For Tottenham’s penultimate away game of the season they play Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. It is never an easy ground to visit but Spurs will be hoping to repeat last year’s success.
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Team: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Bentaleb, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Soldado
Tottenham will be looking to carry on from last weekend’s encouraging performance and result against Fulham and so add to their 9 away league wins this season. Their last away victory was at Newcastle in mid-February and since then they have only taken 1 point from 4 matches. That came in the last away game when after an atrocious start Spurs recovered from 3-down to draw 3 – 3 with a late added time equaliser by Christian Eriksen.
In their last match Stoke 1 – 1 drew at Cardiff, the goal coming from a first half penalty scored by Arnautovic. Stoke won 1 – 0 in their last home game against Newcastle. Erik Pieters’s fluke goal earning Stoke their fourth win in five league games and their fourth successive home win. In that run of results they also defeated Hull City and Arsenal (both 1 – 0) and West Ham United (3 – 1).
Stoke v Spurs: Memories of the Old Family Rivalry: Read more
Date: Saturday, 26th April, 2014
Kick-off Time: 3.00pm (UK time)
This Season at White Hart Lane
The game was played at the end of December, both club’s final match of 2013. Stoke had lost 5 – 1 at Newcastle on Boxing Day and had two players sent off. At White Hart Lane, Spurs had a comfortable 3 – 0 win with the goals coming from a Soldado penalty in the first half and two second half goals inside four minutes from Mousa Dembele (65 minutes) and Aaron Lennon. The major talking point after the game was a challenge by Charlie Adam on Paulinho which kept the Brazilian out for a month. This greatly infuriated the Tottenham players as Adam has a history of such reckless challenges against Spurs players and has led to them threatening to snub Adam in the pre-match handshake.
Tottenham won 2 – 1 and it was one of those rare successes from last season in which Gareth Bale did not score. Stoke went ahead after 2 minutes with a header by Nzonzi from a free-kick but Spurs responded and equalised before half-time with a goal from Clint Dempsey and a second half winner from Emmanuel Adebayor with 8 minutes to play. Adam was sent off early in the second half for a challenge on Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham’s League Record at Stoke (inc. PL)
P 38 W 12 D 9 L 17 For 43 Ag 52
Away Record at Stoke in Premier League
P 5 W 3 D 0 L 2 For 8 Ag 7
Spurs Record at Stoke (to 2011-12 Season): Read more
In December when the two clubs met, Stoke were having a difficult time and there was pressure on Mark Hughes. Since then their form has improved as Hughes has gradually changed the team’s style of play from that favoured by Tony Pullis. Stoke legend, Gordon Banks told BBC Sport that Stoke are playing ‘better football’ this season under Hughes.
The alteration in the style of play hasn’t made Stoke any easier to beat at home and their last home defeat was by Liverpool in mid-January when they were involved in an 8-goal thriller, eventually losing 5 – 3 when the visitors benefited from an early own goal and their customary penalty.
Stoke are currently in 10th position with 44 points, two behind Newcastle United and well clear of the clubs concerned about relegation in the final weeks of the season.
Stoke started the season with a single goal defeat at Liverpool and then defeated Crystal Palace in their first home game. They then held Manchester City to a scoreless draw but suffered a surprise single goal home defeat by Norwich City at the end of September. Then followed two home draw with West Bromwich Albion (0 – 0) and Southampton (1 – 1) before defeating Sunderland 2 – 0. Three home games in December saw them draw with Cardiff City (0 – 0) and defeat Chelsea 3 – 2 and Aston Villa (2 – 1).
Since January, Stoke’s home form has been as good as any side in the league with a draw at home to Everton (1 – 1) followed by their only defeat. They defeated Manchester United (2 – 1) and drew with Swansea (1 – 1) with their run of results continuing through March and April.
In winning 9 games at the Britannia stadium, drawing 6 and losing only 2, Stoke have scored 23 goals and conceded 15 (5 of those being in the one game). Peter Crouch is their leading scorer with 10 goals in all competitions and during this season when he scored his 86th career Premier League goal against Southampton, it gave him more goals in the Premier League than Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Torres. Charlie Adam has scored 7 goals and Kerwyn Jones has 5.
The only realistic target for Spurs in the last 3 games is to retain their 6th place ahead of Manchester United. Spurs are six ahead of United who have a game in hand and 6 behind 5th-placed Everton. A sixth-placed finish brings the ‘reward’ of a Europa League place, 7th probably won’t. Which of Spurs and United under Ryan Giggs, will want it most?
Hugo Lloris and Tim Sherwood have both spoken of wanting three wins and as high a placed finish as is possible.
Some of Tottenham’s injured players have returned to training in the past week but according to the manager, this game is too early for them – Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker and Etienne Capoue. Michael Dawson will, however, be available. Sherwood also insists that Erik Lamela will not play again this season. Mousa Dembele is doubtful with an ankle injury.It will be interesting to see what will be the outcome of the spat between Sherwood and Sandro who is not impressed with his lack of selection. The team will probably be along similar lines to the last couple of games with minimal changes although there will be concern about central defence and Dawson may replace the inexperienced Zeki Fryers.
Stoke defender Erik Pieters will return after missing the game at Cardiff through sickness but former Tottenham player, Matthew Etherington will miss the game as will Robert Huth.
Stoke’s home record is clear evidence that this will not be an easy game for Spurs. The home side have an excellent record with wins over Chelsea and Arsenal and draws with Everton and City. If Spurs want to end the season on a successful note, they will have to apply themselves from the outset and be prepared to compete with Stoke to earn the right to play their style of game and gain the control necessary to enable Christian Eriksen to be at his best. Stoke haven’t a great scoring record this season but are very tight defensively at the Britannia Stadium so the match could end in a draw.