Premier League Game of the Week: Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City

These are the games that Tottenham must win if they are to achieve something great this season. A 2-0 win over a quality side such as Manchester City is huge for the London club. There was also the added spice of the great rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, and Mourinho yet again goes away from this weekend with the bragging rights.

After Heung-Min Son put Tottenham 1-0 win up as early as the 5th minute, one could tell how the game would play out. We’ve seen it before when Mourinho was manager of Inter Milan when they had to face Guardiola’s Barcelona in the Champions League. An early goal is great but from then on in its back to the walls.

While City dominated in possession that doesn’t mean that Tottenham didn’t have their chances to punish Guardiola’s team even more, but City could ill afford to lose this game and created most of the chances throughout the game.

In the first half alone City had 11 attempts on goal, Tottenham’s sole opportunity ended in a goal, which just underlined how the club seem transformed this season with more of a killer instinct. The second half was much like the first in that City controlled the ball and Tottenham defended well and looked for the counter attack.

Though he didn’t score at the weekend special mention should be given to Harry Kane who was all over the field, sprinting down the wings, looking to distribute the ball and even getting back, what a display the England international put in. But this was collective hard work from every player, Tottenham were that good and despite the riches on show from City the truth is that the club just ran out of ideas.

The game was effectively over just past the hour mark when Kane set up Giovani Lo Celso for Tottenham’s second. What was incredible is that Lo Celso had only been on the pitch for just over 30 seconds as a second half substitute.

City remained a threat but as the time went by it was clear that Tottenham had done their home work and the 2019 champions had become quite predictable in the process.

Tottenham are top of the league and unlike the last time they reached the summit, this counts more as the full weekend’s games have been completed.

It seems fitting that Tottenham reached 1st place by beating a great team in Manchester City, and it was a game that the home side bossed for the majority of the match. It also felt like a turning point. For Tottenham a new beginning filled with dreams under Jose Mourinho and for Manchester City perhaps the beginning of the end under Pep Guardiola.

Despite the many problems that Mourinho has faced in the last four years- failing at Chelsea in his 2nd season comeback with the club, then his nightmarish ending to his Manchester United managerial position, he seems to have come out the other end, and Tottenham could well be his last big hurrah before taking over on the international stage. Something special seems to be brewing at the club and one is reminded of Mourinho’s time a decade ago at Inter Milan. In Italy he took a well known club and turned them into serial winners.

At Tottenham the dream remains to be competitive and under former manager Mauricio Pochettino the club were heading in that direction, nobody can fault reaching the Champions League final. But something was just missing, a winning dynamic that for some reason couldn’t be achieved under Pochettino who left the club filling the hearts of many but not filling the trophy department.

This is why Mourinho was brought in to install that winning mentality. Forget Liverpool having to wait 30 years for a league title that ended last season and spare a thought for Tottenham who have had to wait since 1961. True it is early days and the Premier League is so hard to win, but there is hope at least, and Tottenham do have an uncanny ability to win trophies when the year ends in a 1. We will have to wait and see.

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Jose Mourinho is right to quash talk of a league title as the media put needless pressure on Tottenham

Everyone’s at it, and it is something that the press dearly love- raising up a team, selling the fans the hype and then watching when it all goes wrong. Everton fans have already witnessed it this season. After winning their first 3 games of the season and then holding the champions Liverpool to a 2-2 draw, there was talk that Carlo Ancelotti was about to deliver Everton their first league title since 1987. After four games….

Aston Villa were next on the agenda because, at one point, a team that escaped the clutches of relegation on the last weekend of the season were now the only side left in the Premier League with a 100% record. Because Everton and of course Liverpool were in the mix we were reminded that there was a 1980s vibe to the league campaign- that’s all very well but were the media jumping the gun? just a bit it seems.

Now attentions have turned to Tottenham, because even though the club have dropped a few points, they are starting to find the goals and form and have crept up to 2nd place, swishing past Liverpool who dropped 2 points with a draw at Manchester City this past weekend.

