Tottenham kept their faint hopes of Champions League qualification alive with a routine 2-0 win over Wolves.

Spurs are rank outsiders to finish in the top four of the Premier League at this late stage of the season, but are still just about in touch with fourth-placed Chelsea after brushing aside an abject Wolves side.

Harry Kane put them ahead in the final minute of normal time in the first half and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's 62nd-minute goal made sure of the points.

The victory moves Spurs within five points of Chelsea with two games to go, though a Europa League place is a more realistic goal for interim manager Ryan Mason's side.

Spurs dominated the first-half possession but struggled to find a way through and break the deadlock after Kane struck the post with a low long-range effort in the fifth minute.

Gareth Bale tested Rui Patricio with a free-kick and Kane fired wide from a set-piece delivery from the Welshman but Wolves were a threat on the counter with the pace of Adama Traore.

His run and lay-off to Fabio Silva presented the Wolves forward with their best chance of the half, which Silva dragged off-target with a right-footed effort.

Patricio kept out Son Heung-min's shot from a tight angle and successive goal-line clearances from Conor Coady preserved parity before Kane finally opened the scoring.

Kane latched on to Hojbjerg's throughball and fired a composed finish into the bottom-right corner.

Patricio turned a fierce Sergio Reguilon effort over and then produced heroics to deny Kane a second, tipping onto the inside of the left-hand post following a throughball from Dele Alli, who then struck the right post on the rebound.

But Tottenham's lead was deservedly doubled as Patricio kept out a curling strike from Bale, with Hojbjerg reacting quickest to the rebound to hit home.

Silva shot dismally wide to spurn Wolves' best opportunity to the match and Traore danced inside the Spurs box but could not sneak his effort inside the near post as Wolves sparked into life far too late for any kind of revival.

Time is running out to secure precious fantasy football points as the Premier League season nears an end.

Manchester City have the title in the bag, but it may still be all to play for in fantasy leagues heading into the penultimate weekend of the campaign.

With some teams still having three games to play in a hectic schedule, it will be vital to make the right picks and ensure points could potentially mean prizes.

Here are a few tips to help you out, powered by Opta, as always...

 

EDERSON

City travel to Newcastle United on Friday for their first match since being crowned champions.

They have won 11 consecutive Premier League away matches and a 12th victory at St. James' Park would see them break the all-time record in the top four tiers of English football.

City have kept 16 clean sheets on their travels in all competitions this season and are one away from equalling the record by a top-flight team in a season.

Newcastle have managed just 41 shots in seven Premier League games against Pep Guardiola's side, so another clean sheet could be on the cards for Ederson, who has more than any other goalkeeper in the division this season (18).

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was outstanding in the 4-2 victory at Manchester United on Thursday.

With England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Alexander-Arnold caught the eye with an influential display as Jurgen Klopp's side claimed three precious points in the battle for a Champions League spot.

The Reds travel to relegated West Brom on Sunday knowing a win would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to play.

Since he was omitted from the last England squad in March, Alexander-Arnold has created more chances than any other top-flight player with 21, making him a necessity for your XI.

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Everton full-back Lucas Digne has enjoyed another impressive season for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The Toffees entertain bottom club Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday as they hunt a place in Europe next season.

France international Digne can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, with his seven assists the joint-highest by a defender in the Premier League this season, along with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.

Everton have kept four clean sheets in their previous six matches with Digne in the side too, so will be aiming to blunt the Blades on Merseyside.

 

MATHEUS PEREIRA

Brazilian forward Matheus Pereira has been a shining light in a poor season for West Brom.

The Baggies were unable to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, a defeat to Arsenal last weekend consigning Sam Allardyce to a first relegation from the Premier League.

Albion will be desperate to keep hold of Pereira, who has scored five goals in six matches ahead of the encounter with Liverpool.

He has been directly involved in 15 goals this season, with only Peter Odemwingie (22 in 2010-11) and Romelu Lukaku (21 in 2012-13) managing more involvements for the Baggies in a Premier League campaign.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN

Tottenham face Wolves at home on Sunday smarting from a 3-1 defeat at Leeds United last time out.

