Tottenham Hotspur Clint Dempsey is preparing for a Europa League battle with Panathinaikos in Greece, and he wants to win the tournament that most of the world thinks is sort of “meh list.”
“The prestige is there,” the American star said before the game. “You get to play against some of best clubs in Europe. That’s why we are all excited about the possibility of going on a run and doing something special.”
Dempsey knows of what he speaks, having played in the final with Fulham where the Cottagers lost to Atletico Madrid. And there’s some truth to his logic: the Europa league is better than most people believe (and fun to watch to boot).
But… it makes us sad to hear Dempsey talk like this. Remember the heady days of the summer when he was going transfer to a club where he could play in the Champions League? Those were the fun times. Then, it got ugly, then uglier, and Dempsey ended up with the Spurs. Not a bad place to land, of course, but not CL, at least this year.
He knows, he knows:
“Playing at the highest level possible is what you dream about as a kid growing up in a small town. You see these people on TV and you always push yourself because you want to try to get to that level. This club deserves to be in the Champions League really as they finished fourth last year. It was only because of a technicality that they didn’t.”
Luckily, this is football and there’s always next season. The Spurs currently sit in fifth, one spot (and one point) out of a CL spot. It’s going to be a tough slog to get there, but hopefully it will happen. Dempsey belongs in the best competition in the world.
In the meantime, there’s always the Europa Cup. On some level, a cup is a cup is a cup. Raise it high, raise it proud.
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League leaders Chelsea weren’t in action on Saturday, but things couldn’t have possibly gone any better for the Blues.
With Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United all dropping points in their respective matches, Antonio Conte‘s men have the opportunity to widen the gap atop the Premier League on Sunday as Chelsea faces Hull City.
The Citizens will surely feel disappointed in referee Andre Mariner’s lack of a penalty decision, and more so both sides are feeling the affects after finishing level at the Etihad Stadium. Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris had a rough go of it early in the second stanza after two goals to Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne just four minutes apart. Luckily for the visitors, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son each netted for Tottenham to give Mauricio Pochettino‘s side a share of the points.
It was bound to end some time but Liverpool certainly wasn’t expecting a fight from the Swans on Saturday. Unfortunately for them, that’s exactly what they got. And more. Swansea picked up its first ever top-flight win at Anfield, and the victory couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Fernando Llorente netted twice for the visitors, while Gylfi Sigurdsson played hero on the day for the Swans. The loss for the Reds snapped a 25-match unbeaten streak at home, while also opening the door for Chelsea to extend its lead at the top of the PL.
Wayne Rooney was the star of the show, but the veteran attacker’s moment of achievement was overshadowed by his side’s failure to pick up three points. Rooney’s 250th goal was surely the day’s biggest talking point, but Juan Mata‘s earlier own goal ensured United that a draw was their fate on the day. The Red Devils currently sit 11 points out of the top spot in the PL, while the draw keeps Stoke in ninth.
The Toffees have found new life a recent string of victories but it’s Palace that has become the bigger story on Saturday after falling into the depths of the relegation zone. Seamus Coleman sealed the victory for Everton after Tom Davies picked out the veteran Toffee for the match’s lone finish. Outside of Crystal Palace’s FA Cup victory over Bolton, the Eagles have lost eight consecutive PL fixtures, prompting the team’s fall into 18th place.
Goals from Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt kept the Baggies on the top half of the table as Sunderland continues its relegation woes. The Black Cats now sit three points buried at the bottom of the PL following Saturday’s defeat.
The Hammers moved into the top half of the PL courtesy of goals from Andy Carroll and Jonathan Calleri, while the Boro couldn’t keep up with Slaven Bilic‘s surging side. West Ham has now moved up to 10th place after winning five of its last seven league matches. Christian Stuani managed Middlesbrough’s lone tally on the day, however, the club now sits just four points above the bottom three.
Four straight draws between the two sides have left very little between the mid table clubs but Saturday’s encounter surely had its share of entertaining moments. The Hornets led twice on the day with goals from Christian Kabasele and Troy Deeney, however, Bournemouth managed to fight back on both occasions to record the draw. The Cherries currently have a two-point advantage over Watford in the table, with the two clubs sitting 11th and 14th, respectively.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola was furious, and went off on the fourth official. Walker, it seems, knows he was guilty.
“I wasn’t going to get him otherwise,” Walker said. “You just have to try to put him off as much as possible.”
Then there’s Pep, who tried to avoid speaking about the penalty.
“We made an outstanding performance. It’s a pity what happened. … We’re upset, sad at what happened, but I am so, so proud of what we did.”
Later he was told that Walker admitting to pushing Sterling, and said with a smirk, “In this country you appreciate honesty. Thank you to Walker for being honest.”
Finally, Pochettino seems to think there wasn’t a problem at all, except when City was allowed to score when Hugo Lloris headed a ball off Leroy Sane’s hand before Sane scored.
“The first goal we conceded was handball. We can’t start to see every single detail, in England it’s different. It wasn’t a penalty. From my side, there’s no complaint about from me about the referee.”