Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City - FA Cup Third Round

Two for Deuce sees Dempsey lead Tottenham to FA Cup win

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Whether it be from formation change or the form of teammates, Clint Dempsey’s not taking any challenge to his playing time lightly. Just as he’s done throughout his career, Dempsey’s responded almost immediately, his Saturday return to Spurs’ starting lineup producing two goals in Tottenham’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Coventry City.

Dempsey missed two games over the Christmas period with a groin injury. Since he’s return to health, he’s been featured off the bench, but with André Villas-Boas changing near-half his team for today’s game at White Hart Lane, Dempsey found himself back in Spurs’ starting XI.

MORE: Ba debut highlights Chelsea rout

Since the game wasn’t broadcast here in the States (and highlights are scarce, at this point), let’s trust the words of those on the scene. From The Guardian:

Tottenham’s opening goal arrived in the 14th minute – Gareth Bale rose highest at the near post to flick on Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick, and Clint Dempsey smashed the resulting opportunity into the roof of the net from five yards.

Sounds like a very typical Dempsey goal – right place, right time, right finish.

More, on Dempsey’s part in the next two goals:

Inevitably, though, Bale volleyed home from an acute angle after Dempsey’s shot had ballooned off-target in the 33rd minute. Dempsey then bagged another himself with a looping header from a corner four minutes later.

So he might get a lucky assist on the second. The third, however, sounds like Deuce’s work.

The two goals bring Dempsey’s all-competition goal total to six in 25 games this season, not bad considering his early adjustment period at White Hate Lane. While he’s not going to come close to the 23 he posted for Fulham last year, the goal rate is right in step with his typical Craven Cottage years, a strong showing given the increased competition for playing time.

MORE: Another late comeback from Manchester United.

Whether today’s performance helps Deuce continue getting regular time remains to be seen. Obviously, it won’t hurt, but it was an FA Cup home tie against a far inferior opponent. Spurs may still end up a 4-4-2 team without a clear spot for Dempsey, but just as he did at Fulham, Dempsey looks intent on forcing his way into the team.

At a minimum, today’s goals should give him a leg up in any Dempsey versus Gylfi Sigurdsson battle.

Later today, we’ll circle back and feature your feedback on that battle (or, “battle,” as some would phrase it).

SEE: All the day’s action in the FA Cup.

Hiddink on Zouma absence: “We have no fear of bringing youngsters in”

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Chelsea hosts Newcastle United this weekend, its first game since the season-ending injury to young defender Kurt Zouma.

The 21-year-old Frenchman has arguably been Chelsea’s best center back when it comes to marking and defending this season, and manager Guus Hiddink has to find an alternative for the big man.

[ MORE: Klopp updates Sturridge, Coutinho fitness; Backs owners ]

While Gary Cahill and John Terry have the familiar names of the bunch, Hiddink won’t limit himself to veteran replacements. Certainly he could slide Cesar Azpilicueta inside, though that would sacrifice about a half-foot, and Newcastle likes to use big striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

He also has 20-year-old USMNT back Matt Miazga — who’s been given squad No. 20 — and said the following in Friday’s pre-match press conference:

“We have no fear of bringing youngsters in.”

Could we see Miazga in the fold on Saturday? Hiddink’s comments sure sound like he’d rather not, but all it takes is an injury or an inkling.

Miazga gave an interview to Chelsea’s web site last weekend where he described his play.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“I really like it, it is a higher level, the ball moves much faster but yeah, it is good. All the guys are very welcoming and I am really enjoying it.

“My game is definitely built on winning aerial challenges and tackles. As a centre-back you have to have an aerial presence and win a lot of headers, and my job is to win duels and not let opponents score, so every time I try to get a good tackle in and make my opponent know that I am there and it is not going to be an easy time trying to go by me.”

The ball moves much faster, and we’re hoping to see Miazga move with it sooner rather than later. Will it be this weekend.

Klopp says Sturridge “good” after match return; Happy at ticket resolution

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool signals during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on February 9, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Fans protested their ticket prices, and Liverpool’s owners listened.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t surprised by this, and the German backed his bosses and gave an injury update as part of his prematch press conference on Friday.

[ MORE: Arsenal to play MLS All Stars in San Jose ]

Liverpool heads to Aston Villa on Sunday, and Klopp is cautiously optimistic about his stars after Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho played big roles in the Reds’ midweek FA Cup loss to West Ham.

Klopp says Origi and Coutinho need their minutes managed, but said Sturridge feels good after normal recovery from his 70-minute return against the Irons. The English striker was Liverpool’s star in the match, and looked a cut above the Reds’ recent strike options.

As for the ticket price issue, Klopp beamed with pride over the Liverpool decision.

From the BBC:

“I think the world of football it is not easy when you are the owner of a club to prove you are interested in the club,” said Klopp.

“I have been here four-and-a-half months and I know the owners as people. They really care about the club and the interests of supporters. Hopefully it is understood for what it is: proof of their real interest in this club and all the things around this club.”

No surprise that Klopp backed the men who pay his deal, but it’d be easy enough for him to ignore the issue (though that’s hardly in his DNA).

As for Sturridge, Liverpool’s in for some goals if Tuesday is any indication.

VIDEO: T&T women’s team gives away one of the most bizarre PKs

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Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.

[ MORE: USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with 5-0 victory ]

Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.

Bundesliga to go ahead with video replay tests over two years

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, a Hawk-Eye camera is set up at Toyota stadium in Toyota. For the first time at a World Cup, technology will be used to determine whether a ball crosses the goal line during matches at the upcoming tournament in Brazil. With vanishing spray also being used to prevent encroachment by defenders making up a wall during free kicks, officials at the highest level of the world’s most popular sport are finally getting some assistance. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
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BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]

The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.

The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”

[ MORE: 17-year-old American MF Pulisic gets Bundesliga debut for Dortmund ]

These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.