Two sets of figures seem set to make Tottenham’s match against Stoke City on Sunday a bit trickier than one might think.
Though Stoke City sit in 9th place on 32 points, six places and 20 points behind Tottenham, Mark Hughes appears to have struck a balance with his side.
In the last two matches of 2016 against Liverpool and Chelsea, Stoke gifted their opponents a total of eight goals. Over the previous few months, the Potters also suffered defeats against Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham that amounted to another eleven goals.
That, of course, isn’t particularly surprising. Those teams account for five of the top six sides in the Premier League in terms of both shots and shots on target per WhoScored. Stoke isn’t alone in shipping plenty of goals to these sides.
Since the new year, however, Stoke’s managed to limited both Manchester United and Everton to one goal a piece, despite both teams possessing among the most potent offenses in the Premier League. Hughes’ recent adaptations appear to be taking hold nicely.
More from Match Previews
- Carabao Cup preview: Who should Tottenham start against Fulham?
- Tottenham projected starting 11 for opener at Brentford
- Premier League Preview: Tottenham faces Everton with Stellini in charge
- Premier League Preview: Tottenham face banana skin at Southampton
- Tottenham projected XI to face Sheffield United in FA Cup
Tottenham, in contrast, have looked rather limp over the last month of Premier League fixtures. Since January’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City, Spurs have scored precisely one goal — a penalty against Middlesbrough.
The man Mauricio Pochettino relies on most to score goals, meanwhile, is struggling. Over that same four-game stretch, Harry Kane mustered four shots. Not per game — total. What’s more: the only one of those shots that was on target was the penalty against Middlesbrough.
For the Premier League’s reigning Golden Boot winner, that is bad. Really bad. Against a Stoke side that is especially determined and able to keep the opposition’s shot quality low, Kane might continue to struggle.
Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen — the two men who are most likely to supplement Kane’s goals — aren’t providing much help either. Though Dele enjoyed a frenetic run around the festive period, since then his goals have dried up. Eriksen did score the opener against Gent on Thursday, but continues to fire blanks in the Premier League.
This Tottenham team has suffered through several ups and downs this season. They can, and will, overcome this most recent fallow stretch. Stoke just might not be the match where the comeback starts.