Hugo Lloris vs Liverpool: Mauricio Pochettino has one of the biggest decisions of his career to make this season

1 Apr

Another mistake from Hugo Lloris has led to calls for the Tottenham goalkeeper to be dropped. Here, @TalkingTHFC acknowledges manager Mauricio Pochettino has a big decision to make before the end of the season.

Here we are again.

Let’s start off by saying the 2-1 defeat at Anfield was no one single player’s fault. Scratch that, it was Hugo, definitely Hugo.

He won the World Cup last summer, but Spurs goalkeeper Lloris has been below par this season

I feel like I find myself sitting here every few months saying the same thing, whether about the Spurs captain or another player.

Tottenham continue to be their own worst enemy. When I look back at the games we’ve lost this season, I can rarely say we’ve played badly. In fact, the game at Liverpool yesterday was one of our best displays for quite some time.

But the fact still remains that individual errors are our biggest downfall. Just this season alone, Michel Vorm made a double blunder in the return game against Liverpool, Kieran Trippier at Chelsea and so many more countless examples.

Vorm deputised for the injured Lloris in September and his mistakes saw Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino score

Even analysing our captain alone, only Everton keeper Jordan Pickford (9) has made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League since the 2016/17 season than Lloris (8), and most of those were at Sunderland. I mean, really?

The official line from Mauricio Pochettino continues to be that his players are punching well above their weight and continuing to learn. But where do we draw the line?

Spurs have the fourth highest average age of any squad in the top six this season. The suggestion that this is a young crop still learning just isn’t an argument. The hierarchy at the club just can’t make that excuse anymore I’m afraid.

We simply had to add to the squad over the last two windows, but for reasons we can’t explain, we haven’t. This summer, Tottenham need a huge overhaul of names, but the likelihood of that is slim to none. Investment is key in the Premier League, just ask Liverpool.

Returning to the dilemma at hand, what does Pochettino do about his goalkeeper conundrum?

Gazzaniga has impressed when called upon by Pochettino

Does he keep faith in World Cup-winning Lloris, does he finally give Paulo Gazzaniga an extended run, or does he dip into the market?

The Frenchman continues to be a frustration to fans. He proved away at Borussia Dortmund not three weeks ago he can be the difference when it really matters. But on Sunday he proved once again that he can be the exact opposite.

Hugo's howlers this season

A World Cup final gaffe has been followed by a number of high profile mistakes this season

3rd Oct 2018 – Lloris comes flying out to close down Jordi Alba despite having four defenders back. Fails to meet Alba, who passes to Coutinho for 1-0 after two minutes

24th Oct 2018 – Is sent off for a reckless challenge against PSV. Spurs draw 2-2, left with one point after three Champions League group games

13th Jan 2019 – Fails to stop Marcus Rashford’s tame effort across goal at his near post in the defeat to Man United

31st March 2019 – Is unable to catch a weak effort from Mohamed Salah leading to a Toby Alderweireld own goal

Gazzaniga has proven time and time again in a Spurs shirt he has what it takes to succeed as our number one. But the gaffer has put himself in this sticky situation by making Lloris captain. With the armband clamped to his arm and a World Cup medal around his neck, how could he possibly drop the Frenchman?

Well, Mauricio, it’s getting to a stage where you need to make that call. This could be a defining decision in his career, and one he absolutely must get right.

Nail it, and Spurs transform into a progressive team that can quickly counter thanks to the prowess of the Argentine’s kicking ability. Stick with Lloris, and the monthly mistake he makes may become a weekly occurrence.

The 26-year-old Oblak has been at Atletico since 2014 and become one of the game’s best

But, there is a third option. Do Tottenham actually go out and sign a new first-choice goalkeeper?

It’s been seven years since the club last had to replace their number one, and some would argue the significant jumps made in stature since then could help to attract a player of an even higher calibre than Lloris.

I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I’d literally sell a kidney to get Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak on board.

But, I’m not the one in the driving seat. Mr Pochettino, now is the time to stick your neck out. Do you stick, or do you twist? This summer, we may actually find out.

Checkatrade Trophy final attendance breaks record for EFL competition and is only just short of Camp Nou figure where Lionel Messi starred

31 Mar

The Checkatrade Trophy final between Portsmouth and Sunderland set an attendace record for the EFL Trophy.

At Wembley on Sunday afternoon, there were 85,021 in to see Pompey win on penalties, which is the biggest in the competition’s history.

It was just shy of the crowd Barcelona were able to attract for their local derby against Espanyol at the Camp Nou were 92,795 turned up.

