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The Warm-Up: Harry's gold, divers are getting told...does JT fit the Swansea mould?

May 19, 2017 6:17 AM
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The Warm-Up: Harry's gold, divers are getting told...does JT fit the Swansea mould?

Spurs came up with a final flourish - and a warning for next season - as they battered Leicester into submission.

As various teams wind down for the season’s end, it was refreshing to see a side not letting up just because it’s mid-May. Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t come across like a man satisfied with 90%, and so his Spurs side steamrollered last season’s Premier League champions to claw back more than a bit of pride from their failed title tilt. Furthermore, the 6-1 win at the King Power gave a pre-emptive shot across the bows of Chelsea and the rest: expect Spurs to be there again next year.

Spurs fired in 26 shots against an increasingly forlorn-looking Leicester, and a brace for Heung-min Son means they now have a trio of players beyond the 20-goal mark this season.

“Our attitude and internal motivation was good,” said Pochettino. “We have been talking a lot about why we finished so badly last season. This type of performance shows that the team is improving and has learned a lot from last season. This is fantastic.”

“There are no positives,” his opposite number Craig Shakespeare sighed. “We were totally second-best.”

That’s the official terminology for diving or feigning injury, upon which the FA are firmly clamping down from next season. Such incidents will now be reviewed by a panel consisting of a retired trio of manager, player and referee – if they are unanimous in adjudging a player to have deceived the match officials, the offender will receive a two-match ban.

Some observers fear a potential minefield of interpretation and inconsistency – Sam Allardyce called the new laws “utter rubbish” – but this represents the boldest attempt to stamp out a lingering problem. Regardless of how much diving really gets your personal goat, it’s probably worth a try.

Swansea’s Paul Clement has become the first to make a public move for the services of departing Chelsea captain/leader/legend John Terry.

“I don’t know his thinking, whether he is going to carry on,” said Clement, who won the double with Terry while working as Chelsea’s assistant manager in 2009/10.

Terry’s future remains unclear – indeed, he is yet to announce whether he will continue playing or not – but a move to another Premier League club seems the riskiest option in terms of preserving his footballing legacy, particularly on the evidence of his patchy display against Watford on Monday.

Liverpool’s commitment to skincare continues apace, and their latest TV advert steps things up a gear.

Quite how much persuading James Milner needed to meet his grisly end under a giant reptile’s foot remains unclear, but that won’t do much for Jurgen Klopp’s options at left back for this weekend’s Premier League curtain-closer.

Now officially a three-season wonder and counting. Harry Kane’s sudden emergence as a goalscoring force in 2014/15 remains a stunning turn of events, but he is now firmly established as a super-reliable Premier League force.

Trailing Romelu Lukaku by two goals in the race for the Golden Boot before kick-off last night, Kane now leads by the same margin. He, like Spurs, is not letting up.

Most impressive, perhaps, is Kane’s happy admission of his personal quest for the top-scorer spot. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t,” he said. “I was looking to take it into the last game, but now I’m in the driving seat. I’m not resting on my laurels, and I’ll go to Hull looking to get four more hopefully.”

England’s youth are in another final, so – before we get all concerned about their lack of Premier League minutes or how they spend their wages – let’s enjoy their relative footballing innocence. The Under-17s take on Spain in the final of the European Championship this evening – kick-off’s at 7pm and it’s live on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player, no less.

Also read: Bahamas' DeAndre Ayton eyes top pick in NBA Draft


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