Internationale nyheder

Stoke's Michael O'Neill: 'My philosophy? Well, whatever wins games' | Ewan Murray

Guardian - tir, 22/12/2020 - 20:00

Former Northern Ireland manager has transformed Stoke in a little over a year in charge but knows Wednesday’s meeting with José Mourinho’s Tottenham is a tall order

It is understandable that a Carabao Cup visit from José Mourinho and Tottenham sharpens focus on Michael O’Neill’s quiet revival of Stoke. Perhaps O’Neill will be glad when this quarter-final tie has been resolved, meaning he can return to the pursuit of perfection without prying eyes.

Anyone concerned about O’Neill’s ability to reboot Stoke – who were bottom of the Championship and seemingly in freefall when he took charge in November last year – need not have worried.

Related: José Mourinho spared Stoke's 'pigsty' and sniffs trophy chance with Spurs | David Hytner

Continue reading...

Jose: Authorities should look into Stoke dressing room

Sky Sports - tir, 22/12/2020 - 14:30
Jose Mourinho has urged "football" and "safety authorities" to look into the temporary away dressing room his Tottenham side will use when they travel Stoke in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

EFL Cup LIVE: Stoke v Tottenham & Everton v Man Utd score & updates

BBC - tir, 22/12/2020 - 11:21
Follow live text, watch 5 Live Final Score and listen to BBC Radio 5 Live commentary as Everton host Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Jan Vertonghen case shows concussion is all part of the sporting capitalism system

Guardian - tir, 22/12/2020 - 09:00

The defender, like many others, played through headaches and dizziness because his career depended on it

It was around the end of last year that people began to notice Jan Vertonghen was looking decidedly off the pace at Tottenham. He was slow off the mark, slow to the ball, slow to react. Occasionally entire passages of play seemed to pass him by. And so, naturally, as an underperforming player in a popular ball game, it felt only right that he should be subjected to the same pitch of ridicule and abuse as anyone else in his position.

I went back through social media during some of his poorer games last season and pulled out a few of the more representative comments from Spurs fans and others. “Legs gone.” “Sad, but hasn’t got a clue what day it is.” “Get this clown out of my club.” “Finished.” “Past it.” “Utter disgrace.” “Sell.” “Dead wood.” “Stealing a living.” “Happy if I never see him in the shirt again.”

Related: Jan Vertonghen reveals head blow led to nine months of dizziness and headaches

Perhaps this is a moment to consider what we owe the people risking their safety for our entertainment

Related: Steve Thompson: 'I can't remember winning the World Cup' | Andy Bull

Continue reading...

Stoke 1-3 Tottenham highlights

Sky Sports - man, 21/12/2020 - 17:38

Carabao Cup final pushed back to April

Sky Sports - man, 21/12/2020 - 17:12
The 2020/2021 Carabao Cup final has been pushed back from February to April in the hope that more supporters will be able to attend Wembley on the new date.

Morgan to leave Spurs and return to US in New Year

Sky Sports - man, 21/12/2020 - 15:05
Alex Morgan will leave Tottenham Women and return to the US in the New Year.

Ref Watch: Christmas red card trio correct?

Sky Sports - man, 21/12/2020 - 13:30
In the latest edition of Ref Watch, former top-flight referee Dermot Gallagher analyses the VAR interventions that produced three red cards in the Premier League this weekend...

Premier League: 10 talking points from this weekend's action

Guardian - man, 21/12/2020 - 09:00

Sheffield United’s troubles worsen, Alli at a crossroads and McTominay is setting the standard at Manchester United

Which is your favourite Klopp Liverpool team? The title one? The Champions League one? Or the one the year before that didn’t win anything but broke like an avenging swarm of bees and left their opponents dizzy? For some it is still the last of these, when Klopp was still grooving his patterns, working out the best way to win, and building to the supreme efficiency of last year. In which case there will have been a fond echo in the destruction at Selhurst Park, where Liverpool did give chances in the first half-hour but attacked with fury either side. This was the first time in a year they have scored five in the league with the title race still alive. In this muddled season they do have the power to terrorise opponents and kill games early. This game was spectacular. But it was also, by the end, a much‑needed stroll. Barney Ronay

Continue reading...

Mourinho rues poor Spurs start as Rodgers hails 'amazing' Leicester

Guardian - søn, 20/12/2020 - 21:24
  • Spurs manager angry at ‘empty spots’ in first 20 minutes
  • Rodgers happy at ‘outstanding’ performance and strategy

José Mourinho criticised the attitude of his Tottenham players at the opening whistle against Leicester in a game they lost 2-0 to dent their hopes of closing back on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

The Spurs manager saw Serge Aurier concede a reckless 45th-minute penalty, which Jamie Vardy converted to put Leicester in control. The second goal came when Toby Alderweireld turned a Vardy header into his own net, meaning that Spurs have lost two and drawn one of their past three fixtures. It was Leicester who jumped up into second place – four points behind Liverpool.

