By DAN KARELL
It may have been hard to stomach early in the season with Gareth Bale’s impending departure from the club and their early derby loss in week three to Arsenal, but the money reinvested from the Bale transfer is quickly paying dividends.
Tottenham proved again on Thursday that much of the reported $175 million spent on seven players was worth the cost, as they hammered Tromso IL of Norway, 3-0, in their Europa League opener.
Jermain Defoe, who has been relegated to the bench for Premier League matches, started and scored two first half goals, the first coming in the 21st minute on a beautiful chip shot off passes from Lewis Holtby and record signing Erik Lamela, and the second coming eight minutes later with a great through ball from Holtby and better finish from Defoe.
Four minutes from time, Christian Eriksen scored his first goal for Spurs since signing in late August from Dutch giants Ajax, curling a shot from 25-yards away into the top corner.
Other scores to note from the Europa League on Thursday include Fiorentina’s 3-0 victory against Pacos de Ferreira, with Guiseppe Rossi scoring the third, Swansea City’s 3-0 thrashing of ten-man Valencia, and PSV Eindhoven’s shocking 2-0 defeat at home to Bulgarian side Ludogorets.
Here are some more stories to start your Friday:
ARTETA IN CONTENTION TO RETURN TO ARSENAL LINEUP
A week after the return to the first team of Thomas Vermaelen from a long-term injury, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that midfielder Mikel Arteta could make his season debut on Saturday.
Arteta has been out with a quad injury suffered in mid-August, just days before their season opener against Aston Villa, which ended in a 3-1 defeat. However, since then, Arsenal haven’t lost in all competitions and with Arteta returning to full training this week, Wenger could have a log-jam in the midfield with the good form a number of players are on.
The Arsenal boss will have to select from Aaron Ramsey, who has scored three goals in two games, Mathieu Flamini, who has had a strong return in to the club after signing on a free transfer, and now Arteta in the two holding midfield spots that Wenger likes to select.
GHANA SET FIRST-LEG MATCH VS. EGYPT ON OCT. 15
The Ghanian FA have moved back the date of their first-leg World Cup qualifying match against Egypt to October 15, in order to give head coach Kwesi Appiah more time to prepare.
Ghana and Egypt were paired together in the third and final round of CAF World Cup qualifying, with the first leg now set for October 15 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana, with the second-leg match to come between November 15-19 in Egypt.
Egypt are the only nation left in African qualifying to have a 100 percent record, while Ghana lost just in the second round.
Real Madrid will play more than €300 million to complete renovations of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, which will cover all the fans with a roof around the seats and will include air conditioning. (REPORT)
Francesco Totti has confirmed that him and AS Roma have signed a two-year contract extension, one that could take Totti through the age of 40 with the only club he’s ever played for. (REPORT)
England has announced that they will bid to host the Euro 2020 final in London, although Istanbul is reportedly the favorite. (REPORT)
Spain meanwhile are bidding for Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia to host matches during Euro 2020 as well. (REPORT)
The International Olympic Committee has warned FIFA that if they move the World Cup to winter, it shouldn’t take place at the same time as the 2022 Winter Olympics. (REPORT)
Fulham’s new owner Shahid Khan has decided to take down the Michael Jackson statue outside of Craven Cottage and return it to former club owner Mohamed Al-Fayed. (REPORT)
What do you think of this news? Do you see Tottenham making a deep run in the Europa League? Do you see Arteta starting for Arsenal vs. Stoke? What do you think of the Ghanian FA’s decision?
Share your thoughts below.