Stoke host Spurs at the bet365 Stadium today, with the game set to kick off at 3pm. With this being the live game here in Ireland, it’s the one I’ll be focusing on. Stoke are 19th in the Premier League table, while Spurs are fourth.
Stoke have an uphill battle on their hands if they’re going to stay in the Premier League this season. They’re three points from safety with just six games remaining. Obviously, three points isn’t that big of a difference to make up, but it is when you’re a team that hasn’t won in any of your last eight games. Stoke’s form has been shocking – even though they have managed to pick up a few draws here and there – and I would be surprised if they managed to stay up this season.
They would almost need a miracle at this stage to be honest. They have been a little bit more solid since Paul Lambert came in, but haven’t been inspiring. Every one of their fixtures between now and the end of the season is extremely difficult. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t manage to win any of them. Maybe I’m completely wrong, and they’ll turn things around and manage to stay up, but they’ll need something extraordinary for that to happen. A win at home today could give them a confidence boost they so desperately need, but I don’t see how they could win this one.
They don’t score enough and they concede too many, and this Spurs side will rip you apart unless you’re at your very best. Stoke did push Arsenal close last weekend, and could have got something from the game if the referee didn’t award a penalty that shouldn’t have been. But these things happen, and you just have to get on with it. We’ll see how they respond today.
Paul Lambert said: “Over the course of a season you’re not going to get to Man City’s levels, but in any given game you can win and Saturday is no different.
“I know I’m up against a good side with a great manager behind them, but it’s a game we can win. Even against Man City we had a reasonable game and never got really cut open. We never got downbeat after the game.
“And the Arsenal game showed me we can handle the big occasion, so that’s not a problem.”
Kurt Zouma could be available for Stoke today. Charlie Adam is suspended, while Maxim Choupo-Moting and Mame Biram Diouf have a chance of being involved.
Spurs come into this game after a big 3-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week. They went behind in that game, and showed tremendous spirit to come back and win at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1990. They almost have a top four place wrapped up after that win, because they’re now eight points clear of Chelsea. They’ll want to keep their good form up and cement their Champions League place for next season.
Spurs are on a 13-game unbeaten run, and haven’t lost in the Premier League in 2018. It’s a really good run of form, and they’ll be hopeful they can keep that up. They’re still in the FA Cup as well, and will be hoping to go all the way in that competition. If they managed to win the FA Cup and finish in the top four, it would be a great season for them.
Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Spurs’ official website, and said: “It was a great victory at Chelsea but it’s always important to be ready to compete again.
“The team is so focused and must be because it will be a very tough game at Stoke.
“They are playing to survive and need the points and we need to match that motivation and have the same hunger to achieve the three points.
“That mentality is most important, how we’re going to approach the game against Stoke. All the energy and concentration is to try to win. The game will be difficult, tough, it will be a massive battle and we have to be ready. If not, we will struggle.
“So as always, the key is in our approach and how we take the game. The most important thing is our level and to show the same performances we’ve showed in the last few weeks.”
Harry Kane could start for Spurs today after recovering from injury extremely quickly. There were fears he could miss the World Cup at one stage, but came off the bench against Chelsea last week. Harry Winks seems to be the only players unavailable for Spurs.
To be honest, I can only see this game going one way, and that’s with a victory for the away side. The have been brilliant lately, and are on a really good run of form. Stoke are the opposite, and have been really poor. I think the Potters will go one step closer to relegation with a defeat today.
The team news will be out at 2pm, and you’ll get that up here as well. Enjoy the game.