Stoke City has been guided by Mark Hughes to three straight ninth-place finishes for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 season, their best place finish since 1974-75 before finishing 13th last season. However, their team, which has added weight by bringing in new players like Jese from Paris Saint Germain, Kurt Zouma from Chelsea and Saido Berahino from West Bromwich Albion in January has failed to perform this season.
Stoke City is known for their mettlesome defending and they have become famous in the footballing world as the place teams struggle to win points at. Their physical style of football at the bet365 stadium has been popularized to the extent that it is now considered an achievement for teams who to win matches on a “cold, rainy night at Stoke”.
They are an extremely powerful side with tall burly players all across the pitch who love to play the physical game. With the addition of stout and pacey attackers, they perfected their balance on the pitch. However, things have fallen apart this season. The biggest example of that is the off form of their few primary attackers who have failed to turn up the performances of the last few seasons.
One man who has swept in on the situation and intends to take full advantage of the situation is Peter Crouch. The tall and lanky forward at the age of 36 is hoping to become a regular starter. again for Stoke City. He was given a rare start in the match against Swansea City and made full use of it by being a constant threat to the Swansea goal.
‘I always felt I could still start games and hopefully, I’ve proved that,’ said Crouch.
‘It would be nice to have a little run now and stay in the team. That’s what I wanted and signing the contract was where I wanted to be as well.
‘Hopefully, I’ve proved myself, I’ve run about and put myself around so I’ve proved having played two games in a week that I’m fit enough to do things at this level. Hopefully, there’s a role for me.’
He started up front with Mame Diouf and the duo combined well as Crouch created the winner for him with a flick on.
He said: ‘I enjoyed it, I really did. It was nice to have someone like Mame reading the flick-ons and up there to help.
‘Myself and he have different attributes and it can really work. Invariably I’ve played up front on my own and been isolated so to have a partner up there was a welcome relief.’