Mauricio Pochettino

Pellegrino calls for VAR after “injustice” extends Saints woes

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Southampton took a 2-0 lead at Watford and played well enough to pick up a first win since Oct. 26, but drew 2-2 when Abdoulaye Doucoure’s handled winner eluded the eyes of the linesman.

Saints’ boss Mauricio Pellegrino, whose job has seemingly been on the line for some time, was left very upset by the decision or lack thereof and wants video review in the Premier League soon.

[ RECAP: Watford 2-2 Saints ]

“I never see this type of mistake in the Premier League before,” Pellegrino said. “To live this injustice is really hard. I think we have to try (VAR) and analyse if it’s possible to help the sport to make better decisions, even for the referee.”

Pellegrino also stressed his belief that Saints have been moving in the right direction despite sitting just outside the drop zone. Winless in 10, Southampton drew Manchester United on Dec. 30 and have played a number of tough foes during their drought.

“The last four games the team is growing. Playing in this way it’s easy for everybody because I’m sure we’ll win games.”

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham

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  • Ten goals in two matches between the two this year
  • Spurs won 3-2 at West Ham
  • Irons won League Cup match 3-2 at Wembley
  • Spurs lead all-time 63W-36D-50L

The final festive fixture is upon us Thursday, as Tottenham Hotspur looks to get a season sweep of West Ham United in a match at Wembley Stadium (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Both sides played and won Tuesday, with Spurs waltzing past Swans and West Ham posting a stunning comeback against West Bromwich Albion.

Spurs were able to do it without Harry Kane in a starting role, though the English star assisted Dele Alli‘s insurance goal in the 2-0 win. He’ll return to the Starting XI on Thursday.

West Ham boss David Moyes is worried that a minor injury to Aaron Cresswell will keep him from the match, as he’s short on defenders with injuries to Sam Byram, Jose Fonte, and Reece Oxford as well.

What they’re saying

Spurs’ Pochettino on putting teams away“When you don’t kill games sometimes you pay and one thing can change everything so we were anxious to score the second. It was late in the game but we felt the happiness and the three points was massive. Now we rest and work in the video room because we have another game so soon.”

West Ham’s Moyes on battling relegation“You can see how the Premier League is going to go between now and the end of the season. Games are going to be won and lost on really small margins. think you can see there’s a lot of tension at the bottom of the league this season, because two defeats and you slide back in. Two wins and you could be talking about trying to get into mid table.”

Prediction

More goals? A rested Kane should be able to find his way past an often times suspect Irons defense, though don’t sleep on in-form Marko Arnautovic and the opportunistic Arthur Masuaku on West Ham’s flank. We probably won’t see five goals, but both sides get on the board as Spurs win 3-1.

Pochettino: Spurs needed to kill off Swans earlier to ease anxiety

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It was a downpour at the Liberty Stadium, watery Wales if you will, and Tottenham Hotspur was only ahead via an offside Fernando Llorente goal.

But despite 68 percent possession, Spurs were always one mistake away from losing two points. Dele Alli did manage a goal in the 89th minute but, as Tottenham saw earlier this season against Burnley, you have to put teams away.

[ RECAP: Swans 0-2 Spurs ]

Mauricio Pochettino says it’s clear Spurs deserved the points over 90 minutes, but wasn’t excited with his team’s finishing. From the BBC:

“When you don’t kill games sometimes you pay and one thing can change everything so we were anxious to score the second. It was late in the game but we felt the happiness and the three points was massive. Now we rest and work in the video room because we have another game so soon.”

Spurs play again on Thursday against a West Ham team which came back to beat West Brom 2-1 on Tuesday. The fifth place side will start Harry Kane after saving him for a 22-minute sub role on Tuesday, and aim to keep pace with the Top Four.

