Fresh off the back of narrow 1-0 opening day defeats to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, both sides will be itching to record their first points of the 2015-16 Barclays Premier League season. Tottenham will look to make the most of home advantage, but will bear the burden of an expectant White Hart Lane crowd. Mark Hughes’ men arrive at the Lane with expectations of their own, and with record signing Xherdan Shaqiri expected to debut, those associated with the Potters will feel the club is now capable of consistently competing with traditional top flight stalwarts.
With no new injury concerns after defeat at Old Trafford, boss Mauricio Pochettino has almost a full squad to choose from, and last week’s absentees, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend, are expected to be fit in time to make the squad. First choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris started on the bench in Manchester after a spell on the side lines but will be expected to regain his starting spot in Saturday’s meeting.
Mark Hughes has several more injury concerns than his Tottenham counterpart, with the most notable man set to miss out being influential captain, Ryan Shawcross. Erik Pieters and Marko Arnautovic look likely to feature after missing out against Liverpool, but the most exciting piece of news for fans and neutrals alike is that Xherdan Shaqiri is set to make his debut after a £12 million move from Inter Milan.
Head to Head
This will be the 89th competitive meeting between the clubs, with Tottenham coming out on top on 43 occasions and Stoke tasting 26 victories. In 7 Premier League encounters at White Hart Lane, Stoke have taken the spoils twice and Spurs on three occasions. Stoke recorded their most successful Premier League seasonal statistics against Spurs last season, doing ‘the double’ over the North London outfit last season with 2-1 and 3-0 wins in London and Staffordshire respectively.
Predicted Line Ups
Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Chadli, Dembélé, Mason, Lamela, Eriksen, Kane
Butland, Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters, Whelan, Van Ginkel, Adam, Afellay, Walters, Diouf
Tottenham: Christian Eriksen
Eriksen has consistently proven himself to be one of Tottenham’s brightest stars since his arrival from Ajax several years ago. Despite falling into Harry Kane’s dominating shadow last season, Eriksen’s 10 goals, including a number of late winners, were key to Tottenham’s successes. The playmaker was Tottenham’s main creative outlet in the 2014-15 campaign, creating 84 chances and recording almost 2000 passes, proving that almost every attacking move made by Spurs goes through the Danish maestro. Eriksen has the ability to find space and dictate games, and Mark Hughes would do well to man mark the player in an attempt to contain his influence on the game. If Eriksen is given free range on Saturday afternoon, there is little the Stoke back 4 can do to stop the impressive Dane.
Stoke: Xherdan Shaqiri
A World Cup star and a Champions League winner, Stoke fans will be ecstatic to see the Swiss strutting his stuff for the Potters over the coming season. Shaqiri would be a marquee signing for a top 4 side, so the acquisition of the winger is a real coup for Mark Hughes’ side. Shaqiri’s impressive form in his homeland with Basle secured a moved to Bayern, but the player was never really given the opportunity to impress in Germany, and a short spell with Inter Milan wasn’t right for the player. The move to Stoke will allow Shaqiri to re-establish his career and still only 23 years old, there is plenty of time for Shaqiri to make claw his way back to the summit of European football. Strong and pacey, the winger has all the attributes required to forge a successful career in English football, and the eyes of the world’s media will be on the young star when he makes his Stoke debut as expected this weekend.
Tottenham are clear favourites to take the spoils, but having massively strengthened over the summer, Stoke are now in a position to challenge clubs of Tottenham’s stature. Having done the double over Spurs last season, the Potters will be hopeful of repeating such success, but the pressure is on Mauricio Pochettino to secure the home side’s first points of the season and put them on the path to challenging for Champions League football. This will be a very tight affair, but I feel Tottenham will just about edge the encounter and steal the points.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Stoke City