Thursday, 20 September 2012

Despite my prediction, Stoke will survive!

A hectic end to the transfer window meant Stoke's summer of dealings improved the squad. Steven N'Zonzi and Charlie Adam from Blackburn and Liverpool respectively are exactly what Tony Pulis's side need, and that's quality in the centre of the park. Even when the window was shut Pulis added a proven goal scorer in the form of the free agent Michael Owen, which could turn out to be a brilliant gamble!

Adam will bring a higher level of quality to the Stoke midfield
Before these additions I had tipped Stoke to go down, saying that I still expect them to struggle this campaign as more Premier League clubs have found them out; however I now believe they won't be playing the Championship next season!

Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth are both very good defenders and given the fact they've been playing together for a while now has ensured they are one of the league's best central defensive partnership's. Their lack of real quality in the full-back position doesn't matter too much, as under Pulis, the full-back's main priority is to be solid defensively.

I really like the additions of Adam and N'Zonzi as I feel they'll compliment each other well in the middle of the park for Stoke. In Adam they've someone who can spread the ball around, whilst N'Zonzi is more of a stereotypical Stoke player given his height, strength and battling qualities. Given Wilson Palacios's poor form and the fact Adam is better then Stoke's other passer Glenn Whelan, expect to see the new additions fit straight into the side.

Key player - Peter Crouch. Crouch is key to the way Stoke play, his height is an obvious target with the Stoke long ball and high amount of crosses from the wide. He's scored twice already this campaign and if he gets double figures, which he should, then he should steer Stoke up the table. If Owen is fit and starting, the duo will be a good centre partnership, and like Adam and N'Zonzi in the centre of the park, will compliment each other well.

Crouch had a good first year with Stoke!
Prediction - 20th. I know I touched upon it before, saying that Stoke won't go down; however I've got to stick with my prediction! It's not inconceivable they'll be in trouble this season, but in their opening four games they've shown they can be solid against the top sides, whilst being difficult to beat away from home, gaining creditable points away against Reading and Wigan.

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