Antonio Conte urged Tottenham bosses to heed his transfer advice as Harry Kane declared the club must "take advantage" of having the Italian at the helm.

Since Conte came to Spurs in early November, the team have had five clean sheets in nine Premier League games and prised 21 points from a possible 27 to hurtle up the table.

The improvement has been dramatic compared to the unsteady start to the season under Nuno Espirito Santo, and transfer windows are when Conte can make further modifications to the squad he inherited.

Tanguy Ndombele could be on his way to Paris Saint-Germain on loan, and Conte has identified talent he wants to bring to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"Honestly, I prefer to speak about this topic always with the club," said Conte on Friday. "For sure, I made an evaluation about the squad, but I have spoken to the club and I hope the club listen to me."

The former Inter boss delivered a Serie A title after he was backed in the transfer market, being able to sign the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and Christian Eriksen.

"I think it is important for every club to win trophies, and at the same time you have to understand if you are ready to win," said Conte. 

"Every club could say, 'Yeah, I want to win trophies', but then you have to understand very well what is your point, where you are and then the path that you have to follow to try to be competitive and win.

"It is too simple to say that this team or another team want to win. One team wins, and the others seek to win. I know this because if you win you write the history and if you don't win, you played for a team that don't write the history."

On Sunday, Tottenham face a Chelsea team who wrote themselves into the history books last season, when winning the Champions League. They also knocked Tottenham out of the EFL Cup after home and away victories in the semi-finals earlier this month.

Spurs go into the game buoyed by news of a new two-year contract for captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, described by Conte on Friday as "a point of reference for the whole club and also a point of reference for me".

Kane unquestionably falls into that category too, with the England captain beginning to find some form this term after a dismally slow start to the campaign.

Since Conte came in on November 2, Kane has scored four Premier League goals in nine outings, although he should probably have more, given his expected goals (xG) tally stands at 6.19 over that period.

That is based on the quality of chances he has had, with Kane having had more shots (41) than any other Premier League player in this time. He has found the target with 15 of those attempts, while two have hit the woodwork.

Kane believes Conte is the boss who can lead Tottenham to the success they crave.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Kane said: "He's one of the best managers in the world. We've not really reached the heights we've wanted to as a club over the last couple of years. It's a big opportunity now to take advantage of what we've got.

"He's a manager that demands a lot. He's doing everything he can and as players we've responded really well to him and everyone's working as hard as possible to get success. That's the ultimate goal for everyone here at the club.

"If you don't get one or two things right then you can really fall behind the pack and that's kind of happened to us. So we need to be careful that we don't keep falling."

Wolves' Adama Traore and Sevilla's Diego Carlos are among the players recently linked with Tottenham.

Tottenham face a tall order at Stamford Bridge, having lost five of their last six league games against Chelsea, drawing the other. Indeed, Tottenham have won just one of their last 31 away league games against Chelsea (D10 L20), a 3-1 success in April 2018 when Conte was in charge of the Blues.

Chelsea appear to have Tottenham's number this season, beating them in their first Premier League meeting of the campaign before the recent cup double.

The last Premier League team to win four games against an opponent in a single campaign were Manchester City against West Ham in 2013-14, while the last to win three games in the same month against an opponent were Aston Villa against Blackburn Rovers in January 2010.

Chelsea could match those feats on Sunday, though of course Conte will be battling to make history.

No manager or head coach to have previously taken charge of Chelsea in the Premier League has won against the Blues at Stamford Bridge in the competition (D7 L13). Conte will be the eighth such boss to try to crack the code.

Steven Bergwijn scored a stunning double deep into stoppage time as Tottenham snatched a 3-2 Premier League win at Leicester City on Wednesday.

Patson Daka put the Foxes in front against the run of play in a thrilling contest on Wednesday, but Harry Kane's 250th club goal of his career brought Spurs level in a pulsating first half.

James Maddison looked to have consigned Antonio Conte to a first top-flight defeat as Spurs boss when he restored Leicester's lead 14 minutes from time.

Bergwijn had other ideas, coming off the bench to strike twice with time running out to move Spurs above fierce rivals Arsenal into fifth place.

 

Harry Kane scored the 250th club goal of his career to equalise for Tottenham in their Premier League game at Leicester City on Wednesday.

Kane had a shot cleared off the line by Luke Thomas and headed against the crossbar before Patson Daka put the Foxes in front against the run of play.

England captain Kane was not to be denied his landmark goal seven minutes before half-time, taking a pass from Harry Winks and beating Caglar Soyuncu before tucking a left-foot shot in off the post.

His 250th goal came 10 years and 362 days after his first in club football for Leyton Orient, while this was the 15th past Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel at club level.

Kane has scored more goals against Leicester, where he spent a loan spell in 2013, in all competitions than any other side, with 18 in 17 matches.

Tottenham survived a huge scare at home to third-tier strugglers Morecambe as they came from behind to win 3-1 and advance to round four of the FA Cup. 

