After Chelsea’s path to the Premier League title was cleared, Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was left frustrated, bewildered and hurt.
Without a title since 1961, Tottenham had fought so hard to trim Chelsea’s lead in recent weeks but on Friday squandered the opportunity to slash it to a single point. A 1-0 loss against West Ham United enables Chelsea to secure the trophy before Tottenham even play again.
The collapse at the Olympic Stadium was out of character for the current crop of Tottenham players.
A team who invigorated the title race with daring, attacking play, suddenly ran out of ideas in the London derby.
A nine-match winning run — Tottenham’s longest since their previous title-winning season in 1960-1961 — came to an end meekly to leave the team four points behind Chelsea.
“The right question to ask ourselves is: ‘Are we capable to increase, especially in the moments under pressure all together in a big game, the level?’” Lloris said. “The way we played football was so excellent [this season], that’s why it’s even more frustrating today [Friday], because I didn’t recognize Tottenham. So it hurts even more today.”
It was only Tottenham’s fourth loss in 35 games this campaign, but the other setbacks came against more illustrious opposition: Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Chelsea have four games remaining — one more than Tottenham — and will capture their second title in three seasons by beating Middlesbrough tomorrow and West Bromwich Albion on Friday.
Tottenham’s task now is holding on for their highest finish in 54 years in the remaining three games.
“To win a league, to win a trophy, there are key moments,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. “And today was a key moment... It’s not about always playing well or badly, it’s not about running more or less, it’s about when you must win you win.”
In the early game yesterday, Manchester City strengthened their Premier League top-four aspirations with a 5-0 thrashing of a woeful Crystal Palace side at the Etihad Stadium.
City never looked back after David Silva’s 50th goal for the club in the second minute, although it was not until the second half that the floodgates opened.
Vincent Kompany, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi were all on target.
Victory moved City into third place with 69 points, above Liverpool on goal difference.
Fifth-placed Manchester United, who are to play Arsenal today, have 65.
Palace’s third consecutive defeat means they are still anxiously looking over their shoulders at the teams below them.
Additional reporting by Reuters
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to