Spurs receive festive boost
Tottenham Hotspur have received a Christmas boost with the news that Dutch forward Rafael van der Vaart’s hamstring injury proved less serious than first feared. The 28-year-old Netherlands star went off at halftime in Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, but a scan showed up no tear. “He looks OK,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News. “He looks like he could be fit. We thought he had a hamstring. He went for a scan and it didn’t show a tear.” Van der Vaart said: “I think I’m going to be fine.” Tottenham have lost just once in their last 14 English Premier League matches to climb to third in the table, but van der Vaart is not getting too carried away with title talk. The former Hamburg SV and Real Madrid man said: “We are third and still have one game in hand. We’re playing really good this season — you can see it in the big games, so it’s going to be interesting, but there’s still a long way to go.”
City may stutter: Adebayor
Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor believes that Manchester City’s Premier League title push could be derailed by next month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament. City will lose influential brothers Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure to the Ivory Coast squad for the Jan. 21 to Feb. 12 tournament, while Spurs will be unaffected, with Adebayor’s Togo banned from taking part. “They have two players going to the African Nations Cup [sic]. Kolo Toure is not playing a lot, but he is a great player,” Adebayor said. “Yaya Toure has been amazing for them this year. We will have to wait and see [how they cope]. In football you can have two or three injuries in a week. That has happened to us recently. City have a great team, a great spirit and at the moment they are playing good football, but if they got a couple of injuries I think it would be very difficult for them.” The tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon coincides with City facing Spurs, Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa. The Toure brothers will also miss the game against Wigan Athletic on Jan. 16 because of the Ivory Coast’s training camp. Chelsea will lose Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, while Arsenal will be without Gervinho, Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong.
Magpies in good spirits: Ba
Newcastle United striker Demba Ba insists spirits are not sagging on Tyneside, despite a desperate run of two points from six matches. After a bright start, the Magpies have slid down into midtable after losing to Manchester City, Chelsea and Norwich City, as well as at the renamed St James’ Park in midweek to West Bromwich Albion, but the 26-year-old Senegal international, with 13 goals already to his credit, insists that even with injuries and suspensions piling up spirits are intact. “I don’t think it has affected anybody in the team, and personally, it hasn’t affected me.” Even so, his absence during next month’s Africa Cup of Nations will leave boss Alan Pardew with a gap to fill.
Only two clubs: Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas said on Sunday that he hopes to finish his career with Barcelona, but if he were to leave the Spanish giants he would only go back to Arsenal and nowhere else. “Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else,” the 24-year-old told Sky Sports News. “I will definitely be going back [to Arsenal] whenever I have time to watch games and to see the guys, and you never know in the future, why not? In life, you can never say never, and if there is one place to go back to, it is Arsenal for sure.”