Antonio Conte might explode in his touchline celebrations but the Tottenham Hotspur manager doesn’t often let it carry over to his post-match press conferences.
Conte was, of course, delighted that Spurs came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits and claimed all three points at Leicester City when Steven Bergwijn scored in the fifth and seventh minutes of stoppage time.
Spurs are now just behind third-place Chelsea on points-per-game and they are absolutely surging under Conte. Tottenham has weather COVID-19 concerns and more — we’re talking three postponements — and has only dropped points three times in nine Premier League matches under the Italian.
But this is as close to a statement win you’ll find in his performances. Yes, even if we included the 2-2 draw with Liverpool where Spurs were a better side over 90 minutes.
Tottenham deserved all three points. They might’ve needed all 97 minutes to get them, but they got them. But Conte won’t get ahead of himself.
What does Conte believe about Spurs’ season hopes?
“We have to try to continue to work, to improve and if there is the possibility in this transfer market to improve also numerically the number of this squad it will be very important because we need to try to.
“We know very well we have to fight against every team in England. In England the level is very high. It was good to have this run of nine games and for this reason now we’re seeing Tottenham in this position in the table. On the one hand it’s good but on the other hand we have to be very honest and understand we’re doing well but it will be very difficult to keep this position.
“We want to continue to work very hard, continue to try to fight, and give our best. This must be our target, that at the end of the season we are sure we gave everything and the position we reached in the table means we deserved this position.”
Tottenham should keep its expectations about performance as Conte tries to get the most out of his men before addressing the team in the summer.
That’s not to say Spurs won’t add players this month and have an even better shot of landing in the top four, but the summer is where business gets done and when Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy won’t get a pass from his decorated boss.
What should we believe Spurs can do this season?
First of all, Antonio Conte is a top-tier manager and he’s got a top-tier striker and a team of decent players, many of whom have big-game experience.
Several have big-game experience in a Tottenham shirt.
Spurs are taking just under 1.9 points-per-game this season, less than .2 ppg behind third-place Chelsea.
But Conte’s words come at a calculated time, as Tottenham has lost two League Cup matches to the Blues and he doesn’t want expectations to get too loaded before Sunday’s visit to Stamford Bridge
Yet should Spurs get all three points they should honestly be considered almost a lock to drive Into the top four and possibly third, too.
Spurs still have Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea away, with just Arsenal left at home. It’s going to be a slog, but Conte’s done it before and is a born winner.
Kane is back in the league’s top 10 for expected goals per 90 minutes and he’s top 30 for expected assists/90. The team is a top-five passing team in the PL and have now edged into the top five in shots on target per game.
It’s not a stretch to believe that Conte’s acumen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s grit, and the leadership of Kane, Heung-min Son, and Hugo Lloris makes Tottenham a top-four probability if they can hold off their North London derby rivals and steal some away results against the big boys.
Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick knows his team dodged trouble with a poor first half at Brentford — “not good in all aspects of the game,” he said — and he also knows who to thank for the let-off.
Veteran goalkeeper David De Gea made seven saves, several before United found its second-half breakthrough in a 3-1 win over the Bees, as United kept its top-four challenge in shape with a big win.
“He’s been doing that the last couple of weeks, brilliant saves in first half,” De Gea said. “He is one of the best keepers in the world, I would say.”
“In the second half we were more urgent, attacking higher up the pitch and taking the right decisions in the counterattack and we scored, which is the big difference,” Rangnick said.
The United boss was then asked about Cristiano Ronaldo’s touchy reaction to being substituted, an occurrence that soon had Rangnick sitting next to the Portuguese on the bench.
Rangnick just wanted to remind CR7 that the team had blown a lead recently and that he was returning from injury.
“A striker wants to score but he has come back from a little injury and it was important to remember we have got another game coming up,” Rangnick said. “Also after what happened at Villa Park, we had to defend the lead this time and it was important that we went back to a back five and while we didn’t keep the clean sheet it was important to make sure nothing else happened.”
This remains a winnable run of matches for United, who hosts West Ham in the Premier League before Middlesbrough visits for an FA Cup fourth-round tie. Burnley, Saints, and Leeds are next before the Champions League comes calling with a Round of 16 first leg at Atletico Madrid.
Steven Bergwijn scored twice in stoppage time to give Tottenham Hotspur a thrilling, unlikely, and deserved 3-2 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.
Doubled in shot attempts and shots on target, Leicester City twice took the lead and twice gave it away.
Spurs took 27 shots on the day but only found the back of the net once through 90 minutes, via Harry Kane, as Patson Daka scored early and James Maddison restored the Foxes’ lead deep into the second half.
But Bergwijn scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time and Kane added an assist to his goal when he set up the Dutchman’s second two minutes later with a brilliant through ball.
Spurs now sit fifth and are in the driver’s seat for fourth place, a point back of West Ham with three matches-in-hand on the Irons. Arsenal are a point back of its North London derby rivals, but have played one more match than Spurs.
Leicester remains 10th with 25 points, a point ahead of 11th place with two matches-in-hand on Crystal Palace and Southampton’s 24-point season hauls.
Shot attempts: Leicester City 13, Tottenham Hotspur 27
Shots on goal: Leicester City 4, Tottenham Hotspur 10
Possession: Leicester City 49, Tottenham Hotspur 51
Three things we learned from Leicester vs Tottenham
1. Tottenham swarms, light on sting: Harry Kane and Spurs were all over Leicester City at the start of the game and took 14 first-half shots yet went into halftime level at one. Kane’s goal was a beauty but he skied a second shot over the frame moments after his marker (and a few minutes after Davinson Sanchez failed to power a Sergio Reguilon cross inside the near post). Throw in the lucky bounce off Reguilon as he bid to stop Ademola Lookman, leading to Daka’s goal, and Spurs would be wondering why they weren’t being rewarded for their industry and cleverness.
2. Leicester gets gutsy win just hanging on for health: Look at the names of players at Africa Cup of Nations, injured, or sick for Wednesday’s match and you’ll see a darn good unit. Jamie Vardy, Wilfred Ndidi, Wesley Fofana, and Kelechi Iheanacho are just a sample of the players unavailable to Brendan Rodgers. The absences are certainly a big reason the Foxes are about as close to the top four as they are to the bottom three, smack dab in the middle of the table.
3. Bergwijn bamboozles Foxes to snare all three points: You might ask why Bergwijn isn’t Man of the Match but the fact is that his name wasn’t even going to be in this recap until his pair of stoppage-time goals! He entered for Sergio Reguilon in the 79th minute — a Reguilon who wasn’t bad at all — and gave Spurs the score line their performance had requested over the first hour or so. What a moment (or two) for Bergwijn, who will have Antonio Conte thinking twice about his inclusion in future XIs.
Man of the Match: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Luke Thomas barely put a foot wrong racing up and down the left flank for Leicester City, registering four tackles, blocking two shots, and passing the ball very very well but was off after 53 minutes. Dewsbury-Hall had his motor going over 90 minutes and was credited with four key passes in the notable win. It’s not a big surprise that both players had been removed by the time Spurs made their surge into the ascendancy.
Your classic tale of two halves saw Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea keep the Red Devils in the game long enough for his attackers to find their legs in a 3-1 win over Brentford at Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
Bruno Fernandes had two assists as Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood, and substitute Marcus Rashford all scored second-half goals before Ivan Toney pulled one back for the host Bees in a big win for United.
Three things we learned from Brentford vs Manchester United
1. United’s wingers go missing in bland first half: For as much grief as Cristiano Ronaldo gets for his on-and-off interest in pressing, true or not, there’s a manner of work that can be detrimental to a side. Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga were on either side of Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, and it was all a bit too much to produce anything in a first 45 minutes that saw the Red Devils muster just four shots, none of which went on goal.
2. …Not in the second half, however: Whatever Ralf Rangnick advised at the break, well, it might’ve done the trick because Elanga snapped to life and powered toward his own rebound after Fred sent the Swede through on goal. The industry Elanga was joined on the board by Fernandes, who lapped up a Cristiano Ronaldo chest-trapped through ball and squared for the onrushing Greenwood to smash home. Ronaldo did almost nothing on the night but the class on that pass was phenomenal.
3. Bruno Fernandes is a double-edged sword: Choosing to deploy Bruno Fernandes above Fred and Scott McTominay (or Nemanja Matic) often means playing with a two-man midfield but Fernandes was a hot knife through better as United surged in front, assisting the second and third goals. He finished with four key passes, perhaps none more important than the set-up of Rashford to get the United star back amongst the goals.
Man of the Match: David De Gea
Seven saves on the day, six from inside the box, and United could’ve been behind 3-0 at the break if Ivan Toney had a bit more luck or De Gea a bit less presence. The Spaniard has more saves than any other Premier League keeper this season.
With Lionel Messi gone, La Liga’s season has a very different feel. And there are new teams battling Real Madrid for the top.
The campaign will run deep into May, when Real Madrid and Barcelona will hope to dethrone Atletico Madrid to reclaim La Liga bragging rights.
However, the likes of Real Sociedad and Sevilla are looking to push the powerhouses all the way after strong 2020-21 seasons, while Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano are above both Atleti and Barca on the table at the winter break
Below you’ll see all of La Liga’s results plus the next few weeks of fixtures and the season’s notable derbies including El Clasico.
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Real Betis 1-1 Cadiz
Alaves 0-1 Mallorca
Granada 1-1 Valencia
Espanyol 0-0 Villarreal
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Barcelona
Real Sociedad 1-0 Rayo Vallecano
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Elche
Levante 3-3 Real Madrid
Getafe 0-1 Sevilla
Osasuna 0-0 Celta Vigo
Matchday 3 — Aug. 27-29
Mallorca 1-0 Espanyol
Valencia 3-0 Alaves
Celta Vigo 0-1 Athletic Bilbao
Elche 1-1 Sevilla
Real Sociedad 1-0 Levante
Real Betis 0-1 Real Madrid
Barcelona 2-1 Getafe
Rayo Vallecano 4-0 Granada
Cadiz 2-3 Osasuna
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Villarreal
Matchday 4 — Sept. 11-13
Levante 1-1 Rayo Vallecano
Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Mallorca
Espanyol 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Osasuna 1-4 Valencia
Cadiz 0-2 Real Sociedad
Real Madrid 5-2 Celta Vigo
Getafe vs Elche — 2pm ET Monday
Granada vs Real Betis — 4pm ET Monday
Matchday 5 — Sept. 17-20
Celta Vigo 1-2 Cadiz
Rayo Vallecano 3-0 Getafe
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
Elche 1-1 Levante
Alaves 0-2 Osasuna
Mallorca 0-0 Villarreal
Real Sociedasd 0-0 Sevilla
Real Betis 2-2 Espanyol
Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid
Barcelona 1-1 Granada
Matchday 6 — Sept. 21-23
Getafe 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Rayo Vallecano
Levante 0-2 Celta Vigo
Espanyol 1-0 Alaves
Sevilla 3-1 Valencia
Villarreal 4-1 Elche
Real Madrid 6-1 Mallorca
Granada 2-3 Real Sociedad
Osasuna 1-3 Real Betis
Cadiz 0-0 Barcelona
Matchday 7 — Sept. 25-27
Alaves 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Valencia 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla 2-0 Espanyol
Real Madrid 0-0 Villarreal
Mallorca 2-3 Osasuna
Barcelona 3-0 Levante
Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Cadiz
Real Sociedad 1-0 Elche
Real Betis 2-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 1-0 Granada
Matchday 8 — Oct. 2-4
Villarreal 2-0 Real Betis
Getafe 1-1 Real Sociedad
Osasuna 1-0 Rayo Vallecano
Elche 1-0 Celta Vigo
Mallorca 1-0 Levante
Cadiz 0-0 Valencia
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona Espanyol 2-1 Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Alaves
Granada vs Sevilla — 3pm ET Sunday
Matchday 9 — Oct. 16-18
Real Sociedad 1-0 Mallorca
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao – postponed to Dec. 1
Granada vs Atletico Madrid – postponed
Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Elche
Celta Vigo 0-1 Sevilla
Villarreal 1-2 Osasuna
Levante 0-0 Getafe
Barcelona 3-1 Valencia
Alaves 0-1 Real Betis
Espanyol 2-0 Cadiz
Matchday 10 — Oct. 22-25
Osasuna 1-1 Granada
Valencia 2-2 Mallorca
Cadiz 0-2 Alaves
Elche 2-2 Espanyol
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Villarreal
Sevilla 5-3 Levante
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid — RECAP, ANALYSIS
Real Betis 3-2 Rayo Vallecano
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Real Sociedad
Getafe vs Celta Vigo — 3pm ET Monday Oct. 25
Alaves 1-0 Elche
Espanyol 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Villarreal 3-3 Cadiz
Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Barcelona
Mallorca 1-1 Sevilla
Real Betis 4-1 Valencia
Real Madrid 0-0 Osasuna
Celta Vigo 0-2 Real Sociedad
Granada 1-1 Getafe
Levante 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Matchday 12 — Oct. 30-Nov.1
Elche 1-2 Real Madrid
Sevilla 2-0 Osasuna
Valencia 2-0 Villarreal
Barcelona 1-1 Alaves
Cadiz 1-1 Mallorca
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Real Betis
Getafe 2-1 Espanyol
Real Sociedad 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Celta Vigo
Levante 0-3 Granada
Matchday 13 — Nov.5-7
Elche 1-2 Real Madrid
Matchday 12 — Nov. 19-22
Levante 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
Celta Vigo 1-1 Villarreal
Sevilla 2-2 Alaves
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Osasuna
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol
Getafe 4-0 Cadiz
Granada 1-4 Real Madrid
Elche 0-3 Real Betis
Real Sociedad 0-0 Valencia
Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Mallorca
Matchday 12 — Nov.26-29
Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Granada
Alaves 1-2 Celta Vigo
Valencia 1-1 Rayo Vallecano
Mallorca 0-0 Getafe
Villarreal 1-3 Barcelona
Real Betis 3-1 Levante
Espanyol 1-0 Real Sociedad
Cadiz 1-4 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla
Osasuna 1-1 Elche
Matchday 9 — Dec. 1
Real Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao
Matchday 16 — Dec. 3-6
Granada 2-1 Alaves
Sevilla 1-0 Villarreal
Barcelona 0-1 Real Betis
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Mallorca
Real Sociedad 0-2 Real Madrid
Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Espanyol
Elche 3-1 Cadiz
Levante 0-0 Osasuna
Celta Vigo 1-2 Valencia
Getafe 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
Matchday 17 — Dec. 10-13
Mallorca 0-0 Celta Vigo
Espanyol 4-3 Levante
Alaves 1-1 Getafe
Valencia 2-1 Elche
Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Sevilla
Villarreal 2-0 Rayo Vallecano
Osasuna 2-2 Barcelona
Real Betis 4-0 Real Sociedad
Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid
Cadiz 1-1 Granada
Matchday 18 — Dec. 19
Granada 4-1 Mallorca
Real Madrid 0-0 Cadiz
Barcelona 3-2 Elche
Levante 3-4 Valencia
Real Sociedad 1-3 Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Alaves
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Real Betis
Sevilla 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Getafe 1-0 Osasuna
Celta Vigo 3-1 Espanyol
Matchday 4 — Dec. 21
Villarreal 5-2 Alaves
Sevilla 1-1 Barcelona
Matchday 9 — Dec. 22
Granada 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Matchday 21 — Dec. 22
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid
Matchday 19 — Dec. 31-Jan. 3
Valencia 1-2 Espanyol
Getafe 1-0 Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Rayo Vallecano
Elche 0-0 Granada
Real Betis 0-2 Celta Vigo
Alaves 1-1 Real Sociedad
Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona
Villarreal 5-0 Levante
Osasuna 1-3 Athletic Bilbao
Cadiz 0-1 Sevilla
Matchday 20 — Jan.8-10
Levante 2-0 Mallorca
Real Sociedad 1-0 Celta Vigo
Granada 1-1 Barcelona
Real Madrid 4-1 Valencia
Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Real Betis
Sevilla 1-0 Getafe
Alaves 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
Osasuna 2-0 Cadiz
Villarreal 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Espanyol 1-2 Elche
Matchday 21 — Jan. 16-20
Elche 1-0 Villarreal
Real Betis 4-0 Alaves
Cadiz 2-2 Espanyol
Celta Vigo vs Osasuna — 1pm ET Weds. Jan. 19
Valencia vs Sevilla — 3:30pm ET Weds. Jan. 19
Getafe vs Granada — 1pm ET Thurs. Jan. 20
Matchday 22 — Jan. 21-23
Espanyol vs Real Betis — 3pm ET Jan. 21
Levante vs Cadiz — 8am ET Jan. 22
Villarreal vs Mallorca — 10:15am ET Jan. 22
Sevilla vs Celta Vigo — 12:30pm ET Jan. 22
Atletico Madrid vs Valencia — 3pm ET Jan. 22
Granada vs Osasuna — 8am ET Jan. 23
Real Madrid vs Elche — 10:15am ET Jan. 23
Real Sociedad vs Getafe — 12:30pm ET Jan. 23
Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Bilbao — 12:30pm ET Jan. 23
Alaves vs Barcelona — 3pm ET Jan. 23
Matchday 23 — Feb. 4-7
Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol — 3pm ET Feb. 4
Mallorca vs Cadiz — 8am ET Feb. 5
Osasuna vs Sevilla — 10:15am ET Feb. 5
Valencia vs Real Sociedad — 12:30pm ET Feb. 5
Real Betis vs Villarreal — 3pm ET Feb. 5
Celta Vigo vs Rayo Vallecano — 8am ET Feb. 6
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid — 10:15am ET Feb. 6
Getafe vs Levante — 12:30pm ET Feb. 6
Real Madrid vs Granada — 3pm ET Feb. 6
Elche vs Alaves — 3pm ET Feb. 7
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid — Dec. 12
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid — May 8, 2022
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid — Oct. 24
Real Madrid v Barcelona — March 20, 2022
El Gran Derbi
Real Betis 0-2 Sevilla
Sevilla v Real Betis — Feb. 27, 2022
Real Sociedad 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad — Feb. 20, 2022
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol
Espanyol v Barcelona — Feb. 13, 2022