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Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but are grateful for Hugo Lloris heroics

Guardian - ons, 19/02/2020 - 23:06

The good news for Tottenham? They recovered from this position when they broke Ajax’s hearts and reached the Champions League final last season. Last May, however, Spurs had the option of bringing Fernando Llorente off the bench and spreading chaos with an aerial bombardment.

This time there is no target man to unleash in emergency situations and José Mourinho, who has been joking about bringing Peter Crouch out of retirement, is painfully aware the attacking crisis is not going to ease any time soon.

Related: José Mourinho on Spurs' attack against Leipzig: 'It is like a gun without bullets'

Related: Lack of history no hindrance to RB Leipzig's dominance of Spurs

Related: Atalanta produce a night to remember with decisive defeat of Valencia

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We Spurs fans must watch our language | Letter

Guardian - ons, 19/02/2020 - 19:01
While some Tottenham Hotspur supporters use the Y-word as an act of reclamation, Ya’ir Klein urges fellow fans to drop it in favour of less loaded terms

While I commend Lynne Murphy for pointing out that a conversation is happening about what dictionaries can do better (It’s not the role of the OED to police language, Journal, 17 February), it reminds us Spurs supporters that we need to do better too in watching our language.

I have stopped using the Y-word at matches when a cousin told me she was traumatised hearing it being employed now as a badge of identity, as it still reminded her of being beaten up as a child in the East End by blackshirts who were shouting the term at her and her father. I have since been encouraging fellow supporters to drop it in favour of the simpler “come on, you Spurs”, when being goaded by opposing fans.
Ya’ir Klein

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Hutton announces retirement

Sky Sports - ons, 19/02/2020 - 18:15
Former Rangers and Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

José Mourinho v Julian Nagelsmann: yesterday's man v force of the future?

Guardian - ons, 19/02/2020 - 11:00

At 32, RB Leipzig’s coach is 25 years younger than his Spurs counterpart – their Champions League meeting feels like a battle of two eras

On Wednesday night, as Tottenham take on RB Leipzig, José Mourinho might look across at the opposing bench and recognise something very familiar. In Julian Nagelsmann, the coach of RB Leipzig, he will see a driven man who desperately wanted to be a footballer whose career ended prematurely, somebody who quit a university business course to focus on sport, somebody who from a remarkably early age has been marked out as one of the brightest coaches of their generation.

He will see, in other words, a version of his younger self. Tim Wiese, the wrestler and former goalkeeper, even nicknamed Nagelsmann “Mini-Mourinho” during his time as assistant coach at Hoffenheim. And perhaps in that, Mourinho will feel a pang of mortality. At 32, Nagelsmann is 25 years younger: he is the future while Mourinho is repeatedly battling suggestions he may be the past.

Related: Mourinho fears Son will miss rest of Spurs' season with arm fracture

Related: As Klinsmann dives for cover, Hertha and Nouri are left to find feet | Andy Brassell

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Mourinho vs Mini Mourinho? Or maybe Mini Pep?

Sky Sports - tir, 18/02/2020 - 21:19
Jose Mourinho had won a Champions League by the time he was 41 - Julian Nagelsmann has nine years to equal that achievement and odds are he might just do it, writes Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill.

Take off for Timo?

Sky Sports - tir, 18/02/2020 - 16:00
Timo Werner has lit up the Bundesliga this season and, ahead of RB Leipzig's Champions League tie with Tottenham, Europe's top clubs are reportedly lining up moves for the German superstar.

Mourinho fears Son will miss rest of Spurs' season with arm fracture

Guardian - tir, 18/02/2020 - 14:36
  • With Kane also out manager says ‘situation couldn’t be worse’
  • Mourinho calls on crowd to help players in ‘incredible fight’

José Mourinho expects Son Heung-min to miss the rest of the season with a fractured arm and has said that Tottenham’s selection crisis in attack could not be worse before they host RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Son hurt his right arm during the early stages of Spurs’ win over Aston Villa on Sunday and although the forward completed the game and scored twice, he requires surgery on an injury which leaves the club desperately short of options up front. Harry Kane is not expected to return from a torn hamstring until mid-April and Mourinho struggled to hide his disappointment as he prepared for Wednesday’s first leg against Leipzig, saying the bad news about Son had left his players with broken hearts.