From their first 8 games Tottenham have won 5, drawn 2 and lost 1 and that defeat came in the opening weekend of the season against Everton, so they haven’t tasted defeat in the league for 2 months. That is impressive, the club have scored 19 goals and only Chelsea with 20 have more. Spurs also have the joint best defensive record in the league conceding 9 so far.

The talk is beginning that the club could be title challengers and for a brief moment the club did go top of the table after their 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend. That victory came courtesy of a Harry Kane goal- his 150th league goal for the club.

Jose Mourinho has been asked the inevitable question that Tottenham are league contenders and quite rightly he has had to bat the question away. Even if in his mind this is how he feels, he will know so well how quickly football changes, that one week you can be 2nd and just a point behind the leaders and within two be down to fifth place and looking over your shoulder at who is sixth and seventh.

Also talking of the title is no good for the players- forget about Liverpool having to wait 30 years, for Tottenham this season it will be 60. That is an incredible weight to carry and it is something that Mourinho will be all too aware about. However even if Tottenham had won league titles in the past decade and had enjoyed much trophy success there has to be some perspective, only 8 games have been played and the gap from 2nd where they currently reside to 6th is just 2 points. There are no big gaps and nothing to suggest that this league title can be wrapped up by any one team.

Let’s look at last season it was Jose Mourinho who was then out of a job who called Liverpool to win the league title and it was November, just like now. Of course the biggest difference was that Liverpool had pulled out an 11 point gap, challengers Manchester City were looking fatigued, and they were the only challengers that season and the campaign of course had started in August and was 3 months old.

Of course there have been moments that have made anyone who loves football sit up and take notice. The first quarter of an hour against West Ham was an exercise in supreme attacking which saw Tottenham score 3 goals. And no one will forget the 6-1 mauling they have Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Tottenham also have the deadliest strike partnership in the league in Harry Kane and Heung- Min Son who have scored between them 15 goals of the 19 the club have netted so far. And Kane has been involved either scoring or assisting in 15 of the 19 goals.

Matt Doherty in defence is current ranked as the clubs best defender with 10 points and he has shown over the past weeks of being a brilliant buy in the summer, it’s as if he has been with the club for a few seasons. Special mention should also go to another defender in Sergio Reguilon who has assisted in 2 goals this season. And of course the return of Gareth Bale with his experience will be very welcomed. The Welshman has already secured 3 points for the club with his winning goal against Brighton earlier this month.

But talk of the title does seem very premature, the club are in the mix but then again so is Leicester and Southampton and the Foxes have actually won the league in 2016 and yet no one is quite talking them up just yet. The ever looming threat of Liverpool remains and the champions are in 3rd place only denied taking over Tottenham by goal difference. And everyone expects that Manchester City will recover to go on a run and we haven’t even mentioned Chelsea who are in 5th and undefeated in 9 games in all competitions.

Perhaps we will have a clearer picture in the next month when Tottenham will have what looks like a nightmare fixture list- Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Leicester. Get through those mostly unhampered and there could be cause to start talking of league run ins. But as anyone who has followed football for years will tell you, in most seasons title talk should be reserved until just after the Christmas period, that is the vantage point where we can see which teams have it and which teams look likely to fall off.

Admittingly Tottenham are heading in the right direction, this is something that Mourinho is fully aware of, he just doesn’t at this point of the season need reminding from the media. He needs himself to remain grounded as do his players as the games are going to come thick and fast, as they say it is one game at a time.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Tottenham 3-3 West Ham

West Ham broke records as the first team since the Premier League started to come back from 3 goals down with just 9 minutes remaining in a game. And what a game of football this was. The often told tail that football is a game of two halves could be summed up here as fiery London rivals Tottenham and West Ham put on a dazzling, breathtaking show as the clubs drew 3-3.

But the game should never have been a draw, from the first whistle there was only one team in it and that was the home side Tottenham. Their last game here had ended in a controversial draw with Newcastle and it was clear that the players wanted to eradicate that memory with a memorable performance over David Moyes side.

