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Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened

Leeds dominated Tottenham, whose Champions League hopes are now hanging by a very thin thread 2.56pm BST Richard Jolly was at Elland Road for this one. His report has landed, so get clicking below. Thanks for reading this MBM. Related: Leeds’ Rodrigo breaks to deal blow to Tottenham’s slim top-four hopes 2.55pm BST On BT Sport, Rio Ferdinand explodes in glorious righteous indignation, having spotted Erik Lamela attempting a crossfield rabona pass when 3-1 down with minutes remaining. It flew out of play. Ferdinand suggests that, had somebody tried that during his days at Manchester United, “there would have been people in a queue trying to get at the person who done it … there would have been a conversation after … some people might look at this saying ‘he’s only tried a rabona’, but it’s what that means, what that signals to the opposing team. They’re not serious. They ain’t serious about this. They’re little moments that shape the way the team is seen and how it feels, how it’s perceived. You gotta look right.” 2.47pm BST A bitterly disappointed Ryan Mason talks to BT Sport. “We had moments, opportunities, but we were not clinical enough at times. They started bright, got in the lead, but we got a goal back and at 1-1 there was an offside decision … I’m shocked, I can’t believe it’s been given offside to be perfectly honest. I don’t think people understand the shift in momentum decisions like that can have in a game of football. 2-1 is a completely different game. Second half we had opportunities and big moments that didn’t go in for us, and we were chasing the game and they got one on the counter. My first, second and tenth look is that it’s not an offside decision. In my opinion they got that one wrong. It’s a disappointing result that hurts. We will focus on the next game.” 2.31pm BST A word with Patrick Bamford, who scored his 15th goal of the season today. “The first half was definitely stronger for us than the second, they came back into it a little bit. But we stood strong and they’re a top team with top players. We had to be fully concentrated all the time. That goal at the end settled a few nerves, I think. The last few games, for some reason, we’ve shored up at the back a little bit, we’re not shipping as many chances, but we’ve barely created any in the last four or five games. So it’s been frustrating for me, but obviously it’s nice today that we got the balance right. Our wingers were brilliant. They put the ball in the right position, they were difficult goals to defend. I didn’t set myself a figure at the start of the season, I thought double figures would be respectable, but since I’ve pushed past ten, I’ve been trying to get as many as I can. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet.” 2.25pm BST After that thoroughly deserved, comprehensive, impressive win, Leeds United rise to ninth place in the Premier League table with 50 points. Tottenham remain in sixth on 56, five points off fourth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand. If third-placed Leicester win one more game, and Chelsea win two, Spurs can’t qualify for the Champions League, even if they win their remaining three fixtures. 2.22pm BST Leeds are on course for a top-half finish. Tottenham’s dreams of qualifying for the Champions League look a pipe dream now. 2.21pm BST 90 min +3: The BT cameras pick out Daniel Levy in the stand, miserable behind his mask. “The reason Spurs are in this position is because Levy should never have fired Poch,” begins Adam Levine. “Then he should never have appointed Mourinho. Then he fired Mourinho which was entirely financially motivated and was probably the wrong thing to do at this time of the season. Then he appoints Ryan Mason only because he is available and cheap. There is no other walk of life where someone would fail so publicly and so consistently and still be in the job. Except politics obviously.” 2.19pm BST 90 min +2: Lamela tries to put a sheen on the scoreline with an effort from a tight angle on the left, but it’s no good. 2.19pm BST 90 min +1: Dallas aims a curler towards the top right. Lloris saves well to avoid the score becoming slightly embarrassing for Spurs. 2.18pm BST 90 min: There will be four added minutes. Spurs just want to go home. 2.18pm BST 89 min: Klich makes way for Phillips. A reminder that Leeds have been sensational today despite the absence of their star midfielder. What a team Bielsa has built, like that’s breaking news. 2.16pm BST 88 min: Leeds, Leeds, Leeds continue to press, press, press. Spurs are forced into giving up possession again, and Rodrigo surges down the inside right. He can’t quite dribble his way through the Spurs defence, but gives it a good go. 2.14pm BST 86 min: Unless Spurs can conjure up three goals in the last three minutes plus stoppages, their hopes of a top-four finish, already slim before kick-off, are kaput. 