Poch cool on transfer plans

The difficult nature of the transfer market is again limiting Tottenham's options according to Mauricio Pochettino.

Last summer saw Spurs become the first club to fail to sign a single player since the window was introduced and they have again been quiet this month.

With Harry Kane and Dele Alli expected to be out for three months through and Son Heung-min away at the Asian Cup with South Korea, Pochettino appears to have his hands tied going into Thursday's EFL Cup clash with Chelsea, a game they are 5/1 to win, with the draw 31/10 and the Blues 8/13.

Spurs take a 1-0 lead to Stamford Bridge thanks to Kane's penalty in the opening tie and have received a boost ahead of the game with the news that Lucas Moura, Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama are all back in training.

It remains to be seen if any of the trio feature on Thursday and supporters have urged the club to add to their stocks this month in order to maintain their top four hopes.

Winning the EFL Cup, which Spurs are 3/1 to do, would certainly appease certain sections of the support and Pochettino has suggested that might have to be the solution, with any new arrivals unlikely before the deadline.

The Argentine insists the club are scouring the market but is adamant that they will only sign the right players if they become available.

"It's going to be difficult, as I told you in the past," he told reporters. "If it was difficult in the summer, because in the end we had the squad full – we didn't have space to sign players because we didn't sell players – now of course it's difficult too.

"Of course we're Tottenham and to find the right profile to help us I think is going to be difficult. But we're trying, we're trying to deliver something."

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Pochettino waits on Alli injury

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that Dele Alli suffered a hamstring injury during Tottenham's 2-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday.

The England international had to be substituted in the closing stages at Craven Cottage but Pochettino does not know how long he will be sidelined for.

Alli's absence is the latest blow to Pochettino who was without Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Mo Sissoko and Victor Wanyama for the London derby.

Fulham led at half-time through a Fernando Llorente own goal but Alli equalised for Spurs before Harry Winks grabbed a last-gasp winner for the visitors.

Pochettino said of Alli's injury: "We all see the reaction, he suffered an injury in his left hamstring.

"We need to assess him in the next few days. We hope it is not a big issue. But first of all, we need to assess.

"Some injuries appear in a period with a more busy schedule and another opportunity opens the door for players not consistently in the starting XI or on the bench. It is great opportunity for different players to show quality.

"Sometimes in football, it is not tactics or formation – you have to believe. It was an unbelievable finish. That's why it is so important to believe."

Spurs, 2/9 to finish in the top four this season take on Chelsea in the semi-final second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday. Pochettino's team are 4/5 to qualify for the final and 3/1 to win the competition outright.

Harry to the rescue for Spurs

With Tottenham missing one Harry it was another who scored the late winner away to strugglers Fulham to keep them in the title race. 

Fulham led at half-time through a Fernando Llorente own goal, Dele Alli equalised for Spurs but they struggled in pursuit of a winner and looked to have missed out only for Harry Winks to score with almost the last kick of the game at Craven Cottage.

With Harry Kane missing Mauricio Pochettino had to make changes to his side and Llorente was given a rare start in attack while Danny Rose came in at left-back.

Fulham made a promising start and went close on 10 minutes, Aleksandar Mitrovic doing well to set up Ryan Babel, on his debut, who forced Hugo Lloris into a smart save

However they did not have long to wait to open the scoring and it came via an own goal. Having scored two themselves to hand Burnley victory last weekend, they were beneficiaries this time as Llorente diverted a Jean Michael Sari corner into his own net.

He nearly made amends at the other end shortly afterwards but failed to get on the end of an Erik Lamela cross.

Most of the first half action though came in the Spurs goalmouth and Fulham thought they had doubled their lead before half-time but Mitrovic was flagged offside when heading past Lloris.

Fulham's advantage didn't last long into the second half however, the visitors getting back on level terms on 51 minutes with Dele Alli scoring, heading past Sergio Rico after a good ball from Christian Eriksen.

Spurs were looking the more likely side to get the winner and they hit the woodwork with half an hour remaining, Rose getting into the Fulham area and hitting the bar.

