COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Monday 18th April 2016
VENUE Britannia Stadium
PREVIEW Preview not produced.
PREDICTION Stoke City    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Last season's corresponding fixture

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Stoke City  0 (0)                                                                       
Premier League
Monday 18th April 2016
Britannia Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (4)

Kick off 20:00
None Kane  08m 49s
Alli  66m 53s
Kane  70m 41s
Alli  81m 13s
Imbula  (foul on Dier)  61
Adam  (foul on Lamela)  79





Crowd :   27,442 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Neil Swarbrick (Preston) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. McDonough; Mr. M. Perry
Fourth Official :  Mike Dean -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Boothen end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + minutes.
Stoke City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
24  Shay GIVEN

20  Geoff CAMERON
  5  Marc MUNIESA

  6  Glenn WHELAN  (16  Charlie ADAM      76)
21  Gianelli IMBULA     

22  Xherdan SHAQIRI  (11  JOSELU  46)
14  Ibrahim AFFELAY

27  Bojan KRIKIC

Unused subs: 
  2  Phil BARDSLEY
  7  Stephen IRELAND
18  Mame Biram DIOUF
25  Peter CROUCH

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (  8  Ryan MASON 87)

20  Dele ALLI      (22  Nacer CHADLI 84)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
11  Erik LAMELA  (  7  Heung-Min SON 90)

10  Harry KANE   

Unused subs: 
33  Ben DAVIES
27  Kevin WIMMER

Manager :  Mark Hughes Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Bet 365 Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  New Balance Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

There is nothing that says that Spurs will not give up chasing Leicester City at the top of the table than what was a highly comprehensive battering of a physical Stoke City side. 4-0 does not tell the whole story and it could have been a bigger margin of victory, but the way it was achieved reflects great credit on Mauricio Pochettino and his players.

Two goals each for Harry Kane and Dele Alli showed the finishing which was required and Alli's embarrassing miss that some practice is still needed, but the supporting role performances by the other nine players display a togetherness that bodes well for not just the next four games, but way beyond that.

Spurs were as they started for the Man U game.  Stoke had trouble at the back with suspension and injury, but that was nothing compared to what they were about to receive. 

Stoke's fans are a bit of a joke. They claim to be the noisiest and most of that comes from the booing of Danny Rose. Little of the noise coming from the home fans was in support of their side.

The fouls that were late on Spurs players totted up and Spurs were able to start opening the Stoke defence up. Lamela picked out a short pass forward on the edge of the box and Kane took a touch too many before having a shot blocked by the keeper's legs, but a couple of minutes later, it was Dembele's pass out to the forward on the left that saw him cut inside and curl a right foot shot round Whelan (who was too interested in trying to bundle Mousa out of the way) and past Shay Given's dive to nestle the ball inside the far post. Nine minutes gone and a super piece of skill by Kane had handed Tottenham the lead.

We were seeing a glimpse of the old Stoke, as they were employing a physical approach to try and knock Spurs out of their stride. Not all of it was within the laws of the game and Affelay could quite easily have seen a card when he flew into Eriksen with a reckless challenge.

In the 28th minute, the ball was fed to Arnautovic by Imbula, with the Austrian firing in a shot from 22 yards, but it was not placed well enough to beat Lloris, who beat it out with both hands. When a corner was cleared soon after, Shaqiri got the ball on the left and crossed, with the ball sliced to Bojan. The little Spaniard took his shot first time, but only found the second tier of the stand behind the goal.  Stoke's old tactics were clear when Kane nudged a ball past Whelan on the left wing and the Stoke man took him out, which got a free kick, but in a weekend of refereeing inconsistency, there was no booking for a cynical foul. But then again, Dembele brought down Bojan as he broke forward in his own half, but escaped a booking.

Mousa was showing the better side of his game a short while after. Kane got free on the left, but his low ball across the face of goal was too far ahead of Lamela, but he played it back for Walker to fire in a shot. It was blocked and came out to Dembele, who let fly with a 25 yarder that fizzed just over the angle of crossbar and post. Walker was the out ball for Alli when a Stoke move broke down, but although he made 50 yards going forward, his ball in was far too close to Given with Kane and Lamela in the middle.