2.12pm BST 85 min: There’s a VAR check, but Raphinha was played onside by Dier. 2.12pm BST Raphinha is sent scampering down the left by Klich. He’s in acres. He crosses towards Rodrigo, on the penalty spot. Rodrigo meets the ball first time and sweeps it into the bottom left. What a lovely, smooth, clinical break! 2.10pm BST 82 min: Klick is inches away from curling into the top right from 25 yards. Not sure Lloris was getting to that. 2.09pm BST 81 min: It’s great end-to-end stuff. Dier whistles a cross in from the left. Alioski volleys clear. Leeds counter, Raphinha crossing deep from his left flank. Reguilon heads confidently back to Lloris. 2.07pm BST 80 min: Spurs respond by replacing Lo Celso with Ndombele. 2.06pm BST 79 min: Leeds make their second change. Rodrigo comes on for Bamford. 2.05pm BST 77 min: Kane and Lo Celso exchange passes down the inside-left channel. Lo Celso takes a whack from a tight angle. Meslier sticks a leg out to block. This game continues to breathlessly entertain. 2.04pm BST 76 min: Raphinha, Bamford, Klich, Bamford, Harrison, Bamford and Harrison combine, painting pretty triangles, left to right across the face of the Spurs box. Eventually Harrison launches over the bar from ten yards. And yes, there does appear to be a couple of Harrisons and three Bamfords on the pitch right now. Leeds are like that when in full flight. 2.02pm BST 75 min: Lo Celso dribble with purpose down the left. He dinks into a crowded six-yard box. With Kane winding his neck back, preparing to head home, Alioski eyebrows out for a corner, from which nothing happens. 2.01pm BST 73 min: Spurs having come so close to equalising, Leeds now romp upfield and nearly make it 3-1. Raphinha dribbles down the left and rolls infield for Klich, who looks to have a free shot from ten yards. He shoots, but suddenly Alderweireld appears from nowhere, sliding in to block. That’s some mighty fine last-ditch defending. 1.59pm BST 72 min: From the corner, Harrison tries to counter, but hauls back Reguilon by the shoulder and it’s a free kick, just to the left of the D. Kane’s eyes light up. He takes, and aims a curler towards the top right. It hits the top of the bar. Meslier probably had that covered had it been on target. 1.58pm BST 71 min: Lucas works his way down the right and sends a surprise shot towards the top right when everyone was expecting a cross. A big deflection off Alioski, too. Meslier does extremely well to adjust and tip over the bar. Fine reaction save. 1.57pm BST 70 min: Lamela slips, allowing Koch to make off with the ball. He’s got Bamford up with him, Spurs light at the back, but the pair get their wires crossed and Koch passes into a big fat wide open space. 1.56pm BST 68 min: Alioski hassles Lucas from behind, irritating the sub into swinging an arm. It connects with his face. Just a yellow card. 1.54pm BST 67 min: Spurs make a double change. Alli, who has faded since the break, is replaced by Lamela, while Bale makes way for Lucas Moura, who two years ago to the day did this: Related: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (agg: 3-3): Champions League semi-final, second leg – as it happened 1.53pm BST 66 min: Son takes the set piece himself. Bamford clears. 1.52pm BST 65 min: Harrison nudges Son to the ground out on the left wing. Free kick. A chance for Spurs to load the box. 1.51pm BST 63 min: Alioski crosses from a deep position on the left, surprising the Spurs defence and nearly finding Bamford free. The ball’s half cleared. Harrison then grooves down the right. He pulls back for Klich, who sends a rising snapshot towards the top right. Lloris parries brilliantly. What a save! Dallas picks up the rebound and earns a free kick near the left-hand corner flag, but the resulting set piece is a waste of time. 1.48pm BST 61 min: Reguilon goes into the book for an extremely soft brush on Raphinha’s ankle. 1.47pm BST 60 min: Kane slips a pass in from the left. Son takes a whack from the edge of the D. Struijk gets across to block, deflecting out for a corner that leads to nowt. 1.46pm BST 59 min: Raphinha takes up his position on the left. Harrison ambles over to the opposite flank, shoving Dallas infield. 1.45pm BST 58 min: Dier strokes a long pass down the left for Kane, who nearly worms his way into the Leeds box. Not quite, but it’s yet another example of Tottenham’s growing confidence, and Marcelo Bielsa has decided to shake things up. Roberts is replaced by Raphinha. 1.43pm BST 56 min: Lo Celso intercepts a Leeds attack and slips a pass down the inside-left channel for Son, who enters the box and lashes into the side netting. That was a decent chance; you’d expect Son to be more clinical there. But Spurs are getting back into this. 1.42pm BST 55 min: Kane mooches in from the left. No options. He decides to get a shot away, but drags it wide left. 1.40pm BST 53 min: A little bit of space for Roberts, 25 yards out. He screws a poor shot wide left and claims a free kick, having been clipped from behind by Bale, but the referee isn’t interested. 