Stoke City-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
While Tottenham Hotspur appear poised to move on from a frustrating opening-day defeat, Stoke City must wait for their newest addition to provide some help.
Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri will have to watch his new team Saturday when the Potters try to duplicate last season's success against Spurs.
Tottenham players admitted feeling "down" a day after Kyle Walker's own goal in the 22nd minute was the difference in last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Manchester United. However, Mauricio Pochettino's club didn't allow the pity party to last long before switching gears to try and find something to build on from that defeat.
"It was the first game of the season, it was a good performance and if we play like that against a lot of teams we'll win the games," midfielder Moussa Dembele told Spurs' official website.
Spurs can take solace in knowing they technically have not allowed an opposing player score in three straight league contests dating to last season. Stoke was the last side to do so against Tottenham during a 3-0 home win at the Britannia on May 9.
"I think you've got to look at the positives from a situation like this," Spurs defender Ben Davies said. "We kept the ball well, we could have got forward a bit quicker but we were never out of control of the game and we just couldn't seem to find pass or strike to get a goal.
"We put the effort in and restricted them to a few chances. The goal was one of our mistakes, not them beating us with a bit of skill."
Spurs last dropped their first two league matches in 2011-12, but have lost once in the last six openers at the Lane.
They were outscored 5-1 while losing both meetings last season to Stoke for the first time. The Potters had won once in the previous nine matchups, but should feel confident they can continue last year's success.
That could have been bolstered by Shaqiri, who Stoke signed this week to a five-year deal worth a club-record £12 million. The 23-year-old former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan forward scored 17 goals in 46 appearances for Switzerland, but a yellow card accumulation at the Coppa Italia last February with Inter will keep him out of this match, leaving Mark Hughes to find other options after being held to one shot on goal in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Liverpool.
"He's a dynamic and explosive player who will bring something different to the group and at the age of 23 he still has a great deal of potential," Hughes told Stoke's official website.
Stoke was hoping Shaqiri's ban would apply to a cup match instead of a league fixture, but the English FA applied FIFA's regulations to the one-match suspension.
"I can't wait to play my first game here because I am feeling really fit," he said. "I am just so excited to be am really happy to be here at Stoke City, and be part of this really big family. I can't wait to play and score goals for this club."
Harry Kane's 21 goals were second-most in the league in 2014-15, but last year's breakout star has tallied twice in his last nine top-flight matches and managed three of his last 16 shots in the last four to be on goal. He's failed to score in three matches against Stoke.