Swansea City 1-3 Tottenham: Spurs incisive counter too much for sorry Swans (video)

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A double for a reborn Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tim Sherwood his fifth win as Tottenham manager, while Swansea continue to falter as their injury list grows.

The match proved to show the opposite direction both clubs are headed in, as Sherwood will be flying high in fifth position, while Michael Laudrup has plenty of work to do just to salvage a top-10 position.

The game began with not only a wide-open feel but also a chippy one, with a number of crunching challenges early on.  Swansea began as the brighter side, holding much of the possession in the first five minutes and testing Lloris during that time.

Despite their positive start, the home side were also very sloppy in possession, with a number of cheap giveaways leading to half-chances for Tottenham.

Moussa Dembele and Spurs looked to capitalize on these mistakes, and it helped them build into the match. By the 20th minute it seemed Spurs was well and truly on top.

But the Swans continued to test Lloris’s net, and Wilfried Bony put by far the best test on target as he rattled the crossbar with a stinging cutback and shot from the top of the penalty area.

The Spurs counter would finally prove too much for the home side, as Spurs would go in front in the 35th minute through the revitalized  Adebayor.

source: Getty Images
Emmanuel Adebayor, given new life under Tim Sherwood, has made the most of his chances.

As the visitors cut a counter down the right flank, Christian Eriksen played a lovely chip for Aaron Lennon, and the English winger cut it back for Eriksen on the top corner of the box. Again a brilliant ball from Eriksen, this time slicing through the box and finding Adebayor’s head, and the striker buried the shot on the bounce.

Out of the halftime break, an injury worry for Swansea made a comeback an even more difficult thought as Jonjo Shelvey went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, unable to continue just six minutes in.

He was replaced by Roland Lamah, and things would unravel from that point.  As Spurs threw forward another incisive counter, the visitors started their buildup on the left before switching sides. Kyle Walker blasted in a close-range cross in the 53rd minute, and it rocketed off Chico Flores and into the net for an own goal.

The lead looked insurmountable for Swansea, and that it would prove to be, as the home side fell to their seventh match in a row without a win.  Michael Laudrup may be thinking now about avoiding relegation rather than finishing in the top 10.

To make matters worse, the injury list for the home side continued to grow.  With Shelvey already out, Wayne Routledge pulled up lame in the 65th minute after a challenge from Danny Rose.  He waved off the physio at the time but later would be forced off.

Then Adebayor added insult to injury as he bagged his second on a break that looked all too easy for the visitors.  Rose broke down the left with just a single defender back, and it left Adebayor all alone in the middle to slide simply past Gerhard Tremmel for his second.

Wilfried Bony did salvage something for the home fans, as his leaping volley in the 78th minute got Swansea something to hang their hats on.

For Tottenham, the away win is another feather in Tim Sherwood’s cap and moves them up to fifth place in the table, level on points with Liverpool for a Champions League spot.

GOALS:

Swansea – Chico 53′ (og); Bony 78′
Tottenham – Adebayor 35′, 71′

LINEUPS:

Swansea – Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Amat, Britton, Shelvey (Lamah 51′), Pozuelo, Routledge; Bony.

Tottenham – Lloris; Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose; Eriksen, Bentaleb, Dembele, Chadli (Sigurdsson 68′), Lennon (Naughton 79′); Adebayor.

USL granted 2018 2nd-division sanctioning by U.S. Soccer

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U.S. Soccer has officially granted the United Soccer League second-division sanctioning, behind first-division Major League Soccer, for the upcoming 2018 season, as well as first-division status for the National Women’s Soccer League.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan unveiled by Liga MX side Club Leon ]

USL, which will feature 33 teams in 2018, had been granted temporary second-division sanctioning, alongside the North American Soccer League, in 2017. As NASL’s demise continued and accelerated — the league will not begin play this spring, opting instead for a late-summer kickoff, after a number of its teams either folded or jumped ship to USL — USL, with the help of MLS, quickly pounced to capitalize — from U.S. Soccer’s statement:

Sanctioning allows NWSL and USL to operate a Division I and II league, respectively, during the 2018 season and includes a two-year pathway to full compliance with the Professional League Standards. USL has demonstrated substantial progress toward reaching full compliance since being granted provisional Division II sanctioning in 2017.

Conspiracy theorist’s take: USL supplanted NASL as the U.S.’s second-most viable professional men’s league — and more importantly, being granted official second-division status — paves the way for MLS to, at some point well down the line — say, 2030 or so — implement its own multi-tiered system of promotion and relegation, featuring anywhere between 60 and 80 teams, while still remaining a single-entity structure closed to the lower reaches of the sport in America, as the lines separating MLS and USL have only become more and more blurred in recent years.

