COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 9th December 2017
VENUE Wembley
3.  Erik PIETERS
4.  Joe ALLEN
5.  Kevin WIMMER
6.  Kurt ZOUMA
7.  Stephen IRELAND
8.  Glen JOHNSON
9.  Saido BERAHINO
10.  Eric Maxim CHOUPO-MOTING
11.  JESE
12.  Josh TYMON
14.  Ibrahim AFELLAY
16.  Charlie ADAM
18.  Mame Biram DIOUF
20.  Geoff CAMERON
22.  Xherdan SHAQIRI
24.  Darren FLETCHER
25.  Peter CROUCH
28.  Julien NGOY
29.  Jakob HAUGAARD
31.  Thibaud VERLINDEN
32.  Ramadan SOBHI
33.  Lee GRANT
42.  Tom EDWARDS
PREVIEW Recent games against Stoke have been a bit of a cakewalk with three 4-0 wins, but this time around expect things to be very different.  Not that Stoke are in brilliant form, although they will be slightly more buoyant after coming from behind to beat Swansea last week, but Mark Hughes has realised that there have been inherent weaknesses in his side in those four defeats and that Spurs are struggling to break teams down at Wembley. 

The Potters' big strength is set-pieces with big defenders and Peter Crouch to aim for, they can produce problems for Premier League sides, but their defence is the second leakiest in the top flight, so they will be aiming to stop conceding in the first place before trying to nick something if they can get a dead ball situation at the other end.  Seven of the goals they have let in came against Manchester City, so it is a little bit skewed, but they still went in.

Hughes has already hinted they will be "tougher" than in the last three Spurs matches.  Literally translated, it could mean "physical", but I am sure he means mentally tougher.  Players like Shaqiri can be dangerous, but on other days can be on the edge of the game, with little impact.  New signing Choupo-Mouting is another who looks like he could be a handful, but like fellow African Diouf, he can be shut out of games without too much difficulty. 

Having sold a lot of players this summer, they brought a few in, including Chelsea's Kurt Zouma on loan, our centre half Kevin Wimmer and Bruno Martins Indi (who they had on loan last season).  This was meant to bolster their defence, with Shawcross still there.  They haven't developed an understanding yet and with Butland coming back after a long lay-off, the back five need to get to know how each other play.  Geoff Cameron and Erik Pieters are not loathe to hold back on a challenge, so, Spurs must expect that there will be little time and space to play in.  It will need them to use the ball better than they did on Wednesday, when a lot of stray passes were played.  Players like Darren Fletcher and Charlie Adam will be quick to get to players ... or in Adam's case, as quick as he can get there.

Without Alderweireld and Sanchez, our back three will be tested and scrutinised by the media.   Foyth played very well in the Champions League game, as he did against Andy Carroll in the League Cup match, so maybe Poch will blood him, but perhaps he is more likely to go with Davies as the third centre-half.  If Rose can overcome the effects of his cut head, that decision will be easier for the manager, but who plays alongside Winks is a more difficult choice.  Sissoko is doing better, but still lacks a decisive end to his running, while Dembele is not at the top of his game either.  Mousa might be the pick over Moussa, as he has more strength on the ball and that might be an asset against Stoke.

If Spurs can move the ball around to pull Stoke out of their defensive set-up, they could have some joy and while I don't expect another 4-0, I think that Spurs should take the three points, which would be a welcome boost ahead of the Christmas programme.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Stoke City    0
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the corresponding match report of last season, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Stoke City
Victor Wanyama is close to a comeback from his knee injury, but will not be available for this game against Stoke, while Toby Alderweireld is a long term hamstring casualty.  Danny Rose, cut head might keep him out of the game and Davindson Sanchez cannot play as he serves the first game of a three game suspension.
Bruno Martins Indi has a groin injury that rules him out, while Jese has been allowed to return to Spain where his son is ill.  Stephen Ireland is out for a long time after suffering a broken leg and Geoff Cameron is a late consideration, having suffered concussion six weeks ago.

Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.00
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:35 Sunday]  Also available online in some areas.
Goals on Saturday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 10.30 (repeated at 21.00)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online in some areas.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Saturday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)

Tottenham Hotspur  5 (1)                                                                       
Premier League
Saturday 9th December 2017
Stoke City  1 (0)

Kick off 15:00
Shawcross (o.g.)  20m 41s
Son  52m 22s
Kane  53m 53s
Kane  64m 17s
Eriksen  73m 57s
Shawcross  79m 58s
Dembele (foul on Allen)  66 




Crowd :   62,202 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Roger East (Wiltshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. A. Holmes; Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth Official :  Paul Tierney  
Stoke City kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Stoke City : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

33  Ben DAVIES
  2  Kieran TRIPPIER

29  Harry WINKS  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  78)
19  Mousa DEMBELE      

23  Christian ERIKSEN 
20  DELE Alli  (11  Erik LAMELA  67)
  Heung-Min SON    (
18  Fernando LLORENTE  86)

10  Harry KANE   

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

  3  Danny ROSE
24  Serge AURIER
21  Juan FOYTH


    1  Jack BUTLAND

17  Ryan SHAWCROSS (c)   (o.g.) 
  6  Kurt ZOUMA
  5  Kevin WIMMER

42  Thomas EDWARDS  (25  Peter CROUCH  70)
24  Darren FLETCHER
  4  Joe ALLEN (14  Ibrahim AFFELAY  80)
  3  Erik PIETERS

22  Xherdan SHAQIRI  (20  Geoff CAMERON  75)
10  Eric-Maxim CHOUPO-MOTING

18  Mame Biram DIOUF

Unused subs: 
33  Lee GRANT
  8  Glen JOHNSON
Charlie ADAM
Ramadan SOBHI
  9  Saido BERAHINO

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Mark Hughes
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :   Bet365
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Macron
Match report

Having seen off Stoke City by four goal margins in the last three meetings, it looked like Mark Hughes was determined that it wouldn't happen again, but his side did get on the score-sheet, but only after five goals had gone in at the other end.  Spurs looked more like their old selves, but Stoke were so open and the change in their style of play is obviously nor working for them.

The game provided Tottenham with an opportunity to regain some confidence in an unusual surrounding and memories of the days of the last two seasons came flooding back, as Spurs ripped stoke apart and looked like scoring every time they went forward.  If it hadn't been for Jack Butland and a lot of missed opportunities, it could easily have been a lot worse for the Potters, so their fans might well hanker for the days of Tony Pulis being in charge there.

Key to Tottenham's performance was the pace at which they started the game and continued throughout.  Incisive passing and movement meant that Stoke were rarely able to escape from their half, with players not working hard enough to close Spurs down and allowing the angles to be made to make and receive passes.  It won't be like this every week, but that tempo of play stretches teams and tires them, creating space to play into.

From the start, Tottenham were on the front foot, rather than the slow starts  of recent weeks.  While not creating any clear chances, they were forcing Stoke to get bodies back behind the ball until the 12th minute, when Son came inside to shoot, but it went straight at the keeper.  The game was a little bit untidy, with neither side holding onto the ball for long before there was an interception to a pass or someone bumped into someone else.  But a bit of quality opened the scoring, albeit in an unusual fashion.  Sonny took on novice defender Edwards on our left wing and fired in a low cross.  The ball flicked off Zouma, who was wide of the goal, but it went into the six yard box where Harry Kane was coming in at the near post.   Shawcross was giving him some close attention, but the ball came off the defender's chest and flew past Butland to hand Spurs the lead after 20 minutes.  It was a good move and probably gave Spurs a bit of luck that they had been lacking in a few games this season.

You wondered if it would open the floodgates, with Tottenham looking to capitalise on a team who have difficulty stopping goals going in at their end and when a Stoke corner was played to the edge of the area by the D, Son won a header and then gathered the ball to go on a run to the edge of the other penalty box and hit a shot that Butland stopped with his left foot at his near post.  Other players, notably Eriksen were in support and might have benefitted from a ball across the box.  Christian did have a chance to strike at goal, when he fired a 25 yard free kick over the wall and got it to dip, with Butland diving to his right to push the ball wide.  Spurs had a whole string of corners, finishing with Dembele finally having a shot from outside the box that dipped in front of the keeper, who made a  bit of a meal of it getting the ball out wide of goal.

