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Four-goal Kane eyes golden boot after crushing Leicester

May 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Harry Kane staked his claim to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer with a scintillating four-goal blast in Tottenham’s 6-1 demolition of Leicester on Thursday.

Kane

Although Tottenham were unable to overhaul champions Chelsea in the title race, Mauricio Pochettino’s vibrant young side look certain to make a renewed challenge next term and Kane is the figurehead of that bright future.

Kane is hunting the league’s golden boot and the England striker was at his predatory best as he plundered the Leicester defence four times to move to the top of the scoring charts with 26 goals.

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is second on 24 goals but Kane is well on course to nail down the goalscoring prize heading into Tottenham’s final fixture at Hull on Sunday.

South Korea’s Son Heung-Min scored twice for Tottenham, who swept to their 11th win in their last 12 league games after Leicester’s Ben Chilwell briefly reduced the deficit in the second half.

Tottenham, already guaranteed to finish second, now have more points than Leicester won the league with last season, but if Pochettino’s players were frustrated at falling short in the title race, they haven’t let it show.

Foreshadowing their imminent goal spree, Tottenham started with a swagger and nearly took the lead when Kane’s pass picked out Son, only for Chilwell to deny him with a last-ditch block.

Son’s movement was too clever for Leicester again moments later as he turned quickly and shot over.

Despite Tottenham’s pressure, they were lucky not to fall behind when Jamie Vardy scythed through their defence.

Accelerating onto Riyad Mahrez’s deft pass, Vardy had only Hugo Lloris to beat, yet he wastefully blasted straight at the Tottenham goalkeeper.

Unfazed, Pochettino’s team should have taken the lead when Son collected Dele Alli’s defence-splitting pass and blazed over with just Kasper Schmeichel to beat.

Kane was a constant menace and he went close with a curling effort before underlining his predatory excellence in the 25th minute.

Jan Vertonghen’s long pass targeted a penetrating run from Son and, with Leicester caught flat-footed, the South Korean quickly picked out Kane, who arrived on cue to guide a clinical finish past Schmeichel from close-range.

Although Leicester had a penalty appeal rejected after Toby Alderweireld collided with Vardy, Tottenham were proving impossible to subdue and the visitors doubled their lead in the 36th minute.

Alli was the catalyst, taking possession on the edge of the area and impudently bypassing the Leicester defence with a sublime chipped pass to Son, whose half-volley lacked power but still had enough accuracy to beat Schmeichel.

Son’s 20th goal of the season was just reward for Tottenham’s dominance, but Leicester got one back in 59th minute.

Despite replays showing he was marginally offside, Vardy was allowed to sprint onto a through ball, prompting Lloris to rashly race well outside his area in a failed attempt to clear.

When Daniel Amartey poked the ball to Chilwell, the Leicester defender steadied himself before firing home via Eric Dier’s out-stretched foot.

Even that needless setback couldn’t ruffle Tottenham and they responded with a well-worked third goal four minutes later.

Alderweireld looped a cross into the Leicester area and Victor Wanyama nodded back towards Kane, who reacted quickest to head in from close-range.

Kane turned provider for Tottenham’s fourth goal in the 71st minute as his pass teed up Son to flash a fine finish past Schmeichel.

With Leicester’s minds turning to their post-season holidays, Kane had acres of space to pilage the hosts’ defence and he completed his hat-trick with a superb 20-yard strike in the 89th minute.

Kane wasn’t finished yet and he produced a carbon copy of his third goal in stoppage-time, driving home from the edge of the area to put the seal on his goalscoring masterclass.

Alli double sees Spurs past Southampton

December 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Dele Alli scored twice as Tottenham came back from behind to win emphatically, 4-1, at Southampton on Wednesday.

Spurs

Harry Kane, who missed a penalty, and substitute Son Heung-min were also on the score-sheet in a game that saw Virgil van Dijk give Southampton an early lead.

Nathan Redmond was sent off soon after Kane had made it 2-1 and although the England striker failed to convert the resulting penalty Southampton tried in vain to prevent a hefty defeat that moved Tottenham to within a point of fourth-place Arsenal in the Premier League table.

It took Southampton all of 69 seconds to take the lead, through van Dijk.

The Netherlands defender, coveted by a number of Premier League rivals and valued in the £30million bracket, rose to meet James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick to send a downward header beyond Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal.

The home side were full of energy and aggression – the brand of football Pochettino brought with him to the St Mary’s Stadium before leaving for Tottenham in May 2014.

The Argentinian could not have enjoyed the way his players were being put under constant pressure and there were a number of nervy moments as they attempted to stem the tide of Saints attacks.

Former Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama had given away the free-kick for the goal on his first return to his old club and Mousa Dembele was booked for chopping Nathan Redmond down to end another attack.

Fraser Forster had little to do in the Southampton goal but found himself picking the ball out of the net in the 19th minute when Moussa Sissoko saw his cross from the left deflected upwards off Redmond.

That allowed Alli to out-jump van Dijk and plant a header past Forster that went in off a post.

Parity perhaps flattered Tottenham but they made good use of their good fortune to fashion a number of chances.

Christian Eriksen twice failed to hit the target after getting himself into promising shooting positions before Wanyama, having burst into the box and got the better of van Dijk, saw his shot blocked by Saints skipper Jose Fonte.

Tottenham made a much better start to the second half and took the lead in the 52nd minute through the previously-dormant Kane from a corner won by Kyle Walker and delivered by Eriksen. Southampton’s marking was poor to say the least as the England striker rose unchallenged to head into the top corner.

Jose Fonte headed over from a free-kick at the other end before the home side found themselves a man down when Redmond was sent off for impeding Alli from behind in the act of shooting.

Referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty and sent Redmond packing before Kane stepped up to send the spot-kick soaring over the bar in the style of a rugby conversion.

The extra man was proving useful to Tottenham and Southampton were relieved when Eriksen’s effort bounced back off the crossbar.

Danny Rose poked another effort wide after Saints made a triple substitution, with Dusan Tadic, Shane Long and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg coming on to pep up their depleted ranks with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Lloris had been a spectator for a while but almost gifted Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, one of three 72nd-minute Saints subs, a comedy equaliser.

