Ben Davies

Nigel French/ PA Via AP

Kane: “Probably the best month I’ve had”

Leave a comment

“The gaffer drilled it into us that we needed to start sharp today,” Ben Davies.

Well, then, it’s mission accomplished for Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs buried Huddersfield Town 4-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

[ WATCH: Terrific solo goal for Kane ]

Spurs led 3-0 after 24 minutes, with one coming from Davies and a pair from irresistible Harry Kane. The latter will finish September with an almost absurd 11 goals for club and two more for England.

After the match, he was asked whether he’d had a better period in his career.

“Probably not,” Kane said. “It’s probably the best month I’ve had, especially after August. I feel confident when these boys are putting in good crosses and putting in good through balls. I’m just there to put them away. I’m delighted with the win. It’s been a great week for us.”

There’s some sort of reverse Green Day reference to make here about not waking Kane up for October. He’s been unconscious with his finishing, and Spurs are right in the thick of the race for a Premier League title.

Sneaky good: Early “stars” of the Premier League

Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Leave a comment

I have a “smell test” for players who leap off the pitch when taking the eyeball test during Premier League play.

If, upon moving to advanced statistics sites for performance reviews, these players are still shining, then there’s a good chance they are as important to their club as it seems at first blush

[ MORE: Stats of Premier League wkend ]

Of course guys like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero are going to pass muster. But what about some guys a bit off the radar?

Are there names the numbers say we should be watching a bit more closely, so it’s not a surprise when guys like Idrissa Gana Gueye or Sam Clucas net surprising transfer fees or international acclaim?

It seems logical, and we’ve to a pair of sites which use different algorithms to rank Premier League players and saw who turned up high in both…

Lukasz Fabianski, Swansea City
WhoScored: 37th
Squawka: 1st

Paul Clement‘s side sits 14th with only two goals scored, which is possible when your backstop doesn’t allow much to beat him. Fabianski was outstanding as Swans held Spurs scoreless this weekend.

Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
WhoScored: 15th
Squawka: 16th

The 24-year-old defender is averaged 3.3 key passes per game, better than everyone in the league not named Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They aren’t defenders.

Maya Yoshida, Southampton
WhoScored: 56th
Squawka: 14th

Playing behind Oriol Romeu — and without Virgil Van Dijk — Yoshida has a goal to go with his six clearances and 3.8 aerials won per game

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Crystal Palace
WhoScored: 22nd
Squawka: 26th

The on-loan Chelsea man was wanted by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and a number of other locations, and has thrived despite only appearing in three matches and being on a troubled team. He’s averaged 4.7 dribbles a game and has been fouled 4.3 times per match.

Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield Town
WhoScored: 10th (CS), 14th (AM)
Squawka: 24th (CS), 37th (AM)

It’s possible that Town has just been an analytics darling, as Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre also have good marks, but the Terriers have conceded just three times this season in front of Jonas Lossl. These two are a big part of the limited chances faced by the keeper, and Mooy has been holding it down for a continent the last two years.

Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
WhoScored: 11th
Squawka: 4th

His goal this weekend shows his capacity in the final third, but Otamendi has been a steady part of the defense as Pep Guardiola sorted out mercurial youngster John Stones and dealt with the health of Vincent Kompany.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United
WhoScored: 35th
Squawka: 49th

His numbers may be tilted by a pair of match-winning goals for high-flying Newcastle, but the big man had to get in the box to get them.

Newcastle United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Dele breaks through 10-man Magpies

Leave a comment
  • Shelvey sent off
  • Scoreless at break
  • Dele with breakthrough
  • Davies adds insurance

Dele Alli drew a red card than scored the winner, and Ben Davies also scored as Tottenham Hotspur beat 10-man Newcastle United 2-0 at St. James Park on Sunday.

Jonjo Shelvey was sent off and will face a significant ban for stepping on Dele’s ankle after the midfielder delayed the match by holding onto the ball following a foul.

Spurs host Chelsea in one week’s time, while Newcastle visits Huddersfield Town on the same Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle opened pressing very high, and Spurs struggled to get the ball in the first five minutes as a loud St. James Park.

Dwight Gayle flubbed a couple chances, and the crowd lustily booed ex-Magpies midfielder Moussa Sissoko when he got the ball.

Newcastle left back Paul Dummett needed to leave the match after six minutes, and captain Jamaal Lascelles subbed into the mix.

A Javier Manquillo foul provided a rare chance for Spurs, but Harry Kane‘s heading a free kick bounced harmlessly to Magpies backstop Rob Elliot.

