Stoke hold Tottenham at bay in White Hart Lane stalemate
Last Updated: 23/12/12 8:16am
Jermain Defoe battles with Robert Huth in a tight first half
Tottenham Hotspur were frustrated by an impressive Stoke City defence as their Premier League clash at White Hart Lane finished goalless.
Asmir Begovic was superbly protected throughout the match but pulled off a wonderful save when it was needed in stoppage time to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's header.
Best of the Match
- Man of the match: Ryan Shawcross. It was a fantastic defensive performance from Stoke as a team but Shawcross gets the nod for a series of crucial blocks and tackles.
- Save of the match: Only save of note in the match and it was a blinder, as Asmir Begovic dived to his right to parry away Gylfi Sigurdsson's well-directed header.
- Moment of the match: Kenwyne Jones missed a good chance inside the opening minute. If he had scored, the game is likely to have been much more open.
- Talking point: Do Stoke have the strongest defence in the league this season? What do Spurs need to do to push on and secure a top-four finish?
It would have been cruel on Tony Pulis' side if they had gone away empty-handed after carving out a number of chances on the counter-attack, as both teams kept up their solid form from recent weeks.
Tottenham were boosted by the return to fitness of Gareth Bale, while Michael Dawson also came back into the starting XI, but it was Stoke who started the strongest and they could have taken the lead inside the opening minute when Kenwyne Jones seized on a stray pass from Kyle Walker and blazed over.
Jones then went close again following a fast Stoke break on 15 minutes, as Hugo Lloris got a vital touch to his deflected effort from a tight angle and Matthew Etherington was just unable to latch onto the rebound at the far post.
Stoke were also showing the sort of defensive organisation that has made them so difficult to beat this season and frustrations threatened to boil over as the challenges flew in on both sides.
Tottenham gradually emerged as an attacking force as the first half developed and Emmanuel Adebayor headed over following a great run and cross by Bale, while Jermain Defoe and Mousa Dembele shot wide from distance.
Bale headed agonisingly over early in the second period following good work by Aaron Lennon, while Defoe had a shot blocked by Shawcross.
Stoke kept threatening on the break and Ryan Shotton passed up a glorious opportunity when he fired tamely at Hugo Lloris, but it was largely a rearguard effort in the closing stages as Spurs piled on the pressure.
Bale had an appeal for a penalty waved away after being bundled into by Cameron Jerome, before Begovic brilliantly denied Sigurdsson.
Both sides had to settle for a point in the end, leaving Tottenham very much in contention for a top-four spot as they head into Christmas and Stoke secure in mid-table.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||2|
|61.3||1st Half Poss.||38.7|
|64.9||2nd Half Poss.||35.1|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||30||42|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||30||33|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||30||22|