Tottenham 3-2 Southampton: Sigurdsson puts icing on three-goal comeback after Eriksen double

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A pair of brutal mistakes by Kyle Naughton in the opening half hour set up Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana for opening Southampton goals, and it looked like another Europa League hangover for the home side.

But Christian Eriksen and Spurs held firm, and the Danish winger found himself a pair of goals before Gylfi Sigurdsson struck the winner two minutes deep into stoppage time.

The comeback was a spirited one, as it never seemed like Spurs were truly out of the match even after going down 2-0 on a half hour.

With the game wide open early and often, both teams got good looks into the box in the opening 10 minutes. Aaron Lennon’s cross into the box found no takers for Spurs, and Rickie Lambert’s run was cut off and Lallana’s ensuing shot was a good bit wide of the top corner.

With a couple more half-chances at either end, Southampton took full advantage of their first clear opportunity.  Artur Boruc’s goal kick leaped right over the head of a surprised Naughton and fell right to Rodriguez on the right flank, and with nobody back it was all the Burnley product who slotted past Lloris for the opener on 19 minutes.

The 24-year-old’s goal came right in front of the England manager Roy Hodgson watching a number of his international players at White Hart Lane.

The opener didn’t change much, but the visitors continued to be bright in the final third.  Six minutes later James Ward-Prowse came inches from a second, with his low effort deflected just wide.

source: AP
The pair of Southampton goalscorers pounced early but couldn’t produce enough after the half hour mark to hold off Spurs.

Southampton would get their second moments later, when a ball clattering around the Tottenham half came to Naughton in front of the box, and a heavy touch gifted the ball to Rickie Lambert who slotted Lallana through for another easy low finish.

The mistake by Spurs right-back is the club’s 15th defensive mistake leading to a goal, the highest mark in the Premier League. On the other end, it’s the England international’s first goal in eight games, again giving Hodgson cause to smile.

Spurs weren’t done, however, as they immediately responded with a mistake on Southampton’s part. It was Nathaniel Clyne’s turn for a heavy touch to betray him, and the ball fell at the feet of Christian Eriksen who made no mistake to bring Spurs right back into things.

The goal blasted Spurs right back into things, and although they couldn’t get another before halftime, their statement was made. Danny Rose had a brilliant opportunity to get his team level two minutes before the break, but after breaking free down the left, his cut-back for Aaron Lennon was off-target and it slid through the box untouched.

The home side would retain momentum through into the second half, and it paid off almost immediately. Roberto Soldado, starting in place of the injured Emmanuel Adebayor, broke with acres of space down the right touch, and he found a streaking Eriksen in the box for a close-range tap-in and a level 2-2 scoreline.

Tottenham’s furious start to the second half wasn’t over, and they peppered the Southampton box by pumping the ball in repeatedly.  It took a while for the next real chance, but Eriksen had a shot at a hat-trick getting behind the back line but substitute Callum Chambers threw his body in the way at the last moment for the block.

With tired legs taking over, the game settled down the stretch, but as expected, it sprung to life in the dying minutes as both sides pressed for the winner. Rickie Lambert’s 89th minute shot dragged wide before coming off, and then Spurs got their moment.

A long ball forward wasn’t dealt with right away by the visiting defense, and it fell to Eriksen who touched to Sigurdsson at the top of the box. There was some space to work with, and the Icelandic winger rifled confidently past Boruc deep into stoppage time.

White Hart Lane exploded, and the winner provided a massive lift for Tim Sherwood who had seen a dip in the club’s form since his initial boost.  The team can still hope for a European spot next season, although they need a fifth place finish to do so. They sit in that spot with the win, but Everton in sixth have two games in hand.

For Southampton, they miss their chance to jump Newcastle into eighth place. The club has had some quality showings this season, but weren’t consistent enough at White Hart Lane to secure their result.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham – Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Lennon (Townsend 72′), Bentaleb, Chadli, Dembele (Sigurdsson 45′), Eriksen; Soldado.

Goals: Eriksen 30′, 46′; Sigurdsson 90+2′

Southampton – Boruc; Clyne (Chambers 45′), Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Cork, Ward-Prowse, S. Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez (Rodriguez 64′); Lambert (Gallagher 90′).

Goals: Rodriguez 19′, Lallana 28′

Guardiola: I’m staying at Man City and I love this challenge

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This year’s managerial merry-go-round tells us that nothing should surprise us, and there are few high-profile jobs that feel safe from changes at any given time.

Manchester City is one of them, but upheaval at old club Bayern Munich and uncertainty at Barcelona have had many linking Pep Guardiola with an early exit from the Etihad Stadium.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City v. Chelsea ]

But as Chuck D warned us so long ago, don’t believe the hype; Guardiola says he’s very happy at Man City and not quitting on the project or the season.

“We don’t have a joker in our pocket,” he said. “I know, all around the world, people are saying the Premier League is done.”

“But if people think I am going to resign for these results, they don’t know me. I like this challenge. I love to be in this position. If the club wants me next season, I want to be here 100 percent.”

