Dele Alli

Tottenham 5-1 Stoke: Spurs rip Potters apart

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  • Kane scores twice
  • Stoke have conceded 18 goals in last 6 away games
  • Tottenham up to fifth

Tottenham battered Stoke City 5-1 at Wembley on Saturday with Harry Kane scoring twice, plus Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen getting in on the act after Ryan Shawcross had scored an own goal early on.

Shawcross grabbed a consolation late in the game but Spurs were worthy winners after dominating from start to finish.

The win pushes Mauricio Pochettino‘s men into fifth place on 28 points, while Stoke drop to 15th place on 16 points and are just three points above the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was a quite start at Wembley with Spurs having a few half chances but it took them a while to get going.

Midway through the first half the opening goal arrived and it came in fortuitous fashion.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Heung-min Son raced free down the left and his low cross first hit Kurt Zouma and then rebounded off Shawcross and past a helpless Jack Butland to give Spurs a 1-0 lead.

Before half time Son launched a counter and went close but Butland saved and then Christian Eriksen went close from a free kick but Butland pushed the effort away. Kane then missed a big chance as Son set him free and the Englishman beat Butland but slid his shot well wide of the post.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Son got the goal his performance deserved as the South Korean latched onto a fine through ball from Dele Alli and smashed past Butland to put Tottenham 2-0 up.

Kane joined in on the fun soon after as Ben Davies whipped in a lovely cross to the back post and Kane’s towering header put Spurs 3-0 up.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hugo Lloris saved well down low from Xherdan Shaqiri from close range and then Spurs went up the other end and scored again.

Kane finished from the edge of the box after the ball failed to reach Son and Spurs’ top scorer swept home. 4-0.

Son was again the architect of a ruthless Spurs counter late on as his run tore Stoke apart and he then played it to Eriksen who made it 5-0.

Shawcross nodded home a late consolation for Stoke as Lloris made a mess of a corner but Tottenham ran out comfortable winners.

Southgate confirms Rooney will remain retired for World Cup

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Wayne Rooney seems to have found some semblance of his former self at Everton of late, but it won’t leave his national team manager begging for him to come back with the 2018 World Cup on the horizon.

England boss Gareth Southgate confirmed that Rooney will not make a ceremonious return to the national team, meaning he will stay retired for the 2018 World Cup. England was drawn out of Pot 2 into Group G alongside Belgium, Panama, and Tunisia.

“I think Wayne made his decision clear, his decision to retire,” Southgate told the BBC. “We were looking at bringing him into the squad in September much for his value as a senior player as anything else.

“But we’ve now moved forward, evolved as a squad in the last three months and our feeling now is that it’s important for the younger players to gain that experience rather than look back at a younger player.”

Rooney scored a hat-trick in Everton’s 4-0 win over West Ham, hitting his third from inside the Toffees’ own half.

The 32-year-old last played for the national team on November 11th, 2016 in a 3-0 win over Scotland in World Cup qualifying. Since, Harry Kane has earned most of the time up front for the England national team, while Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, and Adam Lallana have been saddled with much of the creative duties.

Watford 1-1 Tottenham: Spurs slide continues

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  • Kabasele gives hosts lead
  • Son levels
  • Sanchez sent off in 53′

Christian Kabasele and Heung-Min Son traded first half goals as Tottenham Hotspur’s struggles continued with a 1-1 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road.

Spurs are now winless in four, and sit sixth with 25 points.

Watford remains in eighth with 22 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Kabasele rose above Harry Kane to nod home a Tom Cleverley corner, and Watford had a quick lead.

Son was set-up for the equalizer by Christian Eriksen, a cross hammered home by the South Korean attacker.

Cleverley saw yellow for cutting down Dele Alli, which nearly had Eriksen putting Spurs ahead via a free kick.

Spurs saw Sanchez sent off in the 52nd minute, straight red from Martin Atkinson for an elbow to the face of Richarlison.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Southgate: Always “big pressure” on England

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While every team at the World Cup finals deserves to be there, England surely came away one of the happier nations on Friday after the 2018 World Cup draw.

England were placed in Group G alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia, the latter two nations that England – at least on paper – will be expected to beat.

[MORE: World Cup field set: Here are your groups]

Speaking after the draw, Gareth Southgate told reporters in Moscow that although the core of the current England squad are young, there is always “big pressure” put on the Three Lions by England fans.

