Tottenham will be hoping to maintain their improved home results against Stoke City at White Hart Lane in the Premier League. Stoke are always a difficult side to play with their high energy and forceful style, both defensively and offensively. Their use of long, high ball tactics are always a source of worry for Spurs and Hugo Lloris will be tested to the full at corners and free-kicks. Former Spurs players, Peter Crouch, Matthew Etherington, Wilson Palacios and Michael Kightly will be in the Stoke squad and will again be looking to do well against Tottenham. Kightly was a schoolboy with Spurs but was released and then made a return to top flight football through the non-League game. Stoke signed him from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer and he has made 16 appearances, scoring twice. Crouch and Palacios joined Stoke from Tottenham in August, 2011 while Etherington joined Spurs from Peterborough United in January, 2000. After three years he left for West Ham and signed for Stoke in 2009.
Stoke are undefeated since the beginning of November when they lost at Norwich City (2 – 1). Their seven game run includes home wins over QPR and Fulham (both 1 – 0) and a 2 – 1 success against Newcastle United. Last weekend they drew 1 – 1 with Everton. Away from home they have beaten West Brom (1 – 0), their only away success, and drawn at West Ham (1 – 1) and Aston Villa (0 – 0). Earlier in the season, their away record shows only two further losses – at Chelsea (1 – 0) and Manchester United (4 – 2) with drawn games at Reading, Wigan and Liverpool.
Stoke are currently in 9th position with 24 points, five behind Tottenham. Peter Crouch is their leading goal scorer with 5 goals. Walters has 4 and Charlie Adam 2. Last weekend’s draw came with a second half equaliser from Kenwyne Jones, his first goal of the season as Stoke maintained their unbeaten home run.
Tottenham are looking to have a number of players available after injury. Gareth Bale has recovered from the hamstring problem which has kept him out since the win at Fulham. Emmanuel Adebayor is fit from the ankle knock which saw him go off early last weekend against Swansea. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is also returning to fitness as is Scott Parkerwho played for the Under-21 team earlier in the week.
Charlie Adam is expected to miss the game for Stoke.
Last Season at White Hart Lane
March, 2012 PL (h) Draw 1 – 1 Van der Vaart
Tottenham were relieved when a late goal by Rafael Van der Vaart rescued a point after Stoke had taken the lead fifteen minutes from time. Van der Vaart headed in Gareth Bale’s cross in added time. The game was during Tottenham’s spring slump which saw them fritter away a strong advantage over Arsenal in the race for third and eventually lose out on Champions League football when Chelsea won the competition.
Home League Record against Stoke (inc. PL)
P 37 W 28 D 7 L 2 For 81 Ag 31
Premier League record against Stoke at White Hart Lane
P 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 For 7 Ag 5
As can be seen, White Hart Lane is not Stoke’s favourite away ground with only 2 wins in 37 League visits. The last win was in October, 2009.
Other Premier League Games against Stoke at White Hart Lane
April, 2011 PL Won 3 – 2 Crouch (2), Modric
Peter Crouch scored twice as Spurs won their first League game since mid-February. All five goals were scored in the first half with Spurs two ahead through Crouch and Luka Modric within eighteen minutes. Matthew Etherington then ran from the half-way line to pull one back for Stoke after twenty seven minutes. Crouch scored his second eight minutes later, only for Stoke to score again, four minutes before the interval. Relief for Spurs to have the win but it didn’t mark the start of an exciting end to the season as they struggled to beat teams in the lower regions of the League.
October, 2009 PL Lost 0 – 1
Stoke defended in depth with their reserve goalkeeper, Simonsen, who was only drafted in at the last moment, having a match to remember. Spurs had many opportunities to score but as time wore on they ran out of attacking ideas and with four minutes left Stoke snatched the win. The only other home defeat was in February, 1975 when Stoke won 2 – 0.
January, 2009 PL Won 3 – 1 Lennon, Defoe, Dawson
In their first League game at White Hart Lane since October, 1984, Stoke were three down after twenty five minutes. Spurs dominated the first half with Aaron Lennon scoring after eight minutes. Jermain Defoe added a second after twenty one and Michael Dawson scored the third four minutes later. In the second half with over half an hour remaining Stoke pulled one back. Carlo Cudicini made his Premier League debut for Spurs.
October, 1984 1st Div. Won 4 – 0 Roberts (pen), Chiedozie, Allen, C. (2)
It was Peter Shreeves’ first season as manager. Glenn Hoddle and Clive Allen returned to the Spurs team against Stoke who were bottom of the League. Within six minutes they had combined with Allen putting Spurs ahead. A few minutes later John Chiedozie scored after a good run and shot. Stoke were reduced to ten men before the interval and in the second half, Allen scored his second with Graham Roberts adding a late penalty after a foul on Mark Falco. The four goals brought Spurs total of League goals at White Hart Lane to 19, from five matches, more than any other team in the four divisions of the Football League. This remains Spurs’ largest home win over Stoke.
March, 1984 1st Div. Won 1 – 0 Falco (pen)
Spurs were without Hoddle and Steve Archibald but did all the early attacking. Late in the first half they had their reward when Mark Falco scored with a penalty awarded for a handball offence.
May, 1983 1st Div. Won 4 – 1 Brazil, Archibald (3)
October, 1980 1st Div. Won 3 – 2 Hughton, Archibald, Taylor (pen)
March, 1978 2nd Div. Won 3- 1 McAllister, Lee (2)
October, 1972 1st Div. Won 4 – 3 Pratt (2), Gilzean, Coates
Going by Stoke’s record this season, Tottenham can expect a difficult match. They will need to be prepared for the physical challenge Stoke bring to every game and win that battle first by matching Stoke’s endeavour and work-rate. If that can be achieved Spurs will be looking for the pace of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale to unsettle the well organised Stoke defence. Spurs will want a win to maintain their drive for a top four place but it won’t be an easy task this afternoon and they will need to be fully focused right to the final whistle.