Rebuilt and loaded Spurs may finally catch -- and pass -- Arsenal
Look at Jordan Henderson's great chance in the 27th minute as evidence of all of this. Henderson gets played through and has an opportunity to immediately strike with his right foot. Begovic closes down the angle and is well set and square right when contact would be made.
Instead, Henderson cuts the ball inside, forcing Begovic to quickly slide right and reset as Henderson now goes to strike the ball with his left foot. Begovic gets central in the goal again, gets his feet set quickly as the ball is being struck, and then gets down smartly to stop the point blank shot. It was beautiful goalkeeping.
Here's an incredible shot chart from that match (h/t @30frames):
NBC Sports Network also looked great in the process, flashing a TV graphic as Stoke's John Walters lined up the kick showing that Walters went low and to the keeper's right on four of his last five penalty kick attempts. Any Prem keeper will enter a match with a scouting report on an opponent's likely penalty kick takers, so Mignolet surely knew Walters' tendency, and with Walters hitting the one shot he crashed down the middle off the bar, it was reasonable to guess that in a high-pressure situation like this, Walters would go to his first-choice approach.
He had some help in confirming it, though, as Walters gave him a huge read ahead of contact, planting his left foot facing directly toward that left corner and opening his hips to come around the ball to pull it in that direction.
• Not sure there's too much to take from City's evisceration of Newcastle Monday afternoon. City (my preseason title pick) is really good with much more offensive variety. Edin Dzeko may drown in all the service he will receive most matches this season. City was thoroughly outclassing the Magpies even before Steven Taylor's silly straight red ended any competitive aspect of the match right before the half. If not for Tim Krul and a couple of fluffed finishes, Newcastle could have taken a record pounding at the Etihad. Then again, it doesn't have to play 38 matches at City, so let's hold off on relegation talk until we get more evidence that this wasn't just one bad game.