The controversial new European Super League will involve 20 teams playing in two leagues before a two-leg knockout format to determine the two finalists. 

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though it is said the competition plans to expand to 15 teams before its inaugural season, which will start "as soon as practicable".

Premier League sides Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have signed up alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter.

UEFA, along with Europe's top five leagues and corresponding football associations, all strongly emphasised their opposition to the proposal, and vowed to sanction those involved.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the new competition's organisers revealed its format. 

Fifteen founding clubs will be joined by five further teams, who it is said will qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. 

Starting in August – although the statement did not confirm whether that will be this year – clubs will be split into two groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. 

Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. 

A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

The statement said all fixtures will take place in midweek, with clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed the UK Government's backing of football authorities over opposition to proposals for a breakaway European Super League.

In an emphatic response to widespread media reports, UEFA – together with the English Football Association (FA), Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A – publicised their collective opposition to the proposals. 

One of the sanctions put forward by UEFA was to ban the 12 teams from participating in its club competitions, namely the Champions League and Europa League.

An official statement from the newly formed European Super League followed late on Sunday, European time.

Six Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham – along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus, are the teams involved.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain have not been included, with reports suggesting the sides had opted not to join.

The FA warned a European Super League would hurt football "at all levels", stating any closed-shop tournament would go against long-standing principles of the game.

Oliver Dowden, the UK Government's culture secretary, said clubs signing up for any such project would be neglecting their duty to supporters by taking away their say, and Johnson later expanded on his party's stance.

"Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action," a statement on Johnson's official Twitter account read.

"They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country. The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps."

UEFA also alluded to FIFA's threat of barring players from the World Cup should they play for teams who choose to participate in a European Super League, and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) said it had "substantial concerns regarding the wide-ranging implications of the proposed European Super League concept."

A statement read: "This proposed move would detract from the strength and joy of domestic football and diminish the game for the vast majority of fans across the continent.

"Clubs across all domestic competitions are not equal, each having differing financial starting points. However, success is never guaranteed, often cyclical and always earned.

"We have seen countless examples around Europe of teams outperforming their resources. In recent years, at home in the Premier League, this has resulted in unrivalled global entertainment and sporting drama.

"A system that rewards all clubs for success is paramount. In England, we are privileged to enjoy the most professional teams, the most professional players and in normal times, the highest aggregate attendances across the world. This success is achieved by working together and in solidarity."

The creation of a European Super League took a step closer to reality on Sunday as 12 leading clubs agreed plans for a new competition.

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though it is said the competition plans to expand to 15 teams before its inaugural season, which will start "as soon as practicable".

The Premier League's "big six" are the teams to have signed up alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter.

It is an announcement which comes just before UEFA was set to confirm its intentions to alter the format of the Champions League from 2024 onwards. 

UEFA, along with Europe's top five leagues and corresponding football assocations, all strongly emphasised their opposition to the proposal, and vowed to sanction those involved.

Yet a statement released on Sunday read: "Twelve of Europe's leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.

"AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

"Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole."

The European Club Association (ECA) has joined UEFA in condemning proposals for a new European Super League.

Widespread reports emerged on Sunday of an agreement in place between 12 European clubs to form a breakaway competition.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are the clubs involved, although confirmation is still pending.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich, along with last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain, were not included.

UEFA, Europe's top leagues and football associations confirmed their opposition to the proposal, which drew a mass of criticism from pundits and fans alike.

With UEFA set to announce changes to the format of the Champions League from 2024 onwards on Monday, the ECA reiterated its commitment to those proposed alterations, and insisted it would stand against a Super League.

An emergency meeting of the ECA was held on Sunday. According to reports, none of the 12 teams making up the proposed breakaway competition responded to invitations to attend, though PSG and Bayern were represented. 

"In light of today's reports on the subject of a so-called breakaway league, the ECA as the body representing 246 leading clubs across Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to working on developing the UEFA Club Competitions (UCCs) model with UEFA for the cycle beginning 2024 and that a 'closed super league model' to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by the ECA," a statement read.

The ECA statement went on to outline the body's intention to "work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European Club Football as a whole post 2024", before concluding that "the ECA Executive Board will be convening over the coming days to take appropriate decisions in light of any further developments".

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

Jose Mourinho on borrowed time

Tottenham Hotspur has been struggling in the Premier League and there is speculation Jose Mourinho’s days at the club are numbered. Their 20/21 season has been atrocious and looks likely to miss out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season, having previously played in the competition four times in a row.

