Stoke City (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 21st August 2010

Things used to be so simple.  At one time you knew just what you would get from Stoke City.  Their fans being noisy and singing "Delilah".  Rory Delap lobbing his long throws into the heart of the penalty area from the edge of his own box.  And their meaty forwards knocking your centre-halves about for fun.

But things have all changed at the Potters ground. 

Now it's all fancy signings, like the keeper Begovic, who went there instead of Spurs and hasn't got much of a look in.  Like record signing Kenwyne Jones, who plays his first game and gets put out of the debut with an ankle injury.  Like bringing in Ipswich rebel winger Jonathan Walters.  Gone are James Beattie and It's stocking the squad full of players like Dave Kitson, Tom Soares and Michael Tonge, who rarely feature for one reason or another.  And then there are the likes of Tuncay, who looks good every now and again, but generally are on their way out of the club. 

Tony Pulis does what you might expect a manager who has kept his team in the Premiership against the odds to do and that is seek to change the way they play before they get found out.  Matthew (West Ham are a bigger club than Spurs) Etherington is one of their star performers, but the strength of the side is their strength.  The two Faye's, Diao, Sidibe, Fuller and now Jones make a formidable array of towering hulks.  At the back, they rely on tough tackling from Higginbotham, Shawcross and Huth, with hard working midfielders Whitehead and Whelan proving to be a pain in the other side's side.

They have shown that they can play a bit, but sometimes, their lack of finishing power has left them short of enough goals to win games, resulting in the 9 million spent on Jones.  His aerial power might be missing, as the ankle knock he picked up might rule him out, but Fuller is strong on the ball and when he gets up a head of steam takes some stopping.  Balls into the box from the overlapping full backs of Etherington are meat and drink for the Stole strikers, so they need to be cut out before they can get to the danger area and the Spurs full backs and wide midfielders will need to work hard to prevent the supply line producing the opportunities.

Tottenham look like being without Defoe, who might be rested in the hope that he will be fitter for the Young Boys return, so Keane and Pav will probably start, leaving Aaron Lennon to come in for Modric and hopefully, Wilson Palacios can start to recover some of the form of last year, as his tackling will be required in the middle of the park.

It is a shame we probably won't get to see Danzelle St. Louis-Hamilton - a keeper at the Britannia - as I am sure the Stokies have a good song about him.  But our disappointment about that can be tempered with three points, as long as the Spurs side don't put in another 30 minutes like they did on Tuesday ...

PREDICTION : -    Stoke City    1      Tottenham Hotspur    2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


STOKE CITY :  -  Kenwyne Jones (doubtful - knee); Liam Lawrence (out - groin); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Jermain Defoe (hopeful - groin); David Bentley (out - ankle); Danny Rose (out - thigh strain);  Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Luka Modric (out - hamstring); - (-); 


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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:35 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online (delayed).
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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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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 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
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South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Stoke City   1    Tottenham Hotspur   2      (Half-time score : 1-2)

Premier League
Venue :  Britannia Stadium
Saturday 21st August 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   27,243
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Boothen end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, but blustery
Teams : - 
Stoke City :

29  Sorensen

  4  Huth
  5  Collins
A. Faye
17  Shawcross (c) 

  6  Whelan  (20  Tunci  63)
18  Whitehead 
24  Delap  (11  Sidibe  83 [23  Tonge  83])
26  Etherington

10  Fuller     
19  Walters

Unused subs: 
  1  Begovic
21  Wilkinson
14  Pugh

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
20  Dawson (c)
  4  Kaboul
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon (28  Walker 87)
  6  Huddlestone
  8  Jenas 
12  Palacios     
18  Bale   

15 Crouch

Unused subs: 
24  Cudicini
29  Livermore
16  Naughton
25  Rose

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Stoke City
  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Stoke City

Fuller 25

Tottenham Hotspur

Bale 19
Bale 30

Cards : -  
Stoke City

Fuller (foul) 45+1
Whitehead (foul) 52
Shawcross (foul) 73   


Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul) 53



Match Report : -  
The Britannia is a cold and noisy place.  Never more so than when a referee fails to award Stoke a goal when they claim the ball had been over the line, condemning them to a 1-2 defeat to a Spurs side who had the best of the first half.