Antonio Conte fielded an unfamiliar XI that showed eight changes from the midweek EFL Cup loss to Chelsea, and Spurs went behind to Anthony O'Connor's close-range finish.

Spurs boss Conte, who has reached the final in his only two previous seasons in the competition, turned to Harry Kane and Lucas Moura with a little over 20 minutes remaining. 

Tottenham levelled soon after through Harry Winks' fortuitous free-kick and Lucas completed the comeback in the 85th minute, before Kane netted to seal a nervy passage through.

Matt Doherty, one of three Spurs players to retain his place in the side along with Ben Davies and Japhet Tanganga, headed against the post from an acute angle in a lively start.

But Tottenham found themselves behind after 33 minutes when visiting captain O'Connor volleyed Alfie McCalmont's inswinging corner past Pierluigi Gollini from six yards.

Spurs were booed off at the break but Conte held off from introducing Kane for the hosts, who went close through a flicked Dele Alli shot that Trevor Carson superbly tipped over.

Ryan Sessegnon then dragged wide from a good position, after Alli's penalty appeals were waved away, prompting Conte to bring on Kane, Lucas and Oliver Skipp.

That sparked some life into the home side, with Carson misjudging Winks' free-kick from close to the left touchline as Spurs levelled.

Lucas put Tottenham in front for the first time when the Brazilian caught Ryan McLaughlin in possession, raced clear and rounded Carson for a simple finish into an empty net.

Kane, who missed a great headed chance prior to Lucas' crucial goal, added a third for Spurs with a smart finish away from the despairing Morecambe goalkeeper's reach.

Antonio Conte labelled his Tottenham appointment as a signal of intent to their competitors and to Harry Kane.

Kane endured a tough start to the 2021-22 campaign, scoring just one goal in his first 13 league games after seemingly having his head turned amid interest from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Spurs, without their talisman Kane firing, suffered in the league and were ninth after five top-flight losses in seven games before the former Inter head coach took charge in the wake of Nuno Espirito Santo's sacking.

They have since appeared revitalised under Conte, who set and then extended a club record as he remains unbeaten in his opening eight league games.

It is a run which has propelled Tottenham to sixth, two points behind fourth-placed rivals Arsenal while still boasting two games in hand.

Kane has also started to find the net, managing three goals in his last four Premier League games, and Conte outlined how Spurs' standpoint with their striker during the interest from City displayed their desire to build something special.

"I followed the situation about Harry and I have seen what happened and what could happen," he said. "The club decided to keep Harry in the team and it was a great choice of the owner. 

"You are showing you want to continue to build something important around one of the best players in the team.

"Harry is a player of Tottenham and continues to be one of the best in the team. He's a point of reference in the dressing room.

"I think Tottenham wanted to bring me here to send a signal outside and also to our players."

The England captain has won the Premier League Golden Boot award three times but has never lifted any trophies with Spurs during his time at the club.

Questions have been raised as to whether the striker will chase silverware and leave his boyhood club, though Conte feels he understands why Kane is yet to move on.

"Yeah I understand Harry's situation because for sure when you finish your career you can see your appearances and the team where you played but at the same time it's right also to see what you have won," he continued. 

"I think that this is important for top players because sometimes it happens that important players finish their career with a couple of titles and others below them have more.

"We are talking about a really good person and a good man. This is the most important thing, I knew the situation in the summer but then when Harry decided to stay I had found a player totally involved in the project. 

"I'm happy to have him in my team, we're talking about a top player and a top striker. He knows well my opinion but I repeat I'm very happy to work with him."

 

Conte will be hoping Kane can blast Spurs past his former side Chelsea in the EFL Cup semi-final when the first leg takes place on Wednesday.

Both of Conte's previous two losses in the competition have come against London sides, losing to West Ham in 2016-17 and to Arsenal over two legs in the 2017-18 semi-final.

While Spurs have progressed from six of their last eight EFL Cup semi-final ties, Conte believes there is a sizeable rebuilding job to do after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2018-19.

"I have to be honest, if we have to compare this Tottenham and in the past I think in the past Tottenham was a team with many players with more experience in the league," he added.

"They had good momentum in the past to try and win something. Now, I think we're in a moment when we're starting again.

"We lost many players and now there are young players you have to wait. To get the right mentality, to win, you must have the right mentality. 

"It means you must be focused every day. You have to think football more than two or three hours in your day.

"You make yourself to be a winner but you need time and people that transfer you the right sensation and thoughts every day - but you need time.

"I think Mauricio did a fantastic job as he took a group of young players and they grew and became a contender for the title. I remember at Chelsea they fought until the end with us and Leicester [City]. 

"The level now has dropped a bit as players left and now we have to try to have the time and patience to build again a good situation."

Liverpool suffered a major blow to their title hopes when they stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City.

Ademola Lookman scored, netting in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time in his career, having grabbed a goal in the 6-3 Boxing Day defeat at Manchester City.

