5 Things We Learned from Stoke 0-4 Tottenham


We’ve Got A Title Race Again

For a while it looked as though Leicester were just going to run away with this, making their ‘fairytale’ look a little bit like a procession to a Premier League title that everyone else had given up on, but now things are a bit more interesting.

Tottenham have narrowed the gap to five points with four games to go, and with Jamie Vardy suspended for the Foxes’ next match at home to Swansea, that clash suddenly becomes the most important of the season so far.

How do Leicester cope without their top scorer? How does their gameplan change without his threat over the top?   

Tottenham will have made them think with this result, and it could be the first time they’ve really felt hot breath down the back of their necks.

 

Mousa Dembele Deserves To Be In Team Of The Season Conversations

Watchers of this Premier League season have been enthralled with the performances of Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante, and quite rightly so, but Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele also deserves to be mentioned amongst the very best performers in central midfield.

It is easy to focus on the Belgian’s physicality as he stampedes his way around middle third of the pitch, but he manages to combine this with no little quality, ensuring that the retains control of the ball with relative ease as a slew of beaten opponents lie trailing in his wake.

Kante has to be a shoo-in for central midfield in the Premier League team of the season, but Dembele should at least be in the conversation to play alongside him.

 

England Are Rapidly Running Out Of Excuses For The Summer

Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy now have 46 goals between them this season – the former two ahead of the latter – and with Daniel Sturridge and, yes, Marcus Rashford also in goalscoring form, England can’t say that they don’t have firepower available to them come the Euro 2016 finals in the summer.

Indeed, you could argue that this is the most in-form forwards that an England boss has had to pick from since the mid-1990s when players as good as Robbie Fowler, Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand weren’t even guaranteed a game.

You’re quickly running out of excuses, Roy.

 

Xherdan Shaqiri’s ‘Gamble’ Hasn’t Paid Off

There was widespread disbelief when Xherdan Shaqiri opted to join Stoke City shortly before the closure of the summer transfer window, especially having initially appearing to have rebuffed the advances of Mark Hughes’ ambitious outfit.

Indeed, many saw Shaqiri’s eventual decision to move to the Potteries as nothing more than the Swiss international putting himself in the shop window, with a move to a more established Premier League big-hitter – perhaps a Spurs – to follow after he’d had a good season. Well that hasn’t happened.

The undercooked Shaqiri looks nowhere near suited to playing in this Spurs team, or indeed to many other of the ‘better’ sides in the division.

He was forced off injured at half-time during what was yet another forgettable display in his Stoke career.

 

Stoke Are Limping Towards The Finish Line

Swatted aside 4-1 at Anfield last weekend, and then hammered by a rampant Spurs here, Stoke look to be doing the equivalent of an NBA team ‘tanking’ their way towards the end of the season.

Mark Hughes’ side are secure in mid-table and know that they don’t really have anything to play for, but they’ll need to at least improve slightly in order to not allow this malaise to seep into the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign.

Because after a season as mad as this one, who knows what’s coming next?

 

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