Tottenham begin the final descent of the Premier League season as we take on Stoke City on Sunday afternoon, live on Sky Sports. Stoke can take a relaxed view into the game with their Premier League status pretty much confirmed for next season, Spurs however attempt to keep their Champions League hopes alive with rivals Chelsea playing today and a win securing Benitez’s side’s placement.
Stoke were left in a difficult position this week when Wigan took on Swansea at the DW Stadium, a Wigan win putting Stoke into the battle however a Swansea win left Tony Pulis’ side seeing these final two games as purely formality. Spurs can still clinch a Champions League position but must rely on London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea dropping points.
I had the chance to visit the Lane for the return fixture of this game in which it finished 0-0 between the sides in December. The game began poorly as Aaron Lennon was substituted early on in the fixture due to an injury and Gareth Bale returned to the side despite still being injured and made no impact. Emmanuel Adebayor enjoyed a good game against Stoke however their bullish defending and all-round defensive side left most Spurs fans frustrated. I remember the Stoke fans being particularly loud in the fixture but had only two real chances which were cut out by the superb Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen. Gylfi Sigurdsson almost put the home side ahead with seconds to go only for Begovic to cut out the chance.
Andre Villas-Boas spoke this week saying that he’s finally worked out how to break down Stoke having watched them and played against them several times with Spurs and Chelsea – Stoke away being his first game as Chelsea manager. Spurs have endured some particularly frustrating fixtures against Pulis’ side over the years however one real highlight being a superb effort from Gareth Bale in 2010. Last season was a particularly annoying game against the Potters with our 11 match unbeaten league run being ended by Stoke. Former player Matthew Etherington scored twice against us despite an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty which failed to inspire a Spurs fight back. Younes Kaboul was harshly sent off in that fixture for a second yellow card which joined a list of bad mistakes from Chris Foy that day.
Spurs look to see Mousa Dembele return to the squad with AVB saying this week he expects him to return despite not training this week whilst rehabilitating in Holland. Emmanuel Adebayor looks to keep his place in the side after a truly magnificent display against Chelsea as well as providing a height advantage in a particularly tall and physical Stoke side. Gylfi Sigurdsson could be set to start after playing well in the week replacing a still developing Lewis Holtby. Stoke have no real injury concerns ahead of the game and look to welcome former Spurs player Peter Crouch into the side alongside Jonathan Walters and Cameron Jerome. Spurs have a current form of a repetitive draw, win, draw, win pattern and Stoke currently are enjoying a better spell with a draw and two wins in their last three fixtures.
Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
(Walters) (Sigurdsson, Adebayor)
You can follow the game on Sky Sports, Kick-Off at 1:30pm. You can also follow it on our Twitter Page with Live Commentary @TalkingTHFC. Our match review will be our next activity on here. I do not own any of the above pictures.
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