The former Everton player's contribution, after a rare penalty miss from Mohamed Salah, means City's lead in the title race stands at six points at the halfway stage in the season.

West Ham and Crystal Palace also won on Tuesday, while Southampton battled for a point against Tottenham.

After a big result in the context of the title race, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of Tuesday's Opta data.

Leicester City 1-0 Liverpool: Salah miss hurts as ex-Everton man Lookman sinks Reds

After converting 15 consecutive Premier League penalties, Salah missed at Leicester, and it was that kind of frustrating game for Liverpool.

It was just Salah's second ever miss from the spot in the English top flight and his first since October 2017 against Huddersfield Town. From then on, he had been immaculate, so when Kasper Schmeichel pulled off a save at the King Power Stadium it was a major surprise. Having said that, since the start of 2020, Schmeichel has saved more penalties in the Premier League than any other goalkeeper, with the latest stop his third in this period.

The result was also a major turn up, Leicester winning consecutive league matches against Liverpool for the first time since April 1999, thanks to Lookman's second-half strike.

Liverpool failed to score for the first time in 29 Premier League games and for the first time in 28 away fixtures across all competitions, as Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers celebrated a big win against one of his former clubs.

The Reds had been unbeaten in 35 December games since a 4-3 loss to Bournemouth in 2016, but their year ends on a negative note.

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham: Kane scores again but Spurs denied a winner

Tottenham's Harry Kane has made a habit of getting the better of Southampton's defence during his stellar career, but this time he had to settle for a penalty equaliser at St Mary's Stadium. By firing past Fraser Forster to level up after James Ward-Prowse's opener, Kane ensured Antonio Conte became the first Tottenham manager to go unbeaten in the first seven league games of a Spurs career.

Kane has now been directly involved in 17 goals in 12 Premier League starts against Southampton (11 goals, six assists), and he was only denied a winner by a controversial VAR offside call.

A fine early strike from Ward-Prowse gave the Saints midfielder a goal for a third successive game. The last time he scored in three straight matches was back in March 2019, and the third goal in that run also came against Spurs.

Perhaps Southampton fans were not expecting their team to hold on. After all, the last time they won their final game of a calendar year was all the way back in 2010, when they beat Huddersfield Town 4-1 in a League One fixture.

The dismissal of Mohammed Salisu, who fouled Son Heung-min to give away the penalty that Kane tucked away, certainly hurt Southampton. Indeed, since Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first Premier League game in charge of Southampton in December 2018, only Arsenal (13) have been shown more red cards in the competition than Saints (11).

Crystal Palace 3-0 Norwich: No Zaha, no Gallagher, no problem for Eagles

Wilfried Zaha was suspended and Conor Gallagher was also absent, but Palace were three goals to the good by half-time against bottom side Norwich.

It was Odsonne Edouard who stepped up to shine, scoring the home side's opening goal from the penalty spot before claiming assists as Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jeffrey Schlupp boosted the lead.

His three goal involvements followed the former Celtic striker having just four (three goals, one assist) across his previous 15 games in the Premier League.

Palace finished the day in 10th place and have impressed many under the leadership of manager Patrick Vieira, losing just once and scoring 18 goals in their 10 Premier League home games since the Frenchman came in, taking 17 points from those fixtures.

This was just Palace's fourth win in their last 25 games without star man Zaha (D3, L18), but they have not lost in their last five when he has been absent.

Norwich have conceded a league-high six penalties this season and have only scored eight goals in 19 games – the joint-lowest tally in a top-flight season after as many matches, alongside Leicester in 1977-78.

Watford 1-4 West Ham: Worrying times for Ranieri

Despite impressive wins over Everton and Manchester United early in Claudio Ranieri's reign, the Italian's Watford team are in trouble now after a fifth consecutive defeat.

An early opener here from Emmanuel Dennis was a red herring. Watford were mauled as Tomas Soucek, Said Benrahma, Mark Noble and Nikola Vlasic scored for the Hammers.

The result means West Ham won 22 Premier League games in 2021, and only in 1959 (23) have they enjoyed more top-flight league wins in a calendar year.

West Ham have also clawed back 12 points from losing positions this season, more than any other side.

Captain Noble netted the Hammers' third from the penalty spot, his first Premier League goal for 706 days since he scored in January 2020 against Leicester.

It was Noble's fifth successful penalty against Watford in the competition, with only the Premier League's record scorer Alan Shearer having put away more spot-kicks against a team in the competition, netting seven against Everton.

Tottenham extended their unbeaten Premier League start under Antonio Conte following a 1-1 draw with 10-man Southampton at St Mary's.

The in-form James Ward-Prowse put Saints ahead with a sweetly struck 16-yard shot in the 25th minute.

Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot 16 minutes later after Mohammed Salisu was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Spurs were also denied goals twice by offside rulings, as Conte became the first manager in the club's history to remain unbeaten through his first seven league games in charge.

