Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite’s added-time header snatched a 2-2 draw against Tottenham to spoil two-goal Richarlison’s return to Goodison Park.

The visitors appeared on course to make it six wins in seven after quality strikes from the Brazil international, only for the Toffees’ 21-year-old centre-back, one of their players of the season, to pop up at the far post with his first goal of the campaign.

A point was as much a reward for Sean Dyche’s side’s determination as it was a punishment for Spurs not finishing off their opponents when they had the chance.

Richarlison chose not to celebrate his eighth and ninth goals in the last eight league matches in deference to fans who less than two years ago adored him for the part he played in their first escape against relegation.

But there were wild scenes in the fourth minute of additional time when Tottenham defender Cristian Romero could only flick on James Garner’s inswinging free-kick and Branthwaite ghosted in to nod past Guglielmo Vicario, who endured a difficult afternoon dealing with Everton’s set-pieces.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s struggles also continued as he thought he had ended a 17-game drought extending back to October by nodding in from close range for the Toffees’ first equaliser only for the goal to be credited to Jack Harrison just before the start of the second half.

There were no such doubts about Richarlison’s well-taken goals; the first after four minutes when he swept home a volley after Idrissa Gana Gueye – injuries meaning he went came straight back in the side following Senegal’s African Nations Cup exit – had allowed Destiny Udogie to run beyond him to collect Timo Werner’s pass.

But instead of pressing home their early advantage Spurs were pushed back, with Harrison’s embarrassment at missing from a couple of yards spared by an offside flag.

Everton’s best opportunities came from set-pieces, particularly with Dwight McNeil targeting Vicario with inswinging corners from the right.

It was one of those which eventually paid off as Vicario, under pressure from Garner, failed to deal with a corner under his own crossbar and James Tarkowski headed back across goal for Calvert-Lewin to nod in.

Or so he thought until intervention from the Premier League’s goal accreditation panel.

Blissfully unaware the Everton striker now had a spring in his step and only just failed to get on the end of a Harrison cross having been crowded out by centre-backs Cristian Romero and Micky van der Ven.

Everton were actually in the ascendency when Richarlison put Spurs ahead again; James Maddison and Werner combined down the left with the latter teeing up the Brazilian who, with Harrison slow to react, had time to curl a shot across and beyond Jordan Pickford.

Vicario’s legs blocked Ben Godfrey’s header and Vitalii Mykolenko’s volley was parried late in the half but Tottenham’s momentum continued after the break with Werner denied by Pickford in a one-on-one only to be flagged offside.

Pickford made a better save when it mattered to deny Richarlison his hat-trick and the visitors should have put the game beyond doubt.

That they did not should have seen Youssef Chermiti make them pay only for him to stab a shot straight at Vicario and, after fellow substitute Beto had two penalty claims turned down, up stepped Branthwaite to deliver the painful blow.

Everton are still without a league win since mid-December but the manner in which they secured a point should do wonders for morale. However, a trip to Manchester City now awaits.

Ange Postecoglou feels there is even more to come from in-form Tottenham forward Richarlison.

Richarlison made it seven goals in as many Premier League matches with the crucial third goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford.

Spurs have been without captain Son Heung-min for the last month due to his Asian Cup commitments, but the Brazil international has filled the void and started to repay his £60million price tag following a difficult debut campaign.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton, Postecoglou said: “For me, it’s about trying to get players to fulfil their potential and with Richy, I still think there is growth there.

“If he keeps growing, well we the football club will be the beneficiaries of it.

“The goals are obviously important because that’s everyone’s measure, but I think his general game is improving and that’s the main thing for me. That’s what I’ve seen.

“The way we play and the kind of player Richy is, I was always confident he would score goals but we need more than that. I think his work rate now defensively, which was really important when we had Sonny up there hasn’t dropped off with Richy there.

“He’s working really hard for the team and the Ks (kilometres) he did the other night was right up there. Then his link up and hold up play is improving all the time. See I love that.

“I love when players still want to improve and do improve rather than say he’s played for his national team and been here quite a while. I can see him developing further and that’s what you want as a manager and coach. For us, he’s becoming a really important player.”

Minor groin surgery in November has been cited as a key reason behind Richarlison’s improvement, but Postecoglou has also fostered an environment at Tottenham that has allowed several players to flourish after previously mixed spells at the club or elsewhere.

He placed the credit firmly with the squad, adding: “I think the team has helped, but not just Richy, it’s a really strong dressing room in terms of the guys being really supportive of each other.

“We’ve had a number of guys coming back from long-term injuries or missed football and I think the reason they’ve come back and never felt disconnected is because of the dressing room we’ve created.

“For that, you need good leaders. Sonny is definitely that and (Cristian) Romero now, over the last few weeks, has grown even more. He’s a positive influence over everyone in the group and I’m sure Richy.

 

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“I see it on a daily basis, others don’t, but if you watch Emerson Royal train every day, you’d think he plays every game.

“He’s just outstanding with his attitude and demeanour around the place.

“There’s no time for anyone to feel down.

