Welp, this is pretty much it, you guys. For all the marbles. The whole enchilada. Spurs enter this match needing six points from their last two matches to have any shot of nipping Arsenal for fourth place in the EPL and a coveted place in the Champions League. And they have to do it at Stoke, home to one of the better defenses in the Premier League.
And it gets better! When I submitted my prediction league guess, there was only a 20% chance of precipitation in Stoke today. This morning, that chance goes up to a 90% chance of light rain in the afternoon. I'm not sure if "a rainy early Sunday afternoon in Stoke" is as bad as "a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke" but obviously we're going to want to hope that the rain showers stay away until after the match is over. It's not like Stoke needs any additional encouragement to park the bus in this match.
Interestingly, Tottenham has a decent record away to Stoke. Since the Potters re-entered the Premier League in 2008, Spurs are 2-1-2 at the Brittania. Not great, but not poor. More recently, however, Spurs have drawn or lost all of their past four meetings with Tony Pulis' men. Obviously they'll need a better result here today.
Will Bale once again power his team to victory in this crucial match? Will Stoke park that big honkin' bus in front of goal again? Will Peter "Crouchy" "Crouchaldinho" Crouch be having his nachos? LET'S FIND OUT!
Spurs will start in what should be their expected 4-2-3-1/4-3-3-/4-5-1/FRAAB formation. Steven Caulker gets the start at CB today with Jan Vertonghen shunted out to LB; Benoit Assou-Ekotto doesn't even make the side today. Injured CM Mousa Dembele will start on the bench as does Lewis Holtby and Chelsea match scorer Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Stoke City will start in what looks like a 4-4-2 formation with Jonathan Walter and CROUCHALDINHO up top. Expect this to effectively look like an 10-0-0 formation by midway through the first half.
#scfc Starting XI vs Tottenham: Begovic; Shotton, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilson; Adam, Whitehead, Nzonzi, Etherington; Walters, Crouch— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) May 12, 2013
#scfc Substitutes: Sorensen, Cameron, Jones, Owen, Kightly, Wilkinson, Jerome. Come on Stoke!— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) May 12, 2013
The match will be shown at 8:30 a.m. in the USA on FOX Soccer, or for our UK. viewers at 1:30 p.m. on Sky Sports 1. Please do not post links to illegal streams in the comments!
Need a big win today! Come On You Spurs!