With six games left in the Premier League, Spurs are five points off fourth-placed West Ham. The team’s decline has been evident after its 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on January 28. They have lost seven of the following 14 Premier League games after that, they won five matches and drew two, conceding 21 goals, one less than they scored.

To make matters worse, Mourinho’s side exited the FA Cup in the fifth round with defeat at Everton and then collapsed in Croatia throwing away a 2-0 first-leg lead to lose 3-2 on aggregate at Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

What is clear is that Mourinho is failing to get the best out of his players. When asked about his team’s poor run his response, “Same coach, different players”, suggests that there is also discontent in the dressing room.

Paul Pogba, who was Mourinho’s world-record marquee signing following his 2016 appointment at Old Trafford accused the former Manchester United manager of casting players, including himself, aside without explanation.

Former English footballer Danny Mills claimed that Jose Mourinho is preoccupied with protecting Tottenham’s backline and it has affected his selection decisions farther up the pitch.

 “Mourinho has continued to chop and change his centre-back partnerships over the last few months, with all of Tottenham’s centre-halves being guilty of some poor mistakes at the back,” Mills opined.

As of now, it seems the Special One is not that special anymore.

 

Time for Harry Kane to win a Premier League title

Despite Tottenham Hotspur’s woes Harry Kane continues to stand out for his club. He is currently the leading goal scorer for the Premier League but is yet to win a title. He’s now scored 20 or more league goals in five different seasons, a feat accomplished only by Alan Shearer, Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry.

 Despite his productivity, it is unlikely that Kane will win a title at Spurs. They are not going to make the Champions League next season and nobody knows for sure what the future holds.

At age 28, Kane must make the move before it is too late. There will be clubs interested in signing him including the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, both good options.

  Manchester United needs a Europa League win

Manchester United is set to face Roma and is favourite to win the Europa League given the quality of their opponents and their form at this point in the season. United beat Granada 2-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday to complete a 4-0 aggregate success and set up a semi-final against Roma, who edged Ajax 3-2 on aggregate and are outsiders to lift the trophy.

United have not lifted silverware since 2017 but can end that drought if they are successful in the Europa League this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to make it fifth-time lucky after United fell short in four semi-finals across last season and this.

United beat Ajax in the 2017-final in Sweden and to many, they are a better side now than they were then and have shown consistently this season that they have what it takes this season to beat some of the top teams in Europe.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal should be relegated from the Premier League if they announce their intention to join a European Super League, Gary Neville has claimed.

UEFA was joined by the top five European Leagues and the English Football Association in opposing the plans, which are reportedly set to be announced on Sunday.

The Premier League's "big six" teams, plus Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Milan and Juventus are the 12 sides said to be involved. Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are not included.

During United's win over Burnley on Sunday, Neville suggested points deductions would be a reasonable punishment and, after the match, the Sky Sports pundit expanded on his fury at the proposals, labelling it a "criminal act against football fans."

"The reaction to it is that it's been damned and rightly so. I'm a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years but I'm disgusted, absolutely disgusted," said the former Red Devils full-back.

"It's an absolute disgrace and we have to wrestle back the power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league and that includes my club.

"I've been calling for 12 months to have an independent regulator to bring checks and balances in place to stop this happening, it's pure greed. They're imposters, the owners of Liverpool, United, City – they're nothing to do with football in this country, a hundred and odd years of history of fans who love their clubs and they need protecting.

"United aren't even in the Champions League, Arsenal aren't, they're a shambles of a club at the moment, Tottenham aren't, and they want a God-given right to be in there? Stop these clubs having a power base, enough is enough.

"The motivation is greed. My reaction earlier wasn't an emotional one, deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them.

"You've got to stamp on this, it's criminal, it's a criminal act against football fans, make no mistake about it. Deduct points, their money and punish them.

"If they announce a letter of intent has been signed then they should be punished, heavily, massive fines, points deductions, take the titles off them, who cares.

"Give the title to Burnley, let Fulham stay up, relegate United, Liverpool and Arsenal, those three clubs have the history and should be the ones that should suffer most."

Neville also hit out at the owners of the clubs involved, adding: "They're bottle merchants, you never hear from the owners of these clubs, absolute bottle merchants, they've got no voice, and they'll probably hide in a few weeks and say it was nothing to do with them, they were only talking about it.

