Stoke City (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 19th October 2008


Another promoted club who have done well and earned double the points tally Tottenham have so far.  But don't worry, everyone says that Spurs will be OK, although they need to fight fire with fire with the teams around them (and all the others) to make sure they start picking up some points.  Tony Pulis is renowned for getting his teams up for it and with Tottenham finding goals hard to come by they will need to defend the Potters' long throw-ins well to stop them going ahead on their own patch, with a vociferous crowd behind them. 

With former Aston Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen in good form, his previous weaknesses of positioning and decision making are looking a thing of the past, with defenders who will throw themselves in the way to stop the ball getting as far as his gloves.  The back four are functional rather than pretty and they work hard at what they do.  When Stoke won promotion, I was looking forward to what Berbatov and Keane would do to them, but with Bent and Campbell, it is a different proposition.  They lap up the physical battle and the only hope is that Campebll will be able to pit his pace against them, as that may be the one aspect of their art that they lack in.

With the midfield another hard working unit, Pulis will make sure that the Tottenham players have no time on the ball, which is something I would like to see from our midfield.  Much has been said about "earning the right to play", but the Spurs midfield is not set up to win the battle before spraying their passes around.  The legs are there in Jenas and Zokora to cover the ground, but the ball-winning abilities are not what is required for a game such as this.  O'Hara does well, but Tottenham still lack the tough-tackling presence which will anchor any attacking instinct there might be.

Tall and physical describes the Stoke forwards, whoever they might be, but do not think that is all there is to them.  Fuller has a trick or two as Villa found out, when he scored a goal out of nothing against them.  Sidibe might be more noted for his goals in the lower leagues, but he has to be in the right place to score them and the thing about Stoke is that they get the right service to the right player in the right place.  Many times this comes form the long throw of Rory Delap, but more often it is hitting the ball into the right channels to pull defenders out of position.  Spurs will need to be wary of this.

It is about time the Tottenham team start to click.  Time is not on our side and this result could be crucial.  A loss could mean that the gap between us and the rest of the league is already too big to make catching up an easy task.  We need to make sure that we are in touch with the middle of the table, even at this stage.  A win will not change things position wise, but will keep the gap manageable.  A draw would not be acceptable and with games coming up against Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal and Liverpool, the chance so picking much up there enhances the need for points on Sunday.

Ramos needs to set out his team to give Stoke problems.  We can't afford to let them dictate to us, even though we are away.  Too often and for too long, Spurs have allowed sides to take the initiative when we are away from home and one up front will only see a constant stream of possession going one way ... towards Gomes' goal.  We only have two forwards, so we might as well use them and give the Potters something to think about.

Whatever the result, Spurs will not move out of the bottom three, but the three points they need will move them in the right direction.  I think it will be scrappy and ugly, but the win will be gratefully received ...

PREDICTION : -  Stoke City  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


STOKE CITY :  -  Salif Diao (groin); Liam Lawrence (ankle); Anthony Davies (knee); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Alan Hutton (foot); Roman Pavlyuchenko (ankle); - (-); 


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Stoke City   2   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Britannia Stadium
Sunday 19th October 2008
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   27,500
Referee :  Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Windy, chilly
Teams : - 
Stoke City :

Sorensen (  1  Simonsen 66)

Griffin (c)
Abdoulaye Faye
Sonko (Shawcross 83)


Kitson (Fuller 56)

Unused subs: 
Amdy Faye

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton    
39  Woodgate    
22  Corluka (20  Dawson 77     )
  3  Bale     

  7  Lennon
  4  Zokora
  8  Jenas
14  Modric
  5  Bentley (  9  Pavlyuchenko 59)

10  Bent

Unused subs: 
22  Cesar
  6  Huddlestone
18  Campbell
24  O'Hara
32  Assou-Ekotto

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Stoke City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Stoke City

Higginbotham (p) 19
Delap 53

Tottenham Hotspur

Bent 25

Cards : -  
Stoke City

Adoulaye Faye (foul) 87


Tottenham Hotspur 

Hutton (foul) 64
Woodgate (foul) 90  

Bale (foul) 17
Dawson (foul) 90 

Match Report : -  
Writing about matches like this do not leave you with the words or a place to start or finish.  Spoiled by a rash red card early on, referee Lee Mason book-ended it neatly with another rash red in injury time to reduce Tottenham to nine men and Stoke did their bit to leave them bottom of the table by winning 2-1.