Newcastle was sloppy with its touches and passing, but its relentless pressure allowed the hosts most of the ball through most of the first half and a significant amount of corner kicks.

Rafa Benitez was forced into his second substitution when new signing Florian Lejeune was injured from a rash tackle from Kane — the Spurs man saw just yellow — and a second center back came off the bench in Chancel Mbemba.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Spurs found their footing around the 41st minute, and Elliot had a little work to do when Christian Eriksen curled a shot from outside the box.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jonjo Shelvey was given a red card after the break. Dele Alli handled the ball after a foul and would not release it. As Shelvey stepped over Dele to gather the ball, he stepped on the Spurs’ player’s ankle and was sent off.

Newcastle would have to play 42 minutes down a man.

Harry Kane made a sliding point-blank shot that Elliot foiled for a corner as Spurs mounted their attack.

It was Dele the villain who put Spurs ahead, rightly so, with a sliding finish off Christian Eriksen’s feed. Kane started the play, and Lascelles was victimized on the finish. 1-0, Spurs.

The Magpies held firm for less than 10 minutes, and this time it was Davies with a stylish finish of more fluid play from Dele, Kane, and Eriksen.

Christian Atsu put a shot into the outside of the netting in the 83rd minute as the Magpies sought a goal. A late free kick then saw Ciaran Clark hit a partial clearance right into Hugo Lloris‘ arms.

Kane, who doesn’t have a PL goal in any August, battered the post in the first minute of stoppage time then scored an offside goal in the second.

Vertonghen to miss 2 months with ankle ligament damage

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jan Vertronghen is expected to miss at least two months while recovering from ankle ligament damage, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time, with Tottenham Hotspur currently second in the Premier League, seven points back of leaders Chelsea.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Vertonghen suffered the injury in the 65th minute of Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion, when he went full-stretch to clear the ball along the sideline before landing on the outside of his left foot, causing the ankle to roll violently. The 29-year-old Belgian international was in clear, visible agony as he sat on the field at White Hart Lane and eventually limped down the tunnel.

The Guardian described the injury as “a tear lying between grades two and three, damage which had left Vertonghen in tears as he departed the turf at White Hart Lane and would normally rule him out at the very least until mid-March.”

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — Tight at the top… and bottom ]

In the meantime, Kevin Wimmer and Ben Davies will be tasked with filling the void for a Tottenham side which has conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (14 in 21 games). (As a small aside, 19-year-old American center back Cameron Carter-Vickers is likely set for a handful of appearances as well, perhaps in the Europa League round of 32 and FA Cup fourth round, with Wimmer and Davies called upon for additional PL service.)

Wimmer filled in for Vertonghen for nearly three months last season, at the exact same point of the campaign (Jan. 20 through April 2). In Wimmer’s 10 PL starts during that stretch (Vertonghen out with knee ligament damage), Spurs conceded seven goals (seven wins and two draws). The loss of Toby Aldeweireld, for nearly two months back in October of this season, proved a far greater blow (two wins in six PL games), and Spurs should once again manage just fine for as long as Aldeweireld remains healthy alongside Eric Dier, Wimmer and Davies.

Watch Live: Tottenham vs. Manchester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

Leave a comment

Manchester City looks to cement its place behind the likely champions Chelsea as they travel to London to take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane live on NBCSN at 11am ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

The visitors are struggling with injuries to a number of important players, but should they pull out a win they could go four points clear of Arsenal in second place, although well behind Chelsea who are all but secure at the top.

Most notably, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany are both missing from the Manchester City lineup, with the former picking up a hamstring injury against Aston Villa that could keep him out the rest of the season, although he surprisingly made the trip to London. Kompany will miss his third straight match due to an adductor tear.

WATCH LIVE: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City live online at NBC Sports Live Extra

Those injuries mean Eliaquim Mangala will get the start along the back line, while Fernandinho and Fernando pair up in midfield along with James Milner and Frank Lampard. Sergio Aguero starts up front, with both Edin Dzeko and Wilfried Bony on the bench. Samir Nasri comes back from injury to make the bench.

For Tottenham, left-back Ben Davies has been shut down for the season with a dislocated shoulder, but Danny Rose does prove fit to play in his place. Those are the only injury issues for the home side, as Harry Kane again romps up front while supported by Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, and Erik Lamela.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Bench: Vorm, Chiriches, Yedlin, Paulinho, Stambouli, Adebayor, Soldado

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Fernando, Milner, Lampard, Silva, Aguero
Bench: Caballero, Sagna, Boyata, Clichy, Nasri, Dzeko, Bony