STOKE-ON-TRENT — Tottenham Hotspur sent out a message to Leicester City.
In the words of their fans: “We are coming for you!”
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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.
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.