Klopp and Mourinho respond to City’s UCL verdict, Guardiola demands apology

Jose Mourinho: When Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola do it they're ...

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp described it as a bad day for football, while Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho also questioned the logic behind City’s Champions League verdict – as Citizens head coach Pep Guardiola is demanding an apology from their domestic rivals.

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal: Sánchez saves Coquelin’s blushes in frantic North London Derby

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal: Sánchez saves Coquelin's blushes in frantic North London Derby

A late equaliser from Alexis Sánchez helped to save Francis Coquelin’s blushes following the Frenchman’s second-half dismissal: at a point where the Gunners were in the ascendancy and looked certain to secure all three points.

Alexis to the rescue for travelling Gunners

A late equaliser courtesy of Alexis Sánchez – with his first league goal since October – was enough to salvage a point for Arsenal in an unpredictable, yet frustrating North London Derby at White Hart Lane.

Having broken the deadlock on the stroke of half-time courtesy of a deft backheel finish from Aaron Ramsey, the Gunners enjoyed some counter-attacking freedom of their own – the momentum shifted as Spurs were eagerly anticipating the referee’s whistle to signal the half-time interval.

Ramsey (pictured, middle) broke the deadlock with an excellent improvised backheel flick from Bellerín’s pass | Photo: Getty

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal: As it happened

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal: As it happened

Hello everyone! My name is Mosope Ominiyi and I’ll be guiding you through the action as it unfolds, in what promises to be one of – if not the biggest North London Derby in recent history this afternoon. Tottenham Hotspur – Arsenal, and both rival sides have their eyes firmly fixated on the prize: the Premier League trophy come the middle of May.

Kick-off is scheduled for a 12:45PM BST start, so keep following along as I deliver all of the pre-match build-up ahead of the action at White Hart Lane.

The atmosphere promises to be a lively, but tense one in north London today – plenty at stake, and not just bragging rights either. Here’s a picture of how the Premier League table looks at the moment, with all of the top six (apart from Manchester City) having played 28 games.

Arsenal could go level on points with their rivals Spurs, provided they win today | Photo: LiveScore

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Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Son’s late winner sinks 10-man Hornets

Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Son's late winner sinks 10-man Hornets

A 90th minute winner from super substitute Heung-Min Son sealed all three points for the travelling Spurs, to sink an unlucky 10-man Hornets side in the dying embers.

A 90th minute winner, courtesy of attacking substitute Heung-Min Son, sealed all three points for Tottenham in a relentless, unpredictable fixture at Vicarage Road. Sandwiched between two first-half strikes from Erik Lamela and Odion Ighalo at either end, the game was finely poised in a second-half filled with talking points, half-chances and plenty of attacking intent as both were eager to find an all-important winner.

This result is Tottenham’s ninth victory of the Premier League campaign, meaning they leapfrog title favourites Manchester City into third place – Manuel Pellegrini‘s side do have a game in hand, against league leaders Leicester tomorrow evening.

An intriguing start, marked with a goal

Spurs unsurprisingly enjoyed the lion share of possession during the early exchanges, but Watford were doing fairly well to keep them at arms length to begin with. Nathan Aké, on-loan from reigning champions Chelsea, was doing very well to contain the threat posed by Harry Kane in-and-around the area, with both Kieran Trippierand Danny Rose accelerating forward with pace on the flanks from their respective fullback positions.

Within a flash though, Tottenham’s success on the counter attack was emphasised with the opening goal. The ball was lost in midfield and within a flash, it nestled into the bottom corner of Heurelho Gomes‘ net. Lamela drove forward with only Miguel Britos and the goalkeeper to beat, the defender backed off too much – giving the talented Argentine enough space and time to weave his way past, and cooly slot home from close-range.

It could have been a quick-fire double, too. Kane was left unmarked on the left, darted toward the edge of the area and unselfishly passed across to Lamela. Unfortunately for the visitors though, the winger was unable to get proper contact on the ball as it trickled goalwards.

Aké’s inviting delivery fed Ighalo – the first piece of service he’d had since kick-off – just before the half-hour mark. However, the clinical Nigerian was only able to volley his first-time effort over the crossbar, not troubling Hugo Lloris.

Defensively solid

Spurs’ tactic was an effective one, to ensure Watford had limited, if any joy in attack. With a high-pressing game, coupled with a fast counter-attacking shape to their formation, it allowed them to break at speed with the ball but also restricted Ighalo and his strike partner Troy Deeney to half-chances. As opposed to backing off, and giving them space to create an opportunity for themselves, they were constantly placed under pressure and always found themselves recycling possession in order to retain it.

Ighalo scores – yet again

The visitors’ game-plan worked a treat, but they didn’t account for a moment of magic from one of Watford’s troublesome duo. Deeney’s headed flick was seemingly Eric Dier‘s responsibility to clear away – but Ighalo’s tireless attitude helped him win the ball in a dangerous position, out-muscling the young English defender to devastating effect, as he weaved his way past the backline and poked home with both poise and composure from close-range to level the scoring before the interval.

Mauricio Pochettino was forced into making his first substitution of the half after Mousa Dembele (ankle) limped off in pain, and was replaced by Christian Eriksen just before the break.

