Friday 15 December 2017

Spurs title blow as Alli set for season-ending ban

Dele Alli has been charged by the FA
Dele Alli has been charged by the FA

Jeremy Wilson

Tottenham look likely to be without Dele Alli for the rest of the season after the midfielder decided not to fight an English Football Association charge of violent conduct.

Alli's charge relates to an incident with West Brom's Claudio Yacob during Monday's 1-1 draw, in which the 20-year-old England international appeared to punch his opponent in the stomach. He is facing a possible three-match ban.

The loss of Alli would be a big blow to Tottenham as they try to close a seven-point gap on Premier League leaders Leicester.

Spurs' draw against West Brom means Leicester need a maximum of three more points to win the title. They will be crowned champions if they win at Manchester United this weekend.

Alli was upended twice by Yacob early in the game and his frustration boiled over as he turned and swung an arm into the West Brom midfielder's midriff. Referee Mike Jones did not see the incident, allowing it to be referred to a panel of three former elite referees, who can decide if it is worthy of retrospective action.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has suggested that his ambitions in football management stretch beyond Tottenham by admitting that he "dreams" of one day managing Paris Saint-Germain.

Tottenham are on course for their highest Premier League finish and Pochettino still has three years left on his contract, but he captained PSG and retains a huge affection for the French Ligue 1 champions.

"I've always said that I would be pleased to join a great club like PSG," Pochettino told French radio station RMC.

Elsewhere, Quique Sanchez Flores is facing the sack as Watford head coach at the end of the season. Recent results have been so poor that owner Gino Pozzo is close to dismissing Sanchez Flores and making his seventh head coach appointment this summer.

Watford performed initially well this season, reaching the FA Cup semi-final and securing safety in the Premier League, reaching 41 points earlier this month. But Watford were up in seventh place at Christmas, since when they have shown relegation form, taking just 12 points from 16 games.

That collapse in form has alarmed the Pozzo family. Sanchez Flores has a 12-month break clause in the contract he signed last year.

The Pozzos are no strangers to ruthless decisions, having decided against renewing the contract of Slavisa Jokanovic - their fourth manager of the season - last summer even after he guided Watford back into the Premier League.

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