The Frenchman kicked the ball straight to Højbjerg, who was so surprised he sent the ball straight back instead of locating an empty net.

Son Heung-min, Tottenham’s first substitute, wrapped up victory in the 85th minute, with a cool finish across Forster after Saints had been caught on the break.

Southampton couldn’t wait for the final whistle, especially after Alli strode through to slot in a fourth after the hosts were caught out at the back once again.

Spurs hope Kane can supply derby spark

November 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Buoyed by the return of Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur will look to arrest their current slump and improve their dismal record at the Emirates Stadium in Sunday’s derby against Arsenal.

Kane

Though they remain the last unbeaten team in the Premier League, Tottenham have gone six games without victory in all competitions since their stunning 2-0 defeat of Manchester City a month ago.

Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen left them in third place in their Champions League group and manager Mauricio Pochettino concedes preparation for the 179th North London derby has not been ideal.

“It’s true that we are not in a positive situation,” said the Argentine, whose side are fifth in the table ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, three points below second-place Arsenal.

“In the six games after Manchester City we have struggled to win games — four draws and two defeats. We are very conscious about that. We need to work hard and try more than before.

“We are in a difficult moment, but in football you always need to be ready to change the dynamic and we have a very good opportunity on Sunday to go to the Emirates and try to win the game.”

Pochettino is yet to lose a league game against Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, winning one and drawing three of their four encounters, although he did taste defeat against him in last season’s League Cup.

Spurs have won just once at Arsenal since May 1993 — a 3-2 success in November 2010 — but will draw encouragement from Kane’s return to fitness after seven weeks out with an ankle ligament injury.

The 23-year-old England striker has scored four goals in his three league games against Arsenal and although he is understandably short of match fitness, Pochettino says he could start.

In Kane’s absence, Spurs have scored only three goals in their last six games and have not scored from open play in the last five.

Midfielder Mousa Dembele faces a late fitness test on a foot problem, but centre-back Toby Alderweireld (leg) and winger Erik Lamela (hip) are definitely out and Moussa Sissoko is suspended.

Arsenal go into the game carrying momentum, Wenger’s side having won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions.

They came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League on Tuesday, when Mesut Ozil’s sumptuous 87th-minute winner took Arsenal into the last 16 for the 17th season running.

Spurs have not finished above Arsenal since 1995, having been pipped to second place behind Leicester City by their rivals on last season’s final day.

But Wenger was reluctant to entertain suggestions his side have any kind of mental hold over their foes from the other end of the Seven Sisters Road.

“At the moment I’m more focused on the fact that this is more than a derby,” said the Arsenal manager, whose team trail leaders Manchester City on goal difference.

“It’s an important game for us because it’s a big home game and we have an opportunity to show that we have an interesting role to play in this Premier League, and that we can win these kinds of games too.”

Winger Theo Walcott is expected to overcome a hamstring problem to start, while midfielder Granit Xhaka returns after a three-game domestic ban.

But Wenger has doubts over Santi Cazorla (Achilles), Nacho Monreal (muscular), Hector Bellerin (knock) and Kieran Gibbs (shoulder).

Olivier Giroud, meanwhile, is putting pressure on Alexis Sanchez for the lone striker’s role, having scored three times in his last two appearances.

There has been just one 0-0 draw in the last 43 meetings between the teams and the omens for goals are good.

The last time Arsenal and Tottenham met at midday was in November 2004, when an 81st-minute Robert Pires strike was enough to give Wenger’s men a dizzying 5-4 victory at White Hart Lane.

I can’t score without chances, says Kane

June 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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England striker Harry Kane laid bare his team’s attacking problems on Friday when he said that he has not had one clear scoring opportunity at Euro 2016.

Kane

The Tottenham Hotspur striker started England’s first two games in the tournament, against Russia and Wales, but was substituted at half-time against Wales and played only 14 minutes of the 0-0 draw with Slovakia.

Kane therefore faces a fight for a starting place in Monday’s last 16 game against Iceland in Nice, but he does not believe that he has been given a chance to prove how clinical he can be in front of goal.

Asked if he had had a chance in the tournament to date, Kane replied: “Probably not a clear chance where I’d say: ‘I’m disappointed I missed that, I wish I’d scored that one.’

“But as a striker, you just have to be ready for when that chance comes. And I’ll definitely be ready.”

England’s attacking shortcomings have been the subject of debate since the stalemate with Slovakia in Saint-Etienne last Monday.

Despite 29 attempts, Roy Hodgson’s side could not find the goal that would have taken them through as Group B winners and prevented them from falling into the more difficult half of the draw.

Hodgson was criticised for making six changes to his starting line-up for the game, but Kane echoed captain Wayne Rooney by defending the manager’s choices.

“We knew the team was going to be rotated and the gaffer (manager) has chosen to do that,” Kane said. “You have to just take it, move forward with it and take it in your stride.”

Kane won the Premier League’s Golden Boot after scoring 25 goals last season and went into Euro 2016 as England’s first-choice number nine.

There have been suggestions in the British media that he is tired, having also played for England at last year’s Under-21 European Championship in the Czech Republic, in between two gruelling seasons for Spurs.

But he told reporters at England’s Chantilly media centre: “I’m not tired. I’ve had it before, last year at the Under-21 Euro. People said the same thing, but I feel 100 percent fresh and ready.”

The loss of Kane’s England place has come less than two months after Spurs were pipped to the Premier League title by Leicester City, but he said that he was having no trouble digesting the twin disappointments.

“Not a lot has changed,” said the 22-year-old, who has scored five goals in 15 England appearances.

“I’m someone who will always work hard and try and improve. There’s always going to be ups and downs in football.

“You’re never going to just be on one big high and never hit a little bump. I’m very confident. I’m not really worried about the situation.

“I’ll go out there and do my best, train as hard as I can and try and impress the manager.

“I speak to my family and my girlfriend. We chat about things. But I don’t really get too high or too low.

“As a footballer, the more calm you can be, you can see the future and see what you have to do to overcome these things. That’s what I try and do, and keep a clear mind.”

Kane also sought to deflect the criticism of Hodgson for asking him to take England’s corners in their warm-up games and opening 1-1 draw with Russia in Marseille.

“It’s been blown out of proportion a bit,” he said.