Much of London will have been aware Sunderland were in town given their takeover of Trafalgar Square on Saturday night.

And on Sunday the north east side took the lead in a thrilling contest that ended 2-2 after extra-time.

However, Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole missed his penalty in the shoot-out, with Portsmouth winning 5-4.

The Wembley crowd easily surpassed the previous competition record of 80,841 when Wolves beat Burnley in 1988, and also set a record for the competition at the new Wembley Stadium, surpassing the 74,434 who watched Coventry beat Oxford in 2017.

REVEALED: The best supported clubs in Europe with aggregate attendances of more than one million

It was a record crowd at Wembley
Ronan Curtis claimed the Checkatrade Trophy
Pompey held their nerve to win via penalties

Lionel Messi news: Barcelona star lucky to avoid red card against Espanyol where he scored two goals, including brilliant free-kick

31 Mar

Lionel Messi may have been the hero for Barcelona against Espanyol, but he was lucky to have avoided a red card.

Messi scored twice in the 2-0 derby win, including a superb free-kick, but lashed out at former Real Madrid and QPR midfielder Esteban Granero while lying on the floor.

Watching the game, Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter said the player was lucky to be on the pitch.

“In anybody else’s book, that is a red card,” he said.

“Messi’s made a rash decision and in my view he’s fortunate that hasn’t been seen as a red card offence.”

There were 92,795 fans in the Camp Nou to see Barcelona win, which after El Clasico, is the second biggest crowd of the season.

The Argentina international dinked his first goal from the edge of the box, with Espanyol defender Victor Sanchez unable to clear as he ran back towards the goal line.

He then finished off a counter-attack late on to take his tally to 31 goals for the season.

Recently, Messi won first, second and third place in a vote of the club’s greatest ever goals.

Barcelona are 10 points clear of second place Atletico Madrid in LaLiga and face Manchester United for a place in the Champions League semi-final. The first leg, at Old Trafford, takes place on 10 April.

Scott Brown says Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday wanted to ‘congratulate me’ at full-time of Old Firm derby at Celtic Park

31 Mar

Scott Brown played down the full-time scuffle that broke out after Celtic beat Rangers.

It was an action-packed Old Firm derby, which the league leaders won 2-1 to move 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Morelos did not react well to his red card at Celtic Park and had some words for Brown

And Brown was involved in three controversial moments at Celtic Park.

First, he was elbowed by Alfredo Morelos in an off the ball incident, leading to the striker receiving a red card – his fifth of the season.

“You can’t do that in modern day football, especially with all the cameras around, but today is about us,” the skipper said after the game, as he tried to bring the focus back on to his team-mates’ success.

However, quizzed about the incident in which Ryan Kent raised his hand and caught Brown in the face during the second half, the captain said he didn’t remember it, before being asked about the scuffle at full-time when Andy Halliday appeared to angrily confront him.

“Oh, he came up to congratulate me,” Brown explained without a hint of a smile.

Halliday was shown a yellow card shortly before the game ended, but was then shown another after the final whistle for his role in the melee, which is believed to have started when he took exception to Brown celebrating the win in front of Rangers’ fans.

Brown said Halliday was trying to congratulate him for Celtic’s win

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was not impressed either.

“You’re playing against a player who loves to antagonise,” he said afterwards. “Morelos and Kent are both provoked.

“Celtic fans have the right to celebrate but to do it right in your race, Halliday has the right to protect his own people.

“The guy who antagonised it all from the beginning deserves to be punished as well. When you’re provoked, it’s only fair that both sides get punished in my view.”

Halliday was given a second yellow card for his part in the scuffle at the end of the Old Firm derby

Sunderland fans take over Trafalgar Square in London ahead of Checkatrade Trophy final against Portsmouth

31 Mar

Sunderland fans took over London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday night ahead of their cup final appearance at Wembley.

The club play Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final and arrived in the capital in their thousands.

The game, live on talkSPORT 2 at 14:30, has sold out meaning it is likely to be the biggest attendance in Europe this weekend.

Both sides have sold out their allocation of 40,000 and it is also the biggest for any final in the competition’s history, surpassing the 80,841 who saw Wolves beat Burnley in 1988.

Alfredo Morelos sent off for FIFTH time this season as Rangers striker given red card for clash with Celtic captain Scott Brown

31 Mar

Alfredo Morelos picked up his fifth of the card of the season, as the striker lost his cool in the Old Firm derby.

