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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Dier: Spurs must cope without Kane

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier says he and his colleagues have to do their utmost to negate the loss to injury of star striker Harry Kane.

England captain Kane is expected back in action sometime in March, having sustained ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

The first game he missed saw Spurs score right at the death to win 2-1 at Fulham on Sunday, with Dier insisting that the absence of Kane has to be put to one side while there are on-field matters to take care of.

He told Sky Sports: "It's not a question of if we can cope without Harry or not. Harry's one of the best strikers in the world, any team would feel the loss if he wasn't playing, so we have to find a solution and move on.

"Harry will be doing his best to get back as soon as possible and it's down to the team and the squad to rally and carry on."

Tottenham are currently priced at 2/9 to finish in the Premier League top four this season, while they are 8/1 to lift the FA Cup.

Meanwhile, England boss Gareth Southgate expects Kane to be pushing hard to return to action as soon as possible.

He added: "It's a disappointment for any player to miss matches and Harry especially wants to be available for every game and have the opportunity to score in every game.

"Knowing his mindset, there'll be a calendar on the wall and he'll be making sure he gets back ahead of where people are predicting he can be back."

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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.

EFL Cup: Get Ready for Fireworks at The Bridge!

Chelsea vs (0-1 on agg.) Tottenham Hotspur

It can be difficult for any football manager to motivate his multi-million pound players.

Just ask Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri right now.

What better way, though,than to be inspired by the chance of a trip to Wembley for a cup final.

That is the incentive facing the west Londoners as they welcome Spurs to Stamford Bridge in the EFL Cup.

Trailing 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg– ironically at Wembley –there is work to be done.

But after losing to a dubious VAR determined goal and up against opponents missing key players, they have a chance to exact revenge.

Talking Points

Chelsea were certainly very much second best during their trip to North London at the weekend.

The exasperated Sarri’s post-match comments were emphatically clear as he aimed a stinging rebuke at the attitude of some of his players.

Given that Chelsea have only won two of their past five matches and are now just three points clear of Arsenal in fifth and sixth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League, Sarri will justifiably feel some of his stars owe him a performance.

Given that they also trail to what they feel was an unfair decision, should arguably have returned from the first leg with parity and are now up against a Spurs side missing key men in the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min at the Asian Cup, those players should not need extra motivation as they bid to book a place in next month’s final.

They could have a boost with a new arrival with Gonzalo Higuain reportedly on the verge of signing on loan for the remainder of the season.

If he does join the ranks of SW6, it will certainly improve an attack which has lost some of its potency in recent weeks with Olivier Giroud mainly consigned to the bench and the under-performing Alvaro Morata having returned to Spain by signing on loan for Atletico Madrid.

Can Maurizio Sarri achieve a positive EFL Cup 2019 news despite Spurs winning the first leg

Maurizio Sarri is under pressure to qualify Chelsea into the finals

Higuain, who Sarri worked with at Napoli, will need little introduction to where the goal is as us fans will know, even if he has cut a frustrated figure during his time in Italy so far this term.

His arrival would provide one of the EFL Cup 2019 news stories but, more importantly, this tie offers a genuine chance for both sides to move closer to securing silverware, especially as their Premier League title hopes have evaporated.

It’s fair to say when the stakes are high, these teams often produce some of their most feisty clashes.

There have been many over the years with Chelsea generally holding the upper hand, until recently.

With Manchester City lying in wait for the winners, the EFL Cup 2019 should be quite a spectacle.

The only question now, looking at the EFL Cup 2019 betting odds, is who do you back?

History

After holding a hoodoo over Spurs for so long, Chelsea have struggled in recent years against their London rivals.

Spurs have won four of their last six meetings with Kane on target in both the first leg of this semi-final and the 3-1 league success in November, Sarri’s first defeat in the Premier League.

They also won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last season – their first success in 31 visits to Stamford Bridge in all competitions since February 1990.

Overall, Chelsea have triumphed in 68 of their meetings with Spurs enjoying victory 54 times and 40 matches ending all square.

When they met in the EFL Cup Final in 2015, Chelsea were 2-0 winners, thanks to goals from John Terry and Diego Costa.