“The manager wanted me to do it and I’ve done it. The manager didn’t want me to do it against Wales, so I didn’t do it.”

Kane and Vardy inspire England to friendly win over Turkey

May 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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England’s Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy struck in a 2-1 friendly win over fellow Euro 2016 finalists Turkey on Sunday as the home side warmed up with a performance that highlighted their potency in attack and defensive limitations.

Kane and Vardy inspire England to friendly win over Turkey.

Kane put England ahead after two minutes when he pounced on a neat pass from Tottenham Hotspur club mate Dele Alli to record his 32nd goal of a prolific season. Although Kane missed a late penalty, Vardy was on hand to score the winner in the 83rd.

Ten minutes after Kane’s opener Turkey had equalised through Hakan Calhanoglu after Vakan Sen got behind full back Danny Rose and, as goalkeeper Joe Hart came hurtling out, crossed for the visitors to net their first goal against England in 11 meetings.

England manager Roy Hodgson was pleased by some parts of the performance, saying: “There were some positive aspects. For large swathes of the game we played reasonably well. But there is still work to be done.

“The next three weeks will be vital for us to make sure we make life easier for ourselves defensively.”

With England struggling to capitalise on their positive start at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Hodgson switched his formation in the second half by partnering Leicester City’s Vardy, who had begun wide on the left, with Kane up front.

The switch worked and Vardy soon won a penalty when he drew a foul from defender Mehmet Topal but Kane spurned the chance by firing his spot kick against the outside edge of the post.

Vardy continued to relish his new position, though, and grabbed the winner — his third goal in three games for England — from close range after a header from Gary Cahill had been parried by substitute Ismail Koybasi on the Turkish line.

England’s Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, back in the side after an injury-disrupted season, said: “We have to be able to hang on to wins in a tournament. We did well today. I feel good, I’m 100 percent. I’ve been training for seven or eight weeks now. I’m looking to improve with every game.”

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford will join the England squad on Monday despite suffering a knee injury in the FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

England play Australia in Sunderland on Friday, a game Vardy will miss because he is getting married on Wednesday.

Hodgson named a 26-man provisional squad for the European Championship which he must cut to 23 by May 31 ahead of the month-long finals which kick off in France on June 10.

England are in a group with Russia, Slovakia and Wales, while Turkey face holders Spain, Croatia and Czech Republic.

Tottenham run riot at Stoke to cut Leicester’s lead

April 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Tottenham Hotspur took a large bite out of Leicester City’s Premier League lead with two goals apiece from Harry Kane and Dele Alli earning them a 4-0 victory at Stoke City on Monday.

Football Soccer - Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - The Britannia Stadium - 18/4/16. Harry Kane scores the third goal for Tottenham. Reuters / Darren Staples

The visitors produced a scintillating display of attacking football to take full advantage of Leicester’s 2-2 home draw with West Ham United on Sunday and close the gap to five points with four matches remaining.

Leicester remain favourites with 73 points but Tottenham’s fourth victory in five games, achieved with a real flourish, means the title race is back on the boil.

“We are ready to put the pressure on Leicester. We think we can do it. Leicester are five points ahead but we have closed the gap, that’s all we could do,” Kane, who moved two goals clear of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at the top of the scoring charts with 24 goals, said.

“We scored four but could have had six or seven. It is one of our best performances all season. I was itching to play. I had to wait a whole day and a half.”

England striker Kane gave Tottenham the perfect start after nine minutes, curling a textbook shot past keeper Shay Given after being played in by Moussa Dembele.

Stoke briefly threatened a response and Hugo Lloris made a fine save from Marko Arnautovic but Tottenham should have gone further ahead when Alli played in Christian Eriksen but the Dane curled a shot against the crossbar with the goal gaping.

More chances went begging early in the second half for Tottenham early in the second half but they doubled their lead after 67 minutes when Eriksen’s pass sent Alli clear and he calmly chipped Given.

Incredibly Alli struck the post after rounding Given shortly afterwards, a comical miss that had Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino beating the turf in frustration, but it did not prove costly as Kane calmly converted Erik Lamela’s pull back after another rapid Spurs attack.

Tottenham were running riot and completed the rout after 82 minutes with Eriksen again the provider, clipping a clever pass to the outstanding Alli who swept home a volley to condemn Stoke to their joint worst home defeat in the Premier League.

Leicester dominate PFA Players’ player of the year shortlist

April 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Leicester City trio Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane and West Ham United’s Dimitri Payet are the nominees for the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Players’ player of the year.

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the first goal for Leicester City with Danny SimpsonReuters / Darren StaplesLivepic

Leicester’s unexpected Premier League title charge this season has been led by 21-goal striker Vardy, while Mahrez has chipped in with 16 goals and 11 assists and Kante has gained plaudits for his defensive midfield role.

Despite Arsenal looking unlikely to end their 12-year wait for the title, Ozil has almost single-handedly kept alive their faint hopes by scoring six goals and leading the assists chart with 18, two behind the all-time Premier League record.

Kane leads the race for the golden boot with 22 goals and has inspired Spurs’ surprising bid for their first title since 1961, while Payet, with nine goals and nine assists, has been pivotal to the Hammers’ Champions League dreams.

Kane is in contention to retain his Young Player of the Year award and he is joined by team mate Dele Alli, Everton duo Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

Alli, 20, joined from second-tier side Milton Keynes Dons in 2015 and his eight goals and 12 assists have been instrumental to Spurs’ title hopes, while goalkeeper Butland made 102 saves, the second most, before injury ruled him out of the season.

Despite Everton’s lacklustre campaign, Lukaku is in contention for the golden boot, having notched up 18 goals, and Barkley has shrugged off injury concerns to put in dominating displays.

Coutinho has shone under manager Juergen Klopp’s stewardship, netting seven goals and claiming six assists, while playing a key role in Liverpool’s League Cup run.

The winners of the awards will be announced on April 24.

‘Unbelievable’ Kane boosts Spurs’ title push with double

March 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Harry Kane was hailed as “unbelievable” after the England striker’s 21st and 22nd goals of the season inspired Tottenham Hotspur to a routine win at hapless Aston Villa on Sunday that boosted their Premier League title ambitions.

Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans as he is substituted Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

Kane ended Villa’s resistance in the space of three minutes either side of halftime, taking his tally to 18 goals in his last 20 league appearances, assisted on each occasion by a superb delivery from Dele Alli.

Kane’s double left a delighted Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to enthuse in an interview with BBC: “Harry Kane is an unbelievable guy who works hard for the team. I am very pleased for him.”

The victory for Spurs consigned bottom-placed Villa to a 20th league defeat of the season while Pochettino’s side moved just two points behind leaders Leicester City at the top of the table.

Second-placed Spurs also extended their lead over their north London rivals Arsenal, in third place, to six points.

Leicester have the chance to restore their five-point lead when they host struggling Newcastle United on Monday.

Pochettino was delighted that after a recent problematic run, featuring discouraging defeats in the league at West Ham United and in the Europa League at Borussia Dortmund, his side had regained their momentum.

“It was a good victory and three important points after a few games that have not been so good,” Pochettino said. “We created more chances and played well.

“We need to keep the pressure on and win games. You cannot stop the dream of the supporters and they are right to dream. But we need to work hard.”

In truth, it was rather all too easy for Tottenham as their increasingly influential combination of Alli and Kane linked up handsomely for the goals after Spurs had already hit the woodwork twice in the first half.

Just before halftime, Kane, who had already come close three times and had hit the bar after just four minutes, strode onto Alli’s quickly-taken free kick to shoot past Brad Guzan.

Then the youngsters who are seen as key men in England’s Euro 2016 bid linked up again straight after the break as Kane slotted home Alli’s low cross.

“Dele is a great player. He is there to score and make assists. I am happy to get two off him today – but everyone did their job,” Kane told the BBC.

For Villa’s long-suffering fans, though, there was nothing but more misery as the “Lerner Out” banner reappeared in protest at the stewardship of owner Randy Lerner.

Relegation looks a certainty for the former European champions as they lie eight points adrift of 19th-placed Newcastle at the foot of the table.

Manager Remi Garde pondered the two occasions that Villa hit the woodwork and felt his side’s commitment and attitude had been better than in recent weeks.

“I love football and hate defeat,” he said. “Five (defeats) in a row? I don’t think I’ve experienced that in my career. I can only rely on myself to be strong.”

Spurs now the real deal after win over Man City

February 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Tottenham Hotspur have suffered so many false dawns that even their most ardent fans had long given up hope of their team ever winning the league title but Sunday’s 2-1 victory at Manchester City has changed all that.

Kane

Spurs’ triumph at the Etihad Stadium, where they had lost on their last five visits, moved them within two points of Premier League leaders Leicester City and kept them in second place above Arsenal on goal difference with 12 matches to play.

All eyes have been on Leicester’s remarkable rise to the top of the table, after being bottom and facing relegation a year ago, and Tottenham’s steady progress this season has been overshadowed by The Foxes’ remarkable transformation.

But Spurs’ young team, responding to coach Mauricio Pochettino’s high-pressing philosophy – “part crack Army unit, part dance troop” as The Times called them on Saturday – occupy their highest position at this stage of a season since 1985.

A 53rd minute Harry Kane penalty and an 83rd minute strike by Christian Eriksen on his 24th birthday gave Spurs a fifth successive league win and moved them four points clear of City.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, now a pundit for Sky Sports, said Tottenham could complete the most remarkable Premier League story of all if Leicester fail to win the title.

“All season Leicester and Claudio Ranieri has been the story – it would be perhaps the greatest story ever in football in this country if Leicester were to win the league.

“If that doesn’t happen and Tottenham win the league, I think that’ll be the biggest story in Premier League history…

“If you look at the title winners, you expect them to spend big money but Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino have not done that and if they win the league it will also be the best managerial performance in the Premier League’s history.”

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry also praised his old enemies, saying: “They didn’t start the season all that well, but they stayed calm, no-one panicked, they stayed cool… Now they look like a team… that can win the league. You have to give the manager and his board the credit.”

Spurs last won the title in 1961, when they were the first English club in the 20th century to claim a league and FA Cup double, since when success has been confined to European and domestic cups.

The last time they finished second in the table was in 1963 and they have never finished third in the Premier League era.

No-one at Spurs, least of all Pochettino, talks of the title but with each win it is becoming an increasing possibility.

Alli, Kane double act keeps Spurs moving up

February 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Goals from England young guns Dele Alli and Harry Kane earned Tottenham Hotspur a 3-0 win at Norwich City on Tuesday that strengthened their Premier League title bid.

Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans as he is substituted Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

Alli, scorer of a goal-of-the-season contender in his last outing at Crystal Palace, put Tottenham ahead from close range after two minutes and was then fouled in the area by Sebastien Bassong, allowing Kane to stroke home a penalty.

Kane, who was twice denied by the woodwork, then took his league tally for the season to 15, all in his last 18 games, with a cool finish in the dying minutes as Tottenham leapfrogged North London rivals Arsenal into third place.

“It was an excellent performance, I’m very pleased,” coach Mauricio Pochettino told reporters. “The effort was fantastic.

“The early goal helped us and in the end we deserved the result and we need to feel proud of the players for the job they did. The performance was fantastic from the beginning.”

The only worrying moment for Tottenham’s travelling fans was the sight of 19-year-old Alli being substituted shortly after halftime.

“He was a little dizzy, he felt unwell and with advice from the doctor we took the decision to substitute him for Nacer Chadli,” Pochettino said.

“It’s always better not to take a risk but now he feels much better. It’s not a serious problem.”

Tottenham host Watford on Saturday.

Mourinho backs Chelsea to subdue red-hot Kane

November 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Jose Mourinho is confident his Chelsea defence can nullify the threat of in-form Harry Kane even if John Terry fails to recover in time to face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Mourinho

Mourinho’s side head to White Hart Lane after keeping two confidence-boosting clean sheets, first in last weekend’s victory over Norwich City and then in the midweek Champions League success at Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Terry limped out of the game in Israel and the Blues captain remains doubtful for the Spurs clash, when Chelsea will attempt to record back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season.

A victory in north London will strengthen Mourinho’s belief his side have turned the corner after a disastrous start to the campaign that has left them in 15th position.

Their hopes of gaining revenge for the 5-3 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season will be enhanced if they can prevent Kane from extending a scoring streak that has brought the Tottenham striker nine goals in his last six club games.

