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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.

WATCH, STREAM: Wilson, Pukki score screamers amongst 10 a.m. ET kicks

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This season is going to be a challenge for Norwich City, but one of last season’s true heroes made sure the Canaries fans got a bit of home delight.

[ STREAM: All 10 a.m. ET kicks ]

Newcastle is visiting town on Saturday, and Teemu Pukki scored a delightful opener to give the Canaries a halftime lead.

It’s appropriate, as the volley takes a page out of Newcastle hero Alan Shearer’s playbook.

Norwich City 1-0 Newcastle UnitedSTREAM

Aston Villa 0-2 BournemouthSTREAM

And how about this from Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who is making Villa’s home return to the Premier League less than ideal.

VIDEO: Sadio Mane scores screamer for Liverpool v. Saints

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Sadio Mane has started the season in sensational fashion.

After scoring twice for Liverpool in their Super Cup final win against Chelsea on Wednesday, Mane curled home a stunning shot right on half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Mane was playing against his former club and after Southampton had created the best chances, it was a huge boost for Liverpool to go in ahead at the break.

Click play on the video below to see Mane open the scoring in style.

Emery impressed with versatile Ceballos as Arsenal stays perfect

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Despite the score line, Unai Emery can be fairly happy with Arsenal’s performance in a 2-1 defeat of Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

On midfielder Dani Ceballos, though, Emery will be very pleased.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-1 Burnley ]

The Real Madrid loanee was the easy Man of the Match, his silky skill on the ball and quality industry endearing himself to Arsenal faithful. From Football.London:

“It’s to use his quality in the best position in our team. I spoke with him before coming here, it’s to play as an eight and a No.10. He started like a 10 but changed with Willock. He can feel better on the pitch.”

Emery will be less than pleased with his defense, who allowed a goal to early season Golden Boot candidate Ashley Barnes.

“We won in our moments we did the difference for 2-1. A lot of moments we couldn’t impose our gameplan because they pushed and their gameplan was a struggle for us.”

Watch Live: Saints v. Liverpool headlines five PL games

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Five Premier League games are coming up at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, as the second Matchweek of the new campaign comes roaring at us.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Southampton and Liverpool clash at St Mary’s in the main game at 10 a.m. ET, while two new boys have their first home games back in the PL.

Aston Villa host Bournemouth at Villa Park, while Norwich host Newcastle at Carrow Road. Elsewhere, Everton host Watford and West Ham travel to Brighton.

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You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all five games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Southampton v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Bournemouth – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton v. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Norwich v. Newcastle – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]