When you’re third in the league, every game seems important, which makes a change when you support Tottenham and are used to the season quite often being over by October.

Next up are Stoke, who are currently ninth in the league and are likely to make things difficult for us. Last season they stayed up due to their impressive home form, but this term they have only lost once on their travels and have forced away draws at Everton, Bolton and Birmingham.

I’m still expecting a victory though. One of the key changes to our fortunes this season is our ability to grind out a win when we could have easily dropped points. Our games against West Ham, Birmingham, Bolton and Portsmouth all spring to mind.

Woodgate played another practice match in midweek, which Michael Dawson also featured in. With Ledley fit again and Bassong having made a great start to his Tottenham career, we’re looking particularly strong in defence. Now we just have to start keeping some clean sheets…

Palacios should be back in midfield, which throws up a conundrum as to whether Jenas or Huddlestone will miss out. Considering that Huddlestone has played well from the start of the season, while Jenas has only just got back in the team, I’d hope that our big lump retains his place.

In attack we have Defoe suspended, so we’ll again see the Keane/Crouch combination in action. They didn’t inspire against Bolton, but hopefully they’ll find a better understanding at home when we won’t be so much on the defensive.

Stoke don’t concede many, but only the wretched Gooners have scored more than us this season. I think we’ll win again, but it will be another tight one. Another 2-1 win will be fine.

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