Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur: EFL Semi Final Slot up for Grabs
We last played in the EFL Cup on September 29 with a penalty shootout victory over Chelsea taking us through to the quarter finals. Waiting for us in the next round is a trip to face the Potters and a chance for some fringe players to prove that they really can do it on a wet Wednesday night in Stoke.
The game is set to kick off at 5.30pm so let’s see what we can expect at the bet365 Stadium.
With the Europa League taking a break until the New Year, Jose Mourinho can look to put out a relatively strong side on Wednesday. Of course, there is a trophy to be won so we may even see some of the first choice XI – Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane included.
It is, however, more likely that the second string will kick things off so expect to see the likes of Joe Hart, Carlos Vinicius and Harry Winks involved. It;s probably not a night for Dane Scarlett, Harvey White and Dennis Cirkin although it would be good to see them, and others, get some game time.
In terms of definite and potential absentees, Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga have seen their return dates pushed back into the New Year. For further, confirmed updates, check out the manager’s press conference ahead of the game.
Spurs go into this game as clear favourites and the best odds on the away win currently stand at 4/7 with Betway. The draw in 90 minutes is next up at a top price of 7/2 with BetFred while the same bookmaker has the best numbers on a Stoke victory at 5/1.
Remember, those are the figures for the result in 90 minutes and they exclude any possible extra time. That leaves us with a separate To Qualify market where Tottenham are at 5/18 with VBet while Stoke City are listed at 12/5 with the same bookmaker.
Having struggled in their first season back in the Championship, Stoke have been far more solid this year and are looking to mount a serious promotion challenge. Michael O’Neill’s men come into this game in seventh place, just outside of the playoffs, and have lost just once in their last five. Depending on the side that the Potters put out, this could be a much tougher evening than the markets suggest.
The odds setters will not try to second guess line ups, especially when it comes to the individual goal scorer markets. The first choice players lead the way and that means that Harry Kane is favourite to open the scoring at best odds of 29/10 with Unibet and 888Sport. The same bookmakers have Carlos Vinicius at a top price of 19/5 and Son Heung-Min at an industry best of 4/1.
Moving through the list, Gareth Bale is next at 19/4, followed by Dele Alli at 7/1, Steven Bergwijn at 15/2 and Lucas Moura at 15/2. Once again, all of those figures are with Unibet and 888Sport.
The first name as far as Stoke are concerned is Steven Fletcher who is on offer at 17/2 – also with Unibet and 888Sport – while teammate Sam Vokes is quoted at 9/1 with the same two sportsbooks yet again.
In other side markets, Both Teams to Score in the first 90 minutes is available at 4/7 with Betway. Interestingly, Stoke have kept four clean sheets in their last five so that may not be a good indicator, especially when we have scored just twice in our last three.
Moving across to the total goals betting and there are best odds in place of 4/7 from GentingBet to go Over the 2.5 line. Pushing that to Over 3.5 brings 13/10 with SportNation and RedZone but we suspect that this is a day to be more conservative. A tight match suggests that Under 2.5 goals could be the bet to consider and this is listed at 6/4 with BetFred.
We’ll finish, as usual, with a correct score suggestion and our preference here would be for a 1-1 draw on 90 minutes which is on offer at 15/2 with Betway.
Head to Head
During their stay in the Premier League, Stoke became known as a physical side who were tough to beat, either home or away. Their direct style of play and that ridiculously long throw into danger areas courtesy of Rory Delap became their trademark.
Stoke’s dip towards relegation came as key players left and weren’t adequately replaced. A number of teams took advantage, including Spurs who recorded a number of big wins against struggling Potters’ teams.
Wednesday’s encounter will be the 95th senior match between the two sides since Stoke and Spurs first met in the FA Cup back in 1896. In the previous 94 encounters, we’ve won 48, Stoke have claimed 26 and there have been 20 draws.
We mentioned that strong recent record and we have won each of the last five games, scoring at least four goals in four of those matches. It’s interesting to look back but clearly it’s all about registering that 49th win this week.
Clearly a lot depends on the strength of the team that Jose puts out. There is silverware at stake as we go deep into a competition but is the EFL Cup seen as our lowest priority right now? If I were completely neutral, I would be seriously tempted by the draw in 90 minutes based on our likely second string starting XI and Stoke’s bright(ish) start to the season.
In fact, let’s start with that bet: We rarely tip the match result but we’ve talked ourselves into the scenario where the sides are level at the end of normal time.
We don’t think that there will be too many goals in it. While it’s debatable as to how much we can read into league form, neither side has exactly been prolific in front of the net but, they’ve both been relatively tight at the back. Under 2.5 goals is the next tip but you could go for that 1-1 correct score if you’re comfortable with more exposure.
Finally, it’s been sad to see Gareth Bale’s return to Spurs start to turn a little sour and Jose’s reluctance to use him has now led to rumours of a return to Real Madrid. That’s another discussion entirely but he could play a bigger part here so we’ll finish by backing an anytime Bale goal. Remember, all of these bets are for the first 90 minutes, excluding any potential extra time.
- The Draw at 7/2 with BetFred
- Under 2.5 Goals at 6/4 with BetFred
- Gareth Bale to score at any time in 90 minutes at 13/10 with 888Sport