Much was written about Stoke's direct approach, but they failed to trouble Spurs too much with that tack and played some good passing football, but they had the opportunity to score when Bale let a ball get away from him and slid in on Soares as he entered the penalty area and conceded a penalty and got sent off for his trouble.  Following the converted spot-kick, the space afforded City allowed them the opportunity to knock the ball around, but that not being their natural game caused them some consternation. 

It was thus that Spurs seized the initiative and snatched an equaliser when Hutton shot and the deflection took the ball into the path of Darren Bent, who had initially been off-side and he took a touch to knock the ball through Sorensen's legs and gave the ten men some hope.  The dominance in territory and possession was almost embarrassing as the home crowd went silent on their team, something that is unusual I am told.  However, in true Tottenham tradition, the team failed to make the advantage of having the ball count, with only a couple of Lennon efforts from distance and after the interval a couple of Modric shots which should have hit the target, but whizzed high or wide.

It seemed patently obvious that Gomes was not 100% and seemed to be carrying a rib injury, but Stoke failed to pile players in on him too much, although every save he made was accompanied with a grimace.  It left him conscious that he had to come for long throws or crosses in the box and he felled Corluka twice in quick succession, with a stretcher and a trip to hospital for the Croat the result of the second collision.

Going a goal down after 19 minutes, even though the wind did it's best to put Higginbotham off his kick by blowing the ball off the spot, left Spurs chasing the game, with a man short.  But within five minutes we were back in it and the rest of the half saw Tottenham keep Stoke pinned in their own half.

However, the lack of men cost Tottenham, as two Stoke midfielders found space ten yards outside the box in the 52nd minute and a pass wide to Sidibe produced a low cross which the injured Gomes thought twice about going for and it travelled the length of the six yard box for Delap to race in at the far post to knock it in.  Spurs brought on Pavlyuchenko for Bentley to assist Bent up front, as they sought to get another equaliser, but the move did not really pay off or cause the Potters' defence a lot of problems. 

Gomes had to dive full length to divert Olafinjana's shot wide and it was a surprise when Sorensen was the goalkeeper who had to be replaced, as a challenge by Hutton cut his forehead and Simonsen came on as his sub.  Not that he had a lot to do.  Gomes put Corluka out of the game and on came Michael Dawson.

Jenas hit a couple of free-kicks wide of Simonsen's goal, but all the best chances were at the other end.  Soares got through and panicked, hitting his shot over when if he had hit the target, it would have been a goal.  An even clearer cut chance came when Soares was dragged down by Woodgate in the area and Fuller stepped up and tried to be too precise from the spot.  He hit one post, the ball bounced across goal, hit the other post and out, only for Delap to follow it up and hit the bar.

It wasn't insult that was added to injury, but perhaps injustice, as Dawson seemed to take the ball before catching Fuller on the shin with his studs and Mason again reached for his top pocket.  No Fair Play win for us this season then !!

Fuller managed to haul his weighty carcass up off the floor to race around the Tottenham defence and hit the bar when it would have been easier to score, so in the end, it could have been four or five, but it would not be true to say that Spurs got off lightly.  They got what they deserved.  There was no intention to match Stoke's effort and it was only when the home team went into their shell that Tottenham shone.  Other teams won't give them that opportunity and that will make it extremely hard to get out of this predicament.





Reaction : -



Here we go again ...

I have never felt more ashamed to be a Spurs supporter. 

The board need an urgent meeting tomorrow; the players should not be given their over inflated wages.

We are a complete and utter mess and at this rate we will be lucky to get into double points at the end of the season.  Action is needed now 'cause, wake up, we are going down.

