Tottenham still hold faint hopes of securing the last Champions League berth, but they’ll need to beat Stoke City at the fortress of the Britannia if they want to keep that dream alive (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).
Tim Sherwood is confident that his success in the Premier League should be enough for him to stay on as manager of Spurs, but a dramatic late push for fourth would certainly sweeten the pot. With Everton losing to Southampton at the time of this writing, Tottenham should be a bit more fired up about their chances, but even if they manage to get past Stoke, Spurs will still need to hope Arsenal falter against a Newcastle side with nothing to play for.
It may seem as though Stoke, too, have nothing to play for, sitting 10th with 44 points. But the Potters, who’ve been revived this season under Mark Hughes, are still eager to impress. They’re aiming for their highest-ever Premier League finish, securing a top-half berth for the first time. And having lost just twice at the Britannia this season, it’s hard to imagine Stoke will be intimidated by Spurs’ visit.
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Hughes makes just one change from his side that drew 1-1 at Cardiff last weekend, and it’s one of necessity. Erik Pieters came off injured after thirty minutes last week, and so will start on the bench, with Marc Muniesa in the starting XI instead. The rest of the defense remains unchanged, as Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and Geoff Cameron prepare to stop the Spurs’ goal assault.
It’s just one change for Tottenham as well. Michael Dawson returns from injury, meaning Zeki Fryers no longer has to pretend he’s a center back, and can instead relax on the bench. Harry Kane, who has scored in each of his three Premier League starts, continues to get the nod up top alongside Emmanuel Adebayor.
Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Wilson, Shawcross, Muniesa; Arnautovic, Whelan, Nzonzi, Odemwingie; Ireland; Crouch
Subs: Sorensen; Pieters, Palacios, Adam, Walters, Assaidi, Wilkinson
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane
Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Bentaleb, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Soldado