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Son blasts Tottenham level

Fernando Llorente scored a late winner as Tottenham came from behind to win for the second Premier League match in a row.

Spurs had fought back from a 1-0 deficit and triumphed 2-1 at Fulham on Jan. 20, with Harry Winks heading in an injury-time winner. And, although the North Londoners went on to suffer back-to-back defeats in the domestic cup competitions, history repeated itself against Watford at Wembley on Wednesday.

Tottenham trailed 1-0 to Javi Gracia's Hornets with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, after Craig Cathcart's first-half header, but Son Heung-min levelled on his return from the Asian Cup and Llorente completed the turnaround with a dramatic 87th-minute winner.

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Fear, paranoia, difficult behaviour and constant battling with club officials and players led to the inevitable, writes Rob Dawson.

When Boca Juniors and River Plate were set to meet in Argentina's most important match, Buenos Aires lost its mind, writes Wright Thompson.

Tottenham's mental strength had been questioned after successive cup exits, but they showed their fighting spirit here. They are still yet to draw a single Premier League match this season.

While this was hardly a vintage display, the late goals will ease fears about Spurs' potency in the continued absence of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are one of only two top-six sides to win their midweek fixture, along with Arsenal. They are now just two points behind Manchester City and have also moved closer to leaders Liverpool.

Set-piece defending has been a consistent issue this season. Having conceded twice in that manner in September's reverse fixture at Vicarage Road, Spurs again fell behind to a corner, with Cathcart again getting his name on the scoresheet. More work is needed on the training ground.

6 -- Mauricio Pochettino could have deployed the returning Son up front but instead stuck with Llorente, and that decision also seemed to dictate his tactics as he opted for a 3-4-3 system with wing-backs. For much of the match, his plan did not work. It seemed unnecessary to have three centre-backs for a home fixture against Watford, and it didn't help his side when they conceded from a corner. At the other end, the wing-backs generally did not create enough to make up for the absence of a fourth attacking player and Pochettino had to introduce Lucas Moura at half-time. He also used three different right wing-backs. Yet he stuck to his plan and it eventually paid off as Llorente scored from a Danny Rose cross.

GK Hugo Lloris, 5 -- Wasn't asked to do much but made a key error, coming for the corner, then stopping and getting caught in no-man's land.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 6 -- The Belgian was initially marking Cathcart for the corner but was blocked off, allowing his man to head in the opener. He did well to keep up with Gerard Deulofeu though when the Spaniard was threatening to run through on goal.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 5 -- Won a number of headers in the middle of the back three, but not the one that really mattered.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- Played some nice passes out from the back and nearly managed to prod the ball past Foster after arriving unmarked outside of Watford's box in the first half.

MF Serge Aurier, 5 -- Offered little and was substituted at half-time.

MF Danny Rose, 7 -- While his crosses were hit and miss, he kept plugging away, varying his deliveries to keep Watford's defenders guessing. Eventually got his reward with an assist for Llorente.

MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Helped Spurs to dominate possession and tried to inject some energy with some driving runs.

MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Initially deployed in central midfield, the Frenchman was asked to play as a wing-back after the break and he delivered one of Spurs' better crosses when he created a gilt-edged chance for Llorente. Was withdrawn with his side trailing 1-0.

MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- Created a couple of openings in the first half and a no-look pass to Son, who was behind him, was delicious. On the other hand, his set pieces were generally poor.

MF Son Heung-min, 8 -- Full of running. The South Korean went close with a curling effort early on and was unfortunate that no one was there to finish from his low cross moments after Spurs fell behind. It was no surprise that it was he who scored the crucial equaliser.

FW Fernando Llorente, 7 -- Another incredibly mixed display. There were a number of poor touches and passes, and a glaring miss at close range. Yet the Spaniard also created a first-half chance for Vertonghen, played a part in the equaliser and scored the winner.

MF Lucas Moura, 7 -- Added pace in the second half, while his through ball to Llorente helped to produce the equaliser.

MF Kieran Trippier, 6 -- Became Spurs' third right wing-back of the night when he replaced Sissoko.

