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English Premier League

Dele Alli steals the show but Erik Lamela’s performance inspires Tottenham fans

The Argentine was a constant thorn in the side for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur pulled off a brilliant result this afternoon, as they put Chelsea to the sword at Stamford Bridge. Despite Alvaro Morata giving Chelsea the lead Tottenham were by far the better team. After Christian Eriksen bamboozled Willy Caballero with a dipping shot it was the Dele Alli show.

The England international has been criticised this season after some poor performances. Ahead of the clash with Chelsea, the Tottenham midfielder was being doubted after Jesse Lingard seemed to usurp him in the race for the England starting XI.

Alli put in a fantastic performance, however, leaving Chelsea chasing shadows throughout the game. His first goal, which gave Tottenham the lead, was fantastic. Alli brought down a long-range pass from pal Eric Dier in exquisite fashion before slotting the ball beyond the Chelsea keeper. Alli then scored again to ensure the win for Tottenham.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – MARCH 11: Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on March 10, 2018 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

But whilst Alli might have stolen the show, Tottenham fans were over the moon with the performance of Argentine attacker Erik Lamela.

Lamela has had to work hard to win over Tottenham fans in the past. The attacker has however always put in 100 percent when he plays for the Tottenham first-team.

The attacking midfielder has had a torrid time at Tottenham. Battles with injury have seen him fall out of favour in the past and competition for places at Tottenham have often been fierce in the attacking midfield position.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela keeps his eye on the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on April 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

But Lamela is always a hard-working and tireless individual who the Spurs fans have been won around by within time. Against Chelsea, he was constantly in motion and, whilst a little naughty, his challenge on former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas certainly had the Tottenham fans excited.

Lamela is being consistently linked with a move away from Spurs this summer. He is out of contract next summer and plenty of teams in Italy have been linked with a move for the player.

But after this performance, it is hard to see how Spurs can realistically allow Lamela to leave the club…

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Winks’ return to fitness is just what Tottenham need right now

Tottenham have been handed some much-needed good news.

Liam Thomas

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Harry Winks
Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham were handed some much-needed good news this week with midfielder Harry Winks returning to training after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Pochettino’s current options in midfield are extremely limited, due to injuries and the clubs’ lack of transfer activity during this summer’s window.

Therefore, Winks’ return couldn’t have come at a better time.

Although, it is unlikely that he will feature this weekend against Fulham, his return to full-time training suggests he will play a part in Spurs’ opening run of fixtures.

The return to action of Argentine Eric Lamela also brings some creativity and attacking flair to the Spurs midfield, which it seemed to be lacking in their opening day win at St. James’ Park against Newcastle.

However, the form Harry Winks displayed last season during his stint in Pochettino’s starting XI bodes well for the new campaign and, in a turbulent period for Tottenham and Pochettino, this news is refreshing, to say the least.

Winks’ return to the pitch is perhaps the best news Spurs fans have had in weeks, with the midfielder providing the ideal competition for Mousa Dembele, whose physical attributes are indeed on the decline.

The midfielder’s return will be a significant boost to the Spurs squad, and one that will lift some of the pressure off of Mauricio Pochettino‘s shoulders if the 22-year-old can come in and pick up where he left off last season.

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Fulham

One to watch: Ryan Sessegnon under the spotlight as Tottenham host Fulham

The teenager could be forced to play at left-back this weekend.

Max Cohen

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Sessegnon
Photo: Getty Images

Ryan Sessegnon’s Premier League debut did not go quite as planned.

The highly-rated 18-year-old, who took the Championship by storm the past two seasons was largely neutralised by Crystal Palace‘s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and was denied space in the attacking areas where he is usually so dangerous.

It is still early days and it was by no means a poor performance, but revealed how the youngster must quickly adapt to the higher level of the top flight.

Sessegnon’s second ever Premier League match will come away at Tottenham Hotspur this Saturday and his performance at Wembley could go a long way in determining his success this season and later in his career.

