Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Bournemouth

 Posted by at 2:00 AM
Mar 212016
Harry Kane became the first player to reach 20 Premier League goals in 2015-16

Tottenham cut Leicester’s lead at the top of the Premier League to five points as Harry Kane inspired Spurs to a routine win over Bournemouth.

Kane turned in Kyle Walker’s cross after 43 seconds and then latched onto Dele Alli’s pass to finish left-footed past Artur Boruc to double the lead.

The England striker is now the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals.

Christian Eriksen tapped in Tottenham’s third from close range after Boruc had pushed out Kane’s shot from 25 yards.

Mid-table Bournemouth, who had won three successive league games before their trip to White Hart Lane, rarely threatened.

Tottenham 3-0 Bournemouth as it happened

First to 20 league goals

Kane’s hat-trick at Bournemouth in October ended a poor run of goalscoring form for the 22-year-old.

He has been in supreme nick for his club since then, with his brace against the Cherries taking his tally to 23 goals in his past 30 appearances for Spurs.

His early opener made him the first player to reach 20 Premier League goals this season, and he becomes the fifth Englishman to pass that milestone in two consecutive Premier League seasons – joining Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer.

Not content with scoring twice and creating the third when Boruc spilled his long-range shot, Kane later made a last-ditch challenge inside his own six-yard box to deny Bournemouth striker Josh King.

Spurs full-backs blunt Bournemouth

The match average positions show Rose (3) and Walker (2) to be further forward than Tottenham’s two central midfielders Dembele (19) and Dier (15), with Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie (30) pushed further back as a result

One of the most eye-catching features of Tottenham’s play this season has been the willingness of their full-backs to push forward at every opportunity, while still maintaining a solid defensive base thanks to their two holding midfielders.

Walker and Danny Rose were always available outlets in the first period, when Spurs were at their most dangerous, Walker creating Kane’s first goal with a wonderful whipped cross.

Both have been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the friendly matches against Germany (26 March) and Netherlands (29 March).

Man of the match: Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Kane’s early double made it five goals in his two Premier League outings against Bournemouth this season

The stats you need to know

  • Kane has equalled his Premier League goal tally from 2014-15.
  • Alli has assisted Kane for seven Premier League goals this season, the most assists from one player to another in 2015-16.
  • Two of the three fastest goals scored in the Premier League this season have been in the Spurs/Bournemouth fixture (Ritchie 49 seconds, Kane 43 seconds).

What they said

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‘Mature’ performance pleases Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino: “I’m very happy with the collective performance, I thought we were fantastic today.

“It was important to score early, and then we showed a strong mentality in the way we managed the game. We played well against a very good team – we showed a mature performance.

“It’s important to get some time to analyse – 90% of the squad will be with their national teams and I think it’s a good moment to analyse during this period.”

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Eddie Howe rues Bournemouth’s ‘poor display’

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “It was a really bad day for us. We had the worst possible start, we were slow out of the traps and we weren’t ourselves at all in the first half. It was a poor display.

“I was hugely frustrated because, even when we don’t play well, you see a clear philosophy and a way of playing. I honestly couldn’t tell what we were trying to do in the first half. It was disjointed and we had no rhythm.

“When you come here and you don’t bring your best game, it’s going to be very difficult.”

What next?

Following the international break, Tottenham have two games which could go a long way to deciding the destination of the Premier League title – Liverpool at Anfield (2 April) followed by Manchester United at home (10 April).

Bournemouth, who remain 13th and are 12 points above the relegation zone after Newcastle’s draw with Sunderland earlier on Sunday, host Manchester City on 2 April.

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Newcastle United 1-1 Sunderland

 Posted by at 11:58 PM
Mar 202016
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored in three of his last five appearances at St James’ Park

Aleksandar Mitrovic rescued a point for Newcastle against relegation rivals Sunderland as a fiercely contested Tyne-Wear derby ended in a draw.

The Serbia striker headed in Georginio Wijnaldum’s cross with seven minutes to go of boss Rafael Benitez’s home debut.

Jermain Defoe had volleyed the visitors ahead just before the break.

The draw leaves both in the bottom three with 18th-placed Sunderland a point and a place ahead of Newcastle but two points from safety.

A launch-pad for Newcastle?

While not the victory they so dearly needed, the draw does mean Newcastle have ended a six-match losing streak against their fierce rivals, dating back to April 2013.

This was the least they needed after Norwich’s victory at West Brom on Saturday had opened some daylight between the 17th-placed Canaries and the bottom three.

And despite the huge challenge still ahead, the manner in which they clawed their way to a point will give Benitez some hope that he can fashion an escape act over the next two months.

For much of the game a somewhat ragged and ill-disciplined Newcastle were second-best to a Sunderland side who have been instilled with a renewed efficiency and spirit by manager Sam Allardyce.

After falling behind, the home side offered plenty of effort but precious little quality in the second half, with an Ayoze Perez volley at the back post, which was cleared off the line by Yann M’Vila, the closest they came to a goal.

But Mitrovic’s late intervention – the sixth he has scored since joining the club last summer for £15m – gives them confidence before six April fixtures that will go a long way to deciding their fate.

Next up; Norwich at Carrow Road on 2 April.

Sunderland still have the edge

Sunderland were seven minutes from moving out of the relegation zone so to find themselves in the bottom three heading into the international break is an undoubted blow.

This is a game they should have won. They played more as a unit throughout and fashioned the better chances.

Defoe’s goal – coming after Rob Elliott had saved a shot from Fabio Borini and Chancel Mbemba had failed to properly head clear – was his eighth in his past 11 appearances, but he could have scored more.

Before his opener he fired over from inside the box and poked a first-time shot from Borini’s cross inches past the near post.

And had Elliott not produced a wonderful one-handed save to deny Patrick van Aanholt’s angled 12-yard drive, it would have been 2-0 just before the hour mark.

Ultimately, though, it was their defensive frailty that cost them as Mitrovic’s goal – the 39th they have conceded away from home this campaign – extended their run of games without a clean sheet to 17.

More to follow.

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Southampton 3-2 Liverpool

 Posted by at 11:32 PM
Mar 202016
Sadio Mane was introduced at half-time as a substitute

Liverpool’s hopes of a top-four spot were dented as Southampton dramatically snatched victory at St Mary’s.

Liverpool had looked in command after Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge scored in a five-minute period.

Sadio Mane missed a penalty just after the break following Martin Skrtel’s foul on Graziano Pelle, but made amends soon after with a smart finish.

Pelle’s curling shot restored parity in the 83rd minute, before Mane pounced to seize all three points for his side.

Liverpool pressed forward to try and force a final twist, but a speculative penalty shout for a push on Christian Benteke was all they could muster.

Southampton remain seventh, with Liverpool two places lower and still seven points off the top four before Sunday’s Manchester derby.

Reds’ first half…

As the Reds departed the south coast, manager Jurgen Klopp was left to try and comprehend how they had contrived to lose from 2-0 up at half-time for the first time in the Premier League.

After Shane Long was denied an early penalty in a tussle with Dejan Lovren, the Reds took control of the first half with Coutinho’s low curling effort followed in short order by Sturridge’s cleverly-crafted second.

As Southampton searched for an immediate response, Liverpool exploited the space left behind with Joe Allen shooting into the shins of Fraser Forster from eight yards before seeing a goal chalked off for offside.

However, whether it was Thursday evening’s Europa League exploits or the 10 games more they have played than Saints, Liverpool’s slick passing and swift movement dried up markedly after the break.

More to follow.

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