MF Erik Lamela, N/R -- Replaced Vertonghen at 1-0 down in the 79th minute and ended up on the winning team.

Gonzalo Higuain endured a Premier League debut to forget as Chelsea were humiliated 4-0 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday. Josh King struck twice and David Brooks punished one horrendous David Luiz error before Charlie Daniels' late header added another layer of humiliation.


Believe it or not, Chelsea actually started this match quite well, moving the ball with speed and purpose and stretching Bournemouth at times. That will be forgotten, though, and given what transpired in the second half, rightly so.

ESPN+ is America's home for a host of professional soccer leagues from around the world, highlighted by Italy's Serie A, Major League Soccer, UEFA Nations League and English FA Cup. |
ESPN+ schedule

ESPN FC's experts ranked the best men's players and managers in world football. Check out the list.

Fear, paranoia, difficult behaviour and constant battling with club officials and players led to the inevitable, writes Rob Dawson.

When Boca Juniors and River Plate were set to meet in Argentina's most important match, Buenos Aires lost its mind, writes Wright Thompson.


Maurizio Sarri's system crumbled in the face of a disciplined opposition game plan again, and his lack of tactical variation once Chelsea find themselves behind is a real problem -- not to mention his relationship with supporters that is worsening with every performance like this. Also, leaving a fit Callum Hudson-Odoi out of the match-day squad entirely is not the way to convince him to stay.

Manager rating out of 10

2 -- There was nothing wrong with the team Sarri picked or the way he set his team up, but has there ever been a successful coach so blindly wedded to one single formation? There is never a sense that Chelsea can recover in matches that begin to go against them, and teams without that rarely finish in the top four.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 -- Made some good saves to deny Bournemouth's best counterattacks in the first half and was left brutally exposed by his defence for all three of the home side's goals. Continues to keep his head in difficult situations, but it doesn't matter when everyone around him is losing theirs.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 6 -- Continued his recent trend of contributing more in attack with some inviting crosses, and was Chelsea's least awful defender on a torrid night. Given time, Sarri will hope he can strike up the kind of understanding he enjoyed with Morata with Higuain.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 4 -- Didn't have the signature howler that this performance will be remembered for but was every bit as culpable as Luiz for Chelsea's defensive disintegration in the second half. Each of Bournemouth's goals were virtual tap-ins, in central positions and under no pressure.

DF David Luiz, 3 -- Took a big blow to the head from one King shot early on, and the kind interpretation is it had a delayed effect. Didn't get close enough to King for either of his goals and presented the ball to Brooks for Bournemouth's decisive second. In the position he plays, such mistakes are fatal.

DF Emerson Palmieri, 5 -- Certainly more energetic than Marcos Alonso on the left, but this performance raised questions about his positional awareness -- particularly once Chelsea began to crumble around him in the second half. He also didn't get into crossing positions with the same regularity as Azpilicueta.

MF N'Golo Kante, 6 -- Continues to be Chelsea's most reliable and intelligent midfielder at attacking the penalty area, so it's a shame he's far from ideally suited to make the most of the opportunities that come his way. One loose touch squandered a golden chance with Bournemouth only 1-0 up.

MF Jorginho, 4 -- A performance to delight his critics. He generally functions only as well as Chelsea's system does, and from the moment Bournemouth went ahead, he had nothing more to offer than backward and sideways passes that only played into the home team's game plan.

MF Mateo Kovacic, 5 -- Started well, forcing a brilliant tip from Artur Boruc onto the crossbar with a header after making the kind of enterprising run into the box that rarely seems to occur to him. All the more baffling, then, that he never even tried to make it again, instead leaving Higuain to be smothered in the box.

FW Pedro, 6 -- Put in a good early cross for Kovacic's header and looked dangerous when Chelsea managed to work the ball forward quickly, which was all too rare. Also found Kante with one brilliant clipped pass, but could not test Boruc himself. Replaced by Willian on the hour mark.

FW Gonzalo Higuain, 5 -- Understandably played like a man adjusting to new surroundings, and his teammates did nothing to help him. Runs went ignored, passes into him went astray and he was smothered by defenders at every cross, with no midfield runners to divide their attentions. A nonfactor.

