Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur: 6 Things We Learned
"At this stage of the season it is about trying to get points, it is not always pretty," Spurs manager Tim Sherwood said, per Sky Sports. "Sometimes you have to dig in and work for each other and they certainly didn't look like they had their sunglasses and flip-flops packed ready for holiday."
What a quote from Sherwood, whose tactics may be unconventional but are getting the results.
Tim Sherwood's Obsession with Nacer Chadli
The blown chances will cost Nacer Chadli the opportunity to prove his critics wrong and become a valuable contributor for Tottenham Hotspur.
Chadli was out of his depth in midfield and looked lost, whereas Stoke City's Glenn Whelan and Steven N'Zonzi were calm in possession, spread the ball and played like midfielders.
Oh wait, they are full-time midfielders, whereas Chadli is being thrown into an absurd situation.
He has gone from being a left-attacking midfielder to a deep-lying forward and now to a central midfielder.
Understand, he is not an emergency, fill-in, last-resort, stop-plug midfielder.
Spurs manager Tim Sherwood wrongly believes Chadli, a makeshift central midfielder who is learning the position as he plays, will benefit the team more than Nabil Bentaleb and Sandro, both of whom warmed the bench against Stoke City.
Danny Rose Was Excellent
Tottenham Hotspur left-back Danny Rose has been an easy target, given his mediocre-to-below-par displays, but he was excellent against Stoke City.
Rose was in the right place at the right time to head home Spurs centre-forward Emmanuel Adebayor's cross.
Stoke right-attacking midfielder Peter Odemwingie was shut down by Rose, who gave as good as he got, considering the hard fouls he endured from Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross and right-back Geoff Cameron.
Referee Andre Marriner exercised common sense and did not overact to Rose pushing Cameron in reaction to an over-the-top challenge.
Aside from an argy-bargy with Cameron, it was a promising game for Rose, who needs to play like this more often.
Aaron Lennon Back to Being Aaron Lennon
After Aaron Lennon notched an assist in successive Premier League games, naturally you thought he is back.
But the Spurs right-attacking midfielder went back to playing what you call a nothing game.
He did not do anything bad, nor did he do anything good.
He needs to stretch the field, demand the ball and dominate Stoke City left-back Marc Muniesa (and Erik Pieters, who was subbed on to play left-back while Muniesa moved to centre-back after Ryan Shawcross' red card).
With pace and a low centre of gravity, Lennon should be expected to do more.
Tim Sherwood to Keep His Job?
Tottenham Hotspur caretaker manager Tim Sherwood has won three of his last four games, and the one match he did not win—a 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion—was when Spurs rallied from 3-0 down.
The biggest threat to his tenure at Spurs is Louis van Gaal, but the Dutch manager is headed to Manchester United, per Ben Burrows and David McDonnell at the Mirror, so Sherwood could be given another season.
Another Moment of Magic from Emmanuel Adebayor
Without Emmanuel Adebayor's trickery to take the ball past Stoke City central midfielder Glenn Whelan, Danny Rose would not have had the chance to score what turned out to be the one and only goal of the game.
Adebayor was world-class with a brace against Sunderland and he came up big with his assist to Rose.
It was another moment of magic from Adebayor, who would have been on the chopping block if Spurs had persisted with Andre Villas-Boas as manager.
Tim Sherwood deserves credit for rejuvenating Adebayor's career.
Marko Arnautovic Can Be a Premier League Star
Marko Arnautovic is 25 years of age. Yep, the wonder kid who made his debut as a 17-year-old under then-Twente manager Fred Rutten is now plying his trade for Stoke City.
Arnautovic could have been a superstar.
Opposing defenders can't push him off the ball, he is technically astute, he can dribble past players and he has a strong shot.
While he did not score or create a goal against the Spurs, he was a forceful presence.
Arnautovic leads Stoke in assists (six), key passes per game (pass that leads to a shot; 1.5) and is second in dribbles per game (1.3).
If he does not lose focus, he can be a Premier League star next season.
Statistics via WhoScored.com