Three things learned: Tottenham’s win v Arsenal

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LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur dominated Arsenal in the North London Derby at Wembley on Saturday, as Harry Kane‘s header sealed a huge win for Spurs in front of a record crowd of 83,222 for a Premier League game.

The home side were guilty of missing several chances in the second half but it didn’t matter as the Gunners had now answer.

Here’s what we learned from Spurs’ win at Wembley.


HEROIC HARRY KANE DOES IT AGAIN

We are running out of ways to praise Harry Kane.

The local lad did it once again against Arsenal on Saturday, scoring a towering header for his seventh goal in as many Premier League games against Spurs’ bitter rivals.

Kane, 24, is having yet another fairytale season and leads the Premier League with 23 goals after becoming the top scorer among Europe’s top five leagues (in all competitions) in 2017 with 56 goals.

He could’ve had yet another hat trick in the NLD as he nodded over in the first half from close range, then glanced a header just wide moments after he gave Spurs the lead and soon after he had a thunderous drive beat away by Petr Cech.

As Kane wheeled away to celebrate in front of a jubilant Wembley, he pointed to the Spurs fans and clinched his fist. He’s one of their own and after Arsenal released him at the age of eight, he’s making them pay.

With seven points from their last three games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men are bang in form and have second-place United in focus.


SPURS’ HIGH-PRESS TO PERFECTION

By now we know how Pochettino sets his teams up. Apparently nobody told Arsenal.

The Gunners were hurried into clearances, gave the ball away in midfield and were left wide open on the counter multiple times. In a game they needed to win to give themselves a serious chance of finishing in the top four, the Gunners looked shaky from the start.

Cech gave the ball away on multiple occasions in the pouring rain under pressure and Arsenal were the much happier side to go in level at the break, despite showing flashes of promise on the break even if the final ball wasn’t there.

Tottenham should have wrapped things up with more than 20 minutes to go as Kane had multiple chances, Cech denied Erik Lamela, Son skied over and Dele Alli poked wide. If Spurs would have won 3-0, Arsenal could have had zero complaints.

Ahead of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash vs. Juventus in Turin this week, Spurs are in sensational form at precisely the right time of the season.


WILSHERE THE BRIGHT SPOT FOR ARSENAL

With 20 minutes to go Wilshere had Arsenal’s first shot on goal. That said it all.

Arsenal showed plenty of promise on the break in the first half but couldn’t get that final ball correct. When Wilshere did, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was flagged offside.

In the second half he launched into tackles, curled an effort towards the top corner which Hugo Lloris saved well and as at the heart of everything good Arsenal did. With Mesut Ozil’s contract locked down, Wilshere should be next and it can’t come soon enough. After a run of three months as a regular, the England midfielder is finally back to his best.

Arsenal could fall as much as eight points off the to four by the end of the weekend and their inability to deliver in big games, away from home, has cost them dear in the past few seasons.

The Gunners are winless in their last 16 PL away games against the current top four, with their last victory coming at Man City in January 2015.

In truth, they never looked like winning on Saturday as the mercurial talents of Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan lacked the tenacity of Wilshere and were dominated.

Preview: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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There will be plenty of 2005 U-17 World Cup final shades at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

On that clear night in Lima, Peru, the likes of Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos wrote history for Mexico, as they powered El Tri to its first-ever World Cup title over a favorite Brazilian side, who was composed of Marcelo, Renato Augusto, and Anderson, in a 3-0 win.

14 years and some change later, both youth powerhouses meet again in the same tournament, for the same silverware, and with the same pressure looming over them from entire nations who expect nothing but excellence from their respective teams.

But of course, to the Brazilians, there is a sense of added pressure given the fact that they’re on home soil.

“We’re familiar with Mexico’s quality,” Brazilian forward, Veron, said ahead of the final. We know they are a great team. But we’re Brazil, and we have five stars on our chest. We intend to play our best match and get the result that makes history.”

As it stands, Mexico is the clear-cut underdog, having barely crept into the knockout stages and being composed of players with far less notoriety to its Brazilian counterpart, who boast three players with three goals or more in the tournament.

That said, Mexico pose as a balanced, reliable, and pragmatic team under coach Marco “Chima” Ruiz. Throughout the six games this tournament, El Tri have found the back of the net 14 times and have conceded a mere three goals (two of which came against Italy). With four goals and two assists in only 344 minutes, Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez has proven to be the team’s most productive player going forward.

Asked who he would rather take between France or Brazil in the final, the Mexican American answered with the same confidence that has made him one of the most exciting players in the tournament.