Related: Jamie Vardy penalty helps Leicester leap above Spurs with decisive win

Continue reading...

Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Leicester City: Jamie Vardy strikes as Foxes go second

BBC - søn, 20/12/2020 - 20:10
Leicester City climb to second in the Premier League as they beat top-four rivals Tottenham to move four points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jose questions other players' attitude after Aurier 'mistake'

Sky Sports - søn, 20/12/2020 - 19:25
Jose Mourinho labelled Serge Aurier's foul for Leicester's penalty as a 'mistake' but that the attitude of other Tottenham players in the 2-0 defeat also concerned him.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Leicester City: Brendan Rodgers says Foxes deserved win

BBC - søn, 20/12/2020 - 18:33
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers says his team "thoroughly deserved" their 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Tottenham 2-0 Leicester: 'Strange game' frustrates Jose Mourinho

BBC - søn, 20/12/2020 - 17:53
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho admits he is "frustrated" after his team lost 2-0 at home to Leicester in the Premier League.

Tottenham v Leicester City: Premier League – live!

Guardian - søn, 20/12/2020 - 17:34

A silly foul from Serge Aurier was the turning point, handing Leicester a penalty in first-half injury-time which Jamie Vardy converted; his second-half header diverted past Hugo Lloris by Toby Alderweireld, secured the points

4.34pm GMT

Thanks all for your company and comments, sorry I couldn’t get to them all – ta-ra.

4.33pm GMT

Right then, I guess that’s us - here’s our match report.

Related: Jamie Vardy penalty helps Leicester leap above Spurs with decisive win

4.32pm GMT

“Should that win be described as a ‘Masterclass from Brendan Rodgers”? asks Keith Sanderson. “If Mourinho does it and it comes off then it‘s obviously a masterclass. I really wonder how long Spurs fans will be able to swallow the tactics applied in the first half of this game. It doesn‘t matter how they‘re undone, whether by some incompetent defending, or an unlucky deflection, if you‘re going to invite your opponents to have a go, then sometimes, you‘re going to get a bloody nose.”

Masterclass is strong, as the key moment in the match was some ridiculous behaviour from Aurier. But I’m certain that if it happened for his team, Mourinho would summarise it such, soi why not.

4.30pm GMT

‘Title-winning sides score scrappy goals in scrappy wins,” tweets Gary Naylor, “something Mourinho knows well. Who scores those kind of goals if Dele Alli can’t get on the field and Eric Dier is now a centre-back?”

Well they’ve got two of the best goalscorers around, but it’s true to say they’re struggling without them. Maybe Bale will get there, I don’t know, but the midfield need to contribute more and that’s hard if two of its three members are there to destroy.

4.27pm GMT

“As a Spurs fan I can’t help but dream about what Rogers would do with this group of players,” grouses Adam Levine, “instead of the stodge that Mourinho is pouring out week after week. As good as the wins against Arsenal and City were, the last 3 games, including this one really show what he’s all about. And it ain’t pretty.”

Yes, I can see that. Rodgers still has a lot to do to show that he can get it done at crucial moments, but this Spurs squad would offer him a lot of scope to do what he does best.

4.24pm GMT

“In a match with the relentless, ruthless Vardy, who finishes a ridiculous percentage season on season, you ask about someone else running through and scoring? Madness...” chides Michael Jelley.

Vardy is also very good and his movement and aggression are spectacular, but I don’t think he’s quite got the subtlety of Son.

4.22pm GMT

“It’s moments like these when a team needs attacking fluidity, that you remember that Mourinho is a chequebook manager,” groans Paul Fitzgerald.

I think that’s harsh – his best work, at Porto and Inter, came without loads of money. The thing with him – in mine – is that he’s become inflexible in his dotage, so he doesn’t change things that aren’t working, blaming everyone but himself and his methods.

4.20pm GMT

“I can understand Mourinho’s tactics at Anfield,” says Niall O’Keefe. “But surely a season of playing counter attacking football can’t win titles. I defer to the experts but I suspect Jose’s teams in Spain, Italy and England over the years were more ambitious at home. How else would they win leagues? The amazing technicoloured cloak he suffocates his opponents with ain’t pretty.”

Just as we read in synagogue last week. But yup, I agree – it’s hard to make it work over the stretch, the trick is deploying it at the right time. And it’s not just a matter of the attack either – you can’t invite pressure on a suss defence and expect to get away with it.