Related: Barcelona's Braithwaite move shows up inequality of a broken system

Tottenham's José Mourinho jokes about signing Peter Crouch after latest injury setback

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Son not expected to play again this season

Sky Sports - tir, 18/02/2020 - 12:28
Tottenham's Heung-Min Son is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken arm at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Women's FA Cup: Arsenal could face Spurs in QFs

Sky Sports - man, 17/02/2020 - 22:16
Arsenal Women will face north London rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup quarter-final - if they overcome Lewes in their rearranged fifth-round encounter.

Charlie's European predictions

Sky Sports - man, 17/02/2020 - 14:22
Charlie Nicholas runs the rule over this week's European action with five British sides in the Europa League knockout stages.

Tottenham vs RB Leipzig preview

Sky Sports - man, 17/02/2020 - 12:58
Team news, stats and predictions as Tottenham host RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The point of dictionaries is to describe how language is used, not to police it | Lynne Murphy

Guardian - man, 17/02/2020 - 10:00

Tottenham Hotspur’s protests about the OED’s definition of the Y-word may be understandable, but are misplaced

Protests against dictionaries are nothing new. In the 1960s, distaste for the treatment of “non-standard” vocabulary such as “ain’t” in Merriam-Webster’s Third International Dictionary was so vociferous that a hostile takeover of the company was attempted, and after that failed a competitor dictionary was founded. The price of used copies of the 1934 Second International Dictionary skyrocketed as customers rejected the dictionary’s approach to controversial usages.

These days dictionary protests come and go with less drastic effects but greater regularity. Critiquing dictionary definitions gives social and political campaigns focus and attention – as in a 2019 campaign by the animal-rights organisation Peta calling on to revise its definition of “animal”. Publishers’ PR departments can also catalyse controversy. The most innovative and zeitgeisty dictionary additions are highlighted in quarterly press releases about dictionary revisions, perhaps in hope of viral attention. It works. When the Collins Dictionary added plant-based foods, including “veganaise”, last year, the Times asked if readers thought such words “desecrat[e] the way we speak”.

Related: Africa’s colonisation of the English language continues apace | Afua Hirsch

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Premier League, Championship and Europe: weekend talking points

Guardian - man, 17/02/2020 - 09:39

Arsenal look stronger at the back, Saints may regret some of match programme content and QPR bring the excitement

It says a lot about the reign of Unai Emery that, until Sunday, it had been almost 11 months since Arsenal kept successive clean sheets in the league. Burnley and Newcastle are not the sternest tests of a side’s defence – and Arsenal rode their luck in both instances – but there is no doubt David Luiz and co have begun to look notably more assured. Fourteen years after the departure of the club’s last top-class centre-back in Sol Campbell, could this be the beginnings of a new, level-headed Arsenal backline? Mikel Arteta’s first 11 games in charge have seen his side concede eight goals; the equivalent figure from Emery’s final 11 games was 23. Goals at the other end have declined, too, by about a third, but that’s a small price to pay if it lessens the embarrassing clownishness at the back. Arteta was recruited because of his affiliation with thrilling possession football. His best work so far has been to revive the old spirit of “boring, boring Arsenal”. Alex Hess

Football League roundup: Barnsley shock Fulham

Match report: Barcelona 2-1 Getafe

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Spurs on the march under Mourinho

Sky Sports - søn, 16/02/2020 - 21:08
Heung-Min Son's second goal against Aston Villa was Tottenham's latest winner in over a decade of Premier League football but Jose Mourinho barely took the time to celebrate. Instead, his reaction – racing down the line to ensure defender Jan Vertonghen was ready to replace Steven Bergwijn for the closing seconds of the match - was typical Mourinho.

