Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale reacts during their Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at White Hart Lane in London

Better weekend for a Yank abroad: Altidore’s hat trick or Dempsey’s day-saver for Spurs?


Jozy Altidore seemed to have a stranglehold on best weekend for a Yank abroad, never mind that Vitesse defense was on Eredivisie holiday apparently on Saturday; a hat trick is a hat trick.

But what about Clint Dempsey’s day at snowy White Hart Lane? That’s got to be part of this conversation, at least.

Dempsey was in the right place at the right time to supply the stoppage time goal, as Tottenham took points off top-of-the-table Manchester United – something not a lot of clubs are doing at the moment – in a 1-1 draw in North London.

Spurs will keep their place in the table (third currently) after Dempey undid Manchester United yet again. Remember, it was the U.S. international who provided the game-winner in late September, his first goal for Tottenham after the huge late-summer move from Fulham.

Sunday, Spurs were creeping toward a disappointing 1-0 loss at home, already into the third minute of injury time. Dempsey had failed to convert on a one-on-one earlier in the contest, so poking in the winner from close range after some less than spectacular ball handling from Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea must have felt fantastic.

What Dempsey, now with five Premier League goals for Spurs, had to say in the flash interview immediately after Sunday’s draw:

“We needed to get a point, because we need as many point as possible if we want to finish in the top four. Anytime you get four points off Manchester United in a season, that’s a great return.

I’ve had a little bit of a slow start to the season in in terms of getting goals, but it’s great to start chipping in a little more and hopefully there will be more to come. It feels great to score against a club like Man United, and hopefully I can score a few more this season.” 

And until the copyright cops speak up … here’s the big goal for Spurs on Sunday:


Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.