I spoke to Graham Roberts last week and he said he has offered his services to help out the defence, but is still waiting for a reply. 

The players we have are just awful and should hang their head in shame.  Eight games in and I've given up on this lot - the worst ever.  Even worse then the Gross days, when at least we won a few games.

This is a nightmare.  Ramos has to go.  Get Venners back now.  Anyone ... please ... to organise our team.  We are in deep s**t.

very ashamed of london

While not claiming it as an excuse, how often do you see people sent off in the manner that Bale and Dawson were today ?

I know it was Soares through unless he had been brought down, but we had already seen him miss am presentable chance, so what guarantee is there that he would have scored.  After watching it on TV, I am not sure whether Bale's challenge brought him down, as the Stoke man seemed to kick his foot into the ground.

The second penalty was clearer cut, as Woodgate had got fed up with it all by then, but Dawson's red card came after he took a bit of the ball and his foot rolled over the top to catch Sidibe.  Although this is his third red card, the other two have been for handball and he is not known as a vicious player.  Maybe the ref will review it, but what do you think will happen ?  Yup ... two players banned to go with our injured captain in missing out.

The chopping and changing of the side is not helping things.  I know some players were back from injury today, but there were still three changes and felt that if he had left Campbell in the team, it might have posed a bit more of a threat to Stoke's defence.

But there are two things I really want Ramos to change ... and that is
1.   Don't play the lone striker, as we need someone up with Bent to help him out
2.  Get Bale to remove that stupid hair clip and get a haircut if he can't keep it out of his eyes.


Why we are playing injured players when we supposedly have adequate back-ups, I don't know.  If Gomes was carrying a knock, why not put Sanchez in, as he was probably one of the players that Ramos DID ask for.  If he's not up to it when the number one goalie isn't fully fit, then when will he play ?  On Thursday in the UEFA Cup ?  Surely that is when we will play Ledley, although I cannot understand why he wasn't playing today if he says he was fit.

Saving some players for Europe and others for the League does not hint at a concerted effort on either front.

We are left needing about 38 points (at the minimum) to stay up and with thirty games to go, that is becoming a taller order by the week.  I am not convinced that this team can grind them out and they have not shown that they are able to create that magic which will win points out of nowhere either.

They need to get things together very soon, as Bolton will play just like Stoke as they know that will work against Tottenham and Liverpool and Arsenal will be too good for us, meaning when we face Manchester City, we will be well adrift.

I am getting sick of these experts saying Tottenham will get out of it.  Where is their evidence to base that notion on ?  On the evidence I have seen there is only one way we are going.




Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 3 Everton 1 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Fulham 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Liverpool 3 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 5 Saturday
Manchester United 4 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Hull City 1 West Ham United 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 2 Manchester City 2 -day


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 8 6 2 0 19 3 20 +16
2 Liverpool 8 6 2 0 13 6 20 +7
3 Hull City 8 5 2 1 11 11 17 0
4 Arsenal 8 5 1 2 16 6 16 +10
5 Manchester United 7 4 2 1 12 4 14 +8
6 Aston Villa 8 4 2 2 12 10 14 +2
7 Portsmouth 8 4 1 3 9 13 13 -4
8 West Ham United 8 4 0 4 14 14 12 0
9 Blackburn Rovers 8 3 2 3 8 14 11 -6
10 Manchester City 8 3 1 4 20 14 10 +6
11 West Bromwich Albion 8 3 1 4 7 11 10 -4
12 Sunderland 8 2 3 3 7 9 9 -2
13 Middlesbrough 8 3 0 5 7 14 9 -7
14 Wigan Athletic 8 2 2 4 11 9 8 +2
15 Everton 8 2 2 4 12 17 8 -5
16 Bolton Wanderers 8 2 2 4 8 10 8 -2
17 Fulham 7 2 1 4 5 7 7 -2
18 Stoke City 8 2 1 5 9 13 7 -4
19 Newcastle United 8 1 3 4 9 15 6 -6
20 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 8 0 2 6 5 12 2 -7



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