Wolves 2-3 Tottenham: Spurs hang on for three points

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  • Tottenham (24 points) climb to 4th place
  • Wolves (15) drop to 11th
  • Lamela (27′), Moura (30′), Kane (61′), Neves (68′ – PK), Jimenez (79′ – PK)

Tottenham Hotspur extended their best-ever start in club history with a win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, going fourth in the Premier League table and leapfrogging Arsenal, who dropped points against Liverpool, in the process.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Things began in disastrous fashion for Spurs, who lost Mousa Dembele — one of only two central midfielders available for selection on Saturday — to what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury in the 2nd minute. Ben Davies made a stellar slide tackle to dispossess Helder Costa, but both players’ bodies momentum took them through Dembele, cutting his legs out from under him and rolling up on his right foot and ankle.

The lack of a midfield presence resulted in a thrillingly open, back-and-forth game with each side having — but failing with — a number of chances in the game’s opening 25 minutes.

Spurs broke through in the 27th minute, though, when Son Heung-min, who replaced Dembele early on, played a ball of the chest of Erik Lamela down the right side of the six-yard box. Lamela managed to unleash a right-footed shot that stayed low and eluded the on-rushing Rui Patricio for the game’s opening goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It went from 1-0 to 2-0 far quicker — barely three minutes between goals, in fact. Kieran Trippier delivered the most tempting of crosses toward the back post and found an unmarked Lucas Moura. The Brazilian’s header was completely unchallenged as he doubled Spurs’ lead.

Wolves probably should have pulled a goal back in the 37th minute, but the assistant referee appeared to incorrectly flag Matt Doherty for offside in the build-up to Raul Jimenez’s strike past Hugo Lloris.

The second half began with an onslaught at Spurs’ goal, but Lloris made a pair of stellar saves inside the first five minutes to preserve the 2-0 scoreline.

Wolves’ chances were all for naught in the end, though, as Spurs withstand the pressure and put the game to bed just after the hour mark. Patricio made a diving save to deny Harry Kane‘s first effort from Lamela’s cross, but the rebound fell to Kane who hammered it home from a far tighter angle for 3-0.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Wolves got their first goal back from the penalty spot in the 68th minute. Juan Foyth took Jimenez down inside the penalty area, and Ruben Neves stepped up to convert the ensuing spot kick.

It was Foyth, again, who rode an orange shirt to the ground 10 minutes later, sending Jimenez 12 yards from goal to make it 3-2. Fortunately for Spurs, that’s as close as the home side would get.

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.