Stoke City host Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium in one of the 3pm fixtures this Saturday. The same game last season saw Spurs solidify their title credentials with a great performance in a 4-0 win for the North London side, thanks to braces from Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
This time around, however, Stoke are a stronger outfit with more to play for. Deadline day signing Wilfred Bony is a fantastic asset to the home side; he guarantees goals and should thrive off the service of Marko Arnautovic, Bojan, and Xherdan Shaqiri. Mark Hughes’ transformation of Stoke from a brutish, long-ball, ‘Pulis’ style side to one brimming with quality is remarkable; Stoke have four players in the squad who have featured in Champions League semi finals, and three of these have winners’ medals. Almost as remarkable is that this is the same club who have Charlie Adam, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson on professional contracts.
Of course, Spurs have also strengthened, although they are still without powerhouse Moussa Dembele. Spurs may well have a very different attacking four to their last game, against Liverpool, as Vincent Janssen, Moussa Sissoko and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou could well all start after the poor recent performances of Kane and Eriksen. NKoudou could replace Erik Lamela in the starting XI, but given his inexperience this is unlikely; while Dele Alli should start after a good substitute performance for England in the Euros, as well as a promising display off the bench against Liverpool. It looks as if the youngster has certainly found his feet again.
In terms of form, Spurs have the upper hand. Stoke are yet to register a Premier League win so far this season, and have just a solitary point, with defeats to Manchester City and Everton coming after a draw away at Middlesborough on the opening day. However, the arrival of Bony is likely to invigorate the squad, such is the Ivorian’s quality, so Spurs will still have to be on top of their game – which they haven’t been so far this year. Mauricio Pochettino’s side come into the game undefeated, but with 5 points from their opening three games – draws against both Liverpool and Everton inbetween a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
Expected starting lineups:
Stoke starting XI Spurs starting XI
Injuries and suspensions:
For the home side, first-choice goalkeeper Jack Butland is still out, while Mame Diouf may not feature having missed training today. Butland’s follow up surgery means he will be out for the next 2 months or so – a huge boost for Spurs, after Butland’s superb performance in the reverse fixture last season kept them in the game, which they eventually rescued a point from. Diouf is suspected to have a tight hamstring after returning from international duty, so is unlikely to be risked. Other than that, Stoke’s side is at full strength.
Despite Martin Skrtel’s best efforts, Harry Kane is fit to play at the weekend, suffering no damage after the stamp in Slovakia. Spurs will be bolstered by a likely return to the first team for Frenchman Hugo Lloris, who returns after an injury suffered against Everton, while Moussa Dembele is set for his final missed game through suspension. Kyle Walker has recovered from a niggle picked up against Liverpool, and played 90 minutes for the national side.
The game will probably be a tight and physical affair, as most Stoke games usually are, but now we are out of Harry Kane’s voodoo month of August, now would be a good time for last year’s Golden Boot winner to find his form again. Spurs should take the points here, especially with Kane’s international teammate Dele Alli looking back to his best, although we expect Stoke’s new frontman Wilfred Bony to play very well on his home debut. So, Spurs to win, but Stoke to score.
Featured image:All rights reserved by MekyCM
You can vote for The Boot Room, and Josh, in the ‘Best International Blog’ and ‘Best Young Blogger’ categories in the FBAs here.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham Hotspur head into tomorrow’s clash with struggling Bournemouth still searching for their first Premier League victory at Wembley Stadium. Much as been made about Spurs’ hoodoo at the national stadium, where they are temporarily based while construction continues on their new ground.
Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have dropped more points at ‘home’ so far this season than in the entirety of the last campaign. However, they take on a Bournemouth outfit that have collected four points and are above only Crystal Palace in the league standings.
Despite their difficulties at Wembley, Tottenham are unbeaten in the top-flight since August and sit third in the table with 14 points from seven matches. Their demolition of Huddersfield Town before the international break, in which the in-form Harry Kane netted a brace, highlighted their ability to crush opponents.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be acutely aware of the task facing his side. The Cherries have a terrible record against Spurs since being promoted to the Premier League and have yet to gain a single point on their travels this term.
Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Mousa Dembele, who has recovered from a foot problem. Victor Wanyama is still sidelined with a knee injury, though. Harry Winks, who impressed on his England debut, is set to retain his place in the starting XI. Long-term absentees Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are several weeks away from first team action.
Howe’s line-up will depend on whether striker Joshua King passes a fitness test after suffering a tight hamstring for Norway. Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith are both poised to miss out, after suffering knocks during the international break. Callum Wilson has been continuing his recuperation by getting minutes under his belt for the Under-23s.
Match prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth
Spurs have thrashed Bournemouth in the two fixtures between the clubs at White Hart Lane – and a change of venue is unlikely to bring the Cherries better fortune. If at their best, Howe’s side can at least give Tottenham something to think about and prey on the anxiety they have experienced at Wembley. However, with no away form to speak of, Spurs look set to be too strong.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
The two most successful clubs in the history of English football will resume hostilities tomorrow, when Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield. It is a mouth-watering return to the Premier League following the international break, which sees Jose Mourinho’s side put their unbeaten start to the season on the line. The atmosphere is sure to be electric for Saturday’s early kick-off and victory for the hosts would bring them to within four points of their fierce rivals.
With only one win from their past four top-flight outings, Liverpool’s form has stalled somewhat after a bright start. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s men – but in contrast, no club in the top half has shipped more. It is these defensive shortcomings which have been to blame for too many dropped points.
United meanwhile, have been mightily impressive, taking 19 points from 21. For all their attacking flair, they have also been watertight in defence, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.
Klopp has been left reeling from the news that key player Sadio Mane has been ruled out from up to two months after injuring his hamstring during the international break, which means Daniel Sturridge may keep his place in attack. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are edging towards a return, although no date has yet been set.
United have selection problems of their own and will be without Marouane Fellaini, who suffered damage to his knee while playing for Belgium. Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcus Rojo all remain sidelined.
Match prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Mourinho is a master tactician whose game-plan will be to keep it tight and frustrate Liverpool. Klopp’s team are more than capable of ruining his approach however, although Mane’s absence is a huge blow. The first goal will be crucial in deciding the outcome.
Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.
Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.
Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.
Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.
Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.
The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.
They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.
Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.
That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.
There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.
Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley
Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.
But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.
Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.
Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?
Sessegnon or Bale? Past or future? Spurs must make right move this summer
Jack Wilshere’s Everton arrival would surely spell the end for Morgan Schneiderlin?
Tieumoue Bakayoko disappoints again for Chelsea against Leicester City
Everton signing Rodrigo at £35m would undermine Cenk Tosun position
Tottenham Hotspur3 weeks ago
Tottenham Hotspur must push Toby Alderweireld toward Barcelona
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Jurgen Klopp’s brave January decision is playing off thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool4 weeks ago
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool’s Egyptian star the best player in the world right now?
Brentford4 weeks ago
Romaine Sawyers – Blossoming in the Championship with play-off contenders Brentford
English Premier League3 weeks ago
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain growing into role under Jurgen Klopp
Chelsea4 days ago
Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans
Arsenal4 weeks ago
Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City: Three talking points from Wembley