1.38pm BST 51 min: Harrison crosses from the left to win a Leeds corner. Dallas takes. Lloris flaps it away at the far post, allowing Son to break. Koch cynically trips him, and it’s the first yellow card of the afternoon. 1.37pm BST 49 min: Kane has the ball in the net again, and up pops the flag once more. There’s no need for the old VAR rulers here, as he’s sent free down the left channel, six yards off, and he rounds Meslier before whipping home just for practice. 1.35pm BST 48 min: Son drops a shoulder and gets the better of Dallas down the left, but nearly runs the ball out for a goal kick, and his desperate last-ditch cross is easily snaffled by Meslier. 1.33pm BST 46 min: Spurs ship possession with indecent haste, allowing Alioski to scamper down the left yet again. Dier deals with the resulting cross, but that’s not exactly the statement start to the second half by the visitors, who need a couple of goals if they’re to keep their top-four dream alive. 1.32pm BST Spurs get the second half underway. No changes. 1.20pm BST Half-time entertainment. Related: ‘I hope you know this was never about football’: coaching my daughter’s team 1.18pm BST The hosts deservedly lead at the break, though Dele Alli has done his best to keep the visitors on terms. It’s been great fun. Tottenham’s slim hopes of a top-four finish are in a little bit of jeopardy right now. 1.16pm BST 45 min: There will be one added minute. This game has barely stopped. 1.15pm BST 44 min: Leeds, for the first time since the get-go, slow things down a little, with half time in sight. 1.14pm BST 43 min: All three goals, for differing reasons, have been right out of the top drawer. This has been a wonderfully entertaining half of football. More, please! 1.13pm BST This is such a lovely team goal. Dallas picks up a loose Dier header down the right and drives infield. Roberts gets involved as Dallas is clipped. The referee waves play on. Harrison slips Alioski into space down the left. Alioski crosses low, and Bamford can’t miss from six yards. 1.11pm BST 40 min: Harrison and Alioski combine smoothly down the left. Harrison caresses a cross with the outside of his boot. It’s only a couple of inches over Bamford’s head. Goal kick. 1.09pm BST 38 min: Alli snaffles a loose ball and launches another charge, laying off for Son, who finds Kane. The England captain over-elaborates and the move fizzles out, but at the risk of belabouring the point, this is really impressive stuff from Alli. 1.07pm BST 36 min: Alli is here, there and everywhere, offering Tottenham’s otherwise ponderous midfield some much-needed energy. One superb assist already, plus a millimetre away from another. He looks bang on top of his game again, which is lovely to see. 1.05pm BST 34 min: So now it’s a corner on the left. Koch aims a header towards the top left. The ball skims off Bale’s noggin, and out for another corner, which Spurs make a meal of clearing, but do so eventually. 1.03pm BST 33 min: This is a great game. Dallas fizzes one in from the right. Roberts misses the chance to trundle it home by inches, then the ball clanks off Aurier before being cleared in the hectic style. 1.03pm BST 32 min: VAR checks, and though Kane looked yards offside to the naked eye – and Spurs don’t complain – it’s very close indeed. The decision stands, but only by a millimetre or two. 1.01pm BST 31 min: A lovely move by Spurs here, as Son and Alli combine down the inside-right channel. Alli flicks deliciously inside to release Kane, who flicks insouciantly over Meslier and into the bottom right. The flag goes up immediately for offside. 1.00pm BST 30 min: Koch heads the corner harmlessly behind. But this has been a fine response from Leeds to the shock of conceding an equaliser against the run of play. 12.59pm BST 29 min: The corner leads to a long game of pinball. Eventually the ball breaks to Koch, who drives from 25 yards. His effort is deflected out for another corner. 12.58pm BST 28 min: Leeds gather themselves, Harrison working his way down the left again. He cuts inside and looks for the top right. His shot is heading in, but Lloris gets a fingertip to it. Fine save, and it’s a corner. 12.57pm BST 27 min: Spurs had achieved nothing up until that point. That’ll be a huge blow to Leeds, who had appeared comfortable, in control, and the most likely to get the next goal. But now look. 12.56pm BST Out of nothing, Spurs level. This is a sensational run by Alli, who sashays down the middle, draws a couple of white shirts, and dinks a little pass down the inside-right channel to release Son. He’s clear on goal, and never doing anything except slotting into the bottom right. Lovely finish, but what an assist by Alli! 12.55pm BST 24 min: Alioski nearly releases Bamford down the left. Bamford can’t quite get the better of Aurier. Spurs go up the other end, and … 12.53pm BST 23 min: Roberts and Bamford are both caught offside, needlessly so, as Leeds build an attack down the left. As the flag pops up, so does Bielsa, beside himself with fury at his players’ carelessness. That’ll be mentioned at half time, I’ll be bound. 