Tottenham had lost their final league game in just one of the last 12 calendar years and thought they had taken the lead in the 14th minute, but Ben Davies' header from a Son Heung-min free-kick was ruled out for offside.

The hosts capitalised by breaking the deadlock as a long Salisu throw-in was only cleared as far as Ward-Prowse, who scored in a third consecutive Premier League match for the first time since March 2019.

But Salisu's joy at playing his part there was short-lived as he was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Son in the box, and Kane equalised with a thumping penalty for his 11th goal in 12 starts against Saints in the English top-flight.

An offside decision came to Southampton's rescue once more eight minutes after the restart, Kane fractionally straying beyond the last defender before clinically tucking away Harry Winks' throughball. A VAR decision came as the teams prepared for a restart in the centre circle.

The visitors controlled large periods of the second half, enjoying over 70 per cent of possession. They were unable to convert their numerical advantage into a winning goal, however, with Kane heading just wide in stoppage time and Bryan Gil thwarted by Fraser Forster.

Antonio Conte insisted he never doubted Harry Kane during the striker's dry spell of goals for Tottenham.

Kane, who has won the Premier League Golden Boot award on three occasions, managed just one goal in his opening 13 league games in the 2021-22 campaign, but new head coach Conte remained enthusiastic over his forward's qualities.

The England international has responded to that support by finding the net twice in his past two league games against Liverpool and Crystal Palace respectively.

Kane struck against Jurgen Klopp's side with his first home league goal since May and just his second of the season, before he again netted the opener against Palace on Sunday.

The latter strike was Kane's sixth consecutive Boxing Day appearance with a goal as he equalled Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals on the day after Christmas, and Conte claimed he always knew his forward would return to form.

"When I say that we have top players and for sure Harry is one of these," Conte told reporters.

"We are talking about a top-class striker, and I wasn't worried when he didn't score. And I know in every game we created chances and to have Harry is a good thing for me and therefore for my team.

"Now I repeat, we have to continue to work and improve the link also with the strikers, with the wing-backs, with the midfielders.

"We need to improve the confidence and to take more and more personality, to play football and to control the game more. 

"Sometimes we lose the control and I think a great team, a big team has to stay in every moment, into the game to understand what is happening."

Spurs have been reinvigorated under Conte, who became just the third Tottenham manager to remain unbeaten in his first six league games in charge after Jacques Santini in 2004-05 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14.

The former Inter head coach afforded Kane 25 minutes of rest in a dominant 3-0 win over 10-man Palace, but hinted at potentially rotating his other players ahead of Tuesday's trip to Southampton.

"It is not easy for us, for every team to play after 48 hours is not simple," he added.

"When you have this type of situation if you have a strong squad it's easier, because you can make rotation and try to give rest and have a fresher team. We will see tomorrow [Tuesday] because I want to understand the real physical condition of my squad.

"It's normal when you change many players that it's not simple. You can have a fresh team on one hand but on the other you can lose a bit of identity.

"We will try and make the best decision but it won't be easy."

Even numerous coronavirus-enforced cancellations could not stop the Premier League's Boxing Day schedule from delivering a mountain of goals.

Leaders Manchester City demolished Leeds United 7-0 earlier in December before a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle and followed that up with a nine-goal thriller against Leicester City.

Mikel Arteta's in-form Arsenal maintained their pursuit of a Champions League spot by smashing five past struggling Norwich City, while the reinvigorated Tottenham cruised past London rivals Crystal Palace.

Staying in the capital, West Ham's poor run of form continued in a 3-2 home loss to Southampton before Chelsea came from behind to defeat Aston Villa on the road.

After plenty of festive cheer across Sunday's top-flight action, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the Opta data.

Tottenham 3-0 Crystal Palace: Conte's deadly trio down sorry Eagles

Spurs had lost just one of their last 12 top-flight home games against Palace and continued that impressive run of form as Harry Kane equalled another record in a dominant 3-0 win.

Kane opened the scoring in the first half after Lucas Moura's set him up, netting in his sixth consecutive Boxing Day fixture as he equalled Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals on the day after Christmas.

Lucas added a second as he scored and assisted in the same top-flight game for the first time, with the Brazilian registering five goal involvements in his last five league games, as many as in his previous 23 matches in the competition.

Wilfried Zaha's first-half dismissal for two bookable offences compounded Palace's misery, the winger's fifth red card for the Eagles in all competitions - three more than any other player for the club since his debut in 2010.

Son Heung-min then scored his sixth goal in six home top-flight games against Palace, as Antonio Conte became just the third Spurs boss to go unbeaten in their first six league games after Jacques Santini in 2004-05 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14.

Manchester City 6-3 Leicester City: Citizens defeat Foxes in Boxing Day record thriller

City went down 5-2 in this fixture last season but triumphed in a 6-3 classic this time around, despite a spirited second-half fightback from Leicester, in the first Premier League game on Boxing Day to see as many as nine goals.

