The season’s reached that point equivalent to when you swirl your pint in its glass in an attempt to give it some life before you down the last dregs.
Stoke away usually comes at a time in the season where we need the points and know that we’re in for a battle to get them. We probably will face a fight once more but we’re nowhere near as desperate for the spoils as usual. We’re currently 6th and will probably finish there, unless Man Utd put on a Giggs inspired spurt. Stoke are 10th but have a currently rampant Crystal Palace steaming up on their inside. Whether or not they care too much about Pulis’s side finishing ahead of them I don’t know but if they do give a fig then they’ll be ahead of us in the Who Wants It More category and that could lead to trouble given our slow starts and comedy defending.
Perhaps the Spurs player looking forward to the game most is Harry Kane. Three goals in three games. Blimey! I bet he’s already got his boots and shin pads on. His trio have come from a combined distance of 20 yards or so – goal poacher range. It’s arguable that he’s done more in these last three games than Soldado has all season. A man capable of getting on the end of whipped in or floated crosses was what we hoped we’d bought at the start of the season, it hasn’t turned out that way of course. It’s way way too early to suggest that in Kane we had that man along he has though shown a marked improvement this season, he scored against Hull, has been a nuisance when he’s come on and deserves his chance.
The back four will probably be the same as against Fulham though someone told me that Dawson is back in training. It’s in midfield where Sherwood may make changes to cope with Nzonzi and Whelan though Chadli and Paulinho didn’t do too badly against Sidwell and Parker last week. Dembèlè, Bentaleb and Sandro of course are all available to come in and stiffen the side, either at the expense of Chadli or perhaps Kane if Tim decides to go for more numbers in midfield. Stoke’s danger lies in the air as ever with Crouchy and Shawcross liable to cause problems which is why Sherwood might bring back Daws if he’s available.
A better start than at West Brom and given the amount of goals we’ve been scoring then a good result is very possible. You can almost sniff that Europa League place. Damn it.
Andre Marriner is down to referee. COYS.
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