Within 60 seconds Tottenham had made their mark and let it be known despite how the game would turn out Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are at present the deadliest strike force in the Premier League. And they both linked up as Kane set up Son for a good opening goal. Son returned the complement just seven minutes later as he teed up Kane for Tottenham’s 2nd, and West Ham looked finished.

A 3rd goal followed as early as the 16th minute and it was Kane who reeled away once again- his 5th goal of the season, indeed he has been involved in 12 of Tottenham’s 15 goals this season, an incredible statistic. New signing Sergio Reguilon set Kane up and up to this point manager Jose Mourinho would have been more than delighted. Tottenham were bossing the play and looking for a 4th against a West Ham team who thought it was the start of the season again and that they were playing Newcastle.

The Hammers simply looked a shadow of the team that had beaten Wolves 4-0 and then Leicester 3-0 in their previous two games, was the international break to blame? Or was it that David Moyes had returned to the dug out? That seems harsh, and as it proved was. Moyes has worked hard trying to get the best out of this West Ham team.

Despite the 3-0 scoreline at half time West Ham hadn’t been that poor but just lacking in ideas. They had made 3 corners to Tottenham’s zero and had 2 shots on target to Tottenham’s 4. Second best yes, but not quite out of the game. Although in truth it did look like it.

As the second half kicked off and went on West Ham played some good football but to no avail and Tottenham looked like adding a 4th or simply easing to a 3-0 victory. Gareth Bale made his emotional return to playing for the side in the first time in seven years, and his presence was felt on the pitch when he came on as a second half substitute.

Looking for more attacking options Moyes brought on Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini and Mourinho took off Son to shore up the team, and then the game changed. Some have blamed Son’s departure in letting Tottenham in again as their high line came more forward and suddenly Tottenham looked more exposed. And then Fabian Balbuena scored. Still with just 9 minutes left, 3-1 was acceptable- Tottenham were going to win this game. But just a few minutes later Davidson Sanchez unfortunately turned the ball into his own net after a dangerous low cross, now it was 3-2 and there was a belief that Tottenham could blow this.

But cometh the moment cometh the man, Bale showed just how good he is as he escaped his man and ran with the ball it seemed as if something he has done many times before for both Tottenham and Real Madrid would end up in the back of the net and it was deep into injury time, this goes in and Tottenham have won the game. But he missed and the Hammers counter attacked straight away as the seconds were running down.

And then it happened. Call it hit and hope or call it a piece of magic but in the 94th minute Lanzini struck from outside the area and the ball went flying in via hitting the bar, it was an unstoppable shot. And even without fans the players went crazy and seemed to generate some sort of atmosphere within the near empty stadium. It was joy for David Moyes too he hopped and skipped on the touchline.

The Premier League had rewarded us with yet another game of incident and goals. As for Tottenham they should take encouragement that Son and Kane are on fire, that there are goals in this side and that despite a bumpy start to the season they have in fact lost just once.

As for West Ham it seemed after their first defeat in the opening weekend of the season against Newcastle United that looking at their fixtures the club were doomed. That hasn’t happened and if the Hammers keep up performances like these they have every chance to keep surprising their critics.

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Premier League’s Game of the Week: Southampton 2-5 Tottenham

Our memories of the beginning of the 2020/21 Premier League season will be about goals, there has been over 60 of them already with a goal average of 3.6 per game. You want lots of goals, come to the Premier League and the match between Southampton and Tottenham would be no different.

On Saturday we witnessed Everton come from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 5-2 and the same scenario was repeated on Sunday when Tottenham travelled to Southampton. This was an edgy game of sorts even before a whistle was blown given that both clubs had lost their opening games. Southampton went 1-0 down to Crystal Palace and Tottenham were beaten by the same scoreline at their ground against Everton. A win was needed by both clubs, though you sensed Jose Mourinho at Tottenham was under more pressure to get it.

