Stoke and Tottenham's transformations have been striking in more than one way

Both sides go head-to-head in a pivotal Britannia Stadium clash

BY Raf Diallo 15:08 Monday 18 April 2016, 15:08 18 Apr 2016

Stokes Geoff Cameron, left, competes for the ball with Tottenhams Harry Kane during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane, London, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

At one time, visiting Stoke City's Britannia Stadium was portrayed as akin to taking a trip to the land of the 6 foot plus giants.

That was a particular narrative whenever Arsenal's small technicians from the 2007 to 2011 era dropped by for a visit they looked forward to as much as the average human looks forward to a dentist's appointment.

But Stoke has changed a little bit further up the field - and most would say for the better. Like most Premier League sides they still have many tall players (Peter Crouch remains part of the squad) in the 6 foot plus bracket.

But as we all know, they have moved towards a model with a few more of the technical type of player, signing former Barcelona players like Bojan and Ibrahim Afellay, as well as Xherdan Shaqiri from Inter Milan.

Under Mark Hughes, it has made the Potters far more varied in their approach in comparison to the direct, physical long-ball tactics employed under Tony Pulis.

Certainly, you won't see Bojan firing in rocket-like Rory Delap throw ins from the sidelines for the taller players in the box.

Tottenham have also undergone a transformation as a team. Mauricio Pochettino's vintage this season cannot be accused of having the type of soft-underbelly that Alex Ferguson would have identified in past teams.

Their pressing as a team is evident in the games that have dragged them to the midst of the Premier League title battle, while they have a technical side as well in the likes of Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele.

But look around that Spurs team and one thing strikes you. While, they might not be truly in the old Stoke man mountain range, given the lack of players in the 1 metre 90 range, the vast majority of their regular starting XI are at least 6 foot. The only exceptions are the two full-backs and Eriksen, although when it comes to the wider squad heights, Tottenham are nowhere near the tallest.

Son-Heung Min (1 metre 84), Dembele (1 metre 85) and Erik Lamela (1 metre 83) are deceptively tall too. That height is par for the course at Premier League level of course, but it is still striking to see.

But nationality has also been an interesting factor. Pochettino, like he did at Southampton, has put trust in young, English players like Harry Kane, Alli, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose in his starting team.

Meanwhile, Stoke have increasingly internationalised their squad to include over a dozen players not from Great Britain or Ireland, whereas in their first Premier League season the core of the squad had been developed in British or Irish football.

For Tottenham though, beat Stoke and they are five points behind leaders Leicester City, and also proving that their methods are paying off. 

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