Jan Vertonghen believes both Tottenham and Stoke are stronger than last season.
The Belgian defender said: “This week it’s all eyes on Stoke. They have a good team, they made some great signings and I think they’re stronger than last year – but I think we are as well so we have to do better than last year.”
Doing better than last year is a must for Spurs, especially if they truly intend on breaking into the top four this season.
Mark Hughes’ side did the double over the Lilywhites, winning 3-0 at the Britannia Stadium towards the end of the campaign, having beaten them 2-1 in North London before Christmas.
Although Stoke are a strong side, they are the kind of opponent who Tottenham should be defeating both times they face each other in a campaign.
Both teams will be heading into the game on the back of 1-0 losses, with Spurs falling down away at Manchester United, before the Potters lost at home to Liverpool. Both performances did not deserve a loss, and Vertonghen is correct to suggest that both sides are stronger.
Spurs are still fairly light across the attacking zones - although that could be solved this week with the arrival of Clinton N’Jie - but look much stronger defensively.
Stoke, on the other hand, just completed the record signing of Xherdan Shaqiri, and have built a strong attacking unit on top of their solidity.
It will be a tough game for Spurs, but is one they need to win, if they truly intend to move upwards and finally get back into the Champions League.