Michael Dawson returned to lead Tottenham against Stoke City [Photo: Jav The_Doc_66]

Tottenham and Stoke Finish Goalless at White Hart Lane

Tottenham’s failure to score saw them drop another two points in the Premier League match against Stoke City at White Hart Lane. The draw denied Spurs the chance to move up to third and they now find themselves fifth behind Arsenal and Everton. Stoke maintained their excellent defensive record this season having conceded only 13 goals in 18 league matches. They are in 8th place after an unbeaten run of eight games.

Tottenham Hotspur 0  Stoke City 0

Team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen; Lennon (Sigurdsson), Sandro, Dembele (Parker), Bale; Adebayor, Defoe  Subs: (unused) Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Livermore, Townsend

Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker returned to central defence with Jan Vertonghen at left back. Gareth Bale, recovered from his hamstring injury, played on the left of midfield. Clint Dempsey was out with a minor injury.

Stoke could have gone ahead inside thirty seconds when a poor crossfield pass by Kyle Walker fell to Jones on the edge of the area but he shot over. It was a typical match against Stoke with their high endeavour and work rate. In the first half Stoke played some good passing football but were always prepared to launch the high ball into the area to pressurise the home defence. The Spurs back line coped admirably although when Hugo Lloris came for their first corner after five minutes, he didn’t get anywhere near the ball. After that he settled down and dealt with the aerial threat.

Spurs gradually put their game together but made little headway against a well drilled Stoke defence who worked hard to protect Begovic in goal. Spurs created little in the way of chances as the Stoke defenders dived in to get a block on any attempted shot. After 14 minutes Lloris reacted quickly when a shot by Jones, on the break, was deflected off Caulker’s foot. He adjusted his position to push the ball away to avert the danger. Bale and Vertonghen worked well on the left but neither Adebayor nor Defoe was able to get on the end of the crosses played into the area. After 33 minutes Adebayor got his head to a Bale cross but it went over. Then the two strikers linked well for Defoe to shoot but it went wide. There was a similar result, a minute before the interval when patient build up play ended with a shot by Mousa Dembele that curled past the post.

Early in the second half it was the same with Defoe shooting over after good work by Aaron Lennon and Bale. Spurs were starting to build up a degree of momentum to their play with a Bale cross going behind Adebayor and Lennon. Vertonghen then cut inside to shoot but it was blocked as was a second shot from the rebound. An in-swinging Bale corner almost caught out the goalkeeper and then a Lennon cross from the left was headed over by Bale.

As the match approached the hour mark, Lennon lost possession and Stoke had a clear chance to shoot but it was collected easily by Lloris. For the last thirty minutes, Spurs increased the pressure on Stoke  but couldn’t find a way through the defence. They had much possession and worked hard but Stoke defended resolutely – getting in a block or cutting out a cross. With the build up of pressure, it felt as if a goal would surely come but it never did and when Spurs did create a chance in the final minutes, Begovic reacted quickly to make a great save from Sigurdsson’s header.On 90 minutes, Sandro’s cross found Sigurdsson whose header went low to the goalkeeper’s right. Begovic got a hand to the ball and ensured that he had his 9th clean sheet of the season.

Tottenham were disappointed to drop two points but Stoke deserved their point for a well organised defensive display.

Tags: Draw Scoreless Soccer Stoke City Tottenham Hotspur

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