Toby Alderweireld

Spurs prevail late in 5-goal thriller at Aston Villa

Leave a comment

Heung-Min Son completed his brace deep in stoppage time gave Tottenham Hotspur a 3-2 win over Pepe Reina and defiant Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Pepe Reina made six saves for Villa, who got goals from Bjorn Engels and a Toby Alderweireld own goal but couldn’t find a point and sit a point clear of the bottom three.

Alderweireld also scored his first Spurs goal in three years, as Spurs move into fifth place with 40 points. That’s one back of Chelsea, which plays Monday.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to win ]


Three things we learned

1. Alderweireld, Engels find redemption: It seems like this happens more often than it should, and it happened twice Sunday when defenders cost their team goals and then made amends in their non-traditional third. First Alderweireld knocked in a Villa cross after a miscommunication with Hugo Lloris, only to rocket an equalizer home. Then Bjorn Engels conceded a penalty to Spurs before nodding a header home.

Just like match days when goals are either universally hard to find or going in all over Europe, this game has a way of showing its sense of humor.

2. Bergwijn, Davies light up the left: Aston Villa’s right side of the defense was troubled by a pair of “new” faces: Ben Davies returned at left back from a long injury lay-off and Stever Bergwijn is proving to be a wonderful January transfer.

3. Reina has a day to defy the score line.: Tottenham had four or five late chances to take all three points, but got it down with their final bid after an Engels giveaway. The ex-Barcelona and Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina make six saves on the day, and was loud in organizing the backline. Most of the time, Reina bailed them out when they failed to heed his notes.

Man of the Match: Grealish was very good, drawing a half-dozen fouls and producing plenty of danger, but it’s was between Reina and Bergwijn before Son’s heroics. Of course it’s the South Korean.


The first half-dozen minutes were rough-and-tumble, with physical and cynical fouls for both sides.

Villa claimed the lead in the ninth-minute when Pepe Reina sprung Anwar El Ghazi with a long pass and Alderweireld couldn’t deal with the Dutchman’s cross.

Dele Alli had a promising bid to level the score blocked within minutes, but Villa was also pressing for a second. Douglas Luiz came close to making it 2-0 in the 19th minute, but Ben Davies got a bit of it to concede a corner instead.

Harry Winks and Steven Bergwijn led a rush down the right. The latter crossed beautifully for Dele Alli, whose flying header went wide of the far post.

Spurs midfielder Eric Dier bailed out his backline when Grealish thought he had Mbwana Samatta cued up for a point-blank shot.

Alderweireld scored a beauty off a 27th-minute corner, wheeling to lash a shot over Pepe Reina.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Dele beat the defense but stung a shot wide of the far post near the 35th minute, and Hugo Lloris made a fine parry on El Ghazi minutes later.

Ben Davies had a fantastic first half in his first start in 2.5 months after an ankle injury, working a 1-2 en route to a double block from the Villa backline before half.

VAR gave Spurs the chance to go ahead in first-half stoppage when Bjorn Engels cut down Bergwijn in the box. Reina’s saved Son’s silly spot kick, but the South Korean bundled the rebound with an outside-of-the-boot jab.

Lloris made a fine save in the 52nd minute, but the Spurs keeper saw the ball in his goal when Engels joined Alderweireld in redemption, nodding Grealish’s corner home.

Reina stopped a low drive from Bergwijn off a bad Villa giveaway, and Bergwijn had a 70th-minute shot deflected out for a corner. Reina then stopped Dele’s break in the 74th, and a Son drive 11 minutes later.

Then he stopped Son on the ensuing corner, but the South Korean was not to be denied on the day and grabbed his second goal at the very death.

Toby Alderweireld signs new Tottenham contract

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ah, the old Jose Mourinho factor has come into play here.

After months, no, years, of stalling, Toby Alderweireld has finally signed a new contract at Tottenham Hotspur.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The Belgian center back, 30, has agreed a new three-year extension to his current deal, which was due to expire in the summer, and it is believed he is now being paid over $130,000 per week. Per reports, Mourinho played a big factor in convincing Chairman Daniel Levy to offer the deal to the experienced Belgium international.

Aldwereireld had a year left on his previous deal after a clause was triggered which extended his stay at Spurs but also meant he would be available for a knockdown $35 million in the summer window.

In the end nobody bought Alderweireld and he remained at Spurs, and now he will remain a little longer.

This is a huge relief for Tottenham, as Alderweireld has consistently been their best central defender since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2015.

His former teammate at Germania Beerschot and Ajax, Jan Vertonghen, is set to see his contract expire in the summer but seeing Toby re-sign may now give him a nudge in the same direction.

The only other ‘contract rebel’ left at Spurs would then be Christian Eriksen, who has struggled badly for form this season and out of the three players who’s contracts were running out he always seemed the most likely to leave.

Alderweireld is steady and underrated but Mourinho has obviously already seen just how important he is to this Spurs team.

Tottenham chairman Levy willing to sell inside Premier League

Daniel Levy Tottenham
Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy says it pretty straight-forward when it comes to Christian Eriksen or any other perceived wantaway.

