Tottenham head to Staffordshire for yet another Sunday afternoon match, this time taking on Stoke at Fortress Britannia.
This has been a fortress stormed more than once by Spurs since the Potters’ promotion to the Premiership three four seasons ago. Twice, in fact, have Tottenham come back with all three points, both times after 2-1 victories.
Tottenham have pretty much got the edge over Stoke, having won four games to Stoke’s two, and pools punters tend to go away from these matches with a glum look on their faces as there has never been a draw between this pair in six meetings.
The most memorable game between Spurs and Stoke would have to be last season’s match at the Lane, where five goals were traded in the first half to set up a 3-2 victory for the home side. Peter Crouch claimed a brace, sandwiching strikes by Luka Modric and Spurs old boy Matty Etherington. A Kenwyne Jones goal late in the first half reduced the deficit to one, but Spurs held out for a thrilling victory.
In terms of goalscoring, the Lilywhites are ahead too. 19 goals have been scored at an average of 3.2 goals a game, 11 by Spurs and eight by the Potters. Even at the Britannia, Tottenham don’t let up on their domination, outscoring their hosts by five goals to four. No one player stands out as top scorer, Spurs’ traditional highest goalcorers, Sheringham and Keane, either retired, not getting much game time or on a fated spell at Liverpool at the time. Three players are on two goals, namely Crouch, Gareth Bale and the aforementioned old boy Matty Etherington, both his goals coming for the Staffordshire club.
Fans would be well advised to get to the ground early. Nearly 70% of goals scored between this duo have come in the first half, although only one has ever been scored in the first ten minutes. That was the first ever Premier League goal in matches between the two sides, netted by Aaron Lennon after eight minutes at the Lane.
And finally, players of fantasy football might be advised to find a place for Bale, Modric, Lennon, Etherington or Pennant in this weekend’s team as Spurs/Stoke matches seem to be quite the breeding ground for midfielder goals. Nearly half of all goals in the six games have come from midfielders, a much higher ratio than most match ups. And if you’re betting on a last goalscorer, I wouldn’t look high up the pitch. Every single winner in the six games has either come from a midfielder or centre back.
By Jamie Frier
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