Japhet Tanganga

Rampant Chelsea secure huge win, humble rivals Tottenham

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Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to secure a huge three points in their battle fo finish in the top four of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso struck early in each half as Jose Mourinho’s Spurs were totally dominated with Erik Lamela‘s late cross deflected in off Antonio Rudiger for nothing more than a consolation.

Frank Lampard‘s tactical changes paid off as he completed the double over his former manager, as he became the first man to beat a side managed by Mourinho both home and away in a single league season.

With the win (their first in five games) Chelsea cement their spot in fourth and now sit four points above fifth-place Spurs who have 40 points.


3 things we learned

1. Giroud delivers clinical edge: This is just what he does. For some reason Giroud has been the third-choice striker all season at Chelsea and he looked likely to leave in January. Chelsea will be glad he didn’t. Tammy Abraham is young and has cooled down after a red-hot start to the season and Michy Batshuayi doesn’t have Giroud’s composure or experience in key moments. Giroud jumped off the bench on Monday against Man United and scored but was just offside and he has the knack of being in the right place at the right time. We spoke with Giroud after his display against United and he said he was fired up and ready to start, especially with a place in France’s EURO 2020 squad on the line. With Bayern Munich coming up in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, surely he has to lead the Chelsea line. With his clever runs and flicks, Giroud linked up defense and attack perfectly. This is just what he does and it is a mystery as to why he hasn’t played more this season.

2. Mourinho’s excuses seep into his players: We get it, Mourinho has been unlucky with injuries with Harry Kane out until April and Heung-Min Son perhaps out for the season. But Mourinho saying that a top four finish this season would be the best achievement of his managerial career was a stretch. That message of negativity filtered into the minds of his Spurs players as the 2-1 scoreline flattered them. Bergwijn and Moura were so isolated and Tottenham’s midfield was totally overrun. Mourinho has done well to push Spurs back into the top four conversation since he arrived but Tottenham, especially defensively, are so far away from being genuine top four contenders.

3. VAR drama rumbles on: Giovani Lo Celso should have been sent off and VAR officials at Stockley Park have since admitted that via BT Sport. His stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta’s leg was a clear case of violent conduct and a lengthy VAR review during the game resulted in the Argentine playmaker staying on the pitch. How is that possible? When you see it you will wince and even thought Azpilicueta slid in, Lo Celso had enough time to pull his foot away from the challenge. One of the worst VAR decisions you will see as the debate about its consistency rumbles on.

Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud – Scored a goal and had a hand in the second as his overall display provided Chelsea with a focal point. Even though his contract is up this summer, expect to see plenty of Giroud for Chelsea between now and then.


Chelsea looked dangerous early on as Giroud went close from a corner as the hosts came flying out of the traps.

They got the goal their fine start deserved as Giroud was denied by Hugo Lloris, Ross Barkley hit the post with the rebound and then Giroud was on hand to tuck home from a tight angle to make it 1-0.

A VAR delay to check if the goal was offside was needed but in his first start since November, Giroud had delivered. Marcos Alonso sent a volley just over as Chelsea were in their groove.

Spurs improved as half time drew closer as Lucas Moura‘s shot deflected over and then from the resulting corner a looping header from Davinson Sanchez was tipped over by Willy Caballero.

Japhet Tanganga almost made the most of a long ball in-behind Alonso but his first touch was just a tad too heavy, as Spurs were hanging in the game despite Chelsea looking the more dangerous.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half continued in the same pattern of the first as Chelsea doubled their lead in splendid fashion.

A flowing move which involved all four players brought into the starting lineup by Lampard saw Giroud flick the ball towards Mason Mount who fed Barkley who teed up Alonso to smash home a low shot and send the home fans wild.

Moments after a huge moment of controversy arrived as Giovani Lo Celso appeared to stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta’s leg but after a lengthy VAR check no red card was given as Chelsea’s fans, players and coaches looked on in bemusement.

Tanguy Ndombele then went down in the box as he tried to dribble towards goal but Spurs were so lackluster in attack and Chelsea totally deserved a massive three points as substitute Tammy Abraham went close late on as Lloris saved and Alonso smashed the bar with a wonderful free kick.

Tottenham did pull one back in the 89th minute after substitute Lamela crossed and his effort deflected into the net off Rudiger, but Chelsea never looked likely to cough up another goal late on.

