Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Tinge Of Bright Light In Stoke City’s Melancholic Season

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Joe Allen, Stoke City’s summer signing, turned out to be the saviour for his side when he scored late against Manchester United at Old Trafford to ensure the Potters a point from a game of which they were lucky to escape without a loss. It was a game the home side dominated and had plenty of chances but they simply couldn’t convert them thanks to an inspired performance by Stoke’s custodian Lee Grant.

It was only for the third time in the season that Mark Hughes side had secured a point and once again the man responsible for it was the new man Joe.

After having a wonderful last season, Stoke City were a club who were expected to do well again this season. The Potters are a quality side with some world-class players in their ranks who are well capable of taking the team to Europe. This season has been so far an anomaly for the Potters much like West Ham United. There would have been a very few people who could have predicted that both the Potters and the Hammers would languish at the bottom of the Premier League table after 7 games into the new season. Especially after, their performances last season.

Mark Hughes’ side are yet to win a single game in the league having drawn 3 and lost 4 of the seven games played till now. The Potters have scored 5 goals in the Premier League out of which Allen has scored two. Even in the games his team lost, Allen stood out as the outstanding performer.

The Welshman has averaged 3.9 successful tackles per game in the midfield with an interception rate of 2.1. While no other stoke player can boast of that high percentage of successful tackles, Allen is also the top goalscorer for Stoke and averages 1.3 key passes per game which is second only to Xherdan Shaqiri (2).

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Nacer Chadli of West Bromwich Albion (C) takes it past Joe Allen of Stoke City (R) during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion at the Bet365 Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The Former Swansea player was excellent against Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, the games which he ended up on the losing side. However, in the last two games against West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United, the midfielder almost single-handedly earned his team a point from two matches consecutively.

With his overall contribution, Allen is the best performing player Mark Hughes has in his team currently and one can imagine where the Potters would have been if the others could have performed to his level.

With 7 games of the season gone already, Hughes needs to turn things around quickly without wasting any more time. Stoke can still have a decent season if the players rally and perform collectively. Unfortunately for the Potters, the others haven’t been able to hit their stride at all but fortunately for Mark Hughes, his own countryman is proving to be the exception week in week out.

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