Stoke will be looking to make amends for the heavy defeat at Anfield and cement their place in the top half of the Premier League standings when they take on title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur. The Spurs did well to stay relatively close to leaders Leicester City, but they now need to win all the remaining games, starting with the clash at Britannia Stadium.
Stoke City have been showing signs of promise under Mark Hughes and another top table finish can be considered a good result, especially since the Potters have also managed to raise the club’s profile in recent years. The Britannia Stadium outfit have become to attract high-profile footballers and they appear to be on the right track to challenging for European positions in years to come. Stoke need few more quality players and bigger strength in depth to continue the uptrend next season, while they also want to enjoy a strong finish to the current campaign. The Potters have struggled for form of late, winning just one of last five fixtures, with both teams scoring in each of those games. Deputising for injured Jack Butland, Jakob Haugaard has conceded six goals in first two Premier League appearances, and his under-par showings have contributed to the poor run of results. Stoke City will now attempt to put a dent into Tottenham’s title bid, but that is easier said than done taking into account their current form and the fact that a number of key men are struggling for fitness.
Mark Hughes hopes to welcome back Marko Arnautovic and Glenn Whelan to the starting line-up while Ryan Shawcross has returned from a back problem.
Marc Muniesa faces a fitness test, whereas Erik Pieters is banned and Shay Given could replace Jakob Haugaard in goal.
Looking at Tottenham’s mature performances this season, we can safely say they are quite unfortunate to not be leading the Premier League title chase, and we don’t want to imply that Leicester City do not deserve to win the trophy. Spurs have done really well to recover from the slow start and they have looked every bit as title contenders in the second part of the season, and we, therefore, would not be surprised if they won the remaining five fixtures. With the Foxes having opened up a ten-point lead, it was by no means easy for Tottenham to search for the win against Manchester United, and other times might have crumbled under pressure as things did not go their way. But, Mauricio Pochettino’s men instead pulled all the stops to record the much needed triumph and eventually ran out 3-0 winners. Spurs will have had full week to prepare for what await them at the Britannia Stadium and they look a good bet to make it five wins in last seven Premier League games on the road. Tottenham failed to beat Stoke in the first home fixture of the current campaign, but they have come a long way since.
Erik Lamela played a key role in the win over Man Utd after recovering from injury and he should keep his place, while Clinton N’Jie may be available for selection.
Algerian midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is currently the only player in the infirmary, and he is unlikely to play again this season.
Key Factors to Consider
- Stoke are unbeaten in last three matches vs Spurs (W2 D1)
- Spurs recorded two wins in last three games at the Britannia
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in five of their last six meetings
- Both teams scored in Stoke’s last five fixtures
- Tottenham won nine of last twelve Premier League matches (D2 L1)
Stoke City have struggled for form of late and seeing that several important players are not in the best shape, they could struggle to match red-hot Spurs. Tottenham have shown a great deal of quality and character of late, winning 9 of last 12 league fixtures, and we believe they can see off the Potters as well.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 17/20
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