Match Preview: Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur
Britannia Stadium, Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke-on-Trent (Capacity: 28,383)
Saturday 20th March 2010, Kick Off 15:00
Premier League, Match 30
Stoke City: 11th in Premier League, 36 points from 87
Tottenham Hotspur: 4th in Premier League, 52 points from 87
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant referees: Patrick Keane & Adam Watts
Fourth official: Chris Foy
Stoke City host Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 20th March in the 30th Premier League match of a fascinating season in which everything is still wide open concerning the European places up for grabs. Stoke did Spurs a huge favour by holding Aston Villa, who are one of Tottenham's rivals for the fourth Champions League place, to a goalless draw last time out, while Spurs recorded a good 3-1 home win over Blackburn Rovers in a game where Jermain Defoe both scored and assisted, Roman Pavlyucenko scored a brace and there were assists for the excellent Gareth Bale and Vedran Corluka.
That win gave Spurs a club record 52 points after 29 matches in the Premier League and Harry Redknapp will be keen to avenge the 1-0 defeat Stoke inflicted on Spurs at White Hart Lane when the teams met in October. Glenn Whelan's goal four minutes from time did the damage after Aaron Lennon was forced to withdraw ten minutes before time due to injury after all three Spurs substitues had been used.
Tottenham's recent form is very impressive indeed, with just the one defeat in their last twelve matches, while Stoke City are very difficult to beat at home and can look forward to a third consecutive season in the Premier League. Both teams won their respective home matches last season with Stoke coming out on top 2-1 at the Britannia and Spurs winning 3-1 at White Hart Lane.
Spurs have won their last three consecutive Premier League matches and a win at Stoke would equal their best run of the current season when they won their first four matches.
The current Stoke squad features former Spurs player Matthew Etherington, who is having a fantastic season in the Potteries. Etherington joined Spurs from Peterborough United in December 1999 and made 51 appearances, scoring twice, before his move to West Ham United for the start of the 2003-04 season.
Stoke's Ryan Shawcross, who has completed a three-match ban for his sending off against Arsenal, is a slight doubt with an ankle problem. Potters manager Tony Pulis must decide whether to recall the defender or keep faith with the back four that kept a clean sheet against Aston Villa.
Jermain Defoe leads the latest influx of players onto our injury list ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke City. The striker tore a hamstring in training this week and will not feature at the Britannia Stadium. Youngsters Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are also ruled out with knee and wrist trouble respectively. The trio join Aaron Lennon, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Jonathan Woodgate and Carlo Cudicini on the injury list, while David Bentley is doubtful for the game due to illness.
Manager Harry Redknapp admitted in Friday's pre-match press conference that the absences leave him a little short in certain areas. He said:
"Jermain tore a hamstring yesterday. It's a Grade 2 tear so it will certainly keep him out for a few weeks. Kyle fractured his wrist in the practice game against West Ham on Tuesday so he's going into plaster and Danny damaged his knee ligaments in training yesterday also. So we're struggling a little bit because David went down with a virus this morning and neither JJ or Tom are fit yet. We've run into a bad spell of injuries. I've got Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Eidur Gudjohnsen to cover up front but it's other areas where we are just a little bit short at the moment, especially in midfield."
On Lennon's progress from the groin injury that has kept him sidelined since the turn of the year, Harry added:
"I'm not sure how long it will take with Aaron. "He's raring to go and get back out there, so we are hoping he will get out on the grass and do some running again at some point next week. The boy is desperate to play and we're desperate to get him back - but he's still a way off yet. We'll just keep taking it day-by-day and week-by-week with him."
• Stoke won this fixture 2-1 last season, in what proved to be Juande Ramos' final league match as Tottenham manager.
• Spurs recorded their joint-biggest away win in top-flight football when they won 6-1 at the Victoria Ground on 15 September 1951.
• The Potters have only lost one of their 10 league games in 2010 (W3, D6, L1).
• Eight of their nine defeats this season have come against clubs in the top half of the table.
• They have dropped 19 points from winning positions this season - more than any other club in the division.
• Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe have scored 14 out of Tottenham's last 17 goals in all competitions.
• Spurs have won only one of the nine league games in which they conceded the opening goal.
• They are chasing a fourth successive league win.