Mourinho jokes his 2018 Manchester United team could be champions after City sanctions – video

Guardian - søn, 16/02/2020 - 19:29

José Mourinho joked on Sunday that the 2017/18 title should be awarded to his Manchester United side if Manchester City are found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rules. Mourinho lead United to their highest Premier League finish in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Manchester City have been handed a two-year ban from European competitions by Uefa, however they are appealing the ban

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Chaos replaces control at José Mourinho's anarchic Tottenham

Guardian - søn, 16/02/2020 - 19:07

Spurs’ win at Aston Villa was the fourth 3-2 victory over the Portuguese’s brief tenure and the unlikely entertainer is upwardly mobile in fifth place in the Premier League

Go back a year and, briefly, the Ole Gunnar Solskjær table became a thing. It showed Manchester United rubbing shoulders with Liverpool and Manchester City in the standings since he assumed the reins. If it doubled up as an indictment of his sacked predecessor, now the José Mourinho table can make for pleasant reading. Only Liverpool have more points during his time in charge of Tottenham.

The figures alone speak of a transformative impact: 26 points later, 14th position has become fifth, which could now carry the carrot of Champions League football. The performances paint a murkier picture. Spurs rode their luck so often when beating City it could scarcely be called a Mourinho masterclass. This was anything but classic Mourinho; yet a game of 41 shots provided the fourth 3-2 of his embryonic reign. Strange as it sounds, it is the most common scoreline of his tenure. Lacking the spine of a traditional Mourinho side, Spurs were altogether different.

Related: Tottenham go fifth as Son Heung-min punishes late Aston Villa error

Related: Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Premier League – as it happened

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Jose: City ban doesn't change Spurs' mentality

Sky Sports - søn, 16/02/2020 - 19:04
Jose Mourinho says Manchester City’s two-season European ban does not change Tottenham's mentality in pursuit of Champions League qualification.

Smith questions pen | Jose hails Atkinson

Sky Sports - søn, 16/02/2020 - 18:20
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has criticised the use of VAR after an overturned penalty decision contributed to his side's dramatic 3-2 defeat to Tottenham on Super Sunday.

Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Premier League – as it happened

Guardian - søn, 16/02/2020 - 17:28

Son Heung-min scored a 94th-minute winner to earn Tottenham a third successive win and deflate struggling Aston Villa

Spurs soar to fifth as Son punishes Engels error

4.28pm GMT

Read Paul Wilson’s report from Villa Park:

Related: Tottenham go fifth as Son Heung-Min punishes late Aston Villa error

4.03pm GMT

How about that, then? Jolly good fun. Son Heung-min’s goal after 93 minutes and 34 seconds is Spurs’ latest winning goal in the Premier League since August 2009, when Aaron Lennon netted after 94 minutes and 24 seconds against Birmingham. Fancy some more entertainment? Look no further:

Related: Arsenal v Newcastle: Premier League – live!

4.00pm GMT

Some Spurs reaction. “We have a big week, Wednesday we have Champions League [against RB Leipzig] and I think it was important to get three points today,” says Toby Alderweireld. “It was not my best performance. It was a beautiful week for me, with the birth of my son, I had to travel like eight hours and my legs were not sharp. But the lads helped me a lot today.” Son, the match-winner, adds: “We were 1-0 down, and then 2-1 up, to 2-2, and I think we showed our character. I felt really bad because I missed a couple of chances to score the goal but then finally I did with a few seconds to play and it makes me very happy.”

3.55pm GMT

José Mourinho cannot conceal his delight, smiling as he embraces John Terry at the final whistle. Bjorn Engels, who conceded a penalty, scored an equalised and then cocked up with seconds left to play, is consoled by Kortney Hause. Spurs climb into fifth place, while Villa remain precariously above the relegation zone.

