Giovani Lo Celso

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Antonio forced to don Spurs jersey after losing to Sessegnon at FIFA

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The Premier League derby between Tottenham and West Ham was meant to be on Friday. With the coronavirus postponing all Premier League activity through at least April 30, the real game has yet to take place.

Still, West Ham winger Michail Antonio and Spurs wide man Ryan Sessegnon decided to hold the game anyways despite their isolation during the shutdown. Virtually.

The two agreed to a match of FIFA between the two clubs, and spent two days promoting the event before grabbing the Playstation controllers and streaming the game live on Twitch.

Even their clubs got involved to promote the event, with the two sides streaming the event as well as putting it up on Twitch.

Ryan Sessegnon came out victorious via a 2-0 scoreline, with both Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura on the virtual scoresheet. The second goal was a lovely bit of play between Moura and Dele Alli in the box, which had Antonio reminding himself the stream had to be kept PG despite his frustration.

Antonio was frustrated with his performance, calling it “embarrassing” at halftime and posting that “The passing was off, shooting was bad and couldn’t tackle,” on social media, although he jokingly caveated that by saying “my controller must have been broken.” After the loss, per the rules of the bet, Antonio was forced to don a Tottenham kit, which he did so extremely begrudgingly.

Which Premier League players would you like to see play each other in FIFA to decide the outcome of an otherwise postponed match?

Spurs admit failing to secure Champions League would affect summer recruitment funds

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Tottenham Hotspur released a statement for supporters and investors that admitted the potential loss of Champions League play could affect the club’s financial availability for player recruitment this summer.

Spurs currently sit eighth in the Premier League table after drawing with Burnley this past weekend, currently seven points adrift of a Champions League place and four points shy of fifth which could end up being a Champions League qualifying spot pending Man City’s UEFA ban.

Club chairman Daniel Levy spoke at a meeting with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust, and the minutes from the meeting published by the club outlined the chairman’s concerns with the potential lack of top European play next season.

“Daniel Levy responded that Spurs have a net base spend of £200m in the last four years on players but maintained there is little correlation between money spent and winning. It’s about making the right decisions. Funds were ring-fenced for the summer, however not qualifying for the Champions League would have an impact all round.”

Levy continued with the narrative that spending does not equal winning, saying, “Spurs are a club that makes superstars. Jose Mourinho wants to bring in players who give everything for the club because they recognize the opportunity.”

The club spent an estimated $163 million this season on players between the summer and winter transfer windows, bringing aboard the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Ryan Sessegnon in the summer plus Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes in the winter, while Spurs also committed another $46 million to this coming summer on the permanent signing of on-loan midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. Tottenham has struggled through a striker drought during the second half of this season, with both Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son missing significant time through injury.

Spurs can also qualify for next season’s Champions League should they win the competition. They currently face a 1-0 Round of 16 deficit as they travel to RB Leipzig for the second leg on Tuesday.

Mourinho roasts Ndombele after yanking midfielder at half (video)

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Jose Mourinho put one of his players on blast after Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

The manager opted to start Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele, and the pairing struggled mightily in a first half that saw Burnley take a 1-0 lead.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Mourinho took both off at the break, and substitute Giovani Lo Celso helped author Spurs’ equalizer.

The halftime hook wasn’t enough embarrassment for Mourinho’s liking, and he took a shot at record-signing Ndombele after the match. From Football.London:

“My thinking in the first half was that we didn’t have a midfield. Of course I’m not talking about Skipp as he’s 19-year-old. I’m not critical of Skipp at all. Tanguy had enough time to come to a different level. A player with this potential and responsibility has to give us more than he is giving us.”

He also said that the players’ performance forced him to divert his plan of saving Lo Celso and Lucas Moura.

Ndombele passed at 84 percent, and converted two of three dribbles while winning five of eight duels and making a clearance in his 45 minutes.

Mourinho has made complicated comments on Ndombele prior to Saturday, wondering aloud about the player’s uneven health or readiness to play.

Ndombele was clearly a big place to lay the blame for Mourinho, whose above comments are only slightly more measured than his post-match comments on television.

After naming a number of players as fatigued

“I hope he uses every minute on the pitch and every minute knowing what the Premier League is to improve,”  he said, via the BBC. “Many fantastic players in their first season in a new country for different reasons they struggle. There have been many examples of that. He’s a player with great talent. He has to know he has to do much better and know I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is much more important.”

Mourinho clearly started this midfield and hoped he could get three points off Burnley while resting his first-choice men for the Champions League at midweek.

The risk backfired, and Mourinho isn’t about to take responsibility for that. Instead, he burned a bridge (and lowered the price tag) of a big-dollar transfer.

“I was expecting players not tired to give more to the team,” he said (video above). “Somebody has to realize that this is the Premier League. This is probably a new experience and the first time he comes to Burnley. I hope that next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough.”

Hope for the future. Woof.

Burnley, Spurs split spoils at Turf Moor

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur recap and video highlights
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Chris Wood and Dele Alli scored as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur split the points at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Burnley is now unbeaten in seven Premier League outings and sits 10th on 39 points.