Son Heung-min scored Spurs' only goal at Elland Road, where the London club's slim hopes of securing a Champions League spot were all-but ended.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in four goals in three games under caretaker boss Ryan Mason, scoring three and setting one up.

Son has found the back of the net in three consecutive Premier League games and will be a major threat to Wolves. He had managed just one goal in his previous seven outings in the competition during the final stages of Jose Mourinho's reign.

 

SERGIO AGUERO

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero issued an apology after his embarrassing Panenka penalty gave Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy the simplest of saves last weekend.

Aguero will be determined to make amends as he nears the end of his time with City and could take his frustration out on Newcastle.

The Argentina striker has scored 15 goals in 14 Premier League games against the Magpies, averaging one every 61 minutes, and it would be no surprise to see him add to that tally.

 

MICHAIL ANTONIO

West Ham head south to face Brighton and Hove Albion on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Everton that left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League hanging by a thread.

They will need to respond on the south coast against a Brighton side who are safe now.

Antonio has been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 away Premier League starts, netting 11 times and providing three assists.

He can trouble the Seagulls and improve those numbers. Indeed, the forward has scored 24 times for the Hammers on the road in the competition, five more than any other player for the club.

Harry Kane would gladly sacrifice individual honours if it meant Tottenham ended the Premier League season on a high by winning their three remaining matches, according to caretaker boss Ryan Mason.

The England captain has failed to score in his last two league games and has been joined at the top of the scoring charts by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who took his goals tally to 21 with a strike against Manchester United on Thursday.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes and Kane's Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min are next on the list with 18 and 17 goals respectively, followed by Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin on 16.

Spurs face Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester City in their final three league games and Mason insists the team will come first for Kane, who previously finished top scorer in the English top flight in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

"I know Harry, he's one of my best friends," Mason said at a pre-match news conference on Friday ahead of this weekend's home match with Wolves.

"It he can help us win games and also win the Golden Boot, then happy days. But he won't compromise the team for the individual awards."

Spurs were beaten 3-1 by Leeds United last time out in the Premier League and are now eight points adrift of the top four with a game in hand, while Liverpool and West Ham are four and two points better off respectively in the Europa League spots.

Mason's side will likely have to see out the season by achieving three wins in a row to qualify for UEFA's secondary competition, something that they have not achieved yet in the top flight this calendar year.

The likelihood is that if Spurs do take nine points from nine, Kane will have had a major say in that success.

"Our target is to get as many points as possible and see where we finish," Mason said. "It's very difficult in the Premier League to win three games in a row. Our focus for now has to be on Wolves this weekend. 

"At the end of next week we can see where we are. We want to be in European competition, that's what we expect."

Last week's defeat to Leeds was Tottenham's 11th loss of the season in the Premier League, matching their tally for the whole of 2019-20. Five of those have been defeats by two or more goals - their most in a season since 2014-15 (also five).

Mason, who has overseen Spurs' last four matches since the departure of Jose Mourinho, including the EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester City, acknowledges the importance of responding with three points against Wolves on Sunday.

"Losing games hurts," he said. "To lose a cup final hurts massively, to lose a league game hurts massively. They are different emotions because the games were different.

"There were moments in the Leeds one that shaped how the game went against us. We want to win and we expect to win. Any game we lose is disappointing.

"The best therapy is being back on the training pitch. Hopefully at the weekend we'll be fully prepared."

Tottenham have lost three of their six home Premier League games against Wolves (50 per cent) - only against Nottingham Forest (60 per cent) have they lost a higher percentage in the competition.

That includes back-to-back away wins in this fixture for Wolves, who are 11 points worse off than their opponents in the table.

This latest meeting between the sides could be overshadowed by possible protests ahead of the game, with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust calling for the club's executive board to resign as the fallout from the collapsed Super League continues.

However, while Mason respects the supporters' right to protest, he hopes they will get behind their team on the field when fans are allowed back into grounds from next week.

