So Tottenham are at Wembley at 15:00 on Saturday, to face Stoke City. For me this is a nothing-less-than-a-win type of game. Having not won a game in the last four in the league and only picking up 2 points from a possible 12, a win is crucial.
So what has gone wrong? It seems since our loss to North London rivals Arsenal, we have not been the same Tottenham side, losing to Leicester, and only managing a draw to West Brom and Watford. In these same fixtures last season we picked up 10 points, beating Watford, Leicester and West Brom, and picking up a well-earned point in last year’s North London Derby at The Emirates.
We had a good, strong finish to our Champions League Group Stage campaign. Beating APOEL Nicosia 3-0 at home with a weaker side, with Fernando Llorente netting for the first time in Spurs colours. It seems like we are a different side in Europe this year, meaning not only that we are clearly much better than last year, but also that we seem to be better in Europe than in the league. We achieved the highest points tally of any team in the group stages, with what many people called ‘the group of death’ when the draw was made back in August. Moving on to the last-16, we can draw either Bayern Munich or Juventus, who were beaten to their group’s top spot by PSG and Barcelona respectively. If not these then Spurs will be playing Porto, Basel, Shaktar Donetsk or Sevilla.
Switching back to the league, we are currently sat 18 points behind first-placed Manchester City. So any hopes of us possibly challenging for the title again are gone, which was always going to be tough when playing at Wembley. However we must push on and continue to mount a strong challenge for the top 4 again, which right now is looking increasingly tough with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal getting into some good form. Above all, a trophy is needed this season, and I do hope we take the FA Cup very seriously this year, as it is realistically the only trophy we can win.
So going into the game against Stoke, it is a game we should be winning, however will not be easy. Stoke are sat 13th in the league on just 16 points, but should not be taken lightly. With the likes of Shaqiri, Joe Allen, and the newly signed Choupo-Moting, they can hurt us, especially with our defence being even weaker now that Davinson is suspended. However when you compare the teams’ one to eleven, we come out superior.
As for the team I would pick to play, I would have to stick with the 4-at-the-back formation, mostly due to two of our center halves being missing. My starting line-up would be as follows:
Lloris, Davies, Dier, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane
This team is more than capable of winning this game and should do. Anything less will just harm both our confidence and our chances at finishing in the top 4 this season.The bottom line is that we need a win. My heart is saying 3-1 Spurs, however I am worried that this will be another one of our slow and stale Wembley perfomances.