Match Report: Stoke vs Spurs
Spurs increase their unbeaten Premier League streak to 14 matches after edging Stoke City two goals to one at the bet365 Stadium. The game puts Spurs level with Liverpool on 67 points and keeps Stoke down in the doldrums with 27 points.
Unlike the last four time these two teams have locked horns, Spurs were unable to beat Stoke by a clear four-goal margin. Instead, both teams seemed evenly matched up until the stroke of halftime. Stoke had the first opportunity when Diouf was found unmarked in the penalty area just 12 minutes into gameplay. The low driven cross had beaten Aurier and Vertonghen, but Diouf failed to keep his shot low as he toe-poked it well over the crossbar.
Spurs had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead 11 minutes later. Christian Eriksen rocketed the ball to Dele Alli in the middle of the field, who after turning, struck a lovely through ball over the top for Son to run on to. So many times this season have we seen these three magicians link up and score a goal but this move was sadly not to be. When presented with the one-on-one, Butland managed to get the better of Heung-Min Son.
The game remained quiet for the rest of the first half and until the 52nd minute when Christian Eriksen opened the scoring for Tottenham Hotspur. Mousa Dembele, doing what he does best in midfield, intercepted a Stoke pass and split the Stoke defence with a through ball to Dele Alli with yards of space in front of him. Instead of squaring the ball to the supporting Harry Kane, Alli found Eriksen with a delayed set-up – and the inform Dane finished it with precision.
Eriksen was again involved three minutes later, offloading a lofted ball for Son, who again, failed to capitalise on a one-on-one with Butland. Diouf grabbed the equaliser for Stoke City in the 57th minute. Diouf was chasing down a through ball before Hugo Lloris, on his 200th Premier League appearance, charged out of his area to clear the ball at the edge of the penalty area. His clearance ricocheted straight off the front of Diouf, who tapped the ball into an open net. Who knows what Hugo was thinking, it’s very unlike the Spurs skipper to misjudge his distance like that.1-1.
Yet again, Christian Eriksen found himself right at the heart of the action for the Spurs winner just 6 minutes later. Eriksen whipped a free kick into the penalty area and it simply sailed past everybody and wound up in Butland’s net. Harry Kane was adamant that he got the faintest of touches on the free kick and he both claimed and celebrated the goal as if it was his. It had later been judged that Eriksen was the last one to touch the ball before it crossed the line.
Shaqiri almost equalised for the Potters with ten minutes to go after curling a fantastic free-kick off the goalpost and into safety. Then three minutes later, Stoke hit Spurs with a 5-on-2 counterattack, but Jan Vertonghen held strong and swept the danger away at the last.
Spurs win on the road again; it wasn’t pretty and they had to defend well to keep Stoke out right up to the final whistle. But another three points takes them closer to Champions League qualification. Although Stoke battled well in this specific game, the gruelling fight for Premier League safety wears on in the Midlands.
Stoke vs Spurs Attendance
bet365 Stadium: 29, 515
Starting Line-ups: Stoke vs Spurs
Stoke City: Butland, Pieters, Martins Indi, Shawcross, Johnson, Sobhi Ahmed, Ndiaye, Allen, Bauer, Shaqiri, Diouf
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Rose, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Aurier, Wanyama, Dembélé, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane
“It was so tough. I told you in my press conference yesterday that it should be a more difficult game than against Chelsea because to match the hunger and motivation of Stoke and play in a difficult atmosphere is always tough. It was a tougher game, but I think we deserved the victory. We were better, but we suffered a lot. We fought a lot to get the three points.”
Man of the Match
Christian Eriksen was a serious contender for Man of the Match against Chelsea but just lost out to Dele Alli. For this fixture, it can simply be no other. Not only did he bag a brace on the road to continue Spurs’ unbeaten streak, he was the heart of the Tottenham team out there. Stringing passes together like a spider does a web, Eriksen was far too much heat for the Stoke defenders to handle. With so many stars in this team sometimes it is tough to select just one MVP on the day, but Eriksen has been in fine form since the turn of 2018.
What’s next for Tottenham Hotspur?
A toughy for Spurs as they host frontrunners Manchester City at the National Stadium next Saturday evening. After failing to become Premier League Champions against their Manchester rivals, City will be hunting for that all important win away.