"Seriously in the midst of a pandemic, a crisis, football clubs at national level going bust nearly, furloughing players, clubs on the edge and these lot are having Zoom calls about breaking away and creating more greed. Joke."

According to reports, a statement is expected at 21:30 GMT. It has been reported that Madrid president Florentino Perez will act as the competition's chairman, with Liverpool, United and Arsenal owners John W Henry, Joel Glazer and Stan Kroenke also having major roles.

"They'll be amending that statement as we speak, they'll have seen the reaction," Neville said. "They'll be backtracking down the road because they are bottle merchants these lot. 

"I'd like to think that United and Liverpool would stand and think something's not right here, let's collaborate with the game to try and get a better competition, a better Champions League, I'm not for everything standing still but this is a grab, when the timing is hideous. What world are these people living in?"

Put on the spot at full-time, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to offer any insight, telling Sky Sports: "I saw the news and the speculation. I can't really say too much, my focus has just been on this game, I got the news today as well.

"I haven't looked into [what it would mean for United] so I just need to sit down and see what it is. The club will probably comment on it later."

Plans for a European Super League are set to be announced on Sunday, drawing the ire of Manchester United greats Gary Neville and Roy Keane.

Reports emerged on Sunday claiming that 12 clubs – including the Premier League's "big six" – are to announce the new competition. 

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter are the other sides involved, though the proposal will reportedly include an expansion option to 16 or 18 teams.

UEFA responded strongly, insisting it will do everything in its power to block the plans, including banning the 12 clubs from their competitions, while there has also been a suggestion that players may not be allowed to represent their countries on the international stage. The Premier League also condemned the proposals.

While commentating on United's clash with Burnley, Neville made no secret of his opposition to the idea of a Super League, suggesting point deductions were a worthy punishment.

"I'm not against modernisation of football competitions," Neville said on Sky Sports.

"We have the Premier League, the Champions League, I don't think anyone can deny, but I think to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID, the economic crisis that exists for all clubs is an absolute scandal.

"United and the rest of the big six clubs that have signed up against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.

"I can't concentrate on the game. They should deduct six points from all the teams who have signed up to it. To do it during a season, it's a joke."

It was a sentiment echoed by Neville's former team-mate and fellow Sky Sports pundit Keane, who added: "I think it comes down to money, greed, we've heard nothing from FIFA yet but it doesn't sound good.

"Let's hope its stopped in its tracks, because I think it is just pure greed.

"We're talking about the big clubs. Bayern Munich are one of the biggest clubs in the world. At least they've made a stand, which is a good start."

United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea would need the permission of the Premier League to join any proposed Super League, or would have to break away from England's top flight altogether. 

The Premier League has strongly condemned the proposals for a new European Super League, which it says will "undermine the appeal of the whole game".

Widespread reports emerged on Sunday claiming that 12 clubs – including the Premier League's "big six" – are set to announce the new competition.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are said to have been joined by teams from Italy and Spain in backing the plans.

In response, UEFA vowed to do everything in its power to block the proposal, and urged others to boycott what it described as a "cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs".

One of the sanctions being considered by European football's governing body is to suspend the 12 teams from UEFA's club competitions.

The Premier League subsequently backed up UEFA's statement, confirming its opposition to the proposal.

A statement issued on the competition's official website read: "The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.

"Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.

"The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world. Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.

"A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.   

"We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game."

This is not the first time this season that plans have been put forward to change the face of the game.

Late last year, the owners of United and Liverpool proposed a reformatting of the English game, dubbed "Project Big Picture" which, among other items, included handing more power to a select few teams in the top flight.

It was instantly dismissed by other Premier League clubs, with accusations that it was a blatant "power grab" in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on football.

United and Liverpool's American owners are reported to have been instrumental in the European Super League proposition.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is reportedly set to be chairman, with John W. Henry (Liverpool), Joel Glazer (United) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) acting as vice-chairmen, alongside Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli.

The creation of a European Super League took a step closer to reality on Sunday as 12 leading clubs agreed plans for a new competition, according to widespread reports.

It is thought that up to six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces, with an announcement expected this weekend.

No clubs from Germany or France are involved, meaning reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though reports state the plan is for the competition to be expanded to 16-18 teams.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal are the Premier League teams said to have signed up, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid representing LaLiga.

Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter are the Serie A clubs in the fold.

It has also been suggested PSG refused an invitation to the new competition, while one of the counter-threats supposedly put forward by UEFA was said to be the exclusion of the 12 teams from its competitions.

The news of this move by some of Europe's biggest clubs comes just before UEFA is set to confirm its intentions to alter the format of the Champions League.

According to reports in The Daily Mail, the Super League is being financed by United States-based investment bank JP Morgan.

The Mail also claim Madrid president Florentino Perez will likely act as chairman of the competition, with the American owners of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal – John W Henry, Joel Glazer and Stan Kroenke – acting as vice-chairmen. Juve chief Andrea Agnelli is to act as the fourth vice-chairman.

Raheem Sterling has lost his place in the Manchester City starting line-up prompting fresh speculation.

Phil Foden has taken Sterling's role with devastating effect, including scoring the winner in their midweek Champions League triumph over Borussia Dortmund.

Sterling's contract talks have also been shelved for the season, fuelling the rumours.

 

TOP STORY - REAL REIGNITE RAHEEM INTEREST

Real Madrid have reignited their interest in Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling according to the Daily Star.

Sterling is contracted with City for another two seasons, putting them in a strong position to hang on to the England international with a reported £80million price tag.

But regular football and the lure of Madrid could be compelling for Sterling who joined City from Liverpool in 2015 for £44m.

 

ROUND-UP

-The Daily Star reports that Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has informed Manchester United that he will only re-sign for a mammoth £500,000-a-week contract. Interested clubs Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have also been informed of his wage demands.

-Adama Traore will be offloaded by Wolverhampton as they seek to raise funds for their off-season recruitment reports Football Insider.

-Mundo Deportivo claims that Tottenham are keen to sign Real Betis defender Emerson, having shown interest last off-season.

-Manchester United are homing in on 18-year-old Metz midfielder Pape Sarr according to The Sun although they will face plenty of competition.

A new defender appears to be at the forefront of Manchester United's planning.

The Premier League giants have been linked with a host of centre-backs.

But they could turn to a familiar club to bolster their defence.

 

TOP STORY – ANOTHER LEICESTER DEFENDER SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are eyeing Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, according to Foot Mercato.

United are targeting a new partner for former Leicester star Harry Maguire – the world's most expensive centre-back – amid links to RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Fofana only joined Leicester from Saint-Etienne at the start of the season and is contracted until 2025.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano says Konate remains one of Liverpool's top transfer targets. Liverpool are reportedly preparing a five-year contract.

Arsenal are targeting Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga, reports Marca. The 18-year-old midfielder, who has already rejected a contract extension, has been linked with Madrid, United and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Inter's Martin Satriano is attracting interest from Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG and Leipzig, claims the Daily Mail.

- Tottenham are considering a move for Barcelona's Emerson, says Mundo Deportivo. The 22-year-old is currently on loan at Real Betis amid links with Inter and PSG.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing Juventus sensation Nicolo Rovella and Udinese's Nahuel Molina, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Milan have enquired about Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan as the Serie A side consider alternatives to Gianluigi Donnarumma should he fail to sign a contract extension. Meanwhile, SportItalia says Milan have offered Inter full-back Danilo D'Ambrosio a two-year deal. The Italian is out of contract at season's end.

Jose Mourinho says he "couldn't care less" about Paul Pogba's assessment of their relationship towards the end of his time at Manchester United.

Mourinho was dismissed by United midway through the 2018-19 season after two-and-a-half years in charge.

His relationship with members of United's squad was said to have deteriorated, with an apparent training ground argument with Pogba coming after the midfielder was stripped of his vice-captaincy role in September 2018.

Speaking ahead of United's game against Burnley on Sunday, Pogba suggested current Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a better man-management style than Mourinho.

"What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn't go against the players," Pogba told Sky Sports. "He wouldn't go against the players.

"Maybe Ole wouldn't pick them, but it's not like he puts them on the side like they don't exist anymore. That's the difference between Mourinho and Ole.

"Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don't know what happened. That's the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don't know."

Pogba's comments were put to Mourinho after his side's 2-2 Premier League draw with Everton on Friday – a result that leaves them five points adrift of the top four having also played a game more than all of their rivals.

The Portuguese coach told Sky Sports: "I would like to say I couldn't care less with what he says, I couldn't care less. I'm not interested at all."

Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs secured a point at Goodison Park, though the England international was unable to finish the game due to an ankle injury.