This was a game that felt like it had everything. Three goals, one for the home side and two for Tottenham were disallowed early on, Harry Kane thought he had put Spurs in front as early as the 3rd minute but VAR stepped in and it also denied Danny Ings for a handball. At the half hour stage the game was end to end but still 0-0 and nobody could have foreseen that there would be 7 goals to come on this Sunday afternoon. When Kane had another goal ruled out for offside it did seem like it was going to be one of those days.

But the Saints opened the scoring, their first goal of the campaign through Ings who got it right this time. Ings was one of the revelations of last season and he will hope to have a 2nd season just as good. Tottenham were able to equalise on the stroke of half time through Heung-Min Son and you have to wonder just how important that goal was for the Tottenham dressing room atmosphere.

In fairness Southampton seemed good to go in at half time in the lead because Tottenham on reflection had been the second best team in the first half, they managed just 1 shot on target. Still at 1-1 it felt that the psychology of the game had shifted, and with that goal which was Tottenham’s first of the season it seemed to be the switch that they were looking for. Within 2 minutes of the restart Son had pounced again to make it 2-1, Kane had assisted again. This was vintage Spurs or at least what fans had been expecting from the deadly duo in the first game.

If Tottenham were toothless in the first game then in this one they had teeth like a great white shark and they started to take the game to the home side. But Son completed his hat trick just after the hour mark. A fourth goal came ten minutes later for Son, by far the man of the match and yet again it was Kane who supplied the final ball. When Kane scored himself to make it 5-1 it felt that the team had come full circle and the defeat against Everton could be truly forgotten.

A small blip near the end of the game let in Southampton for a penalty in which Ings converted, but it was just a consolation goal, and there would be no miraculous comeback even in a season so far filled with goals.

It’s incredible in how just over a week Tottenham’s fortunes have changed, a win in the Europa League qualifiers and a league win is icing on the cake. But also the return of the prodigal son, one of Tottenham’s genuinely great modern stars, Gareth Bale is complete. Bale has joined the club on loan from Real Madrid. Injured at the moment, you get the feeling that the players have just welcomed him in the most perfect way possible.

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Jose Mourinho will be delighted that Tottenham have qualified for the Europa League

When Jose Mourinho took up the job at Tottenham the London side were flirting with mid table, so he will be delighted that the team have advanced since his arrival.

In the end Tottenham found some great form and consistency to surge forward and qualify for next seasons Europa League. A step forward has been made which sounds bizarre given that Tottenham reached the 2019 Champions League final.

However under Mauricio Pochettino this season had started poorly and that was when Mourinho was brought in. How quickly things change in football, one moment Pochettino was the hero and the next, at least to the clubs owners he was the zero.

Maybe there will be a tinge of disappointment that Tottenham are not returning to the Champions League for next season, they did seem to have a genuine chance as the campaign restarted. But in the end too many draws and not losses stifled their chances- they ended up finishing 7 points off the Champions League pace.

But on recent form alongside the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham have looked like a team on a mission and in fact on form are the 3rd best side in the league. The club went their last 5 games without defeat picking up 11 points in that time. They even defeated Newcastle at St.James’ Park. That may not sound like an achievement for the club itself but for Mourinho it was huge. He had an uncanny record at Newcastle’s ground no matter what team he managed where he kept losing games their. This season Tottenham won 3-1 though.

The least Tottenham could have hoped for is European football next season and after finishing 6th they have it edging out Wolves on goal difference as they finished with 59 points.

Whilst Mourinho wants Champions League football he will realise that for now Europa League football is good enough. And of course he has won the Europa League with Manchester United in the past. For United the trophy always felt like a stepping stone, for Tottenham to win in Europe again (the first time since the 1980s) it would feel like something completely different- a justification of Mourinho’s appointment.

Of course we are getting ahead of ourselves, but after some difficult moments perhaps Mourinho being at Tottenham is not as bad as some pundits have suggested, perhaps there really will be a trophy of some sort at the end of his journey, and a trophy really is what the club need and want.

