Monthly Archives: November 2016

Pochettino: Chelsea’s lack of European games is advantage

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Chelsea’s lack of European football gives them a major advantage over Tottenham in Saturday’s Premier League grudge match, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

Last season, Leicester City played just 43 games in total and won the Premier League, while Liverpool’s unexpected title challenge in 2013-14 also came without European football, leading Pochettino to believe that it was indisputably an advantage.

“I think it’s obvious and nobody can be disappointed or upset with that idea,” the Spurs manager said.

“If you are a big team like Chelsea and you are not involved in European competition or cups, you have one week to prepare for a game, in this case against Tottenham. And we were playing on Tuesday in Monaco and arrived [home] late, so you cannot have a proper week to prepare. It is normal that it is an advantage for the opponent.”

Tottenham were in pursuit of Leicester City last season for the Premier League title, when they were stopped short by Chelsea with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. A melee ensued by the dugout after the match as tempers flared, but Chelsea stays unbeaten in Stamford Bridge against Spurs for 26 years.

Additionally, now Spurs is disadvantaged in fielding a relatively depleted squad.

Toby Alderweireld (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) and Ben Davies (ankle) will have no part on the visit to Chelsea while Danny Rose is suspended. Jan Vertonghen is expected to fill in at left-back.

However, Alderweireld did some work with the ball in training on Thursday and Pochettino hoped the player could complete the session on Friday.

“Next week will be key to see if he can be involved next Saturday,” the manager said, looking further forward to Spurs’ home game against Swansea City.


Chelsea wins, (2) – (0) Tottenham

Champions League: Dortmund and Legia Warsaw set records

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Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw both set a large number of records in the Champions League in their group match that ended 8-4.

Alongside Legia Warsaw, Dortmund, who had already qualified for the knockout stages, surpassed the 11 goals scored when Monaco beat Deportivo La Coruna 8-3 in 2003.

Dortmund scored five times in 15 minutes with Shinji Kagawa grabbing two goals while Reus, back after six months out injured, completed the scoring in stoppage time.

The Bundesliga giants fell behind early on to an Aleksandar Prijovic goal but that sparked a remarkable rush of seven goals in 15 first-half minutes that gave the home side a 5-2 interval lead.

There were seven goals in 22 first-half minutes – but Legia still ended up as the first side to score four goals in a Champions League match and still lose.

Records set in the match

  • The first time in Champions League that eight players scored in a single match.
  • Dortmund is the fourth team after Liverpool, Monaco and Real Madrid to score eight goals in a Champions League match.
  • The first match in any European competition with 12 goals since Ajax defeated Luxembourg’s Red Boys Differdange 14-0 in the old Uefa Cup on 3 October 1984.
  • Only one match in the history of the European Cup and Champions League has more goals – when Dutch side Feyenoord beat KR of Iceland 12-2 in September 1969.
  • Dortmund scored 14 goals against Legia this season – the most by any team against a single opponent in one Champions League campaign.
  • Shinji Kagawa scored two goals in just 76 seconds, the fastest brace in Champions League history.

In the same Champions League group, Real Madrid defeated Sporting Lisbon by 2-1 to move two points behind Dortmund and confirm they place in the knockout stages. Los Blancos would meet Dortmund in Spain in December to decide who takes the top spot before the playoffs draw.

Champions League: Leicester City moves into knockout stages

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Leicester City extended their unprecedented debut in the Champions League into the knockout stages of the tournament with one game to spare following a 2-1 victory over Club Brugge.

The Foxes needed just a draw for a point to move into the last 16, yet secured three to ensure they will finish top of Group G.

After five minutes, a smart finish into the top corner by Shinji Okazaki, from a fine cross by Christian Fuchs, set Claudio Ranieri’s side on their way.

Riyad Mahrez doubled the lead from the spot – his fourth goal in five Champions League games – after Marc Albrighton was fouled by Dion Cools in the area.

Club Brugge’s Jose Izquierdo then hit a wonderful strike past Foxes keeper Ron-Robert Zieler into the top corner following a 40-yard run to keep the game in tense contention until the end.

Leicester was virtually a different team from the side who has struggled in the Premier League following a poor run of results since the start of this season that saw them languish at 14th, near the relegation zone.

This was a keenly noted by manager Claudio Ranieri, who, while hailing his team’s “unbelievable” achievement in Europe, demanded his players now show the same level of performance domestically in order to climb well clear of the relegation zone.

“It’s unbelievable. Top of the group, very happy, very proud for my players, very happy for the chairman, for the fans, for everybody. Another journey to the knockout – unbelievable,” Ranieri said after the match.

“Our job is done [in the Champions League]. I don’t know which team we play, it will be a fantastic team, and we are very happy. But now we have to go back (to the Premier League).”

“In the Premier League we are very close to the relegation zone and we must play at the same level as the Champions League because when we want to do something, we achieve something. We must concentrate on the Premier League now.”

Nonetheless, Leicester City will be the second English team this season, after Arsenal, to secure a place in the draw for the knockout stages on 12 December.

However, Tottenham Hotspur was knocked out of the tournament after a 2-1 defeat to Monaco, despite the many heroics of their keeper Hugo Lloris.

Fans hid in toilet in bid to watch United-Arsenal game

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Two Manchester United fans spent Friday night undetected in an Old Trafford toilet in an attempt to see Saturday’s Premier League game against Arsenal.

The supporters, who did not have tickets for the match, entered with a stadium tour but managed to cut themselves off from the remainder of the party.

They were found on Saturday morning during a security sweep of the stadium before being handed over to police, who later decided not to arrest the pair.

United say there was no risk to supporters attending the Arsenal game; the pair had already been searched and their belongings put through a metal detector before they went on the tour.

“We realise people will go to any lengths to watch a game at Old Trafford but these people went too far,” a spokesman for the club had said on the issue.

“(But) The fact that they and their belongings had been searched before entry means we are confident there was no risk to safety.”

This incident comes six months after United’s Premier League game against Bournemouth at Old Trafford had to be called off at short notice when a suspicious package was found in a toilet in the corner of the stadium.

It turned out to be a fake explosive left behind after a security drill held earlier in the week.