Three things we learned from Stoke City vs. Tottenham

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STOKE-ON-TRENT — Tottenham Hotspur sent out a message to Leicester City.

In the words of their fans: “We are coming for you!”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

They sang that loud and proud at the Britannia Stadium on Monday as Tottenham beat Stoke 4-0 and close the gap to just five points on leaders Leicester.

[ MORE: Spurs “lions ready to pounce”

Here’s that we learned from a chilly night at Stoke.


KANE’S WORLD

In the 9th minute Harry Kane produced a moment of magic which epitomized why he is included on both the PFA’s Player and Young Player of the Year shortlist.

Kane, 22, cut inside from the right, didn’t even look up and curled in a majestic effort to the far corner. It is fast becoming his trademark and he now leads the PL in goals with 23. It is not just goals like that which make Kane such an important player. He holds up the ball and plays defensive splitting pass whenever he gets the chance to turn and look forward. We saw that in the second half when he set Danny Rose free. Kane is the complete package and, in my opinion, he is the most complete player in the PL.

If Spurs win the Premier League, Kane will win the Player of the Year. Even if they don’t he should win it. After Leicester City’s heroics this season, any of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante would be worthy winners. But we are looking at the best individual player in the PL. On current form and consistently all season, Kane has it all. I can’t see a weakness.

STOKE’S BIG THREE FALTER

When Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri don’t play well, Stoke don’t play well.

All three of their mercurial talents failed to get involved in the game on Monday and worse still, apart from Arnautovic who kept running, both Bojan and Shaqiri didn’t track back. That left Stoke woefully exposed as Alli, Lamela, Eriksen and Kane took full advantage. Ibrahim Afellay couldn’t do it all on his own.

I spoke with Stoke’s CEO Tony Scholes before the game about their new identity as a fluid, attacking team and the strides they’ve made this season under Mark Hughes. That’s all well and good but without the injured Jack Butland in goal, Giannelli Imbula overpowered by Eric Dier and the front three failing to spark, the Potters looked a shell of the team which had beaten Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium this season. They’ve now shipped eight goals in their last two PL games and their dream of securing a top six finish is fading fast.

MOMENTUM WITH SPURS

As we mentioned, during the game and after every goal, Tottenham’s fans sang “Leicester City we’re coming for you!” and they’re not wrong.

Although Leicester still have a five-point lead the top, with four games to go Spurs have momentum. They have now won four of their last five games, conceded just once and have scored 13 goals in that span. Christian Eriksen set up two goals, Dele Alli scored two and missed an open goal and Tottenham looked extremely comfortable in defense. After Leicester’s dramatic late point at home to West Ham and Jamie Vardy to miss at least one of their remaining four games, they are showing signs of cracking.

Pochettino’s men seem to be hitting top gear at the right part of the season and with their last four games they have a chance of winning all four. Spurs face West Brom and Southampton at home, plus Chelsea and Newcastle away. They have an easier run-in than Leicester who face Swansea and Everton at home, plus away trips to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Right now, Leicester won’t admit it, but they can feel the breath of Tottenham on their necks.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle eyes 2nd Brazilian, USMNT’s Arriola on move

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Two players from the Western hemisphere may be heading across the Atlantic, one of whom is very familiar to American eyes.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

DC United winger Paul Arriola could be leaving Major League Soccer in a return to Liga MX or a move abroad to Europe.

CBS’ Roger Gonzalez says some of the big boys in Mexico are after the former LA Galaxy youth product who got his start at Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 24, has 28 caps with five goals and five assists for the USMNT, blooded by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 57 matches for DC United since arriving from Tijuana.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Next up: Newcastle United may be in for another Brazilian attacker.

Marrony is the name, and Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol says the Magpies were alerted to his potential by the same source who claimed they were after Joelinton (who signed today after a $50 million deal).

The 20-year-old has a reported $37 million release clause, a left winger has a goal and an assist in two seasons with Vasco da Gama in Brazil. He also scored five times in 15 appearances for the club in the state league.

It feels a bit like a red herring or straight-up agent speak, but the Joelinton deal seemed unusual as well (albeit in a different way).