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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Potters can land huge upset against tired Spurs

Dele Alli was sent off for Tottenham on Thursday
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Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 1.30pm Sunday

Tottenham's European dream was left in tatters on Thursday and Stoke look a value bet at White Hart Lane to ruin any remaining hopes Spurs have of making waves in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino's men put everything into Thursday's 2-2 draw with Gent that saw them crash out 3-2 on aggregate. It was a game Spurs dominated despite playing more than 45 minutes with ten men but Dele Alli's disgraceful tackle left his teammates in a pickle.

Spurs, who have played four matches since Stoke were last in action, are renowned for being one of the fittest sides in the league, although they will need to be that and more to play anything like their fast-tempo pressing game given their exertions at Wembley.

Tottenham have been excellent at White Hart Lane with ten wins and two draws from 12 Premier League matches in which they have scored 26 goals and conceded only five.

However, Spurs were shocked at home twice - first by relegated Newcastle and then by Crystal Palace in the FA Cup - on Sunday games after Europa League matches last season.

They were the only two defeats in their ten matches following the dreaded Thursday Europa nights but Pochettino had often rotated his team. This time it was full-on and full of disappointment.

Stoke will need a seasonal-best performance to reward underdog backers but the situation is perfect for them after a fortnight off which saw the squad taking a break in Dubai.

The Potters have drawn at Manchester United this season and crucially are capable of scoring goals at the big clubs after notching in defeats at Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. 

Mark Hughes's side led at Anfield and the Emirates, while only last month they were 1-0 up until the final seconds at home to United before Wayne Rooney's last-gasp free kick.

With Stoke able to take the fight to the elite clubs maybe bet365's 11-4 that they score first could be an alternative, but if City hit the front they may hold on this time against a tired Tottenham squad who are lacking in impact substitutes trusted by Pochettino.

Former Tottenham man Peter Crouch leads the line for the Potters and remains an awkward striker to defend against, although most of Stoke's main threats come from deeper positions.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic could get some joy down the flanks and this is a difficult assignment for Tottenham, who may well be feeling sorry for themselves.

Gent scored three goals across the two legs from only three attempts on target but the fact remains that Tottenham's European hopes were destroyed. Their Premier League ambitions may well be next.

1pt 15-2 BoyleSports

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Team news
Danny Rose and Erik Lamela have been ruled out.

Xherdan Shaqiri returns but Glen Johnson remains doubtful. Geoff Cameron and Jon Walters are on the comeback trail but lack match fitness. Jack Butland and Stephen Ireland are out.

Key stat
Stoke have lost on only one of their last five visits to Tottenham

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The Potters have drawn at Manchester United this season and crucially are capable of scoring goals at the big clubs after notching in defeats at Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
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