“When you see a guy like Emerson and like Fraser (Forster) or Ben (Davies), they train so hard every day, always have the greatest disposition, it doesn’t give anyone else an excuse to not feel up for it.”

Ange Postecoglou was pleased Tottenham regained their composure to storm back to earn a crucial 3-2 home win over Brentford but told both sets of players to enter the UFC ring if they want to focus on grappling over goals.

Spurs were sluggish in the first half and trailed to Neal Maupay’s 15th-minute opener, which saw him mock James Maddison’s darts celebration and appeared to be the catalyst for a fiery contest between the London rivals.

Whatever Postecoglou said at half-time did the trick though with Tottenham scoring twice in 72 seconds through Destiny Udogie and substitute Brennan Johnson before Richarlison made it three goals in eight second-half minutes when he steered home with 56 minutes on the clock.

Ivan Toney set up a grandstand finish when he pounced on Udogie’s error to score in front of England boss Gareth Southgate, but Spurs held on to leapfrog Aston Villa and reclaim fourth spot following a chaotic encounter.

Asked if Maupay’s darts celebration had fired up his team, Postecoglou replied: “I hope not because that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

“I’m not a fan of it. I don’t like the whole bravado, pushing people around. If you’re that brave about things, my players and their players, get into a UFC cage and I’ll see how brave they are.

“We’re out there to play football and that’s what I want our guys to do, focus on playing football and they shouldn’t get motivated by things that aren’t really that important to us.

“Like I said, we got sucked in first half. Second half was better.

“I think we started the game well, started with good intensity and good tempo, obviously they score and then we lost our way.

“We lost focus. I was a bit frustrated with our inability to stay disciplined, just too many stops and starts, it kind of plays into their hands, lots of set pieces and throw ins.

“We spent more time talking to the referee than playing the game. I was a bit frustrated we lost our real clear focus.

“Second half, I think for 25-30 minutes we were outstanding, scored three great goals and probably should have had a couple more.”

Spurs started on the front foot but were rocked when Udogie gave away possession to Christian Norgaard, who sent Toney away and while Guglielmo Vicario denied him, Maupay was on hand to bundle home and score for a fourth consecutive match.

Tottenham got sucked into Brentford’s game-plan after with the rest of the first 45 stop-start and containing plenty of melees, but a double substitution at the break inspired the hosts’ comeback with Johnson and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg introduced.

Udogie slotted home after a slick one-two with Werner, who then set up Johnson at the back post in the 49th-minute.

When Richarlison fired in for his seventh league goal in as many matches, after Maddison’s shot had been blocked, Spurs were on track for three points but another poor Udogie pass allowed Toney to tee up a dramatic finale in N17.

Maddison was forced off late on with cramp, but Postecoglou’s side survived seven minutes of stoppage-time to return to the top four.

Opposite number Thomas Frank stoked the fire further after full time when he questioned why Tottenham had allowed Maupay’s darts celebration to irritate them.

“If that’s what’s irritating them, then they have a problem,” Frank said.

“Is that fair enough? If they are talking about darts celebrations winding them up, then I think they have an issue, personally.”

On Postecoglou’s UFC suggestion, Frank added: “Yeah, I agree. Just in general concentrate on playing football.”

Tottenham moved back into the Champions League places after three goals in eight second-half minutes fired them to a chaotic 3-2 win at home to Brentford.

Spurs were sluggish in the first half and trailed to Neal Maupay’s 15th-minute opener but Ange Postecoglou’s half-time team talk seemingly did the trick.

Destiny Udogie and substitute Brennan Johnson scored within 72 seconds of each other at the start of the second period before Richarlison grabbed his seventh goal in his last seven Premier League games.

There was still time for Ivan Toney to score again on his second appearance since his return from a betting ban but Tottenham held on to leapfrog Aston Villa and reclaim fourth spot.

Spurs were eager to bounce back after exiting the FA Cup last Friday and James Maddison was handed a start but Brentford also had their returning hero involved with Toney leading the line again.

While all eyes were on Toney, it was the Bees’ other forward who broke the deadlock.

Udogie gave away possession to Christian Norgaard who sent Toney clear and while goalkeeper uglielmo Vicario thwarted the England international, Maupay was on hand to bundle in to score for a fourth consecutive match.

Maupay and Toney celebrated by mimicking Maddison’s dart throw celebration but it was a deserved opener after Mads Roerslev had a goal ruled out for offside minutes earlier.

Postecoglou’s side initially reacted well to going behind with Timo Werner testing Mark Flekken after a fine Rodrigo Bentancur run before Werner headed wide from a Pedro Porro corner.

Richarlison then flashed an effort past the post from range but Spurs started to get sucked into Brentford’s gameplan that has earned them multiple wins at Chelsea and success at Man City during the past two seasons.

Frustration began to boil over at the away side’s pedestrian pace at set-pieces and the Bees nearly doubled their advantage when Ethan Pinnock backheeled wide after another dangerous ball into Tottenham’s penalty area.

Dejan Kulusevski and Maupay were booked by David Coote for a shoving match soon after before Vicario punched away a Toney header to ensure it was 1-0 at the break.

Postecoglou made a double change at half-time with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Johnson introduced.

Werner and Udogie lacked cutting edge in the first half but combined to equalise three minutes into the second half.

Udogie carried the ball forward, played a quick one-two with Werner and, after his first effort had been blocked by Pinnock, he was on hand to slot home to make it 1-1.

The Brentford players had barely got back into position when Tottenham grabbed another.

Kulusevski sent Werner away and the RB Leipzig loanee showed a clinical edge with a fine ball to the back post where substitute Johnson tapped in.

Johnson celebrated by copying Maddison’s darts celebration and Richarlison followed suit in the 56th minute.

Tottenham were at their free-flowing best now with Udogie finding Maddison, who cut back and had a shot blocked by Pinnock but Richarlison was on hand to steer home.

Brentford remained a threat and after Toney had sent two efforts wide, he made it third time lucky in front of England manager Gareth Southgate with 67 minutes played.

It was another gift from Udogie, who failed to look up and sent his pass back straight to Toney and he rifled into the corner to set up a grandstand finish.

Maddison’s night ended early with what appeared to be cramp before the Bees created one final chance but Vicario tipped over Josh Dasilva’s close-range volley to earn Spurs a precious three points.

Tottenham will have to assess Cristian Romero and Richarlison ahead of Thursday’s Premier League trip to Brighton.

The duo were forced off during Spurs’ hard-fought 2-1 win over Everton with hamstring and back injuries respectively.

A third consecutive win ensured Tottenham will spend Christmas Day in the top four, but Romero and Richarlison have provided boss Ange Postecoglou with more fitness concerns.

On Romero, Postecoglou revealed: “He felt tiredness in his hamstring just before half-time, so we had to take him off.”

The prognosis on Richarlison was better after the forward continued his fine form with a fourth goal in three matches on Saturday.

Spurs will check on the South American duo on Sunday before the players return to training on Boxing Day after being given Christmas Day off.

“Yeah, Richy’s OK. He’s kind of had a sore back in training (on Friday),” Postecoglou added.

“He wasn’t 100 per cent, but he was keen to start. He got through the game, pleasing for him that he took his goal well and worked hard for us, but I kind of knew that at some point I’d have to take him off.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious.”

 

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Tottenham will be hopeful Richarlison is fine, especially with top goalscorer Son Heung-min set to be away on international duty during January.

Son grabbed his 11th goal of the campaign in the Everton win, which betters his league tally from the 2022-23 season when he struggled with a sports hernia, which was only operated on in May.

Richarlison underwent the same procedure last month and has been backed to keep flourishing now he has solved the problem.

Spurs captain Son told PLP: “Richarlison went through similar to what I had last season.

“He is always hungry for goals and for work. He is playing pain-free and looks totally different as a player, so I’m very happy for him.

“If he carries on like this, he can be one of the greatest strikers in the Premier League.”

Postecoglou’s side could count themselves fortunate to claim all three points after Everton provided a tough test.

While Spurs went 2-0 up inside 18 minutes, Sean Dyche’s team created a number of chances with home goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario denying Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jack Harrison, James Garner and Arnaut Danjuma.

Everton also had the ball in the net in the 51st-minute through Calvert-Lewin, but referee Stuart Attwell ruled out the effort after VAR told him to review the incident, with Andre Gomes adjudged to have fouled Emerson Royal in the build-up.

Toffees defender Jarrad Branthwaite told the official club website: “It was never a foul in my eyes.

“They put it on the big screen, and I think everyone sees. Once (the referee) goes over to the monitor, he’s going to give it. It’s never a foul and it just kills the game. It should be a clear goal, for me.

“He hasn’t won the ball, but he hasn’t touched the man, and he just falls over. It’s one of those things and we can’t do anything about it now.”

Richarlison scored for the third consecutive match to haunt old club Everton and ensure Tottenham would spend Christmas in the Premier League’s top four thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 home win.

It was harsh on Sean Dyche’s visitors, who created the better of the chances in the capital and crucially had a Dominic Calvert-Lewin effort ruled out following a VAR review in the 51st minute which could have changed the complexion of the match.

Everton also hit the crossbar deep into added time through substitute Arnaut Danjuma, whose effort was then cleared by goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario before it could cross the line. Although the offside flag was raised, the goal would have been given on VAR review as Danjuma was marginally onside.

Those missed chances cost the away side and enabled Ange Postecoglou’s team make it three wins in a row after first-half goals by Richarlison and Son Heung-min, with Andre Gomes’ late effort a mere consolation.

Dyche’s team had won their last four league fixtures and started well in north London, with the fit-again Vitalii Mykolenko testing Vicario early on before Cristian Romero slide in to deny Calvert-Lewin.

It had been a sloppy opening period from Postecoglou’s men, but an Everton old boy corrected that in the ninth minute.

A slick team move saw Pape Sarr play in Brennan Johnson down the right and his cross was perfect for Richarlison, who flicked home impressively at the near post before declining to properly celebrate against his former team.

Everton responded well to going behind, with Dwight McNeil dragging an effort wide and Calvert-Lewin having a header excellently tipped wide by Vicario before Tottenham punished their profligacy again with 18 minutes played.

A short corner routine did the trick, with Pedro Porro slipping the ball through to Johnson, who was denied by Jordan Pickford, but Son was on hand to scramble home from eight yards.

It was Son’s 11th Premier League goal of the campaign, which bettered his tally from last season, and Everton’s problems increased when Idrissa Gueye limped off soon after.

Spurs were in control by this point and almost produced a couple of wonderful team goals but allowed sloppiness to creep in towards the end of the half.

The hosts did not heed their warning, but made it through to half-time with a two-goal advantage after Vicario denied James Garner and Jack Harrison in quick succession.

Everton’s pressure continued, though, and they thought the deficit had been reduced in the 51st minute, only for VAR to intervene.

Substitute Gomes won back possession from Emerson Royal and found Calvert-Lewin, who rifled home, but referee Stuart Attwell was told to review the incident.

Replays on the pitchside monitor showed Gomes had caught Emerson’s left ankle and, while the contact was soft, it was deemed enough to disallow the effort.

Another chance was squandered when Garner dragged wide from Harrison’s delicious outside-of-the-boot pass and Postecoglou had seen enough, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg introduced for Richarlison with 27 minutes left.

It worked initially and Dejan Kulusevski almost put the game to bed in the 75th minute, but Pickford produced a superb finger-tip save.

With eight minutes left the Toffees broke through when Garner’s corner was cleared to Gomes and he lashed home for his first Everton goal in 18 months.

It could have been 2-2 minutes later when ex-Spurs loanee Arnaut Danjuma let fly, but his deflected left-foot strike was brilliantly pushed over by Vicario.

Six minutes were added on and Everton were camped in the hosts’ half, but in the dying moments Danjuma could only volley against the crossbar and watch as the ball agonisingly failed to completely cross the line before Vicario cleared.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has called on his side to show their resilience and step up to cover for absentees in the coming weeks.

Midfielder Yves Bissouma is facing a four-match suspension following his second dismissal of the season in Spurs’ 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Friday night.

Dejan Kulusevski picked out Richarlison to head home the opener in first-half stoppage-time before turning goalscorer to move Tottenham closer to the Champions League places.

Bissouma’s was the fourth sending off of the season for Tottenham and discipline remains a concern for Australian Postecoglou, who is also without Destiny Udogie for the clash with Everton.

Postecoglou told Sky Sports Premier League: “We lose him (Bissouma), we lose Destiny Udogie (also suspended) but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be that type of season for us. It’s building resilience in the group.

“We’ve got plenty of reason to make excuses, we haven’t, we’ve gone through a rough trot, we’ve still got some tough games coming up.

“I think when you get through these periods and you’re steadfast in what you’re trying to do, I think you come out stronger provided you maintain belief.

“It’s (discipline) been a little bit of an issue. It’s a fine line with those things.

“The players are aware of that, they don’t want to miss games. I think today was more of a desperation tackle than something nasty.

I’m working with fantastic footballers. That makes a big difference. I’ve been pleased with the progress and I just think there’s so much more to come.”

Steve Cooper urged Forest to keep their heads held high.

They came close in the latter stages to getting something out of the game as Harry Toffolo saw an effort superbly clawed off the line before Neco Williams struck the post.

Cooper said: “You’ve got to keep believing in the players. If the players are not believing in themselves and not as confident as they can be, they’re not going to commit to the decision making and the risks that we need them to take.

“There’s always pressure and you have to deal with that if you want to excel – and survive in our case – at this level. That will continue. We’ll stand up and be counted.”

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou was delighted with his side’s composure as they made it back-to-back wins for the first time since October with a 2-0 Premier League victory at Nottingham Forest.

Dejan Kulusevski picked out Richarlison to head home the opener in first-half stoppage-time before turning goalscorer when he capitalised on a poor clearance from Matt Turner to double the advantage at the City Ground.

Tottenham then had to see out the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Yves Bissouma’s dismissal for a high lunge on Ryan Yates but they held on despite Neco Williams hitting the post late on.

Postecoglou told Sky Sports Premier League: “It’s a tough game here, you have to earn whatever you get. They’re obviously pretty desperate for points and the crowd get behind them.

“Every time they get a throw-in, you feel like you’ve conceded a goal and they’re launching it in the box. We had to deal with a lot of things we don’t normally have to deal with. Just great character.

“We had some adversity obviously to go down to 10 men. Some of our football was good as well, so a bit of everything.

“For the most part we stayed pretty calm and composed, the back four, Ben Davies and Romero were excellent, Vic was good when we needed him.

“We always had an outlet, we always looked dangerous, which meant we just didn’t camp ourselves in there. So really pleased.”

However, Postecoglou remained concerned about Tottenham’s lack of discipline as Bissouma was sent off for the second time this season and his 70th-minute dismissal was Tottenham’s fourth red card of the season.

Postecoglou added: “I haven’t seen it but I’m assuming they slowed it down and saw it. It’s been a little bit of an issue. It’s a fine line with those things.

“The players are aware of that, they don’t want to miss games. I think today was more of a desperation tackle than something nasty.

“We’ve had to deal with that a few times this year and you can’t go on doing it like that because eventually we’ll pay a price for it, and we did against Chelsea.

“It’s something we talk about constantly but it’s a fine line between their commitment to what we’re trying to do and not overstepping the mark.”

Forest boss Steve Cooper bemoaned the error that led to Tottenham’s second goal that left his side with a mountain to climb.

Under pressure from Heung-min Son, Turner’s attempted clearance went straight to Kulusevski, who rifled into the net to make it 2-0.

Cooper said: “The result is obviously the most important and will always write the narrative and we accept that.

“I think we sort of played the game we thought was the right one to play in terms of playing on a fairly closed pitch and not trying to give Spurs too much space to play in because we could see how dangerous they can be.

“Obviously the goal, we’ve come off the plan, we haven’t doubled up, we’ve let him come inside.

“It’s the one time they’ve put a real free cross in and we’ve not marked in the box. And that’s the level and that’s the bit that we’re not doing very well in terms of when we’re given moments in and around the opponent’s box, we’re not making it count.

“Then obviously we’ve come out and we started the second half well and then the second goal is not something you can do at any level, never mind in the Premier League.

“So that killed the momentum but I’ve got no complaints with the general performance.”

Tottenham moved level with Manchester City for the Champions League places after goals from Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski earned them a 2-0 over Nottingham Forest despite the second-half dismissal of Yves Bissouma.

After a relatively even opening 45 minutes, the visitors went ahead when Kulusevski picked out Richarlison to head home before turning goalscorer to double the advantage.

Bissouma 70th-minute dismissal for a high lunge on Ryan Yates made for a nervy final 20 minutes, but Guglielmo Vicario was relatively unscathed as Tottenham made it back-to-back wins for the first time since October.

Son Heung-min broke through early down the inside left channel, but saw his close-range effort well blocked by Matt Turner in the Forest goal.

Tottenham dominated the early stages, however, their patient build-up play failed to open up the Forest backline and was the home side who created a great chance to open the scoring with 18 minutes on the clock.

A quick break out of defence saw Morgan Gibbs-White feed an inch-perfect ball down the right to Anthony Elanga, but Vicario was quickly off his line to save.

The Forest counter-attack was a danger to Tottenham and another inviting ball forward just failed to pick out Yates as the visitors were given another warning.

Brennan Johnson came close to breaking the deadlock against his former club when his flicked effort midway through the half was clawed away by Turner, with Ben Davies heading the resulting corner harmlessly over.

Pedro Porro headed wide from Son’s cross, but it was Spurs who broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.

A quick break down the right saw Kulusevski cut back inside on his left foot and his delightful cross was headed home from close range by Richarlison.

After a somewhat cagey opening to the second half, Forest thought they had drawn level in the 57th minute when Elanga turned home Neco Williams’ cross, but VAR intervention ruled the goal offside.

Son forced another save from Turner before Tottenham doubled their lead when a poor clearance from the Forest goalkeeper under pressure from Son went straight to Kulusevski and he made him pay when lashing into the net with his right foot.

Forest’s hopes of a comeback were then given a boost with 20 minutes remaining after Yves Bissouma was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Yates following another VAR decision.

Tottenham reacted by withdrawing Richarlison for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to strengthen the midfield.

Williams saw an effort deflected wide before Harry Toffolo saw his header from the resulting corner somehow kept out by Vicario and Williams struck the post deep into stoppage time, but they could find no way through.

What the papers say

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to offer Kylian Mbappe a contract, but it comes with a deadline. The Daily Mail, citing AS, says the Spanish giants are committed to offering the Paris St Germain forward a deal before the expiration of his current deal next summer. However, Real are expecting a firm answer to their offer by January 15 at the latest.

The Mail, this time via Tuttosport, also says Juventus are prepared to withdraw from talks to sign Manchester United forward Jadon Sancho. According to the paper, bosses at the Italian club are concerned by the 23-year-old’s potential price tag. Sancho was signed from Borussia Dortmund for £73million, and United would be determined to receive as much as possible in any transfer.

And The Sun reports 19-year-old United States and Hajduk Split attacking midfielder Rokas Pukstas has emerged on Arsenal’s radar.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Richarlison: The Tottenham forward is attracting plenty of interest from the Saudi Pro League, according to the website 90 Min.

Hakan Calhanoglu: Calciomercato says West Ham would need to stump up more than £40m for the Inter Milan midfielder.

What the papers say

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a possible destination for Jadon Sancho if his unhappy stay at Manchester United ends in January. The Daily Telegraph reports the England winger, 23, is wanted by teams in the Saudi Pro League, although he has also been linked with Juventus and remaining at United beyond the transfer window.

Tottenham’s Brazilian forward Richarlison has also caught the eye of Saudi clubs, according to the Telegraph. They are lining up a possible January move for the 26-year-old.

