Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 Chelsea: Clinical Kane punishes sloppy Blues; Chelsea, Man City tied atop Premier League

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What a derby!

The Premier League title race is neck and neck, with Chelsea’s 5-3 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Friday raising Manchester City level with the Blues on points, goal differential, goals scored and goals allowed.

Tottenham beat Chelsea for just the fourth time in the last 49 top-flight fixtures between the two.

Harry Kane scored a pair of goals for Tottenham, with Andros Townsend, Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose also scoring in a match that saw Spurs up 4-1 at one point.

And Spurs have moved into fifth-place, leapfrogging Arsenal after the Gunners lost at Southampton.

Diego Costa, John Terry and Eden Hazard scored for Chelsea in the loss. It was only the second time a Jose Mourinho-led team allowed five goals, dating back to a 5-0 loss to Barcelona with Real Madrid).

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

An injury to Ryan Mason forced Tottenham into its first substitution just 14 minutes into the match, as Moussa Dembele came on.

Courtois as called into duty in the 16th minute when Harry Kane attempted an overhead kick from the corner of the six that the Belgian keeper pushed away.

Chelsea’s opener was a thing of beauty, as Courtois spotted Eden Hazard 60 yards downfield and pegged a long throw to his feet. Hazard darted down the field and put a shot off the post. Eventually, Costa tapped home for the goal.

Jan Vertonghen caught a huge break in the 24th minute when his should-be handball in the box wasn’t called. Oscar nearly made it 2-0 anyway a minute later, but his low shot went wide and he caught an elbow to add to the miss.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

But Kane would equalize for the hosts, gliding past Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic before using John Terry as a screen and belting a low shot past a diving Courtois.

source:  Rose then caught a rebound from the post and slapped it into the goal to make it 2-1 just before halftime. And Gary Cahill caught Kane in the box to set up Andros Townshed for a penalty he converted to make it 3-1.

Kane made it 4-1 early in the second half, as he was again a step too quick for Terry. It was a three-goal lead in the 53rd minute for the hosts against the league leaders.

Then came Hazard, seizing a turnover and linking up for a brilliant 1-2 with Cesc Fabregas that ended with a hard bounding shot past Lloris. It was 4-2, and could it be game on?

Lloris made a diving save on Cesar Azpilicueta to keep things 4-2, but Chelsea was pushing forward.

Only it was Tottenham who would score next, with Chadli shooting in front of Terry again to make it 5-2 in the 78th minute.

Terry made it 5-3 when he followed the play to the back post, tapping in an 87th minute goal.

Lineups

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (c), Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies, 76′); Bentaleb, Mason (Dembele, 14′); Chadli, Eriksen, Townsend (Paulinho, 66′); Kane

Goals: Kane 2 (30′, 52′), Rose (44′), Townsend (45′), Chadli (78′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian (Salah, 72′), Oscar (Ramires, 46′), Hazard; Diego Costa

Goal: Costa (17′), Hazard (61′), Terry (87′)

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

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A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).