Paulo Gazzaniga

Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

Blades earn point at poor Spurs

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Sheffield United overcame one VAR incident to grab a point from Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

George Baldock scored in the second half after snake-bit David McGoldrick had a goal pulled back for a toenail’s worth of offside. Fine margins.

Spurs were again quite poor aside from Heung-Min Son and some moments from Giovani Lo Celso. Son scored the goal.

Sheffield United remains sixth with 16 points, while Spurs also claim a 16th point but sit below their visitors on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. VAR follows rules to perplex: Lundstram was offside by a toenail in the build-up, pulling back David McGoldrick’s goal that would’ve leveled the score at 1 (which of course it later was). The decision-making process slowed the game for several minutes, those thin lines calling back a goal that no team’s fans would feel was understandable. When is the moment the ball is struck, and how can you be certain enough to call it offside for centimeters.

2. Son continues to shine: Not only are puns really fun, but where would Spurs be this season without their South Korean star? Son scored a deserved goal and took six shots on the day, making three successful dribbles, and completing 21 of 23 passes.

3. Kane invisible: Maybe England’s star striker is still getting over the sickness that cost him a start against Everton, but Harry Kane was quite poor against the Blades’ disciplined back line. Good for just one shot and six of 12 passing. On a day when the two attackers underneath him were quite good, Kane was absent.

Man of the Match: McGoldrick — Should’ve had his first Premier League goal but will settle for the assist, we suppose. His day must be coming.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Giovani Lo Celso and Heung-min Son both came close for Spurs in a lively start, though cagey Sheffield United wasn’t overwhelmed by the venue either.

John Lundstram scuffed a 27th minute chance wide of the frame. Soon after, he smashed a Jack O'Connell cross off the post.

Son curled wide in the 50th minute as both sides started their second frames well, and in-form Lys Mousset turned Davinson Sanchez around before firing wide of the far post.

Dean Henderson made a fine save on Son in the 54th, but was left in a bad situation when abhorrent inactivity from the left side of his line gave the South Korean a clear cut chance. Given the day he was having, a goal felt inevitable.

But Blades had the ball in the net for an equalizer soon after, McGoldrick knifing home. A long VAR review followed for an offside in the build-up, and the slimmest of margins made it “clear and obvious” to… someone… that Lundstram was offside.

Baldock’s goal also had to withstand VAR review — don’t they all — when his shot took a slight turn off Ben Davies‘ rear end to beat Paulo Gazzaniga.

Everton draws Spurs; Gomes suffers gruesome injury

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Cenk Tosun‘s goal deep in stoppage time gave Everton a 1-1 draw with 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The match was marred by a gruesome ankle injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes, who was upended by a reckless Heung-Min Son challenge. Son was sent off, in tears.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Dele Alli had given Spurs a lead in a match which suffered in quality for more than an hour.

Everton’s 11 points have it 17th, three points above the drop zone, while Spurs are 11th with 13 points.


Three things we learned

1. VAR remains a main character, antagonist: Well this got a little ridiculous, as Martin Atkinson could — and maybe should — have awarded three second-half penalties but was backed by VAR. First, Spurs were denied a penalty when Yerry Mina fell into Heung-min Son, who admittedly added ridiculous embellishment to the foul. VAR didn’t no overrule the on-field decision, and Richarlison was not awarded an Everton penalty for a worse violation moments later. Then Spurs truly got off the hook when Dele’s raised arm deflected a cross but withstood a lengthy review.

2.Disappointing teams keep disappointing: How fitting that Spurs’ lone goal of a sloppy match came on an awful giveaway, while Everton tied it up through a forgotten forward. Both sets of players were poor for most of the match, though at least Spurs had some excuse with the illness of Harry Kane costing them a star striker. Neither team will find much to like from their performance, although Everton will lean on its resilience in finding an equalizer given the emotions involved in seeing a teammate’s serious injury.

3. Gomes suffers stomach-turning injury: Heung-min Son clattered into Gomes, and saw a yellow card but the nature of the problem escalated when players from both teams immediately called for medical treatment. Replays weren’t shown by the TV broadcast due to the nature of the injury, and the card was changed to red. It was a reckless but not malicious tackle, and a full-speed Gomes suffered an apparent ankle break when he landed. Son was nearly inconsolable after seeing what his tackle had done, and left the pitch in tears. Gomes left on a stretcher, and Spursd were down a man for 7six minutes plus what would be a long period of stoppage time.

The Premier League issued a statement on the red card: “The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge.”

