Stoke were denied of their first win of the 2016/17 Premier League season right at the death against West Bromwich Albion as the two teams settled for a 1-1 draw at the bet365 Stadium. Joe Allen’s goal signalled the first time that the Potters had been leading a game this season, until Salomon Rondon’s header from a last minute corner crushed Stoke hearts. Mark Hughes’ Stoke are still unable to defeat a Tony Pulis team, who took his 1000th game as manager of a football club. The point gained did mean that Stoke clambered out of the bottom place in the league table but it wasn’t enough to leap out of the relegation zone for the first time since the team entered it.
Lee Grant, who replaced Shay Given in the team’s 2-1 loss against Hull City in the EFL Cup, retained his place in between the sticks. The back four remained unchanged from midweek, however Giannelli Imbula and Ramadan Sobhi, who was man of the match against Hull, lost out to the return of Glenn Whelan and Xherdan Shaqiri; the latter coming back after a long injury layoff.
Stoke fell to the mercy of yet another four goal hammering, losing 4-1 to a rather ordinary Crystal Palace side. Two goals from set pieces courtesy of James Tomkins and Scott Dann in the first 15 minutes were followed by a deflected goal from James McArthur and a long range bender from Andros Townsend. Marko Arnautovic managed to provide a glimmer of positivity with his goal in the last minute of the game but overall the players, club and supporters should be very ashamed of the performance yet again. The effort from the side today doesn’t deserve a match report but you’re getting one anyway, lucky you…
Mark Hughes made some rather high profile changes to the side that played against Spurs last week. Erik Pieters, Stoke’s only recognised left back, was dropped for Glen Johnson. Johnson, playing his first game of football in over seven months, slotted in at right back, shifting Geoff Cameron into a central role and Bruno Martins Indi filled the vacancy on the left. It was also recognised that the midfield trio of Glenn Whelan, Joe Allen and Giannelli Imbula wasn’t performing optimally; it was the £18m man who was the casualty and in came Bojan to offer a little more support to Wilfried Bony, who was well isolated on his debut.
Stoke have been embarrassed yet again in the Premier League following their latest thumping courtesy of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon. Heung-Min Son bagged a brace with Dele Alli and Harry Kane contributing equally to the four goals that their team managed to fire past a, quite frankly, inept Stoke side. It’s a repeat of the result in the corresponding fixture back in April of last season and there’s been no sign of improvement from the Potters, despite having a Summer to recover and a transfer window to strengthen. Once again, refereeing controversy surrounded Stoke once again and Mark Hughes was sent to the stands as a result of his displeasure.
Shay Given kept his place in goal with Jack Butland recovering from his operation on his long-term injury. Geoff Cameron replaced Phil Bardsley on the right side of defence with new signing Bruno Martins Indi plugging the Philipp Wollscheid sized gap. The midfield three of Glenn Whelan, Joe Allen and Giannelli Imbula started again as they did against Everton. Jon Walters replaced Mame Diouf on the right wing with Wilfried Bony, on loan from Manchester City, was picked ahead of Peter Crouch up top.
In what have admittedly been three tough opening fixtures, Stoke have once again taken to starting the season slowly, with no wins before the first international break. What will be more worrying to some is that two of those fixtures are games that we won last year. However, before the doom-mongers start to cry out relegation let’s take everything into our stride and go again after the international break. If we go more than the six games we went last year without a win then I’ll allow you to start worrying, deal?
With that being said, I’m supposed to be the pessimistic one around here, so let’s dissect where we went wrong shall we?
Stoke will be cursing their luck today as they fell to a 1-0 loss against Everton at Goodison Park this afternoon. Once again, Stoke were punished for for being seen as too aggressive in the penalty area and conceded a spot kick of the second game in a row, once that was neatly tucked home by Shay Given’s head. There were encouraging signals from today that Stoke might take a point with some good defending, but the luck didn’t side with the away team today and it leaves them rock bottom of the Premier League table after three games.
Jack Butland, Glen Johnson and Xherdan Shaqiri all weren’t fit enough to play the game on Merseyside and will have to wait until after the international break to play football again for Stoke. As expected: hat trick hero Peter Crouch made his second start in a row, in all competitions, for Stoke; forcing Mame Diouf out on the right wing and dropping Bojan to the bench. Geoff Cameron, who also kept a clean sheet on Tuesday against Shrewsbury, filled the vacancy left by Philipp Wollscheid. Reports suggest that the German defender was in his home country to be treated for an ear problem but, with rumours linking him with a return to the Bundesliga, it’s suspiciously suggesting that he’s preparing himself for a move away from the club before deadline day next week. There was still no place on the bench for Joselu as youngster Julien Ngoy managed to impress the manager enough to be within contention for some Premier League game time instead.
A full strength Stoke City blew away Stevenage on Tuesday evening as they won 4-0 at the Lamex Stadium. Peter Crouch managed to bag himself a hat trick, meanwhile Phil Bardsley scored what will be one of the goals of the season to round off an absolute domination from the Potters and sees them into the next round of the EFL Cup.
The consensus on social media was that this game was the perfect opportunity to showcase some of our youth products. However this was not to be the case as the management staff confirmed before the game that there would be minimal changes made from the team that lost 4-1 to Man City the previous weekend. Geoff Cameron and Marc Muniesa came in for Philipp Wollscheid and Erik Pieters in defence, Charlie Adam was introduced into the midfield in place of Giannelli Imbula and both Jon Walters and Peter Crouch played ahead of Bojan and Mame Diouf. No returns from injuries either, as Jack Butland, Glen Johnson and Xherdan Shaqiri all remained back at base rather than making the journey down south.
Stoke fell to the mercy of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City as they were beaten 4-1 in the first game at the bet365 Stadium. A double of doubles from Man City’s Sergio Aguero and Nolito was more than enough to outweigh Bojan’s penalty. Despite the heavy scoreline, Stoke made their mark on the game and, with a little more quality in the final third, could have shocked Pep and his new team. The game was filled with goals, refereeing controversy, and plenty of different reactions from the Stoke faithful.
I’d missed this. The feeling waking up in the morning knowing that Stoke were playing at home, the moment of pulling on a Stoke shirt ready to replicate the players that would be on the pitch later that day, the sight of the Boothen End after emerging from the concrete tunnel with thousands of fans all thinking and hoping for the same thing: a win for Stoke. The Potters lined up with just the one change from last week’s match against Boro: Xherdan Shaqiri couldn’t get over his injury in time, so Bojan shifted to cover the vacant right wing and Joe Allen made his home debut to complete the midfield trident.
Shaqiri spares Stoke a shocking start
It’s back. Stoke City have entered their ninth consecutive season in the Premier League, but boy did they start it shaky. Their 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough didn’t exactly favour the home side either as they will feel disappointed that they didn’t take further advantage of a less than convincing Stoke team. Alvaro Negredo did manage to unpick the Stoke defence after just 11 minutes with a cheeky header from four yards out. But Stoke did manage to fight back in the second half and it took a magical moment from the Power Cube, Xherdan Shaqiri, who buried a deliciously curling free kick to salvage what was a majorly poor performance from a Stoke side that had so much promise.
Stoke came into the new season with new signings Ramadan Sobhi, Joe Allen and Ryan Sweeney. None of these players made the starting 11 as the latter was playing for the U23’s, the former didn’t manage to make the squad at all while Joe Allen had to settle for a place on the bench. An injury to Jack Butland saw Shay Given start in goal. Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid and Pieters comprised the back four with Whelan and Imbula sitting in front of them. The preferred attacking quartet, as expected, consisted of Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic and Diouf. Diouf and Bojan both having good pre-seasons, Arnautovic having just signed a new deal with the Potters and Shaqiri coming back from scoring a wonder-goal in this Summer’s European Championships.
Stoke suffer slim defeat in final pre-season workout
Stoke City lost their final pre-season friendly in Germany on Saturday afternoon as they were beaten by Hamburg SV 1-0. Despite controlling the game in the first half, it was a completely different story in the second and HSV’s Michael Gregoritsch sealed victory for the home side. However, there was plenty of encouraging factors looking ahead to the new Premier League season but also confirmed a couple of areas which require improvement.
In the pre-season matches prior to this one, Hughes had been keen to test his unorthodox 3-4-3 formation; although today saw the return of the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. With both Glen Johnson and Phil Bardsley omitted from the squad that travelled to Germany, Geoff Cameron found himself playing right back. Joe Allen is still awaiting his starting debut as Glenn Whelan and Giannelli Imbula started in the middle of midfield. Due to Marko Arnautovic’s minor injury scare, Ramadan Sobhi made his debut for the club; having not been able to travel to America to take part in the games there. Mame Diouf, who had scored four goals in his previous four Stoke City games, retained his place up top.
Stoke follow up with win after Arnie’s American Dream
Stoke City managed to come out victorious in their game across the pond as they beat Orlando City 2-1 last night. A goalless first half was quickly followed by goals from Stoke’s Mame Diouf and Orlando’s Hadji Barry, before Bojan fired in a glorious winner to settle the score between the sister clubs. UK based spectators had to wait until 2:30am to be rewarded with the final whistle after enduring a dodgy (albeit free) live stream and some amusing American commentators.
Hughes tested his experimental five-at-the-back formation yet again as key players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Glenn Whelan were still recovering from Euro 2016. Despite flying out to America, there was no place for new signing Joe Allen in the squad for this game. With Hughes confirming that Ramadan Sobhi would be integrated into the squad on the club’s arrival back in Blighty, there was room for Marko Arnautovic to make his first start for the club since the glistening new four-year deal he signed with the club earlier that day. Ryan Shawcross, although having back concerns earlier in pre-season, kept his place in defence and Mame Diouf kept his place in the side having scoring the equaliser against Preston North End last weekend.