|DATE||Sunday 12th May 2013|
A game against Stoke City, but when you are up against it and needing a win to have any hope of keeping up with the top four, it makes it doubly difficult. Needing a win to stand any chance of Champions League football (and only then if Chelsea lose horrendously on the last day of the season and we win bog against Sunderland), this lunch-time game at the Britannia will be a real test of Tottenham's quality and of their willingness for a battle.
Everyone says that Stoke is not a welcoming place for visiting teams. Cold, noisy and physically testing, this season has seen the Potters lose more at home than for a while and that was why until a week or so ago, they were threatened with the drop. Four defeat at home and only 32 goals scored all season are some of the reasons for their struggle, with injuries hitting the squad too. Noises have already been made about Pulis having taken the team as far as he can and maybe there will be a change of manager in the summer, but whether that comes with a change of tactics will be interesting to see.
With a number of former Spurs player sin the Stoke squad, they will be wanting to prove to the Tottenham fans that they were worth persevering with, but where they have move don, so have Spurs. Matthew Etherington, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios have all made contributions to the Stoke effort, but none have found the fame they might have been seeking when they left the Lane. Crouch still scores, Etherington still ploughs a furrow next to the chalk line and Palacios has been notable by his absence, making only four substitute appearances so far.
But Stoke have tried to change their style, although some of their purchases fuel the theory of them being a rough and tough side. Charlie Adam (big, slow, late tackler), Steven Nzonzi (big, tall, run all day), Brek Shea (tall, fast winger, run all day) ... you get the idea.
The template for the archetypal Stoke player might have once been Rory Delap, but now it is more Ryan Shawcross or Ryan Shotton. A bit more athletic, but as able to throw or kick the ball as far as the former Republic of Ireland international. With players like Robert Huth and Shawcross, you have players effective at each end of the pitch, as they are strong in the air defending or attacking when set-pieces are won. And while it is not the only source of their goals, their well-drilled routines are effective, including lots of "professional" moves in the box.
Stoke have a good keeper in much sought after Asmir Begovic, with Thomas Sorensen an able deputy although getting on a bit now. The defence speaks for itself and the midfield does contain a lot of wingers, with Jermaine Pennant having been sent out on loan to Wolves until January and Michael Kightly, the former Wolves man, only coming back onto the bench in the last few weeks. Glen Whelan adds nuisance value and has been the one preferred over Palacios this season.
It is a surprise that Stoke have scored so few goals, as they have players capable of scoring, with Jonathan Walters leading the way, followed by Crouch and then Kightly, Cameron Jerome, Kenwyne Jones and Adam all with three goals. Jerome and Jones fit a template for physically strong strikers, in contrast to Crouch, who is a one off.
This will be Stoke's last home game and while they are virtually safe from relegation now, they will be going all out to take another big name scalp and finish their home fixtures with a win, but they might find a more resilient Tottenham team, who have an impressive away record. I hope that they can keep that record going and take the season down to the last game and hope that things go their was elsewhere. Knowing our luck, there will be some controversial decision in the match that costs us fourth place this season (especially as Chris Foy - the fourth official - tucked us up there a couple of years ago) !!
|PREDICTION||Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
STOKE CITY TEAM
There will be late fitness tests for Marc Wilson (hamstring), Andy Wilkinson (back) and Greg Whelan (groin).
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Sandro (knee), Younes Kaboul (thigh) and William Gallas (calf) are all ruled out, while Mousa Dembele (hamstring) and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) are both hopeful of being available for the visit to Stoke.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Stoke City 1 (1)
Sunday 12th May 2013
Venue : Britannia Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 13:30
Huth (foul on Bale) 35
Begovic (dissent) 41
Adam (foul on Vertonghen) 43
Shotton (foul on Bale) 68
Huddlestone (foul on Walters) 76
|Crowd : 27,531||Weather : -|
|Referee : Kevin Friend (-)||Assistant Referees : Mr. P. Kirkup; Mr. C. Breakspear|
|Fourth Official : Chris Foy||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Boothen end in the first half.|
|Stoke City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
2 Geoff CAMERON 74)
Scott PARKER (19
Mousa DEMBELE 68)
Aaron LENNON (18
Jermain DEFOE 74)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
|Manager : Tony Pulis||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : bet365||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
120513 Stoke City
And I, for one, am glad that I support Tottenham Hotspur.
We may not get to the Champions League next season, but even so, this season has seen us play with style and energy ... and mainly within the laws of the game. It has been a season that has seen Spurs have a marvellous away record and one which has seen some astonishing moments. The emergence of the team under the new management of AVB has been one that has seen him re-establish himself as a coach of note and for Daniel Levy to have taken the brave move to appoint him, he deserves great credit too.
One more game for us to pay and it might all be for a place in the European Runners-up Cup, but to grow and learn, you have to make mistakes and I think AVB has learned of those he has made with Spurs already and if the players continue to grow under him, it could be a fruitful partnership for some time to come.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Beck & Paul||
Thanks for the "Happy Birthday" song towards the end of the game.
Hope luck goes with you in the quest for European football.
Up The Potters.
- I take it back ... there are some decent Stokies out there !)
don't know if it was the fact that it spoiled the Stokies'
150th Birthday celebrations, which culminated on Sunday, but it was
if Charlie Adam had blown spit all over their cake in extinguishing
any flicker of footballing life at the Britannia. Odd then
that Tottenham were the ones who were roundly despised for being
handed three points by a shabby home performance.
I, for one, hope that Pulis gets the push, as then he will know how visiting centre-forwards feel when they are going for an incoming corner. His histrionics do no credit to the history of the Midlands club and his re-writing of even the most recent happenings would not be out of place in a Stalinist regime. I would be happy if his one-eyed view was no longer given an airing in the valley of the footballing blind.
It is shame that when Spurs
fans were so gracious in singing "Happy Birthday", that the hosts
were like a child who lost at a game of musical chairs.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Everton||2||West Ham United||0||Sunday|
|Manchester United||2||Swansea City||1||Sunday|
|Norwich City||4||West Bromwich Albion||0||Sunday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||Newcastle United||2||Sunday|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||37||14||6||17||49||53||48||-4|
|10||West Ham United||37||11||10||16||38||48||43||-10|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||4||13||20||30||59||25||-29|
Position before match :
Position after match : 4th
Position after the week's fixtures :
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