Match: Sunday 29th December 2013. Kick off 4pm GMT.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
Competition: Premier League.
Our home form this season has been nothing short of dismal. Only 1 win in our last 7 games at White Hart Lane is something we certainly aren’t used to at Spurs, our home form is something we pride ourselves on, being a ‘fortress’ and a difficult place to come. What has become apparent is that it is our away form that is keeping us in a decent position in the League, the lack of pressure from the fans and the ability to express ourselves more in an open game of football is something we seem to have enjoyed this season, but now we need to translate that away form into our home games, play without fear, with an offensive bite and get some goals to put a smile on the faces of the home support. This game is a must win, to try and release the pressure that the players are under and get some confidence back into the team ahead of two very big games against Manchester United and Arsenal coming up in the New Year. We need more of a plan and a much improved starting 11 to the one that faced West Brom, our passing play needs to improve, about 50 attacks broke down in the final third and I think it was the lack of number 10 that caused it. We were overrun in midfield with the 4-4-2 against a much weaker West Brom, so it can’t be used in my opinion. I’d sacrifice a striker and play Eriksen in behind Adebayor, it’d be interesting to see that partnership develop.
Stoke City will be fairly pleased with their first half of the season, they sit in 10th place, already hitting the 20 point mark with 18 games gone, and so are right on track to hit the magical 40 point mark that will be their aim first and foremost. The team news for Stoke is that they are without Asmir Begovic (finger), Matthew Etherington (back), Robert Huth (knee), plus, Marc Wilson and Glenn Whelan are suspended. A few key players out for the Potters, but we have our own injury and suspension vacancies to worry about as well! We expect Stoke to come to the Lane with the mentality of ‘do not lose’, trying to stunt our offensive guile, it’s what we’ve come to expect of Stoke in recent times, but under Mark Hughes they have been better at passing and creating chances, so hopefully it won’t be too badly closed down and tight and we can get a good game of football.
Although it is easy to blame the manager for bad form and lack of tactics, our players need to stand up and be counted, especially the fringe players who want to be in the starting 11 week-in-week-out, they have to take responsibility and for once this season take a game by the scruff of the neck and change it, instead of what seems to be waiting for something to happen and the ball to fall for us. We have so much quality in our squad and I truly believe that, but they need to now prove that to everyone else, not for Spurs but for themselves. The team news doesn’t look kind to us I must say, it is difficult when you’ve got arguably 7 players out who are starters when they are fit or not suspended. Sandro (calf), Younes Kaboul (quad), Andros Townsend (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Kyle Walker (suspended) all out for the Stoke game, with Mousa Dembele (ankle), Jermain Defoe (hamstring) and Aaron Lennon (stomach) all doubtful. The only good news is that Paulinho returns to the squad after his suspension. With Kyle Walker out, we lose one of our best players of the season, Tim Sherwood has a choice between Kyle Naughton and youth player Ryan Fredericks who impressed when featuring against Anzhi in the Europa League and is well known by Tim Sherwood, so I’d expect Fredericks to make his first Premier League start, big prospect! Vlad Chiriches had a poor game against West Brom, so he needs to up his game facing the aerial prowess of former Spur Peter Crouch. After Nacer Chadli played poorly against West Brom, I’d give Erik Lamela his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane, he needs a run in the team, we’ve nothing to lose with him starting but a lot to gain I feel.
Match Stats and Facts provided by tottenhamhotspur.co.uk
– We are unbeaten in our last three PL meetings against Stoke (1 win, 2 draws).
– We have only lost one of our last seven PL meetings against the Potters (won 4, drawn 2).
– There has only been one 0-0 PL draw in our 10 PL meetings – at the Lane in December, 2012. This is our only goalless draw in the last 24 league meetings against Stoke dating back to October, 1977.
– We have scored in six of the last seven PL meetings and in eight of the 10 PL clashes overall.
– We are unbeaten in our last three home PL meetings against Stoke (1 win, 2 draws).
– We’ve drawn our last two home PL meetings.
– Our biggest league win against Stoke is a five-goal margin, last achieved in a 6-1 victory at Stoke’s former Victoria Ground home in the old Division One on September 15, 1951.
– Our biggest league win at the Lane is by a five-goal margin achieved by the ‘Push And Run’ title-winners, a 6-1 win in Division One on October 21, 1950.
– The highest aggregate scoreline is seven goals – last occuring in a 4-3 win at the Lane in Division One, October 7, 1972.
Only two players have scored hat-tricks against Stoke in our history, both at the Lane.
– Frank Osbourne at the Lane, a 3-1 win in the old Division Two, October, 1929.
– Steve Archibald at the Lane, a 4-1 win in the old Division One, May, 1983.
Big game! Sadly the game isn’t televised, but I’ll be sure to provide you with a stream on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, as well as updates on the game including match events, videos and pictures! COYS!!
My predicted team to face Stoke City at the Lane:
Fredericks – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Lamela – Paulinho – Eriksen – Sigurdsson
Soldado – Adebayor.
My preferred team to face Stoke:
Fredericks – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Paulinho – Capoue
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Tim Sherwood previews our clash with Stoke at the Lane: