Eric Dier

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Spurs midfielder Sissoko out 3 months after knee surgery

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Tottenham Hotspur’s midfield is slowly reaching crisis status.

Already without Tanguy Ndombele due to a groin strain, Spurs have now lost Moussa Sissoko for three months after the French international went down with an MCL injury which required surgery, the club announced on Tuesday.

Sissoko was injured in the 1-0 loss to Southampton last week, although he completed the full 90 minutes as Jose Mourinho only used two substitutes. The club announcement stated he is not expected back in training until early April.

The injuries leave Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Giovani Lo Celso, and Oliver Skipp as the only remaining true central midfielders on the senior squad. Dier and Winks has struggled mightily at times this season, Lo Celso has not locked down a consistent role, while Wanyama and Skipp have made just a combined 10 total appearances across all competitions.

Sissoko’s injury could have a serious effect on Tottenham’s January transfer window. Winks and Wanyama were rumored to be on the move, with Spurs hoping to upgrade in the midfield. Now, they are more likely to stay given the short supply of quality midfielders on the roster. Spurs could even look to buy should they look to upgrade on the currently available midfielders, although the quality of available players in January is often questionable.

In addition to a thinning midfield, Spurs are also dealing with serious injuries to talisman Harry Kane and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, plus the absence of full-backs Ben Davies and Danny Rose.

Tottenham is scheduled to take on Liverpool this weekend, while an FA Cup replay with Middlesbrough and a Premier League game against Watford come their way next week. Spurs sit sixth in the Premier League table with 30 points, six behind fourth-placed Chelsea for the final Champions League spot.

Mourinho was ‘rude to an idiot’ to get yellow card; talks injuries, transfers

Mourinho calls Southampton assistant "an idiot"
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Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho was yellow carded on Wednesday, and he accepts that he made a mistake.

Mourinho appeared to peer at a Southampton’s assistant’s notes during Spurs’ 1-0 loss, but it turns out he was proffering some naughty words instead.

“I think the yellow card was fair as I was rude, but I was rude with an idiot. But I clearly deserved the card I was rude.”

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Spurs had a very rough day at the office, conceding early to in-form Danny Ings and then finding no way through a Saints team clearly happy to be clearance-happy.

Mourinho lost Eric Dier to an illness and didn’t have Heung-Min Son due to suspension, then saw Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane limp off the pitch.

“Without Harry things are more difficult because we don’t have a direct replacement especially without Son,” he said, via Spurs TV (video below). “Our possibilities on the bench were not many without Sonny. Harry is not a machine so sometimes he has to break and Tanguy is a very complex situation that started in August and we are in January and the situation is still the same.”

In another interview, he was given the chance to talk up transfers but again deferred to the inability to train given the fixture congestion. He wants to implement his system with these players before worrying about others.

“Come on, we need time to work. We need what we are not having. We need to focus on what we have. We are not looking to be the kings of the market. We are going to work.”

Tottenham fight back to beat Brighton

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Tottenham Hotspur beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Boxing Day as Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored second half goals to lead Spurs to victory.

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Adam Webster had given Brighton a first half lead but Spurs hung in there and Kane and Alli struck in the final 30 minutes to lead Jose Mourinho’s men to an important win as they bounced back from their defeat against Chelsea.

With the victory Spurs momentarily closed the gap to the top four back to three points, while Brighton lost a second-straight game as they continue to sink towards the relegation zone.


3 things we learned

1. Quality of Kane, Alli rescues Spurs: If in doubt, Kane and Alli will bail Spurs out. The England internationals scored a goal each in the second half as they turned things around for Spurs. It wasn’t pretty but Kane and Alli set the tone for high-pressing and they had the quality to finish off chances and link up in attack. Tottenham have plenty of defensive issues to sort out but going forward they are in good shape with Kane and Alli leading the line.

2. Brighton run out of steam: The Seagulls took the game to Spurs in the first half but totally ran out of steam in the second as they hardly had a chance going forward. Graham Potter‘s side are lovely to watch at times but you worry about their lack of cutting edge in the final third as they continue to sink towards the relegation scrap. Had Aaron Connolly finished a great chance at the start of the second half, we’d be talking about a big away win for the Seagulls. So far this season they’ve just run out of steam at key moments. 