Mourinho will also be hoping that the prospect of European football will settle some of his players. It has been suggested that star striker Harry Kane may want a move away, as time is running out for the player to win some silverware. Qualification at least is another opportunity for Tottenham to pick up something.

The summer will be interesting transfer wise at Tottenham that is for sure.

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Tottenham fall 12 points behind a Champions League position and will have to accept defeat this season

This past weekend confirmed that Champions League football will not be present in Tottenham’s new stadium next season.

Tottenham lost 3-1 to Sheffield United whilst Leicester and Chelsea recorded wins and that means that the London club have now fallen 12 points behind. There is no way back considering still the teams between Tottenham and 4th place.

Jose Mourinho was brought in back in November to salvage a season where the club at that time were mixing with 11th place. But presently the club are in 10th and so on the face of it one could conclude not much has changed under Mourinho. Of course they do have a game in hand which they will play on Monday night against Everton at home. Win that and they would go 8th.

Should Tottenham fans be concerned though that Mourinho often touted as one of the best managers in the world has not been able to improve the side this season? Currently his win rate for the club stands at just 41% this is the lowest of his managerial career and it has been steadily declining since his days in charge of Real Madrid.

Mourinho himself would want to be cut some slack given a new set up, such a change of club and also he has been dealt quite a few injuries. Ideally a manager wants to start from the beginning of the season, but clearly there have been performances and results that have seemed underwhelming whilst he has been in charge.

It is interesting to see that in Mauricio Pochettino’s first 12 games of the season before he was sacked he earned 14 points with the club. Mourinho’s first 12 games brought back 17. It isn’t much of a difference.

Look at some of the points that have been dropped too? Did anyone expect losses against Southampton and Sheffield United? Or dropped points against the likes of Watford, Norwich and Burnley? Had those 3 draws been converted into wins Tottenham would have 51 points and be in 7th place hunting down Wolves and Manchester United.

It hasn’t been a disaster for Tottenham and Mourinho but maybe one was expecting a bit more magic in the dug out and with tactics. Mourinho will be more judged on what happens next season. For now confirmation that Tottenham won’t play in the Champions League and at least challenge for a top 4 spot has to be a blow for the fans.

In the end the club were simply not consistent enough either with Pochettino or Mourinho in charge.

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Tottenham beat London rivals West Ham but VAR grabs all of the headlines once again

For Jose Mourinho it was relief when the brilliant Harry Kane sealed victory over London rivals West Ham to make it 2-0 on the night near the end of the game. Three points had been achieved, and him and the rest of the team could breathe once more. But threatening to overshadow the game once more was VAR which affected one goal and could have done so with another.

Heung-Min Son for example had thought he had scored the opening goal, and a good one it looked too before replays showed that his toe nail was offside. At the end of the day VAR did its job, but again common sense and VAR do not go hand in hand. Offside surely should only be punished if a player is clearly offside and looking for an advantage. In this case like literally hundreds before it Son was not looking for an advantage, and he was offside due to luck, in his case bad luck.

That incident could have spelled disaster for Tottenham who really needed the win given that Chelsea had gone 9 points clear of them, and Mourinho wants a Champions League finish.

With Tottenham looking like the better side, West Ham still remained a danger with Pablo Fornals given a glorious chance to put the Hammers in front but he miss kicked the ball.

Tottenham eventually opened the scoring but it was an own goal by the Hammers Tomas Soucek just after the hour that provided it. It was unfortunate for the club but perhaps the goal was coming. However after the game West Ham manager David Moyes was enraged as he said replays could show Tottenham player Davison Sanchez had hand balled the cross. He demanded why VAR did not come into play, and by the laws that goal should not have counted. However the incident is not very clear as the ball moves so fast. The end result it looks like sour grapes from Moyes. However if VAR want to give Son’s goal offside, maybe Moyes has a point that it should have stopped the game and looked at the incident.

That goal took the stuffing out of West Ham and then Tottenham went onto win the game. It was an important win and keeps the club in the mix for a European finish.