It looked as if Spurs were destined to lose ground on the top two in the Premier League but deep into added time they broke Fulham hearts with a winner, Winks heading home after a cross from Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.

Spurs stay third in the Premier League table with a seven-point gap over Arsenal in fifth but Fulham's defeat leaves them second bottom of the table, seven points from safety.

Spurs are in action in midweek with the semi-final second leg of the EFL Cup, Pochettino's side having a 1-0 first leg victory over Chelsea. They are 17/4 to win on Thursday night at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are 4/7 while the draw is 16/5.

Spurs are 3/1 to win the trophy while Manchester City are 1/2.

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Spurs tipped to cope without Kane

Mauricio Pochettino remains confident that his Tottenham Hotspur side can cope with the absence of star striker Harry Kane, who is sidelined by an ankle injury.

England skipper Kane, who has scored 20 goals for Spurs so far this season, is expected to be out of action until March, leaving head coach Pochettino to plan without his main goal-getter.

However, the Argentinian has again played down talk of a move into the transfer market to secure a replacement, saying that no suitable player is available at the moment.

Pochettino told reporters: "We are going to see the time it takes to have the full recovery. Harry is a very positive person, the moment he got injured he started thinking about recovering as soon as possible.

"When he is one of the best strikers in Europe it is going to affect performances. We are positive we can cope and we have players who can cover his position. It won't affect our approach to the games.

"It is not going to change our mind. We are open to adding to our squad, but it is not going to put pressure on us to sign.

"The market is very difficult. If we find the player that is going to help us and add quality we are more than open to make that happen. At the minute there is no player."

Spurs are back in action on Sunday when they make the short trip to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham, with the visitors 8/11 to win the game, 8/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline and 11/8 to keep a clean sheet.

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Dembele makes Spurs exit

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the sale of midfielder Mousa Dembele to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R & F for £11m.

The former Fulham man had been at Spurs since 2012, making 250 appearances after joining for £15m, though he had only played 13 times this season for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Dembele, 31, was due to be out of contract in the summer but will seal a move after international clearance has been confirmed.

The Belgian international had originally seemed set to join Beijing Guoan, but complications with the deal allowed Guangzhou to sweep in and steal the initiative.

Dembele will see his earnings increased significantly, while a desire to playing in a less physical league is also said to have been behind his decision to move on.

"I go with an unbelievable feeling and a certain love for the club," said Dembele. "It has been very special."

"Sometimes you separate in a bad way but I don't feel it in a bad way. Everyone has been positive with me and has wished me luck and happiness. "The club always treated me fairly.

"It has been an unbelievable experience for me and I will always remember it."

Despite their failure to add a single player during the summer transfer window, Spurs remain keen to trim their squad.

Defeat to Manchester United last weekend at Wembley leaves the Londoners seemingly handcuffed in the title race one more.

They now trail leaders Liverpool by nine points and have lost skipper Harry Kane until March with an ankle problem.

Spurs are 7/10 to win away at Fulham on Sunday, with the Cottagers 4/1 and the draw priced at 13/5.

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Pochettino reveals Kane fears

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted to being "worried" about the ankle injury Harry Kane picked up against Manchester United on Sunday.

The England international captain was left needing treatment on the pitch at the end of Spurs' 1-0 defeat to United at Wembley after he was caught on the ankle by Phil Jones.

Kane has been blighted by similar injury issues in the past two seasons and Pochettino revealed that he fears another possible lay-off for his influential striker.

The Argentinian, who also lost midfielder Moussa Sissoko to injury during the game and has Son Heung-min set to go away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup, said: "I think I am worried because we will see what happens with Harry Kane.

"I think Moussa is only a small thing but we will see, we need to assess Harry Kane.

"At the end I think he suffered a big tackle and twisted his ankle and now we need to assess him over the next few days, hoping it is not a big issue."

Spurs' defeat to United has left them nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool and 66/1 to win the title, while they remain 2/11 to secure a top-four finish.

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Eriksen needs ‘freedom’ to play

Mauricio Pochettino retains his faith in Christian Eriksen and insists he allows the Tottenham playmaker 'freedom' to play as he chooses.

