Italy stumbles into playoffs again in World Cup qualifying
Italy is facing another detour to get to a World Cup final. The playoffs beckon for the Azzurri — just like four years ago — after stumbling to 0-0 at Northern Ireland on Monday, plunging the recently crowned European champion to a second-place finish behind Switzerland in their qualifying group. Switzerland leapfrogged Italy with a 4-0 win over Bulgaria.news.yahoo.com
Europe top teams win WCup qualifiers as Swiss move goalposts
(AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)World Cup qualifying in Europe took a quirky turn when the goalposts were removed before a match between Switzerland and Lithuania because they were deemed the incorrect size. Like Spain, France started its qualification campaign with an unexpected draw at home but also got back on track in its second game, easing to a 2-0 win at Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, Denmark became the latest European team to use the World Cup qualifiers to direct attention to workers’ rights in 2022 host Qatar. ITALY FLYINGItaly's back-to-back wins to open World Cup qualifying come after a perfect 10 wins in qualifying for Euro 2020. RECORD WINDenmark earned its biggest win in a World Cup or European Championship qualifier.
Arsenal wins derby; Man U, Leicester strengthen top-4 bids
Even after coming from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1, Arsenal is in 10th place and 10 points from the top four. The more significant results on Sunday in the Champions League chase were victories for Manchester United and Leicester, which both pulled further clear. Leicester remains a point behind United after routing Sheffield United 5-0. DERBY JOYAlexandre Lacazette captained Arsenal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of the starting lineup following a breach of pre-match protocols. AdIHEANACHO HAT TRICKIt was a miserable start to life without Chris Wilder for last-place Sheffield United, although Leicester had to wait until six minutes before halftime to find a breakthrough.
Bale turns back time at Tottenham as Man U and Chelsea draw
(Matthew Childs/Pool via AP)LONDON – Gareth Bale turned back time for Tottenham, while Chelsea and Manchester United seemed happy just to play out time. Chelsea kept its unbeaten record under manager Thomas Tuchel in a 0-0 draw with Man United as both teams appeared reluctant to risk losing one point in the hope of getting three. However, Mourinho warned that Bale would still have to rest for some upcoming games to manage his form and fitness. He had scored six goals and assisted three more in his team's previous 10 league games. The draw left Scott Parker's team unbeaten in five league games, with only one goal conceded during that time, but still 18th and three points adrift of safety.
Bale's homecoming at Tottenham proving a major letdown
Tottenham's Gareth Bale warms up during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. “I don’t think it is an obvious injury,” Mourinho said, adding that he was “surprised” by the latest fitness status of a fragile player who it’s increasingly clear he cannot rely on. And, frustratingly, another likely lay-off for the Wales international whose second spell at Tottenham just cannot get going. With Tottenham playing City in the league on Saturday, it looks like Bale won’t be at Etihad Stadium again. AdBale’s one league goal since his return remains the headed winner against Brighton on Nov. 1, a moment many thought would kickstart his second spell at Tottenham.
Alisson gifts leader Man City win at fading champ Liverpool
Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson stands on the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Leicester moved three points ahead of Liverpool in third after drawing 0-0 with Wolverhampton. AdOn a freezing day across England, Klopp could only figure that the icy conditions were to blame for a blundering performance by goalkeeper Alisson Becker that proved so costly. It was only 35 days earlier that a 3-1 win at Chelsea took City to fifth, four points behind then-leader Liverpool with a game in hand. Jorginho’s 58th-minute penalty clinched the win over the last-place team after Timo Werner was brought down by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Son's 100th goal in Spurs victory; Arsenal wins 3rd straight
Alexandre Lacazette scored twice in a 4-0 rout of West Bromwich Albion that took Arsenal up to 11th place. Tottenham is six points better off in third place after Son scored and got an assist in a 3-0 victory over Leeds. SON-KANE COMBOSon and Harry Kane equaled the Premier League record for most goal combinations in a season, leveling Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton’s tally of 13 from 1994-95. With all stadiums denied fans due to pandemic restrictions, the South Korean could only celebrate his 100th goal with teammates. “We could have scored more goals," Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said.
