Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham: Christian Eriksen scores twice in Premier League clash
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 08/04/18 12:04am
Christian Eriksen's double left Stoke deep in relegation trouble as Tottenham won 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Dane stroked home the opener seven minutes after half-time and his free-kick on 63 minutes proved to be the winner, even though Harry Kane claimed he got the final touch on its way past Jack Butland.
In between those goals, Mame Biram Diouf had equalised for Stoke (57), capitalising on a mistake from Hugo Lloris before stroking into an unguarded net.
The win sees Tottenham move level on points with Liverpool, but they remain in fourth place on goal difference, while Stoke remain in 19th and are four points from safety with five games to play.
Stoke: Butland (7), Johnson (7), Martins Indi (7), Shawcross (7), Pieters (6), Allen (6), Ndiaye (6), Bauer (7), Diouf (7), Shaqiri (7), Sobhi (7)
Subs: Campbell (6), Crouch (6), Zouma (n/a)
Tottenham: Lloris (5), Aurier (7), Vertonghen (7), Sanchez (6), Rose (7), Wanyama (6), Dembele (7), Alli (7), Eriksen (8), Son (6), Kane (6)
Subs: Lamela (6), Dier (6), Sissoko (n/a)
Man of the match: Christian Eriksen
Tottenham had beaten Stoke by a four-goal margin in each of their last four meetings, but the two sides were evenly matched in a goalless first half punctuated by one golden chance each.
In the 12th minute, the unmarked Diouf fired over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box, before Butland did brilliantly to deny Heung-Min Son when clean through midway through the half.
However, the breakthrough came seven minutes into the second period when Mousa Dembele found Dele Alli inside the Stoke area and instead of squaring to Kane he delayed and pulled the ball back for Eriksen to stroke the ball first time into the corner.
Harry Kane started for Tottenham in one of four changes from the win over Chelsea. Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Serge Aurier all started with Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela dropping to the bench and Kieran Tripper not in the matchday squad.
Mame Diouf recovered from a calf injury, so Paul Lambert stuck with the same team that lost at Arsenal last weekend, though Saido Berahino was left out of the squad.
Stoke were level just five minutes later when Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris, on his 200th Premier League appearance, raced off his line to win the ball just outside the area. However, his attempted clearance was straight at Diouf who bravely closed the ball down before rolling it into an empty net.
But Tottenham's lead was restored six minutes later when Moritz Bauer conceded a needless free-kick and Eriksen's delivery from the left sailed past everybody and into the net - though Kane was adamant he'd got a faint touch on the ball on his return to the starting line-up.
Xherdan Shaqiri went close to levelling when his finely-struck free-kick rattled the bar with 10 minutes remaining, but Stoke could not avoid a fourth straight defeat and time is now running out for them to preserve their Premier League status.
- Mauricio Pochettino took charge of his 200th Premier League game (W103 D53 L44)
- He is the first non-European manager to reach the landmark in the competition.
- Spurs have won more Premier League away games at the bet365 Stadium than any other team (7).
- Spurs are on the longest current unbeaten run in the Premier League (14 - W11 D3), and are the only side yet to lose in 2018.
- Christian Eriksen now has 10 Premier League goals this season - his joint-best return in a single campaign.
- Mame Biram Diouf has scored as many Premier League goals in 2017-18 (6) as he did in his previous two campaigns combined.
- Dele Alli has provided more league assists this season than in any other campaign (10).
Paul Lambert (Stoke): "I thought we were excellent against a really good side. The way they played, the way they committed and the way they went at them was excellent. Spurs have beaten Stoke the last few times really heavily and I'm pretty sure that wasn't an easy game for them. If we keep playing like that - and I still think we need to win three games or so - we will certainly do it. If you ask me how proud I am of the team, I thought we were outstanding."
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham): "It was so tough. I told you in my press conference yesterday that it should be a more difficult game than against Chelsea because to match the hunger and motivation of Stoke and play in a difficult atmosphere is always tough. That's what happened during the game. It was a tougher game, but I think we deserved the victory. We were better, but we suffered a lot. We fought a lot to get the three points."
The pundit - Phil Thompson
"Stoke City gave this a good bash today, they really did. Paul Lambert will wonder how much more they have to give. It was all Stoke late on, they just didn't get a proper opening. Paul Lambert will be proud of his side and rightly so, but it was another defeat. There are not many game-changers on the bench, but this was not bad today. They've got to give that same commitment and not just do it against the big sides. They will have to do it away at West Ham."
Harry Kane was not at his fluent best, but got 90 minutes under his belt and was denied a goal when the Premier League reviewed Spurs’ winner and awarded it to Christian Eriksen. Dele Alli was not as influential as in his previous match with Chelsea, but Danny Rose started and played well on the left. Eric Dier was dropped to the bench and only came on for the final eight minutes, while Kieran Trippier was not even in the matchday squad.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland made a superb save in the first half, but should arguably have been more decisive in coming out to claim the Eriksen free-kick which proved to be the winning goal.
Man of the Match - Christian Eriksen
Harry Kane was adamant he had scored Tottenham's second, but the record books will show Christian Eriksen was the matchwinner and two goals were a just reward for a solid display. Set-pieces were a constant source of opportunity for Spurs against a dogged Stoke side and after clinically stroking in the opener, his pinpoint delivery in the 63rd minute ultimately proved to be the defining moment of the match.
Tottenham host Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in a 7.45pm kick-off next Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports, while Stoke continue their fight against relegation away at West Ham live on Monday Night Football on April 16.