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Conte provides insight into Rodrigo Bentancur’s likely Tottenham role

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Antonio Conte provides insight into Rodrigo Bentancur’s likely Tottenham role ahead of Wolves

 

Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte has, on Friday, provided an insight into the position most likely to be taken up by January arrival Rodrigo Bentancur in his side.

Uruguayan international Bentancur was of course one of two late additions to Conte’s ranks in north London ahead of last month’s transfer deadline.

The midfielder, on the back of a four-and-a-half year spell in Serie A with heavyweights Juventus, was joined by Bianconeri teammate Dejan Kulusevski in swapping Turin for the English capital.

‘Benta’, in turn, has gone on to secure a pair of appearances off the bench for Tottenham, featuring in the club’s Premier League meetings with both Brighton and Southampton.

Antonio Conte provides insight into Rodrigo Bentancur’s likely Tottenham role ahead of Wolves

TURIN, ITALY – JANUARY 15: Rodrigo Bentancur of Juventus FC gestures during the Serie A match between Juventus and Udinese Calcio at Allianz Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Calls, though, have begun to mount amongst the Lilywhites faithful for the 24-year-old to be handed his full debut this weekend, when Conte’s troops welcome Wolves to north London for a crucial matchup in the battle for European football.

The name of the winter arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium therefore unsurprisingly took its place front and centre in the latest press conference held by Spurs’ boss on Friday.

And though Conte stopped short of confirming whether or not Bentancur will indeed be afforded his first start for the club on Sunday, the Italian did provide a separate noteworthy insight.

This came in the form of a hint at the position likely to be taken up by the former Boca Juniors talent in his setup.

Conte has revealed his opinion that Bentancur best performs as part of a midfield two, or pivot, rather than in a three-man system in the middle of the park:

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards Sunday itself, Spurs’ next outing of course marks an absolutely vital one amid the club’s pursuit of a Premier League top-4 berth.

This comes with the capital outfit having slipped to an alarming 3-2 defeat at home to Southampton in midweek.

This result, in turn, opened the door for north London rivals Arsenal to position themselves favourably in the Champions League chasing pack, just a point adrift of 4th-placed West Ham.

With Mikel Arteta’s Gunners not due to return to the pitch until next weekend, though, all at Tottenham are no doubt aware that a bounce-back downing of Wolves would see them climb level with Arsenal in 5th, setting the stage ever further for a tense season run-in.

 

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 24 43 60
2 Liverpool FC 23 41 51
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 West Ham United 24 11 40
5 Arsenal FC 22 9 39
6 Manchester United 23 6 39
7 Tottenham Hotspur 21 1 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 2 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Southampton FC 23 -7 28
11 Aston Villa 22 -4 27
12 Leicester City 21 -5 26
13 Crystal Palace 23 -3 25
14 Brentford FC 24 -14 23
15 Leeds United 22 -16 23
16 Everton FC 21 -13 19
17 Newcastle United 22 -20 18
18 Norwich City 23 -32 17
19 Watford FC 22 -18 15
20 Burnley FC 20 -11 14
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 12
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 9
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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What is still up for grabs on the Premier League final day?

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What is still up for grabs on the Premier League final day?

The end of one of the most intense and exciting Premier League seasons is on the horizon, with the final day fixtures all kicking off at 4 pm on Sunday. And, for the first time in the history of the division, all of the title race, relegation scrap and chase for European spots are up for grabs in the last round of fixtures.

Better yet, only three clubs have nothing still to play for this season (Norwich, Watford and Chelsea), with every other club still able to change positions should results go one way or another on the final day.

Here’s everything that still needs to be decided on the final day.

The title race

Both Manchester City and Liverpool can still have their name etched onto the Premier League trophy for this season with favourable results.

It has caused something of a logistical nightmare too, with the actual Premier League trophy set to be in Manchester while a replica is being taken to Liverpool in case the Reds manage to overturn the deficit.

So, what is needed? Manchester City sit a point clear, and have a superior goal difference, meaning that if they win, the title will be theirs no matter what Liverpool do.

Therefore, Liverpool need to win against Wolves and hope that Guardiola’s side are held to a draw or are beaten by Aston Villa. A draw will not be good enough for Klopp’s side, regardless of the result at the Etihad Stadium.

European hopefuls

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are all assured of their Champions League berths next season, but beyond that, which competition Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and West Ham play in next season is still to be decided.

Tottenham head to Carrow Road knowing that a draw will be enough against bottom of the league and already-relegated Norwich to ensure they take the fourth Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are relying on Spurs to lose, while they themselves need to beat Everton. Should those results occur, they will leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League spot. In all likelihood, however, they will be playing Europa League football next season.

But who will join them in Europe’s second-tier competition is as of yet unknown. Manchester United are in the driving seat, but their poor goal difference means that should they not pick up three points against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, West Ham could leapfrog them with a win against Brighton.

Should West Ham not win, or Manchester United grab all three points, it will be the Red Devils in the Europa League next season, while the Hammers will have to make do with Conference League football.

Waving the Premier League goodbye

Norwich and Watford have already seen their relegation from the Premier League confirmed, but the third relegation spot is still up in the air.

