|DATE||Saturday 15th August 2015|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Tottenham's first home fixture comes against one of the sides who
beat Spurs at White Hart Lane last season (and there were a few),
going 2-0 ahead before Nacer Chadli scored a stunning consolation.
With the need to pick up more points at home a priority this
campaign, it will be an interesting battle against a new-style
Stoke, with Mark Hughes having made some purchases with an aim to
change the way the club have been labelled in the recent past.
Having done that, there have also been some out-goings, with Steven Nzonzi in midfield, Asmir Begovic in goal and with Ryan Shawcross missing after an operation for (being) a bad back, the side looks slightly unfamiliar. The unrealised talents of Ibrahim Affelay, former Real Madrid striker Joselu and on loan from Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel are being given the chance to play and find their true potential.
There are still echoes of the Stoke of old in Steven Ireland (another prospect who has yet to fulfil his potential), Glenn Whelan, Steve Sidwell and Phil Bardsley, whose place has come under threat from the free transfer signing of Glen Johnson from Liverpool. Peter Crouch is still there, as are Jonathan Walters and Peter Odemwingie. The side looked a little light up front against Liverpool in their opening fixture, with Mame Diouf lacking good supply, which is unlike Stoke, but may be symptomatic in their change of system. They might have as much trouble scoring as we did last week and therefore, we might be in for a low scoring affair.
With promising England keeper Jack Butland taking the gloves at the Potters, he has the chance to stake a claim for the number two keeper's position for his country and number one for his club, with Shay Given signed as a back up. A big keeper, he needs to dominate situations more to reach the top level of goalkeeping, but he stops shots well and claims crosses competently.
What always used to be the bedrock of Stoke's side - the defence - now looks a little suspect. Johnson brings top level experience, but Muniesa, Pieters, Geoff Cameron and Marc Wilson are not the names which strike much fear into opponents these days. The midfield will have to work hard to protect them if Spurs get moving and that will be the determining factor in the match. Tottenham need to put in a performance following the limp display at Old Trafford last week, which was only salvaged by a flurry of activity at the end, but the trademark of a Pochettino team is the high intensity pressing and keeping going until the end. They need to start showing their ruthlessness in front of goal too, with chances being converted on a more regular basis.
While a home win would start
the home season off nicely, I think that the side is still finding
it's feet and a draw might be the outcome, with it quite possibly
being a goal-less one.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Stoke City 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs have a fully fit squad to select from for the match against Stoke City.
STOKE CITY TEAM NEWS :
Bojan Krkic (knee), Ryan Shawcross (shoulder), Bojan Krkic (knee), Peter Odemwingie (hamstring) and Xherdan Shaqiri (suspension). Striker Marko Arnautovic (hip), Eric Pieters (leg) and Marc Wilson (ankle) are all doubtful.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Stoke City 2 (2)
Saturday 15th August 2015 Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Dier 18m 29s
Chadli 45m + 2m 25s
Arnautovic (p) 77m 40s
Diouf 82m 08s
Walker (foul on Arnuatovic) 24
Davies (foul on Walters) 48
Whelan (foul on Dier) 8
Muniesa (foul on Dier) 74
|Crowd : 36,004||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. M. Perry, Mr. D. Eaton|
|Fourth Official : Mark Heywood||-|
|Stoke City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 6 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Stoke City :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Ryan MASON (
10 Harry KANE (11 Erik LAMELA 64)
Marco van GINKEL (
Stephen IRELAND 59)
Charlie ADAM 91)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Mark Hughes|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Bet 365|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
Hugo Lloris' return from injury to play his 100th Premier League match for Tottenham ended in disappointment, as Stoke City came back from a 0-2 half-time deficit and earned a draw with two second half goals, as Spurs allowed them to leave White Hart Lane with a point. That disappointment was obviously shared by a number of fans who booed the side at the final whistle. What was once the preserve of lesser knowledgeable groups of fans has now come to the Lane.
Yes, it was not great that we collapsed in the middle order of the second half to be left hit for six, but there was a reverse swing in the first half, when Spurs went in at the turnaround 2-0 ahead. And besides, are there such short memories that we lost. So, on the results of our first two matches comparable to last season, we are a point up !!
The only other change in the Tottenham side was the inclusion of Ryan Mason ahead of his defensive midfield team-mate Nabil Bentaleb, who had a bit of a mare last time out in the defeat at Old Trafford. Stoke lined up without their big money, strange name signing Xherdan Shaqiri, as the international clearance papers didn't lie and he was carrying over a suspension from his Inter days. They did include one time Spurs target Affelay and Chelsea loanee Marco van Ginkel.