3.54pm GMT

90+5 min: Vertonghen replaces Bergwijn for the final seconds.

3.54pm GMT

Engels fails to trap a simple ball, Son runs through on goal and effortlessly bends the ball beyond Pepe Reina. Mourinho instantly calls for Jan Vertonghen. Mission shut up shop.

3.52pm GMT

90+4 min: We’re into the final minute at Villa Park ...

3.52pm GMT

90+3 min: Marvelous Nakamba is booked for a not-so-marvellous challenge on Bergwijn. Villa clear the free-kick and then Lo Celso wallops it into Row L.

3.51pm GMT

90+2 min: Reina punches it clear but the pressure is not over. Spurs continue to probe and Lo Celso gets a snapshot away after being fed by Aurier. It lacks conviction and Pepe Reina coolly gathers. Anyway, back come Spurs ...

3.49pm GMT

90+1 min: Engels does well but concedes a corner ...

3.49pm GMT

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

3.48pm GMT

88 min: Spurs push for a winner but Son is flagged offside. That’ll take the sting out of their latest attack.

3.47pm GMT

85 min: Reina denies Son! Spurs work the ball into the box from a corner and Baston’s first touch is to nudge the ball straight into the path of Son, who fires at goal, only for his strike to cannon into the Aston Villa goalkeeper. Spurs could have scored a dozen goals. As brilliantly as they began, Villa will be grateful for point.

3.44pm GMT

84 min: Spurs pass up another golden chance! Tottenham fizz in a corner, the ball hangs for Moura to power at goal but it’s a powder-puff effort. Lucas Moura should do a lot, lot better. His scruffy header bobbles wide.

3.42pm GMT

83 min: Gedson Fernandes replaces Dele Alli, who should have left the pitch with the match ball. Borja Baston is on for his Villa debut, replacing Samatta.

3.41pm GMT

81 min: Villa squander a half-chance! Aurier does superbly to get round on the cover and snuff the ball away from Trezeguet, who was picked out by a marvellous ball by, you’ve guessed it, Jack Grealish. It was a delicious, curling cross but Trezeguet took too long to react and an alert Aurier hoovers it up.

3.39pm GMT

80 min: ... Lloris punches clear Targett’s corner.

3.38pm GMT

79 min: Trezeguet selfishly goes for goal 25 yards out, despite the unmarked Douglas Luiz screaming for the ball to his right. Samatta was again influential in that move. Villa settle for a corner ...

3.35pm GMT

77 min: There’s plenty of life in this one but do pop over and get the team news from the Emirates when you get chance to catch your breath. Eddie Nketiah will lead the line for Mikel Arteta’s side:

Related: Arsenal v Newcastle: Premier League – live!

3.34pm GMT

76 min: ... it comes in low and Son clears.

3.34pm GMT

75 min: Winks is pulled up for a foul on Grealish. Villa earn a free-kick out on the right flank. Twenty-odd yards out. Targett and Grealish are stood over it ...

3.33pm GMT

74 min: The chances keep coming for Tottenham, but again Alli is denied! He storms on to a through ball and bears down on goal but Reina makes himself big and Konsa eats away at the Spurs forward to make life difficult. Villa come away unscathed but they could do with stopping Tottenham at source.

3.31pm GMT

70 min: Spurs go close! Nakamba flings himself in the way of Bergwijn’s strike after Tottenham pour forward. Aurier ghosts in behind Matt Targett, darts into the box and supplies an inviting cross. Reina punches clear but only as far as Hause, who inadvertently helps the ball on to Bergwijn. The forward leathers it at goal – but across comes a sprawling Nakamba to get in the way. Backs-to-the-wall stuff.

3.29pm GMT

69 min: “The keeper got his Engels all wrong,” emails Andrew Champney. Keep ‘em coming. Meanwhile, back to the action ...

