The first step towards an improbable run at a Tottenham Hotspur quadruple begins on Tuesday afternoon against Stoke City in the Carling Cup third round. Wait...Tuesday? And is this....IT IS! IT'S THE DREADED TUESDAY GAME AT THE BRITTANIA STADIUM. I better check the weather...heavy rain?!?
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It's a wet Tuesday at Stoke! We haven't the slightest chance of getting a result out of this one, NO ONE can get a result when it's wet AND Tuesday at the Brittania Stadium. I'm not sure why I should even finish writing this preview. It's pointless. We're absolutely doomed.
After making the Europa League and a whole bunch of decent signings (from us!), most have predicted Stoke to be a mid-table team this year. They completely spat in the face of all of those people this weekend when they played like total garbage in a 4-0 loss to Sunderland. I don't recall seeing Tony Pulis's side ever put in two terrible performances in a row, so don't assume that this is a gimme if we play our first team.
Of course, we're not playing our first team. This starting XI will probably be a half and half mix of first choice players and bench players. Some players coming back from injury will likely get run-outs as well.
Personally, I haven't the slightest clue whether or not Tony Pulis plans on playing his first team and trying to win this game. I know that we should be able to win with a mixed first-second team if they play to the best of their abilities. However, all jokes aside, playing Stoke at the Brittania in a monsoon is really, really tough.
We'll talk some tactics and such after the game, but I'm waiting until after the game because I'm not sure what we're going to see today. It'll be interesting.
Projected Tottenham Hotspur starting XI (4-4-1-1): Cudicini; Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Gallas, Corluka; Bale, Kranjcar, Livermore, dos Santos; van der Vaart; Pavlyuchenko
Pick: 1-1 draw, extra time and penalties.