Player ratings: Tottenham vs. Manchester City

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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.


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.

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.

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

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight

Premier League March Madness
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Everton continued its upset path toward in our Premier League March Madness voting, showing its sensational support and setting up a fantastic eMerseyside Derby in the Final Four.

Thousands of votes were cast Wednesday, and the Toffees upset isn’t even the top underdog story.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Chris Wilder’s Blades of Sheffield United won a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 seed Manchester City to move into the semifinals.

That’s where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Wolves, who powered past Leicester City as if it wasn’t a challenge.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

Handball rule
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.