3. Midfield balance not right: Harry Winks came in for Eric Dier on Boxing Day but the balance just wasn’t right in central midfield once again. Moussa Sissoko played okay but there doesn’t seem to be enough defensive cover in front of the back four and that is something Mourinho always wants. Get ready for Mourinho’s first signing at Spurs to be a holding midfielder.

Man of the Match: Harry Kane – Didn’t stop running the entire game, scored one and had another disallowed for a tight offside and drove Tottenham on to victory. Kane is now in double figures for the PL season and the Englishman is standing tall as they continue their battle to finish in the top four.


The first big chance of the game arrived for Spurs as Toby Alderweireld‘s long ball found Sessegnon and on his first Premier League start for Spurs the youngster hit the post.

Steven Alzate then drilled a low shot on goal which Paulo Gazzaniga could only push away as Brighton grew as a threat on the break.

Aaron Mooy‘s effort was then deflected wide as Brighton caused Spurs problems, but it then looked like Kane had given Tottenham the lead. Harry Winks’ ball found the English striker and he finished calmly, but VAR intervened and decided Kane was offside by an armpit as the goal was chalked off.

Brighton made the most of that as moments after Moussa Sissoko had missed a glorious chance at one end, Brighton broke and won a free kick. Webster headed home from that set piece as he was left totally unmarked to give the Seagulls the lead.

Dele Alli almost flicked home at the near post before the break but Spurs had it all to do in the second half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the start of the second half Aaron Connolly almost doubled Brighton’s leader with a header and that seemed to finally wake Spurs up.

Kane continued his amazing streak of scoring on Boxing Day as he made it eight goals in five games on Dec. 26, as he finished emphatically at the second attempt to draw Tottenham level and set up a frantic final third of the game.

Spurs pushed hard for the winner late on but Pascal Gross was denied by Gazzaniga as his free kick arrowed towards the top corner.

But a moment of pure class won the game for Tottenham as a flowing move saw Christian Eriksen find Serge Aurier at the back post and his touch set up Dele Alli who lobbed home a sumptuous effort into the far top corner.

Kane, Alli and Eriksen all went close late on to adding a third but in the end Spurs eased to victory after a rousing second half comeback.

Watch Live: Tottenham v. Brighton

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Tottenham Hotspur host Brighton and Hove Albion to kick off the Boxing Day festivities (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in the Premier League.

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Jose Mourinho will be looking for a reaction from his team after they were dominated by bitter rivals Chelsea last time out and lost 2-0 at home as Heung-Min Son was also sent off in a miserable outing.

As for Brighton, they’ve been struggling and are hovering just above the relegation zone although Graham Potter’s side continue to play attractive, attacking soccer.

In team news Spurs bring in Ryan Sessegnon to start in place of the suspended Son, as the summer signing from Fulham makes his first PL start for Spurs. Harry Winks comes in for Eric Dier.

Brighton Make five changes after then defeat to Sheffield United with Shane Duffy, Ezequiel Schelotto, Bernardo, Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate replacing Lewis Dunk, Martin Montoya, Leandro Trossard, Dale Stephens and Neal Maupay.

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PL Club Power Rankings: Week 18

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We learned a whole heck of a lot about some teams this past weekend as the festive fixtures are now upon us.

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Pep Guardiola is more malleable than we thought, and reports of Man City’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Conversely, Brendan Rodgers still has some growing to do.  Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta have a LOT of work to do, and so does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because WOOF Manchester United.

Here’s a look at where the clubs rank in relation to one another, because no, you aren’t necessarily what the table says you are at this point in the season.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

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20. Aston Villa -Not all four match losing streaks are alike. Losses to Chelsea, Leicester City, and even Sheffield United can be written off in a relegation battle. Losing to Southampton? Not so much. The festive fixtures are very, very kind to Aston Villa, and thus, they are ENORMOUSLY important. Dean Smith must right the ship.
Last week: 18
Season high: 8
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Southampton
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

19. Norwich City – Losing on a late Raul Jimenez winner isn’t exactly a bad omen, and following up a draw against Leicester City, things are looking up, but they have one win since mid-September, and that’s not sustainable. Emiliano Buendia’s back is going to start hurting sooner or later.
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Wolves
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