Yet go back to the 2008 final and Spurs prevailed 2-1 in extra-time when a Didier Drogba opener was cancelled out by goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathan Woodgate – the first final played at the new Wembley Stadium.

Betting Tip

??
Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur 1X2 Draw @ 3.70
January 25 03:45 (GMT+8)

Chelsea are firmer favourites than you would expect.

1X2 has them priced @ 1.70 with Spurs out @ 4.50 and the draw @ 3.70.

Asian Handicap betting favours the home side -0.50 @ 1.74 and Spurs +0.50 @ 2.21.

Double Chance Spurs or draw @ 2.04 is worth a punt and, if it’s tight defensively on what may be a tense night, the bet of under 2.50 goals @ 2.05 may grab your attention.

So which team will advance to the next round and the February 24 final?

Odds have Spurs @ 1.70 and Chelsea 0.00 @ 2.28.

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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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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Sarri blasts Blues mentality

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri admitted to huge concerns about the mentality of his team after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to top-four rivals Arsenal.

The Blues are still in fourth place in the Premier League standings, but both the Gunners and a resurgent Manchester United are just three points behind the Blues, with Sarri warning that he expects a lot more from his squad.

He told reporters: "The fact of the matter is it appears this group of players are extremely difficult to motivate.

"It seems to me that, as a group of players, they're not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view. They don't have that ferocity in their mentality.

"It's something that is difficult to change. You have to try and influence their mentality and it could take quite a long time.

"By the same token, it could be changed with a new player coming in, or by one of the old heads in the team assuming more responsibility and driving the rest of the team forward."

Chelsea are back in action on Thursday evening when they host Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final, with Spurs holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of the tie.

The Blues can be backed at 7/1 to win the Stamford Bridge clash 2-0 in 90 minutes and are 21/20 to reach the Wembley final, with Chelsea 5/1 to go all the way and lift the Carabao Cup this season.

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Pochettino looks to Messi for inspiration

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he has looked at Lionel Messi for inspiration as he plans his attack for Sunday's encounter with Fulham.

Spurs are preparing to face Claudio Ranieri's side in the Premier League on Sunday, with Tottenham determined to start finding that winning formula once again.

They will have to do so without striker Harry Kane after the England striker suffered ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United.

With Heung-Min Son away at the Asian Cup, Fernando Llorente has been tipped to play a key role in the coming weeks, as the only recognised experienced striker at the club.

However, Pochettino feels other players can also fill the role and has admitted he has taken inspiration from the Barcelona superstar Messi.

"Yesterday I was watching Barcelona [against Levante] and the striker was Leo Messi," said Pochettino.

"You can play Llorente, you can play Dele Alli, you can play Erik Lamela, you can play [youngsters] Kazaiah Sterling, Troy Parrott, I don't know.

"You can play many, many players. It's not that you have to play one specific striker."

Tottenham are 8/11 to win, 11/4 to draw and 9/2 to lose to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

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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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Spurs confirm Kane absence

Tottenham have confirmed that Harry Kane is expected to be sidelined until March with an ankle injury.

The striker went down in the final stages of Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United and limped off the field at full time.

Mauricio Pochettino was coy on the issue when quizzed after the match and following tests, the club have confirmed the extent of the injury.

A statement on Tottenham's website read: "Following preliminary assessments, we can confirm that Harry Kane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle, sustained during Sunday's match against Manchester United.

"The striker will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as he commences rehabilitation and is expected to return to training in early March."

Spurs sit third in the table, nine points behind leaders Liverpool and the news comes as a further blow, with Son Heung-min now away at the Asian Cup.

The club were considering selling both Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, however, Pochettino may have to perform a U-turn on his opinion of the pair.

Kane, who has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season, looks set to miss both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund, with Spurs 1/1 to qualify.

The England captain will also be absent for the EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea on 24th January, while the Premier League fixtures against Arsenal and the aforementioned Blues are also expected to come too soon for him.

Tottenham are 3/1 to win the EFL Cup, while they can be backed at 7/1 to lift the FA Cup.

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