LAST MATCH LINE-UPS:
Tottenham Hotspur (W 3-1 Blackburn Rovers H)
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Modric (Gudjohnsen 89), Palacios, Kranjcar, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe (Crouch 82)
Substitutes: Alnwick, Kyle Walker, Kaboul, Livermore, Rose
Goals: Defoe 45+1, Pavlyuchenko 55 & 85
Stoke City (D 0-0 Aston Villa H)
Sorensen, Higginbotham, Huth, Collins, Faye, Whelan, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Sidibe (Kitson 54), Sanli (Fuller 53)
Substitutes: Begovic, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Pugh,Moult
VEDRAN CORLUKA ON STOKE CITY
Vedran Corluka was in the early stages of his Spurs career when he and the team experienced a day to forget at the Britannia Stadium.
A 2-1 defeat in October 2008 saw us rooted to the bottom of the league table at the time and ‘Charlie' leave the field on a stretcher after a collision with Heurelho Gomes. And that came as a result of us desperately defending one of Rory Delap's famous long-throws that wreak havoc in opposition boxes on a weekly basis. ‘Charlie' expects more of the same when we return to Staffordshire on Saturday, and recalls: "I can remember. It was a bad game for us.
"We lost the game, we had two players sent off - it was a difficult game. It will be another tough game for us on Saturday, one of the toughest in the Premier League." Since our last trip to the Britannia, Stoke have established themselves as a competent Premier League side, mixing a sound playing style with their renowned grit and physical prowess. But we find ourselves battling to stay in the top four of the division, so ‘Charlie' knows we are more than capable of stamping down our own authority at the Potteries.
The Croatian added: "It's difficult but we need to impose our style on the game and deal with the throw-ins and the set-pieces and hopefully we'll be okay. "We know what to expect from this game and we'll do our best, play our football and hopefully we'll come away with a win."
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
Stoke are very comfortable with what they've got, but they can play good football as well as all the long throws and they do it in different ways. I'm still not convinced by Tottenham away from home - you can get at them. At home you fancy them against anyone but can you say that away? No.
Prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday afternoon's match will be the 78th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City.
Here are the results of the previous 77 matches with Spurs' score shown first:
01-Feb-1896 F.A. Cup 1 6,000A L 0 - 5 25-Feb-1899 F.A. Cup 3 25,000A L 1 - 4 Bradshaw 05-Mar-1900Friendly - H W 6 - 0 Cameron, Pratt (4), Kirwan 03-Apr-20Division 2 36,000H W 2 - 0 Grimsdell, Dimmock 10-Apr-20Division 2 12,000A W 3 - 1 Seed, Cantrell (2) 17-Mar-23Division 1 30,000A D 0 - 0 24-Mar-23Division 1 20,000H W 3 - 1 Lindsay, Handley, Dimmock 27-Oct-28Division 2 15,333A L 0 - 2 09-Mar-29Division 2 26,760H W 1 - 0 O'Callaghan 09-Oct-29Division 2 8,545H W 3 - 1 Osborne (3) 03-May-30Division 2 6,560A L 0 - 1 20-Sep-30Division 2 10,252A L 1 - 2 Cook 26-Jan-31Division 2 10,927H