Premier League Playback: Can Tottenham’s Harry Kane lead England’s new wave?



Harry Kane is living the dream right now. And it’s about to get better.

Kane, 21, scored two goals in his first-ever north London derby as Tottenham Hotspur rallied back from 1-0 down to beat bitter rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned ]

His goals were even more memorable as Kane is a born and bred north Londoner who has come up through the ranks of Spurs’ academy. Speaking to reporters after the game, Kane couldn’t hide his delight as his fairytale continues.

“It was a fantastic feeling. You could see from the way the fans celebrated at the end how much it meant and to score twice was unbelievable,” Kane said. “I didn’t want to come off – I wish I was still out there now with the fans. It was a special day, my first north London derby and the way it panned out was just incredible. It’s something I won’t forget and I probably won’t sleep tonight.”

Plenty of Premier League defenders have had sleepless nights this season due to Kane, as the young Englishman has tormented defenses up and down the land. Kane now has 22 goals in all competitions this campaign, more than any PL player, and as England’s national team manager Roy Hodgson watched on at the Lane, there’s no way Kane won’t get his first call up to the senior team next month.

But the big question is: can Kane lead the English national team and should their attack be built around him?

He can, and it should. With Kane’s power, pace and size, he is the perfect man to play in the central role in Hodgson’s preferred 4-3-3 formation. Kane is a powerful specimen who has developed physically over the past six months to enable his ability to lead the line. Maurico Pochettino, his boss at Spurs, believes Kane has “massive potential” but he urged him to keep improving. The thing about Kane is, it’s hard to see a weakness in his game at the moment.

He scores goals of every variety and has netted 12 with his right foot, four with his left foot and five headers this season. His winner against Arsenal on Saturday was the perfect example of his predatory instincts as he always seems to be in the right place at the right time but also has the ability to keep a cool head and finish. For England, Kane should play in the No. 9 role, with Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling on the wings, ps Wayne Rooney playing in the No. 10 role, England are all of a sudden awash with top quality attacking options. The likes of Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may not get a starting spot for a while.

source: Getty Images
Adored at Spurs, Kane is ready to lead the line for England.

Kane has come through the ranks, playing for England at every level from U-17 to U-21, and has served his apprenticeship with several loan stints helping him to flourish right here, right now. He has scored 13 goals in 12 appearances for England’s U-21 side, and alongside him there are now a number of top quality English youngsters who are playing regular in the PL and are ready to strut their stuff on the international stage.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

English players who have come through the U-21 team and are currently playing regularly in the PL include, Luke Shaw, Ryan Mason, James Ward-Prowse, Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey, Eric Dier, Saido Berahino, Calum Chambers, John Stones and Ross Barkley. And those are just a select few. With so many special English talents starting to shine up and down the land, the future is looking brigh for England. Right now, Kane is the leading light and it would be a huge shock if he isn’t in the Three Lions’ next squad at the end of March.

One final moment of reflection here. Arsenal fans I’m sure you know this. Kane spent time at the Gunners’ academy but was let go as a youngster and a picture of him wearing an Arsenal shirt went viral over social media last week. Asked about that afterwards, Kane was delighted that his allegiance is now perfectly clear.

“Of course it was nice to score after that,” Kane said. “I’m Tottenham through and through and this shows that. It’s an emotional day and one I’m very pleased with.”

I was in north London for the derby on Saturday, and it’s clear Kane is the people’s champion as he was serenaded off the pitch at the full time whistle. His name reverberated from bars, on the platforms of crowded train stations and down sidestreets on Saturday evening. Very soon, his name will be sung with gusto across England.

Premier League Schedule – Week 24

Result Recap & Highlights
Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea Recap and watch here
Burnley 2-2 West Brom Recap and watch here
Everton 0-0 Liverpool Recap and watch here
Leicester 0-1 Crystal Palace Recap and watch here
Man City 1-1 Hull City Recap and watch here
Newcastle 1-1 Stoke Recap and watch here
QPR 0-1 Saints Recap and watch here
Swansea 1-1 Sunderland Recap and watch here
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal Recap and watch here
West Ham 1-1 Man United Recap and watch here


Leicester City are bottom of the table, with just one win in five and the pressure seems to be getting to their manager Nigel Pearson.

[ RELATED: Pearson remains ]

During Leicester’s damaging 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday, Palace midfielder James McArthur collided with Pearson on the sidelines and as each men got to their feet, a strange incident played out.

Pearson and McArthur resembled two flamingo’s ready to tango, but then suddenly realized that over 30,000 people were watching them, yet neither wanted to back down. To his credit, McArthur was the less confrontational. As the Scotsman tried to get up, but Pearson first pinned him down with his right hand and then got his left hand and grabbed him by the throat.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Then, a moment of realization arrived as Pearson — who has already been banned from the touchline and fined after an incident with a Leicester fan earlier this season — let go of McArthur’s throat. But he wasn’t done. As McArthur retreated and his manager Alan Pardew (just the man you wouldn’t want to see moving in on a touchline altercation between a player and a coach…) approached the situation, Pearson failed to let go of the Palace midfielders jersey as it all started to get a bit weird. Then it ended, but you could see the pressure is taking its toll on Pearson.

source: Getty Images
Did Pearson lose the plot against Palace?

Something extra to add into the mix is that Pearson tried to sign McArthur this summer but the deal broke down at the last minute and he instead signed for Palace. Did that have anything to do with it?

“I don’t have to reveal anything do I? I’m more than capable of looking after myself,” Pearson said of the incident. “Listen, I’ve a lot of respect for the lad, he’s a good player. You know what happened in the summer in terms of him coming here.”

Numerous reports seemed to confirm Pearson’s departure from Leicester on Sunday evening but soon after Leicester put out a statement saying he was still in charge and focused for Tuesday’s game against Arsenal. Behind Pearson’s quite demeanor which prevails in media interviews, stories of his personality as a player are quite the opposite. Always a joker and at the center of banter and whatnot in the dressing room back in the day, the picture Pearson paints of himself to the mainstream media today is quite different.

After already having his wrists slapped for confronting a fan during a match, and now grabbing hold of a player aggressively on the sidelines, how much longer will Pearson last at Leicester as the pressure continues to mount?


Southampton. Manchester United. Tottennham Hotspur. Arsenal. West Ham United. Liverpool. Pick two from those six teams, guys.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Tough, right? The intense battle for a place in next season’s Champions League continues as Southampton and Tottenham won this weekend, West Ham United and Manchester United drew in a tight battle at Upton Park, plus Liverpool were held at Everton.

This week Liverpool and Tottenham square off at Anfield, while Southampton and West Ham clash at St Mary’s as four teams in the hunt for the UCL do battle. One of the reasons why the teams from third to eighth are so closely bunched is down to their record against each other. Look at the Tweet above. Teams just can’t pull away from one another as the are lacking wins against eachother. This week may help to separate the pretenders from the mix.



Excuse me, Big Sam, did I just hear you correctly?

Yes, this season West Ham have often dished up scintillating soccer and attacked with panache, creativity and verve, but so often Sam Allardyce’s teams have been  straight-forward in their approach. “Get it in the mixer!” Was the cry from Allardyce’s bench for most of his tenure at Upton Park, but on Sunday that message was coming from the opposite bench as Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal sent on Marouane Fellaini to contest aerial balls and their direct approach snatched the Red Devils a last-gasp point which hit the Hammers’ top four pursuit hard.

United failed to get going in attack as Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie struggled up front and Wayne Rooney continues to underwhelm in his new midfield role. Rooney has failed to register a shot on target in 2015 despite playing 450 minutes, which tells it’s own story as United continue to stumble along but remain in the top four. Just.

Watch the video below to see Allardyce’s reaction to his side letting a lead slip in stoppage him, as the sound of him lamenting long-ball tactics just seems very peculiar, even if he was spot on. We love your honesty, Big Sam.


With a full slate of games coming up in the PL this Tuesday and Wednesday, the action just keeps coming thick and fast.

[ RELATED: Premier League schedule ]

Below are five storylines to keep a watchful eye on, while you can stream every game live online, so you don’t miss a single kick.

1. Liverpool and Tottenham put top four hopes on the lines 

2. Cuadrado could light up Stamford Bridge on home debut 

3. Saints and Hammers clash in battle of the upstarts 

4. Can Stoke do the double over struggling Man City? 

5. Pardew faces old club Newcastle at Selhurst Park cauldron 


Geoff Cameron was the leading light for the Americans Abroad this weekend. The Bostonian surged forward from right back late on at Newcastle and delivered a peach of a cross which Peter Crouch nodded home to make it 1-1 and seal a solid point for Stoke. Above he caught up with our broadcast team after the match at St James’ Park.

[ RELATED: Geoff Cameron’s latest blog for PST ]

Elsewhere, Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa lost again but put in a much better display in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, while Tim Howard is back in training but didn’t feature in Everton’s 0-0 Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool. Those were the Americans Abroad, but the USMNT did have a game on Sunday as they beat Panama 2-0 at the StubHub Center. Full coverage on that game, including a recap, videos, player ratings and more can be found here.

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Editor and Lead Writer takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 


Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

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WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel


Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi defies xG with relentless goal (video)


USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.

The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.

[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]

Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.

Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.

But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.

Video after the jump.

Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi goal video: Fantastic start to Groningen loan

Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.

His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.

Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.

In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.

Josef Martinez scores vicious overhead kick in Atlanta United loss (video)


If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.

So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.

[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]

Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.

Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.