Tottenham vs. Stoke: Complete EPL Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2012

Tottenham vs. Stoke: Complete EPL Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups

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    Spurs welcome Stoke to White Hart Lane on Saturday for a fixture they haven't tasted victory in over the past three games.

    Andre Villas-Boas' side need a win to keep hold of fourth, while three points for the visitors could see them finish the game in the Premier League's top six.

    Since Stoke's return to top flight football these teams have met eight times in the league, with Tottenham shading the head-to-head by four wins to three.

    There has also been one draw, and the Potters successfully knocked Spurs out of last season's Carling Cup on penalties.

    This should be a decent game between two of the form sides in the league, bringing together two contrasting styles. Here's a look at some team news and each side's possible lineup.

Spurs Team News

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    After missing the previous two games with hamstring injuries, Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson are back in contention for action against Stoke.

    Scott Parker made his long awaited return from injury against Swansea last week, coming on during the dying embers of the game. He will certainly hope for a few more minutes this week.

    Benoit Assou-Ekotto is also back in training and is nearing a return, although Younes Kaboul remains on the treatment table.

    Emmanuel Adebayor was hauled off with an injury against Swansea, but should be fit enough to start.

Stoke Team News

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    Charlie Adam seems unlikely to feature for Stoke, after the tragic news of his father's death this week. The former Liverpool man has understandably been granted compassionate leave and Tony Pulis has said he can return when he wants.

    Right-back Ryan Shotton is back from his one-match ban, but Andy Wilkinson played well against Everton and should continue, leaving the versatile Geoff Cameron at left-back in Marc Wilson's absence. 

    Pulis is still without his long throw-in specialist Rory Delap, and Michael Owen also seems unlikely to be involved, but other than that he has a full squad to choose from.

    Peter Crouch will be keen to start against his former club. He has emerged from the bench in the past two games with a gumshield, after losing three teeth in the match against Newcastle.

Projected Lineups

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    Tottenham (4-4-2)

    Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen; Aaron Lennon, Sandro, Moussa Dembele, Gareth Bale; Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe.

    Tottenham had a defensive reshuffle after defeat to Everton, with Naughton replacing Steven Caulker, and Vertonghen switching over to centre-back.

    This worked well against Swansea, although Stoke's height and obvious threat from set-pieces may well tempt Villas-Boas to bring in Dawson and revert Vertonghen to left-back.

    Presuming Bale is fit enough to return, he will slot straight back in, and then it is a decision over which of Adebayor and Clint Dempsey misses out. A selection which will determine the formation.

    Roared on by a home crowd, Villas-Boas is more likely to favour a 4-4-2 approach, as long as Adebayor recovers from his recent knock.


    Stoke (4-5-1)

    Asmir Begovic; Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Geoff Cameron; Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, Steven N'Zonzi, Dean Whitehead, Matthew Etherington; Peter Crouch.

    Tony Pulis' side should remain largely the same as in recent weeks, although Charlie Adam's probable absence will leave a decision to be made in midfield. 

    Whitehead is most likely to come in, but Wilson Palacios will keen to face his previous side.

    Pulis' other dilemma is whether or not to bring in Crouch for Kenwyne Jones, who finally broke his 27-game scoring duck against Everton last week.

    Etherington is another hoping to face his former club, and he should stay in the side over Michael Kightly.