Tottenham Hotspur vs Stoke City. Premier League.
White Hart LaneAttendance35,699.
Monday 10 November 2014 08:09, UK
Stoke City outclassed a lacklustre Tottenham side to win 2-1 at White Hart Lane and increase the pressure on under-fire manager Mauricio Pochettino.
First-half goals from Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters secured the three points as Spurs finished the game with 10 men after Kyle Naughton’s late dismissal.
Nacer Chadli had given the home crowd hope with a fantastic driven volley to reduce the deficit in the 78th minute, but Mark Hughes' side used their man advantage to see the game out against a Spurs side suffering from yet another Europa League hangover.
The game’s first opportunity came for Harry Kane with just two minutes on the clock - with Pochettino rewarding the striker's recent goalscoring exploits with a place in the starting line-up instead of Emmanuel Adebayor.
Christian Eriksen found Chadli in space and, after dancing straight through the heart of the Stoke defence, the Belgian whipped a cross onto the head of Kane, only for the in-form striker to head directly into the arms of Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.
Begovic's clearance upfield caused havoc in the Spurs defence, releasing Mame Biram Diouf and sending the Senegalese striker on a collision course with the on-rushing home keeper, Hugo Lloris.
After treating their injured striker Stoke regrouped and collected the ball just inside their half. After some intricate one-touch play, Bojan found space and, after running unopposed to the edge of the Tottenham area, he unleashed a low shot past the unsighted Lloris to give the visitors the lead.
Phil Bardsley’s return to first-team action after suspension lasted just nine minutes, with the injured full-back replaced by Geoff Cameron. But the Potters were not fazed by the early enforced change, and launched a series of counters through Victor Moses and Walters in search of a second goal.
Stoke were dealt another blow as Mark Wilson hobbled off on 25 minutes but, once again, Marc Muniesa's entrance seemed effortless to the visitors who doubled their advantage within 10 minutes of the change.
Danny Rose’s hacked clearance appeared to relieve pressure but the ball was headed back into the path of Diouf by Ryan Shawcross and, after gathering, the striker found the unmarked Walters in the penalty area and he steered past Lloris.
The half-time whistle was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Tottenham faithful, and manager Pochettino rang the changes for the start of the second period, bringing Erik Lamela and Moussa Dembele on for the ineffective duo of Townsend and Eriksen.
With the fears of letting a two-goal lead slip fresh in their minds following last week’s 2-2 draw with West Ham, Stoke pushed for a third goal but Moses’ curled effort was comfortably saved by Lloris.
It was Tottenham, however, who had a clearer opportunity to score as goalscorer Walters was caught in the unfamiliar right-back position and came under pressure from Rose and Kane. The Irishman’s scuffed clearance ricocheted around the area but Kane was unable to get a shot away and Stoke cleared their lines.
Kane was presented with an even better opportunity to reduce the arrears just moments later. Lamela’s whipped delivery from a free-kick on the left was met by the England Under-21 international but his glancing header missed the target, and a route back into the game for the host, with Begovic stranded.
Frustration set in throughout the Tottenham ranks, and this was illustrated when Rose lashed out at Walters after the pair tussled for possession. Younes Kaboul’s attempt to resolve the dispute fell on deaf ears and the Spurs captain sought his own retribution in the next phase of play - lunging high on the Stoke striker and being booked for his troubles by referee Mike Jones.
After seeing Moses and Steven N’Zonzi fail to capitalise on yet more anxious home defending, Spurs mounted a final challenge to get back into the game, with Begovic’s finger-tip save denying Lamela’s exquisite free kick.
But Tottenham had the ball in the net two minutes later, and in emphatic style, as Chadli volleyed powerfully past Begovic from a tight angle.
However, hopes of a grandstand finish for the home side were dashed five minutes before time as Naughton chopped down Moses as the forward sprinted past the right-back and through on goal and referee Jones brandished a straight red.
The result sees Stoke leapfrog Tottenham, who fell to their fourth home defeat in the league this season, into ninth place in the Premier League. Mauricio Pochettino's men, meanwhile, find themselves languishing in 12th, a point behind Sunday's opponents.