18 Watford – What a weird game. Watford probably deserved at least a point, but they actually closed out a victory for the second time this season. It will take far more than that to earn safety, but that’s about as solid a jumping off point as they could have asked for.
Last week: 20
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Manchester United
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

17. Bournemouth – Bournemouth produced maybe the worst attacking performance of anyone this entire season against Burnley. Did not see that coming. Gross.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Burnley
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

16. West Ham United – West Ham was scheduled to play Liverpool last weekend, so they got a much-needed rest ahead of the festive fixtures, where they’ll play Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and Bournemouth.
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Southampton [off last week]
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

15. Southampton – Just when you’re out on Southampton, they pull you back in. Just in time for a brutal festive fixture stretch.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

14. Everton – We haven’t learned much about Everton over the last few weeks, except that they do have signs of life. A 0-0 draw with Arsenal doesn’t tell us much more. Carlo Ancelotti now takes charge and has a very soft schedule to land on his feet.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Arsenal.
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

13. Arsenal – No goals in Arsenal’s last two games. Mikel Arteta has SO much work to do.
Last week: 13
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Everton
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

12. Crystal Palace – They actually played well against Newcastle and came up just short. Zaha had an off day (4/14 dribbling). It happens. On to the outrageously soft festive fixtures, where they can shoot up the table.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

11. Newcastle United – Miguel Almiron got a goal! That’s cool! Three wins in the last four is even cooler. Now comes the hard part – their next five matches are Manchester United, Everton, Leicester City, Wolves, Chelsea. Have fun, Steve Bruce!
Last week: 11
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

10. Brighton & Hove Albion – Brighton held nearly 70% possession against Sheffield United and managed two shots on target. They’re 13th in the table, but just five points above the drop. The Seagulls can ill afford slips like that.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Sheffield United
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

9. Manchester United – GACKKKKKK. That’s it. That’s the blurb.
Last week: 6
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Watford.
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

8. Burnley – Beating Bournemouth isn’t exactly a world-shifting result, especially with a performance that would get FDA approval to cure insomina, but a pair of clean sheets is exactly what the doctor ordered for the team that gave up 9 goals to Spurs and Man City. Can they sustain it? If so, they’re a threat to any side. This team has moxie on its day.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

7. Sheffield United – Three straight wins against Norwich, Aston Villa, and Brighton. This team has emphatically staked a claim above the bottom sides in the Premier League. What a job Chris Wilder has done.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 1-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion
Up next: Full festive fixture list her

6. Tottenham Hotspur – Not quite sure what Jose Mourinho sees in Eric Dier. Time to give Lo Celso a run in the side. It’ll be nice to have Erik Lamela back too.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Chelsea
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

5. Chelsea – The Blues saw that Nick had them at 8 last week, and went about fixing that silly mistake. Pulisic benched in the win. Marcos Alonso had his best performance of the season. Hmmmm.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won at Tottenham 2-0.
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

4. Wolverhampton Wanderers – This team is physically incapable of playing anything other than a close game. Nuno deserves more credit than he’s getting for keeping this team a Premier League force despite a taxing Europa League campaign.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Norwich City
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

3. Leicester City – Brendan Rodgers was firmly out-coached by Pep Guardiola; maybe things aren’t always as they seem. Jamie Vardy scored again; maybe things are as they seem. Leicester City will be fine, although seeing Wilfried Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu humbled more than once was new.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Norwich City
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

2. Manchester CityPep Guardiola firmly out-coached Brendan Rodgers, restoring the natural order for now. This team is still a juggernaut.
Last week: 4
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: Full festive fixture list here

1. Liverpool – Even without playing a Premier League fixture, Liverpool remains on top of the world. Literally. They won the Club World Cup. What Jurgen Klopp is doing with a banged up squad will be regarded as one of the great managerial feats of our time years from now – if he can finish the deal. Everyone is all eyes on Boxing Day for Liverpool, and rightly so, but this team has a brutal stretch coming up: Leicester City, Wolves, Sheffield United, Spurs, Manchester United, Wolves. Make it through that, and they just might be in the clear.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Watford [“off” last week]
Up next: Full festive fixture list here