COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 10th September 2016
VENUE Britannia Stadium
3.  Erik PIETERS
4.  Joe ALLEN
5.  Marc MUNIESA
6.  Glenn WHELAN
7.  Stephen IRELAND 
8.  Glen JOHNSON
9.  Mato JOSELU
14.  Ibrahim AFFELAY
15.  Bruno Martins INDI
16.  Charlie ADAM
18.  Mame DIOUF
19.  Jonathan WALTERS
20.  Geoff CAMERON
21.  Giannelli IMBUA
22.  Xherdan SHAQIRI
23.  Diaonatan TEIXEIRA
24.  Shay GIVEN
25.  Peter CROUCH
27.  Bojan KRKIC
29.  Jakob HAUGAARD
32.  Ramadan SOBHI
31.  Oliver SHENTON
35.  Daniel BACHMANN
PREVIEW Tottenham return to Stoke City and the location of one of their most impressive performances in many a long year last April.  Finding Stoke at the bottom of the table is a surprise, but the lack of goals that blighted them last season looks like it may be an issue again, but some late deadline day business might have addressed that. 

Goalkeeper trouble has hit the Potters.  Jack Butland will be out for another 10 months after his latest ankle operation and Jakob Haugaard has an ankle problem of his own, so Shay Given will take the gloves between the sticks, with Lee Grant, a close season loan signing from Derby County looking to take the subs role.  Given has proved a reliable keeper over the years in the Premiership, but his retirement from international football to concentrate on playing club football has to be balanced against his age and the lack of agility/sharpness a 40 year old can provide.  Testing him out will be key to getting something from the match

In central defence, the ever reliable Ryan Shawcross is still there, although Philipp Wollscheid has gone out on loan to Wolfsburg.  It is possible Hughes might throw in Bruno Martins Indi, who joined on loan from Porto, as he is a muscular defender who is good in the air.  Dionatan Teixeira has been with Stoke for a couple of years, but has been restricted to just one subs appearance, leaving Marc Muniesa as the other centre back, flanked by the returning Glen Johnson and Erik Pieters.  Geoff Cameron is of a similar mould to these two full backs.  Solidly built and not au fait with the niceties of the game, all three will "let you know they are there", as will Phil Bardsley and if you get past them you will get the same treatment from Charlie Adam.  

Others in the midfield are French Under-21 international Giannelli Imbua, who is an athletic, box-to-box player brought in from Porto last summer.  Without Affelay, Shaqiri and Ireland, Stoke may have to resort to playing people out of position in midfield.  Johnson could push up form the back four, with adequate replacements available, while Bojan might play deeper than usual, with Arnautovic also capable of dropping off the front line.  Walters can also play wide and offers a scoring threat from there, but there are options up top, as Joselu can lead the line and our former striker Peter Crouch is still with Stoke.  Egyptian Ramadan Sobhi was brought in during the summer and is a young striker they have high hopes for him and he has been given game time so far this season.

For Tottenham, this is a chance to start afresh with the squad completed until the January window, so Pochettino has some decisions to make.  Dembele's suspension puts one decision off until next week, but does he bring Lloris back even though Vorm has done well ?  With Erik Lamela returning late after playing a World Cup qualifier in South America, does Poch start Sissoko ?  Ben Davies will fill in for Danny Rose, but who lines up at kick off up front ?  Kane, who is currently without a goal in a while (but that is not unusual for him, being a slow starter) or will it be the more aggressive Janssen to fight fire with fire against the Stoke defence ?

Spurs need to keep calm heads as they did last April, to control the game and not let Stoke get into the match.  By keeping the pressure on them, Tottenham managed the game superbly and took their chances (well, most of them) to keep a good gap between the sides on the score-sheet.  It was an impressive display that night and one which the team will need to replicate on a more regular basis to challenge at the top of the table.  Having picked up points without hitting their stride quite yet, it is a good sign, but a win at the Britannia would help move them on with a lot of games coming up.

With the home side needing points, they will try and keep it tight at the back and in midfield, so it might be a war of attrition but I take Spurs to just about edge it.

