Tottenham may well have topped their Champions League group and also been the team have scored the most points in the group stages this season (16 from 18) but since their demolition of Real Madrid they have been lost at sea when on domestic waters.
Today they return home after two away fixtures and will finally look to put an end to a run of Premier League results which has seen them earn just two points from a possible 12 while also seeing them fall to a staggering 18 points behind current league leaders Manchester City.
There is no question that any hopes of winning the league this season have gone up in smoke after their recent run of results but at least their efforts in midweek would have gone somewhere to boosting what could be perceived as fragile confidence as of late.
That however is not the only thing that is fragile at the moment as Tottenham are lacking defensive personnel due to a combination of factors, those factors being the fact in addition to Toby Alderweireld’s long term absence Mauricio Pochettino now has to deal with the suspension of Davinson Sanchez.
The Colombian was sent off against Watford and now misses the next three Premier League outings – including this one. This means that he will not feature against Manchester City next Saturday, not only that though but Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier are walking a disciplinary tightropes themselves.
The Belgian centre defender is just one booking away from a suspension while the versatile England international is only two bookings away from the same punishment with two matches between this fixture and a trip to the Etihad which does not perhaps take on the same high stakes as it would have three weeks ago before Spurs form had gone South.
Today they go up against a Stoke side who picked up their first win in five matches last weekend when they faced Swansea at the Bet365 Stadium. It was a win that sees Mark Hughes’ men move up to 13th in the table and just puts a comfortable buffer between themselves and the bottom three.
There is no doubting that Xhedran Shaqiri is currently something of a purple patch of form and on his day he will give any opposition a headache, the question is though whether he has enough of those days. Tottenham will certainly be hoping that is not the case.
Stoke are not quite looking over their shoulder at the moment, although that said they cannot afford to rest on their laurels what with their current league standing and if they ranking of 13th is to improve then they will have to sort out their defensive issues.
The Potters have the second worst defensive record in the Premier League this season, conceding 30 goals from their first 15 matches. An average of exactly two goals a game, that is something that Tottenham will be looking to take advantage of this afternoon but keep in mind they have only scored more than once at home in the Premier League on one single occasion – that being the 4-1 win over Liverpool back in October.
It is fair to say that the ‘lesser teams’ for use of a better phrase have worked out a template to frustrate Tottenham in front of goal, with West Brom, Burnley and Swansea working it to it’s maximum and in doing so leaving Wembley with a share of the points.
So you would imagine that Mark Hughes will look to utilise the exact same game plan later today, although the loss of Bruno Martins Indi last week due to injury will no doubt be a blow. This could mean a recall for former Tottenham defender Kevin Wimmer to face his former employers.
Is this the day that Tottenham finally put their run of bad domestic results, considering I will be in attendance I sincerely hope so. As for predictions every one I have given from the North London derby has been wrong, so lets all hope that the home fans in attendance have a lovely time.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 8, 2017