3.28pm GMT

68 min: Kortney Hause keeps another Villa corner alive before Sanchez wellies it clear. Spurs clear their lines and Trezeguet replaces Anwar El Ghazi.

3.24pm GMT

64 min: Grealish’s corner drops at the far post, where Villa are queuing up. Spurs’ marking is selective at best. Engels gets something on it before El Ghazi nods at goal. Lloris clambers down to his right to scoop it up. Spurs have been all at sea defensively, as have Villa. That ensures plenty of fun, if nothing else.

3.21pm GMT

63 min: Grealish buys a corner out of Alderweireld ...

3.21pm GMT

61 min: Another chance goes begging for Spurs. Moura makes inroads down the right flank, driving inside before passing the baton over to Son. He steadies himself inside the box but his effort is tame, too central and comfortably gathered by Reina. Son slaps his thighs in frustration. Villa look dodgy in defence.

3.19pm GMT

60 min: Giovani Lo Celso replaces Dier.

3.18pm GMT

59 min: Bergwijn sends a rasping strike at Pepe Reina! The Dutchman has been lively for Spurs, who have not exactly struggled to carve out chances. Reina calmly collects. Meanwhile, Marvelous Nakamba replaces Drinkwater, who has been below par.

3.16pm GMT

57 min: Engels off the Marx, says quick-witted colleague Tom Bryant. I’m loving Engels instead etc etc. Any more for any more?

3.15pm GMT

55 min: But back come Spurs – they could have scored a tonne on another day. Winks whips in a dangerous cross towards the back post, where Dele Alli is lurking. Alli nods the ball into the path of Eric Dier but Villa manage to intervene before its too late. Douglas Luiz was guilty of switching off, but Villa survive and clear.

3.12pm GMT

And now Engels redeems himself. Grealish’s corner spins into the six-yard box and Engels rises above Alderweireld to nod in. That was oh so easy. Villa Park inevitably erupts.

3.10pm GMT

51 min: El Ghazi stings the palms of Lloris! The Spurs goalkeeper is called into action after El Ghazi lets rip inside the box, latching on to a clever knockdown by Samatta, who has proved a handful for the Spurs defence. There’s at least a goal in this.

3.09pm GMT

49 min: Spurs break, Son tries to wriggle free and get a shot away but his indecision allows Villa to get bodies back behind the ball. Bang, and the dirt chance is gone.

3.07pm GMT

48 min: “Wonderfully entertaining game of football so far, with composure nowhere to be seen,” tweets Bobby Moore. “Reina, who won a few shootouts in his Liverpool days, was rightly furious that there were only white shirts chasing the penalty rebound. Looking forward to more fun in the second half.”

3.07pm GMT

47 min: The second half starts similarly to the first, with Grealish floored by a crude Moura challenge. Moura is booked for chopping down the Villa captain but Spurs steamroller forward on the counterattack. Bergwijn brushes off Danny Drinkwater and surges downfield to bear down on Pepe Reina. Guilbert ends up making a crucial interception. Spurs look lethal in the transition.

3.04pm GMT

46 min: Douglas Luiz gets us back started.

2.55pm GMT

Earlier Celtic moved 13 points clear at the top:

Related: Late Kristoffer Ajer winner forces Celtic past plucky Aberdeen

2.54pm GMT

Some red-hot action to be abreast of:

Related: Juventus v Brescia, Cologne v Bayern and more: European clockwatch – live!

2.50pm GMT

Son gives Spurs the lead on the brink of the interval. Toby Alderweireld made amends for an early own goal by smashing in an equaliser and Spurs had been knocking on the door ever since. Into three minutes of first-half stoppage time, Son stepped up to take a penalty after Engels was adjudged to have played the man and not the ball when he went to ground on Bergwijn.

2.48pm GMT

Pepe Reina saves the initial penalty low down to his right but Son pokes in the rebound from close range. Reina is livid at the lack of Villa helping hands, with Son and Alli charging into the box to feed on any rebounds. In the end Son is the beneficiary, nudging home after his spot-kick was saved.