Wayne Rooney has been warned he will have a fight to lure Elliot Lee, 28 , away from Wrexham, according to the Daily Mirror. Rooney has identified the attacking midfielder as a prime target after taking over at Birmingham City.

Former player John Obi Mikel has offered to help Chelsea sign Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, 24. The Sun reports Mikel offered to “broker the deal” in a podcast interview with his fellow Nigerian.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Raphinha: Barcelona are hoping for bids from across Europe for the former Leeds winger, 26, in the summer.

Florian Wirtz: Bayer Leverkusen’s Germany midfielder, 20, is on Real Madrid’s list of transfer targets.

Richarlison is not capable of filling the hole Harry Kane has left at Tottenham, according to former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp.

Kane joined Bayern Munich for a Bundesliga-record €117million (£100m) earlier this month, leaving Tottenham as the club's all-time top goalscorer having netted 280 times in 435 appearances in all competitions, including 30 in 38 Premier League games last season as Spurs finished a disappointing eighth.

Kane's departure has left Tottenham fans concerned over their attacking options for this season, with the striker's impressive output last term making up for disappointing campaigns from the likes of Son Heung-min and Richarlison, who only scored 11 league goals between them.

Richarlison particularly struggled in his first season with Spurs, netting just once in the Premier League after joining from Everton for £60m, and Redknapp doubts whether the Brazil international can step up in Kane's absence.

"[Richarlison] can't fill Harry [Kane's] boots," Redknapp told Stats Perform. "No, he's not on the same level as Harry Kane.

"He's got to do better than what he did last year for sure. He's played for the Brazilian team and is a regular for them, he played at the World Cup. [He] scored goals at Everton, did okay there.

"I think Son will play through the middle. They'll let him off the leash and stick him through the middle. I think that's where he wants to play. He'll score goals, he will get between 15 and 20 goals, I think. 

"But Harry Kane and Son together is definitely better than Son on his own. So that is the problem."

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy decided to cash in on Kane with a year left on the striker's contract, a decision that Redknapp understands but does not necessarily agree with, adding: "It's difficult. Daniel had that problem with him at the end of the year as a free agent.

 

"So do you wait and let him walk away for free, or do you take the 100 million? Could he have bought in that type of money by just staying this year and getting them back in the Champions League? Quite possibly.

"I thought Tottenham made some good signings, [James] Maddison coming in would be a big plus for Harry. He'd supply and make goals for him.

"[It is a] difficult one, but Daniel does what he feels is right for the football club at the end of the day, and he obviously feels it's better to take the 100 million now than get nothing at the end of the season."

Kane's exit is one of several big changes at Spurs, with former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou appointed ahead of this season as Tottenham bid to return to the top four.

Redknapp feels Postecoglou is in for a baptism of fire in Premier League management, having to cope without Kane in a league that will prove to be very competitive at the top end again, explaining: "He's got a great job. He's got a result as he's come from nowhere, really, in the last few years to manage Celtic and then manage Tottenham.

"I like him. When I see him, I like him an awful lot. It looks good. He's a good character. And I think he'll do a good job. I suppose when he came he always knew that he would have Harry for a year at most.

"I'm sure he's excited with the players he's working with, it will be the best players he's ever worked with anyway. 

"He's never worked with a squad of players near that standard before. It's going to be a tougher division this year and he needs time.

"There's Man City, Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle [United] and Tottenham. Seven teams here scrapping it out for four places.

"I think Spurs will be okay. I think Maddison was a great signing. They just took the centre-half now, the Dutchman [Micky van de Ven], who is supposed to be a good player. They'll bring two or three more in.

"They will be pushing for a top-four place, [but] whether they can make it without Harry Kane, I'm not sure now."

Richarlison has hit back at suggestions he played a key role in Tottenham's decision to sack Antonio Conte, denying being the "mutiny leader" behind the Italian's exit.

Spurs parted company with Conte last week, eight days after the former Chelsea boss launched a scathing attack on the club after a 3-3 draw at Southampton.

Conte described Tottenham's players as "selfish" and appeared to criticise chairman Daniel Levy, saying: "Tottenham's story is this – 20 years there is this owner and they never won something. Why?"

That rant came less than a fortnight after Richarlison publicly questioned why his playing time had been limited amid a dire run of form for Spurs.

Following Conte's dismissal, a journalist from Argentinian broadcaster TyC Sports suggested Richarlison had been involved in giving the club an ultimatum regarding the coach's future – a claim the forward vehemently denies.

Responding to the rumour on Twitter on Thursday, Richarlison wrote: "Questioning and criticising me as a player for my performance is part of football and I get it. 

"However, telling lies about me, I don't accept! I've always had a lot of respect for Conte and for all my coaches. 

"He helped me a lot in my coming to Spurs and whenever we had a problem (even if it was public) we solved it based on conversation and professionalism – and this he can confirm.

"I wasn't a mutiny leader against him, it was quite the opposite. I'm sorry I didn't deliver as much as he expected of me and I didn't do enough for him to stay.  

