Anthony Martial

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Justin Kluivert reveals the PL clubs he’d like to join

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Okay, this is a bit different, but I applaud thinking outside the box.

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It’s not often a player comes out and names the teams he would like to join in the Premier League, but Ajax’s teenage sensation Justin Kluivert has done just that.

Kluivert, 18, is having a fine season for the Dutch giants as he follows in the footsteps of his legendary favor, Patrick. The Dutch U-21 international has scored six goals and registered four assists in 16 starts in the Eredivisie this season from the left wing, his first full campaign with the Amsterdam club.

His contract runs out in 2019 but he is said to be in talks over a new deal and is quite happy to stay at Ajax, for now…

Speaking to Dutch outlet Helden, Kluivert revealed he would be open to any of these four Premier League clubs in the future.

“England appeals to me: Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea or Manchester United are nice clubs where I can see myself playing in a few years,” Kluivert said. “If you get a nice offer, you never know.”

Well played, young Justin.

This is one of the least subtle “I’m happy with where I am right now… but you never know” statements in soccer history.

Kluivert is obviously an incredibly talented forward and the fact that he’s been in and around Ajax’s first team over the past 12-18 months says it all. He’s come through the ranks at the one of the most demanding youth academies on the planet and his pedigree is undoubted given his father was one of the finest forwards Ajax and the Netherlands ever produced.

Which would suit Kluivert best?

You’d have to say Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino‘s record with youngsters says it all and he’d like get game time right away if he joined within the next two years as Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son and others have blown hot and cold out wide over the past few years. Look at what Pochettino has done for Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while fellow Ajax products Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen have flourished under him at Spurs.

Much has been made of Jose Mourinho chatting with Kluivert Jnr. on the pitch after Manchester United’s Europa League final victory against Ajax last season, but would moving to Old Trafford to compete with Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford for playing time be a smart move? Nope.

Arsenal would be a better option than Chelsea for Kluivert, as the latter stockpile young talent and barely use them before loaning them out and then hopefully making a profit on the deal, while the Gunners have at least got a history of giving youngsters a chance.

But if I was Justin Kluivert I’d go to Spurs.

Newcastle stuns Manchester United

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  • Dubravka shines in debut
  • Ritchie scores off set piece
  • Mourinho winless at St. James’ Park

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal led Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday at St. James’ Park to ensure their stay in the Premier League’s drop zone was a shade over two hours.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a number of huge saves as Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial were continually flummoxed by the hosts.

The win boosts Newcastle into 13th place with 28 points, while Manchester United remains second with 56.

Paul Pogba was pulled in the 66th minute after losing his mark on Newcastle’s goal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chris Smalling gave away a free kick on the edge of the 18 with a handball, and Kenedy stared down David De Gea before letting Gayle blast one into the wall. De Gea stopped Jonjo Shelvey on the rebound before DeAndre Yedlin ended the chance by shooting over the goal.

A Manchester United giveaway allowed Diame to cue up Ayoze Perez for a half-chance that zipped wide of the goal.

The Red Devils settled into possession but couldn’t find the target, with Newcastle backstop Martin Dubravka making a few handy plays on debut. At the other end, Kenedy his a hard shot right at De Gea.

Moments after Dwight Gayle held up a potentially strong Newcastle break, Anthony Martial nearly made them pay but for a Dubravka save.

Lukaku crossed for Martial, who got in front of Paul Dummett but drove his header wide.

Chris Smalling chopped down Gayle at the corner of the 18, but no penalty call came for the English striker.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half saw Matt Ritchie’s penalty shout denied by the offside flag, and United started to assert control soon after through a Lukaku goal pulled back for a foul and an Alexis Sanchez penalty shout that ended with his shooting into the side netting.

Sanchez then flubbed a chance to make it 1-0 with an extra touch after dancing past Dubravka. The superfluous move allowed Florian Lejeune to slide in front of him and block the shot.

Newcastle won a free kick when Smalling dove inside his own half, and Shelvey’s free kick was headed into Ritchie’s path by

Jose Mourinho pulled Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard for Michael Carrick and Juan Mata after the goal, and the Red Devils were back at it. Dubravka stopped an Ashley Young rip in the 68th minute.

Newcastle showed steel as the Red Devils kept attacking, with Martial seeing two shots from the top of the six blocked by Gayle and Yedlin.

Jose Mourinho explains why he dropped Paul Pogba

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Jose Mourinho has explained the reason why he dropped Paul Pogba for their clash against Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Pogba was dropped to the bench after United’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in midweek where he was subbed off in the second half after appearing to have an animated discussions with Mourinho about some tactical issues in midfield.

Speaking to the BBC, here’s what Mourinho said on Pogba dropping to the bench.

“I play Scott McTominay. He arrived here aged nine years old and spent many years in the academy, he has been waiting for an opportunity which I give him now and again, today is another one,” Mourinho said.

Mourinho is likely making a statement to his United team: no player has a divine right to start, no matter how much they cost.

Pogba was overrun at Wembley on Wednesday in midfield with the Frenchman asked to play in a slightly deeper role alongside Nemanja Matic and it didn’t work at all. The 2-0 scoreline flattered United such was Spurs’ dominance.

Mourinho named an attack-minded lineup for that game with Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez all starting, but Pogba wasn’t the only player dropped.

Phil Jones wasn’t named in the 18-man squad after his own goal and a bad display against Spurs, while Ashley Young and Martial were also named on the bench.

