Spurs stunned by Wolves as Fulham, Cardiff secure vital wins
Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge suffered a huge blow as Wolves struck three times in the final 18 minutes to win 3-1 at Wembley as Fulham and Cardiff secured huge wins at the other end of the table on Saturday.
Spurs had the chance to close to within three points of league leaders Liverpool, who can now move nine clear at the top with victory over Arsenal at Anfield later (1730GMT).
Tottenham had smashed 11 goals past Everton and Bournemouth in the previous six days and Wolves also looked to be put to the sword by one moment of outstanding quality from Harry Kane midway through the first half.
The England captain raced onto Son Heung-min’s pass and cut inside onto his weaker left foot, but still produced a powerful drive from 20 yards that beat Rui Patricio to move level with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the league’s top scorer on 13 goals.
Much has been made of Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino’s ability to extract the most from a stretched squad, but Spurs finally looked like a side jaded by competing on four fronts in the final stages as Wolves took full advantage on the counter-attack.
“We have had a very good run in the last few weeks and to keep that level is difficult,” said Pochettino. “I think we started to pay for the effort in the other games. We are not machines.”
“We were wrong in the way we tried to play, too much long ball and our energy dropped in the second half.”
The comeback began when Boly rose highest to meet Joao Moutinho’s corner to equalise.
As the hosts pressed for a winner, Wolves broke in numbers and Jimenez put the visitors in front six minutes from time before Helder Costa raced clear to score his first Premier League goal.
“I want to kill him”
Fulham are now just a point away from safety after Aleksandar Mitrovic saved Aboubakar Kamara’s blushes, but not the wrath of manager Claudio Ranieri.
The Frenchman ignored Ranieri’s orders to let Mitrovic take a late penalty with the scores still tied a 0-0 and saw his effort saved by Jonas Lossl.
“I said to Aboubakar Kamara to leave the ball to Mitrovic, he is the man who shoots the penalties,” said Ranieri. “It is unbelievable, he did not respect me, the club, the team and crowd. I spoke with him, it is not right.
“I want to kill him, that is normal when one man takes a ball, only because he scored the last penalty (against Manchester United). It should be Mitrovic, that is it.”
A missed penalty was also the turning point at the King Power where Neil Etheridge saved James Maddison’s spot-kick for Leicester.
And Cardiff snatched a first away win of the season in stoppage time when Victor Camarasa unleashed a rocket to move the Welsh side four points clear of the relegation zone.
In an afternoon of few goals as the strains of a hectic festive fixture list appeared to take their toll, Brighton also boosted their survival chances by beating Everton 1-0 on the south coast.
Everton were unhappy with the nature of Jurgen Locadia’s controversial winner as the Dutch striker had initially been flagged offside before firing into the roof of the net.
However, after consultation between the referee and his assistant, the goal was given as the ball rebounded into Locadia’s path via Everton midfielder Andre Gomes.
Newcastle were denied a vital three points by Abdoulaye Doucoure’s late equaliser for Watford in a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road after Salomon Rondon had opened the scoring.