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Harry Kane’s untimely injury sums up Spurs’ season

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It’s a big if

But if it wasn’t for untimely injuries this season, Tottenham Hotspur may well not be 10 points behind Chelsea in the title race.

Think about it.

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Harry Kane came off injured in their FA Cup quarterfinal win against Millwall on Sunday and the north London club face an anxious wait to find out the severity of his injury.

Spurs lost Kane with a left ankle injury for over six weeks in October and November and they dropped points against West Brom, Bournemouth and Leicester. It’s not inconceivable to believe that the Premier League’s leading goalscorer — he has 19 for the season — would’ve found the net and made the difference in those games.

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Mauricio Pochettino told reporters after the 6-0 win over third-tier Millwall that Kane’s injury is similar to the one which kept him out for six weeks earlier this season.

“He twisted his ankle. Now we wait, assess and see what happened,” Pochettino said. “It is the same ankle as he injured against Sunderland. We hope it’s not a big issue but it looks similar [to the injury earlier in the season]. It will be difficult for him to play against Southampton.”

Big injuries have been interspersed throughout this season for Spurs.

In defense they lost Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose at different stages of the season, plus Erik Lamela has been out long-term and Mousa Dembele was suspended for the opening five games as they had a sluggish start to the campaign.

It’s easy to speculate what could’ve been but look at Chelsea. They’ve missed Diego Costa and Eden Hazard for a game here and there, but the rest of their team has been settled and injury free. Like Leicester last season, injuries need to be kind to you and Kane’s latest ankle ailment has once again come at a bad time for Tottenham.

With Premier League games coming up against Southampton, Burnley and Watford, all three are encounters Spurs should win to try and put the pressure on Chelsea. Still, with Kane likely to be out for those matches, his untimely absence could once again scupper Spurs’ title chances. That’s not to say Heung-Min Son and Vincent Janssen won’t step up in Kane’s absence but Pochettino would obviously rather have Kane fit and healthy.

Injuries won’t be the determining factor in where Spurs finish this season, but they will have played a big part.

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.