As for West Ham they are hanging onto survival and are only in 17th place by virtue of goal difference. West Ham’s next game will be against Chelsea whilst Tottenham will play Sheffield United.

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The FA would be wrong to punish Tottenham’s Eric Dier

Eric Dier made more headlines off the pitch then on it as Tottenham crashed out of the FA Cup in midweek against Norwich, who are currently bottom of the Premier League table.

As the players were leaving the pitch with his side Tottenham having just lost on penalties to the Canaries Dier could be seen to jump into the crowd in amazing scenes. What transpired was that he was reacting to something that was said to his brother who was in attendance. As a fan had shouted abuse, Dier found his tipping point, blood boiling and entered the stands to confront the fan. As cowards go, this fan was top of the list and seeing Dier coming towards him he ran off. Not in a million years did he actually think Dier would jump the advertising boards to confront him, but he did.

Inevitably the FA have got involved and Dier could be looking at a ban, but the FA need not show their power in this incident. When matters of racism arise in England the FA are always quick on the mark and show a zero tolerance attitude and they need to be applauded for that, other leagues can learn from the FA’s attitude on this. But it does seem that the FA love to show their power to other matters.

Take the Everton game when Carlo Ancelotti was sent off for swearing at the referee after seeing a last minute Everton winner ruled out against Manchester United. Whilst the FA rescinded the red card, they still fined Ancelotti £8,000. Pocket money to him, but why the fine for a swear word?

What Dier did was nicely summed up by his manager Jose Mourinho who said it was not professional but he could understand the circumstances as it was an attack on his family member.

Some have tried to compare the incident to Eric Cantona’s infamous kick on a fan in 1995, and that is so wide of the mark. There was no violence in this confrontation, although the fan ran away so we will never know. What Dier did wasn’t correct but there is two sides to the story. No abusive fan bullying his brother and no incident. That is as clear as day and one would hope that the FA would consider this.

The ideal scenario would be to see the fan banned from the ground, if not for life at least for the next couple of years. The season is almost over, so a season ban makes no sense. They should talk to Dier and that should be it, no ban and no fine. But make it clear that they won’t tolerate that behaviour again. For example why didn’t Dier motion to the stewards to act on the incident before he had too?

So Dier was silly to react but he was also protective. Maybe the people who decide his fate need to think what they would do in that situation before handing down judgement.

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This isn’t the Jose Mourinho Tottenham were looking for as season boils down to the FA Cup

So it looks like the season for Tottenham is going to come down to the FA Cup, and they have a manager in Jose Mourinho who wins trophies. Even at his nightmare period with Manchester United Mourinho won silverware and this is the hope that Tottenham cling on too.

In truth has Mourinho’s appointment improved Tottenham as a whole since sacking Mauricio Pochettino last November? Statistically it just about has in Mourinho’s first 12 games in charge he earned 20 points. In Pochettino’s 12 games in charge before being sacked this season he earned 14. But this season under Mourinho Tottenham are on course to earn at least 10 points under what Pochettino earned last season.

Though Tottenham still find themselves in the mix for a top 4 spot, which would mean Champions League football next season, this is not down to how good they have been, but more about how inconsistent Chelsea have been in 4th place. The lack of putting any number of winning games together has given the likes of both Tottenham and Manchester United hope. But the reality is that Tottenham look like they will miss out on Champions League football next season, evidently they are just not a good enough side this season to finish in the top four. That was hammered home again last weekend when they lost 3-2 at home to Wolves, despite being a goal up.

One of the biggest factors in getting Mourinho in and reportedly paying him in the region of £15m a season was that he wins games on a consistent basis and finds a way. His home form in league games is undisputed, but this season under him Tottenham have already lost 3 at home, this under a man who once went 9 years over 150 games without defeat at home. It does feel that Tottenham were looking for the Jose Mourinho of 2005 and have landed with an inferior product.