2.46pm GMT

45 min: Penalty to Tottenham! Engels is penalised. “It’s not football anymore,” is the chant from unhappy Villa fans. Son will take ...

2.45pm GMT

44 min: Engels slides in on Bergwijn, but the Villa defender appears to make precious little contact with the ball. VAR check ...

2.44pm GMT

41 min: Spurs are denied again! Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn go close, and now it is Villa that are very much on the ropes. Alli tamely passes the ball at Hause after latching on to a low cross by Davies and then Bergwijn attempts to slam home the rebound from close range. There is a VAR check to assess whether Bjorn Engels handled Bergwijn’s volley but the Villa defender is not penalised. In the end Harry Winks scoops over from outside the box. A flurry of opportunities, but Spurs fail to find the net.

2.39pm GMT

38 min: Lloris makes a wild, and slightly erratic, save from El Ghazi! The Villa man tried his luck from distance and Lloris seemed caught in two minds but shoves the ball to safety. Spurs look mustard on the counter, but not much cop in defence.

2.37pm GMT

36 min: Spurs should take the lead! Villa are caught ball-watching and Dele Alli picks up a wonderful hooked pass by Son out on the right flank. Alli gallops into acres of space behind the Villa back line and tries, with the outside of his right boot, to beat Pepe Reina. Alli may have been better off trying to locate a team-mate, or perhaps going for a more routine finish. Nice try nevertheless.

2.34pm GMT

33 min: Spurs jet up the other end on the counterattack but Kortney Hause makes a thudding block to deny Lucas Moura taking aim. Brilliant defending, but another reminder of Tottenham’s threat on the break.

2.34pm GMT

32 min: Hugo Lloris makes a meal of a corner, eventually clawing the ball to safety after Eric Dier nodded the ball high into the air in the six-yard box! Davinson Sanchez had cut out a delicious ball into the box by Matt Targett and Villa know they can get at this Spurs defence, which has been unconvincing at best.

2.31pm GMT

30 min: “Football is so cruel,” emails Mary Waltz. “Villa completely dominate the first 27 minutes and against the run of play we are all even.” A half-decent summary of events at Villa Park. It has been lively, that’s for sure.

2.29pm GMT

29 min: “You’re going down with the West Ham,” sing the Spurs fans.

2.27pm GMT

Redemption for the Spurs defender – and what a sweet strike. Alderweireld nonchalantly swivels in the box after picking up the scraps of a corner and coolly thrashes the ball into the roof of the Villa net. The ball pinballs around in the box and Alderweireld slams home. Spurs have been dire defensively but they have looked a threat at the other end. Matt Targett did brilliantly to intercept a slick move, nicking the ball away from Aurier but Spurs strike from the subsequent corner.

2.25pm GMT

24 min: Eric Dier erupts, up in arms at the state of the Spurs defending! His team is being run ragged, particularly by Jack Grealish. This time Matt Targett nudges the ball into the path of Grealish, who is played onside. Grealish unselfishly tries to pull the ball back for Samatta, but Dier intervenes. What a mess.

2.23pm GMT

22 min: Samatta goes close! Villa play some neat triangles down the right flank and a crisp move culminates with El Ghazi delivering a wonderful ball into Hugo Lloris’s front post. Tottenham are caught cold but Samatta is alert to it and gets across Davinson Sanchez to connect. But Sanchez eventually does just enough.

2.21pm GMT

20 min: Spurs recover from that shambles by countering at speed, with Bergwijn serving up a delicious cross towards the back post. Alli bursts into the box and attempts a diving header – but it drops off target. Alderweireld, meanwhile, requires some treatment after getting caught up in that defensive chaos a moment ago.

2.19pm GMT

18 min: A mammoth block by Ben Davies denies Villa a second! Magnificent work by Grealish, who effortlessly carries the ball upfield down the left. Grealish rolls the ball across the six-yard box where Villa are queuing up. Douglas Luiz is among those lurking towards the far post and Douglas Luiz smacks the ball goalwards. Davies – somehow – gets rid. Spurs are at sixes and sevens defensively.