While Stoke were trying to find a way through the Tottenham back four, but the breakaways Spurs were launching was causing player like the lumbering Shawcross had to rugby tackle Kane down when he turned skillfully away from him.  Three minutes before the break, Tottenham should have had a two goal lead. Spurs eased through the Stoke defence and Lamela's through ball was flicked back behind him for Eriksen to run in on goal. As the keeper came out, Christian fired the ball over him, but the ball crashed back off the crossbar. Kane then hit a shot from the right side of the box across goal, when Dele slipped a pass through to him.

Half-time saw Tottenham going in ahead, but you expected Stoke to come out fighting (even more than they did in the first half) for the second forty five minutes. Joselu came on for Shaqiri to add height and presence up front, but it was Affelay who twice had shots inside the first couple of minutes, but could not hit the target. At the other end, Alli played the ball into Danny Rose's run into the box, but as he tried to take it past Given he slipped and Cameron nicked the ball away from him. Cue more boos every time he touched the ball, as the home fans thought he had dived.

Stoke were trying to press Tottenham higher up the pitch and this resulted in a lot of changes in possession, but little flowing football. That was what Stoke wanted. However, they were open to Spurs passing the ball better than they were. Walker got wide on the right, with his low ball being sliced out. Eriksen got a touch just inside the box and prodded it square to Alli, who had to take the shot quickly, hitting it over the bar. Another quick break by Walker saw a low ball get past everyone and Lamela picked it up at the far side of the box, before shooting at goal from a narrow angle and seeing it blocked behind. He claimed a handball, which was not given and from the corner, Shawcross wrestles Alderweireld to the ground with both hands with again nothing given.

Dele Alli broke away, but was crowded out as he came inside and the break was snuffed out. Stoke's best effort on goal came halfway through the half when Cameron's cross was sliced and Hugo had to catch it on the line with Joselu coming in.

Spurs were breaking on Stoke and from Lloris' kick out, Walker flicked the ball on to Lamela. His attempted back-heel to Walker wide on the right was blocked, but it ran to Eriksen, who produced a disguised pass through the middle, when the dozing Stoke defence expected it to go outside to Walker. On the end of it was Dele Alli, who took a couple of touches and as Given came out, he lifted it over him and into the net. 2-0 and Stoke were having to play on the turn all the time.

A couple of minutes later, Alli could have made it three, as he took the ball after a through ball was not dealt with by a slipping defender. He calmly took it around Given as he scrabbled about on the floor, but ended taking it quite wide, but with an open goal in front of him, he hit the outside of the post from a narrow angle. Danny Rose. Who was standing square was not best pleased !

Stoke were supposed to be at their most dangerous when they had set pieces. One corner was swung in and Harry Kane headed it away. The ball was worked right to Dele and his through ball met the perfectly times run of Erik Lamela. Who unselfishly squared it for Harry Kane to side-foot into an empty net and make Alli's miss a formality. And there was still 20 minutes left !

The home crowd were reduced to cheering when Spurs tried a trick that their players could only dream of and it didn't work. Mark Hughes showed his intent by bringing on Charlie Adam and then the tackles started flying in from those in red and white shirts. It didn't take too long for the shockingly bad Adam to get a yellow card as he rugby tackled Lamela as he easily went past him. Seriously … how is he still a Premier League player ?????????

Spurs were really playing some lovely football and Stoke couldn't live with it. When they played the ball out from the back, the move worked the ball to Eriksen on the left. With three players around him, he picked out a cross to Dele Alli just back from the penalty spot. It was such a good ball that Alli had time to volley the ball with precision into the left side of Given's goal to make the score 4-0 and wrapped up a win that keeps Spurs on Leicester's heels.

By the time the fourth goal had gone in, the famous fervent Britannia support had dissolved into the chilly Staffordshire night. For all the booing from the Stoke fans, for all the intimidation from the Stoke players, it was the Spurs fans who were singing loudest at the end and the players who were still putting in the hard yards. A low cross that Arnautovic couldn't meet and a free-kick to the far post that Lloris took well were all the Potters had to offer.

Substitute Nacer Chadli stumbled through a few challenges on the edge of the Stoke box and from the left corner of it fired in a shot but it was too high. Joselu put in a weak volley from Arnautovic's cross, but Lloris took it easily, while Son, who had come on for Lamela, fired too high into an end that was packed, while the rest of the ground was like a home game at some kind of non-league strugglers' ground.

