Match date & time: Sunday 9th November 2014. 1:30pm GMT KO.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
TV: Not shown live in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.
The Premier League returns to the hallowed pitch of White Hart Lane. Stoke City are the visitors in what is a crucial game for Tottenham Hotspur. If ever a win was needed at White Hart Lane, it’s needed here. After our disappointing form at the Lane, with losses to Newcastle and West Brom the most disappointing, it’s crucial we don’t slip up again to a team that we should be beating, even though we all know that no game in the Premier League is a guarantee, but, it’s the players job to make sure it is going to be our three points. When you’re in a sticky patch, you need a bit of luck, a gritty win or a last minute goal, and we got all of that against Aston Villa last week and hopefully it’s what we need to take a bit of confidence and push further on in the League, and hopefully our performance level can increase and the players who we expect a lot from, step up. Stoke always provide a threat and always try to make themselves hard to beat, especially at the Lane in recent years, but it’s Mauricio Pochettino’s job to set the team out to counter that and get the three points. We have to rely on our more creative players, too, to really unpick the Stoke team which will most likely sit quite deep.
Stoke City sit 13th in the Premier League, with 12 points. 3 wins, 4 losses & 3 draws. A so-so start to the season for Mark Hughes’ men, with a win away to Manchester City the highlight so far. They sit in a position I’m sure they would be happy to be in at the end of the season, but it is still only 3 wins from 10 without facing any teams destined for the top 6 apart from Manchester City, and I think they’ll be left disappointed by their results in certain games. Focusing on the recent history between Stoke and Tottenham, it’s Tottenham that come up trumps, as we are unbeaten against Stoke in our last 5 fixtures, winning 3 and drawing 2, and at White Hart Lane, in our last 6 games we have won 3, drawn 2 and lost just 1 time. But, we all know how hard to breakdown Stoke have been in the past to break down and complacency this time out has no place in the thoughts of Mauricio Pochettino, the players and even the fans. Mark Hughes sets his team out well, and has evolved their style of play into a more offensive, counter attacking unit, that is sometimes not as compact or strong as in previous years, but it holds more of a threat going forward and is much more competent on the ball. There is no doubt this will be a big challenge for Spurs, and not as easy a result to come by as it was last time at White Hart Lane, in which we won 3-0.
The team news for Stoke is that Marco Aurnautovic (wrist) faces a late fitness test ahead of the game, while four of his team mates are ruled out of the game this Sunday. Those include Peter Odemwingie (knee), Robert Huth (calf), Greg Whelan (broken leg) & Dionatan Teixeira (ankle). Just looking at that, you can see some extremely big misses for the Stoke side, most notably Robert Huth who has been a phenomenal partner to Ryan Shawcross over the years in the centre of defence. The main threats for Stoke come up front; former Spur Peter Crouch spearheads the attack, but it’s Mame Biram Diouf who has been a big goal threat for them so far this season with his pace and power as well as composure in front of goal. In midfield, it’s Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi who pull the strings both defensively and offensively, although not being the most cultured players of all time. The offensive midfielder comes from the wing; Chelsea loanee Victor Moses has such incredible pace but great power and in this Stoke side, has proved a thorn in many defences being the main man. Not good enough for Liverpool or for Chelsea, but he’s a great mid-table player and we have to be aware of his talents.
The team news for Tottenham is that it’s only Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) that have been ruled out of the game, with Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) expected to be completely fine for the test at the Lane. Kyle Naughton, Hugo Lloris & Younes Kaboul all return to the frame after being left at home for the trip to Tripoli, which is of course, very welcome news.
Despite all of the big signings, the international players & worldwide stars in our squad, it’s a boy from Enfield that is gripping the imagination of Tottenham fans. Harry Kane, who has 13 goals in 18 appearances, has been in incredible form, but hasn’t yet pushed his way into the Premier League first 11, which is even more incredible. Kane is Tottenham’s goalscorer at this moment in time and deserves a sustained run in the Premier League side, because he has this confidence that he is going to get a chance and score, and I think Tottenham fans and players have that confidence in him to. A scoring striker is a somewhat rare for teams in this day and age, and now we have seemingly got one, we have to play him! For me, the key to creating chances for Tottenham is Christian Eriksen; he has the vision, technique and ability to create chances and with Harry Kane in front of him, he could well create the chances for him and if he can do that, Harry Kane can finish them. When you have a player of the ilk of Christian Eriksen, he can find gaps in teams you didn’t think were there; he just needs to find his groove once again in his creative ability. Ryan Mason has been our best player in recent games, moving the ball quickly, making tackles and spreading the play where we need it. A breath of fresh air in that midfield that I think was thoroughly needed. In these sort of games at home; players that can find space where there isn’t any, find a pass you didn’t think was on, and score those half chances are absolutely crucial and Mason, Eriksen & Kane can certainly be those players for us at White Hart Lane.
Match stats & facts provided by Opta:
– Tottenham have won six and lost just one of the last nine Barclays Premier League games against Stoke City.
– The Potters have only won one of six trips to White Hart Lane in the Premier League (D2 L3).
– Spurs have lost three of their last four Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W1).
– Stoke have won none of their last six Premier League away trips to London (D1 L5).
– Tottenham have kept only one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League outings.
– Stoke have lost only one of their last nine Premier League games in November (W4 D4).
– The Potters have scored only two goals in the last 30 minutes of games all season.
– Only four players (Fabregas, Sigurdsson, Tadic and Baines) have assisted more Premier League goals than Erik Lamela (4) this season.
– No player has been caught offside more times than Emmanuel Adebayor this season (10 times, level with Berahino).
– Hugo Lloris has parried more saves back into a dangerous scenario than any other goalkeeper this season (12).
A tough, tight and possibly frustrating, if things don’t go our way, game in prospect at the Lane. But, we are always confident of a win at White Hart Lane, and if we can build on the results away at Aston Villa and Asteras, and improve on the performances, the three points is in sight against a somewhat average Stoke City team. On paper, we should have enough quality to pick Stoke off, but the game is played on grass and we have to go out there and perform. The game isn’t televised in the UK, but you can follow me on Twitter here, @AddictedToSpurs, for all the match updates, videos, photos & more. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Stoke:
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Mason
Eriksen – Soldado – Chadli