Jose Mourinho is trying to be "optimistic" about the injury Harry Kane suffered towards the end of Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Everton on Friday but accepts it is too early to know its severity.

Kane was in lethal form for Spurs at Goodison Park, as he has been for much of the season, as he scored both goals for Mourinho's side.

The England captain's first effort saw him reach 20 Premier League goals in a season for the fifth time, a record bettered by only Alan Shearer (seven) and Sergio Aguero (six).

His second – the goal that secured Spurs a point – was his 12th in as many games against Everton in all competitions and it moved him above Robbie Fowler into seventh in the Premier League's all-time top scorers' list with 164.

But he was unable to finish the match, as Richarlison fell on Kane's ankle in second-half stoppage time and the collision forced him off.

With just nine days to go until Spurs are in EFL Cup final action against Manchester City, it is a nightmare scenario for Tottenham and Mourinho.

After the match, Mourinho tried to put on a brave face but could not offer much certainty.

When it was put to him by Sky Sports that Spurs fans would be anxious, Mourinho said: "Me too but I think it's too early to say something.

"For him to leave the pitch at 2-2 with only a few minutes to go, it's obviously because he felt something, but let me be optimistic and believe that he has time to recover.

"Let me be optimistic and believe it's nothing serious. It's obvious he's a very important player for us, but I cannot say much or speculate."

England manager Gareth Southgate was also in attendance and will surely monitor Kane's situation closely with the delayed Euro 2020 less than two months away.

The draw on Merseyside leaves Spurs five points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham, who play their game in hand against struggling Newcastle United on Saturday.

Harry Kane twice punished hapless Everton defending as Tottenham salvaged a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park on Friday, though it does little good for their dwindling top-four hopes.

Jose Mourinho's side were looking to bounce back from a deflating 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, yet they were underwhelming once again and arguably fortunate to leave Merseyside with a point.

Kane punished a Michael Keane error to reach 20 Premier League goals in a season for the fifth time, a record bettered by only Alan Shearer (seven) and Sergio Aguero (six), though their lead did not last long as Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised from the spot for an Everton side being orchestrated by the excellent James Rodriguez.

Sigurdsson doubled his tally in the second half as Everton threatened to move above Spurs in the table, but another defensive mix-up involving Keane was punished by Kane as he spared the visitors from a defeat that would have left them six points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

The match's spell of monotony was broken in the 22nd minute as James parted Toby Alderweireld and Joe Rodon with a disguised pass, only for Hugo Lloris to save Richarlison's subsequent strike.

Kane was more clinical a few moments later, however, lashing past Jordan Pickford after Tanguy Ndombele's cross had been flicked out of Mason Holgate's reach by Keane.

But Everton quickly levelled, Sigurdsson coolly converting a penalty after Sergio Reguilon was adjudged to have fouled James, who then forced Lloris into a vital stop following a clever interchange with the Iceland international in the 38th minute.

Son Heung-min should have done better early in the second half as he hit a tame effort into the side-netting after gliding past Keane.

Everton made Spurs pay just past the hour, too. Seamus Coleman, introduced for the anonymous Alex Iwobi less than a minute earlier, played a one-two with Richarlison on the right and whipped in a teasing cross that Sigurdsson met with an emphatic volley to beat Lloris.

But in an incident not too dissimilar to the one that gifted Spurs the lead, Keane headed a cross on to Holgate and Kane was on hand to hammer home before hobbling off late on, a concern for his club and also England manager Gareth Southgate, who was in attendance.

Harry Kane has two iconic Premier League strikers in his sights after he plundered his 20th top-flight goal of the season in Tottenham's clash with Everton on Friday.

The England international's clinical half-volley in the 27th minute at Goodison Park took him to 20 Premier League goals in a campaign for the fifth time in his career.

Only Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer (seven) and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (six) have achieved the feat more often in the history of the competition.

The clinical strike also saw him overtake Jermain Defoe to move joint-seventh with Robbie Fowler on the all-time list of Premier League scorers, the pair sitting on 163.

Everton have suffered more than most when up against Kane, with the 27-year-old one of only three players to score 10 Premier League goals against the Toffees, after Les Ferdinand and Shearer (16 each).

Meanwhile, only Jimmy Greaves (seven) has scored 20 or more goals in a top-flight season for Spurs more times than Kane, who had failed to reach that number in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

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