"I think firstly, I trust our security, the players' safety is the most important thing," Mason said. "I respect the fans, their opinion matters, it really does. We want our fans to be aligned, all pulling in the same direction.

"Our chairman and our board have done incredible for this football club. I know our fans respect that. The most important thing is the connection with the fans, who are entitled to their opinion.

"To get them back into our stadium will be a massive bonus. It's going to be an incredible feeling. It's been such a long time coming. The noise, we know our fans get behind the team, we're looking forward to that.

"We've got a massive game on Sunday, but of course we're excited. The football world, society in general, is excited by some sort of normality."

Mason confirmed full-back Ben Davies is unlikely to play in any of Tottenham's remaining three games, but his side otherwise have no fresh injury concerns.

The long-term futures of Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho are set to become clearer soon.

Lingard has impressed on loan from Manchester United at West Ham, reviving his career as David Moyes' side push to secure European football for next season.

England international Sancho, meanwhile, has dazzled since moving to Germany - but is he now ready to return home?

 

TOP STORY - LINGARD AND SANCHO TO SWAP PLACES

The Sun reports that Manchester United will offer Jesse Lingard to Borussia Dortmund as part of a swap deal for Jadon Sancho.

United chased Sancho last year but were unable to land the winger due to Dortmund's asking price.

It is understood the value held by the Bundesliga club is around £100million (€116m), so Lingard's inclusion may help drive that down and seal a deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times claims that Manchester City have formalised the top four players on their off-season shopping list in forwards Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez and Andre Silva.

- Manchester United are preparing a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente worth £68m (€79m), reports the Mirror.

- Off-contract Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand is attracting interest from Leicester City, claims the Leicester Mercury.

- Per Marca, Barcelona have an agreement in place to sign Memphis Depay, who is soon to be out of contract at Lyon. The Dutch forward is set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

What does the future hold for Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez?

The pair helped Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

But both could depart San Siro as Inter look to cut costs.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU AND LAUTARO TO LEAVE INTER?

Inter could be forced to sell star forwards Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Antonio Conte's Inter have been crowned Serie A champions this season, but the Nerazzurri have financial problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lukaku has been linked with former club Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while team-mate Martinez has long been tipped to join Barca.

Alessandro Bastoni is also listed in the report amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, while star full-back Achraf Hakimi is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barca look at the idea of signing City's Sergio Aguero favourably. Aguero is out of contract at season's end and he has been linked with Inter, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham. But the Argentina star reportedly wants to play alongside countryman Lionel Messi. A move for Aguero would not prevent Barca from signing fellow free agent and Lyon captain Memphis Depay. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is also a target for the LaLiga giants. It comes amid doubts over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

Manchester United and Arsenal are battling to sign Sparta Prague sensation Abdallah Sima, claims the Mirror. Sima is reportedly valued at £25million (€29m).

- Sky Sports says United are interested in Juventus defender Cristian Romero, who could cost £34m (€40m). The 23-year-old Argentinian joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juve and the Serie A side have an option to buy Romero. United have also been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could replace Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after emerging as a leading contender, according to the Daily Telegraph.

UEFA has opened a disciplinary investigation against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid, the three clubs who are yet to withdraw from the European Super League.

Nine of the original 12 founding teams involved in the controversial project – including all six English clubs – have renounced the competition and promised to take all possible steps to remove themselves from it.

They all agreed a peace accord with UEFA last week that saw them recommit to the current structures of club and international football.

As part of the deal, those nine teams also accepted light punishments including goodwill payments to UEFA and a small portion of their prize money being withheld.

But Barca, Juve and Madrid are yet to terminate their involvement and on Saturday insisted the breakaway project was lawful, hitting out at "intolerable" pressure and vowing to persevere. 

When announcing their agreement with the nine clubs who came back into the fold, UEFA said it would "take whatever action it deems appropriate" against the remaining three.

That process has now begun, as UEFA released a statement on Wednesday confirming the disciplinary probe.

It read: "In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA disciplinary regulations, UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspectors have today been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding a potential violation of UEFA's legal framework by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in connection with the so-called 'Super League' project.

"Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course."

Speaking last week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin discussed the recent developments, praising the nine clubs for stepping back from the Super League.

"I said at the UEFA Congress that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media," he said.

"In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.

"The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK.

"These clubs have done just that, recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football.

"The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently."

Miralem Pjanic has been used sparingly at Barcelona since his off-season move from Juventus last year and may be on the move again soon.

The Bosnian was a regular for Juventus during four title-winning Serie A seasons prior to the switch.

With Barca's LaLiga title challenge faltering, the club are eager to mix things up in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY - BARCELONA PLOT SWAP DEAL WITH CHELSEA

Barcelona are looking to complete a swap deal with Chelsea whereby Pjanic and Jorginho would be exchanged, claims Sport.

Barca head coach Ronald Koeman is behind the move as he tries to land Jorginho and is willing to use the out-of-favour Pjanic to facilitate the deal.

Sport also claims that if Chelsea are not interested, the Catalans may suggest a trade with Inter involving Pjanic and an unnamed Nerazzurri player.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have joined the list of clubs keen on Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White, according to The Sun, with Jose Mourinho's Premier League knowledge playing a part. Manchester United and Arsenal are also said to be keen on White.

- The Telegraph claims Arsenal are interested in making a move to sign Moussa Dembele, who has had underwhelming loan spell at Atletico Madrid from Lyon.

Eric Garcia is on his way to Barcelona, according to Goal, who reports they have reached an agreement to sign him. The defender's contract is up at the end of the season.

- Chelsea's veteran forward Olivier Giroud has attracted interest from Inter and Lazio, claims Calciomercato.

- Calciomercato also reports Milan are tracking Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier.

Tottenham have promised to set up a fan panel that will have a direct line to the club's board as part of attempts to assuage anger over their involvement in the Super League.

Spurs were one of 12 clubs, including the rest of the Premier League's 'big six', who signed up to the creation of a new European competition in which founding members could not be relegated.

After a furious reaction from fans and former players, and some concern expressed by certain sponsors of the clubs, nine of the 12 teams formally withdrew from the plans and pledged their commitment to recognised UEFA competitions. Only Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have yet to renounce the Super League.

In a statement, Spurs said they signed up to the plans "with the expectation that the format, rules and structures would evolve through dialogue with key parties, namely the Premier League, FA, UEFA, FIFA and, crucially, fans". They said the "access system" – which would have allowed only five different teams, outside the founders, to qualify each season – was misguided, adding: "We wholeheartedly regret that we involved the club and that the legal process itself meant we were unable to consult our fans early on – we apologise unreservedly."

As part of a drive towards cooling supporter anger and ensuring fan views are taken into account in the running of the club, Spurs say they will establish a "Club Advisory Panel" comprising "elected representatives from the different constituencies of our fanbase, inclusive and reflective of our fans’ diversity".

The chair of the panel will also be appointed as a non-executive board member, a move the club hopes will provide "authentic, genuine representation and will ensure fans are at the heart of club decision-making".

The move comes after Chelsea announced they would allow three fan representatives to sit in on board meetings from July 1.

Spurs have also expressed their support for a review into football governance led by the United Kingdom government, which was put into action by culture secretary Oliver Dowden in the wake of the Super League fiasco.

Despite their pledge, Spurs also said they are disappointed that the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) has not yet met with the club – although they are not prepared to discuss changes in the executive board.

They added: "The THST, with whom we have worked and, indeed, promoted, for 20 years has called for the resignations of the executive board over the ESL – individuals who have lived and breathed this club for the best part of two decades. We have offered on several occasions to meet board-to-board and discuss an open agenda – excluding a change of club ownership and the resignation of the board. Our door remains open on this basis."

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland together at Camp Nou?

Barcelona are among a host of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund's Haaland.

