Stoke City - Tottenham Hotspur pre-match analysis: Potters style could spring Spurs a surprise

Visitors look to narrow the gap on Premier League leaders Leicester City with victory at The Britannia Stadium.

Stoke City - Tottenham Hotspur pre-match analysis: Potters style could spring Spurs a surprise
Spurs need to win at Stoke to keep their title hopes alive. (Image: Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur could cut the gap between them and table-toppers Leicester City to five points, if they win away at Stoke City on Monday night.

Mauricio Pochettino's men will have been encouraged by the foxes dropping points in a 2-2 thriller with West Ham, and will look to capitalise by seeing off the challenge of The Potters, who have lost their way in recent weeks.

Potters injuries will please Poch

Stoke's rotten luck with injuries has to come to a head towards the business end of the season. Arguably their biggest miss is PFA Young Player of the Season nominee Jack Butland. After a shaky performance by Jakob Haugaard last week against Liverpool, the experienced Shay Given is likely to be between the sticks. There is further concern for Mark Hughes defensively with Erik Pieters suspended and Marc Muniesa not yet fully fit. Spurs meanwhile, have a clean bill of health.

Stoke scored two late goals to peg Spurs back and draw last time the two sides met. | Photo: Getty Images
Stoke scored two late goals to peg Spurs back and draw last time the two sides met. | Photo: Getty Images

Corners crucial to Cockerels

Spurs have scored ten goals from corners this season, the joint-highest number in the Premier League along with Crystal PalaceThe aerial presence of Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld could test a makeshift Stoke City back four and a goalkeeper with very little gametime this season. By contrast, Stoke have only netted from a corner once this season, and this could be the area in which the game is decided. Bojan's header at Anfield last week was a rare set-piece goal for a side so famed for them under the Tony Pulis reign. If Christian Eriksen's delivery is accurate, it could be a very long evening indeed for The Potters.

Stoke's style could spring a surprise

Stoke have struggled at the Britannia Stadium this season in games in which they've dominated possession. However, on the road they've been able to turn in more convincing attacking displays. It could be refreshing, then, that it will be Tottenham who dominate most of the ball in this game. Using the acceleration of the likes of Gianelli Imbula, Bojan, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, Stoke could trouble their visitors with quick, counter-attacking football. With Peter Crouch likely to miss out on this one, Mark Hughes may prefer the speed and directness of Mame Biram Diouf to the link-up play of Joselu. 

Spurs' midfield should see most of the ball | Photo: Talksport
Spurs' midfield should see most of the ball. | Photo: Talksport

Conclusions

The two teams played out a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane back in August, but the stakes are entirely different now for Tottenham. The North London side have everything to play for while Stoke's season is practically over, meaning Spurs should be clear favourites for three points here. 

They will have to wary not to let the occasion get to them, or allow space for Stoke's creative talents to hit them on the break. If they managed to keep The Potters' attacking threat under wraps, they should be comfortable on what is sure to be a nervy occasion. Spurs' proficiency from set-plays compared to Stoke's could make all the difference and ensure they narrow the gap on Leicester City to five points.