Tottenham achieved a number of objectives against Stoke City.
- Their first was to win at White Hart Lane in the Premier League since late October and the success against Hull City with the award of the controversial penalty. It was another penalty by Roberto Soldado which set Spurs on the road to victory that objective with two good second half goals from Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon securing the points. The win gave Tim Sherwood his first home success in three attempts since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas.
- A second objective was achieved – to play with some style and the team showed a greater desire to get forward more quickly and played the game with a greater tempo which they maintained throughout against a Stoke team whose only plan was to defend. They threatened occasionally going forward in the first half, causing a few alarms on the break but Hugo Lloris wasn’t required to make any saves of note during the ninety minutes. Paulinho showed a greater awareness of the players around him and managed to use his unique skill to unexpectedly release players into space or behind the defence. With 20 attempts on goal, 7 on target, Spurs scored 3 goals for only the second time in the league this season and both have been in the past week. There is still room for more clinical finishing by Spurs but there was more link up play between the players and an indication that they were trying to work together.
- The third objective of a clean sheet can also be ticked off. Hugo Lloris kept his 12th clean sheet of the season which is encouraging after some poor defensive displays in the past month to six weeks. The defence were unsettled by quick breaks by Stoke in the early stages but in the second half as Spurs took control they maintained their discipline and keep the visitors hemmed back in their own half so they were unable to break forward in any numbers.
It was a satisfying display and an encouraging result against a poor stoke team but Spurs have struggled against teams well organised, defensive teams in the past.
Who deserves their Tottenham ‘Spurs’ for their performance against Stoke?