Reacting to provocation from Celtic captain Scott Brown, the striker appeared to elbow his opponent during the first half at Celtic Park.

The 22-year-old, who has scored 17 Scottish Premiership goals this season, was given a straight red card – his fifth of the season.

It was a frustrating few minutes for the visitors, as Odsonne Edouard ran clear to thump in a fantastic goal on 27 minutes, with Morelos receiving his marching orders minutes later.

However, Rangers came out fighting in the second half with Ryan Kent, on loan from Liverpool, levelled on the hour mark.

Morelos did not react well to his red card at Celtic Park and had some words for Brown

Thierry Henry vs Sergio Aguero: Arsenal legend over Manchester City goal machine because he smells better, says Danny Murphy

31 Mar

Sergio Aguero or Thierry Henry?

That’s what talkSPORT’s Weekend Sports Breakfast were asking on Sunday morning after watching Aguero score goal no.228 for Manchester City.

The striker scored in the 2-0 win and now has the same number of goals Henry scored for Arsenal during an eight-year stint with the north London club that saw him win two Premier League titles and two FA Cups between 1999 and 2007.

And speaking to talkSPORT, former Liverpool, Tottenham and Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy thinks the fragrant Frenchman wins any poll.

“I’ve played against them both many times and I can give you a reason why Henry is ahead for me.

“Thierry smells so much better,” he joked.

“On a serious note, though, it’s his presence [on the pitch] alone because if you asked a centre half who they’d rather play against, I think they’d always rather play against Aguero.”

Aguero has now scored 228 goals for Man City, the same number Henry put away for Arsenal

The Argentina international, who will be 31 in June, is now in his eighth season in England but has reached the goal haul in 43 fewer games than Henry managed at Arsenal.

Aguero still has fewer Premier League goals, however, but is on course to overtake him if he continues scoring at the same rate. Henry hit 175 for the Gunners while Aguero currently has 162.

And Sports Breakfast host Tony Cascarino disagreed with Murphy’s opinion.

“If I needed a goal, I’d choose Aguero. There’s more in Henry as in technique and pace. He’s not quite as prolific as Aguero, but if I ever had to win a game – someone who in a moment could make a difference – I’d pick Aguero.

“He can [score] with his head, both feet and his work-rate has become far higher in recent years and is still leading the line at Man City in his early 30s.”

The Manchester City forward is currently leading the way with 19 Premier League goals this season ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Harry Kane, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah who all have 17.

Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid?: Tottenham will want more than Philippe Coutinho transfer fee because he’s better, says Graeme Souness

31 Mar

Christian Eriksen is a better player than Philippe Coutinho and Tottenham are likely to ask for more than £140m if they decide to sell their playmaker.

That’s the view of former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness, who thinks the Spurs star is better than Coutinho, who left Liverpool for Barcelona in 2018.

Eriksen’s deal at Spurs runs out in June 2020

Eriksen has a year left on his current contract and has so far not signed a new deal and has been linked with Real Madrid. If Tottenham cannot get him to pen a new deal, they may decide to cash in on him in the summer rather than risk losing him for nothing in 2020.

“Tottenham will look at the £142m Liverpool got from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho in January 2018 and want more because Eriksen’s a better player, who contributes a great deal more,” Souness wrote in The Times ahead of Spurs’ trip to Anfield.

“If he leaves, he will go abroad, as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric did before him, because Tottenham wouldn’t want to sell to another English club. They will be asking for what he’s worth plus another 30% on top.”

Souness also added the 27-year-old Eriksen could get into any top team in the world right now. Since joining Spurs from Ajax for £11.5m in 2013, he has scored 46 Premier League goals and created 57.

“He’s the kind of player everybody would want right now, including England, who lack somebody like him.

“He’s not having his best scoring season by his high standards, but is always up there for assists. If you are Harry Kane, you want Eriksen behind you. He’s just an all-round top player. There’s no weakness in his game. You might like a touch more aggression, but with the qualities he has you would overlook that.”

Talks over a new deal for Eriksen, left, have stalled

Speaking in January about Eriksen’s contract situation, manager Mauricio Pochettino said he’d love to see the player remain.

“Football is dynamic. It’s about interests the manager sometimes can’t manage.

“Eriksen is important to us. You’d like this type of player with you, but it’s a negotiation.

“It would be fantastic if he commits long-term but he has every right to do what he wants.”

If Liverpool avoid defeat to Tottenham they will have made it 37 successful Premier League home games without defeat

A win for Liverpool against Spurs would send them back to the top of the Premier League, while also ensuring their home record remains intact. the north Londoners need three points to remain in third place.

