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Roberto Soldado's fourth penalty of the season helped Tottenham Hotspur to a 3-0 win over Stoke City at White Hart Lane.
The Spain striker 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 match 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.
The win moves Spurs up to seventh in the Barclays 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 Spurs’ side. Stoke manager Mark Hughes called on Andy Wilkinson and Wilson Palacios to replace the suspended Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson.
The hosts were much the stronger side in the first half and each of their strikers came 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, 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 midfielder had time on the edge of the penalty area to work an opening before firing low across Sorensen and into the bottom-right corner for his first league goal of the campaign.
Four minutes later Spurs’ 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 Lennon, 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 header was comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris.
Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood: “We played very well from start to finish. There were a lot of good performances there and some excellent ones. Mousa Dembele was immense and Paulinho before he had to go off injured.
"It's all about winning. We played with that freedom against West Brom, didn't get the result and the crowd went home unhappy. It's a fine line with winning games and taking your chances. We didn't take all our chances today, but we did enough to score some goals. It's very important to get a home win, we haven't had one since October, so now we have go that off our backs."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "In terms of having an impact on the game, we found it difficult. They are a good side and move the ball around quickly. They have got a lot of power and pace and at times we struggled to cope with that.
"There are reasons for that as we are missing key players but we need to do better. On the day we were not good enough and they were significantly better than us. At times we need to get behind teams and at the moment we haven't got that option. That makes it difficult for us."
|01 Jan 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|11 Jan 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|19 Jan 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|29 Jan 2014||v Man City (H)|
|01 Feb 2014||v Hull (A)|
|09 Feb 2014||v Everton (H)|