Football Index

Spurs Defeat Shows Dortmund’s Lack Of Depth

 

Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League last 16 first leg was never going to be a game for the ages. Both teams were missing some of their best and most important players, meaning that Mauricio Pochettino and Lucien Favre had to give some reserves a chance on the biggest stage, while still keeping an eye on their respective leagues.

Spurs are on the edge of a title race in the Premier League, while Dortmund are on course to end Bayern Munich’s dominance in the Bundesliga and win their first title since 2012. Favre’s team are already out of the German Cup, meaning the Champions League is the only distraction from their main objective. After Wednesday night’s result at Wembley, it looks as if that distraction won’t be around for much longer.

The squad depth of both sides became evident as Spurs romped to a 3-0 win, leaving Dortmund with little or no chance in the second leg. They did put four goals past Atletico Madrid in the group stage earlier this season, but that was with a full-strength side, a luxury they no longer have. Even if they did progress, reaching the last eight or last four in Europe at the expense of the Bundesliga title would be eventually seen as failure.

Dortmund will need to call on all their squad for the German title race, but some of the fringe members failed to show they were up to the task when selected at Wembley. Christian Pulisic (£4.45) will leave the Westfalenstadion in the summer, but a trawl of Twitter during or after this match shows that a lot of BVB fans would like to see him join Chelsea even sooner.

The USMNT superstar has failed to live up to the hype this season in the Bundesliga, perhaps declining even further from an uninspiring season in 2017-18. Alongside Ousmane Dembele (£10.04) two seasons ago, he became the next big thing, but rather than progress, he has stagnated despite turning 20 in September. There is always the chance that he will kick on another level at Stamford Bridge, but Favre is unlikely to give him many more opportunities this season in Germany as once again he showed the same failings in his game that have long-been evident: poor decision-making, holding onto the ball too long, negating his defensive duties, and slowing down counter-attacks.

That malaise rubbed off on England wonder-kid Jadon Sancho (£12.65), who started brightly against Spurs but disappeared from the game in the second half as they found a way to deal with his attacking threat. Mario Gotze (£1.29) does everything that is asked of him, but was also anonymous in a false nine role, showing the need for a fit Paco Alcacer (£2.79) if Dortmund are to win the league title.

When the lineups were announced, BVB fans were excited to see Favre pick Mahmoud Dahoud (£1.24) in the Marco Reus (£2.86) role – nominally a number 10, but dropping back where needed to bring the ball out of midfield and support Axel Witsel (£2.35) and Thomas Delaney (£0.82) when not in possession. The 23-year-old has similar abilities to Reus (albeit nowhere near the same level), but looked like someone who had forgotten his lines rather than his understudy. He was busy, but offered nothing in attack and is not the type of game-changer needed to win trophies.

As well as Reus and Alcacer, Julian Weigl (£1.43) and Lukasz Piszczek (£1.28) missed the trip to London, and while neither are guaranteed starters when everyone is fit, would have offered better options for Favre than the team that took to the pitch at Wembley. Weigl has impressed despite being made to play at centre-back due to the long-term absence of Manuel Akanji (£2.68), while Piszczek is the type of experienced character needed on and off the pitch for big games.

Dortmund still lead the Bundesliga by five points, but Favre needs his preferred players to be fit for the run-in as Wednesday proved that the backups are just not up to scratch.

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Football Index

Dortmund v Spurs – Six Players Who Could Make The Difference

 

When the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League was made, everybody analysed the fixture list to predict which teams would progress to the quarter-finals. Some of the games looked pretty obvious on paper, with Schalke expected to just roll over for Premier League champions Manchester City. However, there was one game that stood out, simply because nobody could predict the winner.

Tottenham Hotspur take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, having faced each other in Europe in 2016 and 2017. In the Europa League last 16 in 2015-16, Dortmund won 5-1 on aggregate, with the Champions League group matches in 2017-18 finishing 3-1 and 2-1 in Spurs’ favour.

This is the third time they have been drawn against each other, and like the previous encounters, anyone could win. Both sides have injury worries over key players, meaning that the ties could be decided by someone other than the club’s top scorers. Here are three players from each side who could decide who goes through to the quarter-finals.

Christian Eriksen (£4.76)

The Denmark international will be tasked with being Spurs’ main creator, especially with Dele Alli sidelined through a hamstring injury. Eriksen has long been linked with a move away from Tottenham, but his best chance of successfully moving to the likes of Real Madrid is through standout performances in the Champions League.

Son Heung-min (£4.09)

Tottenham’s in-form player this season was hugely missed while on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup but picked up where he left off when he returned to club action.

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FootballIndex Futures

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 26, is set to sign a contract extension at Tottenham. (Evening Standard)

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 26, is set to sign a contract extension at Tottenham. (Evening Standard)

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Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in signing Barcelona striker Malcom, 21, with the Brazilian getting limited playing time at the Nou Camp. (Mundo Deportivo via Mirror)

Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in signing Barcelona striker Malcom, 21, with the Brazilian getting limited playing time at the Nou Camp. (Mundo Deportivo via Mirror)

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Talk Sport

Transfer news: Manchester United and Tottenham face battle with Juventus for Serie A star Nikola Milenkovic

Manchester United and Tottenham will be challenged by Juventus for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, say reports in Italy.

The 21-year-old only arrived in Florence at the start of last season and went on to play 16 times in Serie A.

Fiorentina star Nikola Milenkovic clears the ball against Lazio.

 

He is yet to miss a minute of their 10 league games so far this campaign and has impressed with a series of solid displays at both centre-back and right-back.

Now Fiorentina are bracing themselves for offers with United and Tottenham reportedly keen on luring him to England.

Both Premier League sides are in the market for a new defender and they have ear-marked Milenkovic as a star of the future.

Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic in action.
 

But, according to Tuttosport, Juventus have also joined the race to sign the Serbian as they attempt to sign a long-term successor for 37-year-old Andrea Barzagli.

Ajax teen Matthijs de Ligt is also on their list but it has been suggested that Milenkovic could come cheaper than the £45m-rated Dutchman.


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Talk Sport

Transfer gossip: Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona and Manchester City eyeing January transfer for Ajax superstar Frenkie De Jong

Frankie De Jong could be set for a January move from Ajax, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur circling.

The 21-year-old is one of the hottest properties in world football after a series of sterling performances in the Eredivisie.

De Jong is a full Netherlands international, despite his tender years

 

According to the Daily Star, City are considering smashing their current transfer record to get De Jong. However, they are one of a number of clubs who have been keeping close tabs on his situation.

It was initially thought Ajax would not consider selling until the end of the season.

But now Voetbal International has claimed De Jong has not yet ruled out a January departure.

It appears that much will depend on how far Ajax go in the Champions League.

The Dutch club are currently top of Group E, level on points with Bayern Munich, with three games left to play and look on course to progress to the next stage.

However, should they fail to make it into the knock-out stages it has been suggested that De Jong may consider his options.

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Talk Sport

Transfer news: Liverpool and Tottenham monitor Lazio defender Adam Marusic

Lazio defender Adam Marusic is being monitored by Premier League sides Liverpool and Tottenham, according to reports in Italy.

Since joinging the Serie A side from Belgian club KV Oostende in 2017, he’s made 41 and overall impressed those watching.

Adam Marusic in action for Lazio.

 

And his performances have not gone unnoticed across Europe with a number of clubs well aware of his progress in Italy.

The Montenegrin, who is used mainly as a right wing-back, is on the radars of Liverpool and Spurs, who have both been linked with moves.

Meanwhile Borussia Dortmund have also monitored Marusic over recent months and they may firm up their interest with a bid in January.

However, with his contract not set to expire in 2022, Lazio are under no pressure to sell and it would take a hefty bid to prise him away from the Stadio Olimpico.

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Talk Sport

Tottenham Hotspur transfer news: Manchester United, Liverpool and West Ham United linked with shock move for Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama has emerged as a shock transfer target for a host of Premier League clubs after losing his place in the Tottenham Hotspur midfield.

The Kenya international was a regular for Mauricio Pochettino’s men during his first season at the club after joining from Southampton in 2016.

Wanyama protects the ball from Lionel Messi
 

However, a succession of injuries have seen Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier form a solid base for Spurs in his place, with Moussa Sissoko even proving to be a reliable option from the bench.

According to the betting market, Manchester United are leading the way at a price of 8/1 to sign the 27-year-old, followed by Liverpool at 10/1.

Betfair Spokesperson Katie Baylis told The Sun: “With Wanyama tipped to leave Spurs in January, speculation is now turning to where he could move to.

“There is apparent interest from the likes of United, City and Liverpool and we have United as the favourite at 8/1 ahead of Liverpool at 10/1 and City more of a long shot at 33/1.

Wanyama was more of a squad player for Spurs in the 2017/18 season
 

“As the deadline approaches though and we expect to see more of that interest firm up.”

According to Football Insider however, London rivals West Ham United are thought to be keen to bring in the Kenya captain as new boss Manuel Pellegrini is thought to be unsatisfied with his options in midfield.

On Saturday evening, the Hammers partnered winger Robert Snodgrass in midfield with 19-year-old centre half Declan Rice after club captain Mark Noble saw red for an atrocious tackle.

Although Spurs are unlikely to allow a rival club to snap up one of their players, the possibility of first team football may prove too enticing for Wanyama to turn down.

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FootballIndex Futures

Real Madrid want Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager by the end of next month. The Spanish giants sacked Julen Lopetegui after just four and a half months in charge on Monday. (Sun)

Real Madrid want Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager by the end of next month. The Spanish giants sacked Julen Lopetegui after just four and a half months in charge on Monday. (Sun)

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Talk Sport

Tottenham Hotspur transfer news: Spurs linked with Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana

Tottenham are interested in Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, according to reports.

Onana, the Cameroon international, has established himself as a promising stopper over the past couple of seasons, making over 100 appearances for Ajax since debuting for the Dutch outfit in August 2016.

Onana has enjoyed a remarkable season in goal for Ajax
 

A former Barcelona trainee, Onana’s form at club level has seen him called up by his nation, with the first of his six senior caps won just a month after he first appeared in the Eredivisie.

There was serious interest in Onana earlier this year, but Ajax refused to let the 22-year-old leave.

Marseille were reported to be his keenest admirers – and they are expected to return for Onana when the transfer window reopens in January – while there was also interest from Spain.

Ajax’s refusal to entertain Onana’s sale came a few months after he told Goal he would leave Amsterdam if a bigger club comes calling for him.

And now Spurs have entered the race for Onana, according to VI.

It is believed Tottenham will be looking to sign a new goalkeeper in the near future amid Hugo Lloris’ apparent decline and questions over Michel Vorm’s quality at the highest level, though it is unknown whether Onana is being targeted by the Lilywhites as a first or second-choice keeper.

The lone Champions League goal Onana has conceded this season came in Ajax’s 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich
 

Onana has performed superbly this season, conceding just nine goals in 19 matches in all competitions. Remarkably, the young shot stopper has kept eight clean sheets in Ajax’s 10 league matches, though the Amsterdam outfit remain five points behind PSV Eindhoven in the race for the Eredivisie title.

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