And Chelsea manager Mourinho has no doubts a patched up central-defensive pairing of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma can keep England international Kane quiet if Terry is unfit.

“I have complete trust in Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma, which is why in an important match for us on Tuesday I left Kurt out after the good performances he is having to show Gary that confidence. They are ready,” Mourinho said.

“I am not saying Papy Djilobodji is ready because he did not have chances to play and his is a different situation, but Zouma and Cahill are both ready and if John doesn’t play, I go with them.

“I don’t know about John. I don’t want to say that it is impossible he plays because maybe he plays and people will say that I was hiding it and I am not hiding.

“Today he didn’t train but we have a little hope that it is possible.

“Ramires is the same situation as John, I don’t know, let’s wait and see. He has a chance.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are unbeaten in the league since their opening-day defeat at Manchester United and come into the game on the back of a 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag on Thursday.

The effects of making a long journey to Azerbaijan have caused concern for Pochettino, who claims it is unfair Chelsea could take advantage of their extra two days rest.

But left-back Danny Rose remains confident Spurs can build on last weekend’s 4-1 victory against West Ham United.

“It needs to be the same again from us. Obviously Chelsea have had a difficult run but that doesn’t make them a bad team,” Rose said.

“They’ve got a world-class squad, a world-class manager and it’s a derby, so form goes out of the window.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but we just hope that we can perform and give the same energy and commitment as we did against West Ham. If we do that, it will be a difficult game for them.

“From our side, we’ve got a great sense of belief inside the changing room and inside the club, so as long as we keep doing what the head coach asks then we know we’ll be in for an exciting season.”

Spurs, Liverpool and Bilbao through, Dnipro out

November 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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The value of an in-form striker was underlined as Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Athletic Bilbao needed goals from pivotal front men to grab vital wins that booked places in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday.

Football Soccer - Qarabag FK v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Group Stage - Group J - Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan - 26/11/15 Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the first goal for Tottenham Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra

Harry Kane’s late strike gave Spurs a 1-0 win at Qarabag, Liverpool needed Christian Benteke to dig them out of a spot of bother in a 2-1 win over Girondins Bordeaux and Bilbao had Aritz Aduriz to thank for a 3-2 comeback victory in Augsburg.

Those three sides were among 11 teams, who celebrated reaching the knockout stages of the competition.

FK Krasnodar, Lazio, St Etienne, Basel, Schalke 04, Sparta Prague, Villarreal and Braga will all be in the hat when the draw is made for next round having booked spots with one group game to spare on the marathon route to May’s final.

Last season’s surprise finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, however, were brought firmly down to earth with an early exit.

Dnipro made a surprise run to the final last term but their European adventure ended early this time when a 3-1 defeat at Lazio meant they could not finish in the top two in Group G.

There was also disappointment for former European champions Celtic as they lost 2-1 at home to Ajax Amsterdam to end their hopes of reaching the next round.

Tottenham’s Kane struck in the 78th minute for his ninth goal in his last six games to ensure the English Premier League club can relax going into their final group outing.

The England striker had suffered a drought when he went eight games without a club goal at the start of the season, but questions about whether the 22-year-old could continue last term’s prolific scoring run have been long-since silenced.

After Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli earlier hit the woodwork, the powerful Kane thumped home a header from a corner to move them to 10 points at the top of Group J.

Liverpool were also in need of frontline inspiration after they fell behind at home to Bordeaux when keeper Simon Mignolet was penalised for holding on to the ball too long and Henri Saivet thumped home from an indirect free kick after 33 minutes.

Benteke was hauled down in the area to earn Liverpool a penalty, which James Milner converted after 38 minutes, and the Belgian striker then got on the scoresheet with a superb turn and finish in first-half stoppage time.

Aduriz’s contribution for Bilbao was even more dramatic.

The group stage’s most prolific marksman scored twice in the final seven minutes to secure a comeback win in Augsburg that kept the Spaniards top of Group L and moved them safely into the next round.

Bilbao have flourished with Aduriz scoring six goals in five group games, while Augsburg and Partizan Belgrade meet on the final matchday to decide who joins the Spaniards in the last 32.

There was late drama in Germany where Schalke needed to beat APOEL Nicosia to guarantee qualifying but had to wait until the 86th minute for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to snatch a 1-0 win.

Having ended a seven-match winless run in all competitions, Schalke stayed top of Group K, ahead of Sparta Prague who also reached the knockout phase with a 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis.

Basel progressed as Group I winners after they came back from 2-0 down against Fiorentina, managed by the Swiss side’s former boss Paulo Sousa, to draw 2-2.

The Italians, who took a stranglehold with a double from Federico Bernardeschi, had to play for more than an hour with 10 men after Facundo Roncaglia was shown a first-half red card.

Sousa’s Fiorentina now need at least a draw in the final match against Belenenses to make it out of the group stage.

Villarreal came into their game at home to Rapid Vienna having already qualified earlier on Thursday after Viktoria Plzen lost 1-0 at Dinamo Minsk.

The Spaniards celebrated with a 1-0 win to end the Austrian side’s 100 percent Group E record with Bruno Soriano’s late goal.

Borussia Dortmund, who lost 1-0 at FK Krasnodar, Molde, beaten 2-0 by Fenerbahce, Napoli, 1-0 winners at Club Bruges, and Rapid Vienna had already secured their places in the knockout stage on the previous matchday.

Two-goal Kane on target again as Spurs thrash West Ham

November 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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A double from Harry Kane, who scored in his fifth consecutive club match, inspired Tottenham Hotspur to a 4-1 win over London rivals West Ham United in the Premier League at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans as he is substituted Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

England striker Kane continued his searing form, finding the target in his fourth straight league game after 23 minutes to set Spurs on their way to a 12th consecutive league match without defeat, matching the club’s record Premier League run.

After Kane’s blistering left-foot strike on the turn, Toby Alderweireld escaped his marker to head home a second 10 minutes later before Kane struck again straight after the break.

Kyle Walker bent home an elegant fourth in the 83rd minute before a late consolation from West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini.

Tottenham, unbeaten in the league since a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on the opening day, moved to within four points of surprise leaders Leicester City.