2.17pm GMT

17 min: Lucas Moura is invited to shoot on the edge of the box, with Engels backing off in the Villa defence. Moura arrows a shot a couple of yards wide.

2.16pm GMT

14 min: Kortney Hause makes a timely block to deny Dele Alli! Spurs seize possession after El Ghazi’s pass is loose and Lucas Moura had weaved his way through before laying the ball off to Alli inside the box. Alli did everything right, steering the ball across goal – but there was Hause to intervene.

2.14pm GMT

13 min: Aurier gives away another free-kick, again giving Grealish an unceremonious bump. But somehow the Spurs defender avoids a booking. The free-kick comes to nothing but Spurs are rattled.

2.12pm GMT

11 min: Trademark Grealish as the Villa skipper cuts inside on to his right foot and lashes a curling effort towards the far corner. Narrowly wide. That own goal has really revved up the hosts and deflated the visitors. Spurs are all over the place at the back.

2.09pm GMT

Alderweireld gets his bearings all wrong, making a mess of an El Ghazi cross from the right and inadvertently prods the ball beyond Hugo Lloris. El Ghazi easily eluded his marker, Ben Davies, raced towards the byline before whipping in a lovely curling cross from the right. The bouncing ball flummoxed Alderweireld, who was busy keeping Samatta at bay. But in the end the Spurs defender does the Villa’s striker’s work for him.

2.07pm GMT

6 min: Douglas Luiz inadvertently stands on Moura’s hand and, moments later, we have round two of Aurier v Grealish. Aurier left a little on the Villa captain. That ticking off by Martin Atkinson seems to resemble something of a final warning.

2.05pm GMT

5 min: Anwar El Ghazi takes. It curls a yard or two over Lloris’s goal.

2.04pm GMT

3 min: Villa pour forward down the right through Samatta but Martin Atkinson is alerted to Serge Aurier crudely getting to grips with Jack Grealish on the opposite flank. After a quick whinge and moan, Villa earn a free-kick 25 yards from goal ...

2.01pm GMT

1 min: Ezri Konsa makes a meaty but fair challenge on Son as the Spurs forward tries to break forward. The Tottenham man requires some early treatment but is soon back on his feet, shaking his head in the direction of the Villa defender.

2.00pm GMT

Dele Alli gets the ball rolling at Villa Park.

2.00pm GMT

Room for one more. “There’s a negotiating technique where you try to consciously mirror the other person’s mannerisms, but I fear Mourinho has taken things a bit too far in his quest to have Levy spend more money on transfers,” emails Gustav Björklund. We’re about to get under way in the west Midlands ...

1.59pm GMT

Here we go! The teams trudge out at Villa Park ...

1.55pm GMT

Dean Smith talks about Mings’s absence. “It’s a blow because he is a very good player for us and he is adapted really well to the Premier League but he was ill yesterday so we knew he would be missing,” Smith says. “We’ve got Bjorn Engels who has recently been called up by Belgium so we have strength in depth in that area. Time will tell if he [Mings] is missed or not. We’ve had a half-decent season so far, we have had a big turnaround of personnel and I feel we’re getting better now.” Asked about picking assistant John Terry’s brains for tips on how to get one over on José, the Villa head coach adds: “I’ve been leaning on his knowledge for the last 18 months, but he certainly knows what makes José tick.”

1.48pm GMT

More from Mourinho. “We recovered [Ben] Davies, who played with me just one match,” he says of the boon of the winter break. “[Giovani] Lo Celso is not ready to start the game but ready to help. [Steven] Bergwijn could not play in the cup replay but no problem from now so we have some more options. Other guys have had the opportunity to play but Ben is a proper left-back in his way of playing and I think we need him. In this moment we have more options than before going into a very difficult period where we play three different competitions at the same time. Next week hopefully we will have [Érik] Lamela back, and then we will have only [Moussa] Sissoko and [Harry] Kane in the injury list.”

