Tottenham squander points in top-four race, Leeds out of bottom three

March 19, 2023 6:55 am

[Source: Reuters]

Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered a dent as Southampton earned a last-gasp 3-3 home draw with a James Ward-Prowse penalty that would have been cheered in Newcastle.

Antonio Conte’s side looked set to move into third place as goals by Harry Kane and Ivan Perisic put them 3-1 ahead with around 15 minutes of normal time left on the clock.

But bottom club Southampton battled back to salvage a point in their quest to beat the drop — a comeback that led to Tottenham manager Antonio Conte accusing his player of being selfish and lacking team spirit.

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A big day at the foot of the table saw Leeds United move out of the relegation zone with a 4-2 victory at fellow-strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers while second-from-bottom Bournemouth came down to earth after last week’s defeat of Liverpool as they went down 3-0 at Aston Villa.

Leicester City snapped a run of four consecutive league defeats to draw 1-1 at Brentford while Everton equalized late on to grab a 2-2 draw away to Chelsea in the late kickoff.

Fourth-placed Tottenham have 49 points from 28 games with Newcastle United, who benefitted from a stoppage-time penalty to beat Nottingham Forest on Friday, have 47 points having played two games less.

At the bottom, Southampton have 23 points from 28 games. Bournemouth on 24 from 27 along with West Ham United who dropped into the relegation zone courtesy of Leeds United’s impressive win at Wolves. Leicester have 25 points with Nottingham Forest, Everton and Leeds all on 26 and Wolves and Crystal Palace on 27.

Palace play leaders Arsenal tomorrow with Arsenal seeking to open an eight-point lead.

Tottenham’s failure to win at bottom club Southampton may prove the final straw in the Conte era.

Without playing that well they were in control thanks to Kane and Perisic but allowed Theo Walcott to score his first goal for two years to make it 3-2.

Tottenham substitute Pape Sarr was then adjudged in the 90th minute to have fouled Ainsley Maitland-Niles as he attempted to hack clear a bouncing ball and Ward-Prowse made no mistake to earn his side a point.

“I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart,” Conte said.

Leeds will head into the international break above the relegation zone thanks to a superb display at Wolves.

Jack Harrison smashed home the opener for Leeds from near the penalty spot in the sixth minute and Luke Ayling doubled the lead from a corner early in the second half.

Leeds substitute Rasmus Kristensen made it 3-0 before the hour mark but Wolves hit back with goals by Jonny and Matheus Cunha before Jonny was red-carded for a dangerous tackle on Ayling.

Rodrigo chipped Wolves keeper Jose Sa to seal the points and Wolves were handed another red card when unused substitute Matheus Nunes was dismissed for arguing.

Harvey Barnes netted a superb second-half equalizer to earn Leicester their point at Brentford who had Shandon Baptiste sent off in the closing stages.

Brentford, dreaming of a European qualification spot, had gone ahead in the 32nd minute through Danish midfielder Mathias Jensen’s deflected drive.

Chelsea were on course for their third successive league win thanks to goals by Joao Felix and Kai Havertz’s penalty after Everton’s Abdoulaye Doucoure had equalized.

But an 89th-minute strike from substitute Ellis Simms sealed a crucial point for Sean Dyche’s team to leave Chelsea in 10th place in the table.

“A very, very clear and bloody-minded performance and I’m pleased with that,” Dyche said.