Manchester United are level with them on 61 points, while Arsenal could leapfrog them by beating Newcastle on Monday night.

Nayim reveals whose idea it was to troll Arsenal about halfway line goal during Tottenham legends game at new stadium

31 Mar

It was brilliant, yet petty and exactly what football rivalry is about – any excuse to have a pop at your neighbours.

And that’s what Tottenham did to north London rivals Arsenal when they hosted a legends game in a test event at the new stadium.

A whole host of Spurs icons played against an Inter XI – which the Italian side won 5-4 – including former midfielder Nayim.

Nayim celebrates Tottenham’s FA Cup win

He was a popular player during his time at the club and won the 1991 FA Cup, but cemented his legendary status playing for Real Zaragoza, who he joined from Spurs in 1993, in the 1995 Cup Winners Cup final.

It was against Arsenal in the final when he lobbed David Seaman from 50 yards in the dying moments of extra-time in Paris.

And when he arrived at the new White Hart Lane for the test event he found his name and unusual shirt number, which talkSPORT asked him about.

“Well, the club had the idea to give me no.50 because of the goal against Arsenal – you know, the 50-yard one?

“So I said okay, that’s fine. At the end it was a party [atmosphere] and we enjoyed it.”

Gascoigne was given an incredible reception when he came on

David Ginola, Jurgen Klinsmann and Paul Gascoigne were among those to make an appearance and Nayim was delighted to see Gazza, who was given an amazing reception by fans.

I love that guy,” he said.

“I learned a lot from him when I played with him and he looks a lot better, so I’m happy for him and he’s going to be my brother forever.”

The 52-year-old also thinks his former club have a home to be proud of.

Nayim celebrates winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup

“This stadium is gorgeous and beautiful and the atmosphere is fantastic,” he added.

“This is among the top three stadiums I’ve played in. It’s crazy, everything is perfect and players have no excuses.

“The facilities, the perfect pitch, the crowd – it’s like at Borussia Dortmund and I loved every second of [playing there].

Nayim reckons the atmosphere at Spurs’ new ground can rival the famous noise at Borussia Dortmund

Transfer news and gossip: Zidane wants Pogba, PSG to offer De Gea huge wages and Bale future to be decided in May

31 Mar

A round-up of the latest news and transfer rumours ahead of a big day of football

Ajax’s 19-year-old Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt says he could sign for Juventus, amid interest from Liverpool and Arsenal. (Full story)

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would want £130m from Real Madrid for Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen. (Sunday Mirror)

Christian Eriksen could leave Spurs in the summer

Leicester are closing in on a £40m deal for Youri Tielemans, who is on loan at the club. (Sun on Sunday)

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona want Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell for £50m. (Sun on Sunday)

Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba’s agent, has held two phone conversations with Real Madrid about the midfielder joining the Spanish side. (Manchester Evening News)

Real manager Zinedine Zidane has told Pogba he wants him at the Bernabeu and insists he does not know why the player would not want to move to the Spanish giants. (Sunday Mirror)

Zidane also revealed the future of Gareth Bale will be decided at the end of the season (Sky Sports)

Paris St-Germain will meet David de Gea’s wage demands of £350,000 a week and the 28-year-old Spain goalkeeper will leave United if they do not match the offer. (Sun on Sunday)

Barcelona are willing to listen to offers of over £40m for Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic, 31, with Manchester United understood to be interested. (Mundo Deportivo)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said the club will consider offering Danny Welbeck a new contract (Sky Sports)

Chelsea do not plan to hold talks with winger Callum Hudson-Odoi until the summer, when the 18-year-old England international will have one year left on his contract. (Mail on Sunday)

Current Stamford Bridge boss Maurizio Sarri is Roma’s first choice to become their manager for next season. Claudio Ranieri is in charge of the Serie A side until the end of the season. (Sunday Express)

Skriniar is one of the finest defenders in Europe

Inter have agreed to double the wages of United target Milan Skriniar to keep the defender from moving. (Sunday Mirror)

West Ham’s England midfielder Declan Rice has played down the chances of leaving the club this summer, having been linked with Manchester City. (Manchester Evening News)

West Brom’s on-loan Scotland striker Oliver Burke says he would relish the chance to stay at Celtic. (Daily Record)

Liverpool’s 21-year-old Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella, who is on loan at Extremadura until the end of the season but cannot play after the deal failed to be ratified in time on deadline day, wants a return to Spain next term. (Liverpool Echo)