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Premier League

  • 30 December 2013
  • • 03:00
  • • White Hart Lane, London
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 36072

Tottenham 3-0 Stoke City: Soldado sparks routine Spurs win

The Spaniard put away a first-half penalty before Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon completed a comfortable victory for Tim Sherwood's sides with strikes after the break

Roberto Soldado's fourth penalty of the season helped Tottenham to a 3-0 Premier League win over Stoke City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

The Spaniard coolly converted from 12 yards in the 37th minute after Ryan Shawcross had handled an Emmanuel Adebayor volley.

Soldado failed to convert several other chances from open play but it mattered little as Spurs made the game safe after the interval to secure a first home win under Tim Sherwood.

Mousa Dembele doubled the hosts' lead in the 65th minute as he sent a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards and, four minutes later, Aaron Lennon volleyed home a third.

By Liam Twomey
Tottenham are still not the sum of their illustrious parts and some of the demons of the Andre Villas-Boas era remain problematic but this was the most comfortable of victories.

In truth, Stoke City were more-than-accommodating opponents. Ryan Shawcross practically saved an Emmanuel Adebayor shot in the penalty area just when the home nerves were beginning to jangle and Mousa Dembele was granted all the time in the world to work space for the shot which made the game safe. The Potters have only scored more than once in two of their 29 Premier League visits to London and, with this lack of ambition, it is easy to see why.

Tim Sherwood will take particular pleasure in the performances of Aaron Lennon, Paulinho and Emmanuel Adebayor, who played as if his life (contract?) depended on it. He remains unbeaten in the league as Spurs boss and sits just three points off the top four. The north Londoners also look dangerous going forward again, even if only one of the goals came from open play and inside the area.

For Stoke, this defeat yields few positives. Their season will not be judged on matches like this but, by setting up so negatively, they are unlikely to win any new fans either.
The win moves Tottenham up to seventh place in the Premier League table, while Stoke - who mustered just one effort on target - are 12th after a second heavy defeat in succession.

Paulinho returned from suspension and Lennon made his comeback following injury as Sherwood made five changes to his Tottenham XI.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes called upon Andy Wilkinson and Wilson Palacios to replace the suspended Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson, who were sent off in a 5-1 defeat at Newcastle on Thursday.

Defender Zeki Fryers, making his first Premier League start for Tottenham, appeared fortunate not to be penalised as his side's last man early on when Jonathan Walters went to ground.

Aside from that incident, the hosts were much the stronger side in the first half and saw each of their strikers come close after 15 minutes.

After Stoke had a penalty claim waved away following a challenge from Michael Dawson on Oussama Assaidi, Soldado broke the deadlock.

Shawcross was penalised for blocking a goalbound volley from Adebayor with his arm and Soldado made no mistake from the spot when sending Thomas Sorensen the wrong way.

Stoke substitute Charlie Adam sent a free kick wide after the break, yet it was Spurs who remained the more dangerous.

Soldado missed another chance before his side's lead was doubled in the 65th minute through Dembele. The Belgium international was given far too much time on the edge of the penalty area and worked an opening before firing low across Sorensen and into the bottom-right corner for his first league goal of 2013-14.

Four minutes later, Tottenham's victory was secured as Lennon registered his first goal in 21 games. Adebayor failed to connect with a cross from Soldado but the ball ran to the winger, who volleyed confidently past Sorensen after the ball had sat up invitingly.

Peter Crouch had Stoke's only attempt on target when he met a late cross from Jermaine Pennant but the striker's tame header was comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris.