All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:
Dele Alli is loving his time at White Hart Lane, though many headlines will latch on the question at the end of his response to a Sky Sports question on his future.
No, the 21-year-old did not pledge his future to Tottenham Hotspur but, yes, he could have said, “There’s no place for me but here.” Still, on the heels of his talking about his excitement to play in Spurs’ new stadium — which doesn’t open until 2018 — well, perhaps we shouldn’t read much into his response.
You be the judge, From Sky Sports:
“It’s important you enjoy the journey, whether I end up at Tottenham for the next 15 years and retire here. I think it’s important for me not to get too carried away by what will happen in the future. The way football is, anything can happen at any time. I will enjoy my time here now… who knows what will happen in the future?”
Through all competitions, Dele has 21 goals and 11 assists this season. He’s earned his second PFA Young Player of the Year Award, and is poised to be a big part of Spurs’ UEFA Champions League campaign next season.
It begs the question: Why wouldn’t he want to stay in London?
For the first time in 14 matches, Spurs didn’t find the back of the net and that very truth could cost Mauricio Pochettino‘s side a chance at the Premier League title.
West Ham knocked off Tottenham, 1-0, on Friday at the London Stadium, which may very well prove to be Spurs’ final blow in the title race with three matches remaining.
Spurs remain four points behind league leaders Chelsea, who play on Monday against Middlesbrough with a chance to extend their advantage to seven points.
Manuel Lanzini finished off a scrum inside the Tottenham penalty area in the 65th minute to put the Hammers ahead for his eighth PL goal of the season.
Spurs gave the Hammers a flurry of chances to worry about in the 21st minute when Harry Kane had two close-range attempts saved by goalkeeper Adrian, while Dele Alli also had a shot blocked in front of goal.
Lanzini had the game’s first chance after five minutes when Andre Ayew picked out a fantastic long ball down the left side, but the striker’s left-footed effort went harmlessly wide of Hugo Lloris’ net.
Spurs will finish up their season with matches against Manchester United, Leicester City and Hull while the Hammers take on Liverpool and Burnley.Follow @MattReedFutbol
For the first time in 22 years, Tottenham will finish above Arsenal in the league table.
The North London derby finished 2-0 in favor of the home side at White Hart Lane, and the last visit there for Arsene Wenger & company confirms they cannot catch Spurs. Dele Alli scored and Harry Kane struck from the spot just two minutes later as a quickfire double soon after halftime sent Tottenham through.
With White Hart Lane at full throat, Tottenham was the more dangerous side out of the gate. Harry Kane tested Petr Cech with a tight-angled shot inside the opening minute, and Toby Alderweireld had a set-piece header go just over the bar also from a difficult position. The Gunners also spent a bit of time in the opposition area as Kieran Gibbs forced Hugo Lloris off the line to challenge a ball near the end line.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Spurs had the best pair of chances of the opening half on 21 minutes back-to-back. Harry Kane delivered a ball towards the six-yard box, and with a deflection it came to the head of Dele Alli, who should have scored, but put it over the bar from right on the doorstep. Minutes later, Heung-Min Son sliced up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left flank and burst into the box, and while his shot was deflected, it fell to Christian Eriksen who also should have scored with the goal gaping, but didn’t hit the volley cleanly and skied it over.
Aaron Ramsey worked Hugo Lloris as the Frenchman was forced into a low save to his left on the midfielder’s shot seven minutes before halftime.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
The hosts had the best chance straight out of halftime as Victor Wanyama charged down a loose ball and unleashed a howitzer on net that was just tipped over the bar by Petr Cech.
The breakthrough came in the 56th minute as Spurs went in front. Kane held the ball up brilliantly and found Alli, and under pressure Christian Eriksen latched onto it, and while his shot was saved, it fell back to Alli and he crashed it home. Immediately after, Spurs doubled their lead as Gabriel caught Kane’s foot in the penalty area, causing the England international to go to ground. Referee Michael Oliver gave the penalty, and Kane slotted it in off the left post.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Arsenal, suddenly down 2-0, looked to push forward to find a way back in. Olivier Giroud forced an easy scoop save from Lloris and then Gibbs fired over past the hour mark. The Gunners seemed shell-shocked at their sudden deficit, and by the time they truly worked themselves onto the ball, they were faced with a bunkered-in Spurs defense.
Tottenham saw the game out with little threat from the visitors, and the three points keeps pace with Chelsea, closing the gap back to four points with their ninth straight win. Arsenal, meanwhile, failed to capitalize on the opportunity brought on by Manchester United and Manchester City both dropping points earlier in the day.
“He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona.”
Even half-kidding, the Derby Barceloni is alive and well for longtime Espanyol man Mauricio Pochettino and Barcelona legend Xavi.
At least that’s why the latter is trying to sabotage the former’s Premier League title fight, Pochettino says.
[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]
Speaking from his club team in Qatar, Xavi claimed that Manchester City is going to bid high for Spurs’ young star Dele Alli.
Tottenham boss Pochettino says that’s just not true. Pochettino was joking a bit when he answered questions on the topic, but then told a story about Xavi diving for a penalty in the derby. Here are a few of his thoughts, from The Telegraph:
“It wasn’t a penalty but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Barcelona and they won the game. After in the replay it was very funny because it was clear no one touched him. Come on! It goes from lie to lie to lie.”
“He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany.”