PREDICTION Stoke City    0        Tottenham Hotspur    1
The Potters will be missing Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), Jack Butland (ankle), Stephen Ireland (broken leg) and  Ibrahim Affelay (knee),  while Mame Diouf (hamstring) and Jakob Haugaard (ankle) are doubts to start.  Glen Johnson is fit to return after a thigh injury. 
Spurs will be without Mousa Dembele (serving last game of ban) and Danny Rose (hamstring done playing for England), while new signings Moussa Sissoko and Georges-Kevin N'Koudou are in the squad, although the young winger might need a couple more weeks training before being match ready.  Erik Lamela may be rested after a late return after playing for Argentina.

Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.30
Sky Sports 1 -  Match Choice -  Saturday 22.30
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:00 Sunday]  Also available online.
Sky Sports 1 -  Stoke City v Spurs  - Sunday 00.30, 04.00 and 08.30 (highlights)
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 10.30 (repeated at 21.00)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Commentary may be found on
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BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Stoke City  0 (0)  

Premier League
Saturday 10th September 2016
Britannia Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  4 (1)

Kick off 15:00
None Son  40m 29s
Son  55m 15s
Dele  58m 45m
Kane  69m 54s
Whelan (foul on Alli)  7 
Arnautovic (simulation)  34 
Adam  (foul on Alli)  90+1

Mark Hughes (dissent)  35

Wanyama  (foul on Allen)  45+1
Sissoko  (foul on Pieters)  90


Crowd :   27,385 Weather :  Mild
Referee : Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. G Beswick; Mr. P Kirkup
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Boothen end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Stoke City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
24  Shay GIVEN

20  Geoff CAMERON
15  Bruno Martins INDI
  3  Erik PIETERS

  6  Glenn WHELAN       (27  Bojan KRKIC  67)
21  Giannelli IMBUA  (16  Charlie ADAM  71     )
19  Jonathan WALTERS

10  Marko ARNAUTOVIC      

12  Wilfried BONY

Unused subs: 
33  Lee GRANT
  2  Phil BARDSLEY
  5  Marc MUNIESA
25  Peter CROUCH
32  Ramadan SOBHI

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER
12  Victor WANYAMA       (11  Erik LAMELA  55)

23  Christian ERIKSEN  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  78     )
20  DELE Alli 
  7  Heung-Min SON   

10  Harry KANE    (  9  Vincent JANSSEN  73)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

29  Harry WINKS


Manager :  Mark Hughes Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Bet365 Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  macron Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham looked as though they have found their form despite the international break, as they took the disappointing Stoke City side to the cleaners, with a 4-0 away win.

There was a fluency about the team's play once they had gone ahead and Stoke didn't stand a chance and rarely created one.  But the first quarter of an hour was a different story, as the Potters came out of the traps quickly and looked keen to get forward to keep Spurs as far from their goal as possible.  Hugo Lloris, returning in place of the unfortunate Michel Vorm, was mainly untroubled, while Ben Davies, who came in for the injured Danny Rose, put in a solid performance, looking keen to get forward.  The one surprise selection was Heung-Min Son, who replaced Erik Lamela, having come back early from international duty, while Lamela returned late.  It took us aback when the news came through, but once again, Mauricio Pochettino made a good call, when it might have been easier to put in his new 30 million pound signing Moussa Sissoko.

Spurs were struggling to string passes together, as Stoke players didn't allow them to settle on the ball.  After picking up a booking for a cynical pull back on Dele Alli, Glenn Whelan struck a clearance from a corner on the volley that Toby Alderweireld's head took over the bar.  After another corner was conceded, the ball came off the head of a clutch of players in the six yard box, with Shawcross getting the final touch, but it dropped softly in front of Lloris, who dived to get his body behind the ball.

A goal was ruled out for Stoke but Arnautovic was a distance offside, then, other than a few blocked shots for either side, there was little goalmouth action.  In the 25th minute, Dele Alli fired a shot at goal, but Given was able to push it over the bar for a corner.  Four minutes later, Dele had another clear chance.  Son broke from halfway, tried to square it along the 18 yard line for Eriksen, but Arnautovic got back, only to intercept the pass into the path of Alli, standing offside.  As the ball came from an opponent, he was onside and took his  shot early, but it was screwed wide of the goal with only Given to beat.