Eriksen has yet to agree a new deal with Spurs, though his manager is still of the opinion that he may commit his long-term future to north London.

Eriksen has 18 months left on his Spurs contract and chairman Daniel Levy is typically keen to secure his signature on an extension. As yet Eriksen has not put pen to paper.

"We hope that Christian can commit to the club with a long-term contract – but in football business it is about timings and negotiations," said Pochettino.

"He is ready to wait. Maybe sign this week, maybe sign in six months.

"For me, it is not a point to discuss. He is very committed with us and he is playing so well. He is a great player and I am so happy with him."

Spurs are 11/10 to beat Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday. The in-form Red Devils are 13/5 to maintain their perfect record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while the draw is 27/10.

Spurs are looking to win three consecutive top-flight meetings with Manchester United for the first time since 1960.

Eriksen, 9/1 to score first against United, will play without restraint, something Pochettino feels is vital to a player of his ilk.

"He is a special person and you need to give him some freedom on the pitch," he added.

"You cannot put him in a box to play, you need to give freedom and trust in him."

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Poch rules out new arrivals

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is not planning to make any new signings this month despite his team's hectic schedule.

Spurs are challenging for the Premier League title, have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League as well as the fourth round of the FA Cup and are involved in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals this month.

Lucas Moura will miss Tuesday's first-leg clash against Chelsea due to the knee injury he picked up in Friday's 7-0 FA Cup win at Tranmere and may also be forced to sit out Sunday's Premier League clash against Manchester United.

Eric Dier (appendicitis) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are also currently sidelined, while Son Heung-min is set to join the South Korea squad for the Asian Cup.

However, Pochettino is happy with the depth of his squad, saying: "I don't expect to add players. Of course, if we have the possibility to add the right player, we are going to try.

"The team is so strong in all the areas. I am happy and I know that it's very difficult for the club to add the quality to improve us, it's not an easy job."

Erik Lamela could feature against Chelsea on Tuesday after recovering from an illness.

Meanwhile, Pochettino has indicated that he would like to spend the rest of his managerial career at Spurs.

The Argentine has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid but insists he is happy at Spurs and would like to emulate Arsene Wenger's longevity at north London rivals Arsenal.

"I hope, or I wish, to be here 20 years and decide to leave or to finish my career here," he added.

"I am so focused here. It would be fantastic. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to work in that pressure. Why not?"

Spurs, 16/1 to win the Premier League title this season and 7/2 to win the Carabao Cup, are 17/2 to beat Chelsea 1-0 on Tuesday and 6/5 to qualify for the final.

EFL Cup: Two Hungry Coaches Hunt for Silver

Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea

Spurs hosts Chelsea in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday night, and this is a game both clubs desperately want to win.

The two coaches, Mauricio Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri, know this is a great chance to challenge for the first available silverware this year. And that would be a big breakthrough for both Poch and Sarri, neither of whom has held a trophy aloft as a manager.

Of course, the big EFL Cup 2019 news is the astonishing charge to the semi-finals by League 1 outfit Burton Albion, which in turn means that the EFL Cup betting odds are weighed in favour of Manchester City, with the assumption that the Sky Blues can overcome Nigel Clough’s minnows. Spurs and Chelsea can dream that Burton might be able to turn over the Premier League champions over two legs, but then they’ll both be happy to take their chances in a cup final against Pep Guardiola’s superstars.

So there will be no quarter given when they meet at Wembley Stadium.

Talking points

Can Harry Kane make it to EFL Cup 2019 news as Tottneham Hotspur clash against Chelsea?

Harry Kane has had a hand in goals in his last eight games for Spurs

Spurs genuinely fighting on four fronts

Mauricio Pochettino isn’t sticking all his eggs in one basket in his search for silverware at Spurs. But he’d dearly love to open his account with the EFL Cup after his side beat North London rivals Arsenal in the quarter finals to set up this chance.