Mourinho slams “ridiculous” Man United defending

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LONDON — Jose Mourinho rued poor defensive mistakes from his Manchester United side on Wednesday as they lost 2-0 at Wembley to Tottenham Hotspur.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

The Red Devils fell behind just 11 seconds into the game as a long ball forward was flicked into Christian Eriksen by Dele Alli and the Danish playmaker delivered the opener.

United never recovered and Phil Jones shanked a clearance into his own goal Tottenham’s second goal and, in truth, the 2-0 scoreline was flattering for United as Spurs missed several glorious opportunities to extend their lead further.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Mourinho didn’t mince his words.

“It’s a performance that starts with a ridiculous goal,” Mourinho said. “That goal after a few seconds has a big influence in the game because Tottenham can play the way they like to play. In the end, we played against a very good team. Both goals were ridiculous goals, also the second was unlucky. The first goal is an accumulation of mistakes in spite of the fact that everything happened so fast. My players have watched the Tottenham kick-off many, many times. They know the way they do it and they also know [Harry] Kane normally starts in a position in front of the line to win some metres. We didn’t control it, lost the second ball on the ground and it was a really, really bad goal.”

Ys, United made poor defensive mistakes, but Mourinho must take his portion of the blame. When the team sheets were passed around at Wembley (which saw a record crowd for a Premier League game of 81,798) United’s attacking intent was clear. Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all started but the Red Devils were unbalanced and Nemanja Matic overrun in midfield.

It’s unlikely Mourinho will go all-out attack against a top six rival away from home again anytime soon.

The defeat now drags United further into the top four battle as they’re just five points ahead of fifth-place Spurs with an almighty scrap for the Champions League spots set to take center stage in the final months of the season with Manchester City 15 points clear and the champions elect.

Another talking point from the game was Alexis Sanchez’s Premier League debut for United as he returned to north London but didn’t enjoy taking on his former bitter rivals Spurs.

The ex-Arsenal man failed to have a shot on goal and cut a frustrated figure as Tottenham gave him special treatment with tough tackles and tight marking, as well as Spurs fans booing his every touch.

Mourinho was happy enough with Sanchez’s output as he switched him from the left flank in the first half to a central attacking role in the second half.

“He worked hard, but again the transformation the game had, the game was not for him,” Mourinho said. “In the second half, I tried to give him a position where he could be closer to [Romelu] Lukaku but then he felt the need to drop too much to organise. But he gave everything, good effort and this is a good feeling for me to know that the player is available with that spirit.”

United’s manager also teed up the battle between his club and four others for the three remaining Champions League spots as Man City moved 15 points clear atop the Premier League table on Wednesday.

“Yes, the Premier League finishes for us at Old Trafford in the last match against Watford in May but we knew that the distance to the leader was already considerable, even before this match,” Mourinho said. “Now we have us, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal – we will be there fighting for the positions.”

Game on.

Three things learned from Tottenham’s win v. Man United

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LONDON — Tottenham beat Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday as Spurs closed the gap on the top four and second-place United with a dominant display.

A goal from Christian Eriksen (after just 11 seconds) and a Phil Jones own goal put Spurs ahead and they never looked back against Jose Mourinho’s shell-shocked unit who never got going in front of a record crowd for a Premier League game at 81,798.

Here’s what we learned from a raucous Wembley Stadium.


UNITED PUNISHED FOR POSITIVITY

When the teamsheets came out, United had been a lot bolder than they usually were under Jose Mourinho away from home against a top six rival.

It cost them dear.

With Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku all in the same starting lineup, this was perhaps a glimpse at a new attack-minded era since Sanchez’s arrival. It was, at times, embarrassing, for United.

They didn’t have balance in central midfield with Pogba pulled all over the place and Nemanja Matic overwhelmed, and that in turn starved United’s attackers of the surface they craved.

It was a bold move from Mourinho to go all-out attack from the start and it backfired massively. We all wondered what Sanchez’s arrival meant and where he would slot in, but the Red Devils looked completely top heavy.


TOTTENHAM’S TOP FOUR HOPES BACK ON TRACK

After a draw at Southampton last time out in the Premier League, then a draw at fourth-tier Newport in the FA Cup at the weekend, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men weren’t exactly in their best form heading into this game.

They delivered a stunning display, full of endeavor and passion as they first bullied United out of the game, then created chance after chance on the counter.

The one criticism you could have of Spurs is that they weren’t clinical enough, but then again, they didn’t need to be and never looked in danger against a lackluster United.

In front of a record crowd for a Premier League of 81,798, Spurs fans reveled in victory as they moved two points away from the top four on a night which also saw Chelsea thumped 3-0 at home to Bournemouth.

Spurs face Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus coming up in a huge month in February and this win will set the tone for a pivotal stretch perfectly.

With Lucas Moura arriving on Deadline Day from PSG an introduced at half time of this win, Arsenal six points behind them after their defeat at Swansea and three of the current top four far from solid, Spurs have momentum and will be feeling good heading into the final third of the season and still in the UEFA Champions League.


SANCHEZ SHACKLED

The boos, predictably, rang out every time Alexis Sanchez touched the ball.

Making his Premier League debut for Man United after his move from Arsenal, Sanchez was shackled expertly by Spurs defense with Kieran Trippier snapping into tackles, Jan Vertonghen matching his pace and Eric Dier covering the space inside United’s left flank expertly.

Sanchez didn’t have a sniff all night long as Mourinho pushed him into the middle from the left to try and get him involved in the game. It didn’t happen. Apart from a few counter attacks in the first half, United weren’t awarded for their attacking lineup and Sanchez was given rough treatment but the fans and Spurs’ players all night long.

This was not a fine display from the Chilean on his PL debut for United and it underlined that he’s lackluster form for Arsenal for much of this season is still there.