After a passage of play when Stoke might have had a free kick for a foul on Walters, but the referee let play go on with Arnautovic on the ball, the Austrian then took a dive as Kane came in to challenge.  The ref produced a yellow card and in the aftermath, Mark Hughes was sent to the stands for abusing the fourth official.  The usually ill-informed Stoke crowd were spot on with their booing of their striker and manager for their infringements !

While the home side were concentrating on things anti-football, Spurs got on with the game and took the lead in the 41st minute.  Alli had the ball in the middle of the pitch and spread it wide to Eriksen on the right.  Beating Pieters with ease, Christian picked out a ball back to Son, who smoothly guided a volley past Given from 12 yards out.  It was out of context with the rest of the match, which had been all hustle bustle, but showed a neat bit of skill on both the part of Eriksen and Son.

Stoke looked to hit back early, with Arnautovic being played in down the right side of Tottenham's penalty area, but Hugo Lloris was quick out to snuff out any danger with a rush at the forward's feet.  Then Son almost got space in the box, but was deprived of a shot by a block, only for the ball to run for Dier, whose shot was blocked by Cameron.  The home fans got a booking for a Spurs player, when Wanyama got a foot on the ball before bringing Allen down, but nothing came of the free kick and soon Spurs were on the break again, with  Son running from inside his own half this time, but when he got 18 yards out, his pass to Alli was weak and was easily picked off.  Once more, our breakaways were not being made to pay.  With Allen almost getting onto a through ball in the box and Bony having a shot deflected just before the half-time whistle went, the break came at a good time for Spurs.

The way they had played had been dictated early by Stoke's closing down, but when the Potters lost their discipline, Spurs played more incisively and opened Stoke up.

Stoke started lively but on the break, Kane found Alli and his knock on to Eriksen saw the midfielder jink past a defender to make a yard for a shot that forced Given to shovel the ball onto the post and off for a corner.  Then in the 50th minute, Davie got away down the left, pulled the ball back to the penalty spot for Dele to shoot at goal, but Cameron blocked the ball leaving him laying on the floor and needing treatment.  As Stole broke, the crowd were baying for a second yellow when Wanyama was nut-megged by Imbua and blocked him as he ran on.  They were howling again moments later when Walker slid in to stop Arnautovic's cross with what they thought was an arm, but was actually his face.  The shouts of "Cheat Cheat" only focused on the imagined indiscretion.  In view of the pressure the Britannia crowd were putting on the ref, Pochettino decided not to risk Wanyama being handed a second yellow and brought Lamela on and what an inspired move it was.  Tottenham moved the ball forward, with Eriksen lifting the ball over Shawcross as he lumbered towards him.  Christian played a simple ball to his left directly into the path of Heung-Min Son, who struck a first time shot that curled over Given to double Tottenham's lead.

There was a calm confidence sweeping over the team and their ability to hit on the break was tearing Stoke to shreds.  Another break saw Eriksen feed Lamela on the right and he pulled the ball back to Alli and his shot was kept low and it ripped past Given to round off another fine goal.  The speed and effectiveness of Tottenham on the break showed them at their best and there was little Stoke could do to stop them, as they failed to get anywhere near the players as they ran forward.  Alli lost Whelan with his run and the opposition midfielder could not close him down quick enough by the time the bal was played behind him.

Spurs were looking for more goals, with Ben Davies' pile-driver from a cleared corner hitting a Spurs player to deny him a possible first Tottenham goal, then Dele was thwarted by another block and then Alderweireld joined the party with a shot that swerved the wrong way as it looked to be heading into the top corner.  Stoke's only response was a long range shot from Cameron that flew a long way over the bar.  At the opposite end, Lamela chipped a ball over Indi and found Eriksen, whose shot was beaten out at his near post by Given.

Not that it stopped Sours for long.  A passage of play saw a low ball from the right by Eriksen was too fierce and a little behind Kane, but the ball went to the other side and Son put the ball back across the six yard box, where the home defence had left Kane alone and he had time to take a touch and then drive past Given from two yards out.  4-0 with Kane's 50th goal for the club and with 20 minutes left, Poch could afford to take Kane off and bring on Vincent Janssen.