Man of the Match: It’s down to three D’s — Digne, Dele, and Fabian Delph. We’ll choose the former, whose match-tying assist was perfect.


The final decision or movement just wasn’t there in a clumsy first half hour with no shots on target. Richarlison couldn’t make a clean break on a terrific through ball and Andre Gomes popped a header over the goal.

Richarlison turned a Lucas Digne cross and lashed to Paulo Gazzaniga in the 33rd for the first shot on target of the match.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half began with more pace, and Yerry Mina’s sloppy tackle on Heung-min Son was not given as a penalty by Martin Atkinson. Son exaggerated the contact, but it still looked like a reason to go to the spot.

Richarlison went across his body to snap a shot at Gazzaniga moments after a penalty shot.

Spurs went ahead when Alex Iwobi gave the ball away in his own half, Son nutmegging Mina with a pass to Dele. The Englishman dribbled free to the top of the box before beating Jordan Pickford with a low shot for 1-0.

Dele looked to have given the goal back as his raised arm struck the ball on a challenge inside the 18, but no penalty was awarded by VAR.

Then came the Son yellow card, and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin nearly equalized when the game was restarted.

The Toffees found their leveler in stoppage time, as Lucas Digne first touched a massive cross back into the mixer for Tosun to head past Gazzaniga.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings will warm the hearts of USMNT fans…

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Matchweek 10 provided plenty of star performances, with Liverpool Chelsea, Leicester City and Man United all well represented in our rankings this week.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

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


1. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – New entry
2. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Up 18
3. Fabinho (Liverpool) – New entry
4. Ayoze Perez (Leicester City) – New entry
5. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – New entry
6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Down 3
7. Paulo Gazzaniga (Tottenham) – New entry
8. Daniel James (Man United) – Even
9. Ben Foster (Watford) – New entry
10. Tim Krul (Norwich) – New entry
11. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down
12. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
13. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 8
14. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) – Down 12
15. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 3
16. Neal Maupay (Brighton) – New entry
17. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – New entry
18. Jorginho (Chelsea) – Down 7
19. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – New entry
20. Willian (Chelsea) – New entry

Liverpool, Klopp keeping their cool amid title race

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LIVERPOOL — Relief was in the air at Anfield on Sunday at the final whistle, but it shouldn’t have been.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned ]

Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 after fighting back from an early setback, as they kept their unbeaten start to the season going and extended their lead atop the Premier League table to six points.

There was an air of expectancy before the game as Klopp’s side are now unbeaten in 45 home games in the PL and have lost just once in their last 49 PL matches. They are scrapping their way to wins this season and are proving their ability to deal with the increased expectations from not only their own fans but themselves.

10 games in this season, it is still early days, but Klopp was delighted with the counter-pressing from his side as they peppered Spurs’ goal and if it wasn’t for a sublime display by Paulo Gazzaniga they would have won by a heavier margin.

[ MORE: Injury update on Mohamed Salah ]

Asked by ProSoccerTalk after the game if that was their best display of the season so far, Klopp was extremely happy with how his boys played, but he’s trying his best to keep his cool.

“I don’t know exactly. I loved a lot of games already this season, the Arsenal game was a really good one to be honest,” Klopp smiled. “We need to play really, really well. I’ve already got the questions about 28 points, blah, blah, blah, already two wins ahead of Manchester [City]. We don’t have to think about what happened if we lost today, how the questions would have been. We know exactly what we have to do. We have to be focused and concentrated on all the specific games. Next one Arsenal, then Aston Villa, then Genk, then Man City, then again international breaks, I can’t believe it, then a very busy December. There is still a lot to come but so far, so good.”

Liverpool’s players were keeping their feet firmly on the ground after the game too, as they know there’s still a long way to go and a six-point lead at this point of the season means absolutely nothing.

They of course know that all too well from last season.

“For us it’s all about the next game. That’s our focus. We’re not looking where we are in the league or how many points we have got. The next team is Arsenal in midweek and that’s what we have to get ready for,” Henderson told BBC Sport. “We are very critical of ourselves and always want to do better. The good thing is we keep winning games. There are still things we can improve on.”

Liverpool have yet to hit third or fourth gear this season but they are six points clear at the top of the table and showing signs of a true Championship-winning team.

Even if nobody wants to admit it.

Manchester City are trying to chip away at Liverpool’s lead and everything points to their monumental clash on Nov. 10 at Anfield as being pivotal in deciding where the title will go this season.

Everybody at Liverpool is trying their best to stay calm and not mention the ‘T word’ (which is trophy, by the way), but there’s a growing sense of optimism that this Liverpool team is more robust, more mature and better equipped to pip Man City and Pep Guardiola to the title this season.

