Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace: Second half surge keeps Spurs rolling (video)

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Tottenham Hotspur rallied in the second half to overcome a spirited Crystal Palace side, and seal a 2-0 win on Saturday at White Hart Lane to make it four wins from their last five.

Jason Puncheon missed a first half penalty for Palace, as the visitors threatened often in the second half but Spurs’ extra class oozed through after the interval. Christian Eriksen opened the scoring after a long ball found him in plenty of space to finish powerfully. Then new Toronto FC signing Jermain Defoe jumped off the bench to make it 2-0 and seal the victory 24 hours after announcing he’ll be joining Major League Soccer.

With the win Tottenham move into fifth and just six points off the top of the league. While Palace sink to the bottom of the table and remain on 17 points.

Crystal Palace started brightly as Yannick Bolasie and Marouane Chamakh linked up well down the flanks to give Spurs plenty of problems.

In the 7th minute referee Michael Oliver pointed to the penalty spot for a foul on Chamakh by Moussa Dembele in the box, but Jason Puncheon wasted a glorious opportunity as he shanked his effort off target. A real let off for Spurs.

Despite that penalty miss Palace weren’t put off and often got the ball wide to cause Tottenham problems. Puncheon forced Tottenham ‘keeper Hugo Lloris into a save at the near post and the chances kept coming for the Eagles as Chamakh raced clear but his ball to Bolasie was over-hit.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

In the 30th minute Aaron Lennon’s cross almost found Spurs forward Adebayor who attacked the ball but  just missed out. Then in the 33rd minute Spurs youngster Bentaleb smashed an effort that hit the woodwork and somehow bounced across the line and out.

Despite being under pressure for most of the first half, a long ball forward after the break found Adebayor who nodded the ball down for Eriksen who took two touches and blasted an effort in the top corner to make it 1-0. Tottenham were buoyed by the opening goal as Adebayor went close on several occasions following dangerous balls whipped into the box from wide areas.

Spurs did make it 2-0 in the 72nd minute, as substitute Jermain Defoe cleaned up after the ball found him in the box and the Toronto FC bound forward finished clinically. After that goal Tottenham saw out the game superbly as they knocked the ball around and made Palace run themselves into the ground to try and get back into the game.

That never looked like happening after Spurs opened the scoring, as Tim Sherwood’s side extended their unbeaten run to five games.

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker (Naughton, 48), Chiriches, Dawson, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembele, Eriksen (Chadli, 76); Adebayor, Soldado (Defoe, 58)

Goals: Eriksen (51), Defoe (72)

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie (Williams, 69), Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon (Guedioura, 82), Jerome (Gayle, 69), Chamakh

Pressure builds on Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz

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Borussia Dortmund has fallen to fifth in the Bundesliga table thanks to a trio of consecutive losses in league play, and suddenly there is loads of pressure on manager Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman came to Westfalenstadion after upper management pushed Thomas Tuchel out over the summer, and while he won seven of his first eight league matches in charge by a total goal differential of 21-2, things have come crashing down. The black & yellow have lost three in a row Bundesliga matches and four of their last five across all competitions, with their only win in that span coming over third-tier Magdenburg.

With fans feeling helpless over the departure of the wildly successful Tuchel that came as a result of a falling out between the German and his superiors, Bosz would always be on a short leash. He inherited a flawed squad, yet one that had achieved much under his predecessor, and immediate failures would naturally be lumped on the new man.

The most recent defeat, a 2-1 falter at Stuttgart, was a microcosm of Dortmund’s recent failures. The team conceded a comically poor goal five minutes into the match, worked hard to equalize just before the halftime break, and conceded again just after returning to the pitch. They controlled much of the match, but largely failed to capitalize.

The head man summed it up pretty well. “The defeat really hurts,” Bosz proclaimed after the final whistle. “We came here to win, so we’re very disappointed. When you see the goals we conceded, it borders on the ridiculous. It hurts because we actually put in a relatively good performance in the first half. The team performed well after conceding the early goal, only the final ball was lacking. The second half wasn’t as good. We need to keep going, we won’t give up.”

So what do the Dortmund executives do? Does Bosz get the benefit of the doubt based on performances? Or does he get blamed for the sudden dropoff in results? There is plenty of pressure given the team sits not only nine points back of Borussia Dortmund in league play, but is also third in a brutal Champions League group with almost no hope of recovery, and even threatens to miss out on a drop to Europa League play if they slip behind Cypriot club Apoel Nicosia, whom they find themselves level on points with.

Even if the club sticks with the Dutchman for now, his room for error has almost completely evaporated and it’s only mid-November. The next two matches will likely tell the tale, and it’s an uphill battle. Tottenham comes to Westfalenstadion on the backs of a disappointing defeat to North London foes Arsenal, followed by the home end of the Rivierderby against a Schalke side that sits second in the Bundesliga table, three points above Bosz and Dortmund.

Antonio Conte calls Tony Pulis a “really good manager”

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West Brom, after four straight defeats, sits 17th in the Premier League table, most recently suffering a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Chelsea.

Yet Blues boss Antonio Conte has offered his counterpart an olive branch, supporting his fellow Premier League manager at a time of panic.

With reports that Pulis could be fired this coming week – some say as early as Monday – the Baggies boss is under heaps of pressure, but Conte doesn’t believe he should be. “I must be honest, I think Tony Pulis is a really good manager,” Conte said, hoping those in charge don’t make decisions based on Sunday’s result.

“He has great experience and it’s always very difficult to play against his team. This game became easy because we started very strong, with great concentration and desire to win. We showed from the start our will to win this game. But I repeat: Last season we struggled a lot against them.”

West Brom has lost four in a row in league play, and they haven’t picked up a win since August, and as The Guardian points out, they have the lowest average possession in the Premier League and have the second-lowest shots on target thus far. They registered just two shots on target against Chelsea, and held 39% possession, which is actually slightly above their average for the season.

Sergio Ramos suffers broken nose in Atletico Madrid draw

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Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.

Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.

Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.

Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”

Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.

Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.

Moyes roasts West Ham players after loss to Watford

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After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.

A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.

“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.

He wasn’t done.

“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”

He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”

Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll could have been carded seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season. He was eventually given one in the 28th minute.

“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”

That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.