W 3 - 0 Lyons (pen), Messer, Harper 25-Mar-32Division 2 26,503H D 3 - 3 Evans T (pen), Hunt GS, O'Callaghan 28-Mar-32Division 2 15,042A D 2 - 2 Greenfield, Evans W 03-Sep-32Division 2 12,366A L 0 - 2 01-Jan-33Division 2 43,711H W 3 - 2 Davies, Hunt GS (2) 30-Mar-34Division 1 32,912H D 0 - 0 02-Apr-34Division 1 32,665A L 0 - 2 08-Dec-34Division 1 31,082H W 3 - 2 O'Callaghan, Hunt GS, Bellamy 20-Apr-35Division 1 11,574A L 1 - 4 Hunt DA 11-Jan-47F.A. Cup 3 65,681H D 2 - 2 Ludford, Bennett 15-Jan-47F.A. Cup 3 Replay38,631A L 0 - 1 07-Jan-50F.A. Cup 3 47,000A W 1 - 0 Baily 21-Oct-50Division 1 54,124H W 6 - 1 Walters, Bennett (2), Duquemin (2), Medley 10-Mar-51Division 1 26,236A D 0 - 0 15-Sep-51Division 1 27,154A W 6 - 1 Ramsey (pen), Walters, Bennett, McClellan, Medley (2) 19-Jan-52Division 1 45,976H W 2 - 0 Duquemin, Harmer 03-Apr-53Division 1 35,606H W 1 - 0 Harmer 06-Apr-53Division 1 25,346A L 0 - 2 24-Aug-63Division 1 40,638A L 1 - 2 Smith R 14-Dec-63Division 1 36,776H W 2 - 1 Greaves (2) 09-Sep-64Division 1 36,329A L 0 - 2 17-Sep-64Division 1 34,821H W 2 - 1 Greaves, Saul 27-Nov-65Division 1 26,406H D 2 - 2 Gilzean, Robertson 23-Apr-66Division 1 19,112A W 1 - 0 Greaves (pen) 24-Aug-66Division 1 34,683A L 0 - 2 31-Aug-66Division 1 37,908H W 2 - 0 Greaves (pen), Gilzean 28-Oct-67Division 1 27,144A L 1 - 2 Venables 23-Mar-68Division 1 29,530H W 3 - 0 England, Robertson, Jones 02-Nov-68Division 1 33,308H D 1 - 1 Greaves 11-Jan-69Division 1 21,729A D 1 - 1 Jenkins 25-Oct-69Division 1 19,569A D 1 - 1 Gilzean 21-Feb-70Division 1 29,976H W 1 - 0 Mullery 24-Oct-70Division 1 36,238H W 3 - 0 Gilzean, Chivers (2) 05-May-71Division 1 14,019A W 1 - 0 Peters 30-Oct-71Division 1 28,540A L 0 - 2 19-Feb-72Division 1 32,841H W 2 - 0 Chivers (2) 07-Oct-72Division 1 31,951H W 4 - 3 Pratt (2), Gilzean, Coates 14-Mar-73Division 1 23,351A D 1 - 1 Pearce 08-Dec-73Division 1 14,034H W 2 - 1 Evans, Pratt 20-Apr-74Division 1 20,189A L 0 - 1 02-Nov-74Division 1 24,667A D 2 - 2 Duncan (2) 08-Feb-75Division 1 22,941H L 0 - 2 15-Nov-75Division 1 25,698H D 1 - 1 Jones 03-Jan-76F.A. Cup 3 26,715H D 1 - 1 Duncan 08-Jan-76F.A. Cup 3 Replay29,751A L 1 - 2 Perryman 21-Feb-76Division 1 17,110A W 2 - 1 Hoddle, Duncan 27-Nov-76Division 1 22,500H W 2 - 0 Osgood (2, 1pen) 23-Apr-77Division 1 15,644A D 0 - 0 29-Oct-77Division 2 21,012A W 3 - 1 Pratt, Armstrong (2) 22-Mar-78Division 2 30,646H W 3 - 1 McAllister, Lee (2) 25-Aug-79Division 1 22,832A L 1 - 3 Perryman 29-Dec-79Division 1 28,810H W 1 - 0 Pratt 04-Oct-80Division 1 18,614A W 3 - 2 Hughton, Archibald, Taylor (pen) 11-Mar-81Division 1 28,742H D 2 - 2 Ardiles, Brooke 10-Oct-81Division 1 30,520H W 2 - 0 Ardiles, Crooks 27-Feb-82Division 1 20,592A W 2 - 0 Crooks (2) 11-Dec-82Division 1 15,849A L 0 - 2 14-May-83Division 1 33,691H W 4 - 1 Brazil, Archibald (3) 05-Nov-83Division 1 14,726A D 1 - 1 Falco 03-Mar-84Division 1 18,271H W 1 - 0 Falco (pen) 27-Oct-84Division 1 23,477H W 4 - 0 Roberts (pen), Chiedozie, Allen C (2) 02-Mar-85Division 1 12,552A W 1 - 0 Crooks 16-Oct-2008FA Prem 27,500A L 1 - 2 Bent 27-Jan-09FA Prem 36,072H W 3 - 1 Lennon, Defoe, Dawson 24-Oct-09FA Prem36,031HL 0 - 1
LAST TIME WE MET...