The Champions League this season is very much in the balance after the club lost the 1st leg against RB Leipzig 1-0. That was a home game and if Leipzig score first in Germany in the return match, Tottenham would need to score at least 2 goals on the night. Tottenham remains a very good side, let’s not forget that they made the Champions League final last year, but they are clearly a few levels below most of the teams left in this seasons competition.

Of course injuries have played their part. Not only did they lose Harry Kane but Heung-Min Son who had found his goal scoring boots is also out injured, and both players are missing months instead of weeks. But something else is missing with the club and it could well be that Mourinho is well past his sell by date, or maybe he just doesn’t have the quality of players at his disposal. Will more money be spent this summer, well you can guarantee it, but then all of the pressure will be under Mourinho with nowhere to escape if the club do not pick up and start challenging for trophies.

This season then looks like it will come down to the FA Cup. And make no mistake if Tottenham did finish outside the top four, but qualified for the Europa League and won the FA Cup the fans would take that. For all of the great play under Pochettino and the memorable wins, the club won nada, nothing, zilch. And fans want to see trophies held aloft at the end of the day.

Today the club will turn to the FA Cup where they will play Norwich in their replay and try to qualify for the quarter finals. Lose that and one senses all momentum could depart a ship that sometimes looks worryingly lost at sea.

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Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham

A five goal thriller took place at Villa Park as Tottenham won a rare away game to beat Aston Villa 3-2 for three crucial points.

It was a meeting of the minds, old and new with Aston Villa assistant John Terry reconnecting with Jose Mourinho his former manager and mentor at Chelsea all those years ago. And this was a game.

Villa started with a very daring formation of 3-4-3 with the possibility of putting one player up front back into midfield. And Tottenham went for 4-2-3-1. The away team trying to crowd out midfield and then have Heung-Min Son up front on his own.

The early exchanges would be something that Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld would not forget in a hurry. He latched onto a ball and ended up scoring an own goal after just 9 minutes to give Villa the lead. It looked like Tottenham could have been heading for their 6th away defeat of the season at that point.

But on the 27th minute Tottenham equalised and it was ironic that it would be Alderweireld who would get the goal. Only his 6th goal for the club and his 25th goal in all competitions throughout his career. With the game at 1-1 Tottenham found a new belief, they were back in the game now. Towards half time there was a penalty call as it appeared that Villa’s Bjorn Engels had handled the ball but the referee was happy not to give it. It finally went to VAR and there was a long delay, which was unfortunate- is this what football is really all about now? But VAR came back and did give the penalty. Suddenly Tottenham had the chance to go into the first half in the lead.

Heung-Min Son took the penalty but his effort was saved by Pepe Reina however the ball rebounded and the South Korean made no mistake in stabbing at home and Tottenham were leading 2-1.

It had been a fantastic and frantic first half of football that had seen 38 attempts on goal, with 10 on target for Tottenham and 4 on target for Villa. And nobody could wait until the second half got underway.

In some ways this was a game of redemption; Alderweireld had scored an own goal and then scored a goal to get his side back in the game and now Bjorn Engels was on hand to do just the same. After conceding the penalty in the first half, Jack Grealish set up Engels who equalised inside 10 minutes of the re start and we had a game on.

Whilst Villa should be given credit for wanting the win and not wanting to settle for the draw, Tottenham were on top in the 2nd half producing 7 shots on target to Villa’s eventual 2. This game looked like it would end 2-2 though, which would have been a big point for the home side but would have dented Tottenham’s top 4 aspirations. But this game wasn’t over.

Villa had held out until the 94th minute with the whistle about to blow there was a clear panic in defence and the ball fell to Son who made no mistakes and scored a glorious winner that sent the team, the away fans and Mourinho ecstatic. It was huge and the win put Tottenham just one point behind Chelsea for 4th. It was also Son’s 9th goal of the season in the league.

Whilst there was jubilation in the Tottenham camp there was frustration of what could have been in the Villa one and relegation remains a big threat for the club who are in 17th and are just one point from safety.

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