The game started off at a fair lick, with Spurs looking to find players with quick forward passes and Stoke had some confusion in their defensive ranks, leaving Christian Eriksen to capitalise and hit a low 20 yard effort that Butland had to dive to his right o push aside. The summer didn't seem to have improved our dead ball situations, as the corner came to nothing and an earlier free-kick had picked out the head of the smallest Stoke defender Muniesa. Another free-kick, which earned Whelan a booking for a foul on Dier just right of centre, saw Eriksen ignore going over the wall and shot across it, producing another corner, as Butland dived to tip it wide of the bottom corner of his goal. At least that corner produced a scramble in front of goal, but the ball was blasted away.
Tottenham's tempo was good and they were stretching Stoke when they played the ball wide, but the crossing was not always as good as the build up and when Davies was in a good position on the left, he hoisted his mis-hit cross onto the top of the goal. Defensively, Ben was doing well up against Walters and prevented him putting too many crosses into the box. However, Spurs then almost committed footballing suicide by trying to play the ball out from a goal-kick that ended up with Lloris passing it straight to Diouf in the box and although he blocked the first shot, only a desperate last minute lunge by Mason blocked the rebound shot by Affelay, as that would probably have gone in.
One constant through the match was the lack of penetration of Tottenham's final pass. Too often it was picked off or over-hit, allowing Stoke to escape what might have been threatening situations. The movement in the forward areas was good, but the team looked a little off with their passing into the spaces players wanted to receive the ball. Kane especially was moving out of his normal central position to try and thread passes through and the use of the long diagonal ball was almost paying off. When they did finally find their man, Walker got to the dead ball line and pulled it back for Mason to hit a powerful shot that looked destined for the net before it hit Muniesa and flew over the bar.
Then a miracle happened !! We scored from a corner !! Eriksen flighted the ball to the near post with a bit of pace and Eric Dier jumped higher than the three markers around him to power a header in past Butland. Not only has Dier been Tottenham's first goal-scorer in the Prem for two seasons now, but he has also scored virtually the same goal in our first home games of the last two seasons !!
Stoke responded with a strong run from Arnautovic, who looks like a fat Zlat(an), which was ended by a foul on him, which Walker received a foul for, mainly as it had gone on for about 15 yards, as he was adjudged to have been pulling him back. He strutted up to take the free-kick and put it out at the far post, with the cross having been too high for anyone to get to !! Spurs should have tested the keeper when Eriksen lifted a pass over the defence and Chadli burst onto it, but his heavy touch allowed Butland to come out and collect it comfortably. Arnautovic got through on Tottenham's right and put a low ball across the face f goal with nobody there to convert it and then the visitors should have scored when a ball into the box went up in the air and van Ginkel, who was mainly anonymous, headed on to Mame Diouf, but he headed the ball straight into the midriff of Hugo Lloris from point blank range, when a yard either side and it would have gone in. A goal then would have shocked Spurs with half-time a minute away.
As it was, the boot was on the other foot, as Spurs went forward and Chadli picked out Kane with a cross for the striker to control and volley at goal, but Butland was in front of him to save at point blank range and push his shot aside. But a minute later, Spurs had the cushion of a second goal. Harry Kane chipped a delicate pass over the right back, allowing Ben Davies to get in behind and pick out a cross to the far post, where Nacer Chadli race dint o volley the ball past Butland with the aid of a deflection off a defender's thigh. In using the diagonal ball, Tottenham had not had much joy, but an inventive straight ball down the line opened up Stoke and a good cross was finished with a good volley (not as good as his one against Stoker last season) to see Spurs going into the half-time break 2-0 ahead. Arnautovic, who had spent the first half trying to con free-kicks out of the ref and charging around like a man looking an unlikely footballer, grabbed the ball at the whistle and booted it high across the pitch, earning nothing more than a rebuke from the ref, who had a poor game, misjudging situations and allowing Stoke to win soft free-kicks.
It was good to see Alan 'Gilly' Gilzean back at the Lane to honour Pat Jennings' 70th birthday. Pat explained that this was always his club, even when forced out of Tottenham to play for that lot down the road.
The second half started with Spurs still in the ascendancy, with Stoke looking demoralised. Eriksen shot wide, Davies was booked for bringing down Walters for his first offence, while Diouf had got away with a number of petty fouls and when Kane picked up a clearance from a Stoke attack inside his own half, he ran to the edge of the box before running out of legs and Pieters took the ball from him. The Stoke keeper looked dodgy when he came out like superman to punch away an Eriksen cross, but he did look more convincing when Chadli lifted a cross in from the left wing to Kane, whose shot was beaten out by Butland, making a fine save.