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0-1 STOKE CITY
White Hart Lane, Premier League, Saturday 24th October 2009
Glenn Whelan struck late to earn Stoke victory over Spurs, who will ruefully look back at missed chances. Aaron Lennon's curling shot was well kept out by Steve Simonsen, while Peter Crouch's header was acrobatically cleared off the line by James Beattie. Niko Kranjcar's drive hit the foot of the post as Spurs pressed. But Spurs, hit by an early injury to Jonathan Woodgate and a late one to Lennon, were stunned when Whelan smashed in an angled shot to win it.
England winger Lennon was forced off with 10 minutes to play, leaving Spurs to finish the match with 10 men as they had already used all their substitutes. And as Tottenham were stretched, Stoke took advantage to pull off a smash and grab they barely deserved. The match marked the first anniversary of Harry Redknapp taking over as Spurs boss, and there is no doubt he has transformed the club. A year on from his appointment, Redknapp has taken the Londoners from relegation candidates to a side that would go top of the table with victory against Stoke.
It should have been extra incentive for Tottenham to turn on the style against opposition who had won only one of their last five Premier League matches. But instead, they failed to make the most of their greater possession and territory and got hit with a sucker punch.
They will also be frustrated by the injury to Woodgate, who managed only a 13-minute cameo in his first start of the season. There was brilliance when he headed away a dangerous cross to prevent Stoke taking the lead, but it was shortly followed by the all-too familiar sight of him leaving the field injured, this time to be replaced by Michael Dawson.
Stoke had suffered their own misfortune when goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was taken ill during the warm-up, meaning Simonsen was promoted from the bench. He was called into action very early on when he tipped away Lennon's cross intended for Crouch. And Simonsen was also equal to Kranjcar's shot from distance, but he later needed a hooked goal-line clearance from Beattie to prevent Crouch scoring with a header. Moments later, Crouch's clever flick set up Kranjcar and his first time 20-yard drive cannoned back off the foot of the post.
Stoke were inviting Spurs on by leaving space to exploit, and the visitors were also impotent as an attacking force, reduced to relying on ineffective long throws from Rory Delap. However, once Stoke tightened up and began to press the ball, Tottenham could not find the invention to make chances. But the hosts did look the more threatening side and they came close to taking the lead when Robbie Keane shot on the turn, forcing a smart stop from Simonsen, and Dean Whitehead cleared as Crouch sprinted in. Crouch - out to impress England boss Fabio Capello, who was watching in the stands - was next to be thwarted by Simonsen, who did well to keep out the striker's header.
Vedran Corluka's weak follow-up was easily smothered by the increasingly busy Simonsen. Spurs brought on Roman Pavlyuchenko for Keane, who had not been at his best, in an effort to penetrate the Stoke defence. The obvious way in, with two strikers over six feet tall, would have been via the air, but crosses were oddly at a premium. Stoke, perhaps buoyed by their successful resistance, opted to change their attack too. On came Tuncay for Beattie.
Little changed as Stoke sat deep and Spurs toiled to create. But when Lennon was forced off injured, Stoke sensed their chance to make their extra man count. And they took it quite brilliantly when Ricardo Fuller cut the ball back to substitute Whelan and he smashed the ball into the corner.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on injured Aaron Lennon walking off with 14 minutes left:
"I hoped he could stay on but he couldn't. I told him we'd only have 10 men and could he play on, but he said his ankle was too sore. I don't want to cause an issue. It's not about England - he's got big games coming up for Tottenham."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
"It was probably our best result because we were playing against a top, top side. They have all the ammo you need to win games and they will still probably have a great season. For this football club, we have to be in the Premier League for three years before we push on. We are still living in portacabins at the training ground."
Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate (Dawson 14), Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (off injured 78), Palacios, Huddlestone (Jenas 71), Kranjcar, Keane (Pavlyuchenko 63), Crouch
Substitutes: Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Naughton
Simonsen, Shawcross, Collins, Faye, Wilkinson, Diao, Whitehead, Delap (Whelan 57), Etherington, Beattie (Sanli 70), Fuller (Higginbotham 89)
Substitutes: Cort, Lawrence, Pugh, Kitson
Yellow Cards: Diao, Whelan, Fuller
Goal: Whelan 86
Referee: Probert, Attendance: 36,031