“It doesn’t matter which of the two it is, we’ll beat them,” he said.

It’s 90 minutes for either team to make history, again. A win for Brazil will raise the number of U-17 stars to four, while Mexico can claim its third with another historic performance. Will Brazil’s high-flying attack crack Mexico’s solid defense? If Alvarez starts, will he rise to the occasion and guide Mexico to another U-17 title?

That has yet to be seen; the second final between two, routine winners awaits the first whistle.

Report: Man City considering Kingsley Coman as Leroy Sane replacement

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are considering Bayern Munich’s Kinglsey Coman as a replacement for injured Leroy Sane if he were to leave for the defending German champions over the summer, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sane, who is projected to be out until February or March with an ACL injury, was the subject of a $176 million move to Bayern Munich over the summer, but a move never came to fruition, largely due to the aforementioned injury. If negotiations between Sane’s camp and the defending Bundesliga champions pick up again this summer, City have a replacement in mind: 23-year-old Coman.

Coman, who has played in 10 league games for the Bavarian club this season, was managed by Guardiola during his time with the club and flourished during the title-winning 2015-2016 season. In 2017, the Frenchman revealed that the Spaniard’s departure was tough on him, saying, “I found life easier at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola.”

As expected, Coman is not the only option City are exploring.

Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal, who has a reported $82 million release clause, is also on the Premier League giant’s shortlist. Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, has strong ties to La Reala that goes back to his first day in the sport.

At the Etihad, the general feeling from Guardiola’s players is that the German winger is one foot out of England, and is instead focused on a move to Bayern and a return back home. With his contract in the final 12 months this summer, it is expected that the release clause for Sane will not be as lucrative as before. 

In 134 appearances for City, Sane has scored 39 goals, while Coman has scored on 28 different occasions in 139 appearances.

Abidal: Barcelona, Messi negotiating a new deal

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Lionel Messi and his representatives are in talks with Barcelona over a new contract, the defending champion’s sporting director Eric Abidal confirmed  to Mundo Deportivo in an exclusive interview.

“They are already talking,” Abidal, the former Barcelona defender, said. “I do not know if we will have news soon because the decision will depend on the player, but for us as a club I hope it is sorted as soon as possible.”

Messi – a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer – joined the club’s well-known academy, La Masia, at the age of 13 and is under contract until 2021 but was recently questioned about his future after Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed that the Argentine can leave Camp Nou on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract.

Asked when he expects an announcement to be made on a new and improved contract, Abidal made it clear he’s unsure but hopes it happens: “It will be known when it is known, but I am positive.”

Throughout seven games in La Liga this season, Messi has scored eight goals and assisted in four occasions. In his latest appearance for the Catalonian side – a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo – the No. 10 scored a first-half hat-trick.

Abidal also confirmed that Barcelona are in talks with breakout teenage starlet Ansu Fati and his camp on a new deal.

“We are also talking to him,” Abidal said. “He is a young player that we have to protect. We have to talk to his family and representatives.”

Earlier this year, the 17-year-old became the youngest player in the league’s history to score and assist in the same game.

EURO qualifying wrap: Germany, Austria, Croatia join Netherlands in qualifying

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Like the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Croatia qualified for EURO 2020 after wins on Saturday.

[ READ: Netherlands qualify to first EURO since 2012 ]


Germany 4-0 Belarus

With goals from Matthias Ginter, Leon Goretska, and a second-half brace from Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Germany routed an uncompetitive Belarus side 4-0 at Borussia-Park. The scoreline, however, should have been more lopsided, as the home side easily won the possession battle and outshot the visitor’s with a total of 31 shots (10 on target). Leaders of Group C, Germany is an early favorite for next summer’s tournament. Not hard to believe that, right? 

Austria 2-1 North Macedonia

Qualifying for Europe’s main tournament is becoming a norm for Austria.

Bayern Munich’s David Alaba scored early while Stefan Lainer added his own three minutes into the second half, as Austria edged North Macedonia 2-1 at Ernst Happel Stadion. Das Team, who stand second in Group G with 19 points after nine games, have now clinched a berth for the EURO on back-to-back occasions.

Croatia 3-1 Slovakia

When all was said and done, Croatia was too much for a 10-man Slovakia, who, initially, broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute.

Bayern Munich’s Ivan Perisic scored the home side’s third and final goal of the match, which punched Croatia’s ticket in next summer’s tournament. Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic also contributed goals in the second half for Croatia.

Elsewhere

Russia 1-4 Belgium

Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

Cyprus 1-2 Scotland

Israel 1-2 Poland

Armenia 0-1 Greec