Kevin de Bruyne netted first and has now scored in five of his last six league starts at the Etihad Stadium, before Riyad Mahrez scored in his fourth consecutive appearance for the first time since he moved to England in 2014 as he converted from the spot.

Raheem Sterling, who has won the most penalties by any player in Premier League history (22), rolled another spot-kick in, while Ilkay Gundogan was on target as Leicester went 4-0 down inside 25 minutes for the first time in the top flight since Watford did so against City in 2019.

Leicester reduced the deficit after the interval as James Maddison found the net for the fourth time in his last five top-flight appearances before loanee Ademola Lookman finished past Ederson.

Those two earlier goals were teed up by Kelechi Iheanacho, who assisted twice in a top-flight match for the first time before adding a goal of his own to make it 4-3.

However, Pep Guardiola's side confirmed victory with an Aymeric Laporte header and Sterling's second – City's 112th league goal in 2021, the most a team has netted in a year since Arsenal also scored 112 in 1963.

Norwich City 0-5 Arsenal: Saka at the double as Gunners equal away record

Bukayo Saka registered a brace as high-flying Arsenal ran riott in a 5-0 victory over Norwich, who have played more Premier League games on Boxing Day without ever winning than any other side in the competition (eight).

Saka struck his first after just six minutes before his second arrived after the hour mark. At 20 years and 112 days, he is the second-youngest player to score 10-plus Premier League goals for Arsenal, after Nicolas Anelka (19y 225d).

Kieran Tierney doubled the Gunners' lead in between Saka's pair of goals, with Martin Odegaard providing his second assist of the game – the Norway international has been involved in six goals in his last six league games, two more than he had in his first 25 appearances in the competition.

Alexandre Lacazette added a fourth, while Emile Smith Rowe scored after coming off the bench once again – his league-leading third goal as a substitute. No top-flight team have bettered Arsenal's five goals from substitutes this season.

Norwich were unable to find a way past Aaron Ramsdale as the Gunners registered their joint-biggest margin of victory away from home in a Premier League match, while scoring four-plus goals in consecutive away league games for the first time since 2009.

Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea: Jorginho penalty brace seals Blues comeback triumph

Chelsea have stuttered in recent weeks but returned to winning ways as a Jorginho brace ensured they came from behind to defeat Aston Villa 3-1.

Reece James inadvertently flicked into his own net as Villa were gifted an own goal by Chelsea in the Premier League for only the second time, after Frank Sinclair also turned past his own goalkeeper back in December 1994.

Jorginho soon restored parity from the spot after Matthew Cash had felled Callum Hudson-Odoi before substitute Romelu Lukaku headed the Blues into the lead with his ninth top-flight goal in 10 appearances against Villa.

Jorginho wrapped things up as he rolled in again from 12 yards, with his 17th Premier League strike from the spot. In fact, 89 per cent of his 19 goals have come from penalties, the highest such ratio of anyone with 10-plus goals in the competition’s history.

Since Thomas Tuchel's first game in charge in January, the Blues have scored more penalties than any other club in England's premier competition (12), with Jorginho netting 10 of these himself - more than any other club besides Chelsea in that period.

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte dismissed comparisons between his side and his previous reign at Chelsea as he insisted there is still "a big job to do" with Spurs.

Conte became just the third Spurs manager – after Jacques Santini in 2004 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14 – to remain unbeaten in their first six league games after a dominant 3-0 victory over 10-man Crystal Palace.

Harry Kane struck first as he scored in his sixth consecutive Boxing Day appearance to match Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals in games on 26th December.

Lucas Moura doubled the lead just two minutes later before Wilfried Zaha's needless dismissal for two bookable offences, with Son Heung-min sealing victory in the second half.

Spurs remain six points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal but boast three games in hand over their North London rivals. However, Conte refused to draw similarities between his current side and his former Chelsea team.

Asked whether Spurs were building similar momentum to how Chelsea did in their title-winning 2016-17 campaign, Conte responded "No, I think it's different. I don't like to compare different situations. 

"Also because there's too big a difference with my experience in the past. I remember very well I started the season and when you start the season you have the possibility to work with your players and to also make decisions about your players.

"This is different. For sure we have to continue to improve, to exploit the confidence that is going to improve us. We know very well, I know very well, we have a big job to do. It's good to get three points, to score three goals with your three strikers.

"It's good to keep another clean sheet. We have to work very hard to improve the situation."

Lucas scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time, with the Brazil forward registering five goal involvements in his last five appearances in the competition, as many as in his previous 23 matches in the competition.

Conte reserved special praise for Lucas, while outlining the room for improvement within right wing-back Emerson Royal's game.

"I'm happy because they have a good link and connection but for sure Emerson has big space for improvement," Conte said of his Brazil duo.

"Emerson is very young and he has to continue to work. In that side, to have Lucas Moura and this good connection could be good for the whole team.

"I think we have the strikers that are very good at receiving the ball and creating something important, to make assists. At the same time, we have very good strikers when they have space in front of us to attack.