This cup is the first available in English football’s calendar but Poch has his eyes on three other tournaments. His team is still in EPL contention after Manchester City’s wobble and subsequent win over Liverpool. And Spurs has a mouth-watering Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund to look forward to. And then they have safely navigated through to the fourth round of the FA Cup. They played a weakened side in the third round but Harry Kane and man-of-the-match Heung-Min Son both scored in their annihilation of Tranmere Rovers. That meant Kane has contributed a goal or assist in each of Spurs’ last eight games.  Meanwhile the in-form Son is the club’s top scorer in the EFL Cup with three goals.

They have worked hard to get to this semi-final, beating three Premier League teams on the way, Watford on penalties and then West Ham and Arsenal. This could be Spurs best chance to land a trophy for the first time since 2008

Can Callum Hudson-Odoi helped Chelsea upset us odds and win in Wembley Stadium?

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been in good form for the Blues, creating both goals in the FA Cup

Sarri yearns for silverware too

The Blues had a rather sterner test in the weekend’s FA Cup third round, overcoming a talented Nottingham Forest side 2-0, while the early window signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund has delighted Blues fans.

But Sarri has his problems up front where all too much weight has been on the shoulders of Eden Hazard. N’Golo Kante was the unlikely goal hero in Chelsea’s recent league win over Crystal Palace, and goals have not been flowing at the Bridge in recent weeks with only six goals in the last six games.

The former Napoli boss has made a big impression on his arrival in the Premier League but the fact remains that that in his time in Naples, and as head coach of Empoli he didn’t win anything.

The Blues have had a tough ride on the way to the semi-finals, beating Liverpool, Bournemouth and Championship big guns Derby County. Sarri is likely to call on Callum Hudson-Odoi to provide a creative threat. The youngster has been the subject of transfer speculation but has done his talking on the pitch, creating both goals for Alvaro Morata in the win over Nottingham Forest.

He looks a real prospect for the future, but could be one for Sarri’s present.

History

When we look at Chelsea’s recent difficulty in scoring goals then a quick glance at Spurs’ form will tell us they have no such worries, bagging a massive 26 in the last six games, including five against Bournemouth and six against Everton over the festive period.

Chelsea has won 20 of the 57 matches between these two London giants since 1993, with 19 draws and just eight wins for Spurs. But Pochettino’s team is much better than its predecessors and has won the last two against Chelsea, both in the league and both by convincing 3-1 score lines.

Spurs looks more like the form team at present, but Chelsea hasn’t lost in four and is on a winning run of three away from home.

Let’s take a look at the us odds to find the value in this epic clash.

Betting tip

??
Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea Draw 1×2 @ 3.30
January 9, 04:00 (GMT+8)

With Spurs at 2.14 and Chelsea at odds of 3.20, the draw is statistically the least likely result, but I expect the Blues to fight tooth and nail to keep the tie in the balance at the Wembley Stadium.

The most likely result of all is 1-1 at odds of 5.80 and that could be a nice bonus if you agree.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Pochettino expects Blues battle

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino believes his side's Carabao Cup semi-final tie with Chelsea is a hard one to call ahead of the first leg at Wembley.

Spurs won the Premier League meeting of the London rivals at the same venue 3-1 back in late November, but Pochettino is not reading too much into that, while being hopeful that his side can earn an advantage to take into the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

He told reporters: "Chelsea is a great team, a team that will be tough to beat. The tie is 50-50.

"It will be a very exciting game and we hope to have the possibility to win and go to Stamford Bridge in a very good position.

"We're going to try, like the FA Cup, we're going to try to win. Every time Tottenham play it's always in my mind.

"We have a strong squad. It's not about playing one or another it's about the responsibility to win and tomorrow we are going to try to put the best starting XI out to win the first leg."

Pochettino has a number of players absent due to injury, with Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama definitely missing.

Erik Lamela has recovered from illness and could feature, but Lucas Moura has been ruled out due to a knee problem sustained in the 7-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Tranmere Rovers on Friday evening.

Tottenham can be backed at 5/4 to win the semi-final first leg on Tuesday evening and are 10/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with the Lilywhites 7/2 to go all the way and win the Carabao Cup this season.

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