Spurs’ historic win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge broke a twenty-eight year old curse — thank goodness — but was also an indelible moment for this current squad. With rumors of extended and improved contracts coming to the core of the team, beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was one of the feats that this side hadn’t accomplished together, and was a milestone hopefully along the road of ever greater achievements as this team continues to progress.
The victory goes a long way for Tottenham’s Champions League hopes and puts the side in a near impregnable position for a top four spot with seven games to play. Spurs sit in fourth place, now eight points clear of their West London rivals, and thirteen points ahead of Arsenal. Both Liverpool and United won, so nothing changed in front of Tottenham. They are still two and four points behind third-placed Liverpool and second-placed United respectively, though Spurs still hold a game in hand over Liverpool.
Saturday’s opponent is in a relegation scrap at the moment, but with every dropped point their situation becomes more bleak. For the better part of a decade Stoke City were icons of not only bad football, but also of Premier League consistency. The club did wonders to get themselves in the top half of the Premier League year in and year out and while jokes were had at their expense for their boorish style of play, I don’t think anybody in the fanbase would trade this rendition of Stoke compared to the Tony Pulis sides of days past.
Stoke are in a bad spot because they just aren’t that good. Xhedran Shaqiri is a classy player — a talent in fact that vintage Stoke sides wouldn’t actually have the pleasure of having on their team, — but their talisman just doesn’t really have anybody to play with. He can also be a bit inconsistent too. Joe Allen is a decent central midfielder, but outside of him and Shaqiri, there just isn’t any quality in the front six.
Yet a feeble attack is a scapegoat for what has been the worst defense in the Premier League. Stoke rank dead last in both the fewest clean sheets (5) on the year and most goals against (61). With Premier League veterans Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Bruno Martins Indi, Kurt Zouma, Erik Pieters, and Geoff Cameron all featuring at some point in defense this year, it is an embarrassing output from veteran personnel.
Stoke City need the win, but do they have either the talent or the drive to defeat a soaring Spurs side? With Harry Kane returning, it seems far-fetched to believe that Spurs will struggle at the bet365 stadium. Look for Tottenham to keep rolling on Saturday in Stoke-on-Trent.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Official: Graham Scott
TV: not televised (USA) not televised (UK), Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet West/Pacific/East/Ontario (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Gold (subscription required)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Harry Winks remains the only first team player sidelined for Saturday. While Harry Kane’s ankle probably isn’t one hundred percent, he is expected to start the match. The only real question for me is whether Poch rotates the outside backs and whether he opts to give Moose a breather before the final stretch of the season. I’m going to say yes to the outside back rotation, but no to Victor Wanyama getting a start over Moose.
The formation will be a 4-2-3-1 and here is the projected lineup: Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose across the back four, with Moose and Dier in the double pivot. Eriksen, Dele, and Sonny will form the attacking band, with Harry Kane up top. The amount of options Spurs off the bench is tremendous with Wanyama, Lamela, and Lucas all waiting in the wings.
Only yours truly and Joel Wertheimer had the audacity to pick a Spurs win and lets be honest it was just unbridled fanboy optimism that forced us to write a victorious scoreline for Tottenham Hotspur anyhow. Either way, it created some shuffling at the top. I moved into sole possession of third place, while Wertheimer ties Cattry to share second place. Menno remains in first place with a two point stranglehold at the top.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Table 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: Stoke are extremely not good. 4-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: Stoke have little talent, no heart, and no direction. An interesting combination, lets see how that works out for them. Spurs 3-0.
GN Punk: Stoke are about as bad as it gets right now. Kane gets back into the golden boot race in a big way. 6-0 Spurs.
Pardeep Cattry: There are going to be a lot of goals. Spurs are going to score all of them. Tottenham 4-0.
Jake Meador: 3-0 Spurs.
Skipjack: Stoke tried crashing the market and it didn’t work. 3-0 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: Remember Kevin Wimmer? Spurs 3-0.
Ed F: Stoke are somehow even worse than the incarnations that we tore apart over the last couple of seasons. 13-0 Spurs.
Salmon Chase: Look at all these dummy’s and their faith. 0-0 draw, everyone gets the flu, Levy blows out a hammy and an MCL.
Alex Greenberg: Stoke are going down. No mercy. 4-0 Spurs.
Nathan Giannini: Tottenham haven’t had a game where they just beat the crap out of someone in a while, so they’re due. 4-0 Spurs.
Joel Wertheimer: Harry wants the boot and maybe Salah sits this weekend. 4-0 on a Harry hat trick.
Joe Patrick: We are rolling but I could see us letting goal slip early. 5-1 Spurs.
Bryan A: TBD