"We're trying to improve both situations. When you find a team that stays in their half, you have to be good to use more quality.

"Not run but to use all your quality to make a good pass, to beat a man in a small space. But for us it's great to have these type of strikers. Steven Bergwijn is another player with these characteristics.

"We have to continue to work and continue this with the strikers. I'm happy today because they scored and they have to thank the rest of the team because they worked very hard to create chances. They scored and I am very happy for them."

Harry Kane continued his fantastic Boxing Day scoring record as Tottenham eased to a 3-0 win over 10-man Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Goals from Kane and Lucas Moura in quick succession put Spurs in command, the England captain netting in his sixth consecutive Boxing Day fixture to match Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals the day after Christmas.

Wilfried Zaha was then dismissed before half-time for two bookable offences and Son Heung-min added a third goal after the interval as Spurs cruised to three points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Victory means Spurs are unbeaten in six top-flight games since Antonio Conte's arrival, moving further into contention for a Champions League place with games in hand on those around them in pursuit of the top four.

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Son's long-range strike forced a smart save from Jack Butland, while Lucas inexplicably headed off target in a dominant opening from Conte's men.

Spurs deservedly took the lead when Kane fired into the bottom-left corner from Lucas' pass to cap a swift attacking move, with the Brazilian forward heading in a second just two minutes later following Emerson Royal's cross.

Zaha was then given his marching orders for two needless cautions, both for fouls on Davinson Sanchez, before the interval.

Kane deflected Son's corner just over after the break before the South Korea forward capped an excellent London derby performance from Spurs by flicking Lucas' delivery past Butland.

Christmas Day is a chance to ungracefully stuff our faces with turkey and all the trimmings, but top-flight footballers in England have to show some restraint. 

That's because Boxing Day football is a festive tradition, one where supporters can watch games with tighter-than-normal belt buckles. 

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic meant it was all a bit different last year, with the majority of supporters viewing the action from home – for a while, it looked like this year's action might be under threat as well.

Rightly or wrongly, Premier League clubs opted against shutting the competition down over Christmas despite a recent spate of postponements, meaning we get to look forward to gorging ourselves silly on Sunday – and then watch the football.

Consistently one of the more exciting dates on the Premier League calendar, Boxing Day is sure to entertain.

So, ahead of the 2021 games, take look at some of the best Boxing Day Opta facts from previous years.

NO FOWL PLAY FROM ROBBIE

Fowl – whether turkey, duck, pheasant or possibly even partridge – is a fixture for most dinner tables up and down the United Kingdom on Christmas Day, so perhaps it's rather apt that Robbie Fowl-er (we couldn't resist...) has the best record in terms of Premier League goals on December 26. 

The Liverpool legend has netted nine times on Boxing Day, one more than Newcastle United great Alan Shearer, ex-Tottenham striker Robbie Keane and current Spurs star Harry Kane – who is the highest scorer among active Premier League players on this day. 

Thierry Henry (seven) and Jermain Defoe (six) have also produced plenty of festive cheers in the past.


PUT ON YOUR CHRISTMAS HAT…TRICKS

Some players just love producing crackers at Christmas. 

The aforementioned Fowler is among those to have scored a hat-trick on Boxing Day, doing so for Leeds United against Bolton Wanderers back in 2001. 

Henry (2000 for Arsenal), Kevin Phillips (2000 for Sunderland), Dimitar Berbatov (2011 for Manchester United), Gareth Bale (2012 for Spurs) and Kane (2017 for Spurs) have also taken home belated presents in the form of a match ball.


A DEVIL ON TOP OF THE TREE?!

It is custom to place an angel, or perhaps a star, at the top of the Christmas tree. However, in terms of the Premier League Boxing Day table, there is a team of devils – Red Devils no less – in Manchester United (yes, a tenuous joke, but by this stage is there any point in apologising?) who sit firmly on top. 

When looking at teams to have played at least 10 Boxing Day fixtures in the Premier League, United have 67 points – 17 more than anyone else. They also boast the highest win rate, a rather impressive 77.8 per cent.

Liverpool (62.5 per cent), Arsenal (60.9 per cent), Tottenham (58.3 per cent), Manchester City (55 per cent) and Chelsea (44.4 per cent) all unsurprisingly feature highly.  

West Brom, at 8.3 per cent, have won just once in 12 Boxing Day fixtures in the Premier League, while Leicester City (13.3 per cent) and Fulham (14.3 per cent) have also struggled on the date.

BARRY A FESTIVE FIXTURE

For almost two full decades, Gareth Barry just loved getting his 'Claus' into a festive fixture (Claus, as in 'Santa Claus', not claws... get it?) 

The former Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Brom midfielder has played on Boxing Day in the Premier League on a whopping 18 occasions. 

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is not far behind on 17, with Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Aaron Hughes, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick and James Milner all on 14 – the latter of course still going strong with title-hopefuls Liverpool.


