Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City  0 - 0


AVB hoping for more strong home form

21 December 2012 03:59

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is hopeul his side can keep their run of excellent form at home going strong.

His Spurs side entertain Stoke on Saturday, looking to extend their winning run at White Hart Lane to six matches.

But they will not have it all their own way against Tony Pulis' side, who are unbeaten in their past seven matches in all competitions.

"Hopefully (our home form) will continue," Villas-Boas said.

"It's always difficult in the Premier League as you know. Stoke won't be easy. You saw how persistent and patient we had to be to get the winning goal against Swansea.

"It'll be important for us to keep on winning. But Stoke are on a magnificent run too, home and away, so (they are) not an easy team to beat."

Former Spurs striker Pater Crouch has been dropped to the bench for Stoke's last two games, but Villas-Boas knows exactly what type of threat the towering front man possesses.

"Recently (there's been) a change," he said. "But it doesn't mean Tony can't use that factor - he played here and knows the stadium well and knows these players well - to use it against us.

"So it's a decision that Tony has to take. But it's a player that we respect as a goal-scorer."

Spurs are level on points with third-placed Chelsea and could break into the top three with victory.


Premier League preview: Tottenham v Stoke City

20 December 2012 15:43

High-flying Tottenham will be hoping to put an end to Stoke City's seven-match unbeaten run when they clash at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Spurs climbed to fourth on Sunday with a narrow 1-0 win over a gallant Swansea City, and they can consolidate their spot among the Champions League places with three more points against Tony Pulis' side.

But as their recent record indicates, Stoke will not be easy to break down as they have conceded just three goals in their past seven matches.

The defensive solidity and all-round discipline sees Pulis' men sitting pretty in ninth spot, just five points behind third-placed Chelsea.

Though both sides are in contention for a Champions League spot, Spurs are expected to exact a more sustained challenge for a top-four berth.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas has his side firing on all cylinders, having won four of their past five domestically since their hefty derby loss to Arsenal in November.

They will likely be boosted by the return of star winger Gareth Bale from a hamstring injury, while defender Michael Dawson (hamstring) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) could also come back into the matchday squad.

Younes Kaboul (knee) will miss, but could return for their Boxing Day trip to Aston Villa.

In selection news for Stoke, injury prone Michael Owen could add to his measly 53 minutes for the club should he come through a friendly with Blackpool.

Throw-in specialist Rory Delap will miss with a hernia.

Recent history between the two sides suggests there will be goals in this game, with their past five Premier League clashes seeing both get on the scoresheet.

Stoke will be hoping to atone for their most recent visit to White Hart Lane in March, when they were held to a 1-1 draw courtesy of a late Rafael van der Vaart equaliser.

Prior to that, Stoke were beaten 3-2 in north London in April 2011 – when their striker Peter Crouch, then clad in Spurs' colours – netted twice.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25