“We are honestly not scared to trade with our rivals.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Levy told The London Evening Standard that there isn’t a universal tone and tenor to the cases of players who may want to leave North London.

Christian Eriksen’s rumored departure has been a long-running saga. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have also been mentioned as players who may want out.

“My view is really simple. For a player to sign a new contract, not only have the conditions got to be right but the player has got to want to do it. It is up to those players whether they want to stay at Tottenham and we’ll see. I don’t want to comment on ­individual players too much. I actually think it is unfair. Every circumstance is different. There may be a player who wants to stay, there may be a player we don’t want to stay.”

Levy said he’s not expecting the club to be active in the January transfer window. He says Jose Mourinho has been very clear that he’s happy to evaluate the talent already at the club.

Tottenham will like its chances of collecting points over the festive fixtures, especially if it can pass Chelsea with a win on Sunday

Spurs’ festive fixtures [ All 39 PL matches ]
Dec. 22 – Spurs v. Chelsea
Dec. 26 – Spurs v. Brighton
Dec. 28 – Norwich City v. Spurs
Jan. 1 – Southampton v. Spurs

Spurs then face Middlesbrough away in the FA Cup before a visit from Liverpool. If those five league matches go well, will Mourinho and Levy look to the market?

Spurs’ Mourinho quotes Mandela in discussing Man Utd return

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jose Mourinho is playing down his return to Manchester United, saying he hopes for a fine reception but is simply looking forward to the future with Tottenham Hotspur.

“This is a closed chapter for me,” he said. “I left the club and took my time to process everything that happened and to prepare myself for the next challenge. Manchester United for me is in my book of experiences. A little bit like Mr (Nelson) Mandela was saying: ‘You never lose. You win or you learn,’.”

[ MORE: Rodri, Jesus star in Man City win ]

United is two points back of Spurs heading into Wednesday’s match at Old Trafford (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Mourinho’s answering questions about his side’s future, too, with January nearing and Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Christian Eriksen amongst those who either are or might be angling for moves away from the club.

He said he’s spoken to club chairman Daniel Levy and the players about what’s next, and that he has no worries about playing them.

“The important thing, really, is [they are] great professionals, big relationship with Tottenham, amazing understanding of what the club is and what we need from them,” Mourinho said. “So, all three ready to play, all three ready to forget the contractual situation. And that’s the most important thing now because we’re in three competitions. And these boys are great players and Tottenham people. I trust them.”

Dele drives Mourinho’s Spurs past Bournemouth

Leave a comment

Dele Alli‘s double drove Tottenham Hotspur to a third-straight win under new boss Jose Mourinho, a 3-2 defeat of Bournemouth at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Spurs led 3-0 on the day as Moussa Sissoko also scored in leading the hosts into fifth with 20 points. Bournemouth drops into 12th with 16 points.

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson scored twice for Bournemouth, the second coming deep in stoppage time, as the Cherries conceded multiple goals and lost for the third-straight match.


Three things we learned

1. Dele’s resurgence continues: Dele’s star status has not been in question, in terms of talent and resume, but the English attacker had been anything but brilliant over the past year. Jose Mourinho publicly mentioned his desire to get Dele back in a groove, detailing his conversations with the winger. The pressure and support were both on the player, who has delivered in a big way for his new boss. It’s worth noting that he had scored twice in the weeks leading up to Mauricio Pochettino‘s exit, but his total performances are now worth more than goal or two.

2. Loanee the lone bright spot for struggling Cherries: It’s not cruel to say that Bournemouth had one strong player on Saturday and 10 guys just kinda out there. Liverpool loanee Wilson scored his free kick and added another from the heart of the box in stoppage time as Eddie Howe

3. Tempers boil over: Jefferson Lerma is no shrinking violet, and saw a yellow card and inspired one from Moussa Sissoko after stepping on Dele’s foot on the edge of stoppage time. There hadn’t been a lot of animosity in the match, but Spurs showed quick reaction to defend their teammate.

Man of the Match: Heung-Min Son. Two assists for the South Korean, who is delivering the goods when Harry Kane struggles to find his best self.


Kane cued up Heung-min Son for a 19th minute chance, but the South Korean bounded his shot just wide of Aaron Ramsdale‘s far post.

Spurs went ahead moments later, with Son taking a Toby Alderweireld long ball out of the air and laying off for Dele. There was no mistake from the rejuvenated attacker as the score line moved to 1-0.

It was nearly 2-0 when Son layed off for Moussa Sissoko’s shot, which ricocheted off defenders and Davinson Sanchez’s arm before he finished. VAR, though.

Dele got his second in the 50th minute, a sensational play as he got behind the Cherries back line to chest down the ball before dribbling through the 18 to smash past Ramsdale.

Sissoko made it 3-0 with a sexy leaping back post volley of Son’s cross in the 69th minute.

Harry Wilson pulled one back for Bournemouth off a sweet free kick that Paulo Gazzaniga couldn’t quite sort in the 73rd, and then prodded home a stoppage time winner to give the Cherries an unlikely look at a point.

Back to Sissoko’s goal. How about this technique?