Joan Laporta is reportedly fighting to bring Haaland to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA NOT GIVING UP ON HAALAND

Erling Haaland remains Barcelona's number one transfer target, according to Diario Sport.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester CityChelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their financial problems and cheaper alternatives, Barca are determined to prise Haaland to Camp Nou, though Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Tottenham star Harry Kane remain possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Arsenal are desperate to lure Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga to London. Camavinga is in demand amid reported interest from Madrid, United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Barca are eyeing the France international as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

- Milan intend on signing Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea, reports Fabrizio Romano. Tomori has impressed since arriving at San Siro on loan. It comes as Chelsea work to extend Thiago Silva's contract.

- FT says Bayern star Kingsley Coman wants to double his wages in a contract extension. The France international has previously been linked with United.

- Liverpool have shown interest in Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, according to The Athletic.

- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter and Lazio are targeting Chelsea veteran Olivier Giroud, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge amid the Blues' links with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and City free agent Sergio Aguero.

As the 2020-21 season comes to an end, Jadon Sancho's future is dominating headlines.

Having been tipped to leave Borussia Dortmund at the start of the campaign, the England international is once again in the spotlight.

A move could be on the cards but remaining in Germany is also an option.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN TO SWOOP FOR SANCHO?

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Telegraph.

Sancho has long been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United, as well as Liverpool and Chelsea in the past.

But Bayern are believed to be ready to prise Sancho from Dortmund as they also reportedly wait to prise in-demand team-mate Erling Haaland to Bavaria.

Haaland, who has a release clause that is not valid until 2022, is wanted by Bayern, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- After re-signing Neymar, PSG are on the right track to lure Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to the French capital, claims ParisFans. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and yet to renew with Madrid.

Leicester City are set to sign Lille star Boubakary Soumare for less than £26million (€30m), reports Fabrizio Romano. He has previously been linked to United.

- Romano and L'Equipe say Julian Draxler has signed a contract extension with PSG. Arsenal and Bayern had reportedly been eyeing the German.

- Telefoot continues to link PSG with Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, who has a host of admirers, including United, Barca and Madrid.

Roma and Juventus are eyeing former Inter captain Mauro Icardi as ParisFans says the PSG striker's future could be away from Paris at the end of the season.

Manchester City will have to wait to get their hands on a third Premier League title in four years after they fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Chelsea on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero in particular will want to forget the game in a hurry after a failed Panenka attempt, which he later apologised for on social media.

Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet in nine top-flight games as they overcame Southampton 2-0, while Leeds United cruised past Tottenham 3-1 at Elland Road.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, Crystal Palace inflicted yet more misery on Sheffield United, running out 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane.

Stats Perform News uses Opta data to take a look at the best facts from the four games.


Manchester City 1-2 Chelsea: Aguer-woe for leaders as Blues hit back

City suffered more penalty woe as they missed the chance to be crowned Premier League champions.

It had started well for the hosts, however, with Raheem Sterling giving them the lead with his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign. The England international has now reached that total in four successive seasons, with only Aguero (nine) hitting double figures more regularly in the competition for City.

Aguero should have doubled their advantage before the interval, but his woeful Panenka attempt from the spot was comfortably gathered by Edouard Mendy. City have now failed to score more penalties (four) than any other side in the Premier League this season, while they are the first to miss at least four spot-kicks in consecutive top-flight seasons since Tottenham in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Hakim Ziyech made the most of that reprieve, levelling with his first Premier League goal in 18 appearances since scoring against Burnley in October.

There was worse to come for Pep Guardiola, who has now lost four home league games this season – twice as many as he had lost in any other campaign in his managerial career.

At 91 minutes and 54 seconds, Marcos Alonso's scuffed finish was the latest winning goal scored by the visitors in a Premier League game at City since Paul Scholes for Manchester United in April 2010 (92:41).

Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane helps sink former employers

Liverpool kept their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League alive with victory at Anfield in the late kick-off.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the first half with his second goal in three Premier League games, having found the net just once in his previous 14 outings in the competition before that.

He was teed up by Mohamed Salah, marking the first time the pair have combined for a top-flight goal this season.

Thiago Alcantara added a second in the 90th minute to become the 140th player to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool, though the first to get off the mark for the Reds from outside the box since Divock Origi in December 2015.