4.17pm GMT

“Surely Dele is the very antithesis of a Mourinho player? emails Felix White. “Thrives on spontaneity, doesn’t have a fixed position, assured of his best contribution without needing validation from a coach ... he’s Mourinho’s basic nightmare. Yes he’s fit and works hard in games, but he’s not going to be a puppet. Like Ozil or Muller he probably needs a manager who won’t feel challenged by that. This isn’t to say he or Mourinho is right or wrong, merely that in all walks of life there are talents and management philosophies that simply don’t fit with each other. It would be best for everyone to acknowledge this and let Dele go somewhere where he can shine.”

I agree with the last bit for sure, but I thought Mourihno would enjoy his output and edge – though I see what you’re saying.

4.15pm GMT

Kicking-off in 15 minutes is Manchester United v Leeds United. Follow along with Rob Smyth.

Related: Manchester United v Leeds United: Premier League – live!

4.14pm GMT

“We’ve come here with a gameplan and absolutely nailed what we wanted to do,” he says. They wanted to get about Spurs and not give them too much time, so let them get to halfway then “put the press on”. He doesn’t know why Leicester’s away form is so much better than their home form – “We’re obviously doing something wrong” – and reassures people that his injury is no biggie and “just a little tweak,” so he thought he’d better come off.

4.12pm GMT

Leicester started with greater intensity to Spurs and looked the better side throughout, but weren’t showing particular signs of creating anything until Aurier’s intervention. Anyway, here’s Jamie Vardy....

4.10pm GMT

That’s a huge win for Leicester, who continue their brilliant away form; they go second – above Spurs – who’ve take one point from their last nine.

4.09pm GMT

90+2 min “The offside rule hasn’t been changed,” reckons Matt Dony, “it’s just being applied more accurately. The problem here isn’t VAR itself, it’s the wording of the law. I agree it’s a shame to see goals like that chalked off, but the fact is he WAS offside. If we’re going to have offside in its current form, then VAR makes it consistent and fair. There must be a way to re-write the law that preserves the original intent (ie discouraging goal-hanging), but avoids these kind of pedantic mm measurements, but I haven’t heard one yet. And I’m certainly not smart enough to come up with it myself. Needs thinking outside the box, which has rarely been a strength of football’s law-makers.”

I don’t think there is, because even if you give a buffer, you have to take a measurement from somewhere, which necessarily means tiny margins. I don’t really care about aesthetic goals being disallowed if they contravene the laws, I just don’t think that getting a few more calls right is worth the cost, because right calls are irrelevant to my love of the game.

4.06pm GMT

90+1 min You’ve got to give it to Leicester, they really do find them – internally and externally. They’ve given Spurs almost nothing today, and Justin and Fofana have been a huge part of that.

4.05pm GMT

90 min There’ll be four added minutes.

4.05pm GMT

89 min “Dele can be excellent in big games,” emails Colum Farrelly, “but isn’t the problem that a lot of the time he’s less than good, never mind excellent? Mourinho likes consistency, so perhaps there’s a problem there. Also, Dele often comes across as petulant, and Mourinho reserves that quality for himself.”

My problem with Alli was always that if he didn’t score or assist he did nothing, and I hoped he’d turn into a box-to-box midfielder. I also hoped Mourhino would get him going again, but don’t know how he is in general and don’t know if there’s any kind of beef.

4.03pm GMT

88 min Jamie Vardy is limping, so he goes off to be replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho. What a player Vardy is, by the way, a junkyard dog who loves Mozart.

4.02pm GMT

85 min Leicester should settle it! Albrighton, who’s had a really useful game, pressures an error out of Dier near the corner flag and Vardy collects the loose ball, roaring towards the box and sliding back for Tielemans. He should just give it a frask, but instead takes a touch to make sure, then clatters over the top.

4.00pm GMT

84 min Moura drags the ball down the outside of Amartey and swivels into a cross that hits Fofana. There are shrieks for a penalty, but that was mainly chest with a soupçon of armpit. Behave.

3.59pm GMT

84 min Leicester send on Praet for Barnes. I really like Barnes, and think he’s got potential to grow into a serious player once he gets the finishing and decision-making right.

3.59pm GMT

83 min “David Elleray is on to something for me,” says Tom Atkins. “For all his annoying pomposity, he was never one to be bullied by crowds, players or managers. He was one of a rare breed, though. VAR has made it a lot more difficult for your John Terry/Alex Ferguson-types to intimidate officials into giving key decisions their way. For me reducing that kind of behaviour improves the game as a spectacle.”

I think that affects a minute proportion of games, unlike things flowing nicely and being able to celebrate goals. Officials having an easy time is well down my list of things I love about football, and I’d rank Fergie’s spirit above Elleray’s in terms of what they contribute to the game.

