Jamal Lewis

Tottenham peg back Norwich amid VAR drama

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Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a wild 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, as VAR drama, own goals, penalty kicks and general madness took center stage.

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Mario Vranic gave Norwich the lead before VAR drama denied Teemu Pukki a second and then Christian Eriksen made it 1-1. Serge Aurier‘s own goal put Norwich back in front but Harry Kane‘s late penalty set up a wild finish, but Spurs couldn’t complete the comeback.

With the point, Norwich sit bottom on 13 points and Tottenham are in fifth on 30 points, two points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Norwich unluckiest team in PL: Yep, it’s official, Norwich are the unluckiest team in the Premier League. Week after week Daniel Farke‘s side pour their heart out and VAR calls go against them, they cough up leads, deflections don’t go their way and they are generally unlucky. They sit bottom of the table with the smallest budget in the league, so perhaps no surprise there, but Norwich deserve to be further up the the table.

2. 3-5-2 not the way forward for Spurs: Mourinho changed it up at half time as Spurs were struggling to keep the ball and couldn’t get out of their own half in a 3-5-2 formation. Tottenham aren’t great defensively and they’ve conceded 12 goals in Mourinho’s first eight PL games in charge, so they might as well play a 4-2-3-1 formation and be an attack-minded team.

3. Kane’s quality shines through: He won the penalty kick and drove Spurs on, and without Kane Spurs would be nowhere near the top four. Kane has scored four goals in his last five games but aside from that his leadership has dragged Spurs back into the top four hunt.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki – Didn’t stop running, had a goal chalked off and bullied the Spurs defense into conceding a second goal. Pukki didn’t score, but he is the main reason Norwich got something out of this game.


Norwich started well as Stiepermann forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a fine stop down low.

At the other end Spurs were dangerous on the break as Kane set up Alli but he blazed over the bar and then Kane himself was clean through but Tim Krul saved well as he stood tall.

Ryan Sessegnon had a shot blocked well but then Norwich hit Tottenham with a sucker-punch.

Vrancic surged into the box and slotted home after a superb tackle Emiliano Buendia, as Norwich took a shock lead.

It looked as though the Canaries had doubled their lead as Pukki raced and clear and sent a trademark finish into the far corner, but VAR intervened and the Finnish striker was judged to be offside by half a shoulder as it remained 1-0.

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At half time Mourinho brought on Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura for Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth as Spurs went to a back four and ditched their 3-5-2 system.

A moment of huge controversy arrived early in the second half as Jamal Lewis was adjudged to have handled as the last man right on the edge of the box and only a yellow card was given.

But from the resulting free kick Eriksen’s deflected free kick flew in to make it 1-1 as Spurs were rampant in the second half.

Alli then hooked home from a tight angle but he was clearly offside and just when it looked like Spurs would surge towards victory, Serge gave Norwich the lead…

With Pukki in on goal, Toby Alderweireld cleared and the ball hit Aurier and went into his own net to make it 2-1 as Tottenham’s players, coaching staff and fans held their heads in disbelief.

Spurs did draw level though, as Kane was set free on the break and he won a penalty kick by cutting inside as Christoph Zimmermann brought him down. Kane slotted home the penalty kick to make it 2-2 and then sub Erik Lamela tested Krul from distance with a powerful effort.

In the end Spurs couldn’t break through as Norwich held on for a point in their battle against the drop.

PL Sunday preview: Arsenal’s post-Emery era; Man Utd host Villa

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures features four games, including (but not limited to) the first game of the post-Unai Emery era at Arsenal, Manchester United with a chance to climb into fifth place, and what could be the final game of Marco Silva‘s tenure at Everton.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises “phenomenal” Dele Alli, Spurs supporters ]

Arsenal v. Norwich City — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal on Friday, making way for the Freddie Ljungberg (interim) era to begin on Sunday. With no obvious candidate standing out from all the others, Ljungberg, a long-time favorite as a Gunners player, could be given the chance to impress and have the “interim” tag removed, a la Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a year ago. After taking just three points from their last five PL games, Arsenal have fallen to ninth place, eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea, and could finish the weekend as low as 10th place. On the other hand, a win over 19th-place Norwich would see them climb up to fifth, a point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, who took the PL by storm with five goals in his first three games, hasn’t found the back of the net since Sept. 14, a run of eight straight goal-less games for the Fininish forward.

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Dani Ceballos (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Hector Bellerin (hamstring), David Luiz (ribs), Shkodran Mustafi (foot) | Norwich  — OUT: Alexander Tettey (personal), Grant Hanley (groin), Timm Klose (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jamal Lewis (knee), Josip Drmic (hamstring)


Wolves v. Sheffield United — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Through 13 games of their debut season in the PL, Sheffield United are threatening to “do a Wolves,” in so much that the newly promoted side currently sits seventh — where Wolves finished last season — following a red-hot start. Following a poor start of their own (zero wins from their first six games), Wolves have rebounded nicely (unbeaten in their last eight, including four wins) and climbed all the way up to sixth (each side sat a place higher coming into the weekend).

INJURIES: Wolves —  OUT: Willy Boly (ankle), Ryan Bennett (groin), Romain Saiss (suspension), Morgan Gibbs-White (back) | Sheffield United  — OUT: None


Man United v. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Nearly four months into the season, Man United are still without back-to-back PL victories. In fact, they’ve not repeated the same result — win, loss or draw — in consecutive league games all season. The Red Devils ave been, if anything, consistently inconsistent. After drawing Sheffield United 3-3 last time out, the best Solskjaer’s side can do on Sunday is get halfway there ahead of Tottenham’s blockbuster visit, and Jose Mourinho’s return, on Wednesday. United’s injury list remains extensive — and expensive — as Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly remain out, with Nemanja Matic perhaps set to return on Sunday. As for Villa, Dean Smith‘s side snapped a three-game losing skid last time out by thoroughly besting Newcastle United at Villa Park to put four points between themselves and the relegation zone. Following Southampton’s victory on Saturday, that gap is already down to two points.

INJURIES: Man United —  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (groin); QUESTIONABLE: Nemanja Matic (groin), Scott McTominay (ankle) | Aston Villa  — OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Jota (hernia); QUESTIONABLE: Bjorn Engels (hip)


Leicester City v. Everton — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Every defeat in the coming days could prove to be the final day of Silva’s employment as Everton manager, with the Toffees entering Sunday’s trip to the King Power Stadium in 17th place. It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (seven) on the season thus far, but the sides to which they’ve lost (Villa, Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich, to name most of them) that stands out as most embarrassing for a club that thought it would be competing for the top-six this season. Leicester, meanwhile, have happily and swiftly taken their place as the side most likely to break up the monotony of the same clubs finishing atop the table every season. The Foxes entered the weekend in second place (they have since fallen to second), eight points back of Liverpool (now 11), on the back of five straight league victories. Jamie Vardy‘s 12 goals have garnered most of the headlines, but the play-making duo of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been arguably more enjoyable to watch

INJURIES: Leicester —  OUT: Matty James (achilles) | Everton  — OUT: Andre Gomes (ankle), Theo Walcott (knock), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Morgan Schneiderlin (knock), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Bernard (knee)