Almen Abdi was replaced by Valon Behrami as the second-half got underway, with plenty to fight for in terms of a positive result from both sides. I didn’t mean literally, fight, but after a late tackle by Britos on Trippier, players and respective managers got involved to intervene – Britos was consequently booked for the challenge itself.

Picture: Getty – The two sets of players rushed to the scene, avoiding a potential bust-up in the second-half

Trippier’s teasing cross was almost rewarded with an assist for the former Burnley man, but Kane’s header flashed narrowly wide of the near post in the box. Then, a high tackle was met by the referee Anthony Taylor brandishing a straight red card to the unfortunate Aké.

The towering Dutchman reacted with initial disbelief, especially considering his intention was to win the ball in mid-air, but his studs-up challenge caught Lamela and the Argentine’s reaction didn’t exactly help his cause either.

Aké reacts with disbelief after the referee gives him his marching orders. | Image: Getty

Plenty of half-chances were squandered, alterations were made, but as time ticked by, it seemed more and more likely as though it’d finish as a one-all draw. Lloris’ excellent claw off-the-line stopped Watford from scoring late on at one end, but Heung-Min Son gave the visitors a last-gasp victory after Trippier’s cross was headed home by the south Korean, his second Premier League goal since his summer switch from Bayer Leverkusen.

As for Watford, their smash-and-grab attempt at a victory was in vain – they’ll be hoping to bounce back when they entertain Manchester City on January 2.

Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs’ quick-fire double means frustrations continue for Saints

Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs' quick-fire double means frustrations continue for Saints

It was a hard-fought victory for the visitors, giving Mauricio Pochettino a welcome return to St. Mary’s against an out-of-form Saints side – which was evident.

Southampton‘s winless run extended to six games in all competitions as a quick-fire double between English duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli sealed all three points for the visitors, bouncing back from a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Steve McClaren‘s Newcastle side last time out.

They could have found themselves two-nil down with less than ten minutes on the clock though, as the Saints created a few clear-cut opportunities to break the deadlock.

Mané had two clear-cut chances, no avail

First, Sadio Mané was set through on-goal in the area after a lovely chipped pass toward his path by Steven Davis. The winger shaped to shoot, but centre-back Toby Alderweireld – who spent a season on-loan at Southampton last term – was alert to the danger and got a strong interception behind the drilled effort, sending it behind for a corner-kick.

Then, two minutes later, it could have been two. Dušan Tadić drove down the flank, before unselfishly fizzing a perfectly-weighted pass into Mané’s path on the edge of the area. His well-placed effort was denied by Hugo Lloris though, making an excellent reflex save to keep the scores level.

Harry Kane had a half-chance of his own, which Paulo Gazzaniga did well to get behind, as the 22-year-old fired goalwards from a tight angle with power.

Quick, effective and seemingly comfortable

And it seemed as though it would stay goalless at the interval, but Spurs raced ahead to devastating effect. First, the north Londoners were the beneficiaries of an advantage being played by referee Kevin Friend.

He could have opted to stop play after Jose Fonté clattered into Alli in the build-up, but the visitors’ kept hold of the ball on the counter-attack and Kane’s close-range strike nestled into the far corner past a helpless Gazzaniga.

It wasn’t over yet, though. Southampton’s frustrating tendency to lose the ball in key areas of the pitch was emphasised once more, when possession was squandered in midfield. Within seconds they found themselves on the back foot and, fullback Kyle Walker was allowed space to roam forward from the right-hand side, before swinging a low ball across the face of goal.

It seemed as if the match was being played in slow motion, or something. The way the Southampton defenders collectively seemed, motionless, was as though they were naturally waiting for the linesman’s call for an offside. Alli was allowed the simple task of tucking the delivery away at the far post from close-range, with Gazzaniga not protected effectively by his backline. Marking, poor. Not tight enough, and the hosts had a two-goal deficit to overturn.

Alli tucked home from close-range to double Spurs' lead within minutes(Image: Getty)

Second 45 as telling as the first

As the second-half began, Southampton knew they had a task on their hands. Attacking with both pace and purpose, similarly to the way they began in the opening exchanges, Graziano Pellé created a yard of space for himself – to test Lloris in-between the posts. His snapshot, after good initial work from Mané beforehand, was comfortably held by the French goalkeeper, at a swerving height as the home supporters showed their appreciation for his efforts with a warm round of applause.

Despite all of their shortcomings recently, the fans themselves have refused to give up hope. With the clock continuing to tick down on the affair, Ronald Koeman knew something had to change. A triple substitution – Shane Long, James Ward-Prowse and Juanmi – were all introduced to the fray, replacing Davis, Tadić and Jordy Clasie.

Substitute midfielder Tom Carroll could have wrapped up all three points for the visitors, but his effort inside the area lacked much elevation or power to fully test Gazzaniga, who was able to smother the danger. Ward-Prowse was denied the chance to halve the deficit in stoppage time after another fantastic diving stop from Lloris, stretching to his left, as he kept a well-earned clean sheet.

It just wasn’t Southampton’s day, you could virtually sense that after the first ten minutes. Mané’s two early chances, could have resulted in a two-goal cushion, but instead, they found themselves with a game to chase at the break, which just highlights one of their problems. During this winless run of six fixtures, they’ve only scored three in total – which, considering the chances they create for themselves, simply isn’t good enough. Plenty of room for improvement.