3.56pm GMT

81 min Winks tugs back Maddison and is booked, which reminds me that Dier was also booked a few minutes ago for mouth.

3.56pm GMT

81 min Kane is doing his best to drag something out of Spurs, finding Reguilon, who punches a low cross for Son. But he gets his angles wrong, and Schmeichel collects under no pressure.

3.54pm GMT

79 min Hmmm, that was close. Barnes ran by Sissoko, who extended an arm and grabbed him around the torso - not for very long, but nevertheless. I’m glad that’s not a penalty, but the ref’s certainty is not for me,

3.53pm GMT

78 min Here come Leicester again, darting down the right with Vardy, and the ball goes hard into Barnes, who falls when Sissoko blunders either into or close to him. The ref waves Barnes up in that patronising manner and like he can be certain that what he thinks happened happened, but on this occasion VAR backs him up.

3.51pm GMT

77 min “This is all very well,” says Andy Tuohy. “But is the best team losing?”

Better, José. Better.

3.51pm GMT

76 min Spurs are chasing this like a team that doesn’t know how to chase this.

3.50pm GMT

74 min “I am an American Evertonian,” admits Brad Wilson, “and one of the reasons I have become much more of a soccer fan than American football fan over the last 20 years is the endless and infuriating delays replay officiating brought to US football which had enough delays already. Too many times endless replays kill momentum and sap spirit. I hate to see such delays infiltrate footy. Just hate it. I like goal-line technology. Other than that, let the referee do his job and let the great game flow and the passion pour out instead of waiting on VAR.”

At some point, there’ll be tech that means all players have a chip in their boot or something, and then we’ll get an instant call on offside. But otherwise, the game is a glorious, beautiful thing and we meddle with it at our own risk.

3.48pm GMT

72 min Ndidi dives in on Bale and is booked; Bale lashes the free-kick into the rough.

3.47pm GMT

71 min Saaaaave! Spurs win a corner which finds its way to the far post and Son arrives unmarked! But on the slide, he cab’t get a proper connection so the ball loops up and Schmeichel plunges to poke away.

3.46pm GMT

70 min “To cut a long story short: Doherty?” asks Duncan Edwards.

Yes, that was a buy that made a lot of sense, in a Jorge Mendes kind of way, but I guess Mourinho has decided he doesn’t actually like him and there’s not much coming back from that.

3.44pm GMT

68 min The game’s more stretched now, Kane finding space but Vardy doing likewise, and it’s his movement that earns the space for Maddison to waft a shot over the bar.

3.43pm GMT

66 min Back to VAR – sorry, but the goal interrupted us – managers, players and fans who regularly blamed the officials for their team’s incompetence are also to blame for what we’ve got now. Refs are too – a few days ago, David Elleray was banging on about how players’ behaviour is better now, like being rude to refs is consideration on a par with celebrating goals, the finest feeling known to humanity. But ultimately, what has always been the case and will always remain the case is that whatever the ref does, there’s always plenty of scope for teams to do something that reverses the situation.

3.40pm GMT

65 min So what’s going on with Dele Alli then? He seemed like the identikit Mourinho player – great numbers, excellent in big games, loads of bronca – but can’t even get in the squad. What gives?

3.39pm GMT

64 min Mourinho does what he might’ve done before kick-off and removes Aurier, Winks coming on in his stead. That should sort it.

3.38pm GMT

62 min Kane has a sight of goal, but Schmeichel appears set to save his bouncing effort just as my Sky cuts out.

3.38pm GMT

60 min Leicester send on Amartey, back from another injury, for Castagne.

3.37pm GMT

Excellent play from Albrighton, driving down the right and slinging over a fine cross, allows Vardy to do what he does, thirsting for the ball more than anyone else. He hangs, nails Sissoko who isn’t paying attention, and his header necessarily hits Alderweireld on its way by Lloris. That’s no more than Leicester deserve for their enterprise and no more than Spurs deserve for their cowardice.

3.35pm GMT

58 min “It seems to me, Daniel, that the offside rule has changed to accommodate VAR, not to improve the game, emails Barry Bryan. “There would not have been any dispute Maddison was on before it. I am, above all, sad to see such a lovely goal consigned to history.”

I’m not sure I quite agree with the thrust of this, though I was always against VAR. Once you invite in technology, the big calls will always be over millimetres, the question is what we love more, the flow and spontaneity of the game, or 98 percent correct calls over 97 %. No one fell in love with football because of its legal framework, but the refs and authorities don’t get that.

3.31pm GMT

56 min Mourinho picking Aurier reminds me of when Diego Simeone signed Alvaro Morata – doing something out of character but which guaranteed perpetual fury.

3.29pm GMT

55 min Dier spreads wide to Aurier, who has a look, a think, and spanks a cross behind like he’s been doing it all his life.