12.52pm BST 21 min: Lo Celso drops deep to help out his defenders. He intercepts, then drives down the middle of the park, eating up 60 yards, before slipping a pass down the left channel in the hope of releasing Kane. Koch is wise to the caper, and slides in to toe-poke the pass away. Great play all round. 12.49pm BST 19 min: It’s been lovely and level in terms of possession: 49 to 51 so far. 12.48pm BST 18 min: Bale, Son and Alli combine neatly down the inside-right channel. They can’t quite open Leeds up this time, but they weren’t far off making space for a shot, and that’ll give the visitors succour. 12.47pm BST 17 min: Leeds push Spurs back. A free kick is launched into the mixer from the left. Then a throw. Some minor bedlam. The hosts clearly fancy their chances down this flank, having already hit paydirt. 12.46pm BST 15 min: Harrison’s cross was all but impossible to defend. Stunning. Spurs look to respond immediately, winning a corner down the left. Son delivers, Bale flicks on, but there’s nobody in green lurking and Struijk hammers clear. 12.45pm BST A bit of space out on the left for Harrison, who whips a stunning low cross through the six-yard box. Dier swipes and misses. Reguilon hangs out a leg and connects. The ball flies towards the bottom right. Lloris reacts magnificently to parry, saving the own goal, but Dallas is lurking and roofs the rebound from close range! 12.42pm BST 12 min: Roberts has a speculative dig from distance. The ball deflects high into the air and it’s easy pickings for Lloris. 12.42pm BST 10 min: Had that chance fell to Bamford, you’d expect the net to have billowed like billy-o. On the touchline, Bielsa sits on his bucket, oblivious to the rain hammering his head. 12.40pm BST 8 min: The corner on the right leads to another on the left. That second one’s hit long. Harrison turns it back at the far post, the ball falling to Struijk, six yards out. The defender connects well, pivoting as he shoots, but leans back and sends it over the bar. 12.38pm BST 7 min: Leeds have yet to put anything together that remotely an attack … and just as I type those words, Harrison slips Bamford into space down the inside-left channel. He steps into the box and swivels, hitting a crisp shot towards the bottom right. Lloris does extremely well to turn it around the post for a corner. 12.36pm BST 6 min: The resulting corner, hit flat by Lo Celso, is a fails-to-beat-first-man atrocity. 12.35pm BST 5 min: A little bit of space for Kane out on the right. He crosses, looking for Son, but Llorente steps in to head behind for the game’s first corner. 12.34pm BST 4 min: Other than that, it’s been a fairly nondescript, albeit high-paced, bordering on frantic, start. 12.33pm BST 2 min: The rain has been tipping down all morning, so it’ll be interesting to see how the pitch holds up. According to Steve McManaman on BT co-comms, the ground staff have been attacking it with all manner of garden tools. The ball seems to be rolling just fine right now, so it’s a good job done. 12.30pm BST Leeds get the ball rolling … but only after everyone takes a knee. There’s no room for racism. Challenge it. Report it. Change it. Kick it out. 12.29pm BST The teams are out! Leeds are in their famous clobber, as selected by Real Madrid fan Don Revie, forcing fellow white fetishists Spurs into second-choice green. It’s a rainy day at Elland Road. We’ll be off in a couple of sodden minutes. 12.20pm BST Ryan Mason’s turn in front of the BT cameras. “Winning matches breeds confidence. It was important we bounced back from the cup final defeat last weekend. It’s another difficult match today but we’re going to be ready and hopefully put in a positive performance. Everyone around the club is aware that this is a big game for us.” To further illustrate this, captain Harry Kane adds, upon being asked about Champions League qualification: “From our point of view we have to win all four games to have any chance, really. Obviously it starts here today, it’s going to be a tough game. But we’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s a chance for us to finish the season strong and put a little positive note on it.” 12.12pm BST Bielsa bonus. He also reports that “Liam Cooper has a small knock in his gluteus and that’s why he’s not here today.” 12.12pm BST Marcelo Bielsa, talking to BT Sport, analyses the difference in Spurs since Jose Mourinho chipped off and Ryan Mason took over. “There are changes in the way they play. Spurs are a team who push more into the opponent’s half and try to manage more of the ball. In any case, given the level of the players, they still generate worry.” 