It was during that period that they went 2-1 ahead and should have had more in a first half that saw them control the play with Tom Huddlestone a key figure in the middle of the field.  As it was, they weathered the expected onslaught from set-pieces which have become Stoke's trademark and got away with it a few times.

The home team fielded their latest big money signing - 2.5 million striker Jonathan Walters, who had been jettisoned by Roy Keane at Ipswich.  Spurs fielded a dis-jointed team after the injuries picked up in Switzerland in mid-week, with Peter Crouch ploughing a lone furrow up front, but he was to be a crucial figure in the final result near the end of the match.

The game started with Spurs giving the ball away from kick off and Stoke immediately using Walters width and his cross was awkwardly kicked out for a corner inside the first minute by captain Michael Dawson.  The first corner of the game failed to reach the goalmouth, with Bale heading out, but more troublesome corners were to come later.  But it was Tottenham with the first goal-scoring opportunity of the game when Assou-Ekotto played a ball up to Bale and Huth mis-judged it, leaving the Welshman a chance to shoot at Sorensen.  He attempted to put the ball over the top of the Danish keeper, but got the elevation but not the direction right, leaving the ball wide of the goal.

The first aerial problem came 13 minutes in, as Etherington played a cross into the box and Ricardo Fuller flicked the ball onto Rory Delap at the far post, where he hit an instant diagonal volley that flew past the goal and ended up a couple of yards wide.  The next Stoke attack came almost immediately, with Walters firing in a shot that bounced just in front of Gomes, who took it well, with this following Younes Kaboul getting in the way of a shot from Fuller.

20 minutes had gone when Spurs took the lead in a somewhat comical fashion.  Aaron Lennon's pace was troubling Stoke and moving from the left into a position in the right hand channel, played a ball through to Bale, whose initial effort was saved by Sorensen, then Crouch had a stooping header stopped by Shawcross on the line, who kneed the ball out, but straight into the face of Gareth Bale, taking it back past the Stoke captain and into the net to give Spurs the lead.  It was a pinball moment that showed that at least Bale remembers Jonathan Woodgate's League Cup winning goal of 2008.

However, it took only five minutes for Stoke to bludgeon their way back into the game.  A corner on the Tottenham left came across, with Gomes going for it, but it looked like there was some contact with Huth, leaving the keeper out of the game as the ball was played back across by Faye to allow Fuller to hook the ball past two Spurs defenders on the line from inside the six yard box.  It was disappointing that Tottenham allowed the home team to get back on level pegging so quickly, as the longer a lead lasts, the more difficult it becomes for the opposition to get back into the game.

it is a facet of the Potters game that they get men in and around the goalkeeper for each set play.  With referees usually giving goalkeepers plenty of protection, it is playing the law of averages that you will get away with a few if it happens often enough and Huth in particular was always by Gomes' side when the ball came high into the box.

But Tottenham needn't have worried, as Bale was relishing the space he was finding behind the German defender Huth on the left wing.  Lennon again popped up in space and rather than attack the dead ball line, he swung the ball over to Bale on the left of the penalty area and even though the bal hung in the air at shoulder height, our Welsh midfielder took up a great body shape to strike a volley that went over the keeper and faded into the top right hand corner of the net.  It was a sublime strike and will surely be one of the goals of the season (along with John Bostock's 35 yarder the week before last for Hull).

Again, three minutes after the goal, Spurs were almost undone, when Walters and Fuller linked for the latter to hit a low shot from the edge of the area, which Gomes kept out well with a low dive to his right.  Tottenham had a good chance to go in 3-1 ahead, when Bale made an injury time run down the left and a low cross to the near post was fumbled by Sorensen and Jermaine Jenas ran in, but his follow-up was smothered by the goalie and cleared away.

With a narrow lead, there was always going to be a spirited response from Stoke, as their manager would not let them get away with their first half performance.  However, Spurs took the game to them in the opening minutes, using attack as the first line of defence, but their was little threat.  Playing towards their own fans the Potters set about Tottenham in the way they are used to.  A booking for Whitehead (sent off in last season's fixture) and one for Palacios (no surprise there) were exchanged before Delap began doing what he does best ... lobbing the ball into the Spurs box from throw-ins, but the defence held firm.