They also jumped three points clear of sixth-placed West Ham, whose best start to a Premier League season was rudely arrested, and lie fifth on 24 points, two behind Arsenal and third-placed Manchester City and three off Manchester United.

Kane, whose barren early-season return had suggested he could be suffering from ‘second season’ syndrome after his magnificent exploits of 2014-15 when he scored 31 goals in all competitions, has mined a new, rich seam of form.

“As a striker when your confidence is high you feel like you’re going to score every game. Today I could have had a couple more,” Kane told Sky Sports.

His first goal demonstrated his confidence when, after the ball broke fortuitously in the area for him, he rolled defender Carl Jenkinson with muscular ease and smashed the ball past goalkeeper Adrian.

After Alderweireld’s slick near-post header from a pinpoint Christian Eriksen corner made it two, Kane’s second goal in the 50th minute, a strike which squirmed beneath Adrian, came courtesy of amateurish defending from James Tomkins.

Yet man of the match Kane, who has scored eight goals in his last five matches for Spurs in all competitions, was left cursing that he should have had a hat-trick, horribly miscuing another first-half chance.

“I probably got a bit excited. I’ll be punching myself that I didn’t get the hat-trick,” he said.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino told BBC Sport: “It was a high level performance. It was fantastic.”

Of Kane’s slow start to the season, he added: “When you are a striker, there are always tough periods but I never had doubts about Harry Kane.”

Arsenal earn late point against Spurs, City stay top

November 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Arsenal’s hopes of leapfrogging Premier League leaders Manchester City were frustrated when they drew 1-1 with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday after City’s surprising 0-0 draw with bottom club Aston Villa.

Football - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 8/11/15 Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

Tottenham, who moved up to fifth, had looked on course for a rare away win against their neighbours when they led through Harry Kane’s first-half goal but substitute Kieran Gibbs equalised for the Gunners with 13 minutes left.

Juergen Klopp tasted defeat for the first time since taking over as Liverpool manager, his side beaten 2-1 by Crystal Palace at Anfield.

Manchester City, who hit the bar late on against a resolute Villa side under the command of new boss Remi Garde for the first time, have 26 points from 12 matches, the same as Arsenal, but have a better goal difference.

Tottenham, unbeaten in the league since an opening day defeat by Manchester United, have 21.

Liverpool have 17 points in 10th with Crystal Palace two points better off in eighth.

The Premier League now takes a two-week breather for a raft of international matches.

Injury-hit Arsenal, without the likes of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, had a gilt-edged chance to go into that break top, especially after City’s stalemate at Villa Park in the day’s early kickoff, but in the end were relieved to avoid only a second home league defeat by Tottenham in the last 23 meetings.

“It was a very intense game,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “In the second half we had a great mental response and we were determined not to lose.

“Whe you’re 1-0 down it’s a mixture of relief and regret because if we were really clinical in the last 15 minutes we could have won, but 1-1 was probably a fair result.

“City dropped points, we dropped points, Liverpool lost to Palace, it just shows what a hard league this is.”

Arsenal started brightly but Tottenham responded and took a deserved lead after 32 minutes when Kane raced on to Danny Rose’s long pass and beat Petr Cech with a cool finish.

The Gunners improved after the break, having taken off a “dizzy” Santi Cazorla, and Olivier Giroud headed a chance against the top of the crossbar and an even better one wide.

Tottenham, though, remained dangerous, threatening a second goal with Christian Eriksen, Kane and Toby Alderweireld all denied by the impressive Cech.

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris made a great save from Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell but would have been disappointed not to keep out Arsenal’s equaliser when Gibbs crept in at the back post to meet Mesut Ozil’s delivery and bounced the ball past the Frenchman who seemed to have it covered.

“We should have won but I feel very proud of the players. We played very well. You need to kill the game. When we were 1-0 up we had chances to score again,” Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said.

Villa manager Garde was also proud of his new charges after his side hung on grimly for a morale-boosting point after a seven-match losing sequence in the league.

They had to ride their luck in the second half when Brad Guzan kept out a close-range Raheem Sterling effort with his head, Kevin De Bruyne missed an open goal and Fernando shook the crossbar with a bullet header.

“You have to be lucky but to be lucky you have to work hard,” former Arsenal midfielder Garde told reporters.

“Luck is not coming knocking on your door, you create that, the situation and the behaviour that you need to get lucky.”

Klopp will have plenty to ponder during the international break after Scott Dann’s late goal condemned his Liverpool side to defeat after Philippe Coutinho had equalised following Yannick Bolasie’s Palace opener.

“It’s important to learn. Today was not enough — we can do better,” the German said.

Man City top after bore draw, Klopp still awaits win

October 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Sunday but the much-hyped meeting proved far less eventful than the day’s other derby.

Football - Manchester United v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford - 25/10/15 Manchester United's Chris Smalling shoots at goal Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic

Sunderland beat bitter rivals Newcastle United 3-0 to escape from the bottom of the table, condemning Aston Villa to 20th place just hours after they sacked manager Tim Sherwood.

Juergen Klopp was denied a first victory in charge of Liverpool when Sadio Mane scored a late equaliser for Southampton before being sent off in a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Christian Benteke had put Liverpool in front.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane returned to goal-scoring form after a lean spell for his club with a hat-trick in the London club’s 5-1 romp at Bournemouth.

Man City have 22 points from 10 games, the same as Arsenal, while United are in fourth place with 20 points.

Tottenham enjoyed the south coast air at Bournemouth, moving into the top six with their biggest win of the season.

United manager Louis van Gaal claimed his team had “controlled the game” at Old Trafford but it was only in the last few minutes of a dismal game that they looked like scoring.

Jesse Lingard hit the bar from a clever chip by Anthony Martial and Chris Smalling forced Joe Hart into his one significant save.

That was one more than David de Gea needed to make in the home team’s goal.

“I am satisfied with a point but I don’t like to play this way,” City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini said.

“It was a very tactical game. Unfortunately for the fans it was not a very attractive game.”

Newcastle had dominated the north-east derby until their captain Fabricio Coloccini was sent off just before halftime for barging Steven Fletcher off the ball, Adam Johnson converting the resulting penalty.

Reduced to 10 men, the visitors wilted in the second half, conceding further goals to Billy Jones — his first for Sunderland — and Fletcher.

