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Asian Cup Wrap: South Korea clinches top spot in group, and more

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Heung-Min Son started, recorded an assist and went 89 minutes three days after arriving in the United Arab Emirates as South Korea finished off the group stage with a resounding, 2-0 win over China.

With the win, South Korea’s third straight, the Taegeuk Warriors advance to the knockout stages as one of the top seeds, where they’ll face a third-place team in their next match. Ui-Jo Huang scored on a penalty kick in the 14th minute to give South Korea the lead, and six minutes into the second half, Min-Jae Kim powered home a header off a Son corner kick to put the game away.

[READ: Goal-scoring Martinez re-signs with Atlanta United]

China won’t be too upset about the defeat. They finished in second place in Group C, and will open the knockout round against Thailand.

Elsewhere in Asian Cup action, Vitalij Lux scored a hat-trick as Kyrgyzstan beat the Philippines, possibly earning a spot in the knockout stages. It’s Kyrgyzstan‘s first appearance at the Asian Cup.

In Group D action, leaders Iraq and Iran, both enemies politically, perhaps finished with an appropriate scoreline. The two sides settled for a scoreless draw, seeing both advance to the next round. Vietnam, meanwhile, picked up its first win in a 2-0 victory over Yemen, potentially keeping its Asian Cup hopes alive for a few more days.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Who excelled and who struggled in the Premier League over the weekend? Our latest batch of player Power Rankings are out as we focus on the top performers in Week 22.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Stars from Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, West Ham and Southampton all feature, as stars from the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are misfiring.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

  1. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  2. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) – New entry
  3. Declan Rice (West Ham) – New entry
  4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 6
  5. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Even
  6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Up 5
  7. Fernandinho (Man City) – Down 4
  8. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) – New entry
  9. Fabinho (Liverpool) – Up 8
  10. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 3
  11. Leroy Sane (Man City) – Down 3
  12. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Down 11
  13. Raheem Sterling (Man City) –  Down 4
  14. Aymeric Laporte (Man City) – New entry
  15. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – Doen 2
  16. Felipe Anderson (West Ham) – Doen 3
  17. Shane Long (Southampton) – New entry
  18. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 12
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Even
  20. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) – New entry

Tottenham confirm Harry Kane out with ankle injury

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Harry Kane is out for Tottenham Hotspur at the worst possible time.

Kane, 25, went down after being caught by Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof late in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday at Wembley, and Mauricio Pochettino feared his ankle injury was serious.

His worst fears have been confirmed.

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Tottenham have revealed that Kane will be out until March, and he is going to miss some huge games in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and their League Cup semifinal second leg at Chelsea.

Here is the official statement from Spurs.

“Following preliminary assessments, we can confirm that Harry Kane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle, sustained during Sunday’s match. He will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as he commences rehabilitation and is expected to return to training in early March.”

With Kane missing a hugely important period of Tottenham’s season, plus Heung-Min Son away throughout January with South Korea at the 2019 Asian Cup, Spurs are now putting all their eggs in one basket.

Over to you, Fernando Llorente…

Here are the games Kane is expected to miss while he spends time on the sidelines.

  • Fulham (A) – Premier League – January 20
  • Chelsea (A) – EFL Cup – January 24
  • Crystal Palace (A) – FA Cup – January 27
  • Watford (H) – Premier League – January 30
  • Newcastle (H) – Premier League – February 2
  • Leicester (H) – Premier League – February 10
  • Borussia Dortmund (H) – Champions League – February 13
  • Burnley – Premier League (A) – February 23
  • League Cup Final – February 25* if Spurs reach the final
  • Chelsea – Premier League (A) – February 27

This is a massive blow for Spurs which compounds their defeat against United (they somehow lost due to a combination of David De Gea‘s heroics and poor finishing) as they’re now nine points off first-place Liverpool and will have to play the next few months without their top goalscorer.

Kane is the joint-top leading scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals so far, but this is a familiar injury for him. The forward injured his ankle twice in the 2016-17 campaign, as Spurs fans were left to wonder what could have been if Kane had stayed fit all season long.

With Son missing, Pochettino must now turn to Llorente, who has only played in a handful of League Cup and FA Cup games as well as a few minutes in the PL, to try and spearhead their attack in the next few months. The veteran Spaniard has scored four goals in 11 appearances this season, but has yet to find the back of the net in his five PL outings.

The only other option Spurs have is Vincent Janssen, who has been out injured and scored for their U23 side at the weekend, but Pochettino revealed the Dutch striker is “not in his plans” at Tottenham.

This is far from ideal for Spurs, as this injury to Kane will have huge implications on their progress in the PL, Europe and both domestic cup competitions.

Report: Kane could miss month or more with ankle injury

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Tottenham could be without its captain and talismanic striker ahead of the UEFA Champions League knockout round next month.

The Guardian reports that Tottenham fears Harry Kane could miss one or more months with yet another ankle injury, suffered late during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday. Kane’s injured ankle is reportedly still too swollen to know the full extent of the damage, but with big games coming up, it would be a huge blow to both Kane and the club.

[VIDEO, RECAP: Man City dominates in win over Wolves]

Kane has been omnipresent this season and he’s lived up to the billing yet again, with 14 league goals in 22 matches and another six goals in cup competitions. The England captain has suffered ankle injuries in each of the past three seasons, including missing six weeks with injury in 2016.

Should Kane miss time, it would leave Tottenham without their star for the second leg of the League Cup against Chelsea, an FA Cup match at Crystal Palace, and two more Premier League games before the start of February. Tottenham host Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League knockout round on February 13 before heading to Germany for the second leg on March 3. If this is a minor ankle injury, Kane would likely be back for that.

Without Kane, and with Heung-Min Son headed to the Asian Cup for the next two weeks, Tottenham will likely have to rely on 33-year-old forward Fernando Llorente, who hasn’t been a full-time starter for the last two seasons since joining Spurs.

Tottenham investigate alleged racist abuse towards Son

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Tottenham Hotspur is investigating claims that Heung-Min Son was racially abused by a Spurs fan at Wembley Stadium.

It occurred during Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, as a journalist attending the game with his son claims that the South Korea star was racially abused by a supporter sitting in the Tottenham section.

“I’ve not experienced racism at football for about 15 years, but today at Spurs was hideous. Reported to stewards, confronted him myself and was called a c*** while I was standing next to my son, Hideous… Spurs have been in touch and I’ll work with them to find the person. Stand-up to racism and it won’t survive, let it go and it will just get worse. Spurs are looking into this now, and have been great.”

After the defeat Son departed London for the UAE, where he will play for South Korea in the 2019 Asian Cup. He will be away on international duty until the end of January.

This incident follows a string of similar incidents in recent months in the Premier League.

Fans of Chelsea were suspended by the club pending an investigation into alleged racist abuse of Raheem Sterling, a Tottenham fan was also handed a stadium ban for throwing a banana at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in December and arrests were made last week for racially aggravated public order offences during the League Cup semifinal between Spurs and Chelsea and Wembley.