Uncharacteristically against Stoke, Harry Kane was having a poor half, having a couple of chances when he was offside but putting them side, then doing the same when Son's cute pass put him in after spinning away from Wimmer, but with only Butland to beat, he slipped the ball just wide.  Trippier's long cross was just over Dele's head and Son was behind him to hit a shot that rose too high.  Stoke did bring Lloris into action two minutes before half-time, when Pieters got space on their left and put a cross in that Hugo elected to punch, with Joe Allen coming across him.  It wasn't entirely convincing, but more of that later.  A half-hearted appeal for a Spurs penalty was waved away when Kane hit s shot that looked as though Shawcross got his arm to, but the ball was soon back in the Stoke area, with Pieters hurriedly clearing a Kane cross that could, have gone anywhere, but went for a corner. 

Alan Gilzean paid a welcome return at half-time and reminisced about the coldest game he ever played for Spurs, in Tbilisi in the UEFA Cup.  It is always good to see Gilly looking so well and he spoke glowingly about Jimmy Greaves, who he regards as a genius.

When the second half got underway, you expected Stoke to be fired up by the half time team talk from Hughes, but it was Spurs who looked the hotter at the start of the second period.  Pieters cleared a Davies cross as he had defended just before the interval, resulting in a corner that Kane fired over the bar, but he was offside anyway.  Surprisingly, Stoke nearly scored from a free-kick, which was headed out to Shawcross on the 18 yard line, but his falling volley was sliced and straight at Lloris.  It prompted Tottenham to start asserting themselves and they were moving the ball well up the field, so when Dier headed forward, Winks took a touch and lifted it on to Dele in the centre circle.  With Stoke's defensive back four spread, Son made a run to Dele's left and his ball set him in on goal.  He took the ball to his right and looked to have made the chance more difficult, but as Zouma closed in, he curled the ball inside the post to double Tottenham's lead.  It was a Spurs break just like they used to do and well finished by a player who is in very good form.

From the kickoff Stoke were obviously rattled, as the ball went back to Butland, who tried to dribble a back-pass past Kane, but stumbled and struck it against the Spurs striker.  The ball popped up and Harry dived in to head it into an empty net, but the keeper got there first and knocked it out for a corner.  After it was cleared, Davies played a neat give and go with Eriksen and his high, hanging cross to the far post was powerfully met by Harry Kane's head to find the net for 3-0.  it was another example of what different goals Kane is capable of scoring, making him a complete striker.  One one-touch control and immediate pass out to Son on the left also showed his technique and vision, which few other out and out strikers possess.

Not content with three, Spurs went looking for more and Kane went close with a 25 yard curler, which was more than Mousa did with a fierce but wayward effort.  Hugo Lloris was alert when called upon, with Shaqiri being released down the right hand channel, but his low effort from the 18 yard line was pushed aside, where it hit Eric Dier tracking back and went out for a corner.  The shot lacked enough power to get past Hugo before he could get down and get a hand to it.  Once more, the Spurs captain chose to punch the resulting corner away, but it was effective enough to clear it away.

Tottenham's fourth goal was a joy.  A ball forward to Eriksen, tight on the right touchline, saw him leave the ball to completely sell his marker Pieters and race away to play a ball across the box to Son, coming in from the left wing.  Edwards was with him and I don't know who got the final touch, but the ball went right into the path of the on-running Kane, who stroked the ball imperiously past Butland for his second, which is the minimum he tends to score against Stoke.  It was a sweeping move that left Stoke chasing Spurs players and it was another classy finish.

Eric Lamela was introduced with the game virtually won, with the Argentine getting involved straight away.  He played a ball  in for Harry Kane to turn and shoot, but it was blocked for a corner.  A few minutes later, Sonny got away on the left and after some fancy footwork, he bent a low ball across the six yard box with the outside of his right foot that Lamela just got a touch to as he came in on the ball, but Butland was right on top of him and blocked his effort.

Another Spurs striker was about to make an impact, but not the one we might have thought.  Peter Crouch, the man who first propelled us to the Champions League, came on for Stoke and his first involvement was to win the ball from a corner at the far post.  Unfortunately for him, it only succeeded in clearing the ball and Son picked it up to start off on an epic run.  From inside his own box, he took it to 30 yards from Stoke's goal, where he played a precision pass to Christian Eriksen inside the D and he then stroked the ball past Butland with his left foot leaving the keeper with no chance to hit the fifth Spurs goal.  Another breakaway and another goal, with 15 minutes still remaining.