Newcastle’s manager Steve McClaren felt the penalty was “a ridiculous decision”.

Sunderland’s new manager Sam Allardyce was ecstatic after his side set a record for the long-standing fixture in recording a sixth successive win over their neighbours.

The result also continued a bizarre sequence in which four successive Sunderland managers have beaten Newcastle in their second game in charge.

By contrast Klopp is still without a victory after a third successive draw since replacing Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.

Halftime substitute Benteke sent the Anfield crowd, and Klopp, into raptures by powering in a superb header from James Milner’s cross in the 77th minute.

Eight minutes later, however, Mane bundled in an equaliser at the far post before getting himself sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession.

Klopp criticised his players for becoming deflated at that stage, saying “there was no belief in their eyes any more”.

Liverpool had produced more of the pressing game that he wants to see, but it was another performance to suggest there will be no quick fix.

They remain six points outside the top four places, one position behind Southampton who are unbeaten in five games on the road this season.

“We deserved at least one point,” manager Ronald Koeman said. “It was not our best performance but we had a good reaction after going down to a great goal from Benteke.

“Our defensive organisation is good, it is difficult to create chances against us.”

Matt Ritchie gave Bournemouth a first-minute lead but Kane soon equalised from a penalty after being brought down by keeper Artur Boruc who had a torrid afternoon.

Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela had Spurs 3-1 up by halftime and England strike Kane, who had only scored once before in the league this season, completed his hat-trick with two more goals in the space of a few minutes.

A second successive 5-1 defeat left Bournemouth in the bottom four, just ahead of Sunderland and Newcastle.

Rodgers sacked after derby draw, United loss stuns Van Gaal

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked on Sunday despite preserving his unbeaten record in seven Merseyside derbies against Everton with a 1-1 away draw in the Premier League.

Football - Arsenal v Manchester United - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 4/10/15Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger and Daley Blind look dejected at the end of the matchReuters / Dylan Martinez

Within a couple of hours of the Northern Irishman claiming after the stalemate at Goodison Park that, “I hope to be here for a bit longer yet”, the club announced his dismissal.

More presciently, he told Sky Sports, “When the time comes for me not to be here, I’ll accept that and move on because it’s an incredible club and a wonderful club to work for.”

“It is a very good point,” Rodgers said after the draw. “It is a difficult place to come. We looked like we were getting better in our attack and defensively we were more cohesive.”

Manchester United lost 3-0 at Arsenal, blitzed by three goals in the first 20 minutes that gave them no way back into a match in which the hosts played sublime football.

Alexis Sanchez netted twice to give the Chilean six in the last three games and Arsenal’s Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil scored the other to leave the visitors trailing by three goals at the break in a league game for the first time in 10 years.

United, who had been top before the weekend, dropped to third place, two points behind neighbours Manchester City.

After being held at home by Liverpool, Everton manager Roberto Martinez believed his team, unbeaten in seven league and cup games, deserved to win a typically tense derby.

“Every time we had the ball in their half, we looked like creating something,” he said. “(Liverpool goalkeeper Simon) Mignolet made two outstanding saves. We are disappointed with the goal we conceded.”

That goal was headed in by an unmarked Danny Ings in the 42nd minute but there was still time for Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to equalise before halftime.

Martinez felt Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva should have been sent off for a trip when he had already collected one of the game’s six yellow cards.

The result left Everton one point ahead of their neighbours, who are 10th, six points behind leaders Manchester City.

City stayed top after thrashing Newcastle United 6-1 on Saturday because of the heavy defeat suffered by local rivals United at effervescent Arsenal.

The London side moved above United into second place on goal difference with a performance that vindicated manager Arsene Wenger’s faith in his team after fierce criticism followed a midweek home Champions League defeat by Olympiakos Piraeous.

“That was all for the manager,” Arsenal’s Theo Walcott told Sky Sports. “That first 25 minutes no-one could have dealt with us. It was some of the best football I’ve ever been involved with.”

Wenger was keen to stress that, despite the disappointment of two Champions League losses, Arsenal are very much in contention for a first domestic league title since 2004.

“We are on a good run in the Premier League, two points off the leaders,” he said. “We missed our (normal) game in midweek but we responded to that. We decided to start strong and press high and did that well.

“After that we were disciplined and focused. You always need to win the big games.”

The result left United manager Louis van Gaal stunned.

“I didn’t expect that,” the Dutchman told MUTV. “No performing our game-plan, no will to win. When you give a team like Arsenal so much space to play football, you know you shall lose. It was amazing for me and very disappointing.”

In Sunday’s other match, Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen scored with two stunning free-kicks to earn his side a 2-2 draw at Swansea City.

Andre Ayew headed the Welsh side in front before Denmark playmaker Eriksen’s first equaliser. His second followed an unfortunate own goal by Spurs striker Harry Kane.

Tottenham stayed eighth, level on 13 points with Everton and still three ahead of Swansea, who have not beaten them in the league since 1981.

Kane named in England under-21 Euro Championship squad

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has been included in the provisional England squad for this year’s under-21 European Championship in the Czech Republic, manager Gareth Southgate said on Wednesday.

England's Harry Kane during training  (Action Images via Reuters)

The 21-year-old Kane, who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season, earned his first England senior cap in March when he scored within two minutes of coming on as a substitute against Lithuania.

“He’s had a fantastic season first and foremost and he’s been a big part of our team and I think that’s important for all of the group,” Southgate told a news conference.

Southgate has selected an initial 27-man squad which will be reduced to 23 before the team meet up on June 2 to begin their preparations for the tournament.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw has been left out by Southgate following discussions over the left back’s fitness with club manager Louis van Gaal.

Fellow United defender Phil Jones, Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling were all eligible to play but not selected.

England are in the same group as Italy, Portugal and Sweden for the June 17 to 30 tournament.

Aguero overshadows Kane in battle for Golden Boot

May 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Football - Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 3/5/15 Manchester City's Sergio Aguero shoots wide as Tottenham's Hugo Lloris looks on Reuters / Eddie Keogh

Sergio Aguero won his personal striking duel with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, scoring the winner for Manchester City as they ended a four-game losing streak on the road in the Premier League on Sunday.

