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Season preview: Slow summer to derail Tottenham?

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Tottenham Hotspur at a glance

Premier League titles: 0 (English First Division titles – 2 – 1950/51, 1960/61)
FA Cups: 8
League Cups: 4
Europa League: 2 (1971/72, 1983/84)
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1 (1962/63)

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  


They will challenge for the title because… Harry Kane will score 35 goals (none in August because, well, that’s how he rolls), while Eriksen, Alli and Son will all score 10+ goals each as Spurs run riot in their new stadium and their high-pressing style gets back to business on the smaller pitch compared to Wembley. Everyone is talking about Liverpool being Man City’s biggest challengers for the title, but Spurs finished above them last season.

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For the first time in four years they will drop out of the top four… due to the fact that they’ve been so quiet in the transfer market and the others around them have caught up/sorted out their act. Only Arsenal and Liverpool have really done that around them, with both Chelsea and Manchester United going through tumultuous summers. Yet Mauricio Pochettino must be a little concerned that Daniel Levy is instead focused on pouring money into the new stadium and new contracts rather than new signings. Poch and Levy have been overachieving for quite some time and Spurs’ fans will be hoping for a late flurry of signings, especially if Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele are granted transfers.


Transfers in: None

Transfers out: Keanan Bennetts ($2.59 million, Borussia Monchengladbach), Anton Walkes (Portsmouth), Kane Patterson (Burnley)


Best possible XI

—– Lloris —–

—- Alderweireld —- Sanchez —- Vertonghen —- 

—- Trippier —- Dier —- Dembele —- Davies —-

—- Alli —- Eriksen —-

—– Kane —–


Ranking their offseason: 7/10 – Despite having Kane, Alli, Dier, Lloris, Trippier, Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Dembele all out of their U.S. tour, Mauricio Pochettino got to see the likes of Lucas Moura, Fernando Llorente, Luke Amos and Cameron Carter-Vickers play plenty of minutes and Spurs had a some great results. Beating Roma comfortably in San Diego, fighting back to draw with Barcelona in LA and then beating AC Milan in Minneapolis. All things considered, Tottenham had a fine offseason even if talk about them not signing a single player dominated most of the headlines.


AP

Star player: Harry Kane – The Golden Boot winner at the 2018 World Cup has arrived back in training just a few days before the season opener but Spurs will once again be heavily reliant on the goals of Kane. The 25-year-old has scored 140 goals in 213 games in all competitions for Tottenham, including a career-best 41 last season as he was the top scorer in Europe’s top five leagues in the 2017 calendar year. Kane will lead the line and the job of Alli and Eriksen is to get the ball as much as possible in and around the box. It really is that simple for Spurs.


Coaches’ Corner: Mauricio Pochettino signed a new long-term deal at the start of the summer to calm down any talk about him taking over at Real Madrid. That was a shrewd move from Poch. For now. The Argentine boss knows that with most of his squad staying put for at least the first year in the new stadium, he has another 12 months to let his stock continue to rise as Spurs look ready to at least make another push in the UEFA Champions League and also finish in the top four. His high-pressing tactics are revered across the globe and he’s been able to work with his squad players closely in preseason which should have vast rewards when it comes to them stepping in for Kane, Alli and Eriksen.


PST Predicts: A top four finish may not be as easy as previous seasons, especially with Spurs moving to a new stadium. That said, we all said that about them moving to Wembley for a season, didn’t we. Look how that turned out. Spurs’ starting lineup is littered with players who went to the final week of the World Cup and it will be intriguing to see how that impacts them at the start and end of the 2018/19 campaign. Top four and quarterfinals of the UCL would be another hugely successful season. And, oh yeah, a piece of silverware with the FA Cup or League Cup would hush their naysayers too.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

This story will be updated.

 

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.