A Roberto Soldado penalty and fine second-half strikes from Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon helped Tottenham beat Stoke 3-0 and record their first Premier League home victory in more than two months on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado celebrates scoring the opening goal with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane in north London. (AFP/CARL COURT)
LONDON: A Roberto Soldado penalty and fine second-half strikes from Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon helped Tottenham beat Stoke 3-0 and record their first Premier League home victory in more than two months on Sunday.
The win was also a first for Tim Sherwood in his capacity as Andre Villas-Boas’s permanent successor and lifted Tottenham above Newcastle, who had lost at home to Arsenal earlier in the day, into seventh place.
Villas-Boas had been fired after spending that topped the £100 million (120 million euros, US$165 million) mark resulted in a trickle of goals, but this was the second time in three matches under Sherwood that Tottenham had scored three, while it was also their first Premier League clean sheet in nine attempts.
Sherwood, who favours an attacking formation featuring two strikers, made five changes to the side held 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day, with Dembele, Kyle Naughton, Zeki Fryers, Paulinho and Aaron Lennon replacing Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Lewis Holtby, Nacer Chadli and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Stoke had to alter the side following a 5-1 thrashing at Newcastle that saw Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson sent off.
In came Andy Wilkinson and ex-Spur Wilson Palacios, with Stephen Ireland displacing Charlie Adam.
Fryers, making his first Premier League start, was fortunate not to be penalised when he appeared to haul Jon Walters to the ground as the Stoke man bore down on the Spurs box in the opening exchanges.
Tottenham threatened when Lennon crossed for Emmanuel Adebayor, whose scuffed shot fell perfectly for Christian Eriksen, however the Dane, taken by surprise, could only poke straight at the goalkeeper.
The hosts continued to attack but Soldado, given a sight of goal by Paulinho’s flick, couldn’t hit the target.
Stoke were convinced they should have been awarded a penalty when Oussama Assaidi was sent tumbling at full pelt by Michael Dawson, yet referee Kevin Friend once again ruled the challenge as legal.
Soldado, having seen an enticing cross taken off his head by Ryan Shawcross, was on the end of the next one but his glancing header dropped just wide.
A breakthrough was coming and Adebayor made it happen by chesting down Soldado’s pass and launching an acrobatic shot that was blocked by Shawcross’s raised arm.
Soldado made no mistake from the resulting penalty in the 37th minute.
Paulinho began the second period by firing a good chance over before Adam, on for Ireland, was only just wide with a free-kick from distance at the other end.
Then a move began by Dembele saw Lennon set up Soldado, only for the Spain striker to scuff his shot straight at Sorensen, who also did well to save a low drive from Eriksen.
Stoke were finding possession hard to come by, let alone chances, and were sunk by Tottenham’s second in the 65th minute, a low shot from the edge of the box by Dembele following a series of defender-fooling twists and turns.
Lennon’s first goal since March arrived four minutes later, a well-struck, angled drive into the top corner from the right of the box when Erik Pieters, his marker, appeared to be expecting a cross.
Substitute Erik Lamela was denied a fourth by Sorensen as Spurs tried to finish with a flourish.