With Chelsea already celebrating capturing City’s Premier League title across London, last season’s champions were indebted to Aguero’s sharp-shooting skills and keeper Joe Hart’s agility as they earned a 1-0 win to stay in second place.

Aguero now leads the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 22 goals this season, two more than Kane who endured a frustrating game as the hosts all but kissed goodbye to their already slender top-four hopes.

The Argentine’s goals have proved in vain in trying to keep City on the heels of Chelsea. But his quality was too much for Tottenham as City virtually guaranteed a Champions League berth.

Aguero has now scored 10 times against Tottenham and his latest effort was a gem.

A lightning City break in the 29th minute saw Hart find David Silva with a quick throw and the Spaniard’s through ball was perfect for the striker who fired past Hugo Lloris.

“We started off a bit frantic then we got it together, with Sergio up front he’s always going to get us a goal and we defended with our lives at the back and we got the win,” City keeper Hart, who made crucial stops from England duo Kane and Ryan Mason, told Sky Sports.

“It was a terrific run from David, an easy pass for me and Sergio does the rest, which he’s proved that he’s absolutely fantastic at.”

While City’s season has been a disappointment, boss Manuel Pellegrini said people should wait until the end of the season before evaluating it.

“I think it’s important to finish as near the top as possible and see where we need to improve,” he said. “Maybe Chelsea are more consistent this year and they won the league but we scored more when we did it.

“We have to finish the season now and then we will analyse it.”

With three games to play, City are 13 points behind champions Chelsea and three above Arsenal who have two games in hand.

Spurs’ hotshot Kane equals Lineker’s 30-goal season

April 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - St James' Park - 19/4/15 Tottenham's Harry Kane in action Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Livepic

Harry Kane was the toast of Tottenham Hotspur once again as the England striker scored his 30th goal of the season in their 3-1 Premier League win against Newcastle United on Sunday.

The 21-year-old has reached that total in all competitions, including 20 in the Premier League, and is the first Spurs player since Gary Lineker in 1991-92 to reach 30 in a season.

Kane, who has been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards, has become a fans’ favourite at White Hart Lane this term, lauded as “one of our own” after coming through the youth ranks since the age of 11.

“I’m very proud but there are five games left and, hopefully, I’ll get a few more goals,” Kane told Sky Sports.

“We deserved it today. We played well. We’ve had some disappointing performances in the last couple of weeks and we wanted to put that right.

“I had a couple of chances and the keeper made some good saves but I’m delighted to get back on the scoresheet.”

Kane also scored 80 seconds into his England debut as a substitute in a 4-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley last month.

The youngster showed his killer instinct in front goal at St James’ Park, scoring the third against Newcastle, and manager Mauricio Pochettino was delighted he equalled Lineker’s tally.

“It’s fantastic, congratulations to him because he deserves this moment, it’s historic, the first time since Gary Lineker in 1992,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.

“I think he needs to pay for a dinner this week for his team mates. The team work a lot and try and help the striker score.”

Sixth-placed Spurs are level on 57 points with Liverpool in fifth having played a game more and Pochettino is pleased they are still competing for a European place with five games left.

“Our performance was good. We deserved the win as we were better than Newcastle,” he said. “It is important because we are in a position where we can fight for something until the end of the season.

“It’s very important to finish the season on a good level and then we have to analyse.”

(Reuters)

Man City close on United after West Ham stroll

April 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Football - Manchester City v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium - 19/4/15 Sergio Aguero scores the second goal for Manchester City Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Manchester City ended a difficult week on a high and climbed to within one point of third-placed neighbours Manchester United thanks to a comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United on Sunday.

After a testing week in which City’s 4-2 defeat at rivals United prompted speculation about the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini and a number of leading players, victory against West Ham provided a welcome boost.

James Collins’s freak own goal and Sergio Aguero’s 20th league strike of the season secured a routine win and the only surprise was that City failed to add to their lead after the Argentine’s 36th-minute effort.

Champions City have 64 points, one behind United who lost 1-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, and two adrift of second-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand. West Ham remain 10th having won one of their last 11 league matches.

“When we lose we have a lot of criticism and that is part of football,” City midfielder Yaya Toure told Sky Sports.

“Today we showed great team spirit and it was very important to get the three points today. We will continue to fight until the end.”

Newcastle United sank to a sixth straight league defeat and are not yet safe from relegation after losing 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park with Harry Kane grabbing the third to reach 30 goals for the season in all competitions.

Sixth-placed Spurs are level on 57 points with fifth-placed Liverpool but have played a game more, while struggling Newcastle remain 14th with 35 points from 33 matches.

City’s derby defeat at Old Trafford had prompted talk of the realignment of the balance of power in Manchester so the visit of a sliding West Ham side was timely.

The hosts fashioned a number of early chances with their slick passing but their breakthrough in the 18th minute came from an unlikely source.

The marauding Jesus Navas burst down the right flank and his low cross careered off defender Collins before looping over goalkeeper Adrian and deflecting in off the crossbar.

The second goal, however, was more eye-catching.

After intercepting a stray Stewart Downing pass the hosts broke with searing pace and Aguero, after exchanging passes with Navas, fired under Adrian.

City had cause for concern in the 67th minute, however, when playmaker David Silva was carried off on a stretcher after being hit in the head by Cheikhou Kouyate’s elbow.

Spaniard Silva, who was treated for nearly 10 minutes on the pitch, was taken to hospital and City manager Manuel Pellegrini later said they were checking if he had broken a cheek bone.

There were reports of Newcastle fans boycotting the game at St James’ Park because of Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club and most of the 47,427 inside the stadium were unhappy to see Nacer Chadli’s precise strike put Spurs ahead after 30 minutes.

Jack Colback equalised for Newcastle 18 seconds into the second half but the home side failed to stay level for long as Christian Eriksen’s floated free kick into the box evaded everyone and bounced past goalkeeper Tim Krul into the net.

Harry Kane’s close-range volley was then brilliantly saved by Krul but the England striker notched his 20th league goal of the season in all competitions late on when he applied a calm finish after Spurs caught Newcastle on the counter attack.

Kane, who leads the league scoring chart with Aguero, became the first Tottenham player to score 30 goals in all competitions since ex-England striker Gary Lineker in the 1991-92 season.

(Reuters)

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