Stoke 0 Spurs 1: inside left channel key

A fiery encounter will be much more remembered than the football, as our Premier League clash finished Stoke 0 Spurs 1 at the Britannia.

The atmosphere bordered on the verge of poisonous as Danny Rose was cast in the role of villain. Our left back had initially been the hero, putting us ahead from a goal created through the inside left channel. This corridor was the source of our best opportunities in what was a rather limited tactical game.

Danny Rose

Before being taken off for his own safety, Danny Rose was having a very decent match. The left back was being a real presence both with and without the ball.

As looked at in the Tottenham tactics for Stoke vs Spurs prior to the game, the Potters look to attack by getting the ball quickly forward to Marko Arnautovic. Over on the other side, Geoff Cameron is also a major influence as Peter Odemwingie drifts inside like a wide forward.

Here, Cameron had more touches of the ball than any other Stoke player, but Rose did an excellent job of pushing both him and Odemwingie back.


Danny Rose tackles, Stoke 0 Spurs 1.

This really helped keep Stoke’s chance creation to Arnautovic over on the other side.

Going forward, Rose played with his usually boundless energy. With Christian Eriksen drifting inside, the full back had to provide the width and an out ball down the left and he did this often in the first half.

Nacer Chadli was playing the ball out to him from the centre, whilst Emmanuel Adebayor was also moving out to this side to compensate for Eriksen drifting infield. Adebayor’s minor altercation with Charlie Adam on the touchline as he tried to keep a ball in-play was a consequence of the Dane and the Togolese’s dovetailing.

Rose’s energy to get forward was rewarded with the opening goal of the match, a strike that you could’ve backed at for a good profit. His headed effort was created through the inside left channel, Stoke’s area of weakness.

Inside left channel key

With Marc Wilson standing in for Robert Huth, we looked at how Stoke have been vulnerable through their inside left channel in the Tottenham tactics.

The Potters have been using Glenn Whelan and Steven N’Zonzi as a screen to offer protection for him in front. They’ve also been tucking their full backs in to provide a safety net from the sides.

Danny Rose managed to jet forward and head home, but our goal was created through Stoke’s inside left channel, as these players were taken out of the equation.

Full back Marc Muniesa was separated from the rest of his defence, leaving a huge space between him and left-sided centre back Marc Wilson. This channel had to be filled by the two central screening players, Steven N’Zonzi and Glenn Whelan, taking them out of the game once Adebayor had skipped past the latter.


Adebayor skips through the inside left channel.

The Togolese striker got to the by line, giving him a much shorter crossing distance. This season, Stoke’s defence have been able to deal with longer crosses that they have time to see coming in, but the shorter ones have caused them trouble. Opposition players are usually more accurate with these shorter ones due to the reduced distance to their target and the defence’s reaction time being less.

Harry Kane took the attention of Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson at the near post. However, at the far, Geoff Cameron has been guilty of losing runners recently. Here he was caught pinching in tight to his centre backs, as has been his job to help protect Wilson, but he was unaware of Rose ghosting in. His slip on the turn as the ball came back across the area was fatal. Peter Odemwingie was supposed to be covering as Cameron tucks in with his centre backs, but he was also caught on his heels and couldn’t stop Rose heading home.


Adebayor provides a short cross for Rose.

Stoke spent the rest of the game covering this channel, but it was the source of our only other real chance of significance.

This time Paulinho charged through to take a neat layoff from Gylfi Sigurdsson and should have done better when faced by Asmir Begovic.

Marc Wilson was sucked in by the Icelander coming short, giving the Brazilian acres to run in to.


Paulinho charges through the inside left channel.

Stoke down to ten

Whilst Danny Rose was having a good game, everything blew up around Ryan Shawcross. The Stoke defender was at the centre of several controversial moments and ended up receiving his marching orders.

Early on, he went down after an altercation with Emmanuel Adebayor. He claimed an elbow, but replays were inconclusive.

Later, he dumped Christian Eriksen on to the ground and rightly received his first yellow card. Shawcross was caught in an area he didn’t want to be in having been pulled out to the left flank. Eriksen’s quick feet to knock the ball past the Stoke man saw them quickly taken away from him in unceremonious fashion.

Shawcross then received his second booking for a rather clumsy and unnecessary tackle on Danny Rose. Hugo Lloris shanked the ball forward and Shawcross went flying in towards the full back as he brought the ball down. The challenge was late and thoroughly deserving of a second yellow.

Rose then became the focal point for the frustration of the crowd and the Stoke players. His resolve would be tested and he was fortunate to stay on the pitch after shoving Geoff Cameron. The American had dumped him on the ground in an attempt to wind him up and succeeded. Rose was now firmly cast in the role of villain.

In amongst all this Mark Hughes had made two changes to try and get at Rose. After having control of the flank, his mind wasn’t on the game and the red mist was descending.

The Stoke boss removed Peter Crouch for Oussama Assaidi and switched the dangerous Marko Arnautovic to Rose’s side. This was an attempt to get Rose to pick up a second booking against the dangerous dribbling Austrian.

The ball was moved every time out to Arnautovic and whilst Rose didn’t pick up another booking, the Austrian did put in a perfect cross for Steven N’Zonzi. The Frenchman could only head wide though when a header back across goal was surely the better option.

Rose was then removed for his own safety and Stoke were arguably the better team despite being down a man. They created their best chances from crosses as Peter Odemwingie also put a great chance over, but also got free between the lines.

With box-to-box players in our midfield and the lack of a natural holding player, we’ve had this trouble leaving space here for much of the season. Arnautovic once again got free between the lines from an Odemwingie flick on, but could only muster a tame effort straight at Hugo Lloris.

