|DATE||Sunday 29th December 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
With Boxing Day's 1-5 defeat at Newcastle United fresh in their
mind, the Stoke team will be looking to get back on track when they
come to White Hart Lane.
The side will be much reduced, with Glen Whelan and Marc Wilson being sent off at St. James' Park and Amir Begovic on the long term injury list with a broken finger, Robert Huth's knee injury and Matthew Etherington's bad back ruling them out.
Under Mark Hughes, the media were under the impression that the Stoke style had changed, but the latest match may have laid that rumour to rest. There are still the core of Pulis' team there … Shawcross, Charlie Adams, Steven Nzonzi, Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters, Kenwyne Jones and Jermaine Pennant.
The side might not be as route one as previously, but there are still the players in place to go long if required and they have used that tactic this season. The long throws might have gone, but the set-piece situations are still being used to try to put the opposition defences under pressure. With Hugo Lloris looking uncomfortable with crosses and high balls in the area, you can bet Stoke will bombard Spurs with such service. Lacking our regular centre-halves, it might cause additional problems with the height of Crouch in the mix.
The Potters back four might be struggling, with Amir Begovic, Marc Wilson and Robert Huth all missing, meaning that new combinations at the back might lead to some misunderstanding. With Soldado looking to break through, he might not have played against anything like this defence before. But he did have 38 minutes of action against them in the Europa League two seasons ago, when he made two subs appearances. Other Spurs players will be more aware of the necessities of playing against Stoke and if Sherwood is as prepared as he says he is, he will make sure newcomers will be up to the challenge.
drubbing they got at Newcastle, young England keeper Jack Butland
might be given the chance to start, but his form away on loan had
not been great and the highs he hit when he first came onto the
scene have been diminishing. Hughes will probably start with
Thomas Sorensen in goal and the veteran will need to be on top form
if Tottenham can keep hitting the target. Whoever plays, you
can bet they will end up man of the match. The keeper will
find a reshuffled defence of Shawcross, Erik Pieters, Geoff Cameron
and Andy Wilkinson in front of him. The manager will probably
go with Wilkinson, as Spurs are missing their pacy wingers, so he
might stick with the tried and tested English option.
Up top Ousamma Assaidi, on loan from Liverpool, has been hitting the net in the last couple of weeks. A player who runs at defenders and has the ability to score with power or placement, he is powerful on the floor and will need to be stopped before he gets within shooting range. Another one of their strikers is well known to us, as Peter Crouch adds a towering presence in the front line and Hughes will start with him, hoping to get him to put in a starring performance against his old side. Austrian Marko Arnoutavic is another option and is in the Crouch mould, but with a bit more attitude and a bit more skill on the ball. Either him or Crouch will need Dawson to battle in the air with them, as this is a tactic that Stoke will employ to shake up our back four. Kenwyne Jones is usually a sub, but might make way for a more defensive option on the bench.
Despite sitting two places below Spurs in the table, Stoke are ten points adrift and will be aiming to close that gap. Ironically, with rumours of Internazionale and Atletico Madrid wanting to take Erik Lamela on loan, this might be a game to start him in. Stoke had their numbers reduced, but were troubled by players running at them, most notable Hatem Ben Arfa, a left footed right winger. It could be that the Argentinian's chance to shine could be here if Sherwood is brave enough to pitch him in against Stoke's defence.
There is always a narrow margin between the two sides when Stoke come to the Lane. Partly as there is often a lack of ambition on the visitors side, but also because Spurs struggle to break them down. Both teams will be missing a number of regulars, so that could add to the disjointedness of the match, but, ever hopeful, I think Spurs will just edge it to stay in and around the top end of the table.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Stoke City 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Tottenham hope to have Aaron Lennon (stomach) available for the game with Stoke City and Paulinho returns after serving a three game suspension. Jermain Defoe's hamstring pull is making him doubtful for the match, along with Mousa Dembele's ankle injury. Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Younes Kaboul (thigh), Sandro (calf) and Andros Townsend (hamstring) are all unavailable. Kyle Walker's one match suspension rules him out of the game and Tim Sherwood might give a league debut to Ryan Fredericks.
STOKE CITY TEAM NEWS :
Stoke City come to White Hart Lane without Marc Wilson and Glen Whelan, both sent off on Boxing Day, Amir Begovic (broken finger), Robert Huth (knee) and Matthew Etherinton (back).
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Stoke City 0 (0)
Sunday 29th December 2013 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Soldado (p) 37
Dembele (Unsporting conduct) 52
Lamela (foul on Pieters) 88
Walters (foul on Dembele) 52
Shawcross (dissent) 52
|Crowd : 36,072||Weather : Mild, dry|
|Referee : Kevin Friend (Leicester)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Burt; Mr. S. Long|
|Fourth Official : Mike Dean||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 5 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Stoke City :||kit|
Erik LAMELA 75 )
Andy WILKINSON (
5 Marc MUNIESA 81)
|Manager : Tim Sherwood||Manager : Mark Hughes|
|Sponsor : Hewlett Packard||Shirt sponsor : bet365|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
For once, the many chances
Spurs created brought a few goals and it was against a weak Stoke
City side, who failed to produce a Stoke like performance and
allowed Spurs to play the way they wanted. With 68% of the
possession, it was a solid performance and a clean sheet too, with
Hugo Lloris only having to make one save from a weak Crouch header.
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|West Ham United||3||West Bromwich Albion||3||Saturday|
|Aston Villa||1||Swansea City||1||Saturday|
|Norwich City||0||Manchester United||1||Saturday|
|Manchester City||1||Crystal Palace||0||Saturday|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||19||3||9||7||22||27||18||-5|
|19||West Ham United||19||3||6||10||18||28||15||-10|
Position before match :
Position after match : 7th
Position after the weekend : 7th
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