Tottenham strikes late, leaps over Arsenal

Leave a comment

Heung-min Son had a goal and an assist on Toby Alderweireld’s late winner as Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal 2-1 in a home North London Derby on Sunday.

[ MORE: JPW’s Three Things ]

Alexandre Lacazette scored a spectacular goal for the Gunners to give Mikel Arteta’s men an early lead, but Arsenal sees its rivals climb above them and into eighth place on 52 points.

Arsenal’s 50 points drop them into ninth place, four back of seventh-place Sheffield United. The Gunners are in danger of missing out on European competition for the first time since 1996.

WATCH TOTTENHAM – ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY


Key points

Europe without Arsenal? Eighth-place looks set to deliver the Europa League to the Premier League thanks to Man City’s European ban and Arsenal and Spurs are locked in a four-team battle for seventh and eighth. Sheffield United’s 54 points lead the pack by 2 over Spurs and the Blades don’t have a soft out on the schedule with Leicester, Everton, and Southampton. Spurs have Newcastle, Leicester, and Palace and a 2-point lead on Arsenal. The Gunners have Liverpool, Villa, and Watford, while Burnley has 50 points and faces Wolves, Norwich, and Brighton.

A very Mou second half wins it: Arsenal was the better team on the day but Mourinho got goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris whenever Spurs opened the door in the second half. Mourinho let Arsenal have the ball with the hopes of conjuring danger in different parts of the field. Spurs registered seven shots on target and, like Arsenal, could’ve had more goals had the keepers not played quite well. But Spurs were credited with the only “big chances created” of the game as Arsenal’s best opportunities were supreme individual efforts from Aubameyang and Lacazette.

Man of the Match

You’d say Son by default given his goal and assist, and he could’ve had a hat trick had Martinez and David Luiz each denied him from close range, but advanced stats site SofaScore makes a brilliant case for the notes industrious day of Lucas Moura, who had two key passes, 10 tackles, and charged in 26 duels to win 16.


Tottenham – Arsenal recap

Emiliano Martinez leapt high to snare an in-tight Harry Kane chance.

Hector Bellerin then roasted Ben Davies on the right flank to play an invitation through the 18 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t pick up.

That’s when the fireworks started, Lacazette having some time with the ball outside the 18 and lashing an absolute piledriver past a flying Hugo Lloris.

But Spurs had an answer when Heung-min Son beat David Luiz to a wayward Sead Kolasinac pass and popped the ball over a desperate Martinez for 1-1 in the 19th minute.

Davies hammered a shot that Martinez pushed off the bar in thrilling fashion as the game passed the half-hour mark.

Nicolas Pepe answered that shot with a curled shot wide at the other end.

Aubameyang tore into a 26-yard free kick that just missed the far post in the 40th. Pepe then pumped another shot to Lloris as Arsenal crept closer to a second goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half began tamer, with Hector Bellerin winning a corner kick and Shkrodan Mustafi popped an overhead kick into the hands of Lloris.

Aubameyang then smashed the woodwork in the 59th minute before Pepe won a free kick on the edge of the 18.

Mikel Arteta took off Nicolas Pepe for fellow live wire Bukayo Saka with 20 minutes to play.

Martinez made an incredible save on Son when Kane drove the left side of the box and cut back for the South Korea, only for the keeper to react so well.

Lloris made a fine stop on an Aubameyang arrow for the far corner in the 79th.

That’s when Alderweireld put Jose Mourinho’s men on top with his close-range header of Son’s corner.

Kane hit the post in the 83rd as Spurs aimed for comfort.

Scott Parker’s first season as a manager ends in Fulham promotion

Fulham promotion
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Fulham are headed back to the Premier League after just one season in the EFL Championship, and that means Scott Parker has worked something of a minor miracle in west London.

[ MORE: Promoted! Fulham back in PL after 1 season in Championship ]

Parker took on a hefty challenge when he accepted his first senior managerial job last year. Fulham were a virtual lock to be relegated from the Premier League when he was named interim boss in February, and their place in the second division had long since been confirmed by the time he was named Claudio Ranieri’s permanent successor in May. The squad was expensive, bloated and full of players who had no intention of sticking around after relegation.

Given the club’s wealth of resources relative to the rest of the Championship, promotion at the first time of asking was more an expectation than a hope at Craven Cottage. Fast-forward 15 months, and the 39-year-old has quickly proven himself the right man for the job after doing just that — taking Fulham back to the PL by way of Tuesday’s Championship promotion playoff final.

Promotion may have been sealed on Tuesday, but Parker believes it was earned over a long period of transition and self-reflection by the players, beginning when he first took the job — quotes from the BBC:

“We’ve done what we’ve done tonight, but there’s still improvement, and that’s what makes me so proud and happy.

“For all of the good players and everything you see, what makes me so happy is I see a group of players who only a year ago were struggling psychologically, didn’t have a mindset or mentality.

“I’ve driven this team every single day and what makes me proud is I stood on the touchline tonight and seen a team that represents what I’ve been saying over the last 12 months.”

Now comes the the truly difficult challenge for Parker: after winning Fulham promotion he must assemble a squad of players not only good enough to stay in the PL, but also one full of individuals who want to be at his club and not simply any club that just so happens to be in England’s top division.

Promoted! Fulham back in PL after 1 season in Championship

Championship promotion playoff final
Photo credit: @FulhamFC
Leave a comment

Fulham are headed back to the Premier League after claiming west London derby delight at the expense of local rivals Brentford in Tuesday’s Championship promotion playoff final at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Ranking the new Premier League kits for 2020-21 ]

It was an incredibly cagey affair — as the Championship promotion playoff final tends to be — that saw the two sides combine for just 17 shots (four on target) through 90 minutes of regular time. In the end, it was the most unlikely of restarts halfway through extra time that sent the Cottagers on their way.

Brentford were nearly the architects of their own downfall early in the first half. FirstIt was a poor back pass from Henrik Dalsgaard that left David Raya in worlds of trouble in the 10th minute, though Fulham were unable to find a proper chance amid the chaos inside Brentford’s box.

Fulham were perhaps fortunate not to go a man down in the 29th minute, when Harrison Reed slid through Christian Norgaard and put studs into the Dane’s ankle. Reed came over top of the ball in a 50-50 challenge and, despite first making contact with the ball, came in with borderline excessive force and in a reckless fashion. Nonetheless, only a yellow card for the on-loan Southampton youngster.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic issues injury update ]

The start of the second half looked like more of the same from the first half: Fulham with an early chance and Brentford scrambling to stay level. Neeskens Kebano curled a free kick around the wall in the 48th minute, likely beating Raya if it was on frame, but only managed to rippled the outside netting.

Championship Golden Boot runner-up (25 goals) Ollie Watkins had the final scoring chance of regular time in the 70th minute as he fired from the edge of Fulham’s penalty area, but Marek Rodak was able to comfortably palm the ball over the crossbar. Still, the first threatening signs of life from the Bees.

[ MORE: Man United, Dortmund in talks over $140 million Sancho transfer ]

The decisive moment finally arrived in the 105th minute, and it came from absolutely nothing — less than nothing, one might credibly argue. Joe Bryan was tasked with restarting play following a foul roughly 50 yards from goal. Rather than lofting the ball high and to the back post, as Raya so clearly expected him to do, Bryan wrapped his left foot around the ball and whipped it toward the near post — as “near” as it can be from 50-plus yards. Raya was painfully slow to recognize the shot and tried to scramble across the face of goal, but never had a chance of getting anywhere near the ball.

Bryan doubled Fulham’s lead in the 117th minute. It was fast and fluid one-two atop Brentford’s penalty area and the left back tucked it away to seal promotion back to the top flight, and it turned out to be hugely necessary after Dalsgaard poked home a late consolation goal for the Bees with virtually the last kick of the game.

Fulham spent the 2018-19 season in the Premier League but finished with just 26 points in 19th place and were relegated back to the Championship after one season. Only time will tell if they’re able to stay in the top division this time, or if they’re a full-time yo-yo club.

Transfer confirmed: Ferran Torres to Man City for $26 million

Ferran Torres to Man City
Photo credit: Man City
Leave a comment

Reports sending Valencia youngster Ferran Torres to Man City have been burning red-hot over the last 24 hours.

[ MORE: Ranking the new Premier League kits for 2020-21 ]

Man City confirmed their capture of the 20-year-old — one of the brightest prospects in all of Europe — on Tuesday.

Torres, who came through the Valencia academy, tallied six goals and seven assists in 43 appearances (all competitions), including two of each in the Champions League, for Valencia this season.

He broke into Valencia’s first team back in November of 2017, at the age of 17, before establishing himself as a regular over the last two seasons.

[ MORE: Man United, Dortmund in talks over $140 million Sancho transfer ]

Reports out of the UK claim it will reportedly cost just $26 million to bring Ferran Torres to Man City, plus possible add-ons, as he had just one year remaining on his contact with Valencia. Torres reportedly met with City sporting director Txiki Begiristain earlier on Tuesday, adding further fuel to the fire that a move was imminent.

Torres seems an obvious replacement for recently departed winger Leroy Sane. He’ll join Raheem Sterling as one of only two natural wingers in Pep Guardiola’s squad, offering more tactical flexibility — not to mention, width — after City were fairly limited in the wide areas during the 2019-20 season.

Championship playoff final: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Brentford - Fulham
Photo byJacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Fulham – Brentford: Team news is in with the two West London sides set to do battle for a place in the Premier League in the Football League Championship promotion playoff final at Wembley Stadium.

We can hardly wait to find out who’ll claim the 20th berth in the 2020-21 Premier League season in the richest game on earth.

[ MORE: Predictions, Odds for Europe ]

Kickoff is at 2:45 pm ET Tuesday at Wembley Stadium.

Team news


Key players

Fulham leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 26 goals were the joint-most in the Championship and more than three times as many as Tom Cairney, second amongst the Cottagers. He’s healthy for the first time after missing the semis with a hamstring injury.

Brentford’s Ollie Watkins scored the same amount of goals as Mitrovic, tying for the league lead, and he’s joined by Said Benrahma’s 17 goals (fifth in the league) and Bryan Mbeumo (eighth). The latter have combined for 16 assists, too. The Bees can sting.

Their seasons

Brentford won a even-straight league games to surge into the mix for automatic promotion but lost their last two, meeting Fulham on 81 points.

As for the Cottagers, Fulham finished the season on a seven-match unbeaten run which included five wins

Their playoffs

Brentford overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to oust Swansea City in the semifinal, while Fulham’s first leg win was enough to outlast Cardiff City’s strong second leg in their semi.

Odds and ends

Brentford beat Fulham twice, 1-0 at Griffin Park and 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

The Bees are favored to win the match at +108 odds, while Fulham carries +265 odds of a win.

Prediction

Mitrovic’s availability is huge for a Fulham side hoping to break down the league’s second-stingiest defense. Brentford feels like it’s the superior side but Fulham has been here and Cairney even scored the goal to beat Aston Villa in the 2017-18 playoff final. That experience is an X-factor, but we’ll still call Brentford 2-1 winners.

How to watch Fulham – Brentford

Kickoff: 2:45 pm ET Tuesday
Stream: ESPN+