Nathan Ake

Pochettino: ‘We have two finals’

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Mauricio Pochettino spoke defiantly after his nine-man Tottenham side lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday to set up a nervous finish to the season.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both shown straight red cards in the space of five minutes and Spurs had to play close to 45 minutes with just nine men.

Despite their unbelievable lack of discipline Tottenham almost held on for a crucial point in their top four battle, but Nathan Ake‘s 91st minute header sealed their sixth-straight PL away defeat.

“It is painful to play without two players. We need to move on. We cannot change the decisions. We have ahead two finals. It is in our hands,” Pochettino told the BBC. “If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.”

That “not one believed in us” theme continued in Pochettino’s post-game comments, as he must now pick up his players for a huge UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg at Ajax on Wednesday.

Spurs head to Amsterdam trailing 1-0 from the first leg, and with injuries piling up and Tottenham winning just four of their last 15 games in all competitions, yet another fine season is threatening to end on a sour note.

“No one believed in Tottenham to be in this position in the last week of the competition. What happens will happen and I will feel proud,” Pochettino said. “We are fighting six teams, it is impossible for all six to get the top four, whatever happens I will feel proud and whatever happens in the semifinal I will be proud.”

Pochettino is probably right, but it wouldn’t make it hurt any less if Spurs somehow finished outside of the top four and lost to Ajax in the UCL semifinal on Wednesday.

In the PL they are four points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal, with the Gunners having a game in hand. If they win that against Brighton on Sunday, they will be one point behind Spurs going into the final game and Arsenal have to travel to Burnley. Man United aren’t out of the equation now too, as two wins in their final two games and a Spurs defeat would see them finish above Tottenham.

All of a sudden the tension levels at Spurs have been cranked up a few notches.

Pochettino is right. They have two finals. But the main problem is, they will be without Harry Kane and Harry Winks for both of those games, while Son can’t play in the PL season finale against Everton and the status of Jan Vertonghen is unknown.

This poor run of form to finish the season points to one thing: Tottenham’s squad is not big enough and their key players have run out of steam.

Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura looked shattered in the final moments of their defeat at Bournemouth and the last thing they needed was to play close to a half down two men.

But the equation is clear for Spurs. Beat in-form Everton at home on the final day and they will finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. After no new signings, their stadium delay and injuries to Kane and others throughout this campaign, making the top four would be a huge achievement, whatever happens at Ajax next week.

Nine-man Spurs lose late on at Bournemouth (video)

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  • Son, Foyth sent off for Spurs
  • Ake scores 91st minute winner 
  • Tottenham’s top 4 hopes up in air
  • Six-straight away defeats for Spurs

Bournemouth beat nine-man Tottenham 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Spurs almost held on for a heroic point on the South Coast of England.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both sent off in a five-minute spell either side of half time as Spurs totally lost their heads, but almost held on for a crucial point in the top four battle. But Nathan Ake headed home from a corner in the 91st minute to finally break through for Bournemouth, as they secured a first-ever league win against Tottenham.

With the win the Cherries moved up to 12th in the table on 45 points, while Spurs are now only four points ahead of Arsenal in fifth with one game to go, as the Gunners have a game in hand on them too. Spurs’ final game of the season sees them host Everton and if they win that, they will finish in the top four.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game started evenly but almost saw Spurs go ahead in stunning fashion. Lucas Moura spotted Bournemouth debutant goalkeeper, 19-year-old Mark Travers, off his line and the Brazilian’s shot from inside his own half flew just wide.

Tottenham pushed hard for the opener and Travers pushed away Dele Alli‘s powerful shot well, as Bournemouth rarely threatened on the break. Travers then made a superb stop to deny Moura who was clean through on goal after a great ball from Moussa Sissoko, but the young Irish goalkeeper pushed the shot over as he enjoyed a fantastic first 45 minutes as a Premier League goalkeeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Moura was denied again before the break as he latched onto a long ball over the top but Travers stuck out a leg to make the stop. Eric Dier was lucky to not be sent off for two yellow cards, Son fired over after a typically incisive run and Travers saved Alli’s header with Josh King and Callum Wilson going down at the other end in the box as penalty kicks could have been given. Then a huge moment in the game arrived.

After Jefferson Lerma appeared to step on Son’s foot after he fouled Fraser, the South Korean forward reacted and pushed Lerma over and received a straight red card from Craig Pawson to reduce Spurs to 10 men for the second half. Soon it got even worse…

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Juan Foyth and Victor Wanyama both came on at half time for Spurs as Pochettino tweaked his lineup, but Foyth was shown a straight red card just two minutes after coming on. The Argentine lunged into a tackle with his boot high and caught Jack Simpson, and Pawson decided that was enough for a straight red card.

Spurs switched to a 4-3-1 formation after the second sending off, as they stayed compact and battled to try and keep hold of the ball whenever they could.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth’s Wilson glanced a header wide, Nathaniel Clyne came close and Lloris had to make saves from distance as the home side failed to carve out too many clear-cut opportunities, with Fraser’s late corner causing mayhem but somehow Spurs cleared.

However, from the following corner Ake headed home to break Tottenham’s hearts in the 91st minute, as Bournemouth secured a first win against Spurs in all competitions since 1957.

But there was time for one more moment of drama in the 96th minute, as a corner saw Alli go down and it looked like Wilson pushed him to the ground, but no penalty kick was given.

Fulham win second-straight, beat Bournemouth (video)

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  • Mitrovic’s penalty kick the winner
  • Second-straight win for Fulham
  • 3 defeats in 4 for Bournemouth 

Already-relegated Fulham beat Bournemouth 1-0 at a sunny Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the only goal of the game to secure Fulham’s first away win of the season.

Mitrovic’s penalty kick came in the second half, as an even game saw the Cottagers edge it and caretaker boss Scott Parker has done his chances of getting the full-time job no harm at all with back-to-back PL wins against Everton and Bournemouth.

With the three points Fulham remain in 19th and are on 23 points, while Bournemouth sit in 12th on 41 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Wilson raced in on goal early on but lifted his effort over the bar, and Bournemouth did all the pressing as Fulham struggled to get out of their own half and Josh King then fired over when it looked easier to score.

At the other end Nathan Ake cleared a header from a corner off the line, then Mitrovic flashed a shot over the bar but was offside.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Ryan Fraser forced Sergio Rico into a smart stop across his goal after a trademark surging run forward, as Bournemouth turned the screw. Bournemouth were forced into an early change as Junior Stanislas (who only replaced Adam Smith in the team just before kick off) went off with a knee injury and youngster Jack Simpson replaced him.

Mitrovic was then denied by a great last-ditch tackle by Steve Cook as Fulham improved, and from the resulting corner Denis Odoi‘s flicked header was saved well by Artur Boruc.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Fulham went ahead, as Simpson clattered into Mitrovic to give away a clear penalty kick. Mitrovic stepped up and sent Boruc the wrong way to end his drought of nine games without a goal and put Fulham 1-0 up.

Ryan Sessegnon weaved his way into the box and forced Boruc into a save at his near post as the visitors dominated the play in the second half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Fraser flashed a shot just wide and Bournemouth threw everything at Fulham late on, with Rico denying Wilson and then Maxime Le Marchand coming up with a huge block.

David Brooks‘ cross hit the top of the crossbar and then Lys Mousset sent a late header straight at Rico, and that was as close as Bournemouth came to an equalizer as boos rang out from the home fans at the final whistle.

Burnley ease past dismal Bournemouth (video)

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  • Second-straight win for Burnley
  • 1 win in 9 for Bournemouth
  • Clarets now two points behind Cherries

Burnley came from behind to win 3-1 at Bournemouth on Saturday, as the Clarets left the Vitality Stadium with a massive three points.

Ashley Barnes scored an early own goal to put Bournemouth ahead, but then Chris Wood and Ashley Westwood each scored in quick succession to put them ahead with Asmir Begovic not covering himself in glory in goal for Bournemouth.

Barnes then scored after another Begovic howler to seal the win, as Sean Dyche‘s side now move eight points clear of the relegation zone and are on 36 points, just two points behind Bournemouth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth took the lead inside four minutes as a free kick was flicked on by Jefferson Lerma and under pressure from Nathan Ake, Barnes nodded into his own net. 1-0.

David Brooks was causing plenty of problems cutting in from the right flank, but Burnley then struck back. A corner caught out Asmir Begovic as it looped to the back post and Wood nodded home to make it 1-1. Game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Burnley were soon 2-1 up, as Dwight McNeil caused havoc on the left and his cross eventually found Westwood who struck an effort into the far corner to put the Clarets 2-1 up.

Before the break Bournemouth had a great chance to make it 2-2, but an unmarked Callum Wilson somehow nodded over from close range. Burnley went close on two occasions before the break as Begovic was almost caught out at his near post with a free kick, as the end-to-end nature continued.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right at the start of the second half Barnes hit a shot goalwards which hit Ake on the arm and deflected wide, but no penalty kick was given.

Burnley did extend their lead, as Charlie Taylor‘s cross from the left was spilled by Begovic and Wood pounced to set up Barnes to slot home. 3-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The away side threatened to extend their lead further late on with some dangerous crosses, while Josh King nodded wide for Bournemouth.

Dominic Solanke, Ryan Fraser and Wilson went close late on, but Bournemouth couldn’t launch another of their famous late rallies and Burnley secured a big win in their battle against relegation.

Dominant Leicester ease by Bournemouth (video)

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  • 4 wins from last 5 for Leicester
  • Vardy has 5 goals in 5
  • 1 win in 8 for Bournemouth

Leicester City totally dominated Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Brendan Rodgers‘ men continue their charge up the Premier League table.

The Foxes took the lead through Wes Morgan early on, and Jamie Vardy sealed the victory in the second half.

With the win Leicester are now level with seventh-place Wolves on 44 points, and qualifying for the Europa League is a real possibility.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester almost took the lead as a cross to the back post was cleared by Charlie Daniels. Seconds later they went ahead from the resulting corner. The ball dropped to Chilwell who drilled a shot across goal which Morgan deflected in. 1-0.

At the other end Kasper Schmeichel saved from Callum Wilson after Ryan Fraser‘s superb cross, as Bournemouth should have been level.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

James Maddison curled a low shot just wide for Leicester, then Vardy scuffed a shot wide after a wonderful run and pass from Ricardo Perreira.

Bournemouth’s Josh King sliced an effort wide as the Cherries worked their way back into the game, but Vardy was denied by a wonderful block by Nathan Ake.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Youri Tielemans flashed a shot wide, then Vardy had a shot blocked as the Foxes piled on the pressure in the second half.

Vardy then sealed the victory, as he jumped ahead of Asmir Begovic and glanced Tielemans’ cross off the crossbar and in. 2-0.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodgers’ revolution at Leicester is gathering momentum, with three wins in his first four games in charge.