Match date & time: Saturday 26th April 2014. Kick off at 3:00pm.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Britannia Stadium.
TV: Not live on TV in the UK.
We’re in to the last three games of the season! It’s been highly documented that our season has been thoroughly underwhelming, but we’re in a position that means we’re able to gain a lot of pride. We’re battling for 5th place, which isn’t really the glamour battle of the Premier League, but it’s something and something is always good. We have scored many more goals recently and played some very good stuff, and now dare I say it, we’ve hit some very good form! Now to continue it against Stoke.
Our recent form as I say has been good. 3 wins in 5 games, with 1 draw and a loss. Obviously the loss to Liverpool was very disappointing, and the West Brom draw was displeasing, but the wins against Southampton, Sunderland and Fulham were great, with 11 goals scored in those three games and 14 goals scored in our last 5 games. Defensively, it’s been atrocious though, we have not worked as a unit and although it’s not cost us heaps of goals, against better opposition, we look like we would get torn apart, but I guess Sherwood has decided for the Liverpool approach of out scoring the opposition.
Our form against Stoke in recent times has been mediocre or inconsistent, in with the great results there are some real stinkers. Starting with the good results; our last two games against them have been very successful, in our last visit to the Britannia we won 2-1 late last season, Clint Dempsey scoring from range with an instinctive effort, and then Emmanuel Adebayor late on got the goal to win us the game in AVB’s tenure. More recently, at the Lane under Sherwood we put in a complete display, winning 3-0, three goals and a clean sheet in a great performance from the lads, Soldado, Dembele and Lennon got on the scoresheet in that one. Now onto the stinkers (sorry); in our last 5 games with Stoke we’ve been unable to win on 3 occasions 2 draws at home and a loss at the Britannia, so it has always been a difficult time except for the game this season. The good news is our form at the Britannia is good, winning our last 4 Premier League games up in Stoke.
Stoke have had a good season this year, there has been a transitional period during the take over of Mark Hughes, in which he has implemented a much more attractive footballing philosophy compared to Tony Pulis’ effective but route-one style. For the most part, it has worked for Stoke, they sit in 10th place and are safe from relegation, and it’s a good position for Stoke to now push on next season. The Potters have been in outstanding form recently which has made sure that they will stay in the Premier League, in their last 8 games they have won 5, with 2 draws and only 1 loss, and that was to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In those 8 games they have beaten Arsenal at the Britannia, so we know what to expect! The thing that is in our favour is that Stoke are now safe and don’t have anything to play for, which may lead to the minds of the players wandering, possibly to the beaches of a holiday.
The team news for Stoke is that winger Oussama Assaidi, on loan from Liverpool, is back, along with full back Erik Pieters. Former Spur Matthew Etherington (back) and defender Robert Huth (knee) have been ruled out of the clash at the Britannia. The players to look out for, for Stoke start with striker Peter Odemwingie, who has hit real form after his career majorly stuttered with West Brom and Cardiff, he has 4 goals in 12 appearances for the Potters this season. Another player who has done very well for Stoke is forward Marko Arnautovic, only 4 goals this season but he has 6 assists which is a decent tally in his first season. I really like him as a player and he’s a definite threat from Stoke. In midfield, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi look to bully the opposition, and it’s up to our midfield to counter their aggression.
The team news for the Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Etienne Capoue (foot), Erik Lamela (back) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) have been ruled out of the game, with Mousa Dembele (ankle) a doubt. Although, skipper Michael Dawson is available again after an ongoing hamstring injury, which is a big plus for the squad. It’s also good news that Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue have returned to training and are in contention to play in the last 2 games of the season, along with Kyle Walker who is scheduled to return to training next week.
I don’t expect much of a change in terms of the team, although personally I’d replace Nacer Chadli with Sandro in that central midfield role, simply because of the midfield pair that Stoke have, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi are known for their big challenges and strength, so I think the best way of dealing with it is counteracting it with the strength of Sandro, especially as we are away from home. Alongside Sandro I’d stick with his Brazilian partner Paulinho, who played a good game against Fulham at the Lane, and was sublime in the home leg against Stoke. In defence, I’d replace young Zeki Fryers and place Vlad Chiriches in alongside Kaboul; although he has been shaky in his last two games against Sunderland and West Brom, I think he should be given the chance to redeem himself and rediscover his form that he had earlier in the season. Upfront, there is no doubt that Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor keep their place; Harry has been in great scoring form and I think the time has come for Adebayor to rediscover his.
Match stats provided by Opta.
– All five Barclays Premier League meetings between these sides in Stoke have ended 2-1, with the Potters winning two and losing three.
– Tottenham have won five and lost just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with the Potters (D2).
– Stoke have been level at half-time in their last seven home matches against top-six teams.
– Tim Sherwood has the best win percentage of any Tottenham manager in the Premier League (58%).
– Mark Hughes’ Stoke have picked up four red cards this season; Hughes has seen his various teams collect 40 red cards in Premier League history (in 305 games).
– Stoke have had Over 2.5 goals in their last five home matches against Spurs.
– Tottenham have the fourth highest points total (30) away from home this season despite having a goal difference of -2 on the road.
– Spurs have conceded a total of 11 goals in their last three Premier League away games.
– Spurs have had both teams scoring in their last five away matches against Stoke.
– Tottenham Hotspur have failed to score in three of their last four away games.
– Stoke have won their last four Premier League home games, three of them ending 1-0 to the Potters. They have never won five home games in a row in the Premier League.
– Stoke have had draw/draw results in their last four draws against top-six teams.
– Only two teams (Liverpool and Palace) are on longer current unbeaten runs than Tottenham (three games).
– Tottenham have come from behind to win a league-high 17 points from losing positions this season while Stoke have the second best total (15).
We want to win our last three games! Starting at the Britannia. Expecting a difficult game, as always, but if we play how I know we can, we’ll have no problems. I’ll be providing match updates from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including goal updates, photos, videos and vines. COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to take on Stoke at the Britannia:
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Adebayor – Kane.
Tim Sherwood’s press conference prior to our trip to the Britannia: