That would be two points in twelve for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and that is a sub-optimal record at best. Its probably the worst spell for the club since the 2014-15 season and Poch has been surprisingly positive throughout. His comments about the difficulty of the opposition’s added intensity for matches at Wembley, along with his statement that a title chase was never really in the cards for this season in the first place says a lot. Supporters’ expectations were undoubtedly high for this season and ten points from four matches against Madrid and Dortmund didn’t help in lowering them, but its important to remember that the team is still exceptionally young and with a new stadium to move into next term, its an exciting project that will likely keep the core players in this side together for at least another year. In other words, its been a disappointing few weeks, but its disappointment in the midst of a glorious renaissance and a bright future.
Because Tottenham slayed late September and October, the squad still isn’t in bad shape for a top four spot in the standings. Spurs sit in a sixth place tie with Burnley at twenty-five points, though Tottenham are ahead on goal differential. We are three points behind Arsenal in fifth place, trail fourth-placed Liverpool by four points, and third-placed Chelsea by seven points. Manchester City has already created an eight point lead over rival and second-placed Manchester United and are a whooping eighteen points clear of Spurs in early December. Wow, they are good at football. Our opponents on Saturday, Stoke City, are in sole possession of thirteenth place with sixteen points on the year thus far.
Stoke are led by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Mame Biram Diouf up front. Both players have featured in fourteen of Stoke’s potential fifteen Premier League matches and have seven goals between them. With marquee signing Jese struggling to settle into the Premier and Saido Berahino, also known as Little Bear for the ITK, riding the bench, its an unlikely pairing that are providing the goals for Stoke. Did the irresistible temptation of featuring for Tottenham Hotspur single handedly ruin Saido Berahino’s career or what!?
In midfield there are a lot of recognizable names. Joe Allen continues to be a positive contributor for Stoke, having a continued resurgence after his debacle in Liverpool. The mercurial, yet inconsistent Xherdan Shaqiri is Stoke’s most explosive playmaker and greatest talent. Daren Fletcher, who at the ripe age of thirty-three, has started every game thus far for Stoke, which is just impressive.
Though their profile has shifted some under Mark Hughes, Stoke still don’t have a shortage of competent defenders. Kurt Zouma has been a fantastic addition on-loan from Chelsea and partners with captain and Stoke City hero Ryan Shawcross. Erik Pieters, Kevin Wimmer, and Geoff Cameron all also get time across the backline too. Finally, Stoke are very strong in net with Jack Butland. With all of this said though, the Stoke defense has been far from impenetrable this season.
Spurs need three points for confidence heading into the Christmas fixture list and just to simply put points on the board. Stoke can be dangerous, but they are a team Tottenham have consistently handled in the past. Toby Aldwerweireld and Davinson Sanchez will be out, so it will be a greater than usual challenge, but hopefully Spurs are up to the task and get back on track.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Roger East
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra), BBC Radio (UK), TSN4, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Toby Aldweireld is being assessed this week to monitor the progress on his injury. Poch quelled fears this morning stating that he avoided anything too serious. Victor Wanyama has resumed light outdoor training, which is a big positive. With Dier being forced to the backline, we could really use him right now. Lastly, Davinson Sanchez will miss out due to his red card against Watford.
With Sanchez and Toby out, we just don’t have the players to play a 3-4-3. Maybe Ben Davies slots to the left center-back spot and Danny Rose could feature out left, but that is unlikely. Either way, I would LOVE to see Danny Rose start, as Davies has been poor of late, but that probably won’t happen.
My predicted lineup will be in a 4-2-3-1 formation and will be as follows: Kieran Trippier will play at right-back, Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen will feature in the middle, with Ben Davies at left-back. Harry Winks and Mousa Dembélé will start in the double pivot, with Dele, Christian, and Sonny ahead of them. Harry Kane will start as the lone forward.
Jake Meador and Joel Wertheimer nailed the 1-1 scoreline. With the perfect prediction Wertheimer, a newcomer to the competition, catapults himself into a two way first placed tie with the old Uncle himself!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||8|
Dustin Menno: I have nothing to say about Stoke, really. They’re just… Stoke. 2-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: Spurs have to bounce back, right? Tottenham 2-1.
Jake Meador: Dr Stoke City will see you now. Spurs 3, Stoke 1.
GN Punk: Stoke? Ugh. 2-1 Spurs, because why not?
Pardeep Cattry: Kevin Wimmer v. Son Heung-Min for the first time since their separation means someone will be saying sorry for his team's success at the end. It'll probably be Son. Tottenham 2-0.
Joel Wertheimer: A full week of rest will do wonders for Eriksen and Kane. Spurs get back to smashing the dregs of the league. 4-0 Spurs.
Nathan Giannini: Have we ever played Stoke and not won 4-0?
Joe Patrick: I'm well and truly stumped as to how this team will perform on a match-to-match basis. I'll guess 2-1 Spurs.
Bryan A: We're playing Stoke and we just won convincingly in the Champions League? Cool. 2-0 Stoke.
Alex Greenberg: “Kevin Wimmer, he wants us to win.” 3-0 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: TBD
Ed F: TBD
Salmon Chase: TBD