BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 26TH APRIL, 2014
STOKE CITY 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)
Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. D. Bryan & Mr. D. Cann
Fourth official:- Mr. C. Pawson
Stoke (4-1-4-1):- Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross (Capt.), Wilson, Muniesa; Whelan; Odemwingie, Nzonzi, Ireland (sub Pieters, 55), Arnautovic; Crouch (sub Assaidi, 61)
Subs not used:- Sorensen; Wilkinson; Palacios, Adam; Walters
Booked:- Shawcross (foul on Eriksen), Arnautovic (foul on Kane)
Sent off (51 mins):- Shawcross (second yellow given for foul on Rose)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Capt.), Kaboul, Rose (sub Fryers, 69); Lennon (sub Townsend, 78), Paulinho, Chadli (sub Sigurdsson, 73), Eriksen; Kane, Adebayor
Subs not used:- Friedel; Sandro, Bentaleb; Soldado
Booked:- Naughton (foul on Muniesa), Rose (foul on Cameron)
Danny Rose to the occasion
Danny Rose will attract most of the headlines in tomorrow’s papers, Firstly for rising to head home Adebayor’s cross for the only goal of the game in the 33rd minute. It was Danny’s second goal of the season, but his first Premier League goal for Spurs since the day he won the hearts of all Spurs fans with that wonder goal against Arsenal in April 2010. Secondly, Rose attracted the intense hatred of Stoke fans, when he was fouled early in the second half by Stoke Captain Ryan Shawcross. There is no question about the fact it was a foul. Referee Andre Marriner immediately went for his yellow card, and like Mark Hughes, I suspect the official did not remember he had already booked Shawcross just before the break. After a significant pause, Mr. Marriner reached into his back pocket for the red card.
Thereafter, Rose and the referee were roundly booed and whistled by the home fans, who are the most partisan I can think of, along with Everton. In the case of Stoke fans though, I’d describe their passion as somewhat demented to say the least, calling for handballs on countless occasions, and a penalty for a saving tackle by Michael Dawson. Finally, when Rose stupidly pushed Geoff Cameron in the chest, after being targeted for another foul, the home crowd wanted a red card for Rose, but the referee settled for a yellow. For once, Mr. Marriner was on our side. Tim Sherwood wisely withdrew Rose in favour of Zeki Fryers, saying he felt he needed to diffuse the situation. Rose was sent away down the tunnel immediately by his manager, and got great cheers by the away fans, of course.
As for the team selection, the only change to the starting line-up today was Michael Dawson for Fryers in the middle, shifting Kaboul to the left of centre. Sandro was promoted to the bench this week, but still couldn’t get on.
With Stoke playing five in midfield, the Spurs 4-4-2 was somewhat naïve, and too often, I felt we were giving too much space to the Stoke players in our danger areas. Dawson had a very good game though, winning his headers, of course, and not being challenged by a striker with pace and guile in the style of the top teams
It was Spurs who had the first chance though, as Chadli received the ball seconds after kick-off, hitting an instinctive shot, which passed well wide of the goalkeeper’s left-hand post. Paulinho made a good midfield interception after 6 minutes, and created a move at the end of which his cross was cleared for a corner. After the corner, Begovic mis-handled a Lennon cross from the right, made once again with his “wrong” foot.
Dawson made a good interception of a Stoke cross, intended for Peter Crouch. Soon after that, Stoke won a corner after a cross from the left by Ireland, and two blocked shots in the middle. Odemwingie, playing on the right at this stage, was one of those players being given too much space, and he crossed to Nzonzi, who hit a powerful shot wide of Lloris’s left post. A Spurs free kick on the left was taken by Eriksen, and held by Begovic, who started an immediate counter attack, which nearly caught Spurs off their guard. Luckily the shot from the left was well wide of the far post.
Paulinho sent a good ball to Eriksen, whose cross was held by the keeper. After a foul in the middle, the referee waved “Play on” and Ireland broke away down the left, again hitting his shot wide of the far post. Harry Kane carried the ball inside from a run on the left, but his shot ran to the keeper. A cross by Arnautovic from the left was cut out by Chadli.
The pattern of the game was quite open, but it lacked in quality and real passion for much of the time.
Rose and Kane combined down the left flank, and Rose’s cross should really have been met by Adebayor, but he couldn’t make contact. A couple of times in the second half, Adebayor was frustrated by Harry Kane, when the youngster preferred to try going it alone, rather than pass to his fellow striker. Like several Spurs players, some of Kane’s touches did not come off today, but there were times, when the passing play was good, and I thought that training ground work had been paying off! Sometimes though, players such as Paulinho would try the clever flick, rather than a more reliable, and simple pass. That’s Brazilians for you!
Michael Dawson made a good tackle in the box to take the ball off Stephen Ireland. After a Spurs corner, Stoke broke free again, but Danny Rose and Aaron Lennon chased back well, and recovered the ball. Spurs took the lead with a good goal, after a move down the right by the triumvirate of Lennon, Paulinho, and Adebayor. Adebayor crossed from the bye-line and Danny Rose arrived at the back post to confidently head home.
Having taken the lead, Spurs were vulnerable, and not always holding onto the ball when desired. Lennon had done well to get the ball forward, but then lost it, leaving Naughton in a spot of bother, when the right back had to stop Muniesa in his tracks. Naughton was shown the first yellow card of the game. Soon after that, Shawcross got his first yellow for unfairly halting Eriksen’s passage. In added time in the first half, Dawson sent a good pass to Lennon, who fed Kane, Kane’s shot was blocked, before Adebayor teed up Lennon, hose effort was also blocked.
Early in the second half, Arnautovic got the better of Naughton, but hit his shot wide. Arnautovic was to be Stoke’s biggest threat throughout the half, but luckily did not have his shooting boots with him. Spurs immediately had a great chance when Hugo cleared quickly to Rose on the left flank. Rose sent the ball down the line to Kane, who showed skill to beat his defender, retain the ball, then feed Eriksen. Eriksen carried the ball across the edge of the box, looking for his shot, but by the time he took the chance, it was blocked.
After the Shawcross sending off, Harry Kane had the first of those shots, which irritated Adebayor, who felt he was in a better position. Begovic held the shot. Kane then fed Lennon, who had another effort blocked. After that initial period with ten men facing them, I felt that Tottenham eased up a little, and Stoke hardly looked a man short. Crouch pushed a shot wide across goal, before he was replaced by Assaidi. Rose was then replaced by Fryers after his loss of composure. I did feel that Fryers was more vulnerable at left back, than Rose had been against Arnautovic. Lloris made a good save from Arnautovic after 69 minutes.
At the other end, Fryers hit a cross which Kane headed over. Sigurdsson replaced Chadli, and was almost immediately fouled. There was no yellow card shown to Whelan who showed dissent by the manner in which he threw the ball to the ground. Eriksen hit a free kick over the bar after 77 minutes. Sigurdsson intercepted a ball in midfield and tried a shot which was outside Begovic’s right post. Fryers was unable to handle Arnautovic, but the winger again fired wide. Soon after that Lloris denied him with an excellent save, and then stopped Nzonzi’s shot.
Spurs were starting to try playing keep ball well before full time, and then had to see out four minutes of added time, but they succeeded to draw closer to Everton, who lost at Southampton today. With Everton playing Man City next week, fifth place could still be within our grasp. We could be “best of the rest” again! For the moment, we remain sixth and six points ahead of Manchester United, who today thrashed Norwich 4-0.
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