Stoke looked like they might get back into the game when Allen picked out Crouch in the box, seemingly on his own with only Lloris to beat, but, out of nowhere, Vertonghen arrived to poke the ball away from him with a perfectly timed challenge.  It did only delay the Stoke goal, as the corner came in, Hugo made an ineffective attempt to climb over players to punch the ball away and it went beyond him, leaving Shawcross the chance to atone for his pervious own goal with a simple header into an empty net, making the score-line 5-1.

The action wasn't over.  Son switched wings and dribbled into the box from the right, managing to find a way past three players and the ball ran to Eriksen, just eight yards out.  His shot was firmly struck, but Butland reacted well to get a strong hand on it to take it over the bar with a very good stop.  Spurs sub Fernando Llorennte showed what a goal can do for confidence, as he showed a turn of pace to get into space on the left, from where he played a low cross into the heart of the penalty area, but Pieters cleared just before Lamela reached the ball.  From the cleared corner, Trippier played it across the box to Jan Vertonghen, on his own five yards from goal.  It looked odds on he would score his first Spurs goal in ages, but he completely missed the ball and tried a second attempt as he lay on the floor, but just sliced it for Butland to collect.  One day Jan ... one day !

Trippier was putting dangerous crosses in from the right and Lamela met one at the far post, but got under it with his header that flew over, then Lamela played an exquisite ball over the defence that stopped in the box for Kane to turn and shoot, but Butland had closed him down and his shoulder prevented the ball getting past him. Fernando almost got among the goals again, as Davies drove a low ball into the box that he was close to getting on the end of and then he had a shot in a crowded penalty area that was blocked away.

Stoke are dropping like a stone, which is what the players appeared to have in their boots.  Their set-up had no out ball, with Diouf spending most of the match on his back on the ground and the midfield unable to find a pass to a striped shirt.  Shaqiri failed to live up to the reputation he has acquired, with only his shot that Lloris did well to keep out his most meaningful contribution, but then he did look like he should be making toys in Santa's workshop rather than being in the midfield of a Premier League team a lot of the time.  They have lost the bite that they used to have.  I never liked the way they used to play, but it was effective sometimes and here they were disorganised, had no shape and seemingly no game plan.  There didn't even seem much effort to limit the damage.

On the other side of the coin, Spurs looked back to their form of last season.  Everyone will have got a boost from the performance, with goals and moving the ball sharply and damaging the opposition.  The final score could easily have been in double figures, as Spurs looked like scoring every time they got close to the Stoke goal.

With no other distractions until the FA Cup in early January, they can concentrate on the league and need another performance like this on Wednesday when Brighton come to visit.

Marco van Hip




Stoke City once played on a pitch made up of the waste clay from the nearby pottery industry, thus they had to play in wooden clogs, because studded boots got stuck in the clay.  This is what earned them their reputation as "cloggers".


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Burnley 1 Watford 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 2 Bournemouth 2 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Leicester City 3 Saturday
Swansea City 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Chelsea 0 Saturday
Southampton 1 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Liverpool 1 Everton 1 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2 Sunday


League Table  2017-18
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 16 15 1 0 48 11 46 +37
2 Manchester United 16 11 2 3 36 11 36 +25
3 Chelsea 16 10 2 4 28 13 32 +15
4 Liverpool 16 8 6 2 34 20 30 +14
5 Arsenal 16 9 2 5 30 20 29 +10
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16 8 4 4 28 14 28 +14
7 Burnley 16 8 4 4 15 12 28 +3
8 Leicester City 16 6 5 5 23 21 23 +2
9 Watford 16 6 4 6 25 27 22 -1
10 Everton 16 5 4 8 20 29 19 -9
11 Huddersfield Town 16 5 3 8 11 26 18 -15
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 16 4 5 7 14 21 17 -7
13 AFC Bournemouth 16 4 4 8 15 19 16 -4
14 Stoke City 16 4 4 8 19 36 16 -16
15 Southampton 16 4 6 6 16 19 15 -3
16 Newcastle United 16 4 3 9 16 25 15 -9
17 West Bromwich Albion 16 2 7 7 12 22 13 -10
18 West Ham United London 16 3 4 9 14 32 13 -18
19 Swansea City 16 3 3 10 9 18 12 -9
20 Crystal Palace 16 2 5 9 10 27 11 -17

Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  6th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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