Match Review: Burnley 1-0 Stoke City
Well I am sat here reporting on another loss full of anguish, no explanations or excuses about this defeat will wash in my view. Too much has gone on before last night for me to have any degree of tolerance, now it is about results not performances. Mark Hughes will take us down, act now Mr Coates or start to lose credibility yourself. For those who made the trip up to Burnley on a bitterly cold December night – well fair play to you. It took me 3 hours to get there owing to the terrible traffic on the M60 and M65. I sometimes struggle to explain what makes me keep putting myself through it. I guess if its in your blood, its terminal I am afraid.
Last night was not an advert for Premier League football, it was a 90 minute scrap fest. Admittedly the conditions did not help with wind rain and snow all playing a part throughout the 90 minutes, however I did not see much quality from both sides. It was a battle, an evening when we needed players to show some bottle, roll their sleeves up and grind out a result at a tough away ground.
In fairness to the players, I did see the effort, I did see a team trying to get a result for their Manager, effort that was certainly lacking for large spells at Wembley. It was a very attacking line up that Hughes opted for, almost as if he had to win the game. The worrying thing for me is that despite such attacking intentions I can hardly recall any clear cut opportunities in 90 minutes. I remember Crouch having a half chance early on (after around 3 mins) and Choupo with a header in the last minute but other than that I cannot recall much else.
It was a scrap, a battle and we did match Burnley in that aspect. The one good opportunity in the entire game fell to them (Ashely Barnes) in the 89th minute and he took it clinically. Fine margins but ultimately another defeat on the back of 12 often painful months. There is no patience anymore with the Stoke support, it is pretty toxic. ” You don’t know what you’re doing ” rang out on 84 minutes when Shaqiri was replaced for Choupo. Not nice to hear when supporters turn on your own but I agree – he does not know what he is doing. Shaqiri by his standards was pretty ineffective last night, however he is the one player who might just conjure something for you when you so desperately need it. I personally felt Ramadan on the other wing struggled for most of the night, he might have been the better change.
Unanswered questions are everywhere. Crouch toiled gamely for 90 minutes but was ineffective, the supply lines weren’t there for him and he is not just going to make things happen. Has Hughes given up on Berahino now completely ? A 13 million player spent the night warming up watching his team mates struggle to score. Hughes spoke post match of the injury to Zouma on 66 minutes (which saw him replaced for Wimmer) ultimately proving costly. Surely this cannot be a viable excuse when he was replaced for an 18 million record signing?
It is very difficult right now following Stoke City. We are all entitled to our opinions and we will not always agree – I for one want the Manager gone. That said, I cannot see him walking and I do not believe Mr Coates will act before the weekend. So once more we have to pick ourselves up and support the lads the best we can. However, if we concede a couple of goals at home on Saturday I suspect the protests will be far larger than anything we have seen to date. Surely that will make his position untenable.
Ashley Barnes goal last night was the 36th we have conceded in the league this season. The worst record in the top flight.
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