[ MORE: Donovan ready to “win championships” after ending retirement ]

MLS realizes that public demand for promotion and relegation in the U.S. has grown significantly louder in recent years — particularly given the climate of the sport after the men’s national team failed to qualify for the World Cup, and subsequent ongoing presidential-election campaign — thus an open-but-not-really-open system which satisfies neither side will eventually be the end result.

Wenger called ref Dean “not honest,” “a disgrace” to earn ban

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LONDON (AP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accused a referee of being “not honest” and called him “a disgrace” in a rant inside the match officials’ changing room that led to a three-match touchline ban for one of English soccer’s most experienced coaches.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

The English Football Association published Tuesday the written reasons behind its decision to ban Wenger for being abusive toward referee Mike Dean after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Dec. 31.

In his match report given to the FA, Dean said Wenger “was pointing aggressively at me saying, ‘You’re not honest’ on numerous occasions.” Dean then said Wenger said “you’ve done this to us many times before, you’re supposed to be professional, you’re a disgrace.”

[ MORE: Newcastle sale talks collapse — Staveley, not Ashley, out ]

Wenger had been incensed at Calum Chambers being penalized for a handball and West Brom converting the resulting penalty to equalize late in the game.

The FA said “there is simply no justification for this behavior” and considered a stadium ban for Wenger.

Wenger was also fined $54,200 for his conduct.

FA Cup: Leicester, West Ham survive replays to reach 4th round

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Two more Premier League sides reached the fourth round of the 2017-18 FA Cup on Tuesday, winning their respective replays and joining 10 other top-flight clubs already through to the next round…

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Leicester City 2-0 Fleetwood Town

Kelechi Iheanacho moved to Leicester from Manchester City for $33 million this summer and has, through his first half-season in the East Midlands, failed to live up to that price tag. In nine PL appearances, he is yet to score his first league goal. Tuesday, however, saw the 21-year-old Nigerian international put forth a bit production and performance more befitting a player of his promise and pedigree.

Manager Claude Puel picked a side consisting of first-team regulars and lesser-used squad players for the Foxes FA Cup third-round replay against League One side Fleetwood Town. It was Iheanacho, who started alongside/just behind target man Islam Slimani, who shown brightest with a pair of goals, in the 43rd and 77th minutes, to send Leicester into the fourth round. Iheanacho’s second, the one that put the game away for Leicester, was originally ruled out for offside, but was eventually after consultation of the video-assistant referee.

Leicester will travel to League One side Peterborough in the fourth round, on Sat. Jan. 27.

[ MORE: Newcastle sale talks collapse — Staveley, not Ashley, out ]

West Ham United 1-0 (AET) Shrewsbury Town

It took far longer than Hammers fans would have liked — or expected — but West Ham, over the course of 120 minutes, survived the Cupset bid of third-division Shrewsbury Town. With eight minutes remaining before Tuesday’s replay went to penalty kicks at the London Stadium, 21-year-old defender Reece Burke fired home from inside the box to break the scoreless deadlock.

West Ham will be away to the winner of the replay between Bournemouth and Wigan Athletic (Wednesday), on Sat. Jan. 27.

Elsewhere in FA Cup replay action

Mansfield Town 1-4 Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Carlisle United
Reading 3-0 Stevenage

Wednesday’s FA Cup replay schedule

Chelsea vs. Norwich City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Swansea City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 2:45 p.m. ET
Wigan Athletic vs. Bournemouth — 2:45 p.m. ET

Report: Newcastle sale talks between Ashley, Staveley collapse

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Talks between Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley over the much-desired and -rumored sale of Newcastle United are off, according to a report from Sky Sports and various other UK news outlets.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Sky has quoted a source close to Ashley as having said: “Attempts to reach a deal (with Staveley) have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time.” (Full quote below)

Ashley, the club’s current and long-beleaguered owner, has been seeking a potential buyer since putting the club up for sale back in October. Staveley emerged as the front-runner (the only runner, perhaps) in the days following Ashley’s announcement, and reportedly tabled an offer of $335 million in early December before reportedly offering something closer to $400 million a couple weeks later.

Ashley selling the club — and doing so before the end of the January transfer window, which now appears nigh impossible — appeared to be one the few scenarios in which Rafa Benitez would remain the Magpies’ manager beyond the end of the current Premier League season (Newcastle currently sit 15th, just three points clear of relegation) after constant rumors of his discontent and lack of financial backing last summer.