3.29pm GMT

54 min Leicester look really lively – they’ve been much quicker to the ball than Spurs, and more inclined to commit men forward.

3.28pm GMT

53 min The thing with Spurs’ style is because they’ve deployed it in pretty much every game, now that they need something different, you wonder if they’re capable.

3.27pm GMT

52 min “Granted that this match isn’t over, Clive,” emails Ian Copestake, “but in the narrative of this season, Spurs’ loss week seems like a turning point for both teams. If this season was hardboiled fiction Spurs would be facing cement boots while Liverpool go off with the dame.”

But what did she mean by it?

3.26pm GMT

50 min But bad news follows for Spurs, Lo Celso forced off with Moura coming on. That’s a proper nause for Mourinho, who presumably toyed with taking him off before going for Ndombele and will presumably be without him for the festive gorging.

3.25pm GMT

The lines are racked, and Maddison’s left shoulder was offside.

3.24pm GMT

Justin punts one in behind and Maddison is free, easing between Dier and Reguilon neither of whom is anywhere near him. His first touch is sensational, transferring the ball into stride, and his finish, smacked sidefooted across Llrois, is pretty nifty too! We got ourselves a ball-game!

3.22pm GMT

47 min Lo Celso goes down and clutches a hamstring – that doesn’t look good – but he seems fine.

3.21pm GMT

46 min “Do you think Spurs are under-performing or over-performing this season?” asks Ryan Jennings. “You seem to have made pretty clear that you think Mourinho’s tactics are fundamentally flawed . Do you think that’s reflected in the league table?”

No, the table always reflects which teams are doing best at what the it’s there to measure. Spurs are performing at their level, I just think they’re capable of a better one.

3.20pm GMT

46 min Yup, here’s ... Gareth. I imagine he’ll go to the right, with Lo Celso moving into midfield.

3.19pm GMT

It seems Mourinho is sending Bale on for Ndombele...

3.19pm GMT

That goal will hopefully make for a better second half, because Spurs will have to do something. They’ve got the players to too, but will Mourinho try and increase the pressure gradually or set them away immediately? Chelsea Mourinho would have got after it immediately and a draw isn’t much use to Spurs here, but you don’t really know these days.

3.09pm GMT

Half-time activity:

Related: Brighton's Danny Welbeck denies 10-man Sheffield United precious win

Related: Celtic v Hearts: Scottish Cup final – live!

Related: Arsenal 4-0 Everton: Women's Super League – as it happened

3.06pm GMT

I’m sure Mourinho will blame Aurier, which is fair in some ways, but who is it inviting pressure on a defence with him in it?

3.05pm GMT

Lloris dives left and Vardy cleanses down the middle. I daresay Aurier will receive some sentiments during the interval.

3.04pm GMT

Dearie me.

3.04pm GMT

45+2 min Aurier is suuuuuuch an I don’t even know what. Justin chases a bouncing ball right on the corner of the box, nothing happening whatsoever, so what else can Aurier do but barge through him for a laugh? The ref will check VAR, but it’s clear.

3.02pm GMT

45 min There’ll be one added minute.

3.01pm GMT

45 min Reguilon scurries to the line to dig out a cross, on the slide when Ndombele’s pass has too much on it, and it’s a really good effort too, but Kane can’t quite crane enough neck muscles behind the ball to impart the power necessary to test Schmeiehel.

3.00pm GMT

44 min Nice from Ndidi and Barnes, hunting down Sissoko for the latter to win possession and former to transfer it to Maddison. He takes a touch, has a look, and cracks one straight at Lloris, who’ll be pleased to remember that he exists.

2.59pm GMT

43 min If Spurs took off Sissoko and brought on Bale or Bergwijn, they’d obviously be more fun, but I also think they’d be more better.

2.57pm GMT

41 min Chance! I promise! Son’s corner picks out Kane, and though he has to dive for it, it’s a free header and you’d expect him to score, but he gets right underneath it and goes too high.

2.56pm GMT

40 min Aurier puts a ball into space for Kane to chase in behind Fofana and he crosses well, for Son at the back post; he nods down, but Justin recovers to block Lo Celso, arriving to shoot.

2.54pm GMT

39 min How on earth did Arsenal go to Saint Etienne for a centre-back and come back with Saliba while leaving Fofana there?

2.54pm GMT

38 min Barnes gets a boot in the face, giving Maddison the chance to swing a ball in. It’s not a bad effort either, but Fofana is surrounded by white shirts, and though he does really well to get a header in, he shoved Dier before so doing.