"When he left, I sent him a message thanking him for everything and wishing him the best [because] that's what he deserves!

"On the other hand, the journalist responsible for this awful lie did not even do the least which would be talking to my PR or listening to me. Bad professional and bad character!"

Conte's former assistant Cristian Stellini begins his interim period at the helm with a trip to Everton on Monday, with Tottenham sitting fourth in the Premier League.

Tottenham may only have the Premier League to focus on in the final months of the season, but that is motivation enough for coach Antonio Conte.

Spurs exited the FA Cup and the Champions League in quick succession at the start of March.

It means another season will pass without Tottenham winning silverware, but they still have plenty to play for, fourth in the Premier League and in the final Champions League qualification place heading into Saturday's game at lowly Southampton.

Just being in the Premier League is a challenge that means a great deal to Conte, he explained ahead of the Saints match.

"I think that for sure to play the Premier League, to be a coach in the Premier League means you have to be ready to face a great competition," he said.

"To face important players, important clubs, important coaches... and for this reason, the motivation is really, really high.

"For this reason, you want to be strong, to have a strong team and to try to be competitive."

 

Conte appears focused again on the task at hand, describing his discussion of potentially being sacked after losing to Milan as "a joke".

"I don't think the club is thinking this," he said.

Opponents Saints have sacked two coaches this season, with Ruben Selles now tasked with keeping them in the top flight.

With an international break following this weekend's action, Selles sees the meeting with Spurs as key.

"I don't want to sit on defeat for one hour, that is what I can tell you," he said. "So, imagine for two weeks.

"I will prepare every game to win the game, to do the best performance we can and to get the best results."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Southampton – James Ward-Prowse

Southampton dominated the possession against Brentford in midweek but attempted only seven shots and one on target.

They need more creativity on the ball so will inevitably turn to captain James Ward-Prowse, who has created more chances both from set plays and in open play than any team-mate this season. He also scored against Tottenham in the reverse fixture.

Tottenham – Richarlison

After announcing his frustration at his limited playing time following Tottenham's Champions League exit, Richarlison looked to have come up with an ideal response when he found the net early against Nottingham Forest.

But his celebrations were for nought due to the tightest of offside calls. He is still without a Premier League goal in 18 games for Tottenham, although he netted five against Southampton for Everton.

 

MATCH PREDICTION – TOTTENHAM WIN

Expect goals in this one, as Southampton have scored at least once in each of their past 14 Premier League games against Spurs while keeping just one clean sheet in their last 21 against them.

Southampton have won only two of their 10 home league games against Tottenham since returning to the top flight in 2012, with Spurs now aiming to complete a home-and-away double over Saturday's opponents for a seventh time in the Premier League era.

Conte's side will have to snap a four-game losing run away from home in all competitions, but Southampton are winless in 15 games against teams starting the day in the top four of the table.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Tottenham – 54.0 per cent

Southampton – 20.3 per cent

Draw – 25.7 per cent

Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sporting CP on Thursday, and Mikel Arteta will be looking for an instant response in the Premier League.

The title is now their sole focus, and with Manchester City in FA Cup action this weekend, the Gunners can move eight points clear at the top should they beat Crystal Palace, who on Friday sacked Arsenal great Patrick Vieira after an 11-game winless run.

Palace are 12th but only three points above the relegation zone, and that picture could change by the time they play on Sunday.

After Nottingham Forest welcome Newcastle United on Friday, Bournemouth visit Aston Villa, Leicester City have a tough trip to Brentford, Southampton host Tottenham, and Wolves and Leeds United face off in another big match at the bottom of the table. Everton, who are also in the relegation scrap, play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Here, with the help of Opta data, Stats Perform has provided some key insights and predictions.

Southampton v Tottenham 

Between December 2019 and January 2021, Southampton won five of six Premier League games against sides starting the day in the top four of the table (L1). However, since then they are winless in 15 such games (D6 L9), conceding 43 goals and scoring just nine in return.

Southampton have scored at least once in each of their last 14 Premier League games against Spurs, since a 2-0 home loss in December 2015, but they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 21 against them, when they won 1-0 in January 2020.

In all competitions, Tottenham have lost each of their last four away games, the last three of which without scoring. This is Spurs' longest run of away defeats in succession since May 2019 (five in a row), while not since January 1983 have they lost four straight away matches without scoring (a run of five).

Best bet – Harry Kane to score or assist: Harry Kane has been directly involved in 17 goals in 15 Premier League appearances against Southampton (11 goals, six assists), having only had a hand in more goals against Leicester (22). The England captain has scored nine away goals in the competition this season – no other player in Premier League history has netted 10 times on the road in more than four separate campaigns, whereas Kane is on the verge of doing so for the seventh time.

Long shot – Richarlison to score: Richarlison was desperately unlucky not to break his duck for Spurs in the win over Forest last week, with a fierce finish ruled out for offside. The Brazil forward has netted five times in his last seven league appearances against Saints, making them his favourite team to play against when it comes to goals, but he is yet to score in the Premier League this season.