In the 75th minute, the few remaining Stoke fans had something to cheer as substitute Charlie Adam had a long shot on target, but it didn't not cause Lloris too much trouble and then from a corner shortly after he forced Kyle Walker to clear off the line.  Another sub Krkic looked to drill a shot at goal from 30 yards, but it flew a foot or so over Hugo's bar.  The situation made it a simple decision for Poch to bring on Sissoko to give him some time on the pitch and he made an immediate impact, with Son finding him running into the right side of the box and his shot was half-blocked by Indi, but it bounced up towards goal and Given had to push it wide.

Arnautovic was put away down the left, but great tracking back by Sissoko put him off his shot that went well wide on the other side of the goal.  The lack of ability in the Stoke side was shown when Arnautovic took a free kick in a promising position on their left wing.  Instead of considering picking out a team-mate, his shot was aimed at bending in at the far post, but went a mile over and wide.

As the game entered added time, Sissoko got a yellow for being there when Pieters went past him and the defender took a massive tumble from little contact and a game containing Charlie Adam wouldn't be a game containing Charlie Adam if he didn't get a booking, who up-ended Dele Alli from behind.  When Tottenham broke at the end, Sissoko led the way and as Dele got the ball in the box, he went down under two Stoke players getting around him.  The whistle went, but it was the final whistle and Spurs had sealed a second 4-0 win at the Britannia and a valuable three points.

It was like Stoke had almost given up after the second goal.  Their marking was slack and their determination to get forward was poor.  Not that the dedicated home fans will realise, as not many still occupied their seats by the time the game ended.  The repeat of last season's result was not as straightforward as it might seem and Stoke looked like they wanted to break out of their early season malaise.  However, once Spurs had weathered that 15 minutes, without having too much threat on the goal, they set about controlling the play and while only one goal up at half-time, it was well-timed, with Stoke in a flap over their manager being sent away from the bench.

Mauricio Pochettino got his substitutions right, taking Wanyama off in an atmosphere of vitriol, with anyone who did something Stoke fans didn't like becoming the latest focus of their uncultured booing. 

In the end, their silence was testimony to the efficiency of the Tottenham performance.  The home side could be in trouble this season, as the traditional Stoke fight seemed missing and there was little to commend in their performance.

Next up are Monaco, in the unfamiliar surroundings for a home game of Wembley, before we return to the Lane to welcome Sunderland as the opponents.  Not too welcome I hope, as another performance of this type would signal a consistency that Spurs fans have been seeking for some time.

Gary Sampson




Stoke were the first team to use under-soil heating at their old Victoria Ground, when they took the heat from the bottle ovens where the pottery was fired and ducted them via wooden pipes under the pitch.  It was a hazardous move though, as the wooden pipes soon rotted after being soaked with condensation and this left players trepidatious when they ran up-field, now knowing if the turf would give way beneath them.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Southampton 1 Saturday
Bournemouth 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Burnley 1 Hull City 1 Saturday
Liverpool 4 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Crystal Palace 2 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Watford 4 Saturday
Swansea City 2 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Sunderland 0 Everton 3 Monday



League Table  2016-17
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 11 4 12 +7
2 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 9 4 10 +5
3 Everton 4 3 1 0 7 2 10 +5
4 Manchester United 4 3 0 1 7 3 9 +4
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 2 2 0 7 2 8 +5
6 Liverpool 4 2 1 1 9 7 7 +2
7 Arsenal 4 2 1 1 8 6 7 +2
8 Hull City 4 2 1 1 5 3 7 +2
9 Middlesbrough 4 1 2 1 4 4 5 0
10 Watford 4 1 1 2 7 8 4 -1
11 Crystal Palace 4 1 1 2 3 4 4 -1
12 West Bromwich Albion 4 1 1 2 2 3 4 -1
13 Swansea City 4 1 1 2 4 6 4 -2
14 Bournemouth 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
15 Burnley 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
16 Leicester City 4 1 1 2 4 7 4 -3
17 West Ham United 4 1 0 3 5 9 3 -4
18 Southampton 4 0 2 2 3 6 2 -3
19 Sunderland 4 0 1 3 3 8 1 -5
20 Stoke City 4 0 1 3 2 10 1 -8

Position before match :  7th
Position after match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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


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