We’ve had a lot of joy in recent seasons against Stoke City but Paul Lambert’s side aimed to frustrate. It was a hostile environment and Stoke dug deep, adopted strong armed tactics to try and unsettle Mauricio’s men. However the team kept their heads and Christian Eriksen stole the show again.
Here are five talking points from yesterday’s trip to the Bet365 Stadium:
1. Hugo Lloris Errors: The French stopper remains one of the best in the game but it’s unavoidable to not notice his two glaring errors in two games. For long periods in most games he has very little to do so perhaps he could be forgiven for the odd error but they do seem to be a bit more frequent. That said, what do you do? There aren’t many better ones out there and in fairness to our Captain he’s saved us more than he’s cost us.
2. Surging Serge: Serge Aurier is like a broken hair dryer he’ll blow hot for periods then cold. For a League winner and established international he really needs to offer more than he is. He did well getting forward against Stoke and did cause problems but his final ball was abysmal and there also always a mistake in him. Trippier was rested but surely he must be first choice ahead of Serge. However Poch does have a big decision to make. Last time out against City, Tripps was destroyed by Sané but does he give him a chance to redeem himself?
3. Jan is the man: For all the talk of the Alderweireld contract situation, performances of his fellow Belgian seem to go unnoticed or certainly within mainstream media. Super Jan is our Superman. Another assured display at the back, he seems to be getting better with age. Sanchez is learning so much off him too. Lloris might be Captain but Jan is the real leader on that field and vital to the team.
4. Our Great Dane: He certainly got the first, it’s debatable whether he got the second but he certainly made it. You think he’s been around forever but turned just 26 in February. He’s often been criticised for disappearing in games but this season he’s been different class and is fulfilling his potential. 14 goals and 10 assists in 40 games is an excellent return for the Dane. He single handedly broke Irish hearts in the World Cup play offs and he deserves to be on the worlds biggest stage. He’s contracted until 2020, seems content at the moment but hopefully the club are working on a new deal for him, he is key and a symbol of Pochettino’s Spurs.
5. Resilient Backbone: The term “Spursy” was so commonly used in the past.We had a special skill in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It was an epidemic. However 2018 Spurs have really locked up that term this season. It’s escaped once or twice but overall stayed under lock and key. Mauricio Pochettino has changed the mindset on its head. And yesterday was a prime example. It was a frustrating first half against a resilient Stoke side, and a Hugo Lloris error let Paul Lambert’s side in to equalise. The Spurs of old would likely have dropped their heads especially away from home but almost immediately they went back in front. They withstood Stoke’s heavy handed tactics, Danny Rose was booed from start to finish and Dele rather typically was jeered and called “cheat” throughout. It was a very anti-football performance by Stoke’s players and the crowd too. Mauricio’s men held out though, battled hard for each other and deserved the three points. It was a performance that had typified Pochettino’s tenure. Never say die