Spurs injury update on key players ahead of Arsenal clash

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Heading into Saturday’s North London derby against Arsenal, there are some massive injury concerns for Tottenham Hotspur (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: We aren’t underdogs – Wenger ]

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media on Thursday and confirmed that Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Dele Alli were back in full training on Thursday for the first time since pulling out of the England squad over the international break.

Hugo Lloris is also back in training much earlier than expected after he missed Spurs’ 1-0 win against Crystal Palace before the international break with the French goalkeeper previously thought to be a long shot to make the NLD, while Michel Vorm is also back in training.

Pochettino stopped short of saying all the players who have returned to training are available for selection on Saturday, but he’s hopeful.

“We are happy because today they make the team for the first time all the players arrive from the international break. We need to assess all of them tomorrow. We have one training session more. We are optimistic but we need to wait to analyse every single case… I hope that tomorrow we can count with them for the game, but still we need to decide between the medical staff, the sports science and us. I am happy because if they cannot play Saturday they are close to play Tuesday or next weekend.”

Pochettino was asked for a percentage figure on Kane being fit to face Arsenal but refused to do that and simply added: “we need to assess him tomorrow to get the best decision, first of all for him and then for the team.”

So, positive news for Pochettino with Kane, Dele, Winks and Lloris close to winning their race to be ready for Saturday’s huge clash at the Emirates Stadium.

However, Pochettino revealed a huge blow for Tottenham as Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld will be out much longer than previously expected after suffering a hamstring injury against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

“Toby is out. We need to assess him but we expect much longer than we first expected. Maybe after Christmas [he will return], that is the expectation,” Pochettino said. “It will be longer. The injury is in his hamstring. Toby feels disappointed and is a little bit sad but in the same way he is focused now on trying to recover and is working hard. He is in the first stage of his rehab and as always with his type of injury we must be cautious.”

Alderweireld aside, Spurs are looking in much better shape than many expected heading into this Saturday’s game. With Kane, Dele and Lloris having a two week break they could well be fresh to kick on again and you’d have to say they are now the slight favorites, especially given Christian Eriksen‘s sublime form over the international break when he scored a hat trick against the Republic of Ireland to lead Denmark to the 2018 World Cup.

WATCH LIVE: Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool looks to pile misery on Bournemouth while increasing its Top Four stock with a visit to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Reds can climb back into the Top Four with a win, and will do so with Sadio Mane, Danny Ings, and Dominic Solanke amongst their bench players.

Bournemouth starts Jermain Defoe, Joshua King, and Jordon Ibe amongst its attackers.

LINEUPS

Bournemouth: Begovic; Daniels, Ake, Francis, Smith, Pugh, Surman, King, L. Cook, Ibe, Defoe. Subs: Boruc, S. Cook, Gosling, Arter, Fraser, Stanislas, Afobe.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Milner, Mane, Lallana, Ings, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.

AT HALF: Lukaku, Lingard have Man Utd up at West Brom (video)

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Romelu Lukaku didn’t celebrate much more than a fist pump following his match-opening goal against former teammates West Bromwich Albion.

[ MORE: Watch via NBCSports.com).

No one said anything about celebrating teammates’ goals, though.

Lukaku scored to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead, then watched as Jesse Lingard‘s deflected lash left Ben Foster high and dry as United cruised into the break up two goals.

It’s 10th PL goal of the season for Lukaku, who has 15 in all competitions. For Lingard, it’s four and seven.

Here’s Lingard’s marker:

Celtic’s record unbeaten run ends at 69 matches

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Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run has ended at 69 matches, and it ended with a thud.

Tynecastle Park was the scene for a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Hearts, a defeat started by a 16-year-old’s first Scottish Premiership goal.

[ REPORT: Luiz done at Chelsea? ]

Harry Cochrane’s his name, and his 26th minute goal gave Hearts the lead, and it was 2-0 by halftime through Kyle Lafferty, the ex-Burnley and Norwich player.

David Milinkovic scored three minutes after halftime, as the wake-up call didn’t arrive at the break, and added a penalty kick late in the match.

Celtic has a two-point lead on second-place Aberdeen with a match-in-hand. Rangers sit five-points back.

Sixty-nine games! Remarkable in any league. Here’s what Rodgers had to say:

“But I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and this to be their first defeat; of course it’s a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.”

WATCH LIVE: West Brom vs. Manchester United

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The Hawthorns is the scene as Manchester United attempts to pull back into sole possession of second place on the Premier League table with a visit to West Bromwich Albion (Watch live at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Baggies have several regular starters on the bench, with Chris Brunt, Gareth Barry, and Gareth McAuley (Allllll the Gareths!) getting a rest.

United will hand starts to Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, with Anthony Martial on the bench with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

LINEUPS

West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Krychowiak, Yacob, Livermore, Burke, McClean, Rondon. Subs: Myhill, Robson-Kanu, Brunt, Barry, Rodriguez, McAuley, Field.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Herrera, Matic, Mata, Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw, McTominay, Ibrahimovic, Martial.