Stoke City would eye to capitalize on their hard earned win against Sunderland when they travel to Kingston Communications Stadium on Saturday. After a nightmarish start to the season, Stoke is finally experiencing their tactics falling into places.
It has been quite surprising that despite having a squad of very good players, Mark Hughes has been hugely unsuccessful in getting his team to a good position. Injuries have obviously been a concern for the team with goalie Jack Butland out with malleolar injury, Glen Johnson out with a hamstring, Stephen Ireland out with fractured leg and Ibrahim Afellay out with knee injury.
Hull City has seen no better a start to their season after just 2 wins in their last 8 games. They currently sit at the 16th position with 7 points.
Mark Hughes has huge talent at his disposal, no doubt. However, with his main goalkeeper and side back out with injury, Hughes has to find the back line that would gel and that too fast. The mini keeper crisis with Shay Given’s skeptical performance has forced Mark Hughes to turn to Lee Grant for the last three matches and is expected to continue after he seems to have his manager’s confidence.
Hughes plays 4 at the back with Erik Pieters, Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross and Phil Bardsley. He already has an experienced duo at the heart of his defense with Shawcross and Indi and their understanding has Hughes confident on them to start at the moment.
With Glenn Whelan and Geoff Cameron at the center, Hughes has two experienced holding midfielders. They have real potential in their last game with Glenn Whelan completing 68 successful passes of 79 attempted and Cameron completing 54 of the 63 attempted. Their composure at that area in the last game has fetched right results.
Whelan has also provided 16 successful passes in the attacking third from deep, which is decent considering he is just second to Marko Arnautovic’s 18. With players like Charlie Adams sitting on the bench, the competition in the position is massive.
Apart from that, the attacking trio of Joe Allen, Marko Arnautovic, and Xerdan Shaqiri has produced what players from such potential are expected to. Joe Allen’s brace against Sunderland will surely bring an air of positivity in the dressing room.
Wilfried Bony has up till now failed to impress with his first team spot. He can’t afford to take his position for granted as he has Crouch and Diouf breathing down his neck. Bojan Krkic somehow is not manager’s confidantes at the moment.