Stoke City will play their 36th Premier League game of the season at the Britannia stadium, against Tim Sherwood’s Tottenham Hotspur come Saturday in a 3PM kickoff. While not having much to play for, Mark Hughes and Stoke City will be looking to attain that 50-point mark and end the campaign as high as possible. Tottenham Hotspur, come into this game with considerable momentum having won 2 of their last 3 games and a dramatic 3-3 comeback at the Hawthorns from 3 goals down. A win at the Britannia could help increase their chances of landing one of the Europa league berths.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has challenged his team to reach that 50-point mark and a top half finish which has been eluding them for quite some time now. The club has never recorded more than 47 points in the Premier League, set in the 2009/10 season, with their highest ever finish being 11th in the same campaign. The Potters currently sit 10th in the table on 44 points with three games left against Tottenham, Fulham and West Brom. Peter Crouch must be looking forward to face his former club.
With Tim Sherwood seemingly on his way out after this season, the Tottenham board is understood to be looking for a replacement with substance, this time. Names from Louis Van Gaal to Luciano Spaletti are being mooted, it is obvious that there is a lot of potential and promise to work with at White Hart Lane. Three wins from their remaining three games for Spurs should get them 72 points while that return would equal their best ever Premier League tally earned last time out under Villas-Boas.
The last time these two teams met back in December 2013, Spurs cruised to a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane which turned out to be Sherwood’s first home win since being appointed Tottenham Hotspur boss.
Stoke are without defender Robert Huth for the rest of the season whilst Matthew Etherington is also missing with a back injury. Assaidi, who is on loan from Liverpool should be fit and available for contention.
Tottenham Hotspur will miss quite a few players for this fixture in Lamela, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, and Etienne Capoue due long-term injury lay-offs. While Tim Sherwood must be sweating on the fitness issues of Dembele and Roberto Soldado.
- All five Barclays Premier League meetings between these sides in Stoke have ended 2-1, with the Potters winning two and losing three.
- Tottenham have won five and lost just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with the Potters (D2).
- Tim Sherwood has the best win percentage of any Tottenham manager in the Premier League (58%).
- Only two teams (Liverpool and Palace) are on longer current unbeaten runs than Tottenham (three games).
- Tottenham have come from behind to win a league-high 17 points from losing positions this season while Stoke have the second best total (15).
Stoke City – Marko Arnautovic
Arnautovic has been central to most of the attacking moves that Stoke have come up with during games, of late. This being his first season with the Potters, he’s quite demonstrated his technical abilities on the ball, setting up and sometimes scoring goals, more often than not. The attacking midfielder has set up 6 goals – the highest in the team plus scoring 3 goals himself that includes a splendid free kick at Old Trafford back in October. He’s created a total of 40 chances which is again understandably the highest in the team, 29 from open play and 5 from set piece situations. His direct style and the ability to take on defenders is evident from the fact that he has attempted a total of 72 dribbles so far with a good 47% been successful. A shot accuracy of 28% is something he would want to improve in the coming games and while Stoke normally struggle to score goals, his technical abilities will be key to unlocking the Spurs’ defence, going into Saturday’s fixture.
Tottenham Hotspur – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen has been a revelation since the turn of new year showing Spurs fans what he can do week-in week-out when fit and is able to start games on a regular basis. With 8 assists and 7 goals this season in 20 games he’s started, he’s been nothing short of formidable considering the fact that he is new to the league and uncertainty regarding the playing style/starting 11 within the team coupled with a managerial change in mid-season. He’s created a total of 59 chances so far, with 28 from open play and a remarkable 23 chances from set plays. His set piece deliveries have been noticeably brilliant in the last few games as he looks a more settled player now than he was during the initial stages of the season. If this attacking midfielder could carry this rich vein of form he’s in at the moment, into this game, he could very well get Tottenham Hotspur over the line on Saturday.
Stoke City are usually a tough team to break down at the Britannia. They have their own top-half ambitions coming into this game. But having seen Manchester United drop points in their previous game, I’m pretty sure that Tottenham would up their game on Saturday and look to capitalize on this situation with a vital 3 points over the Potters.