Player ratings: Tottenham vs. Manchester City

Leave a comment

LONDON — Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Sunday to lay down a marker.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Spurs dominated large spells of the game as their high-pressing blew City away.

Mauricio Pochettino won the tactical battle against Pep Guardiola, but who shone on the pitch?

[ MORE: Spurs title push?

Here’s a mark out of 10 for each player who took part at WHL.


Tottenham

Hugo Lloris – 7 – Smart tops from Aguero in the second half and a cool head.

Kyle Walker – 7 – Hardly put a foot wrong in a solid back four.

Toby Alderweireld – 7 – See above. Ushered Aguero away from danger masterfully.

Jan Vertonghen – 7 – Again, see above. Vertonghen and Alderweireld are probably the best central defensive partnership in Europe right now.

Danny Rose – 7 – All-action display from Rose as he got forward and supported the attack.

Victor Wanyama – 7 – Superb display from the Kenyan destroyer who is fast becoming a fans favorite. Swept up in front of defense.

Erik Lamela – 6 – Wrestled with Son for the penalty kick, which he missed, and he gave the ball away on multiple occasions.

Christian Eriksen – 6 – Got a little lost in the pace and power of the game in a deeper role and his shooting from distance was off.

Moussa Sissoko – 7 – Powerful display on the right. Won a thunderous challenge in first half. Tireless effort.

Dele Alli – 8 – Took his goal well and won a penalty kick. Continues to mature and along with Son, makes Tottenham tick.

Heung-Min Son – 9 – Set up Alli’s goal wonderfully and was a constant thorn in Man City’s side. Quite clearly the man of the match.

Subs:
Eric Dier (on for Sissoko, 73′) – 6 – Steady enough in midfield to help Spurs see out the win
Georges Kevin Nkoudou (on for Alli, 86′) – 6 – Showed  brief glimpses of pace and promise
Vincent Janssen (on for Son, 90′) – 6 – Worked hard late on, just failed to get on the end of a few chances.


Manchester City

Claudio Bravo – 5 – Saved a penalty kick from Lamela but again looked nervous with the ball at his feet.

Pablo Zabaleta – 6 – Solid enough from Zabaleta. What you see is what you get.

John Stones – 5 – Not a great afternoon for Stones. Son ran him ragged and Spurs gave him no space to play out from the back.

Nicolas Otamendi – 5 – Like Stones, struggled with Son. Lost Alli on his goal completely when caught ball watching.

Aleksandar Kolarov – 4 – Oh dear. Shanked into his own net early on and generally had a ‘mare. Bad week for him after display at Celtic.

Fernandinho – 5 – Looked better in a deeper role but gave a PK away.

Fernando – 4- Subbed out in second half. Added little to no protection for City’s defense.

David Silva – 5- Largely anonymous and lunged into some silly challenges.

Jesus Navas – 5 – Whipped in a good cross in the first half and showed flashes of pace but no end product.

Raheem Sterling – 5 – Like Navas, brief glimpses of pace and trickery but not enough.

Sergio Aguero – 6 – Lively in attack, had several efforts saved by Lloris. No service for most of the game.

Subs
Ilkay Gundogan (on for Fernando, 53′) – 6 – Helped City control midfield a little better
Kelechi Iheanacho (on for Navas, 65′) – 6 – Had one good chance but was denied by Lloris
Leroy Sane (on for Sterling, 87′) – 5 – Didn’t get much time to make an impact

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.