11.40am BST Both teams are unchanged. Leeds name the same XI that lost at Brighton, though both Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha return from injury to take up places on the bench. Liam Cooper misses out with a knock. Spurs, having stuck four past Sheffield United, stick with their all-new kitchen-sink approach to attack. Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Gareth Bale will give this top-four tilt all they’ve got. 11.33am BST Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Koch, Dallas, Klich, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford.Subs: Poveda, Casilla, Raphinha, Hernandez, Rodrigo, Phillips, Davis, Berardi, Shackleton. Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Lo Celso, Hojbjerg, Bale, Alli, Son, Kane.Subs: Doherty, Sanchez, Winks, Lamela, Hart, Sissoko, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Ndombele. 11.13am BST Leeds, it’s Tottenham. They beat you fairly comprehensively in January, 3-0, and are on a two-game winning run in the Premier League as they keep their faint hopes of snatching a top-four place alive. You, on the other hand, are comfortable in mid-table and are almost impossible to read, having recently deservedly won at Manchester City and lost limply at Brighton. Will your wise old boss Marcelo Bielsa do a tactical number on his wet-behind-the-ears counterpart Ryan Mason, the pair separated by 36 years and 710 games of experience? Or will Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min prove too much for you, given you’ve lost seven of the past eight games without Kalvin Phillips, who is likely to be missing this afternoon? It’s all very much in the balance. It’s also very much on. You’re on! Continue reading…
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Leeds’ Rodrigo breaks to deal blow to Tottenham’s slim top-four hopes

Tottenham can testify how far an overachieving Argentinian manager can take a team; Mauricio Pochettino steered them to a Champions League final. But as his mentor, Marcelo Bielsa, lifted Leeds to ninth with his brand of vibrancy, energy and a capacity to propel players beyond their natural limits, Spurs’ chances of a return to the European elite were effectively ended. Related: Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened Related: Wilson fires double as Newcastle dent Leicester’s top-four hopes Continue reading…
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Spurs ‘have to get over this’ says Mason after defeat to Leeds – video

Tottenham face another season out of the Champions League after losing 3-1 at Leeds United, two years to the day after reaching the final. Tottenham’s latest defeat leaves them five points off fourth place with three games of the Premier League season remaining. Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened Leeds’ Rodrigo breaks to deal blow to Tottenham’s slim top-four hopes Continue reading…
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Tottenham look to take care of own business in top-four race

Spurs need rivals to drop points to achieve target Three points needed at Leeds on Saturday When Tottenham fans think about what they need from elsewhere, from the other matches between now and the end of the season to kick open the door to a fourth-placed Premier League finish, they can convince themselves that it could happen. Chelsea must lose one and draw one of their remaining four and their run-in is difficult, taking in a trip to Manchester City on Saturday evening and a home fixture with Leicester. On top of that, West Ham and Liverpool must each draw one game. Related: Leeds v Tottenham: match preview Continue reading…
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José Mourinho to take over as Roma manager next season

Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham last month Paulo Fonseca to leave Roma job at end of season José Mourinho is to take over as manager of Roma next season, the Serie A club have announced. The Portuguese was sacked by Tottenham last month and is returning to Italy, where he had a successful tenure at Internazionale. Roma had earlier said Paulo Fonseca would leave his role as head coach at the end of this season. Related: Tottenham sacking consigns dour and dogmatic José Mourinho to the past | Jonathan Liew Continue reading…
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Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Sheffield United: Premier League – as it happened

