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    Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur head into Monday’s encounter with Stoke City eight points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City after Clauido Ranieri’s side drew 2-2 against West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
    The Potters have won 13, drawn 8 and lost 12 of their 33 games played, accumulating 47 points in the process. Mark Hughes’ side remain in 9th place, four points behind 7th place Southampton.

    They won three consecutive games between February 13th and March 2nd, and sealing a European position looked a distinct possibility at one stage, but they have won just one of their last five in the league and that was a 2-1 victory at Watford on March 19th.
    Stoke were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City on April 2nd, before going on to get hammered 4-1 at Liverpool last weekend. Hughes will be hopeful of bettering last season’s final position, but they face a daunting trip to Manchester City next weekend.

    The Potters have scored just 37 league goals this term and there is a chance that top scorer Marko Arnautovic will leave on a free transfer at the end of the campaign. However, the funds will be there for Hughes to strengthen his side in the summer.
    Spurs have gone unbeaten in the league since their 1-0 loss at West Ham on March 2nd. They head into Monday’s fixture off the back of a superb 3-0 win over Manchester United last weekend.

    Mauricio Pochettino’s side are currently 12 points clear of the Red Devils who remain in fifth, and are in an extremely strong position to bring Champions League football to White Hart Lane next season.
    The north Londoners still occupy the best defensive record in the Premier League this term having conceded just 25 goals. They also boast the best attack, hitting 60 goals in their 33 matches. Harry Kane is responsible for 22 of those, and he will hope to pip fellow Englishmen Jamie Vardy to the Golden Boot.

    After this, the Lilywhites host West Bromwich Albion on April 25th, before travelling to Stamford Bridge at the start of May for the London derby with Chelsea. They then welcome Southampton to N17 on May 8th, before ending the season away to a Newcastle United side who may need a result to preserve their Premier League status.
    Team News

    Stoke will be without left-back Erik Pieters who is suspended. Marc Muniesa is doubtful having not taken part in a training session since Monday morning.
    Marko Arnautovic has trained this week and is expected to make the starting XI, but Hughes has revealed that both Glen Johnson and Jonathan Walters are not quite ready to be considered for first team football.

    Skipper Glen Whelan is struggling with a back injury, but Joselu appears to have overcome illness and should be available for the home side.
    Tottenham have no fresh injury concerns from the 3-0 win over Man United last weekend. Jan Vertonghen is expected to keep his place in central defence alongside Toby Alderweireld after recovering from a knee problem.

    Spurs are unlikely to make any changes from last weekend as this is undoubtedly Pochettino’s strongest starting XI.
    Head To Head

    The two teams have met on 89 occasions in all competitions. The north Londoners hold the edge having recorded 43 victories. The Potters have secured 26 wins, while the remaining 20 matches have finished all square.
    No visiting team to the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League has won more frequently than the Lilywhites. Victory on Monday night would see them seal five victories away to Stoke in the top division.

    Stoke have won just five of 15 Premier League meetings in this fixture, losing seven times in the process. The two teams played out a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane in the reverse league match earlier this campaign.
    Betting Odds (bet365)

    Stoke: 4/1
    Draw: 29/10
    Tottenham: 3/4
    Match Prediction

    After watching current league leaders Leicester drop two points at home to West Ham, Tottenham know that a win will reduce the deficit at the top to five points and keep their title aspirations very much alive. Stoke is always a tough place to go, and the pressure is on Spurs because of what is at stake, but they should be encouraged by their good record at the Britannia Stadium. I am backing the quality of Pochettino’s side to pass the test and take all three points on Monday night.
    Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (8/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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