Monday, August 15, 2022

Can Stoke City Exploit The Lack Of Attacking Intensity In Pochettino’s Side?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

The Premier League this season has certainly become more competitive with the amount of quality added to the 20 squads in the off-season. Many clubs brought in some big name players but one of the very few clubs that invested on exciting prospects was Mauricio Pochettino’s London outfit. Spurs, who gave Leicester a tough fight for the title in the previous season have started the new one decently. They are one of the six unbeaten sides in the league but have taken just 5 points from the first three games of the season. They will have a tough time this weekend up at Stoke as they will have to try and get the better of a Mark Hughes side that is looking stronger from before.

Pochettino’s style relies on a high-octane game that needs his players to be alert at every moment. He needs his defence to stay tight and win balls even before the opponents reach danger areas while the midfield makes life as hard as possible for the opponents to rotate the ball. They are a well-drilled side that know when to press and when to hold and were exceptional for most parts of the previous season. The level of intensity is understandably low at this early stage of the season and this has seen them drop points against both Merseyside opponents in the first month of the league.

Against Liverpool, they were cut open time and again by the sizzling play from Jurgen Klopp’s front line and if not for the wasteful finishing from the visitors, Tottenham would not have got even a single point from the game. They looked lethargic in midfield and allowed the Reds plenty of time on the ball and though their attack had its moments in the final third, they were not the better side on the pitch on the night.

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The likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, who were a huge influence in the team’s play in the final third have blown hot and cold this season and that has also effected the performances of the likes of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, the two wide men.

Though club record signing Moussa Sissoko may be take Lamela’s place in the side for the game against Stoke, they are also set to miss out on the services of Danny Rose at left back which will see Pochettino’s side go into the game against the Potters with less than ‘full-confidence’. Mark Hughes side have made a horrific start to their season  losing back to back matches against Manchester City and Everton after picking up a single point against newly promoted Middlesbrough but in none of their matches have they looked extremely poor. They are currently at the bottom of the Premier League table with just a point from the first three games but this visit from the Spurs might be a much needed boost for the side.

Spurs have been poor at times during their campaign this season and have looked anything but sharp. The international break will also have taken its toll on the players which make them vulnerable to the home side this weekend. The Bet365 Stadium is a hard place to take three points from and though Mark Hughes will miss the services of Xherdan Shaqiri, the likes of Joe Allen, Glen Whelan, Giannelli Imbula and Marko Arnautovic have shown good form giving them every chance to get the better of the visitors on the night. Pochettino will know the threats that the Potters possess and if Stoke can exploit the weaknesses, the Spurs may have a long night at Stoke. Do you think the Spurs can keep their unbeaten run intact this weekend?

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