FW Eden Hazard, 5 -- Plays where he wants under Sarri these days, though you have to wonder whether his positional freestyling sometimes hurts his team more than it helps. Bournemouth built a wall in front of him that he was unable to find a way through.


FW Willian, 5 -- His most notable contributions after replacing Pedro were to hit the first man with a succession of disappointing corner kicks. There was no hint of the magic that took Sheffield Wednesday apart on Sunday. Perhaps this might have been a night more suited to Hudson-Odoi?

FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Prompted chants of "You don't know what you're doing" toward Sarri when he came on for Higuain, presumably because it was yet another like-for-like substitution when chasing a game. Missed one half-chance.

MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N/R -- Showed a bit of urgency and attacking ambition from midfield when he replaced Kovacic, but by then Chelsea's cause was lost.

LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool missed out on the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points as they drew 1-1 with Leicester City at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Sadio Mane had put Liverpool ahead after barely two minutes of action before Harry Maguire netted an equaliser for the visitors right on the stroke of half-time. But Liverpool couldn't get a winner and may look back on this result as a chance missed.


Liverpool move five points clear of Manchester City. It's not the advantage they hoped they would have at the end of the game, but it is a point gained that they may look back on with fondness come May. Meanwhile, Leicester simply could not handle Mane. The goal -- his 10th Premier League goal of the season already -- means he has now reached double figures in the last five seasons. While Mohamed Salah often takes the spotlight, Mane is just as much of a star.


Anfield was giddy with excitement at the start of the night following Newcastle United's shock win over champions Man City on Tuesday. The murmur from the crowd at the final whistle suggested they felt it was a massive opportunity missed in the title race. City defeats are rare and they need to be fully capitalised on.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Jurgen Klopp was extremely bold with his team selection. He started all of his best attacking options, while Jordan Henderson deputised at right-back. Liverpool absolutely flew out of the blocks, scoring their quickest Premier League goal in nearly three years. But then the adrenaline wore off and Leicester threatened time and time again. None of Klopp's changes help Liverpool establish control again.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 6 -- Far too relaxed with the ball at his feet on two occasions in the first half -- both of which could have been punished by James Maddison. That said, he did make an important save to stop a Roberto Firmino own goal with the scoreline at 1-1.

DF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- Always willing to help out the team out wherever he can -- this time at full-back. A decent performance from the captain.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 -- Just a run-of-the-mill performance from Van Dijk.

DF Joel Matip, 5 -- Matip never seems to instil much confidence in the Anfield crowd. Liverpool look much better at the back with Joe Gomez alongside Van Dijk.

DF Andrew Robertson, 5 -- Committed a sloppy foul that led to the equaliser. A costly error from a player so dependable.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Another tidy showing from the midfielder. It is probably no surprise that the chaos that ensued in the Crystal Palace win coincided with Wijnaldum's absence.

MF Naby Keita, 5 -- Still struggling in a Liverpool shirt. However, he perhaps should have won a penalty when he was brought down by Ricardo Pereira before being taken off in the second half.

FW Xherdan Shaqiri, 4 -- Had a really quiet 66-minute outing. Needs to recapture his form from earlier in the season that made it difficult for him to be left out of the team.

FW Sadio Mane, 8 -- Took his goal superbly, particularly in the opening seconds on a pitch that had a fresh dusting of snow. The speedster will be praised for his finish, but his tracking back and defensive contribution was vital also.

FW Roberto Firmino, 6 -- A quiet night for the Brazilian, although his link-up play and skill in the box was quite effective. Had two good shots well saved.

FW Mohamed Salah, 5 -- On the periphery for most of the game. A few nice turns and touches, but starved of real clear-cut chances.


MF Adam Lallana (66), 5 -- He was not much of an improvement on Shaqiri really.

MF Fabinho (66), 6 -- Won lots of headers and seemed to relish the physicality of the closing stages.

FW Daniel Sturridge (82), N/R -- Tried to be the hero again with a speculative shot from distance and wasted the chance of a break by handling the ball.