Champions League squads changes for four PL teams

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Monday was the deadline for all clubs to submit their final 25-man squads to UEFA for the knockout phase of the Champions League. With all four qualified Premier League teams still in the mix, it’s time to run through each club’s squad and see who made the cut and who was left at home.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Tottenham sees goalkeeper Hugo Lloris back in the fold after a serious elbow injury forced him to withdraw from the Champions League squad in October.

One significant note, thanks to new UEFA rules instituted during last year’s competition, no players are cup-tied for the knockout phase regardless of what competition they played for in the group stage. This is particularly of note to Liverpool who was able to add winger Takumi Minamino to the list despite the former RB Salzburg player having been deployed for the German club in the group stage before his January move. Spurs also benefitted from the new rule as Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes both would have previously been cup-tied.

The most notable exclusion comes for Tottenham Hotspur who sees Victor Wanyama left off the squad, having made just one appearance for Spurs since September in a six-minute showing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage finale. Liverpool also left off young defender Sepp van den Berg who was sacrificed for the inclusion of new boy Minamino.

For Manchester City, the injured Leroy Sane was left on the squad with nobody new arriving. The same occurred for Chelsea who saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek still in the group despite his recovery from an Achilles tear.

Liverpool

IN: Takumi Minamino (transfer, RB Salzburg)
OUT: Sepp van den Berg

Full squad: Alisson, Adrian, Andy Lonergan, Caoimhim Kelleher*; Virgil Van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Adam Lewis*; Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones*, Herbie Kane*, Neco Williams*, Yasser Larouci*; Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Rhian Brewster*.

Manchester City

IN: [none]
OUT: Angelino (loan, RB Leipzig), Ian Poveda (transfer, Leeds United)

Full squad: Ederson, Claudio Bravo Scott Carson; John Stones, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi, Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Joao Cancelo, Eric Garcia*; Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden*; Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero.

Chelsea

IN: [none]
OUT: Marc Guehi (loan, Swansea City), George McEachran (loan, Cambuur)

Full squad: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero, Jamie Cumming*, Nicholas Tie*; Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori, Emerson, Reece James*; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount*, Callum Hudson-Odoi*, Christian Pulisic, Billy Gilmour*, Tammy Abraham, Pedro, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi.

Tottenham Hotspur

IN: Steven Bergwijn (transfer, PSV), Hugo Lloris, Gedson Fernandes (loan, Benfica)
OUT: Christian Eriksen (transfer, Inter), Danny Rose (loan, Newcastle), Kyle Walker-Peters (loan, Southampton), Victor Wanyama, Troy Parrott

Full squad: Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga, Alfie Whiteman*, Brandon Austin*; Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vergtonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth*, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Japhet Tanganga*, Timothy Eyoma*; Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Erik Lamela, Moussa Sissoko, Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, Gedson Fernandes, Oliver Skipp*, Jamie Bowden*, Harvey White*; Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son, Steven Bergwijn.

*denotes a “List B” player, who must be born on, or after, 1 January 1995 and eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday. A club can list an unlimited number of List B players, whereas they may only list 25 List A players

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 25

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As Liverpool chases a season-long zero in the loss column, other normal challengers are measuring themselves in new ways.

For Tottenham Hotspur, it’s about how the pieces fit into Jose Mourinho’s system.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of Man City was wonderful for the club on the table, of course, but it was even more intriguing because Steven Bergwijn and Japhet Tanganga offered promise of the new and long-term.

Christian Eriksen is gone. Danny Rose is probably out, too. Others will leave Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as well, but Mourinho has reinspired Dele Alli, found the fit for Giovani Lo Celso, and introduce at least two new pieces.

Now, what’s next? And how high do they rise on our rankings after toppling Man City?