In the 68th minute, Gomes was allowed to show what he can do when he hasn't got a stripy shirted player standing on his toes.  Tuncay, who was on as a sub, took aim from outside the box and the ball took a looping deflection off Kaboul.  Gomes was outside his six yard box, but had to make a hurried retreat and his back-pedalling allowed him to get a touch on the ball that took it over the bar.  It should not be under-estimated how good a save that was, as going backwards and jumping up to parry the ball upwards is not an easy task.

Corners were to prove a problem for Spurs in this spell, with Tuncay finding space at the far post when Gomes got underneath the cross, but the Turkish striker headed wide from close range and then when a corner dropped in the box, Ryan Shawcross hit his shot way too high from near the penalty spot.  It was all getting a bit frantic for Stoke and their supporters, with Gomes being quick to get out to Tuncay when the ball came to him unexpectedly.

With seven minutes left, Lennon crossed from the right and Gareth Bale was once more free on the left. As Sorensen came out, Bale tried to lift the ball over the advancing keeper, but did get enough on it and it was a comfortable save for the Stoke goalie in the end.  Stoke tried to make a change, with Sidibe coming on after a long time out with ligament damage, only to last three minutes before he went off with what proved to be a ruptured Achilles.  Lucky he is not.

Gomes had made a good low stop to a fuller shot from the edge of the box earlier and in the closing stages, Kyle Walker blocked a shot from Etherington before the moment that decided the match occurred.

30 seconds of normal time remaining and a Stoke Corner came in to Shawcross' head.  Gomes, perhaps impeded again with Huth's hand seeming to push him in the face, did well to fingertip it onto the bar. The ball bounced down and Walters headed it at goal, where Crouch played a crucial part in the match (although not perhaps the one he might have dreamed of) in throwing himself full length to the floor to keep the ball out with his chest.  The referee was well placed and waved play on, while the Stoke player were going mad, pushing the referee and claiming a goal ... handball ... anything that would have given them something from the match.  They didn't get it and the six (yes count them) minutes of added time surprisingly passed uneventfully.

So an away win to follow the home draw and Spurs were unlucky against City and a little lucky (although they wouldn't have needed to be if Mr. Foy has spotted the foul on Gomes) today.  Three points is welcome in a match that is always a tough one and one in which a Spurs of a different era might have wilted under the pressure.  A winning mentality is what Tottenham managers of recent past have sought and now that might be coming into the players minds as they seek to fight on four fronts this season.

gary brown




Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 6 Blackpool 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Everton 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Bolton Wanderers 3 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Chelsea 6 Saturday
Fulham 2 Manchester United 2 Sunday
Newcastle United 6 Aston Villa 0 Sunday
Manchester City 3 Liverpool 0 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 2 2 0 0 12 0 6 +12
2 Arsenal 2 1 1 0 7 1 4 +6
3 Manchester United 2 1 1 0 7 4 4 +3
4 Manchester City 2 1 1 0 3 0 4 +3
5 Bolton Wanderers 2 1 1 0 3 1 4 +2
6 Birmingham City 2 1 1 0 4 3 4 +1
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 1 1 0 3 2 4 +1
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 1 1 0 2 1 4 +1
9 Newcastle United 2 1 0 1 6 3 3 +3
10 Blackburn Rovers 2 1 0 1 2 2 3 0
11 Blackpool 2 1 0 1 4 6 3 -2
12 Aston Villa 2 1 0 1 3 6 3 -3
13 West Bromwich Albion 2 1 0 1 1 6 3 -5
14 Fulham 2 0 2 0 2 2 2 0
15 Sunderland 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 -1
16 Everton 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 -1
17 Liverpool 2 0 1 1 1 4 1 -3
18 Stoke City 2 0 0 2 2 4 0 -2
19 West Ham United 2 0 0 2 1 6 0 -5
20 Wigan Athletic 2 0 0 2 0 10 0 -10


Position before the match :  14th
Position after the match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  8th


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