Harry Winks

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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.

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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5 thoughts on wild PL weekend

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What. A. Weekend.

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The Premier League was back with a bang after the international break as Jose Mourinho was in at Tottenham, Leicester City stay in second and Man City won the big game of the weekend as the edged past Chelsea.

Add VAR drama, late goals galore and a glut of no wins for the home teams and that adds up to one thing: Madness.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Below are five key takeaways from Saturday and Sunday on Matchweek 13.


Rejuvenated Mourinho keeps it simple at Spurs
It was like he’d never left. 11 months after being fired by Man United, Mourinho replaced his good friend Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham last week. In his first game in charge Spurs were 3-0 up and should have won by a larger margin than 3-2 (two late goals gave the scoreline an unnecessary gloss for poor West Ham), as Dele Alli played a starring role alongside Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane up top.

[ MORE: Mourinho delivers on debut ]

That quartet kept things simple and Mourinho had Harry Winks and Eric Dier as two holding midfielders as Spurs looked solid. Yes, they were playing a West Ham side which is slumping, but they took care of business and Spurs haven’t won away from home in the PL since January. There are signs that Tottenham will have a more ruthless edge going forward and Mourinho’s pragmatism will deliver a better chance of ending their 11-year wait for a trophy.


Pochettino lurking as Solskjaer’s United lucky to draw
As for the man Mourinho replaced at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino is being linked with the biggest jobs in the world. They don’t come much bigger than Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson and others at the Red Devils are big fans of Poch. United fought back from 2-0 down to go 3-2 up at Sheffield United on Sunday as they failed to turn up for the first 70 minutes then sprung to life. United’s three goalscorers were all academy products as Brandon Williams (19 years old), Mason Greenwood (18) and Marcus Rashford (22) came to the rescue. United should have won the game but Solskjaer brought on a defender for a winger late on to try and shut up shop and that handed the initiative to the blades as Ollie McBurnie grabbed a late equalizer, which is the least Sheffield United deserve. Nobody knew how Man United were leading in stoppage time as they looked disjointed, lacked creativity and Solskjaer had a somber expression throughout. With a talented crop of youngsters coming through it seems like only one man should be trusted with developing their talent and giving United a clear playing identity. It’s not Solskjaer.


VAR drama involves Liverpool once again
So, are the LiVARpool jokes still going around? Ah yes, they are. After tight VAR decisions going their way in their wins against Man City, Leicester City and Chelsea, opposing fans are adamant Jurgen Klopp‘s side are getting all of the luck and the power that be are desperate for them to win the Premier League title. In truth, if they play like that did at Crystal Palace on Saturday, they won’t win anything this season. Liverpool were sloppy in possession, error strewn in defense and had it not been for Dejan Lovren‘s theatrical dive seeing a Palace goal chalked off and Wilf Zaha blazing over late on, Liverpool would have left Selhurst Park with a point, at best. But this game summed up their season so far.

Even the most ardent of Liverpool fans won’t deny they have been far from their best but they’ve found a way to win. Sadio Mane’s shot was tipped onto the post, squirmed across the line and hit the other post as Patrick Van Aanholt failed to clear, then Liverpool’s winner arrived as the ball pin-balled around and fell perfectly for Roberto Firmino to slot home. You make your own luck in this game, and Liverpool are doing just that through gritty, determined displays. Opposing fans can point to VAR, but Liverpool are eight points clear for a reason.


Man City lose Aguero, beat Chelsea as Pulisic struggles
This wasn’t a decent outing for Christian Pulisic as Chelsea’s youngster were held at arms length by a banged-up Man City squad. The USMNT winger showed a few glimpses of attacking intent in the first half but Man City just had that extra bit of class and composure in the final third which won them the game. Chelsea’s run of six-straight PL wins came to an end but Frank Lampard was impressed and believes his team are cutting the gap to the title contenders, even thought they’ve now lost to Liverpool, Man United and Man City. As for the reigning champs, they’ve lost Sergio Aguero for a few weeks at a key stage in the season and the pressure to score goals is now all on Gabriel Jesus. Pep Guardiola‘s men are hanging in there but untimely injuries are seeing them look longingly up to Liverpool who are at the summit and nine points ahead of them. Aguero often comes up big with goals late on in games and City have been involved in plenty of those tight situations in recent months. How much will they miss their all-time leading goalscorer?


Pressure mounts on Silva, Emery
Not many people would have predicted Arsenal to grab a last-gasp point at home against lowly Southampton on Saturday. Fewer would have predicted Everton losing to Norwich. But both happened and that is bad news for Unai Emery and Marco Silva. Both teams, and managers specifically, were booed at the final whistle and Emery admitted he knows he “needs to do better” as the pressure was cranked up a few notches. Had Southampton finished one of their numerous chances, they would have easily beaten Arsenal. The Gunners defense was all over the place and they didn’t deserve the point Alexandre Lacazette‘s late equalizer secured. As for Everton, there is no clear playing style, no grit and no leadership and Silva looks to be on his last legs, as he has done for a while now. Their win away at Saints before the international break papered over the cracks and this defeat against Norwich exposed them.

England finishes EURO 2020 qualifying by beating Kosovo

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England’s 2020 European Championship qualification campaign wrapped up on Sunday with a slightly flattering 4-0 victory away to third-place, and playoff qualifiers, Kosovo.

[ VIDEO: Game stopped for racist chanting; player targeted later scores goal ]

Gareth Southgate‘s side was hardly at its best just three days after thrashing Montenegro and securing qualification to this summer’s tournament. They only led by a score of 1-0 through 78 minutes, before scoring a trio of late goals to put the game out of reach and rob the hosts of any potential moral victory.

Harry Winks opened the scoring, and his England account, in the 32nd minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found Winks near the top of Kosovo’s penalty area and though Winks’ first touch appeared quite poor, every player in blue stopped and stood as the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder walked in on goal and coolly slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

From that point forward, Kosovo enjoyed control of the game’s tempo and looked every bit the Three Lions’ equal. That is, until Harry Kane finished an open chance at the back post in the 79th minute and opened the floodgates.

Marcus Rashford added a third four minutes later, followed by another first England goal — this time, scored by Mason Mount — in the 91st.

England finishes EURO 2020 qualification with a record of 7W-0D-1L and a +31 goal differential, which is second only to Belgium who sit at +32 with one game still to play. England required Sunday’s victory to confirm its place as a Pot 1 team at the draw for the group stage.