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How Pochettino turned Tottenham into contenders

Premier League
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

What's trending: Liverpool knocked out by West Ham, ticket price row goes on

The ESPN FC team answer your tweets on Christian Benteke's lack of goals, Liverpool's ownership and more.

Here are the top stories from Wednesday:

LIVERPOOLJurgen Klopp said the door had been "wide open" for Liverpool and hailed his young players' bravery after they exited the FA Cup as Angelo Ogbonna's 121st-minute goal sent West Ham through 2-1 victors.

- When the dust settles on the result, Jurgen Klopp will see plenty to be positive about after his much-changed lineup performed very well against West Ham's strongest side, writes David Usher.

SUNDERLAND: Adam Johnson has...

How Mauricio Pochettino turned Tottenham into title contenders

Mauricio Pochettino's press-heavy approach has Spurs rising up the Premier League table.
Mauricio Pochettino's press-heavy approach has Spurs rising up the Premier League table.

Last Saturday, Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores said he had just seen the best side in the Premier League. Earlier, his players had been pressed and harried so relentlessly that they had not mustered a single shot on target. What Watford had lacked, explained Flores, was not a clear game plan, but rather a chance to execute it. "We know perfectly what we want to do when we recuperated the ball, we try to play," he said. "But it was impossible."

Welcome to White Hart Lane. This is what it feels like to face the fervent pressing machine installed by Mauricio Pochettino, in which Tottenham toil to leave their opponents overwhelmed, exhausted and, normally, defeated. Many managers in the division favour a proactive style, but no one has mastered the art of high pressing like Argentine tactician, who has guided his side to second in the table, five points behind Leicester, despite a net spend that practically amounts to zero over the four transfer windows since his appointment in 2014.

...

 By Adam Hurrey

Leicester have mastered art of downplaying Premier League title chances

ESPN FC's Brian McBride believes that Leicester City will win the EPL if their players can stay healthy.

It's a footballing concept at least as old as the title race itself, and it's an annual post-Christmas Premier League tradition to rival transfer window chaos and desperate managerial changes. When it comes to downplaying their own chances of lifting the Premier League trophy in May, Claudio Ranieri and his Leicester squad are outplaying every title contender in recent memory.

Why is it so important for title-challenging managers to oversee such blanket denial of what the league table so strongly...

 By Simon Curtis

Man City wobbling, but Manuel Pellegrini can turn title chase around

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol says Manchester City's defence is struggling.

Manchester City face a period of rapidly mounting pressure and room for manoeuvre is now practically non-existent. Players will be required to turn up the heat on those in front of them like never before. And it all starts with Tottenham at the Etihad this Sunday.

Manuel Pellegrini's men need to take advantage of their chaser's position like any outsider worth its salt has always done. In winning their first modern-era title under Roberto Mancini in 2012, the club came back astonishingly strongly,...

 By Steven Kelly

Benteke flops again but Sturridge or Firmino could offer Belgian a reprieve

The ESPN FC crew look at whether Christian Benteke was to blame for Liverpool's FA Cup exit.

Liverpool exited the FA Cup on Tuesday at the hands of West Ham and in Christian Benteke's case, it was another night of proof for those who never believed he would fit in.

Though given the Reds have struggled with form all season and flattered to deceive in most matches, others would say he has been a perfect fit.

Liverpool's frailty at the back -- Angelo Ogbonna's winner in extra time came via a set piece, yet again -- would normally have dominated postmatch discussion but Benteke's misses preyed...