2.53pm GMT

36 min “About Spurs’ gameplan,” begins Adam Kline-Schoder, “I am inclined to agree with your point that simply containing Leicester and hoping to counter may be the entirety of it. I think Leicester don’t really have the tools to easily pick decent teams apart, and especially so if Maddison and Tielemans are kept quiet as they are today (so far). I think putting a pacy forward in Son and a deep lying forward in Kane up against an impressive-but-young defender and an older and potentially slower one is a good shout, and keeping two central-midfielders wide certainly suffocates the space for Leicester’s wingers. All of which are good ways of protecting Spurs, but not exactly the most proactive. I for one would like to see a return in the second half to the 4-2-3-1 cum 6-3-1 in defence which has worked so well. I think matching Leicester numerically in the midfield would help them get more of a foothold, and would create time to string passes together (which you mentioned have been missing as yet).

I say this with apologies to Mary Waltz, as this tactics nerd is loving the battle! I send her caffeinated thoughts from afar.”

2.50pm GMT

34 min Spurs win another free-kick, 25 yards out and right of centre – it’s not Harrance Kane TerritoryTM but he’ll have a go anyway, sweeping towards the far post, where Schmeichel palms away easily enough. I think that might be the first save made by either goalie.

2.49pm GMT

32 min But here comes the counter! Kane does really well to get the ball away as Albrighton dives in a way not dissimilar to how Phil Jagielka tried to stop Mason Greenwood in midweek. Like Greenwood, Kane has already moved the ball on, but Spurs have to go wide to Aurier and the move breaks down right about there. Once the ball’s dead, the ref returns to caution Albrighton.

2.47pm GMT

31 min Tielemans takes a free-lick quickly, drilling out to Justin in the absence of Reguilon, stranded and trying to block the taking. Son, though, is paying attention an gets back to cover.

2.46pm GMT

30 min “I appreciate that formation and tactics enthusiasts might find this fascinating,” says Mary Waltz, “but I’m about to fall asleep.”

Yeah, “it’s one of those” alright. Leicester are doing their best to get after it, but Spurs are having no such thing.

2.45pm GMT

29 min And Jamie Vardy tries to provide it, taking possession inside the box and looking to nip around the outside of Aurier before crossing to where he’d ordinarily be.

2.44pm GMT

27 min Barnes burrows down the left, but unhappy with the options awaiting him, tries a backheel for Castagne that’s easily intercepted. This game needs a goal like water, like breath, like rain, like mercy.

2.42pm GMT

25 min “Flat 4-4-2 not very Mourinho,” returns Yash Gupta, “but I think this is another tactical change from Mourinho in which he is taking away Sissoko from the centre and finally introducing someone who can pass the ball. Hojbjerg-Ndombele-Lo Celso is starting to happen, at least until Spurs concede two goals early and Mourinho introduces Rodon and Davies in 15th minute!”

I guess we’re past then, but there’s not much in the way of passing coming from Spurs’ midfield. The alteration is probably to stop Maddison and Vardy, rather than liberate Ndombele and Lo Celso.

2.40pm GMT

24 min It’s not all that clear what Spurs’ gameplan is, beyond hope not to concede and hope to score on the counter. That might be enough, but I thought the change of formation might mean something a little different.

2.38pm GMT

22 min Spurs could really do with a passer at the base of their midfield. Neither Hojbjerg nor Sissoko have the range to get them up the pitch, and though the latter can run with the ball, it seems unlikely that such behaviour would be encouraged by his gaffer.

2.36pm GMT

20 min Justin wins a header and Maddison prods out to Albrighton. His cross is a good one too, so Alderweireld, unhappy that Reguilon allowed it, has to head behind. The corner, though it’s really well delivered by Maddison, comes to nowt, again headed away by Alderweireld.

2.35pm GMT

19 min Excellent from Justin, who looks so incisive and composed. He dashes down the line and the pressure persuades Hojbjerg to slice out of play; this is good from Leicester, who are taxing Spurs’ less accomplished technicians without quite creating anything.

2.33pm GMT

17 min Leicester move it across the face of the Spurs box, working them before Barnes finds Maddison with a shooting lane in front of him. He decides to have a shy, but can only waft over the bar from 20 yards.

2.32pm GMT

16 min Better from Spurs, Kane fighting for possession outside the box before finding Son on its left-hand side. Ordinarily he’d shoot from here but this time he feeds a low cross into the middle, seeking Ndombele who can’t get close enough to finish. The flag then goes up, but both players looked onside to me.

2.31pm GMT

14 min Leicester win another free-kick out wide and Maddison will again swing it out, but from closer to the box this time. I’m not sure if he means this, but he goes towards Barnes at the back post, pulling, away, and the knock-back is good, Alderweireld’s intervention falling for Fofana. He should really put his foot through it, but instead, from about six yards out he backflicks for Vardy to his right and the ensuing shot is blocked.

