Spurs Stoke Preview – Pulis’ legacy and Tottenham’s need for width

stoke spurs

After two rather fortuitous wins, Spurs host Stoke City this weekend.

It’s fair to say Stoke aren’t Tottenham’s favourite opponents. For a start there’s Charlie Adam, who has a habit of putting Spurs players in the treatment room. Then there’s last season’s clash at the Britannia Stadium, which saw Danny Rose bullied by Stoke’s players and fans.

They are a team forged in the image of Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes, two of the harder, more prickly characters in the game.

Stoke currently sit 13th, on 10 points, coming off an exciting 2-2 draw with high flying West Ham. They are just 2 points and 5 places below Spurs.

Stoke Tactics

Hughes favours a 4-2-3-1 formation, which seems to be the default setup in the division at the moment.

The Welshman has made Stoke easier on the eye, introducing skilful players like Victor Moses, Marko Arnautović and former Barcelona starlet, Bojan. They are now pretty average when it comes to passing success and possession (11th and 9th in the league respectively).

However, they still have Tony Pulis’ mark on the team, topping the division in aerial duels won by a fair distance (27.8 per game, compared to next best Leicester on 22.1).

Stoke have committed more fouls than any team apart from Crystal Palace, Pulis’ other erstwhile charges.

Odds

Spurs are favourites at 1.73, Stoke are out at 5.9, while the draw is 3.9

Team News

Walker and Bentaleb are still missing. Lennon and Adebayor were unavailable in midweek but should return.

Stoke have Odemwingie out long term with a serious knee injury and Whelan with a broken leg. Robert Huth is also unavailable, while Arnautovic  should make it, despite a problem with his hand.

Spurs Team

My main feelings on the team selection can be summed up in two words – Harry Kane.

He should start at number 9 after some very positive contributions in recent weeks. It could be argued he is more suited to the number 10 role but Spurs had a better balance as a team with him up top in the first half against Asteras. When he moved back, we surrendered control of midfield.

I would also like to see one of our wingers deployed as a natural wide man. In recent games we have lacked width and Townsend’s two assists on Thursday showed the advantage of running at the opposition out wide.

Stoke under Hughes are dangerous on the counter attack and, after recent struggles, it will be interesting to see how our defence copes.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2 – Stoke City 1

A narrow Spurs win but an improved performance.

Follow me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

Are you confident ahead of Spurs clash with Stoke City? Let me know in the comments below.

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5 thoughts on “Spurs Stoke Preview – Pulis’ legacy and Tottenham’s need for width

  1. Kevin

    I am again hoping that Poch does not start Lamela and let him join the game as an impact sub instead. I have no idea why i say this but there is a pattern where we always see the best of the argentinian when he comes on as a sub. I just wish i could offer a reasonable explanation!

    Reply
  2. OC7

    I will be interested to hear what you made of that abomination….!

    4 home defeats out of 6 in the league so far. Shockingly bad. We are used to one or two lesser teams turning us over at home every season but so far that’s Newcastle, West Brom, Stoke and a Suarez-less Liverpool.

    Can’t attack: we can barely string two passes together. Can’t defend: we just gift goals to anyone that takes the game to us.

    For example, their first goal, we meekly surrendered possession on the half way line, Bojan picks it up and runs unchallenged at the centre backs who just back off and back off and then when he’s within shooting range –> boom. Pathetic. In the first 10 minutes!!!

    Poch talks about needing time to instill the philosophy. I would be fine with that if there was a single sign of improvement… as it is we seem to be getting worse and his personnel selections get more and more baffling.

    Time for Mike Bassett. 44 ****ing 2, at home against teams we ought to be beating. Against the bigger teams it’s fair enough to be cautious but we are Tottenham Hotspur, we play attacking football. What is the point of picking 5 midfielders if you aren’t going to control the game.

    Not saying I want Pochettino out or anything, but we had better start clicking soon. Fortunately the results of Liverpool, United, Arsenal and even City to some extent mean that the season is not quite a write off for us, yet… if we do manage to turn a corner and go on a 5 match winning streak it can change very quickly. You may say I’m a dreamer!!!

    Reply
    1. OC7

      Although I should add that Stoke were actually excellent… credit where it’s due, although we played right into their hands and made it easy for them to execute their game plan so well.

      I wonder whether a more experienced manager would give us the tactical edge that we seem to lack.

      Reply
      1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

        It was a really disappointing game. The worst thing was Stoke outplayed us. I can understand losing to set plays or long balls but they had all the speed, running and pressing Pcohettino was supposed to bring us.

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