Sherwood unfazed by speculation, as Tottenham boss impresses with passion

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LONDON, England — As the rain teamed down at White Hart Lane early in Tottenham’s 5-1 win against Sunderland, Spurs manager Tim Sherwood sat on the edge of his seat on the bench tentatively, like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Slumping back into his seat time and time again, jumping up and down, remonstrating with the referee, swearing excessively, getting involved with fans and doing it all with a smile on his face, Sherwood enjoyed his night despite all the recent pressure being piled on top of him.

Earlier on Monday it was reported that Sherwood will be let go as Tottenham manager at the end of the season, responding to questions about his future, the Spurs boss remains defiant he’s the right man for the job.

“Nothing has changed, I have had a chat about next season, players I’ve identified for next season and preseason plans. Nothing has changed,” Sherwood said.

Responding to further questions about the uncertainty around his future, Sherwood isn’t fazed by it. Not at all.

“The uncertainty has always been there, you can’t stop speculation. It has always been there from the moment I took over to where we are now,” Sherwood said. “It’s up to the football club to answer those questions. I am going to be professional and worry about the players on the pitch and getting the best out of them between now and the end of the season. I am more than capable of doing that.”

(MORE: Three things we learned from Tottenham’s win vs. Sunderland)

With manager’s such as Louis van Gaal reportedly lined up to replace Sherwood in the summer — with the former Spurs captain only handed an 18-month deal back in January — it seems like Chairman Daniel Levy isn’t 100 percent certain on what Sherwood’s no-nonsense character brings to the table. He has had a wonderful start to life in the PL, there’s no disputing that. The 45-year-old has won 10 of his 17 games in charge of Spurs since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, and has the best winning percentage of any Spurs manager in PL history. But somehow his face doesn’t quite fit, as it’s inevitable that a new manager will be at the helm at White Hart Lane next season.

Asked whether Tottenham are entitled to look for a new manager, while he is still in charge, Sherwood had the following to say.

“I think every club are always looking for the next one,” Sherwood said. “It’s the same with players, you always look for someone to possibly come in and replace the player. I don’t know if this club has been doing that, I have no idea. All I know is that any question regarding my employment, you have to ask my employers.”

(MORE: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland – Eriksen all-world at White Hart Lane)

Tottenham’s players put in a top performance for Sherwood, as they hammered Sunderland and had 29 efforts on goal in a completely dominant display. When Emmanuel Adebayor scored his second, he ran to Sherwood and saluted Spurs’ boss… Sherwood saluted back with a cheeky smile on his face. The players seem to love playing for Sherwood, does he get the feeling that they are backing him 100 percent?

“I think they are, I’m backing them as well,” Sherwood said defiantly. “What they get from me is honesty, they know when they don’t do it. I tell them. But when they do well, I pat them on the back. It works both ways, and that is healthy. I always wanted honesty from my managers, sometimes I never got it.”

Will Sherwood get honesty from his chairman and those who decide his future? That’s the least he deserves, as speculation around his future continues to spiral out of control.

“Emotional” Mertesacker: Send Wenger off “with a cup”

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has made 220 appearances for the club, all with one man in charge of the Gunners: Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Mertesacker has won three FA Cups with Wenger, and he took up his pen — or laptop — for Sunday’s Matchday program.

The 33-year-old German says it’s down to Arsenal’s players to send off Wenger right: With two more successful rounds in the UEFA Europa League against Atletico Madrid and either Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille. From the BBC:

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” Mertesacker said.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured. He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

The French legend to end his time at Arsenal against Marseille would be delightful, don’t you think?

Watch Live: Arsenal-West Ham, Stoke-Burnley

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The Premier League has a pair of 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoffs for us this morning, including one of Arsene Wenger‘s final matches at Arsenal.

There’s a London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners look to stay fresh for Atletico Madrid and the Hammers aim to firm up their Premier League status for next season (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson. Aubameyang.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Cullen, Evra, Lanzini, Hugill, Carroll, Chicharito.


Stoke City’s climb out of the relegation zone will have to overcome Burnley’s desires for a Top Six place, as the Clarets can pass sixth place Arsenal with a win and a Gunners loss to West Ham (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, M.Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Badou, Shaqiri; Crouch, Diouf. Subs: Haugaard, Zouma, Ireland, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan, Campbell.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, Hendrick, Walters, Bardsley.

Ligue 1: Depay’s goal streak hits 5 games; Lyon reeling in Monaco

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MONACO (AP) Lyon won at Dijon 5-2 and moved within one point of second-place Monaco in the French league on Friday.

Lyon’s sixth straight league win kept them level on points with fourth-place Marseille.

The team finishing second qualifies automatically for next season’s Champions League, while the team in third goes into the playoffs. After this weekend, there will be four rounds remaining.

Memphis Depay has scored or created 12 of Lyon’s 16 last goals.

The Netherlands forward opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a close-range volley, and set up the fourth goal for winger Bertrand Traore in the 77th.

Depay almost scored another, just failing to reach right back Rafael‘s cross in the 50th. Midfielder Houssem Aouar followed up and his strike was turned into his own net by defender Valentin Rosier.

Lyon’s other goals came from forwards Nabil Fekir in the 53rd and Maxwell Cornet in the 82nd.


MONACO (AP) — After losing the French title last weekend, Monaco is in danger of throwing away second place after losing at Guingamp 3-1 on Saturday.

The defeat leaves Monaco just one point ahead of Lyon and Marseille as the three sides chase an automatic place in the Champions League with four games left.

Monaco was thrashed by champion Paris Saint-Germain 7-1 last Sunday and the defense leaked easily again, albeit with a little help from one of its defenders.

A makeshift Monaco fell behind midway through the first half after Brazilian defender Jemerson was given a red card for stopping a shot on the line. He was sent off and veteran forward Jimmy Briand netted from the penalty spot for mid-table Guingamp.

Monaco capitulated and trailed 3-0 after 47 minutes. Defender Almamy Toure replied in vain with a consolation goal midway through the second half.


Marseille crushed Lille 5-1 to join Lyon on 69 points. Lyon, which won at Dijon 5-2 on Friday for a sixth straight win, has a better goal difference.

Marseille also has the Europa League and plays the first leg of its semifinal at home to Austrian side Salzburg next Thursday. But Lyon has only Ligue 1 to think about.

Still, Marseille is also brimming with confidence these days, especially winger Florian Thauvin.

He scored twice against Lille to extend his career-best league tally to 19. Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou also netted twice, and forward Lucas Ocampos completed the rout against 19th-place Lille.

In other matches: Amiens won against Strasbourg 3-1; struggling Toulouse beat Angers 2-0, and last-place Metz drew at home to Caen 1-1.

PSG is at Bordeaux on Sunday. Also, Nice is at home to Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne takes on Troyes.

UEFA says Europa League trophy not damaged after being stolen

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA says the Europa League trophy was not damaged after being stolen in Mexico.

The silverware was at a promotional event in the central city of Leon when it was reported by authorities to have been taken from a vehicle.

The theft came ahead of the semifinals of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

UEFA says the “Europa League trophy was in Mexico for a partner event and got briefly stolen. It was quickly recovered and has suffered no damages.”

In the semifinal first legs next week, Arsenal plays Atletico Madrid and Marseille takes on Salzburg.