Opta prediction: Spurs are made favourites for this one by Opta's supercomputer, with Antonio Conte's team given a 54 per cent chance of victory. There is roughly a one in four chance of a draw (25.7 per cent), while Southampton, who prop up the table but could move as high as 15th with a win, are given a 20.3 per cent chance of claiming the spoils.

 

Wolves v Leeds United

Having been unbeaten in six league games against Leeds between 2017 and 2021 (W5 D1), Wolves have lost their last two against the Whites. Indeed, Leeds are looking to complete their first league double over Wolves since 2015-16 and their first in the top flight since 1973-74.

Leeds, who will be without key midfielder Tyler Adams due to a hamstring issue, have earned four points from their three Premier League games under Javi Gracia (W1 D1 L1), as many as they had in their 10 games before his arrival (W0 D4 L6). However, they are winless in their last seven away matches (D2 L5). 

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui has won both of his previous meetings with Gracia in all competitions. These games came in the 2020-21 campaign, with Lopetegui's Sevilla beating Gracia's Valencia 1-0 in LaLiga and 3-0 in the Copa Del Rey.

Best bet – Wolves to avoid defeat: No side have fewer away wins (one) or away points (six) in the Premier League this season than Leeds, who have lost nine of their 13 away league games this term. Wolves, meanwhile, have won three of their last four home league games (L1), more than they had in their previous 12 (W2 D3 L7). 

Long shot – Wolves to score over two goals: Wolves have a shot conversion rate of 6.8 per cent in the Premier League this season, their lowest in any of their nine campaigns in the competition. Only once have they scored more than twice in a top-flight game this term, when they beat Liverpool 3-0 in February.

Opta prediction: Expect this one to be close, based on the prediction model, which makes Wolves the slight favourites (39.3 per cent), although Leeds are at 31.3 per cent. A draw is certainly feasible and is given a 29.4 per cent chance.

 

Chelsea v Everton

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 27 Premier League home games against Everton (W15 D12) since a 1-0 loss in November 1994. Against no side have they ever had a longer unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge in their top-flight history. Everton managed a 1-1 draw with a makeshift side in the corresponding fixture last season, but a win still evades them.

Before this season, Everton had beaten Chelsea in each of the last four Premier League campaigns, although all of their victories were at home. They have not beaten the Blues in five straight league seasons since the 1930s.

Everton have won three of their seven Premier League games under Sean Dyche so far (D1 L3), as many as they had in their 20 matches under Frank Lampard this season (D6 L11), but again all of those wins have come at home.

Best bet – Chelsea to win: Everton are winless in their last 11 Premier League away games against London sides (D3 L8), failing to score in each of the last four, and Chelsea have only failed to beat the Toffees at home twice since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Long shot – Everton to win 1-0: If the visitors are to claim a victory, expect it to be a cagey one. In fact, 40 per cent (30) of Dyche's 75 Premier League wins have been by a 1-0 scoreline, including his three as Everton boss. Of the 52 managers with at least 50 wins in the competition, only Tony Pulis (42 per cent – 41 of 98) has won a higher share by a 1-0 scoreline.

Opta prediction: Given Everton's torrid form on the road – they have won fewer Premier League away games (three) and earned fewer points on the road (18) than any of the 17 ever-present sides since the start of last season – and dismal record at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are the overwhelming favourites at 54.1 per cent on Opta's model. Everton are handed a slim 19.3 per cent chance of success, while the draw is rated at 26.6 per cent.

 

Arsenal v Crystal Palace 

Palace elected to part ways with Arsenal legend Vieira and could well be further embroiled in the relegation battle by the end of Sunday's game. After all, the Gunners have won their last five Premier League matches, netting at least three goals in four of those, including each of the last three. 

Arsenal have won eight of their nine London derbies in the Premier League this season (D1); in English Football League history, no side have ever won nine all-London match-ups in a single season. Palace, on the other hand, have won just one of their eight derbies this term. The Eagles have, however, avoided defeat in their last four Premier League away games against Arsenal, with each of the last three ending level (W1).

Since his Premier League debut for Arsenal in January, no player has been involved in more goals for the Gunners than Leandro Trossard (six – one goal, five assists). He has five assists in his last four Premier League games, as many as in his previous 64 appearances.

Best bet – Gabriel Martinelli to have 2+ shots on target: After missing the crucial penalty in Arsenal's shoot-out loss to Sporting in Europe, Martinelli will be determined to put things right. He is Arsenal's highest goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 12 goals, including five in his last five appearances. 

Long shot – Palace to keep a clean sheet: Palace have kept just one clean sheet in 22 away league games against Arsenal (49 goals conceded), a goalless draw in January 2021, while the Gunners have scored in all but one of their league games at Emirates Stadium this season.

Opta prediction: Arsenal are the favourites, although given the respective form of these sides, a 54.6 per cent win prediction perhaps feels a bit low – a reflection of Palace's recent unbeaten run at Emirates Stadium. Opta gives the draw a 26.5 per cent chance, while the supercomputer has a Palace win ranked at 18.9 per cent.

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