Britannia Stadium

Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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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.


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

Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Aston Villa (Lineups and Discuss)

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Both Stoke and Aston Villa look to recover from losses to Manchester United when the sides meet at the Britannia Stadium (10 a.m. ET; watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

The hosts are fresh from a mid-week loss to United, which knocked them out of the League Cup. In Premier League play, however, the Potters are doing just fine. Stoke are in 13th and are unbeaten in their last three, with one of those matches including a 3-2 victory over Chelsea.

Of course, that win was bracketed by two goalless draws, something Stoke are quite talent at: they’ve already had four this season. Villa have been involved in three such matches. Both sides are averaging about a goal apiece. And, with Christian Benteke still not able to score, Paul Lambert has kept the Belgian out of the lineup entirely. Instead, Andi Weimann and Libor Kozák will lead the line.

Give us your thoughts — is there any way this match will provide more than a goal apiece?


Stoke City: Begović, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Walters, Nzonzi, Arnautović, Whelan, Assaidi, Crouch

Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Pennant, Palacios, Jones, Adam, Wilkinson

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Herd, Baker, Westwood, Delph, Tonev, Albrighton, Weimann, Kozák

Subs: Steer, Bacuna, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Luna, Bowery, Sylla

Stoke 0-0 West Brom: Albion extend their unbeaten run (video)

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Stephane Sessegnon got things started with an early shot off a ball from Victor Anichebe, but the Albion attacker couldn’t control his strike, sending it high and wide. 10 minutes later Sessegnon missed a great chance to put West Brom ahead, beating two Stoke defenders to get himself into good position. However, he elected to shoot straight at Begovic, giving the keeper an easy save.

Stoke’s best chance of the first half came just before the break. From a free kick, Marko Arnautovic slipped the ball through to Stephen Ireland, but the midfielder’s strike was cleared away.

The Potters produced a slightly more breathtaking moment in the second half. Charlie Adam tried his luck from near the halfway line — well, why not, right? — and actually managed to force Boaz Myhill to hoof it back to goal, getting there just in time to tip the ball over the bar.

West Brom very nearly nicked a win in the dying minutes of the match, as the Canaries piled on the pressure. Again Sessegnon was involved, latching on to the end of a ball from Liam Ridgewell and running past two red-and-white shirts. His sharp shot was on target but Begovic managed to hang on to it, preserving Stoke’s clean sheet once again.

Stoke: Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters (Jones 57), Ireland, Nzonzi, Adam (Wilson 80), Assaidi; Arnautovic (Palacios 90)

Subs not used: Sorensen, Whelan, Crouch, Etherington

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Yacob, Mulumbu, Amalfitano (Morrison 62), Sessegnon, Berahino (Anelka 62), Anichebe (Long 75)

Subs not used: L Daniels, Brunt, Vydra, Dawson

Who will get relegated with QPR and Reading?

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With the Premier League title race done and dusted, the fight for relegation will get even more focus than usual from now until the end of the season.

With QPR and Reading virtually relegated, barring a miracle for either side, who will join them in the Championship next season?

The side who currently lie in the relegation zone are Wigan. They are known for their heroic end-of-season form, however, and do have two games in hand on those above them. Although the FA Cup final against Manchester City could act as a distraction, they have a little too much quality to go down.

Aston Villa are just outside the bottom three, and one week they leave you impressed after a great win but then they go and draw with Fulham in a game they had to be winning. They are a very young side lacking in experience, which could work against them when the really vital games arrive in the last two or three games. What they would give to have captain Stilian Petrov fit and bossing the midfield. You feel it could go right up to the final day with Paul Lambert’s side.

Stoke are level on points with Villa, and they are unquestionably the most out of form side in the Premier League. Since Christmas they have got less points than anyone, and coach Tony Pulis is under huge pressure now. Their home form used to win them so many points, but the Britannia Stadium is not the fortress it once was. If they don’t start scoring soon and playing more positively away from home, they will be relegated.

source: Getty Images

Sunderland and Norwich are the only other two sides in danger if going down. Paolo Di Canio’s arrival at Sunderland has given them a massive boost, and their 3-0 derby win over Newcastle was huge. You feel that they have momentum in their favour and that they will be safe. Norwich have the ability to grind out important wins at home, and there’s just a few too many sides below them for them to get sucked into the bottom three.

At the moment it looks like Aston Villa and Stoke will be the ones battling it out for safety, with Stoke the one’s seriously lacking confidence. If Wigan lose their games in hand, however, they will be favourites to join QPR and Reading, but they just have enough in their ranks to avoid the drop for yet another season.