Southampton, meanwhile, have now earned just 11 points from their 18 Premier League games in 2021, fewer than any other side this calendar year.

Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham: VAR bars Kane as Spurs suffer

Leeds' superb record against the Premier League's 'big six' continued.

Marcelo Bielsa's side became the first to remain unbeaten at home in the top flight against each of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs in a season since West Ham in 2015-16, and only the third newly promoted team to do so, after Ipswich Town in 2000-01 and Birmingham City in 2009-10.

Stuart Dallas broke the deadlock to become the first Northern Ireland player to score as many as eight Premier League goals in a season since Chris Brunt in 2008-09.

Son Heung-min equalised for the visitors, but Patrick Bamford restored Leeds' advantage to move onto 22 Premier League goal involvements this term (15 goals, seven assists). Harry Kane is the only Englishman to have been involved in more (34).

Rodrigo then added a third late on as Spurs suffered a fifth defeat in 10 top-flight away games in 2021 – more than they experienced in the entirety of 2020.

Sheffield United 0-2 Crystal Palace: Benteke helps Eagles deal with blunt Blades

After a run of three consecutive defeats, Palace could not have wished for more accommodating opponents than the already relegated Blades.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring after just 66 seconds, registering the club’s earliest Premier League goal since James McArthur's strike against Everton in November 2017 (51 seconds).

Benteke has now scored more goals this season (seven in 27 appearances) than he managed in his previous three Premier League campaigns combined (six in 71).

Eberechi Eze continued his impressive season with a second late on. Only Wilfried Zaha (12) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Palace this season than Eze (four goals, five assists), while no Eagles player has laid on more goals than the former Queens Park Rangers man.

The result meant United have failed to score in 20 matches within a single league season for the first time in their history, while in terms of the Premier League, only Derby County in 2007-08 (22), Leeds United in 1996-97 (21) and Huddersfield Town in 2017-18 (21) have failed to score in more games in a single campaign.

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho ahead of the 2020-21 season.

But, United were unable to prise Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

United, though, are reportedly still pursuing the England international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT SANCHO

Manchester United are lining up a bid for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star.

United were heavily linked with Sancho at the start of the season but a move did not materialise, while the Red Devils have since been mentioned as suitors for fellow Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

But United have reportedly cooled their interest in Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich target Haaland as they make Sancho their top transfer priority.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Juventus have rejected a renewed effort from Barca to sign Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

- Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, City defender Nathan Ake and RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer are on Jose Mourinho's list of targets as he prepares to take charge of Roma, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Corriere dello Sport also claims Lille midfielder Renato Sanches is wanted by Mourinho.

- Mundo Deportivo says Barca are continuing to chase Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravernberch. Barca have also been linked with Liverpool's soon-to-be free agent Georginio Wijnaldum, who has since emerged as a reported target for Bayern.

Chelsea are frontrunners to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham according to Football Insider. Kane has been linked with United, City, Barca, Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid, while Chelsea have also emerged as a possible destination for Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski.

Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason felt the officials on the field and elsewhere dealt his team a cruel hand in the 3-1 defeat to Leeds United.

Goals from Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo gave Marcelo Bielsa's men the points in a pulsating contest at Elland Road – a defeat that all-but ends Spurs' hopes of sneaking into a top-four Premier League spot.

Son Heung-min equalised for the visitors during the first half and Harry Kane thought he had given Spurs the lead, only to be pulled back for offside.

Replays showed the call to be marginal in the extreme, but the video assistant referee delivered bad news for Tottenham, leaving Mason frustrated.

"My first look, my second look and my 10th look tells me it’s not an offside decision," Mason told Sky Sports.

"At 1-1, it's a big moment. In my opinion they got that one wrong. I can't believe it was given offside, to be honest.

"I don't think people understand the momentum shifts decisions like that can have in a game of football."

Despite Opta's expected goals projections from an open game landing 2.49-1.05 in Leeds' favour, Mason also bemoaned missed chances from his team.

"We had opportunities and weren't clinical enough at times," Mason said, Kane having struck the crossbar with a 72nd-minute free-kick when the score was 2-1.

