Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups
Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups - America News

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups

  • 7 month ago

Tottenham Hotspur head into the Premier League encounter with Stoke City aware that they must end a run of four top-flight fixtures without a win if they want to maintain pace with their rivals in the race for a top-four spot in the standings.

Stoke ended their poor run of form last weekend with a 2-1 victory over Stoke City, and boss Mark Hughes will believe that his team can become the next lower-table side to take points off Spurs this season.

Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino keeps it casual during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth on October 14, 2017© SilverHub

Mauricio Pochettino used Wednesday night's Champions League clash with APOEL to rest a number of his first-team stars, and the game could not have come at a better moment with Spurs on the back foot for the first time in over a year.

The head coach has not had to field so many negative questions regarding his side since a period of two wins from eight top-flight fixtures towards the back end of 2016, and there has been a repeat occurrence with Spurs' results dropping off ahead of the winter months.

Pochettino may put it down to coincidence, but the facts remain that Spurs have only collected five points from their last half-a-dozen matches in the Premier League, and it is a run which has effectively derailed their chances of winning the title.

Last weekend's 1-1 draw at Watford was not the worst result, especially having played the majority of the second half with 10 men, but being held by West Bromwich Albion and losing 2-1 at Leicester City has left Spurs off the pace at an important time of the campaign.

Pochettino will hope that the likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane have benefitted from a rest in midweek but while wasting chances in front of goal has been an issue, so has keeping just one clean sheet in their last seven league outings.

The form of Dele Alli remains a worry with the England international being ineffective against APOEL in midweek, but Pochettino's main focus should be finding a way to cope without Davinson Sanchez - as well as the injured Toby Alderweireld - for their next three matches.

Recent form: LWLDLD
Recent form (all competitions): LWDLDW

Stoke City

Mark Hughes watches on during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Manchester United on September 9, 2017© SilverHub

For a number of months, Hughes has appeared to be a couple of defeats away from his job at the Bet365 Stadium being in serious trouble, until a win leaves the Potters with breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Hughes has repeatedly spoken of Stoke having all of the tools to become a top-eight club so their frequent slumps in form will frustrate him but while his team's inconsistency is a growing problem, the Welshman knows that his players can overcome anyone on their day.

Stoke only sit in 13th place in the table, but three quarters of their points this season have come against teams who sit higher than the Staffordshire-based club in the standings. Before last weekend's triumph over Swansea City, that record stood for all but one point they they had earned since the start of August.

Hughes will openly admit that they have to find a way to bridge the gap against the better teams away from home but talent-wise, Stoke are capable of putting in a performance to gain a result against their hosts on Saturday.

The showing of Xherdan Shaqiri will be key, with the Swiss winger now having contributed four goals and five assists in the top flight this season, but preventing goals from going in at the other end will likely be the decisive factor.

Hughes's starting lineup could feature defender Kevin Wimmer, who has made nine league appearances for Stoke since ending his disappointing spell with Spurs during the summer.

Recent form: WDDLLW

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli during his side's Premier League clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on November 28, 2017© Offside

Pochettino must decide whether to keep Alli in his starting lineup having played 87 minutes on Wednesday night, but Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Eriksen and Kane will all come back into the team.

Kieran Tripper should also start - despite a positive showing by Serge Aurier in midweek - while Harry Winks is likely to be given the nod by Pochettino after coming through 90 minutes against APOEL.

Ben Davies could drop back into a defence featuring Dier and Jan Vertonghen, with Danny Rose potentially starting at left wing-back.

Stoke will be without Bruno Martins Indi, who will miss up to eight weeks with a groin injury, while forward Jese Rodriguez is also unavailable for the trip to North London.

However, Hughes has revealed that Geoff Cameron is back in contention after a head injury.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Trippier, Winks, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Alli, Kane

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Butland; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters; Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Crouch

Head To Head

Saturday's contest will represent the 93rd time in which these two teams have faced off in a competitive fixture, with Spurs claiming 46 wins in comparison to 26 victories for Stoke.

The Potters have enjoyed plenty of success since their promotion to the top flight in 2008, with five wins and three draws coming during that period, but Spurs have dominated the last three encounters.

Pochettino has guided his team to three 4-0 triumphs in a row, with Kane netting a hat-trick in the most recent match at White Hart Lane in February.

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We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Stoke City

On paper, Spurs are clear favourites to prevail from this match but as we already know, they tend to not make life easy for themselves at the national stadium. With a number of players refreshed after a rest in midweek, they should have enough in the tank to see off Stoke, but expect another close game.