Stoke should have been back in the game eight minutes after the break when Walters stretched to head Pieters' cross wide with the goal right in front of him. The same could have been said about Ryan Mason, who perfected a turn that took out two defenders, leaving him the opportunity to fire a shot at goal from 27 yards out, but he dragged it wide. Then Stoke made their double substitution that turned their game around. One of them was Stephen Ireland, who I had forgot was still playing, but immediately started to prompt Stoke going forward from midfield. Arnautovic pulled a low shot towards Lloris' right hand post, but the French keeper dived to get everything behind it and then a minute after, he was alert to the fact that Diouf was unmarked in the centre, so when he headed a cross at goal, Hugo was right there to save once more at point blank range. It was a little worrying that our re-inforced back four was conceding so many free headers and nobody was attacking them. Maybe Fazio might have been an option in such circumstances ?
With twenty minutes left on the clock, Dembele, who had a better game, moved the ball onto his good foot on the right and smacked a low shot that Butland kept out, only for Lamela to reach the ball first, but the goalie blocked the Argentine winger's effort too. Glen Johnson, who had escaped my attention that he was playing, did do something, when he blocked a drive from Ben Davies. I know they got him on a free from Liverpool, but even at that price it seems they were overcharged.
Stoke began playing crosses into the box in a slightly more refined way than their forebears. Affelay, who I also had forgotten was on the pitch, flighted a ball from a corner to Joselu, the other sub, who headed wide when presented with a n unchallenged header. The Spaniard's involvement wasn't over though, as in the following minute, he took the ball away from goal and was right on the edge of the box when he went down under challenge from Alderweireld and the match official pointed to the spot. It looked a soft one and Arnautovic stepped up to drive the ball under the diving body of Hugo to recue the lead.
Eleven minutes to hold out at 2-1 then.
Dembele hit a shot straight at Cameron, as he tried to get more efforts in on goal, but four minutes after the first, Stoke scored their second goal. Ireland picked up the ball on the left side of midfield and from 25 yards bent a ball into the six yard box, where Diouf got between Vertonghen and Alderweireld to glance a header low across Lloris to his left side to net the equaliser. It was a poor goal to let in, with neither defender attacking the ball and being caught cold.
Bentaleb's introduction to the action had seen him give the ball away and look sluggish, which did not help the dynamic of the side. He did get forward, but when the ball was played back to him, he didn't look like reaching it and then he was stranded up-field. Ireland could have made matters worse had his header from Arnautovic's cross been better directed, but it went over the angle of the Spurs goal. .Then, when Spurs failed to clear a cross properly, it fell in the area for Diouf to strike a volley at goal, but his shot went into the ground, taking some pace off it and straight at Lloris.
Pantomime footballer Charlie Adam came on for the four minutes of added time and failed to trouble Spurs in the second half as the player he replaced (Arnautovic) had. The final act of the match was Erik Lamela crossing into Jack Butland's hands, which brought a barrage of boos at the final whistle. Is expectation that high that a point against Stoke, compared to last season's result, draws a reaction like that ? Yes, it is disappointing that we lost a 2-0 lead, but Stoke played better than us in the second half and probably could have had more goals had it not been for Lloris in goal. Coming away from the ground, many people discussing the match blamed Pochettino for the substitution of Kane for changing the game and that Bentaleb and Lamela made no impact when they came on. Both sound points, but it was more that the substitutions Stoke made had more of an effect on the game than the Spurs replacements. With new additions to the squad, this will hopefully give us more choice to substitute players and hopefully help us keep hold of a lead.
There may be more incoming players before we face top of the table Leicester City next week. Will we be able to turn the tables there ?
Stoke City once had so
many fans who wanted to smoke, there was fear that the matches might
be abandoned as the people responsible became known as the "Stokies
Smokies" puffed their way through huge amounts of cigarettes during
the allotted 90 minutes of playing time, creating plumes of smoke
that drifted across the Victoria Park pitch.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||0||Manchester United||1||Friday|
|Swansea City||2||Newcastle United||0||Saturday|
|Watford||0||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United||1||Leicester City||2||Saturday|
|8||West Ham United||2||1||0||1||3||2||3||+1|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||2||0||1||1||0||3||1||-3|
Position before match :
Position after match : 14th
Position after the weekend : 14th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
Back to homepage