West Ham 1-0 Tottenham: Antonio sinks out-of-sorts Spurs

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  • Antonio’s header wins it
  • Spurs lose for fourth time this season
  • Tottenham three points off the top

LONDON — West Ham United were fired up from the start and title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur never got going as they lost the London derby 1-0 at Upton Park on Wednesday and missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Leicester City.

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Michail Antonio‘s early header proved to be the difference as the West Ham winger scored the game-winner to seal two 1-0 wins in four days for Slaven Bilic‘s spirited side who are now 14 games unbeaten at home.

Tottenham looked out-of-sorts throughout as they gave the ball away cheaply time and time again in their first away defeat since the opening day of the season. Harry Kane missed two chances in the second half to snatch a point but ahead of the North London Derby versus Arsenal on Saturday Spurs’ six-game winning streak came to an abrupt end.

With the win West Ham keep alive their top four hopes and are just one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City, while Spurd stay in second and three points behind Leicester.

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After an even start West Ham went ahead with less than 10 minutes on the clock.

Fan favorite Payet whipped in a corner from the right and Antonio flicked home a header at the near post as Lloris failed to claw the ball away. 1-0 to the Hammers and the home fans were delirious. “1-0 to the Cockney boys” was the chant as Antonio had his sixth goal in his last seven appearances at Upton Park.

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Tottenham didn’t improve after that early setback and West Ham almost doubled their lead in the 15th minute as Payet teed up Mark Noble on the edge of the box and his pile-driver was tipped away brilliantly by Lloris.

Spurs continued to give the ball away needlessly and Pochettino looked anxious on the sidelines as his team struggled to break through a resolute Hammers defense and Antonio was denied his and West Ham’s second as Kevin Wimmer blocked his effort.

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In the second half Spurs improved with patient build-up play down the right seeing Kieran Trippier cross to Erik Lamela but he sent his diving header wide. Ryan Mason then skewed a shot horribly wide as Spurs tried to force the issue but the Hammers always looked dangerous on the break.

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Dele Alli came on for the final 30 minutes to try and fire Spurs into life and they should’ve leveled things up. Toby Alderweireld‘s long-range shot was parried by Adrian but straight to Kane but he failed to finish from six-yards out. Kane had another great chance moments later but Eriksen’s cross at the back post just evaded him.

Youngster Reece Oxford came on at center back with James Collins forced off injured and the Hammers switched to a 3-5-2 for the final stages of the game. Spurs poured forward at every opportunity but failed to create a clear cut opening as they head into Saturday’s clash with Arsenal trailing league leaders Leicester by three points.

AT HALF: Martial, Rashford team up for impressive opener

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Manchester United has a stylish opening goal in its quest to go a perfect 2-for-2 in Premier League play.

After quality passing in traffic ended with Marcus Rashford slipping a through ball in to both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, the Frenchman bolted a ball into the upper reaches of the net.

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To be honest, Rui Patricio had little recourse.

The goal is Martial’s second of the season, and United is 45 minutes away from moving atop the league.

Report: Barcelona will make Neymar loan offer

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The most expensive player in the world may be going back to his old club…on loan.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Barcelona will make an official approach for Neymar on a loan with an option to buy next summer, similar to the switch Philippe Coutinho made from the Camp Nou to Bayern Munich earlier today. In fact, the report specifically states that Barcelona will look to copy Bayern’s approach of a one-year loan with a fee ($9.4 million for Coutinho’s loan) plus all wages paid, followed by an option to buy ($133 million).

Barcelona prefers this approach as they have already racked up a massive transfer bill this summer, spending over $220 million on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Junior Firpo, and Neto.

While there have been numerous reports of potentially creative offers for Neymar over the past few weeks that mention players included in a swap deal, the ESPNFC report specifically states no players will be included in any current or future deal for Neymar either in the terms of the loan or as part of the option to buy. While Barcelona considered this approach in the past, Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly not interested in any players Barca offered, other than Coutinho. They apparently made an official offer already, ponying up $89 million plus Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, but that was turned down.

The ESPN report does state that Coutinho’s loan to Bayern is seen by those close to Neymar as “a huge setback” as the Brazilian’s camp saw Coutinho as the key to making the deal happen, given that Barcelona is unwilling to put up a straight cash offer this summer. Unnamed Barcelona officials are also quoted in the report as stating that a for a potential Neymar deal, “it will be complicated,” but they are hopeful of progress.

The option to buy in Barcelona’s offer has reportedly not been decided upon as of yet, although previous reports have stated that PSG is unlikely to consider an offer that does not net them back what they paid for Neymar two years ago, to the tune of $245 million.

Watch Live: Wolves v. Man United

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Manchester United travels to Monlieux to take on their boogy team as Wolverhampton Wanderers look to make it four straight without a loss against the Red Devils across all competitions (Watch live, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The last time Manchester United beat Wolves was in 2012 when they won 5-0 at Monlieux in a season that saw Wolves eventually relegated. They were winless in all three matches against Wolves last season, including two in Premier League action and one in domestic cup play. To end that drought, they’ll need to break a Wolves streak of eight consecutive top-flight matches unbeaten at home, making their midlands ground a fortress of late.


To help snap the streak, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has handed winger Daniel James a full debut, coming into the side in place of Andreas Pereira as the only change from the team that topped Chelsea 4-0 to begin the season. Juan Mata stays stuck on the bench, while Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial all spearhead the attack alongside James. Paul Pogba again partners with Scott McTominay in midfield to reprise a duo that was fabulous against the Blues. Alexis Sanchez remains out of the squad, although Solskjaer confirmed he is “close” to a return.

For Wolves, they deploy an unchanged side from the opening day draw with Leicester City. Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez are back leading the lines after being rested midweek for their Europa League win over Pyunik. Nuno again deploys a 5-3-2, with wingers Johnny and Matt Doherty serving as wing-backs along the three central defenders in Connor Coady, Wily Boly, and Ryan Bennett.


Wolves XI: Patricio; Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Jimenez.
Subs: Ruddy, Neto, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore.

Man United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Pereira, Mata, Matic, Greenwood.

Sokratis calls it “easier” to defend Liverpool than Burnley

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Arsenal has not fared well at Anfield the last few years, not at all. In fact, the Gunners haven’t shown up against the Reds at all the past two seasons, shipping 13 goals in their last four meetings with Liverpool, and 15 goals in their last four trips to Anfield.

Which made the words out of the mouth of Arsenal defender Sokratis about defending Liverpool even more surprising.

Following 2-1 win over Burnley this past weekend, Sokratis compared playing the Clarets to playing defending Champions League winners Liverpool, whom Arsenal visits this coming weekend. “It is a different game,” Sokratis said. “Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot, but they also play football.”

Play football they certainly do. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have all scored each of the last two times the Gunners visited Anfield, resulting in 5-1 and 4-0 drubbings. So…how does that figure to “more easy?”

“If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard,” Sokratis admitted. “In the end, we know that it is difficult and we respect Liverpool a lot. But I think the best [way] is to go and play our style of game. We will see what happens.”

When asked specifically about last season’s lopsided result, Sokratis believes that was a rare occurance. “The 5-1 last season…it was not the game to take five goals – [there was] the penalty kicks, we made mistakes,” he said. “I think this year will be different, but we have to improve of course from the work we do with the coach and his staff.”

Arsenal will have to avoid the mistakes this time around if they want to find an important three points. Even a draw would be helpful in the Gunners’ quest to attain Champions League qualification for the first time in four years. Sokratis would be wise not to take the Reds lightly.