This win didn't only send out a message that Tottenham are able to now dismantle most types of teams, it also says that we have a future. Against a team that we normally have trouble breaking down, this was one of the best 90 minutes I have seen from the team for many a long year. A clean sheet; four goals and it could have been more; some scintillating football and a bunch of players who play for each other and not for themselves.

Are they good enough to win the league ? Maybe or maybe not if Leicester keep getting 95th minute penalties, but if it is not this year, then it might be soon. This squad have lots of potential and they are realising that potential already. Whether they can take it on further is something we all hope they can do. Harry Kane said after the game that “We are going nowhere.” He meant that the side are not going away and will keep after Leicester. But really, the team are going places. How far they go will be something I can't wait to see.

Gary Sampson




Shay Given made his Stoke City debut becoming the oldest player making his first appearance for the Potters.




Stoke City actively took part in the Staffordshire pub league when they first set up their club.


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What you thought
Benny the Ball So much for the "new Stoke".  Hughes has got them passing the ball a bit and everyone swoons at the wonderful change of style.  Well, there wasn't much of that on evidence tonight and the manager's comments after the match that his players had not stuck to their plan makes it sound like we were lucky to win.  Well, the reason his side couldn't stick to their plan was because they were given the run-around by Spurs, who played them off the park.  I don't about Stoke being lucky to get nil, as they were lucky they weren't relegated for there being such a big difference in ability between the two sides.

My particular favourite incident that showed how Hughes has changed the team's image was when he made a like for like replacement, bringing on Charlie Adam for Glenn Whelan.   Both players are nothing more than journeymen in the side to take opponents out and this was proved by Whelan's disinterest in the bal for the first goal and Adam's stereotypical cameo.  His first act was to strike a 50 yard cross-field pass with pinpoint precision ... straight onto the head of the bloke in row Q.    His next was a desperate grab at Erik Lamela as the winger knocked the ball past him and was about to leave him for dead.   To be fair to Adam, he did the only thing he could and pull him back, which earned him a yellow card.  I am so glad that we didn't sign this player.

When we have players like Dele Alli, why would we need anyone so prosaic as Adam ?  Shawcross did what he does so well in the first half, by tackling Alli and then swiping his other leg through him after he had taken the ball.  His contact was on the most painful part of Dele's ankle, but rather than roll around, he got up and played on, determined to make sure that his ability outshone anything more agricultural that could be thrown at him.

Spurs shone at the Britannia and the light left Stoke in a chilly shadow of things to come. Unable to come to terms with being outplayed on their own patch (and it could have been seven or eight) they reverted to their norm.  I am glad that is not in our vocabulary.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 1 Sunday
Bournemouth 1 Liverpool 2 Sunday
Chelsea 0 Manchester City 3 Saturday
Everton 1 Southampton 1 Saturday
Leicester City 2 West Ham United 2 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 3 Swansea City 0 Saturday
Norwich City 0 Sunderland 3 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Watford 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Manchester City 1 Tuesday
Liverpool 4 Everton 0 Wednesday
Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0 Wednesday
West Ham United 3 Watford 1 Wednesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Leicester City 34 21 10 3 59 33 73 +26
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 19 11 4 64 25 68 +39
3 Manchester City 34 19 7 9 62 34 61 +28
4 Arsenal 33 17 9 7 56 34 60 +22
5 Manchester United 34 17 8 8 42 30 59 +12
6 West Ham United 34 14 14 6 57 43 56 +14
7 Liverpool 33 15 9 9 56 43 54 +13
8 Southampton 34 14 9 11 45 35 51 +10
9 Stoke City 34 13 8 13 37 47 47 -10
10 Chelsea 33 11 11 11 49 45 45 +4
11 Everton 34 9 14 11 53 48 41 +5
12 Watford 34 11 8 15 33 40 41 -7
13 Bournemouth 34 11 8 15 41 57 41 -16
14 West Bromwich Albion 33 10 10 13 30 40 40 -10
15 Swansea City 34 10 10 14 34 45 40 -11
16 Crystal Palace 35 10 9 16 36 45 39 -9
17 Norwich City 34 8 7 19 35 60 31 -25
18 Sunderland 33 7 9 17 39 57 30 -18
19 Newcastle United 34 7 8 19 36 62 29 -26
20 Aston Villa 34 3 7 24 23 65 16 -42

Position before match :  2nd
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  2nd


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


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