Draws for Liverpool, Spurs cap tough weekend for EPL powers
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Liverpool, at Craven Cottage stadium, London, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. They weren’t alone, in what has proved a tough weekend for the Premier League’s likely title candidates. Liverpool ends the weekend in second place after 12 games, tied on 25 points with Tottenham. The pair meet at Anfield on Wednesday in the headline fixture in a midweek round of games in the Premier League where rotation might be heavy across the division. Only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, with 13, have combined for more goals in a single top-flight season than Kane and Son.
Spurs beat Arsenal to stay top, fans return to Anfield
Liverpool fans applaud during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)LONDON – Fans of Premier League title challengers Liverpool and Tottenham had waited since March to watch their teams win from the stands. Spurs supporters — a maximum of 2,000 under coronavirus restrictions, and no away fans — were treated to a 2-0 win over fierce north London rival Arsenal. It was the first Tottenham home game since fans were allowed back in stadiums in England. Liverpool responded with a 4-0 win over Wolverhampton to stay level with league leader Tottenham on points.
Leicester ends on top after weekend of changing EPL leaders
Leicester's Jamie Vardy scores his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, Pool)MANCHESTER – With a trio of unfamiliar leaders, what lightheartedly became “Stop The Count” weekend in the Premier League ended with Leicester on top. By early Sunday afternoon, Tottenham had dislodged Southampton after Harry Kane's late goal clinched a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion. Leicester rose into first place with a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton secured by Jamie Vardy's penalty. And the improbable 2016 Premier League title winners retained the lead heading into the two-week international break thanks to champion Liverpool being held 1-1 by Manchester City.
Relief, happiness as Bale is Tottenham's match-winner again
Tottenham's Gareth Bale, right, celebrates with teammate Eric Dier following the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. (John Walton/Pool via AP)LONDON – Gareth Bale soared into the air, connected with the ball and powered it into the net. It's taken more than seven years but Bale was Tottenham's match-winner again. And it had only required three minutes on the field for the substitute to clinch a 2-1 victory over Brighton on Sunday. “A bit of relief and a lot of happiness,” Bale said after being set up by Sergio Reguilon, who also switched from Real Madrid in September.
Everton loses last unbeaten record in unpredictable EPL
Everton was the last side to relinquish its undefeated record in this most unpredictable of seasons, though the 2-0 loss at Southampton didn’t knock Carlo Ancelotti’s side off the top of the standings on Sunday. Playmaker James Rodriguez was quiet and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin failed to score in a league game for the first time this season. Aston Villa was the other unbeaten team coming into this round but was outclassed in a 3-0 defeat by Leeds on Friday. The win over Everton came on the one-year anniversary of Southampton's 9-0 loss to Leicester. By stooping to head home a cross from fellow substitute Cengiz Under following a rapid counter-attack in the 80th minute, Vardy scored his 11th Premier League goal against Arsenal.
'It's really crazy': Late goals cap another wild day in EPL
(AP photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)A two-week break for international matches has done nothing to suppress the relentless unpredictability of this season’s Premier League. No team had previously avoided defeat when 3-0 down as late as the 81st minute in the Premier League. “It’s really crazy at the moment,” said West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who added that the feeling after Lanzini’s last-gasp strike was one of the best he has had in his career. Spurs were leading 3-0 at the time, thanks to goals by Son Heung-min and Harry Kane (2) in the opening 16 minutes. Palace had just one shot all match, and that was the contentiously awarded penalty converted by Wilfried Zaha in the 19th minute.
Tottenham collapses on Bale's return to draw 3-3 vs West Ham
West Ham's Manuel Lanzini, right, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. Cruising 3-0 when Bale came off the bench in the 72nd minute against West Ham, Tottenham incredibly collapsed in a game it had been in control of to draw 3-3 in the Premier League on Sunday. “It’s a pity he couldn’t score the fourth goal that could kill the game,” Mourinho said. “For some reason they didn’t push on in the second half, try to kill off the game,” West Ham midfielder Declan Rice said. West Ham is a point further back.
Tottenham humiliates Man United with 6-1 Premier League win
Tottenham's Serge Aurier, left, celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Carl Recine/Pool via AP)MANCHESTER – Tottenham tore apart Manchester United for a 6-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday, exposing the defensive weaknesses in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side by inflicting the team's joint-heaviest Premier League defeat at home. Not since 1986 has United opened the league season with back-to-back home losses. In contrast to that late penalty on the south coast, United was immediately off the mark from the spot against Tottenham. United was carved apart when Kane slipped the pass through for Son who lifted the ball over goalkeeper David De Gea.