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.
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.
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 MyTopSportsbooks.com 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.
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.
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.
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.