Danny Rose

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Finally fully fit, Spurs ready for season-defining month

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The next six games, spanning exactly four weeks, will go a long, long way toward defining Tottenham Hotspur’s 2017-18 season as either a progressive success, or an untimely failure.

[ MORE: Spurs cruise past fourth-tier Newport, reach FA Cup 5th round ]

This Saturday, it’s Arsenal who’ll visit Wembley Stadium (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com), followed by the first leg of a Champions League round-of-16 tie with Juventus, followed by an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Rochdale, followed by a pair of banana-skin fixtures in the Premier League (Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town), and finally the decisive second leg against Juventus.

For all of his side’s recent success, Mauricio Pochettino is yet to guide Tottenham to the club’s first piece of silverware since the 2008 League Cup. While they’re outsiders to triumph in Europe, a trip to the semifinals — or even the quarters — would more than suffice for Spurs fans. The FA Cup, on the other hand, is well within reach, should someone do everyone a favor and knock off Manchester City.

[ MORE: Forecasting the Premier League’s top-four race ]

Following Wednesday’s fourth-round replay victory over Newport County, Pochettino reaffirmed his desire to continue to compete on every front available,  — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s the FA Cup and it’s difficult. But I am happy because we wanted to be in the next round.”

“It is important to keep going and winning games. We are going to be very busy in the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup but we want to keep this run.”

[ MORE: PFA urges Mahrez, Leicester to resolve standoff “ASAP” ]

In many ways, Spurs arrived a season (or two) ahead of schedule when they were the nearest challengers to Leicester City and Chelsea in the Premier League title race two years running. The idea, at least one might presume, was that Mauricio Pochettino’s side would continue to rise through the ranks before finally peaking in the first or second season inside the club’s new White Hart Lane stadium (set to open August 2018).

The highlight on Wednesday, however, was undoubtedly the return of star defender Toby Aldeweireld, who missed the last two months with a hamstring injury. To a lesser degree, Danny Rose and Harry Winks (both out since Boxing Day) also made their way back into the starting 11 following injuries of their own. Given it’s already a thin squad, the importance of having everyone available for selection isn’t lost on Pochettino — quotes from Sky Sports:

“It’s important for many players to have the possibility to play. It’s tough to find a place to play because the team is doing well. Today was a great opportunity for different players, like Toby, Danny and Harry Winks, to play games and compete at this level. It’s completely different to training.”

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Courtois talking new deal, but “heart is in Madrid” ]

Successive third- and second-place finishes, coupled with the ease with which they breezed through this season’s Champions League group stage — brushing aside the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund — have left Spurs in something of a confusing no man’s land, where simply finishing fourth would represent a literal step back, even if not in terms of perception and expectation.

It’s a testament to the work that Pochettino’s done thus far, as well as a reminder of how far Spurs had, and still have, to go.

LIVE, FA Cup: Tottenham vs. Newport County

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The final FA Cup Fourth Round replay takes place Wednesday afternoon as Wembley Stadium plays host to Tottenham against League Two’s Newport County.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup scores 

With the North London Derby on the horizon, Mauricio Pochettino has decided to rest some of his starters, opting to bring Fernando Llorente, Danny Rose and Juan Foythe into the lineup. Toby Alderweireld also makes his return to the Spurs starting lineup for the first time since December, when he was injured in a UEFA Champions League match against Real Madrid.

Video Assistant Replay is in effect at Wembley Stadium, which could change the outcome of the game if there is a clear and obvious error made by the match officials, so that’s one more thing to keep an eye on.

After holding Tottenham to a 1-1 draw in the fourth round proper, could Newport County shock Great Britain and advance to the fifth round?

Follow along in the link above, and stay here for full time analysis on Pro Soccer Talk.

PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Everton

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  • Everton has not beaten Tottenham in any competitions since 2008
  • Tottenham are unbeaten in 10 home league matches
  • Everton have scored just one goal in their last four games

An important top-half clash comes your way Saturday as Tottenham hosts Everton at White Hart Lane, live on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET or live online at NBCSports.com.

Spurs sit fifth in the Premier League table with 41 points, and they are looking in both directions as they chase Liverpool three points above them in a Champions League place and hope to fend off Arsenal two points back in sixth. While the Premier League title is likely wrapped up barring a historic collapse, the Champions League places are very much up for grabs.