Few would be surprise if Man City went on a wild run of wins, especially once Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane return to the team. The reason folks think the Premier League is over is the idea that Liverpool would lose nine more points than City seems so unlikely (though they do meet again).

Milan hoping to woo “great champion” Zlatan next week

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Serie A mainstays AC Milan are trying to woo Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro.

The full-court press makes sense, as it will take some financial sacrifices for Ibrahimovic to join the side given Financial Fair Play problems in Milan.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City v. Chelsea ]

Coach Stefano Pioli called Zlatan “a great champion” while admitting he has to focus on the table and not transfers, while former AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani issued a glowing call for the Swede to return to town.

From Football-Italia.com:

“It would be romantic if he returned. But I have a rule, I don’t talk about teams I’m not involved with anymore. I’m only a fan of Milan now. Still, his arrival would enrich Italian football, similar to when Cristiano Ronaldo came to Italy.”

Man, they know how to speak this guy’s language, don’t they?

Sky Sports says Ibrahimovic’s agent will meet with Milan again next week in the hopes of convincing him to take a lower wage deal, and the 38-year-old showed he’s willing to take one for the team during his stint with the LA Galaxy.

The move makes too much sense, with Milan’s 11 goals well below its expected goal number. They need a finisher, and Zlatan sure does that. And if lower wages means Zlatan gets to play mercenary for five months while proving he’s got the goods for a big wage for 2020-21, that’s an easy concession for the striker.

U.S. U-17 keeper Odunze learning from Schmeichel at Leicester City

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Leicester City’s huge secret was told to the world at the U-17 World Cup in Brazil, where imposing goalkeeper Chituru Odunze made several big saves in the United States’ quick exit from the group stage.

Odunze, who turned 17 last month, joined the Premier League outfit from the Vancouver Whitecaps last season, and is already getting some first team training time.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City v. Chelsea ]

This is all good news for a USMNT program which has a long history of goalkeepers shining at the top levels in Europe, including Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, and now Zach Steffen.

Odunze admits to being pleased at the tests provided by Jamie Vardy and the Leicester attackers, but says he’s learning more from the expertise on show from a trio of wise first team goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Ward, and Eldin Jakupovic.

Schmeichel is a Premier League winner, Jakupovic a former regular PL starter with Hull City, and Ward helped Huddersfield Town to promotion during a loan from Liverpool. From The Leicester Mercury:

“They’re all really good role models at the club, and they sort of take you under their wing. They’ve taught me to calm down and be confident in my abilities,” Odunze said. “Of course, there are little pieces of technical information they give me while we’re training, but a lot of the lasting information I get from them is mental.”

The 17-year-old has a monstrous frame, so learning from Schmeichel and company at such a young age while getting tested by the Foxes’ electric attackers is a great combination. He is 2W-2L at the U18 Premier League level.

Premier League Preview: Manchester City v. Chelsea

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Manchester City and Chelsea both defend their slimmed title hopes when they meet Saturday at the Etihad Stadium (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

City is hoping to avoid a second-straight loss after dropping nine points behind prohibitive title favorites Liverpool last match day, while Frank Lampard‘s Blues know a loss could see them drop as many as 11 points behind the Reds.

And, of course, a win will give either side the table advantage over the other.

Ederson and David Silva are available again for Man City. Christian Pulisicis in contention to play” for Chelsea after missing the international break with the United States.

A Champions League match day follows this one, with Man City meeting Shakhtar Donetsk in Manchester on Tuesday and Chelsea in Spain to meet Valencia one day later.


Injuries/suspensions

Manchester City: OUT — Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane. QUESTIONABLE — None.

Chelsea: OUT — Ruben Loftus-Cheek. QUESTIONABLE — Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi.


Probable lineups

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, B.Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Aguero.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Zouma, Alonso; Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.


What they’re saying

City’s Pep Guardiola on Frank Lampard’s young managerial career: “From my experience, experience doesn’t count much. I would say that when you know the club it is a good advantage and Frank Lampard knows Chelsea perfectly and everything behind the scenes – media, fans, players – so that is good. When I arrived (at Barcelona) not many people trusted me, honestly. Few, few people. Maybe the president, sporting director and not many. “Maybe Frank was similar at Derby. It was a big club, he didn’t take results in the beginning and people said he didn’t have experience. Look now.”

Frank Lampard on being above Man City after 12 matches: “For us to be in that position is something I am pleased with, I actually want more as well. I look at ourselves and don’t consider others, only where we could have got more points too, and there are times where we could have done. At the same time it is nice to be up there and around it. It’s a great test tomorrow, head to head to see where we’re at. It won’t be the end story, anyone can go to Manchester City and lose, they are such a strong outfit. That is what Pep Guardiola and the club have built over recent years. So I won’t be making huge judgements win or lose tomorrow without a doubt.”


Prediction

Could go either way, couldn’t it, but it feels more likely we see a vintage, defiant bounce back effort from City that looks a bit too easy given Chelsea’s strengths. This is the first big league test for Chelsea since its narrow loss to Liverpool on Sept. 22. We see the six-match winning streak ending via a 3-1 final score.