Premier League Preview: Burnley vs. Tottenham

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  • Davinson Sanchez returns from suspension for Tottenham Hotspur but Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) remain sidelined.
  • Burnley’s Stephen Ward (knee) is likely to miss the next two matches while James Tarkowski is suspended for the next three, during which time he will undergo a hand operation.
  • Spurs are aiming to win back-to-back league matches at Turf Moor for the first time in 92 years, but Burnley has lost only one of their last eight PL home matches (W5 D2). 
  • Burnley has won one of their seven Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur (D2 L4), 4-2 in May 2010. 

Tottenham looks to leapfrog back over Burnley and into the top five of the Premier League with a trip to Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon. (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com).

[MORE: Top Premier League storylines — Week 19]

Spurs were battered 4-1 last weekend against Manchester City and now face a very difficult task in Burnley, which has stunned observers with a top-six position at this point of the season. On the other hand, Tottenham should see a majority of the ball, even on the road, and Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli could find the key to break through Burnley’s defense.

Speaking of Burnley’s backline, it will be missing centerback James Tarkowski after a three-match ban for violent conduct, a big loss that could be tough to replace on Saturday.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on rebounding from last week: “Players are disappointed because of the defeat against City but after you have time to train and to talk you change that energy and try to move on. The team is ready to compete, ready to go to Burnley and try to win again. It’s been a good week to work and refresh some concepts and again, to be all together, to try to assess, to analyze and try to improve.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on his side’s performances this season: “We’re progressing, you can see that. It’s beyond the league table; on and off the pitch the players are delivering performances and I’ve been very pleased with that. You want to look at the team in the tunnel and know they are going to give everything for the cause. It gives you a better chance of giving what you want, and I think we have that. They respect and believe in each other and the squad, that’s a really healthy position to be in as a team.”

Video Preview

Prediction: Burnley has been very impressive this season, but without two starters on its backline against one of the Premier League’s best attacks, it’s going to be very tough for Sean Dyche‘s side to get at least a point out of this match. Tottenham should get the result they need. Tottenham 2-0 Burnley

Spurs’ Wanyama expected back during festive period

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is eager to welcome midfielder Victor Wanyama back into his first-team squad during the upcoming festive period of Premier League fixtures.

[ PREVIEW: Arsenal host Liverpool in massive top-four clash ]

Wanyama, who hasn’t played since the second game of the 2017-18 season due to a knee injury which required extensive rehabilitation in order to avoid surgery, returned to full training this week. Pochettino is hopeful, yet cautious, that the Kenyan’s knee will respond well in the coming days and ultimately be ready for game action in the next 10-14 days — quotes from the Guardian:

“He came back to training with the team on Wednesday. Now we need to see how the knee reacts but it’s a very good feeling from him. It will be fantastic to have him back. He was such an important player for us last season and it’s true that we have missed a player like him this season — in a position where you have to be strong.”

Tottenham are away to Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com), home against Southampton three days later on Boxing Day, and away to Swansea City seven days later on Jan. 2.

By opting against significant investment during the summer transfer window, Spurs essentially rolled the dice in hopes of another largely injury-free season as they attempted to challenge for the PL title for a third straight season. If everyone managed to stay healthy and play 80-90 percent of games, the squad was good enough to push the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea — or so the thought was in June, July and August.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | JPW’s PL picks ]

Of course, that’s a risky proposition. Wanyama was lost for four months after just 98 minutes of PL action, Mousa Dembele‘s chronic injury issues have persisted, Danny Rose didn’t return from a knee injury of his own until November, and Toby Aldeweireld has been out since the start of Novemeber and won’t be back until February. Following Wanyama’s comeback, Aldeweireld is the only Spurs player currently unavailable for selection.

As such, Moussa Sissoko has started more than half of Spurs’ games in the PL, Eric Dier has been forced into center-back duty thus weakening an already-thin midfield unit in Wanyama’s absence, and the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have been ridden extremely hard during the first half of the season — perhaps setting them up for second-half breakdowns of their own.

Couple all of that with the fact Spurs are playing their home games at Wembley Stadium this season, and it begins to feel like something of a miracle that they currently sit just three points back of fourth place in the league and effortlessly breezed through the “group of death” in the UEFA Champions League.