"We had big opportunities and big openings and it wouldn't go in for us, then the last 10 minutes they get one on the counter."

Spurs have three matches remaining this season and trailed fourth-placed Chelsea by five points ahead of Thomas Tuchel's Champions League finalists facing Manchester City later on Saturday.

Patrick Bamford's 15th Premier League goal of the season helped Leeds United to a 3-1 win over Tottenham, all but ending their opponents' tenuous Champions League hopes.

Leeds laid siege to their visitors in typical fashion and led through Stuart Dallas' eighth league goal of the campaign.

Son Heung-min levelled and Harry Kane had a goal disallowed for offside before Bamford again pressed his claims for joining the England captain in Gareth Southgate's Euro 2020 squad.

Kane hit the crossbar with a free-kick inside the final 20 minutes at Elland Road but chasing the game left Tottenham increasingly vulnerable on the break and Rodrigo completed the misery for Ryan Mason's side at Elland Road.

Hugo Lloris got down and across to his left well to deny Bamford after Jack Harrison slid a pass into the Leeds striker's path in the seventh minute.

Lloris again excelled himself as Sergio Reguilon turned Harrison's virtually undefendable cross towards his own goal, but Dallas was on hand to smash home and give Leeds a deserved advantage.

Spurs' much-vaunted front four led the response impressively.

Robin Koch blocked a Dele Alli effort from a Son pass but when the roles were reversed – the midfielder cleverly delaying his throughball – the Korea forward dispatched his 17th goal of the season.

Only a fractional offside on the end of another Alli pass prevented Kane from putting Tottenham ahead, although back came Leeds – Dallas seizing on some sloppy defending from Eric Dier and Reguilon and setting in motion a slick move from which Bamford converted Ezgjan Alioski's low cross.

Marcelo Bielsa was concerned enough by Spurs' early second-half pressure make a change before the hour, Raphinha replacing Tyler Roberts, and Mateusz Klich's snap-shot forced another superb stop from Lloris.

Opposite number Illan Meslier excelled himself to push Serge Aurier's deflected cross to safety, although he was relieved to see Kane's 72nd-minute free-kick cannon against the top of the bar.

Meslier saved with his feet from Erik Lamela before another substitute, Rodrigo, calmly collected Raphinha's pass to seal the points.

What does it mean? Spurs' Champions League hopes fade to almost nothing

Spurs lie sixth with three matches to play, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea having played a game more. Liverpool and Everton, two and four points behind them respectively, each have two games in hand. Mathematically possible, sure, as they can still reach 65 points. But not realistically.

Indeed, Mason's men are only six points better off than Leeds, who are up to ninth and eyeing a top-10 finish on their Premier League return having hit the 50-point mark.

What's next

Leeds will continue their pursuit of a top-half finish at Burnley next Saturday, with Tottenham hosting Wolves a day later.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have described warnings from UEFA as "intolerable" and "unacceptable" as the three clubs continue to back a breakaway European Super League.

Spain's biggest two clubs and Italian outfit Juve are the only three remaining of the 12 European giants who signed up for the controversial project, with all others having withdrawn just days after the competition was announced last month.

UEFA on Friday stated that Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid would not face Champions League or Europa League bans after pulling out of the proposed Super League.

The governing body warned that the three remaining rebel clubs could be sanctioned due to their unwavering stance.

UEFA stated: "UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called 'Super League'. The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies."

Barca, Madrid and Juve released a joint statement on Saturday to make it clear they are not happy with UEFA's actions.

The statement said: "The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue.

"This is intolerable under the rule of law and tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending."

The three clubs defended the Super League proposal by stating that "structural reforms are vital to ensure our sport remains appealing and survives in the long-term".

They added that the founding clubs agreed that the new competition would only take place if it was "recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions".

Juve, Barca and Madrid claim the Super League provided "a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport".

The trio of clubs say they are "ready to reconsider the proposed approach" but it would be "highly irresponsible" if they abandoned a mission to "provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry".

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