Stoke v Tottenham Hotspur: Preview, Tactical Analysis & Predicted Score
Tottenham travel to the Britannia to face Stoke City looking to continue their impressive run of form. Here we review the game and predict the score.
So, we take our fantastic run (wwwwdwwwwww in case you hadn’t heard) to ‘The Brit’, home of Stoke City, one of those grounds that always gets referred to as a ‘tough place to go’ and where visiting fans are generally happy to say ‘I’ll take a point’ etc etc etc.
But, given our recent run, should us Spurs fans just adhere to aforementioned standard visiting fan sound bite? Sure they are a tough team to play at their gaff but can their slow and cumbersome CM partnership and equally slow and cumbersome back line cope with the pace that we can put in front of them? Is Matty Etherington going to give their left back enough help with Lennon and Walker charging at them, likewise with Pennant and Wilkinson against Bale and ‘disco’ Benny?
I’m really not so sure to be perfectly honest, sure enough their wingers are decent and shouldn’t just be left to their down devices but other than that what do they really have to scare a team on the sort of run that we’re currently on (aside from the obvious threat that is Rory Delap’s high school javelin like throwing ability), their central midfield pairing of Delap and Whelan is not a patch on Parker and Modric. Stoke absolutely will not have come up against a team playing the kind of football we are at the moment and will have to go some in order to stop us, their highly regarded crowd will certainly be up for it and I’m sure the ‘apprentice’ Tony Pulis would love to put the mockers on our recent run and get one over on his old ‘master’ ‘Arry.
Sorry Stoke fans but this is a lot easier to pick for your team than Spurs, Crouch against his former club (where it all ended a bit acrimoniously if the papers are to be believe) is always one to watch out for, don’t give Whelan space to hit a shot from distance as he is half decent, aside from that it’s really a case of not giving them easy throw-ins where Delap can free his arms and don’t allow Pennant or Etherington to get a running start at our fullbacks
Now to Spurs danger man, erm…. Where do I start, it could be anyone couldn’t it? Modric is just pure class as we know, Lennon is showing the sort of form we all know he can (keep it up son), Bale has added a new dimension to his game, having a trick to get past defenders whilst also drifting inside on occasions thus making it hard for him to pick up, and what about the revelation that is Kyle Walker… while positioning is not yet one of his better assets, he has the pace (and then some) to recover when he caught out by a ball over the top. Also, with Bale now starting to drift infield more than we’re used to, Benny has used this to rampage forward every now and again, delivering a half decent cross or a ball to Lennon or Walker out on the right, he’s also no slouch getting back.
Neither team is going to spring a massive surprise in terms of tactics, we all know pretty much who is going to play (fitness allowing) and we all know how Stoke will set up and how we’ll play. Stoke will work hard as usual and their crowd will cheer all throw-ins as if they’ve just got a penalty (how many goals have they got as a direct result of a Delap thrown in lately anyway?) whereas we’ll look to carry on the fast pace stuff we’ve trotted out game after game after game.
For me the biggest decision for either manager will be ‘Arry’s choice about who to play up front, surely he won’t dare to leave Rafa out for a second game in a row will he? Rafa has come out in the press this week and says he fully understands the reasons for him being on the bench, which is all very good but you get the impression that now he’s had a week to rest his dodgy hamstring and an extra week of training with the team that he fully expects to be starting on Sunday, will the gaffer risk annoying Rafa by leaving him on the bench again? I think he should but I fully expect him to be lining up alongside the in-form Adebayor. Of course the only other bit of team news is a collective Spurs fans prayer that Ledley (he’s better than John Terry) is fit and recovers from the ‘minor knock’ he took in training.
Key to the game
I think the key to the game lays on the flanks, if we can push their wingers back more often than they can do so to ours then I think we’ll swarm all over them, aside from the route one stuff Stoke are ‘famous’ for, all of their creativity comes from Pennant and Etherington, stop them and I think we stop Stoke City.
This is the part I dislike very much, I’m not one for predictions as it generally ends up with you looking like a fool or being blamed for a defeat in a game you should have won, that being said I’m going for a conservative 2-1 to Spurs and for the run to keep going for another week. This and the fact that living in Stoke as I do will mean for a much nicer day at work on Monday than if they win, although if Stoke lose then certain fans of theirs I know will invariably blame it on the ref as it’s always his fault if they lose.
Thanks to thfc1882.com for submitting this guest post
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