There were brilliant finishes aplenty as Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick and Tottenham gave Sheffield United a very thorough pasting 9.27pm BST And with that, I’m off. Bye! 9.26pm BST Here’s Jacob Steinberg’s match report from White Hart Lane: It is not all doom and gloom for Tottenham. Although there is no end in sight to the search for a new manager, Ryan Mason is doing everything in his power to ensure that whoever takes over has European football next season. This was a reminder that Spurs can play. Gareth Bale scored a splendid hat-trick and Son added a beautiful fourth as Mason’s side moved up to fifth place, five points below Chelsea with four games remaining. Champions League qualification is not out of the question yet. Related: Gareth Bale sinks Sheffield United to keep Spurs’ top-four hopes alive 9.24pm BST Fewer smiles as Chris Basham has a chat: It just comes down to quality of players. The finishers they’ve got, and the speed they’ve got as well. We tried to give it the best shot we could but in the end it’s a 4-0 defeat and not many of us really played well either. We’re down at the end of the day. We’re relegated. There’s no reason why we can’t come here, the shackles are off and we’ve got to perform. But we didn’t perform today and we got beaten 4-0. 9.20pm BST Gareth Bale is, as you can imagine, full of smiles. He’s asked to talk about the team’s performance and his own: Yeah, no, definitely. It was a great performance from the first whistle. We got the ball, got control of it and played some good football. Nice to get a hat-trick but more importantly three points for the team, and we move on to the next one. I just needed to get a run of games, and I’m doing that now. I’m happy, and when I’m happy I normally play well. The fact that we’re more on the front foot. We’ve been working on that now for the last few weeks. It’s obviously not going to happen overnight but I feel we’re taking a step in the right direction and we’re playing football the Tottenham way. 9.08pm BST 90+4 mins: It’s all over! Five excellent finishes (one disallowed for a marginal offside), four goals, and one match ball being claimed by Gareth Bale. 9.06pm BST 90+3 mins: A lovely Spurs move ends with Kane passing to Reguilon, who shoots wide of the near post from the edge of the area. 9.05pm BST 90+2 mins: Since Bergwijn came on Alderweireld has his a few long passes over Stevens and down the right flank for the Dutchman to chase. He gets onto the end of the latest one, and sends in a cross that flicks Ramsdale’s hand and lands on Kane’s head before bouncing behind. 9.04pm BST 90+1 mins: There’ll be three minutes of stoppage time, or thereabouts. 9.04pm BST 90 mins: You’ll never guess who Sky have made their man of the match. Alright, you will guess, it’s the bloke with the hat-trick. Spurs are hogging the ball as the game nears stoppage time. 9.01pm BST 88 mins: Hojbjerg goes in the book for sweeping away Fleck’s legs, with the ball nowhere near. 8.59pm BST 86 mins: The ball drops to Kane in the area. He was well offside, which is just as well because his shot was dismal and flew way wide. 8.56pm BST 83 mins: Another substitution, Lys Mousset coming on for McGoldrick. 8.55pm BST 81 mins: United are an absolute mess in defence now, and Lamela misses a pretty straightforward chance to play in either Kane or Son. But United are also attacking with more conviction/abandon, and Burke then runs up the other end and rolls in a low cross, which goes wide. 8.52pm BST 78 mins: Lamela comes on for Alli, who I thought played pretty well, particularly given that he has played one minute of league football (plus another six in the Carabao Cup) since mid March. 8.51pm BST Bergwijn has an assist already! He runs infield from the right and passes to Son, on the left of the area, who cuts onto his right foot, benefits from Basham falling over when trying to close him down, and curls a beautiful shot off the inside of the far post! 8.48pm BST 75 mins: Bale is taken off, giving him a chance to milk the applause of the virtual crowd. Bergwijn is on. 8.46pm BST 73 mins: Kane sends the ball across the face of goal from right to left, just a foot or two away from a Son tap-in with Basham’s positioning this time perfect to slow the Korean. 8.44pm BST 70 mins: Lo Celso and his bruised cheek leave the field, and Winks comes on. 8.43pm BST And that’s the hat-trick! Good work in the build-up from Alli and Aurier, who cuts infield, ignores Kane’s run into the area – which sucks Basham out of position – and lays off to Bale, who enjoys all the space that Basham’s just vacated and lashes low and hard past Ramsdale from the edge of the box! 8.39pm BST 66 mins: United have at least now had a shot on target. 8.39pm BST 65 mins: Chance for United! Burke overlaps down the right and pulls back to Fleck, who appreciates that there are too many defenders around him and jumps over it, allowing the ball to run through to Norwood, who is completely marked on the edge of the area but thumps his shot at Lloris! 8.38pm BST 64 mins: Gareth Bale’s goals this season have come against Brighton, Burnley (two), Crystal Palace (two), Southampton and now Sheffield United (two). He has not scored against a team currently higher than 13th in the league. 