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Ten-man Spurs top Premier League as Van De Ven sinks Luton

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Tottenham climbed to the top of the Premier League as they recovered from Yves Bissouma’s dismissal for diving to earn a 1-0 win against lowly Luton on Saturday.

Bissouma was sent off just before half-time for his needless second booking at Kenilworth Road.

But Mickey van de Ven’s first goal for the club soon after the interval clinched unbeaten Tottenham’s sixth win in eight league games.

Ange Postecoglou’s side sit two points clear of second placed Manchester City, who travel to title rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

The north Londoners’ superb start to Postecoglou’s first season in charge have awoken dreams of an unexpected title challenge.

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While that may yet prove beyond Tottenham, the Australian has undoubtedly had a huge impact on a club that was in turmoil when he arrived from Celtic.

A toxic combination of Tottenham’s poor results and dour displays, combined with Harry Kane’s close-season move to Bayern Munich, left many expecting another season of turmoil, but Postecoglou has worked wonders to steady the ship.

He had already earned plaudits for energising Tottenham with his attacking tactics, but this gritty performance will have been equally pleasing.

It is the best unbeaten start any Tottenham manager has ever made and, with fixtures against Fulham and Crystal Palace up next, they could extend their unbeaten start through the rest of October.

In their first meeting with Tottenham since a goalless draw in 1992, struggling Luton found it impossible to get a foothold in a blistering start from the visitors.

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Richarlison should have put Tottenham ahead in the opening moments, but he scuffed wastefully over from close-range after James Maddison’s cross dissected the Luton defence.

The Brazilian squandered another good chance seconds later with a low shot that lacked the power and accuracy to Luton keeper Thomas Kaminski, who saved with his foot.

Son was next to threaten as Tottenham laid siege to Kaminski’s goal, with the South Korean curling wide from inside the area, then forcing a smart stop from the over-worked keeper.

Dejan Kulusevski’s strike was tipped away for a corner by Kaminski before Richarlison miscued his shot when the resulting set-piece dropped nicely for him in the area.

After benefitting from the VAR mistake that saw Liverpool’s Luis Diaz denied a legitimate goal in last weekend’s win over the Reds, Tottenham were aided by correct use of the system this time.

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VAR stepped in to rule out Luton’s goal late in the first half when Luton’s Elijah Adebayo shoved Cristian Romero before heading against the far post for Tom Lockyer to nod home the rebound.

Tottenham were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time when Bissouma, already booked for fouling Chiedozie Ogbene, blatantly dived in an attempt to win a free-kick after Marvelous Nakamba’s challenge.

Referee John Brooks wasn’t fooled by Bissouma’s attempted deception and immediately showed a second yellow card to the Mali midfielder.

Adebayo should have made Luton’s numerical advantage pay off straight after half-time, but he shot woefully wide from close-range after being picked out by Ogbene’s cross.

That miss proved the turning point as Tottenham took the lead in the 52nd minute.

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Maddison’s determined run took him to the byline and he pulled the ball back to Van de Ven, who applied the finishing touch with a deft finish from six yards.

Carlton Morris squandered Luton’s best chances to equalise in quick succession, dragging his shot wide from a good position before firing straight at Tottenham keeper Guglielmo Vicario.

-AFP

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

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Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy returns to Man United

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United legend Van Nistelrooy is expected to be announced as one of Erik ten Hag's assistants

Manchester United legend, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been spotted being driven into Carrington, the training ground of Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) and Rene Hake arrived at Manchester United’s training ground

Reports have it that the Dutchman is set to be appointed as one of Erik ten Hag’s new assistant coaches.

He played for Manchester United from 2001 to 2006.

Now  48, he reportedly turned down job offer from Burnley to return to his old club, having previously led PSV Eindhoven to second place in the Eredivisie and victory in the Dutch Cup.

He is being joined by Rene Hake, 52, who was persuaded to give up his job as Go Ahead Eagles manager despite leading the Deventer-based club into Europe for only the third time in their history.

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Chelsea make improved offer for Victor Osimhen

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Chelsea have increased their efforts to lure long-term target and Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, to Stamford Bridge.

According to TEAMtalk, Chelsea is prepared to include Romelu Lukaku and Cesare Casadei in a deal with Napoli to reduce the cost of acquiring Osimhen.

In December, the 25-year-old forward extended his contract with Napoli following a stellar season, committing to stay at the Diego Maradona Stadium until 2026.

Despite being linked with potential transfers to Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, and other elite teams, recent events have changed the landscape.

Earlier reports claimed Chelsea withdrew due to concerns about his injury history, PSG failed to attract his interest, and Arsenal was unable to afford his release clause. As a result, the Super Eagles star was expected to remain at Napoli.

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However, recent reports confirm that the Blues are willing to proceed with the deal regardless. Lukaku is interested in a switch to join Antonio Conte at Napoli, while Osimhen is keen on a move to the English Premier League.

While there have been no comments from Osimhen’s camp or Chelsea, this summer transfer window is anticipated to be one of the hottest, with Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal set to lock horns for Osimhen’s signature.

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