Playing against the club he has so often been linked with will undoubtedly be difficult, providing a mental challenge that he is unlikely to have faced before.

However, perhaps the more challenging proposition will be in the footballing department. Fulham’s new left back Joe Bryan was forced off against Palace on the weekend with an injury, and is expected to be a doubt for Saturday’s fixture.

Without any true left back back-ups, Sessegnon will most likely be tasked with filling in at the left side of defence, instead of his preferred left wing position.

Against a fearsome attacking team such as Spurs, boasting the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli, the 18-year-old could endure a baptism of fire in his first ever top flight start as a defender.

Sessegnon’s performance will also be illuminating as it could provide a glimpse into his future as an attacking left back– not as an out-and-out left winger.

“He is an incredible player project, with a fantastic physical capacity. People compare him to Bale, for me it’s a mix between Marcelo and Bale. I’ve used him lately in a more offensive role, but he’s ready to be left-back of a big team that constantly attacks.”

Slavisa Jokanovic speaking to Marca this summer on Sessegnon’s future position

According to his manager, Sessegnon could develop into an attack-minded defender for a ‘big-team.’

On Saturday at Wembley, Spurs supporters could catch a first glimpse of the youngster in that role in the Premier League – a role they will be hoping he can perform for the club in north London one day.

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English Premier League

Mark Lawrenson believes West Ham could struggle this season

The Hammers will need to improve significantly on last week’s performance.

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Photo: Getty Images

West Ham‘s tenure under Manuel Pellegrini did not get off to the best of starts last weekend as the Hammers were dismantled by Liverpool at Anfield.

The Hammers host Bournemouth at the London Stadium this weekend, Pellegrini’s first home match in charge, and a much more positive result is expected despite the fact the Cherries won 2-0 against Cardiff City on the opening weekend.

Despite being carved apart by Jurgen Klopp’s side, the general consensus from pundits Paul Merson, Michael Owen and Mark Lawrenson is that West Ham will enjoy much better fortunes this weekend and will pick up points.

However, Lawrenson did not hold back in his predictions for the BBC and warned the Hammers they could be set for another tough season if they do not improve their game defensively after being ‘far too open’ against the Reds last time out.

“I was at Anfield on Sunday to see West Ham’s 4-0 defeat by Liverpool, and they were far too open. If they are going to keep leaving the back door open like that all season, they are going to be in trouble.”

– Lawrenson is the only of the three pundits predicting a draw.

While West Ham fans may not like to admit it after an exciting summer, Lawrenson does have a point as the Hammers business caught the eye in attacking recruits but defensively the business has felt rather sub-par.

Pellegrini is relying on Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena to immediately adjust to the rigours of Premier League football, which is never an easy task, while there is a lack of depth in defensive midfield for the Hammers to choose from.

It seems that West Ham’s approach to this season will be to play attacking football and hope to be a high-scoring side that manages to edge their opponents but that could be a costly decision, particularly in matches where the Hammers are away from home.

A team that had the joint-worst defensive record in the Premier League last season, alongside relegated Stoke City, should certainly have placed more focus on restructuring that defensive line and it could come back to haunt Pellegrini in the coming months.

(Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Former Arsenal defender Paul Merson was also critical of West Ham’s defence last week, stating to Sky Sports they were ‘all over the place’, but supporters will be thrilled by the superb observational skills shown by Merson as he rightly said they will not face Liverpool every week. Cheers Paul.

There are more positive angles to West Ham though as last weekend was never really going to be a game where Pellegrini could show what his side are truly going to be about this season as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool stripped the Hammers of any signs of displaying their attacking edge.

Michael Owen also made a very wise point in his predictions for BetVictor, correctly stating it would be extremely unwise to write the Hammers off after just one match – despite the performance being incredibly mediocre.

A home match against Bournemouth is the ideal opportunity for West Ham’s newly-assembled side to click into rhythm before a gruelling campaign that lies ahead, although the early signs suggest a return to European football could be too much to ask for in Pellegrini’s first year with the club.

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