Spurs are two points clear of Burnley, but will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top four.

Tottenham gets its first result in five outings with the draw.


Three things we learned

1. Lo Celso changes the game: Tottenham was absolutely dreadful in the first half, and Burnley’s lead was well-earned. Jose Mourinho took out a pair of center midfielders and introduced Giovani Lo Celso, who was very good from Moment No. 1 and drove the play that led to Spurs’ penalty.

2. Burnley bolsters UEL hopes: The Clarets have a point or better in seven-straight league matches. While they failed in a bid to leapfrog Spurs, Sean Dyche‘s men are three points back of the top seven. Could tiny Burnley really make two European runs in three seasons?

3. Lucky Dele: Jose Mourinho again deployed Dele Alli as a center forward, and the player struggled in the first 45 minutes. Dele’s pass completion rate was barely above 50 percent and he lost all of his nine duels. His penalty finish was cool, though, and may jumpstart his stagnant month ahead of Bayern Munich.

Man of the Match: Burnley’s Dwight McNeil was consistent and thrilling on the wing, producing the match’s lone assist.


Chris Wood rocketed a 17-yard shot over the bar early to send a warning to Hugo Lloris and Co.

A Jay Rodriguez header off from the back post led to an unholy scramble in the box minutes later, but Spurs again cleared the danger.

It was all foreshadowing; Burnley went ahead when Dwight McNeil got two chances to send in a cross that bounded to Rodriguez. His laser was saved by Lloris but Wood pounced on the rebound for 1-0.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs got a chance to level the score as Lo Celso paid immediate dividends. The Spanish midfielder stole the ball and played a wonderful ball to Lamela, who was cut down by Ben Mee inside the edge of the box.

Dele Alli strode to the spot and stroked the ball past Nick Pope for his 50th Premier League goal.

Burnley had a strong chance when Matej Vydra was slid into the box, but Eric Dier intervened to push the ball away from danger.

Lo Celso then led a 60-yard charge upfield that fell apart when Dele couldn’t get the ball through traffic.

Wood then thumped a shot to Lloris, who was wise to the bounce. Vydra then knocked down a ball for Wood that the Kiwi hit to Lloris in the 81st.

Lo Celso came close to bending a shot inside the far corner a minute later.

A funny bounce forced Lloris to make a prime save of Vydra after the latter’s shot took a turn off the bottom of Toby Alderweireld‘s boot.

FA Cup Wrap: Norwich stun Spurs

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For the first time in almost three decades, Norwich City is in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Todd Cantwell converted his penalty kick while Tim Krul saved Gedson Fernandez’ attempt to give Norwich City a 3-2 win on penalty kicks over Tottenham on Wednesday at the remodeled White Hart Lane.

With the defeat, Spurs hope for a trophy this season dwindles, as the Premier League is surely out of reach at this point. Norwich meanwhile has even more to play for now with their Premier League struggles gobbling up most of their mental energy.

Elsewhere, holders Manchester City came through a tough road tie at Sheffield Wednesday to win, 1-0, while Leicester City scored late to beat Birmingham City.

Here’s a look at Wednesday evening’s action:


Tottenham 1-1 Norwich City (Norwich advance, 3-2, on penalty kicks)

Mired in a relegation battle and six points from safety, Norwich City gave its fans a memory they soon won’t forget.

After Josip Drmic bundled home a parried shot in the 78th minute, the extra time periods remained scoreless, leading to a penalty kick shootout to decide who was moving on. Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen‘s 13th minute header at the far post initially put the struggling Spurs on the board.

In the shootout, Eric Dier and Giovani Lo Celso scored for Tottenham, but Erik Lamela and Troy Parrott couldn’t score, with Lamela’s shot pinging out off the crossbar and Parrott’s shot saved. That left it up to Gedson Fernandes, who’s shot was saved by Tim Krul for the win. After the big save, Krul sprinted the length of the field to celebrate with the Norwich supporters.

Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Manchester City

Time and time again, Sergio Aguero comes up with timely goals in important moments for Manchester City.

On a night when Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Wildsmith kept almost everything out of the net, the ageless Aguero snuck a shot past Joseph Wildsmith to help lead Manchester City to the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Manchester City had chance after chance to open the game up but they couldn’t succeed other than Aguero, leading to an irate manager Pep Guardiola on the sidelines. However, Man City kept up the pressure, even with the late introduction of Raheem Sterling to the match, and held on to advance.

Leicester City 1-0 Birmingham City 0

Brendan Rodger’s side picked up its first win since late January in all competitions as the Foxes came through to beat Championship side Birmingham City.

Neither side could create many opportunities, but eventually it was the two Leicester City fullbacks who made the difference for the hosts. After Ben Chillwell charged forward and crossed towards the right, the ball eventually ended up with Mark Albrighton. After holding off his defender, he chipped a ball into the right side of the box, which Ricardo Pereira headed home to give the Foxes the win.