“I think with England there is always big pressure, like all of the big football countries,” Southgate said. “Our supporters have high expectations. With this team it’s a little bit different, we’re quite a young team, (we) don’t have huge experience with tournament football, but it’s a team with a lot of potential and a team that we think will improve in the next few years.”

If fit, England could have one of the younger average ages across the squad, with 20-year-old Marcus Rashford, 21-year-old Dele Alli, 22-year-old Raheem Sterling, 23-year-old Eric Dier, 23-year-old John Stones, 23-year-old Jordan Pickford and 24-year-old Harry Kane all likely to play a major role next June/July.

Hear what Southgate had to say after the draw.

Pochettino says fatigue, not his new book, causing Spurs’ slump

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Tottenham Hotspur have lost their last three Premier League games away from home and won just one of their last five games in the league, thus Mauricio Pochettino has come under a bit of (justifiable) scrutiny.

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Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to third- and second-place finishes in the last two PL season, respectively, has seen his side slip from third to seventh in the league table in four weeks’ time. Spurs are currently one point behind Burnley.

Naturally, the inquest has begun, and one of the more interesting theories used to explain Spurs’ recent struggles is as follows: relationships between Pochettino and his players have been strained ahead of the release of “Brave New World,” a book written by Guillem Balague, who shadowed Pochettino for the entirety of the 2016-17 season. The first excerpts were released in mid-October. Pochettino insists the book has no bearing on his squad — quotes from the AP:

“I think my relationship with them is so strong and to find excuses about the book is wrong. It’s a great opportunity to get a better idea that it’s not only about playing football.

“When you are clear with everyone, the problem doesn’t exist. The problem is when you lie, no?”

As for the real reason his side slipped into a mid-season coma, Pochettino says it’s more to do with fatigue than a perceived sense of broken trust:

“A player like Christian Eriksen maybe can be a little bit tired, but mental more than physical, because in the last international duty he played two amazing games to try to qualify for the World Cup, and he cannot rest, he cannot stop.

“Maybe him and Eric Dier, that is playing a lot. Maybe Davinson Sanchez. It’s the same group, the players that travel a lot and were involved in nearly all the games. Maybe they can feel a little bit tired about competing.”

That’s all extremely well and reasonable — not to mention, a far more logical explanation than the book theory. That said, let’s take a moment to consider why players like Eriksen, Dier and Sanchez — as well as others, like Harry Kane and Dele Alli — might be “a little tired,” whether it be mental or physical exhaustion, with only a little more than one-third of the season complete.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s picks — Spurs to bounce back vs. Watford? ]

By mid-July and early August, it had become crystal clear that the likes of Manchester City ($293 million), Chelsea ($273 million) and Manchester United ($228 million) were going to spend until they had elevated their respective squads to title-contending quality. Spurs, on the other hand, waited until Aug. 23 — 12 days after the start of the PL season — to announce their first signing, Sanchez. No additional transfer business (of real consequence) was done until Aug. 31, deadline day, when Serge Aurier and 32-year-old Fernando Llorente arrived.

If Pochettino, Daniel Levy and Co. think Spurs can continue punching above the squad’s monetary weight and contend year after year for the PL title without a serious financial push to acquire players on par with those being signed by fellow top-six sides, they are sorely mistaken. Clearly the new stadium will be a financial burden for an unknown period of time, as was the case for Arsenal until recently, so Spurs fans might just have to make themselves comfortable with once again being the fifth- or sixth-best team in England with a chance to crack the top-four in especially strange seasons.

[ MORE: West Brom hire Pardew | Allardyce takes charge at Everton ]

That’s without considering the futures of Kane, Alli, Eriksen and Dier — all of whom will attract serious interest from other clubs this summer, should Spurs not get into the Champions League, and every ensuing summer — as well as Toby Aldeweireld (28 years old), Jan Vertonghen (30), Mousa Dembele (30) and Danny Rose (27) — all of whom will soon be on the wrong side of the primes of their respective careers.

Early-season injuries to Rose, Dembele and Victor Wanyama, and now Aldeweireld, have left Spurs without a great deal of room for rotation. Pochettino might appear to have worked miracles in recent seasons, but he’s finding life a bit more difficult now that two years of good injury fortune has quickly turned against him.