Stoke 0 Spurs 1 overall

Both managers were quick to focus on the Danny Rose situation, which cast a shadow over the whole game. Tim Sherwood said his” heart was in his mouth.” Mark Hughes was all over Andre Marriner, trying to blame the referee and the recent games “that have highlighted some of his decisions.”

Mariner may have given the wrong man his marching orders at Stamford Bridge, but rightly showed Shawcross red after two bookable offences here.

What followed took the attention away from what had initially been a good outing for Rose. He had control of the left flank, restricting Geoff Cameron from getting forward, whilst also playing the majority of the match in the opposition half. His goal was due reward for his efforts, but he became the villain of the piece after being subjected to two fouls by Stoke players.

Tim Sherwood’s decision to remove him was a good one. This is especially from a coach who has been bleating about playing with guts, heart and effort in the face of adversity since he took over. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if he had left Rose out there as a ‘test of character.’

The move did stop the situation getting out of hand and we almost made it 2-0 as Paulinho charged through Stoke’s weaker inside left channel right at the end.

The focus though was always going to be on the incidents in the match, rather than the tactics.

Final score: Stoke 0 Spurs 1.

If you enjoyed this post, please share:

, , ,

11 Responses to Stoke 0 Spurs 1: inside left channel key

  1. Simon W 28th April 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Interesting analysis. I hadn’t noticed the tactical changes designed to rile the headstrong young Rose. He obviously has talent enough and is physically strong, but he can be frustratingly erratic, especially in his defensive work. Not helped of course by not having a defensively competent midfielder/winger to assist, which AL does so well on the other side.

    I think Tim Sherwood has done a great job considering his inexperience and I hope he goes on to prosper in the lower leagues to develop his skills and knowledge. However, he’s not sufficiently qualified (literally and figuratively!) to be head coach of a team with CL ambitions. Glad van Gaal is out of the running though – looks like a nasty piece of work and I’m personally against trying to catch top managers past their peak. I’m hoping we can bring in a young, dynamic and progressive coach with a thorough tactical awareness earned in top-level European football who can start building a well-oiled, well-coordinated team that is greater than the sum of its parts. While David Moyes has done this well at Everton for many years, I couldn’t bear to see his style of play at Tottenham. I really bought into the AVB plan and was disappointed to find it fail due to inflexibility/stubborness/lack of imagination on his part and unwise recruitment decisions by those around him. Still, I’m generally optimistic about next season. Hopefully we can retain the top talent (except Vertonghen – he’s been a real fair-weather player) and develop a more coherent playing style under an exciting new manager. Let’s see what the summer brings!

    P.S. For those laying into Paulinho lately, I think you need to bear in mind that he has been selected for the Brazilian national team for the World Cup – i.e. he’s going to be playing for one of the greatest footballing nations in his home country. Contrast this with playing out the season for under-achieving Spurs in a country that is still largely alien to him and you can see why he might be doing his best not to get injured and playing at a canter. I’m hoping this is the case anyway!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th April 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Good comment Simon. I agree about van Gaal, his actions and comments don’t really fill me with confidence that he’d be a long term appointment, something i’ve been saying on here for months.

      Paulinho looks to be getting better and hopefully we can hang on to him as i think he’ll be a very good asset next season. As you say he is probably cruising towards the World Cup as it’s in his home country too.

  2. T Ber 28th April 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Lets look at some facts and stop dreaming, stoke 51% possession 17 shots on goal 3 on target, Spurs 49% possession 16 shots on goal 4 on target. Two spur players should have been sent off, Spurs very luck !!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th April 2014 at 11:03 am #

      What’s there to dream about? Your stats highlight that it was a very even game, but the extra one we had on target was the difference to making it 1-0.

      • T Ber 29th April 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        That’s my point, stoke match and out played you in the second half, at times with ease with ten men, what would they have done if had gone down to 9 men, which you should have done. Reading the above make sound as if you were all over stoke, I think not.

        You moan about charlie Adams, what about Adebayor stunt, an elbow in the face, You don’t see stoke run off to the FA trying to get him banned

        I think you have a few excellent players, tell them they don’t need to dive and cheat to win

  3. AnythingButPenalties 29th April 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Interesting how Hughes deliberately targeted Rose. The way he was treated really annoyed me, tantamount to bullying.

    Funny how Sherwood keeps picking up points, I think he has Lloris largely to thank for that. Would you say he was player of the season?

    • T Ber 29th April 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      I would be annoyed if a player when down and rolled around as if he had got a career ending injury and then jumps up and carries on playing as if nothing had happened, is that not called cheating!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th April 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Gamesmanship really, i think any half decent manager would target a volatile player by trying to draw him in to a second foul and booking.

      Lloris gets my vote as he’s been our most consistently good player all season. Kyle Walker is in the discussion as well, i think his absence has highlighted how valuable he is for us. Adebayor is also in the mix, but he’s only played for half of the campaign.

      • T Ber 29th April 2014 at 3:52 pm #

        Which player are you referring to, Shawcross, volatile, do your home work son!!! but of course you me Rose, sorry

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th April 2014 at 5:08 pm #

          Yes i meant Rose, that’s why Hughes put someone who can dribble the ball and draw fouls (Arnautovic) on to his side.

  4. SomeDude 2nd May 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Didn’t get to see the game but happy with the win and glad Rose got a goal, he’s been looking hungry for one for a while. Based on the amount of Stoke fans here you can see why the Potters are a hard team to go to, especially since they don’t have much to play for. I know many people either don’t care if we qualify or assume we have but it should be noted that we are only one dropped point from missing out. So to all fans thinking the rest of the season is irrelevant you should either be hoping for a win or a loss based on your preference. I for one will be hoping for 3 wins to take us into Europe again.

    Can I also just say that last night saw some great Europa League games.