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

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — After failing to bring their finishing boots to St. James’ Park, the Canaries are going to find it hard to find 15 points from their remaining fixtures, let alone 22 to get to the fabled 40-mark. Liverpool, Wolves, Leicester City, and Sheffield United are next. Woof.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Newcastle United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Feb. 15 v. Liverpool

19. West Ham United — All David Moyes does is win, which is why West Ham has claimed five points from six league matches under his leadership. The first one was the only win, home to woeful Bournemouth.
Last week: 19
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 3-3 v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. West Ham United

18. Brighton and Hove Albion — There’s a lot to like about the Seagulls, who have to find a way to stay up and give Graham Potter another transfer window to implement his system. Three big matches ahead, as Brighton will then face six brutal fixtures in seven.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 3-3 at West Ham
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

17. Aston Villa — Good battle and a fine first PL goal for Mbwana Samatta, but 2-1 to 10-man Bournemouth is a hard place to find yourself.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Feb. 16 v. Spurs

16. Watford — Probably deserve to be above Bournemouth, but equally deserving of slippage for the manner of its loss to Everton.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

15. Bournemouth — Back-to-back wins are a fine tonic after a wretched loss at Norwich City.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Sheffield United

14. Crystal Palace — Four of the next six are away from Selhurst Park, but Roy Hodgson‘s men will still like the look of the schedule more their most recent handful of matches.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Everton

13. Newcastle United — It would be nice if we could have as much confidence in Newcastle playing from positions of power as we have in them in a low block against Champions League contenders. For example: We feel it’s as likely they take a point from Arsenal in two weeks as they are to comfortably beat Oxford United in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay.
Last week: 12
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Feb. 16 at Arsenal

12. Burnley — Just doing what they do, manufacturing points out of nearly nothing (To be fair, Sean Dyche‘s crew was deserving of three versus Arsenal but became the latest to be foiled by Bernd Leno).
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Arsenal
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Feb. 15 at Southampton

11. Manchester United — Bruno Fernandes showed promise, but United’s depth is inexcusable with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford missing. Zero accountability.
Last week: 11
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Feb. 17 at Chelsea

10. Southampton — Danny Ings was fouled. How did VAR next catch that?!? Anyway, Saints are at home for three of the next five, and everyone on the fixture list is 12th or lower on our rankings. What we’re saying is, don’t be surprised if Southampton is in the Top Seven mix with eight matches to play.
Last week: 7
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Liverpool
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Feb. 15 v. Burnley

9. Arsenal — Mikel Artera has the side pointed in the right direction, but the draw with Burnley basically ties their UCL fate to the Europa League. That competition is also about to make their calendar insane.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Burnley
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Feb. 16  v. Newcastle United

8. Everton — A must-win when Palace visits Saturday before two weeks off a four-match run against traditional powers (Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool).
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Won 3-2 at Watford
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

7. Chelsea — From Feb. 17-25, the Blues will face Manchester United, Spurs, and Bayern Munich. A plus: They’re at home. A minus: Christian Pulisic is still hurt.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Leicester City
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Feb. 17 v. Manchester United

6. Wolves — Enjoy the rest, boys; Wolves play five matches in 16 days beginning Valentine’s Day versus Leciester City.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Feb. 14 v. Leicester City

5. Sheffield United — Top four might be too big of an ask, but the Blades remaining fixture list says a Europa League spot is truly an option. Sander Berge looks the truth, but a star striker will be a summer priority.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 1-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Bournemouth

4. Leicester City — The Foxes are on a week-to-week evaluation now. Drawing Chelsea is a great result as Leicester looks to hang onto a Champions League place.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Feb. 14 at Wolves

3. Tottenham Hotspur — We can’t quite put them on Man City’s level despite a 2-0 win in North London, because, well, 18-3 in shots really did tell the story. But the result itself is vintage Mourinho, and thoughts of silverware should be on the mind if a win over Saints on Tuesday leads to Norwich City in the FA Cup’s fifth round.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Man City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Feb. 16 at Aston Villa

2. Man City — Rodri is right.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Spurs
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. West Ham United

1. Liverpool — Reds supporters need to make a bargain with the rest of the league’s supporters: They need to acknowledge that Jurgen Klopp‘s machine is one of the most impressive in history, and the Anfield faithful should acknowledge that the 22-point gap atop the table has involved heaping spoonfuls of good Fortune to go with magnificent heart and talent.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Saints
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Feb. 15 at Norwich City

Opportunistic Spurs top 10-man Man City

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Steven Bergwijn and Heung-Min Son scored second-half goals on Spurs’ only two shots of a 2-0 defeat of Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It’s a statement win for Jose Mourinho, whose Spurs climb into fifth place on 37 points. City maintains a two-point edge on third-place Leicester City.

