By 90Min
December 08, 2017

Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City meet in the Premier League on Saturday at Wembley stadium for a critical encounter, with both teams looking to respond positively after worrying runs in form.

After starting the new campaign confidently, Spurs now find themselves 6th, four points behind fourth placed Liverpool. It is not just their form that will worry manager Mauricio Pochettino, but the way his side is playing too which has been unconvincing and less decisive of late. 

Julian Finney/GettyImages

Mark Hughes' Stoke side got a welcome victory at home to Swansea City last weekend and he will be eager for his team to build some momentum as this was their first win in five league games.

Although the Potters have played some good football at times this season, they find themselves in the lower echelons of the league in 13th. However, a couple of wins can quickly elevate them in to the top ten and a position of relative comfort as the league heads towards the hectic period of the festive season, which looms on the horizon. 


Classic Encounter - April 2016


Tottenham Hotspur produced an outstanding display to thrash Stoke City and move five points behind leaders Leicester City with four games of the season remaining.

Harry Kane's sublime curling finish, his 23rd Premier League goal of the season, after good work by Mousa Dembele set the Lilywhites on their way in the 9th minute. Later on, Christian Eriksen came close to extending the lead, but unfortunately his shot hit the crossbar and bounced to safety.

Gareth Copley/GettyImages

The match remained evenly balanced with the score 1-0 at half time. It wasn't until the latter part of the match that the north London club were able to extend their lead. In the 67th minute Dele Alli doubled the score after getting his first of the evening with a clever finish after an intelligent pass by Danish international Eriksen. 

Inexplicably, Alli should have had his second shortly afterwards before he hit a post when it was easier to score. From almost point-blank range he rolled the ball against the post instead of into the net - Pochettino fell to the ground in disbelief before twice punching the surface in frustration.

Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Kane rolled in the third in the 71st minute, as he made it 24 top-flight goals this season by connecting with Erik Lamela's cross. Finally, in the 82nd minute Alli put the gloss on a rampaging performance with a sweetly struck volley from Eriksen's cross, which left Shay Given, in the Stoke City goal, little chance.

The victory was Spurs' ninth away league win of the season and lifted Mauricio Pochettino's side to 68 points from 34 matches, with Leicester on 73 from the same number of games as the race for the league title was now in the final straight. 


Key Battles


Stoke City's defenders can expect a testing afternoon at Wembley on Saturday. Both Kurt Zouma and club captain Ryan Shawcross will need to be top of their game to keep Harry Kane quiet. 


The England international has struggled of late and is certainly not playing with the confidence he had during the last couple of months. However, with any top striker he just a goal away from finding his form and reigniting Tottenham's title push. 


If Zouma and Shawcross can manage him between themselves, not allowing him to turn and shoot and restricting his link up play with Eriksen and Alli - Stoke may have a chance of causing an upset. 

Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

The central midfield battle should also be an interesting watch. Stoke City duo Joe Allen and Darren Fletcher provide a high level of industry and hard work in their play and this could prove disruptive to Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli who will provide that creative spark for Spurs. 


It is important that Alllen and Fletcher are disciplined, physically strong and try to dominate as it is unlikely they will have that much possession of the ball. Eriksen's intelligent game can be minimised through a physical approach and Alli has shown that he can not resist being drawn into such a battle as his game does have a petulant side, which can have an negative impact on his overall influence on a game.


Team News


Although Pochettino played with a flat back four against Watford last week, expect him to revert back to his tried and tested approach of a back three. With Sanchez absent through suspension after his red card, Davies will be asked to play along side Vertonghen and Dier. Rose will then play in that wing back role on the left. 

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

For Stoke City, the formation will remain the same with their now traditional 3-4-3, Mark Hughes is unlikely to change a winning side therefore Martins Indi will retain his place in defence with former Spur Wimmer starting on the bench. 

Up front, Crouch's partnership with Choupo-Moting looked effective against the Swans and the England international will be eager to score against one of his former sides. 


Spurs' potential line up: Lloris, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies, Trippier, Eriksen, Winks, Alli, Rose, Crouch and Son


Stoke City's potential line up: Butland, Martins Indi, Zouma, Shawcross, Pieters, Fletcher, Allen, Diouf, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting and Crouch


Match Prediction


Spurs will be desperate to get back to winning ways so they can push back up the league. Although they have not being playing well collectively, there is undoubted quality within their squad. They will be wanting to put on a positive display in front of their expectant supporters. 

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Stoke City will be buoyed by their victory last week, although they have struggled for consistency they have performed well at times this season and perhaps not got the results their displays deserve. 


Expect the Potters to be vigilant in their approach, but Spurs will just have too much quality.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Stoke City

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)