2.29pm GMT

12 min Barnes zooms at Dier when he’s looking to clear and forces him to misplace a pass which Ndidi collects. Nothing comes of it – though Tielemans knocks off a clever pass in behind for Maddison, who’s foiled by Dier – but that looks like a good way of going about things for Leicester, because Dier really doesn’t want the ball.

2.26pm GMT

10 min Spurs have started slowly, and their passing in possession just isn’t especially sharp. They’re waiting for a moment, not seeking to work the ball and pick holes.

2.24pm GMT

8 min Leicester are moving it nicely as Spurs drop off. I don’t know, even if we forget about their attack, I look at their defence and think I’d want the ball down the other end for as much of the game as possible.

2.23pm GMT

6 min Now Leicester win a free-kick to swing into the box and Maddison’s delivery is better than Son’s; he picks out Justin, but the ball is slightly behind him and he heads over the top.

2.22pm GMT

5 min Tangentially, is Son the best one-on-one finisher in the world? I’d say Kane is the best at the mid-range 12-22 yarder – I’ve not seen many in my life better than him at those - but running through, Son is unbelievable. He knows he’s not getting caught, which means he can focus on finishing, and his composure in that aspect is unreal.

2.20pm GMT

4 min Another Leicester foul, this time on Kane, offers Son the chance to swing one into the box from the right. His delivery is poor again, this time Vardy heading clear.

2.19pm GMT

3 min Spurs seem to be configured in a 4-3-3, with Son on the left and Lo Celso on the right.

2.18pm GMT

2 min Ndidi catches Ndombele late and it looks a sair yin, but there’s no treatment requested so we can assume he’ll be fine. From the free-kick, 30 yards out and left of centre, Son looks for Dier beyond the back post but puts too much on it.

2.16pm GMT

1 min Ah, it looks like Leicester are playing a back five, with Ndidi dropping in between Evans and Fofana.

2.16pm GMT

1 min Off we go!

2.16pm GMT

The players take a knee. All black lives matter.

2.15pm GMT

Maybe Spurs will play a 4-3-1-2 with Lo Celso roving behind Son and Kane. My guess is the whistle will go and the players will start running about.

2.14pm GMT

Playing in the ground, a phat beat.

2.12pm GMT

“If each side commits itself to sitting back and countering,” says Ian Copestake, “perhaps midfield could be used to grow some veg?”

We’ll need it after Brexit, I shouldn’t wonder.

2.11pm GMT

Here come the teams!

2.09pm GMT

“Slightly futile exercise so I’ll do it,” begins Digvijay Yadav, “but you look at the late equalisers Spurs have conceded against Newcastle and West Ham – two games where they should have been out of sight – and you think this side really would have been amongst it with those extra four points. Last week seems damaging to their title prospects now.”

Yes, the Newcastle game can be put down to one of those freakish things that football chucks at us, but West Ham was a monumental oversight. Ultimately, there’s only one seriously good side in the league, which is why it’s hard to look beyond Liverpool for the title even though they’ve got 390,398 injuries and every other squad is at full-strength.

2.07pm GMT

Mourinho says that the result of the previous match doesn’t matter, and this is just another game. He reckons Leicester are a very good team, that Rodgers is creative in terms of how they play, and they’re good on the counter and in “organised football”. Gosh, I enjoy Mourinho’s vernacular, but that’s a horrible one; who wants that from the only bit of wildness is most of our lives?

Rodgers, dressed in v-neck jumper and tie like he’s auditioning for the Rangers job, says his team shouldn’t have lost to Everton, but they’re young and have learning still to do. They attack nicely but need to learn how to defend.

2.03pm GMT

“You mentioned the lack of width and that’s fair,” reckons Yash Gupta. “However I think Sissoko will play on the right side of midfield, Ndombele to play with Hojbjerg in the centre and Lo Celso pushed higher towards Kane.”

So are we thinking something asymmetric? I guess fortifying the right of the pitch helps take away Leicester’s strength on the left, but a flatish 4-4-2 doesn’t seem very Mourinho.

2.00pm GMT

Not gonna lie, I’m looking forward to seeing how a game with so many lovely attackers turns into a Tier 4 stodge-fest. Leicester might find it hard with the players they picked, but Mourinho will see that as a challenge.

1.55pm GMT

Brighton hit the bar in the final throes but can’t force a winner. The game finishes 1-1, cut to Graham Potter chewing pensively.

1.53pm GMT

Email! “Ramsdale and the other nine Sheffield United players are heroically holding on under the Brighton onslaught,” says Mary Waltz. “Honestly, it’s like the Finns on snow skis holding off the Soviet Army. Oh crap, Wellbeck scores as I write, too cruel.”

