Tottenham Hotspur may be playing a more attacking style of football, but they are still struggling to turn that into goals. Their goal difference remains in the negatives at -5 having scored 19 and allowed 24 this season. Their defense had started the season quite brightly, but their last clean sheet (their seventh of the season) came back at the start of November. Since then they have allowed 19 goals having previously allowed only five. In their last six matches they have lost just once (the 0-5 to Liverpool) and they have scored less than two goals twice.
Stoke City really got burned by their players lack of discipline in Thursday’s 1-5 loss away to Newcastle United. Having two players sent off (as well as manager Mark Hughes) is not a good way to play a match. These two reds add to their 38 yellow cards this season (second most in the league). They have also given up 13.1 fouls per game, also second most in the league.
What to expect
The loss of Whelan and Wilson mean the loss of some defensive stability which could really hurt them against a Spurs team that likes to dominate possession and take a lot of shots. Tottenham’s ability to create a large number of chances along with Stokes fouling will mean that there is a high probability that Stoke will make a mistake and give up a goal or two or more. With that said, Stoke are a resilient team and will do a job at frustrating Spurs as long as possible.
Spurs have a number of injury worries ahead of the visit of Stoke, but can welcome Paulinho back following his 3-match ban and he’s expected to be drafted back into the starting XI. Kyle Walker is suspended meaning Kyle Naughton will likely start at right-back, while Harry Kane, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen, Andros Townsend and Sandro are all injured. Mousa Dembélé and Aaron Lennon both face late fitness tests and may not be risked from the off.
Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson will both miss the trip to White Hart Lane having picked up red cards against Newcastle. Asmir Begovic and Robert Huth will both miss out through injury, while Matthew Etherington is a doubt for the encounter in London. Stephen Ireland may be handed a start at the expense of Charlie Adam.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
Tottenham have lost only 2 of their 38 previous home league meetings with Stoke and manager Tim Sherwood will be keen to secure his first home league win since being appointed head coach on the back of the disappointing 1-1 draw with West Brom. Stoke have won only 5 points away from home in the Premier League this season and Mark Hughes will be looking to spring an upset against an out of sorts Spurs side. With the hosts in desperate need of a win, they’re expected to pick up the necessary 3 points to push up the table.
Tottenham 2-0 Stoke City