City outshot Spurs 17-2 and produced four big chances to Spurs one, but that’s not going to bring any comfort to the two-time champions sitting 22 points back of Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Bergwijn announces himself: The 22-year-old Dutchman arrived from PSV Eindhoven, and certainly carried a lot of promise in the long-term. Lucas Moura‘s no-look chopped cross came to Bergwijn inside the 18, and he had plenty to do. Bergwijn settled it for a hard volley inside the far post. He had been more of an assist merchant at PSV this season, but starting life in North London with a goal recalls more of his 14-goal, 12-assist 2018/19 season.

2. Tanganga the new McTominay: Follow us here. Scott McTominay was a surprise youngster that Mourinho brought into the first team at Manchester United, and is now a locked-in starter when healthy. Japhet Tanganga doesn’t turn 21 until March, and all but one of his senior appearances have come in the Mourinho era.

He was very decent again on Sunday, playing fullback against one of the most explosive attacks in the world. Tanganga made four tackles, three interceptions, and three clearances while blocking a shot. He won nine of 12 duels.

3. Lloris the beast: Spurs’ captain returned to the pitch last match after 15 weeks off, and he reminded the world of his incredible skill set on Sunday. Lloris saved a penalty and made a remarkable kick save on Aguero early in the contest. On a day City had an 11-1 shots advantage at the break.

Man of the Match: You could go one of three directions here. Bergwijn scored on debut and it was a beauty, and Tanganga was a big part of the win. But looking past what Lloris did to keep Spurs alive during the first half onslaught would be an error.


There was an early Dele Alli chance for Spurs and a fine intervention by Ederson on another long through ball, but most of the frame took place in Tottenham’s half.

Raheem Sterling was fortunate to not be sent off for a studded tackle, and VAR somehow concurred with the on-field ruling.

Sergio Aguero was stymied by an incredible Hugo Lloris save and the goal post on the best effort, while both he and Kevin De Bruyne lashed contested wide of the near post from three yards.

The flash point of the match came when Serge Aurier clipped Sergio Aguero and Mike Dean pointed to the spot. It was one of those decisions which wasn’t going to be changed conclusively either way.

Ilkay Gundogan stepped to the spot, and Lloris denied him with a sprawling save. Raheem Sterling pushed the rebound out of bounds just before Lloris caught his foot, causing a ruckus and another VAR review. No penalty, no red cards.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The tone and tenure of the match changed when Harry Winks picked off a terribly played corner and zipped down the pitch. Oleksandr Zinchenko ran into the charging Englishman, and Winks hit the deck for a second yellow card.

City would play 30 minutes down a man.

It was all downhill from there for City, who conceded two goals in 10 minutes Bergwijn scored an incredible goal off Lucas Moura’s clever assist.

Then Heung-min Son saw his shot from the edge of the box take a deflection to fool an already-flying Ederson.

Lloris made a stunning save on a De Bruyne improvisation in the 89th minute.

Spurs send Rose, Walker-Peters out on loan

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You get a full-back, you get a full-back, and you get a full-back!

Tottenham has sprinkled a pair of full-backs elsewhere around the Premier League by sending Danny Rose and Kyle Walker-Peters out on loan.

Walker-Peters’ move is confirmed, with the 22-year-old moving to Southampton until the end of the season. The right-back has had very few opportunities this season, with Jose Mourinho preferring Serge Aurier as well as young Japhet Tanganga. At Southampton, there will be far more chances for the Spurs youth product to see the field with Cedric moving to Arsenal on loan.

Rose, who will be 30 years old this summer, heads to Newcastle United on loan in a move that is not yet confirmed but heavily reported, including from the Guardian who reports that Newcastle will pay a $2.6 million loan fee, with an option to make the move permanent this summer. BBC Sport has also reported news of the loan. Rose has logged just a single Premier League start for Spurs and three total appearances since the start of November. Young arrival Ryan Sessegnon has earned more playing time under Jose Mourinho, pushing Rose to the peripheral. There were reports of a training ground bust-up between Mourinho and Rose last week, but the manager denied those.

He will arrive at Newcastle as a likely starter thanks to a host of injuries clearing the way. Both Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems are out for the season, causing Steve Bruce to fit Matt Ritchie into the left wing-back position lat time out against Everton.