attackers who are far better than their defenders, problem being both also have managers for whom risk is boardgame played by other people and joy a frivolity indulged by other people.

Given a three-year course of dealing, along with the injury to Raul Jimenez and the absence of serious pressure, we can’t expect Wolves to get after it today, but with Spurs there is hope. Most likely, that’ll incite José Mourinho to even greater acts of dourness, but he will surely suspect that his counter-attacking strategy is especially unsuitable against today’s opponents, and will absolutely know that his team badly need a win, which is to say that isn’t actually working that well.

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José Mourinho unhappy with Tottenham's ambition in Wolves draw

søn, 27/12/2020 - 22:26

José Mourinho questioned the ambition of his team after Tottenham let victory slip from their grasp by conceding another late equaliser. No Premier League team have dropped as many points from winning positions this season as Spurs, who scored thanks to Tanguy Ndombele in the opening minute and spent most of the rest of the match trying to protect their lead.

Wolves, slick and relentless, refused to let them and deserved the equaliser Romain Saïss scored four minutes from time, heading into the net after a corner.

Related: Wolves 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – live!

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