Klopp and his players won’t admit it, neither will Liverpool’s fans, but the fact the Reds haven’t been at their best and are six points clear at the top of the table isn’t a worrying thing.

It should be frightening for the rest of the league that the best is yet to come from Liverpool.

Maybe that is why Klopp and Co. are cool as you like as they head into the busy winter months.

Four things we learned: Liverpool v. Tottenham

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LIVERPOOL — Jurgen Klopp‘s boys regained their six-point lead atop the Premier League table as they fought back from 1-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday, as the Reds are still unbeaten.

Harry Kane gave Tottenham the lead after 47 seconds to stun Anfield, and although Liverpool peppered the Spurs goal in the first half, Paulo Gazzaniga was in inspired form to stop Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Virgil Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold. In a feisty encounter tempers often boiled over as the repeat of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League final didn’t disappoint.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

At the start of the second half Spurs almost went 2-0 up as Heung-Min Son rounded Alisson but his shot clipped off the crossbar, and then Liverpool pinned Spurs back further. Gazzaniga twice denied Firmino at the near post but he could do nothing to deny Jordan Henderson who popped up at the back post to make it 1-1.

Georginio Wijnaldum then missed a glorious chance for Liverpool as the Reds piled on the pressure and Spurs occasionally threatened on the break. Serge Aurier then clipped Sadio Mane in the box to give away a penalty kick as Mohamed Salah scored the winner to extend Liverpool’s lead to second-place Man City to six points. Spurs went close through Danny Rose, Son and Kane late on, but Liverpool held on to stay unbeaten.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at what we learned from a dramatic encounter at Anfield.


Man of the Match: Paulo Gazzaniga – Stepping in for the injured Hugo Lloris, the young Argentine goalkeeper was superb as he made a string of fine stops in the first half to keep Spurs ahead. He was confident in possession and when Spurs’ defense was all over the place ahead of him, Gazzaniga kept his cool. The man from Pochettino’s hometown of Murphy, Argentina stood tall on the big stage, even if he couldn’t help his team grab a point.


LIVERPOOL’S INCREDIBLE RUN CONTINUES

Liverpool last lost a Premier League game on January 3 and that is their only defeat in their last 49 games in the competition. They are unbeaten through the first 10 games of the season and they fought back to beat Spurs with another gritty, committed display. Klopp’s side have been far from their best for most of this season but they sit top of the table and the way they dug deep, stayed patient and beat Tottenham proved that they are confident they can go all the way this season. They just aren’t used to losing and like the draw at Man United last week, they never know when they’re beaten. Especially at home as they’ve now gone 45 games unbeaten at Anfield, with Klopp leading the chorus of chants and cheers in the stands with his fist pumps on the sidelines.


KANE PROVIDES CUTTING EDGE FOR SPURS’ MIXED FOUR

Harry Kane produced a fine finish to put Spurs ahead but their front four didn’t click on Sunday. Kane and Son were dangerous throughout but Dele Alli was anonymous and Christian Eriksen had a nightmare. Son hit the bar twice and Kane was a constant menace but Alli and Eriksen look so short in confidence and Pochettino was pulling his hair out on the sidelines over some of their decisions on the ball and with their defensive positioning. These four have only started four games together in 2019 and it showed. They will take some time to get back to their best as a fluid unit. If they ever do.


LOVREN PROVES DOUBTERS RIGHT

Joel Matip has now become indispensable to Liverpool. Dejan Lovren was preferred over Joe Gomez at center back and he had another shaky display as he was caught out on Tottenham’s goal to start a poor performance. From getting beaten for pace by Kane and Son, to taking too much time in possession, every time Lovren got on the ball there was a sharp intake of breath among the home fans at Anfield. Matip and Virgil van Dijk are Liverpool’s preferred center back partnership and Gomez should now start ahead of Lovren.


GAZZANIGA PAPERS OVER POCHETTINO’S PROBLEMS

As we mentioned earlier, Gazzaniga was sublime. But the back four in front of him made sure he had plenty of work to do. Aurier and Danny Rose had tough outings, with both full backs caught out on Liverpool’s two goals. Spurs have tinkered with back threes and fours in recent weeks and Pochettino’s men just don’t seem to be able to defend as a unit. In truth, they should have lost by three or four on Sunday and the scoreline was kind to them. Gazzaniga’s brilliance papered over the cracks. Spurs have so much room for improvement  and the top four seems a long way off, as things stand.