Tottenham Hotspur will look to put their Premier League struggles behind them when they travel to Stoke City in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday at 5.30pm (UK time).
Jose Mourinho’s men have surrendered top spot in the Premier League after taking just five points from their last five games, dropping to sixth in the table. However, their search for a first piece of silverware since 2008 continues here with a trip to the Potteries.
Where to watch Stoke vs Spurs on TV:
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- US: ESPN+
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Scoreline prediction: Stoke 0-2 Spurs
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Stoke vs Spurs build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Leicester have left a title challenge looking much less likely for Spurs, who are now six points adrift of the Premier League summit. However, Mourinho is a specialist when it comes to cup competitions and there’s no doubting the mood around north London would be lifted by sealing a place in the EFL Cup semi-finals.
To reach that stage, the Lilywhites are going to have to get past a Stoke City side on a run of just one defeat in their last seven Championship outings, keeping six clean sheets and conceding only two goals during that time.
Michael O’Neill’s men are seventh in the table and after two years of mediocrity, look set to challenge for a return to the Premier League. With that in mind, the Potters would be forgiven for placing this fixture down their list of priorities, despite the illustrious opposition.
- Stoke (vs Blackburn): Bursik; Collins, Souttar, Chester, Fox; Cousins, Tymon; Brown, Powell, Ince; Fletcher.
- Spurs (vs Leicester): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Lo Celso*, Ndombele, Son; Kane.
O’Neill’s squad is littered with injures. Among those absent for the visit of Spurs are Adam Davies, Joe Allen, Sam Clucas, John Obi Mikel and Tyrese Campbell.
Japhet Tanganga and Erik Lamela remain sidelined for Spurs while Giovani Lo Celso is a doubt. Mourinho is likely to heavily rotate for this fixture given their lower league opposition.
Players to watch:
- Stoke: With Spurs certain to dominate possession and territory, Stoke’s current defensive prowess is going to take on even more importance on Wednesday. Leading that watertight backline has been 22-year-old centre-back, Harry Souttar. The two-time Australia international tops the pile when it comes to clearances (79), blocked shots (10) and successful aerial duels (70) among Stoke players in the Championship so far this season, while he also ranks third for interceptions (18). Souttar’s measured-yet-robust style of defending might well be the Potters’ last protection against Spurs’ considerable attacking threat, while the player himself will likely see this match as a chance to prove himself against top-class opposition.
- Spurs: Gareth Bale has had to be patient in waiting for time on the pitch since returning to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid, managing just 554 minutes in the Premier League and Europe League combined. That said, the Wales international has found the net twice, scoring the winner against Brighton at the start of November before netting in a 3-3 Europa League draw with LASK earlier this month. With Mourinho certain to rotate ahead of the busy festive schedule, the Portuguese tactician will be placing a lot of faith in Bale’s ability to supercharge the Spurs attack.
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