8.35pm BST Son wins the ball in his own half and from that moment the Blades are cooked. There’s nobody but Ramsdale in their half of the pitch, and Son plays it through for Bale, who runs to the edge of the area, shifts the ball onto his left foot and then lashes it into the top corner! 8.34pm BST 59 mins: Spurs win a throw-in, which is delayed for a bit while Aurier has a drink and a snack. He is Muslim and the Ramadan fast ended at 8.29pm, which probably explains that. 8.30pm BST 56 mins: United have a long spell of possession. They haven’t done much with it, but it’s definitely an improvement. 8.25pm BST 52 mins: The lines show a bit of Son’s shoulder (and also the rest of an arm) was beyond the last man, so Tottenham’s lead remains undoubled. Still a great finish, though. 8.24pm BST That’s how to finish! It’s a long ball from defence, over the entire Sheffield United team and into the path of Son, who runs into the area before lashing the ball past Ramsdale. VAR will want to check this for offside … 8.21pm BST 47 mins: Nope, VAR decides to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think that’s extremely generous. Fleck wasn’t looking at Lo Celso as it happened, but I think he could have contorted his body to avoid it, and the contact was nasty. Lo Celso plays on, with three stud marks on his cheek. 8.20pm BST 47 mins: VAR check! I think Fleck’s probably going off here, after he lands his foot on Lo Celso’s head. 8.19pm BST 46 mins: A double change for the Blades at the break has seen them take off Bogle and Brewster and bring on Berge and Burke. Is that the most alliterative substitution ever? 8.18pm BST 46 mins: Peeeeeep! The second half is under way. 8.18pm BST It’s been a decent game, but for the first time this weekend I’ve detected the whiff of flip-flops and deckchairs about a few Premier League fixtures, and though given the extent of Tottenham’s control we were never going to get typical English top-flight pell-mell action, there’s perhaps a bit of that about this game too. 8.05pm BST 45+4 mins: A gently entertaining if rather one-sided half comes to an end. United have had a couple of moments of attacking promise, but no chances. Spurs have played more than 3.5 times as many accurate passes as their opponents – it’s 358-97 at the break – which tells the story. 8.02pm BST 45+2 mins: Lovely, sharp interplay between Kane and Son works the ball to Alli, whose curler from 23 yards or so curls into Ramsdale’s arms. 8.01pm BST 45+1 mins: There will be about three minutes of stoppage time. 7.59pm BST 43 mins: The ball comes to Kane, just inside his own half, who for a change messes up a simple defence-splitting pass. The defence had pushed up, and Bale made a run from deep – all he had to do was lift the ball into the visitors’ half and wait to collect the congratulations after Spurs doubled their lead. He lifts it too far into the visitors’ half, and Ramsdale deals with it. 7.57pm BST 41 mins: Spurs win a free-kick, five yards outside the box. Kane blasts it into the wall, and blasts the rebound wide. “Thousands at Chelsea, even more at Arsenal and today’s chaos at Man Utd makes me ashamed of my fellow Spurs fans,” writes Frank Lopez. “We had about 80 last week and a guy playing a guitar. It’s embarrassing, especially as the club punished Pochettino for not being able to get a tune out of squad he had practically been begging to be refreshed. Has not winning anything for so long drained us of any fight? I had enough from the owners when they sold Carrick to Utd! How long ago was that?!” Fifteen years ago this summer, since you ask. Fifteen years! 7.53pm BST 38 mins: The Blades have defended pretty well today, but that was the work of a team that has already clocked off. 7.52pm BST Bale gives Spurs the lead! Kane’s pass into the area is intercepted by a defender, who sends it rolling out to Aurier, well outside the box. Nobody closes him down, or tracks Bale’s run into the area, so Aurier lifts the ball into the Welshman’s path, beyond the defence, and he pokes it beyond an advancing Ramsdale! 7.49pm BST 34 mins: United sustain some attacking possession, which ends with Norwood crossing pretty well from the right, and Brewster being caught on his heels again. 7.46pm BST 31 mins: Ramsdale is on the turf, receiving treatment to his right foot and grimacing a lot. 7.43pm BST 28 mins: Sheffield United make a rare incursion into Spurs territory. McGoldrick gets space on the left, but only Brewster offers support and even that is half-hearted, so McGoldrick just passes the ball to Lloris. 7.41pm BST 26 mins: Reguilon finds Kane, just inside the penalty area, but he scoops his effort over the bar with his left foot. 7.40pm BST 23 mins: “Would Dele Alli’s ‘outstanding new look’ be that of ‘consistently good footballer’ by any chance?” Chance would be a fine thing. No, it’s that of ‘Billy Ocean tribute act’. Or perhaps that of Gary Oldman in True Romance. 