STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 26: Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Aaron Lennon after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Stoke City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs still in the running for Champions League (video)

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After talking up the fact that his mission at Tottenham was to score goals rather than secure a Champions League place, one might have expected more from Tim Sherwood’s goalscoring Spurs at the Britannia. But Stoke still have a touch of the Pulis around this prettier Mark Hughes side, and they’re still able to defend – particularly at home. Yet after going down to ten men, Stoke were unable to pull one back, and Spurs left with what might have been a narrow win but certainly counted as all three points.

Aaron Lennon nearly put the visitors ahead before ten minutes had passed. It wasn’t intentional: a cross just sort of drifted toward the Stoke goal. But Asmir Begović came to attention, pushing the ball away before it could land in the back of the net.

It took about twenty minutes for Stoke to get into the match, but Hugo Lloris was there to make sure Spurs didn’t concede. The hosts came closest when Tottenham, apparently deciding Stephen Ireland was no threat, allowed the midfielder plenty of time to get in a shot. It landed wide, however.

Tottenham took the lead in the 33rd minute, after Emmanuel Adebayor ducked around Glen Whelan. He sent a cross in to where Danny Rose was lurking by the near post. The defender’s header flew past Begović  and into the back of the net.

Stoke’s job was made all the more difficult shortly after the break, when Ryan Shawcross, already on a yellow, came in studs up on Rose. Andre Marriner sent him packing, leaving the Potters with ten men and forty minutes left to play.

The incident, felt by the Stoke fans to be harsh, showed why the Britannia is such a hard place for visiting teams to get a result. Fueled by a sense of injustice, the home crowd directed their ire at Rose, whom Sherwood had to replace with Zeki Fryers fifteen minutes later. Meanwhile the Potters pressed on, making every attempt to get an equalizer. Peter Odemwingie headed over, Steven N’Zonzi went wide.

But it was always going to be tough to find an opening with a man disadvantage, and in the end, Stoke just couldn’t get there. But they’re safe and they’ve still got a shot at a top-half finish, so they shouldn’t be too disappointed in themselves.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Wilson, Shawcross, Muniesa; Arnautovic, Whelan, Nzonzi, Odemwingie; Ireland; Crouch

Subs: Sorensen; Pieters, Palacios, Adam, Walters, Assaidi, Wilkinson

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane

Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Bentaleb, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Soldado

Conte not going to sell Matic, enjoys quality midfield headache

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Nemanja Matic of Chelsea reacts during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
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Antonio Conte feels he has a bit of an embarrassment of riches in his midfield, not that it’s a problem outside of deciding who hits the pitch.

The Chelsea boss does not plan on selling Nemanja Matic despite the acquisition of N'Golo Kante — in fact Conte thinks Matic can be one of the best in the world.

[ MORE: New club for Pato ]

That’s not surprising, given that Matic was one of the keys to Chelsea’s 2014-15 PL title run.

Conte says he has some tricky selections to make in the coming days, as Chelsea prepares to open its Premier League season Aug. 15 at West Ham United.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,” said the 46-year-old. “The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.

“When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.”

For a manager who loves to keep it tight in the midfield, it would be far from shocking to see Matic and Kante behind two attacking mids (Willian and Hazard?) or even three.

Regardless, Chelsea’s match day tactics will be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2016, especially when Conte matches up against the Blues’ former boss Jose Mourinho (Oct. 22 at Stamford Bridge and April 15 at Old Trafford).

Spain’s Villarreal signs Brazilian striker Pato

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09:  Alexandre Pato of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]

It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Roberto Martinez linked to Atlanta United gig by Taylor Twellman

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.

One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.

Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.

Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.

Premier League preseason: Everton, Burnley win; Spurs fall to Juventus

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Muhamed Besic of Everton celebrates after scoring the third goal during the pre-season friendly match between MK Dons and Everton at Stadium mk on July 26, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

MK Dons 1-3 Everton

Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.

From EvertonFC.com:

“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”

Bolton 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.

Barnsley 2-2 Hull City

Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.

Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP