Away Day Blues
After a so far successful spell in the Barclay`s premier league with high league finishes, a Wembley cup final and not to mention the current lofty heights of Europe stoke city seem unable to master one thing, winning away from home. It`s not a unique fact that teams in general play better at home than away but to date nobody has been able to work out just why this is the case.
Stoke city are a fantastic example of this as ever since being promoted they have struggled to keep the form that has served them so well at the Britannia Stadium. This issue is clearly our main downfall when it comes to success in the league and something that I am sure Tony Pulis is trying to address.
I guess one reason could be man management from TP. I don`t believe any real Stoke City fan can honestly say that he sets his players out to scrape a draw or to keep the score down against the likes of Man City when away. Think of it this way what is the difference between playing the likes of Man city at home compared to the stadium of Manchester, is Tony saying go on sit back and see what we get when there and Roberto Mancini telling his players to sit back and see what we get, after all they have only spent £100m`s… of course not!
So assuming TP isn`t telling his players this why is winning away so difficult? Perhaps we can turn to the fantastic home support that the fans bring to the team at the Britannia but is a player really effected to such great affect that it makes them play better in front of home support apposed to playing away? We must not forget that these players are used to playing in front of fans of all sizes so surely have some way of ignoring or blocking out allot of what happens around them as they focus on the game.
It is safe to say that if Stoke City could pick up more points away from home and keep that home form to the same level we would be talking about a top 8, maybe even a top 6 side. Surely though this is an area another 15 odd teams are facing every season as surely them too would be hitting these heights so upon reflection is this something unique to stoke city or is it something that is very common for most teams but amplified by other stokies?
No doubt we have progressed over the years since our return to the top flight and we have many challenges yet to come out way but will our away performances and results keep on haunting us, well I guess time will tell...
Writer: Michael Stockley