7.34pm BST 19 mins: Son was wiped out by Egan just after playing that pass to Kane, and has required treatment while Egan has required a yellow card. 7.34pm BST 18 mins: Chance for Kane! Son passes left to Kane, who turns past Baldock and shoots left-footed, but Basham comes off the line to clear, and it was going wide anyway. 7.31pm BST 16 mins: Spurs almost score with a shot from distance! Son shoots left-footed from the edge of the D, but Ramsdale dives to his right and pushes it round the post! 7.31pm BST 15 mins: The Blades backline is holding pretty firm, and restricting Spurs to shots from distance. 7.27pm BST 12 mins: Kane releases Bale down the right with an excellent first-time pass, and the Welshman takes on Basham, cuts inside, but then gets a bit excited and blasts a shot over the bar from 18 yards. 7.26pm BST 10 mins: Kane’s cross from the right deflects onto the roof of the net. The match is being played in the Sheffield United half, and Spurs have had 71% of possession so far. 7.22pm BST 7 mins: Sheffield United have the game’s first official, non-offside shot, though McGoldrick’s effort from 20 yards or so rolls slowly wide. 7.21pm BST 6 mins: Lo Celso lifts the ball into the box, Baldock leaves it for Ramsdale and Reguilon nearly nips in! But in the end, um, he doesn’t. 7.18pm BST 2 mins: Some early action for Ramsdale, as Son lifts the ball into the area, Kane is the only person to anticipate it and his volley from eight yards is straight at the keeper. The lino’s flag is up, though, and replays show Kane offside by a narrow margin. 7.15pm BST 1 min: Peeeeeep! The Blades, dressed as blades of grass rather than steel entirely in green, kick us off. 7.11pm BST The players are on the pitch! And Dele Alli has an outstanding new look. 7.07pm BST Sky have obviously had to relocate their broadcast of this match from Old Trafford at no notice whatsoever. After halting their Super Sunday broadcast and replacing it with Sky Sports News for a while they’ve managed to rustle up Michael Brown, formerly of both Sheffield United and Spurs, and Kelly Cates and stuck them in a studio, and are doing a decent job all things considered. 7.03pm BST Sheffield United here, during their warm-up. 6.47pm BST Good player/sign juxtaposition here. This photo might come in handy after the transfer window opens. 6.27pm BST Spurs make two changes to the side that flunked their Carabao Cup final test last weekend: Winks and Moura are out, Bale and Alli in. 6.26pm BST Sander Berge is back in the Sheffield United squad, for the first time since the defeat to Manchester United on 17 December. In 20 games since his injury the Blades have been the second worst team in the division (after Southampton), and had the season started then they would now be one win (and some goal difference) away from Newcastle in 16th and safety. They have won 0.8 points per game in this period. This isn’t great, but it’s a massive improvement: in 13 games with Berge in the squad they won one point at 0.077 points per game. 6.17pm BST The team sheets have been handed in, and the names upon them were these: Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Lo Celso, Bale, Alli, Son, Kane. Subs: Doherty, Sanchez, Winks, Lamela, Hart, Sissoko, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Ndombele.Sheff Utd: Ramsdale, Baldock, Egan, Basham, Bogle, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Osborn, Brewster, McGoldrick. Subs: Lundstram, Berge, Mousset, Lowe, Burke, Jagielka, Foderingham, Robinson, Gordon.Referee: Andre Marriner. 12.26pm BST Sheffield United have won four away points so far this season, seven fewer than the next worst travellers, West Brom. This, it goes without saying, is rubbish. There have been other teams with terrible away records: last year Norwich only won six; the year before Fulham won five; Hull got six in 2016-17, as did Aston Villa the previous year. A few teams have won seven. But not since 2009-10 has a team won as few points away from home across a full Premier League season as four (Burnley, on that occasion), while it took the record-breaking Derby side of 2007-08 to get fewer, only managing three. Aaron Ramsdale, relegated with Bournemouth last season and the Blades this, last kept a clean sheet in an away league game in December 2019, at Chelsea. The Blades could still remove themselves from that conversation entirely, with visits to Everton and Newcastle still to come even after today. It will only take one little, teensy-weeny win. So there’s that. And they haven’t been involved in a goalless draw since the 10th game from the end of last season (and Spurs have only had one this season), making some kind of goalscoring look likely. Plus Spurs continue to chase a place in Europe next season, and are just two points behind West Ham in fifth. Continue reading…
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