FIVE GOAL-D RINGS

The pun to headline this section is punishment enough, so we'll spare you a gag straight out of a Christmas cracker this time around. 

There have been seven occasions when a team has won by five goals on Boxing Day, which is the biggest margin of victory on the date in the Premier League era. 

Liverpool have done so twice (5-0 versus West Brom in 2004, then again when facing Swansea City in 2017), while Everton, West Ham, Manchester United and Spurs have also triumphed by the same scoreline. 

In 2000, Arsenal actually went one better than scoring five, though they also conceded during a 6-1 rout of Leicester.


NOT THE CARDS YOU WANT TO RECEIVE…

Sending Christmas cards, complete with the sort of witty wisecracks we have provided throughout this Christmas treat, is a long-running staple of the festive period. 

But receiving a card on Boxing Day is not always what you want for your team, right? 

Chelsea, Newcastle United, Stoke City and Wimbledon have all had three players dismissed in games staged on December 26, but Aston Villa are top of the pile with four.

It's the most wonderful time of the year… To many that means Christmas, to some it means a packed festive football schedule!

While the relentless flow of Premier League matches at this time of year might seem like overkill for the players, it's a somewhat bizarre British tradition that shows no sign of stopping.

The swift turnaround between matchdays barely gives players a moment to catch their breath, and fantasy football managers (don't say we're not thinking about the big issues…!) have to react quickly as well if they're to make the most of the action.

But if you're one of those players who's liable to forget to make changes around this time of year because you slept through the deadline after eating too much leftover Christmas dinner, Stats Perform has some player tips that might just come in handy for each of the next two matchdays…
 

EDERSON (Manchester City v Leicester City, and Brentford v Manchester City)

Sure, Leicester may have impressed against Liverpool in midweek, but Man City have been impressively resolute at the back again this season.

Unsurprisingly, Ederson leads the way with 10 clean sheets in 2021-22, making him virtually a must-select if you're worried about potentially forgetting to change your goalkeeper between matchdays.

No on else in the division has reached double figures for clean sheets yet this term, and City will fancy their chances of getting a shutout at Brentford in their second game post-Christmas.

EMILE SMITH ROWE (Norwich City v Arsenal, and Arsenal v Wolves)

Christmas time, Emile Smith Rowe and wine…

Forgive us the bad pun, but like mistletoe, Smith Rowe is a solid choice for some festive joy, particularly given Arsenal have two very winnable matches on the horizon.

Ahead of their Boxing Day trip to Norfolk, Smith Rowe is the joint-second highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League this term with seven goals, highlighting just how much of a threat he's been in 2021-22.

Three of those have come in his last three games as well – hopefully he's the gift that keeps giving.

MARCUS RASHFORD (Newcastle United v Manchester United, and Manchester United v Burnley)

Remember Manchester United? It feels like it's been about two months since they last played, so they'll surely be raring to go when they face Newcastle at St James' Park on Monday.

Myrrhcus (sorry) Rashford will presumably be even more excited than the rest of the team, such is his record against the Magpies.

The England star has seven goal involvements in as many meetings with Newcastle (four goals, three assists), making them his favourite opposition.

Additionally, Newcastle have won just once all season, so there's every chance it won't just be the Christmas turkey getting stuffed.

HARRY KANE (Tottenham v Crystal Palace, and Southampton v Tottenham)

Spurs star Harry Kane loves Boxing Day, so much so that these days he's arguably more synonymous with Christmas than his namesake, Candy.

He'll be hopeful of stocking up again this year as he is just one behind Robbie Fowler's record of nine Boxing Day goals – it's worth saying he looked sharp against Liverpool at the weekend, so who's to say he won't sleigh Crystal Palace?

A trip to Southampton awaits after that, and Saints haven't exactly been watertight at the back recently, conceding 12 goals in their past five Premier League games.

Manchester City made history by putting Newcastle United to the sword and Arsenal also set a Premier League record in their thrashing of fragile Leeds United.

Rampant City ran riot at St James' Park on Sunday, hammering the relegation-threatened Magpies 4-0 to ensure they will be top of the table at Christmas.

Pep Guardiola's side took their tally of top-flight victories in 2021 to 34, bettering a record they had shared with Liverpool.

Depleted Leeds handed out far too many gifts in the season of goodwill, dishing out a 4-1 drubbing as Marcelo Bielsa's side were blown away in the first half at Elland Road on Saturday.

Second-placed Liverpool had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Tottenham in an eventful game for Andy Robertson on Sunday.

The fixture list was hard hit due to COVID-19 outbreaks, but there was no shortage of quirky Opta facts from the matches that went ahead.

 

No presents from Pep for struggling Howe

City can celebrate Christmas at the top of the tree for the first time since 2018, with Liverpool having been at the summit in the last three seasons.

It has been another memorable year for the champions, who not only set a record for number of top-flight wins but have also scored the most goals in a year by a Premier League team.