Everton ensured that they no longer need to concern themselves, winning against Crystal Palace in midweek to ensure that they will be a Premier League club next season. However, one of either Burnley or Leeds will be relegated come the end of Sunday’s fixtures, with both currently tied on 35 points.

Leeds face a tricky trip to Brentford, knowing that their awful goal difference has left their destiny out of their hands. They need to better Burnley’s result, with the Clarets at home to a resurgent Newcastle United.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 37 72 90
2 Liverpool FC 37 66 89
3 Chelsea FC 37 42 71
4 Tottenham Hotspur 37 24 68
5 Arsenal FC 37 9 66
6 Manchester United 37 1 58
7 West Ham United 37 11 56
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 -3 51
9 Leicester City 37 0 49
10 Brighton & Hove Albion 37 -4 48
11 Brentford FC 37 -7 46
12 Newcastle United 37 -19 46
13 Crystal Palace 37 3 45
14 Aston Villa 37 -1 45
15 Southampton FC 37 -21 40
16 Everton FC 37 -19 39
17 Burnley FC 37 -18 35
18 Leeds United 37 -38 35
19 Watford FC 37 -42 23
20 Norwich City 37 -56 22
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 22
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 21
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 18
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 16
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 15
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 15
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 14
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 13
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 13
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 12
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 12
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 11
Maddison, James Leicester City 11
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 11
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 11
Richarlison Everton FC 11
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 11
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa 11
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 10





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Reece James equalled Hazard benchmark in Chelsea’s draw with Leicester

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How Reece James equalled an Eden Hazard benchmark in Chelsea’s meeting with Leicester

 

Chelsea star Reece James secured for himself an altogether impressive benchmark during the club’s meeting with Leicester City on Thursday.

Thomas Tuchel’s troops were of course back in action just shy of 24 hours ago.

Fresh off the back of finale heartbreak, on this occasion in the FA Cup, the Blues welcomed the aforementioned Leicester to Stamford Bridge, with sights set firmly on a bounce-back result.

When all was said and done, however, Chelsea were forced to make do with a share of the spoils, owing to a 1-1 stalemate.

It was Leicester who opened the scoring on the day, courtesy of James Maddison, before Marcos Alonso’s latest strike ensured that the evening’s hosts would not come away empty-handed.

As alluded to above, though, it was Chelsea’s other starting wing-back on Thursday who in fact went on to turn heads post-match.

This came owing to a statistic coming to the fore online, highlighting Reece James’ stellar production in the attacking third across the campaign to date.

As per statisticians Opta, after teeing up Alonso’s equaliser, James became the first Chelsea player aged 22 or younger to rack up eight or more Premier League assists in a single season since Eden Hazard in 2012/13.

Hornets up next

Turning attentions back towards the road ahead, Chelsea will of course close out what has proven an altogether disappointing campaign this weekend, when they welcome Championship-bound Watford to west London.

After surrendering their status as European champions, as well as slipping to defeat in the finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup, Tuchel’s troops are primed to finish 3rd in the Premier League table, potentially as many as 22 points adrift of the eventual champions.

 

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5 talking points ahead of the latest Premier League action

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Gameweek 38: 5 talking points ahead of the latest Premier League action

Gameweek 38 of the 2021/22 Premier League season is set to play out over the course of the upcoming weekend.

The action starts and ends on Sunday afternoon with every single side in action at 4 pm UK time.

Ahead of the chaos getting underway, 101 have picked out five key talking points.

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Who will win the Premier League?

As proved the case in 2018/19, the Premier League title race will go down to the final day.

Manchester City are the current leaders, sitting one point clear of Liverpool with a +6 goal difference.

As a result, City will be crowned Premier League champions for a 4th time under Pep Guardiola if they beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, or even if they lose and Liverpool fail to beat Wolves.

Arsenal to miss out on Champions League

This season’s race for the top-four has been one of the most entertaining in many years. Both Arsenal and Tottenham have shown their quality at points in the campaign. However, both clubs have also experienced some rather embarrassing spells of form.

And it was Arsenal’s latest dip that looks set to cost them a Champions League place. Mikel Arteta’s side are two points off Spurs with a much worse goal difference.

This means that the only way Arsenal can clinch a top-four place now is by beating Everton and hoping that Spurs somehow lose to Norwich on Sunday.

West Ham back in Europa League?

The hunt for the final Europa League place will go down to the final day.

Manchester United are currently 6th, but are in dismal form and face a tough meeting with Crystal Palace to round out their campaign.

West Ham, meanwhile, are just two points adrift of United with a much better goal difference, meaning they can secure 6th by beating Brighton, whilst the Red Devils fail to get the better of Palace.

Relegation battle continues

Everton secured their Premier League survival on Thursday evening, but the battle to avoid the drop will go down to the final day.

Burnley and Leeds United are currently locked on 35 points, though the former sit 17th due to their +20 goal difference.

This means that Leeds need to better Burnley’s result if they hope to stay up. Jesse Marsch’s side will take on Brentford whilst the Clarets face Newcastle on Sunday.

A top-10 finish

Finally, though not exactly the most exciting achievement, the fight to finish in the top half of the Premier League is too going down to the final day.

Brighton currently sit in 10th place with 48 points. However, any of Brentford, Newcastle, Crystal Palace or Aston Villa could end up in that spot come Sunday evening.

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This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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