I’m not quite sure how Brighton come to have so few points. They’ve got some proper players – so much so that they might struggle to hang onto the best of them beyond January or May – and yet here they are.

1.51pm GMT

I do like Daniel Welbeck, partly because he prompted me to realise a truth about myself. Watching him play for the team I follow, I found myself saying “Expletive sake, Daniel,” which prompted me to ponder quite how many hundreds of people had said exactly the same following behaviour of mine.

1.47pm GMT

Eesh. Daniel Welbeck has come off the bench to equalise for Brighton so Sheffield United are still without a win this season. They’ve got four minutes and injury-time to survive.

1.42pm GMT

Elsewhere, Sheffield United – who are down to 10 men following the dismissal of John Lundstram – lead Brighton 1-0. They played alright in midweek, and aren’t as bad as their points tally suggests – well they are because a points tally brooks no argument – but they’re nowhere near as bad as your Sunderlands and your Derbys of this world.

1.40pm GMT

So where is this game? For Leicester, it resides to significant degree with Jamie Vardy, but that aside, they’ll be looking to get the ball out wide. Albrighton gives them solidity down the right, but down the left, the partnership of Castagne and Barnes will give Serge Aurier some thoughts.

Spurs, meanwhile, will be looking to penetrate centrally, using Sissoko and Hojbjerg to win the physical battle so that the dribbling and dexterity of Lo Celso and Ndombele can take over. They might find their lack of width a problem, and I’m sure Rodgers will be happy with how it looks like they’ll play.

1.32pm GMT

Leicester are easier to read. They’ll play the same formation as they did against Everton, but with three changes in personnel. At the back, Evans returns from suspension to replace Fuchs, while Castagne comes in for Mendy and Albrighton for Under.

1.29pm GMT

This is interesting. Lots of Spurs fans and anyone with a pulse has been keen to see Lo Celso and Ndombele in a league-game midfield, but Mourinho being Mourinho, he’s sacrificed a winger to make it happen. I guess it might not be a 4-4-2 box but a 4-4-2 diamond, or a 4-2-3-1 which Kane and Son rotating, or it might be a 4-3-3 with Lo Celso shoved out wide; who knows. But what we do know is that Reguilon replaces Davies and Ndombele is in for Bergwijn, who’s done a lot of chasing but not enough of the other stuff.

1.24pm GMT

Tottenham Hotspur (a best-team lost 4-4-2 box?): Lloris; Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Ndombele; Son, Kane. Subs: Hart, Doherty, Winks, Bale, Rodon, Bergwijn, Moura, Davies, Vinicius.

Leicester City (an offensive-looking 4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Fofana, Castagne; Tielemans, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy. Subs: Ward, Iheanacho, Perez, Amartey, Under, Mendy, Praet, Fuchs, Thomas.

12.16pm GMT

Let us praise The Premeer League. Oh Premeer League, oooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you. Forgive us, O Premeer League, for this dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery. But you are so strong and, well, just so super. Fantastic. Amen.

We laugh at the self-obsessed, self-referential, and frankly selfish pomposity of it all and rightly so, problem being that when all’s said and done, its colossal monstrosity is absolutely not to be messed with. Of this weekend’s 10 Premeer League fixtures, almost every one is a straight-up banger, and this little altercation is right up there.

Continue reading...

Jamie Vardy penalty helps Leicester leap above Spurs with decisive win

Guardian - søn, 20/12/2020 - 17:31

José Mourinho is acutely aware that Serge Aurier can be guilty of a rush of blood. Remember what the Tottenham manager told him in the club’s Amazon documentary? “I am afraid of you as a marker,” the manager said in front of the rest of the squad. “Because you are capable of doing a shit penalty with VAR.” The full-back’s death stare was a picture.

Aurier has been excellent for much of this season but his old failing returned to destructive effect here, tilting a tense game in favour of Leicester. He watched Wesley Fofana chase a ball towards the corner of the Spurs area on 45 minutes but the Leicester centre-half was going away from goal and the truth was there was nothing on for him. Which made Aurier’s jumping barge into his back all the more reckless.

Related: Tottenham v Leicester City: Premier League – live!

Continue reading...

Spurs gifts help Leicester to second

Sky Sports - søn, 20/12/2020 - 17:15
Tottenham handed Leicester a couple of early Christmas gifts, as Jamie Vardy's penalty and Toby Alderweireld's own goal took the Foxes to a 2-0 victory and second place in the Premier League table on Sunday.

Mourinho bemoans touchline double standards

Sky Sports - søn, 20/12/2020 - 13:20
Jose Mourinho has accused Premier League officials of double standards with regards to managerial behaviour in the technical area. 
Udgiv indhold