WATCH LIVE, HERE

Since losing 4-1 to likely champions Manchester City, Spurs have rebounded with three Premier League wins and a draw. Harry Kane is in unstoppable form, with a pair of hat-tricks over the festive period followed by a brace midweek in FA Cup action against AFC Wimbledon. Key to that midweek Cup match was the return of Moussa Dembele, who played a full 90 minutes for the first time since December 16th. Dembele has lost his place in the team due to both fitness concerns and poor form, but the 30-year-old played well against Wimbledon and could potentially see a return to the starting lineup.

On the other side, Everton has seen a brutal dip in form strike the Toffees, with just one Premier League win since December 2nd. A loss to Bournemouth and a draw with West Brom highlight the disappointing results of late, and it appears the honeymoon period with new manager Sam Allardyce is over.

However, they could receive a boost as new signing Cenk Tosun, a 26-year-old Turkish international, could make his first Everton appearance as the Toffees look for help up front. The striker had eight goals in 14 Turkish Super Lig appearances for Besiktas this season before his transfer, and 14 goals in 24 appearances over all competitions. Everton is starved for goalscoring prowess, with just one goal in their last four matches.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Harry Winks (ankle), Danny Rose (knee), Toby Alderweireld (hamstring). | Everton — OUT: Michael Keane (foot), Idrissa Gueye (hamstring).


What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on the potential for new signings: “Until today, now, no-one is close to arriving in this transfer window.  Maybe in five minutes something happens. But until now, before the press conference, nothing is close. I’m not concerned, not worried. I think we’re working and of course we’re awake about the market. If something’s available in the terms that we can take, of course we are going to do it.”

Everton manager Sam Allardyce on balancing Everton’s weaknesses: “I think the service provided in the final third is one of our weaknesses and why we’re not scoring enough goals. We don’t have enough natural goalscorers so we have to try and work on that without losing our defensive qualities.”

Prediction

Cenk Tosun is a quality signing and will help Everton up front, especially against a defensively depleted Spurs, but they won’t be able to contain the home side all game, and this ends up as a 1-1 draw that is disappointing for both sides.

Report: Kljestan off to Orlando City for Redding, Rivas

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The New York Red Bulls are at it again, sending a fan favorite and arguable Team MVP packing to a conference rival in the offseason.

A year after sending Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire, RBNY has shipped Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City SC.

[ MORE: Danny Rose injury setback ]

In exchange for Kljestan and $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, the Red Bulls will get promising defender Tommy Redding (20) and attacker Carlos Rivas (23).

The 52-times capped Kljestan finishes his tenure in New York with 22 goals and 37 assists in 121 matches. He is banned for the first two matches of the MLS season.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle:

Sources confirmed that Kljestan signed a new, two-year contract with Orlando, though it is unclear at present if he will remain a designated player or if his salary will be bought down with TAM

The Red Bulls dropped to sixth in the East but finished five points ahead of their closest playoff competitor, as close to the third seed as missing the playoffs. That’s a five spot and seven-point drop from 2016.

Orlando has flipped the script big time since the end of the season, with Kaka retiring and Cyle Larin preparing to sign with a European club.

The Lions have added NASL star Stefano Pinho, NYCFC’s RJ Allen, the Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal, and Partizan Belgrade’s Mohamed El-Munir.

Report: Danny Rose suffers injury setback

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Danny Rose can’t catch a break.

The Tottenham Hotspur and England left back was not in the Spurs squad for their trip to Swansea City on Tuesday (they won 2-0 in the rain in South Wales) and it appears he may not feature anytime soon.

Rose, 27, was out for nine months with a knee injury and only returned to action in October following an operation to fix the problem, but ESPN is reporting that the attacking full back has suffered a recurrence of the same issue.

Per the report, Rose will undergo further tests in the next few days and isn’t expected to play against West Ham on Thursday or in the FA Cup clash with AFC Wimbledon on Sunday.

Tottenham have Ben Davies at left back, while Jan Vertonghen can also play there if needed, but Rose’s absence will be a big blow for Mauricio Pochettino.

This news also places some doubt into the mind of Manchester United, and others, who have been linked with a transfer move for Rose in January or the summer, especially following his explosive comments in the summer about Tottenham’s transfer dealings and wage budgets.

Cynics out there would say it is quite timely for Rose to have a flare up of his previous knee injury just as the January transfer window opens, but it does seem to be more simple than that as the England international battles a long-term issue.

In his prime, it appears Rose just can’t shake off his persistent knee problems.