Not forgetting that football was indeed played before 1992, City's total of 106 goals in the top flight in 2021 sees them match a figure last set by Liverpool back in 1982. Aston Villa, however, hold the all-time top-flight record with a staggering 120 in 1930.

It has been a very different story for Newcastle, who conceded 79 times in the league this year, matching an unwanted record Ipswich Town set in 1994.

Eddie Howe will be glad to see the back of City, as the Newcastle head coach has lost all 11 matches against them – the worst 100 per cent losing record by any boss against one club in the history of the competition.

Ruthless Arsenal make Leeds suffer 

Leeds were thumped 7-0 by City in midweek and they gift-wrapped Arsenal three points with a naive display, even if injuries must be taken into account (all nine of Bielsa's substitutes were aged 21 or under, with 15-year-old Archie Gray among them).

The Gunners extended their winning run to three matches after dominating the first half, Gabriel Martinelli scoring twice and Bukayo Saka putting them 3-0 up at the break.

It could have been worse for the Whites, as Arsenal had 11 shots on target in the first half – the most on record (since 2003-04) by any side in the opening 45 minutes in a Premier League match.

With Emile Smith Rowe also on target, it was the first time Arsenal have had three players aged 21 or younger on the scoresheet in a Premier League game (excluding own goals).

Kalvin Phillips was once again sorely missed by Leeds. The Yorkshire club have lost 12 of their 15 Premier League games when the England midfielder has been absent.

Robertson turns from hero to villain

Liverpool are three points behind City after they were held by Spurs, having come from behind to lead 2-1 in the capital.

It was an eventful match for Robertson, who was unable to complete the 90 minutes after being shown a red card for a tackle on Emerson Royal.

The Scotland captain was given his marching orders eight minutes after putting the Reds in front and he also set up Diogo Jota's equaliser. Since Jota's Liverpool debut in 2020, only Christian Benteke (a former Red) has scored more headed Premier League goals than the Portugal forward (six).

Robertson became the first player to score, provide an assist and be sent off in a Premier League game since Aleksandar Mitrovic for Newcastle in May 2016, also against Spurs.

Harry Kane got the opener in an enthralling encounter, netting just his second league goal of the season and his first one at home since May.

That means Kane's last three home league goals for Spurs have all come under different managers – Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason and Antonio Conte.

Jurgen Klopp railed at Paul Tierney after accusing the referee of blundering by failing to send off Harry Kane and snubbing Diogo Jota's penalty appeal in Liverpool's dramatic draw at Tottenham.

The Liverpool manager said the game needed "an objective ref" – a comment that could land him in trouble – and questioned if there was anything personal to read into Tierney's decisions.

"I have really no idea what his problem is with me," said Klopp, who spoke to the referee at half-time and full-time.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp was convinced Kane should have been ordered off for a first-half lunge on Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson, who was himself dismissed late in the game for fouling Emerson Royal, as the game finished in a 2-2 draw.

And Klopp was dismayed when Tierney refused to award Liverpool a spot-kick after Jota went over as Emerson and Davinson Sanchez slid in.

Addressing the incidents that left him frustrated during the game, and booked for his behaviour on the touchline, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Some of these questions, it is probably best to ask Mr Tierney what he thinks."

Asked whether the wild challenge by Kane, which earned the Tottenham striker a yellow card, should have resulted in a heavier punishment, Klopp said: "Definitely.

"We can give Robbo a red card... that's not the smartest challenge of his life, that's how it is, but that's definitely a red card [for Kane], no doubt about that.

"People will say his leg was in the air, but that's pure coincidence. Harry cannot judge that and if Robbo's leg is on the ground then it's a broken leg.

 "We have VAR sitting there and he looks again at the Robertson situation, fine, that's what he's there for. What did he do in that [Kane] situation?

"And the penalty situation with Diogo Jota, Mr Tierney told me he thinks Diogo stops on purpose because he wants the foul.

"First and foremost, if you want to shoot you have to stop because you cannot run and shoot in the same moment. It would always be helpful if you play football yourself in the past.

"When you see the situation back and the VAR's there, where is he stopping? You have two challenges against one player and the player's down. I don't understand that."

Reflecting on a pulsating game, Klopp added: "The draw is okay, we are not that crazy that we think we cannot draw at Tottenham, that's fine, but these situations are crucial; they are decisive situations.

"I have really no idea what his problem is with me. Honestly, I have no idea."

Klopp was without his first-choice three-man midfield due to COVID-19 and illness, along with powerhouse defender Virgil van Dijk, meaning Liverpool were majorly depleted for the clash in north London.

"You cannot expect us to play our best football game of the season. You have to fight through it and that's what the boys did and I'm really happy with that," Klopp said.

"Just we need an objective ref who sees the situation and judges them and not, like, opinions. He told me he thinks [Jota] stops on purpose. He had the best spot on the pitch, he was eight yards away and doesn't give it to him.

"I said, 'Boys, how is that? You have to ask him: what's his problem with me?'."

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