1.44pm GMT

Twenty minutes until kick-off, so now is as good as time as any to address the big talking point: José Mourinho’s hair, or lack of. “The reason behind the haircut is the barber was bad!” the Tottenham Hotspur manager said. “He did a bad job and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked at him and said ‘come on, bring out the [number] one and shave it.’ I know it will take a little longer but it will grow and come back to normality.”

1.37pm GMT

Pepe Reina is again between the sticks for Villa but Tom Heaton, who is out for the season with a knee injury, has been talking candidly to the BBC about the pressure that comes with pulling on an England shirt. “When you’re England’s number one, you’re held to a different standard to the other keepers,” he says. “When you’re a striker, if you miss three chances but score a goal then everyone says how good the goal was. When you’re a keeper, you can make three world-class saves and let one in, and that’s what they’ll talk about. It comes with the territory, it’s no surprise when that scrutiny comes when you’re England’s number one. Pickford knows that, he’s aware of it and he’ll be able to deal with it.”

1.31pm GMT

Dean Smith has had his two pennies’ worth on the winter break, and reckons it might have revitalised Villa. “It’s a tough league, one in which it is difficult to build consistency because of the quality of the other teams in there, but I feel we’ve just started to build that consistency,” he says. “As everybody knows, we had a big turnaround [of players] in the summer and they’re starting to gel. For the first time we’ve had a mini break and we’ve seen a positive side to it. It gave everybody a chance to have some time away from the place, and to clear their heads.”

1.22pm GMT

Essential pre-match reading:

When I heard Appie [Nouri] had brain damage, I just can’t describe my feelings. At that time I didn’t sleep so much. In the first weeks I was scared to play, scared to go on the pitch because Appie was a young boy and out of nowhere … It was difficult. I speak to his brother every day but it’s still difficult.

Related: Steven Bergwijn: ‘His brother said you will score for Appie … I did it’

1.20pm GMT

We’re off to a good start. “Looking at that pic gracing the MBM has me wondering when the hell Dominic Cummings took over Spurs,” emails Speakeasy Ray. Any more for any more?

1.15pm GMT

Team news news: Aston Villa’s frail defence will again be put under the spotlight, and they will have to cope without Tyrone Mings who is absent with tonsilitis, according to Sky. Bjorn Engels is promoted to the Villa starting lineup, while Danny Drinkwater also returns in place of Marvelous Nakamba. As for the visitors, Ben Davies returns to the Spurs starting XI, with the Wales defender making his first appearance since November after recovering from an ankle injury. Davies and Eric Dier both start as Giovani Lo Celso and Japhet Tanganga drop to the bench.

1.04pm GMT

Aston Villa (3-4-3): Reina; Hause, Konsa, Engels; Guilbert, Douglas Luiz, Drinkwater, Targett; El Ghazi, Samatta, Grealish

Subs: Nyland, Elmohamady, Taylor, Nakamba, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Baston

12.48pm GMT

Tottenham travel to a rainsoaked Villa Park in search of enhancing their push for Champions League qualification. Spurs start the day in sixth, behind Sheffield United. Spurs have not exactly been swashbuckling under José Mourinho but they are picking up points – only Manchester City and Liverpool have yielded more since the Portuguese returned to work in Enfield. Now then, Storm Dennis has already put paid to Witton Station, meaning home and away fans have been piling in via Aston, and a few car parks are flooded but the game is set to go ahead as planned. Fittingly, Danny Drinkwater is set to return to the Villa squad, while the visitors are primed to welcome back Ben Davies and Giovani Lo Celso. Exhilarating fare is unlikely in such conditions but it will at least be entertaining and, if nothing else, expect riveting weather updates.

Kick-off: 2pm (GMT)

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