How did the replacements fare?
Stoke went into the game, without three major players; Arnautovic, Shaqiri and depending on your opinion, Cameron. But that didn’t seem to bother many of the Stoke fans; Ramadan had played well in the previous week at home to Swansea, as did Adam. But the suspension of Arnautovic was to be the biggest problem facing Hughes when deciding his replacement. Was he to go with the Fan’s favourite Bojan or trusty workhorse Walters? At 2pm on what felt like the coldest day of the year we found out. Arnie’s place was to go to the great veteran Walters. Couple of fans sitting next to me groaned with disappointment, as did I to be honest.
The game started well, we didn’t make many stupid decisions and made some decent runs, with Bony header going quite wide of the post. West Ham seemed to have not woken up yet they still looked lethargic. The most notable observations was when Stoke attacked none of the forward players were able to hold the ball long enough for other players to find space, although my biggest criticism of our attacking style is that our forwards seem to run on railway tracks towards to the goal instead of looking for intelligent space. Arnie’s ability to slow down or speed up the pace of the game is arguably his best talent, which we miss when he isn’t in the team. Walters bless him, seemed to drift ever closer to the penalty spot through out the first half, meaning that our right wing looked empty and there was no relief for when Bardsley had the ball. I just feel that Walters isn’t a winger, his lack of pace is obvious and his touch would be better suited to WWE and not the Premier League.
Ramadan on the left, played well. He looked hungry and excited to play. But he does not look ready for a starting position every week. He looks unsure about what to do in the latter stages of an attacking situation. There were moments where he got himself in attacking positions but could not find the exit. With that being said he still looked great for a 19 year old. His pace was exciting to see on the break away and his interplay in and around the box was inspiring. I hate to use the cliché but he is one for the future.
Adam love him or hate him had a good game; he did what he does best. Piss off the opposing midfielders and occasionally makes a worldly pass. You can’t deny that when he has the ball on the edge of the box you instantly think a goal is coming. My only real problem with Adam in the game is that he slows down an attacking move. On the counter attack, some one will come storming out of our box normally one of the fallbacks, looking for an option see’s Adam who then takes longer to turn than the titanic, and instantly the game had slowed down and we have lost our momentum, that is unless he make one of those worldly passes of his.
All in all I think the replacements played well, I don’t think any of them have cemented their positions in the starting eleven. But I still can’t understand how Bojan doesn’t get picked over Walters, I know he is not a winger, but he has more winger attributes than Walters. But what do I know; a 10 year old beat me on Fifa the other day.
Written by Dan Morris @HailManDorris
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