Three things we learned from Tottenham vs. Manchester City

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LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Sunday as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side remain the only unbeaten side in the Premier League.

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A first half own goal from Aleksandar Kolarov was added to by a superb team move as Dele Alli slotted home and Man City never got going with Pep Guardiola left scratching his head on the sidelines.

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Spurs are second on 17 points, with City to on 18 points following their first defeat of the Guardiola era.

Here’s what we learned from White Hart Lane in a massive early season win for Spurs who laid down their title credentials.


“Go on Sonny, more of the same son!” yelled a Tottenham fan as the players made their way back into the dressing room before kick off.

With Harry Kane out injured, Tottenham needed someone to step up in his absence, big time. Heung-Min Son has done just that. And then some.

The South Korean forward almost left Tottenham in the summer after not being happy to be a bit-part player at Spurs. Kane’s injury opened the door for somebody to be the new hero at the Lane. Many thought it would be new signing Vincent Janssen but his slow start to life at Spurs continues. Instead it is Son who has moved up to a central strikers role from the wing.

He scored two in the win at Middlesbrough last week, plus the winner at CSKA Moscow in midweek, and from the start he set the tone, skipping past two City players 30 seconds in and drilling just over. Shortly after he got in down the left but saw Claudio Bravo block his shot at the near post and Son then set up Alli wonderfully with a perfectly-weighted pass to make it 2-0. Son is flourishing in a central role and so often he dropped five yards in front of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, turned and was able turn and run at City’s defense.

With Kane likely out until early November, Spurs now have a go-to man up to who knits everything together seamlessly. His clever running, passes and ability to be on the same wavelength as Alli, Christian Eriksen and Spurs’ other attackers means Tottenham can continue their charge without top goalscorer Kane.

If Son would’ve been allowed to take the penalty kick instead of Erik Lamela wrestling it off of him, maybe it would’ve been 3-0. Still, Son is the main man for Spurs and when he was replaced late on, the home fans gave him a standing ovation. That said it all.


Before this season began Guardiola spoke about how he’d come to England to see if the way his teams play could work. This was the first major speed bump in his playing philosophy which had, up until now, dominated. We saw it in midweek against Celtic in the 3-3 draw in the UEFA Champions League and it emerged again on Sunday: there’s a distinct way to beat Man City.

High pressure early and often is the model for success and it sounds easy enough but it so, so hard to do properly. Luckily Spurs have it down to a tee. Pochettino’s trademark style worked early and often against City and Guardiola had to admit failure in the way he set his team up.

He played Fernandinho in a more advanced role in the first half and with Fernando in a deeper role, City couldn’t stop the flow of white shirts running towards their central defenders. That in turn led to John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi overplaying at the back with their midfield outlets locked up and that also led to Claudio Bravo, once again, being targeted.

Bravo was almost caught in possession on multiple occasions and City never truly got going despite brief moments of promise from Raheem Sterling and Jesus Navas out wide, plus Sergio Aguero largely frustrate by Spurs’ tight defense, a lack of service and a smart stop from Hugo Lloris in the second half. Without the injured Kevin De Bruyne they lacked a cutting edge in the final third. City won’t be too concerned but this display highlights how they can be overwhelmed in the defensive areas by teams who are wiling to be brave and play them at their own game. City lost their first game under Guardiola and it provided a blueprint for how teams can get at them.


The intensity of this game was up there with the best in the Premier League this season. Before the game it was touted as a clash between the only two unbeaten teams and two title challengers but many expected Man City’s six-game unbeaten run to continue and Spurs, at best, to get a draw. As we now know, that wasn’t the case and Spurs can be seen as legitimate title contenders.

Spurs have laid down an early-season marker that their third-place finish last season was not a fluke. Pochettino’s young side beat City twice last season and they’re the first to beat them this season. This victory before the international break will give them great hope that they can challenge for the title once again.

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As for City, the past few days have delivered a reality check. Drawing at Celtic in the UCL and then being comprehensively beaten at Spurs has left everyone with a sense that maybe Guardiola’s team won’t cut down everyone in their path. City are still top on 18 points but Spurs are just behind on 17.

Without the injured Moussa Dembele and Kane, Spurs’ young team proved they can rise to the occasion.

American coach Marsch lauds players after Salzburg wins Austrian Cup

Jesse Marsch
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American coach Jesse Marsch has now managed a team to a silverware on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean following Red Bull Salzburg’s Austrian Cup triumph on Saturday.

Marsch’s men beat Lustenau 5-0 in the Austrian Cup Final, celebrating with a social distance-inspired celebration. Dominik Szoboszlai had a goal and an assist in the win, while Hee-chan Hwang posted two assists.

[ MORE: Thuram, Sancho honor George Floyd after scoring ]

The side’s red-hot start to the season dipped upon return from winter break after Salzburg sold a number of stars including Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), and Marin Pongracic (Wolfsburg).

Salzburg is back atop the Austrian Bundesliga after rivals LASK Linz lost six points for team training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marsch, 46, won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield as New York Red Bulls coach, and was a regular trophy collector as a player with DC United and the Chicago Fire.

His Salzburg side impressed in a challenging Champions League group and the LASK punishment gives Marsch a look at the domestic double. There are 10 matches left in the Austrian Bundesliga season, which runs through July 5.

Sancho hits hat trick in Dortmund rout

Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund recap and video highlights
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Borussia Dortmund clobbered bottom-dwelling Paderborn 6-1 on Sunday, piling on the goals late at Benteler Arena.

Jadon Sancho scored three goals in his return to the Starting XI, celebrating the first by removing his jersey to reveal a “Justice For George Floyd” message on his undershirt.

Dortmund stays seven points back of Bayern Munich with five matches to play and moves four points clear of both Gladbach and Bayer Leverkusen. RB Leipzig is five points back of second and plays Monday versus Koln.

Paderborn’s three-match unbeaten run is done, the last-place side eight points back of the relegation playoff spot and nine back of automatic safety. Uwe Hunemeier scored from the spot for the hosts.

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Thorgan Hazard had a goal and an assist, as did Marcel Schmelzer. Achraf Hakimi also scored, with Mateu Morey and Axel Witsel picking up assists.

Sancho now has 17 goals and 17 assists in 27 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Dortmund controlled possession but Paderborn manufactured some minor chances early before the visitors came close.

That’s when Julian Brandt set up Raphael Guerreiro for a shot across goal that bounded wide of the frame.

Brandt had a chance to curl a shot on goal just before half, but sliced the effort.

The breakthrough came just under nine minutes after half when Paderborn goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle couldn’t hold Emre Can’s hard cross and Hazard was in the catbird seat to slot home.

Sancho then scored his first from close range before a controversial penalty awarded for a sliding block by Emre Can allowed Hunemeier to convert from the spot. That made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute.

The English winger bagged his second goal with a powerful striker Zingerle could only turn inside his near post in the 74th minute, and BVB scored three more times from the 85th minute.

American teen Giovanni Reyna came off the bench and had a goal ruled out in his 10-minute cameo. He had nine touches, completed all five of his passes, and registered a shot. Reyna both of his duels, drew one foul, and made a clearance (Stats by Sofascore).

Sancho, Thuram, Hakimi honor George Floyd after scoring (video)

George Floyd tribute
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Statements in support of George Floyd continued in German soccer on Sunday, as two African-European players used their goal celebrations to honor his memory and plead for justice.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s French star Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring a brace Sunday in a 4-1 defeat of Union Berlin.

Then Borussia Dortmund’s English winger removed his shirt to reveal a hand-drawn “Justice For George Floyd” statement on the front of his yellow undershirt. Later, Morocco teammate Achraf Hakimi would do the same.

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Floyd was killed Monday after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes, and calls for justice have reverberated around the world.

The moments came a day after Dallas native and American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a black armband with the words “Justice For George” in Schalke’s match versus Werder Bremen.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on Monday there have been widespread protests across the United States. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Thuram also turned to Instagram to confirm that his gesture referenced Floyd’s death.

Transfer news: Cavani freed by Icardi signing, Saul teases new home

Saul to Manchester United
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Edinson Cavani is going to be one of the top targets in the free agent markets, as Paris Saint-Germain’s purchase of Mauro Icardi ushers the Uruguayan out of the Ligue 1 champions’ stable.

Icardi’s loan move to PSG from Inter Milan has been made permanent for big money, and the 33-year-old Cavani is set to bring his 259 goals somewhere else.

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Cavani scored 200 times in 300 matches with PSG after arriving from Napoli, scoring seven times despite being limited to just over 1000 minutes due to several injuries.

The target striker is free to negotiate with teams having nearly moved to Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window. Inter Miami has also been linked with Cavani, but that was before the coronavirus pandemic lowered the market and put an emphasis on free transfer targets.

Chelsea, Spurs, and Manchester United were (are?) also in a mix that is going to be very deep with suitors for Cavani, who has 50 goals in 116 caps for Uruguay.

Lille has received plenty of offers for young striker Victor Osimhen, but the club tells The Daily Mail that they’re expecting a fee close to what Arsenal paid them for Nicolas Pepe last season.

That was about $87 million, though Pepe had a better (not to mention full) season in 2018-19 than Osimhen’s strong 2019-20.

Pepe is about four years older than Osimhen and has 22 goals and 11 assists during his final Ligue 1 season. Osimhen, 21, has 13 and four in about 1100 fewer minutes and scored in the Champions League versus Chelsea and Valencia, so the comparison is closer than upon first look.

Here’s Lille owner Gerard Lopez:

“I am not being a sales guy because last year people didn’t believe that we had the offers we had with [Nicolas] Pepe and it turns out we had multiple of them. “Let me tell you with Osimhen, it is the same thing, whatever number you heard, the high number I have read is very much on the money of the offers that we have received. That’s where we are.”

Osimhen has been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, and a host of clubs outside the Premier League. He lit up the Belgian league with RSC Charleroi the previous season after failing to score in his teen years with Wolfbusgr.

Atletico Madrid star and reported Manchester United target Saul Niguez is teasing a new club for him, saying he’ll announce it in three days.

We cannot be sure it won’t end with some sort of new sponsored product, but the game-controlling center midfielder has featured in reports of a “practically done” transfer to United in recent weeks.

Saul, 25, has become an indispensable part of Diego Simeone’s midfield and was one of the steadiest parts of Atleti’s victory over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

He’s said to have an approximate $168 million release clause.