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Stoke's square pegs and round holes

Stoke's square pegs and round holes

Well wasn't I left with egg on my face yesterday!? Not only did the Potters perform like our League 2 neighbours across the city, but before the game had kicked off I posted a tongue in cheek prediction on a well-known Social media site that definitely backfired.

The prediction read: 'Cheeky 50p bet on 5-0 stoke ;)'

So obviously soon as the final whistle had blown, I was bombarded with notifications from people who were out to clarify 'my foot in mouth' moment.

So what's actually happened? How can there be a 10 goal swing in just a few months?

Well I just believe we have to look at one area of change... the defence.

I don't want this article to seem like I am at any point slating Sir Pulis, but just some of his team selection's baffle me.

For the last four years we have had a balanced defence, and have looked one of the strongest in the league, so why in the summer did Tony have to bring in two central defenders!?

Since he added Upson and Woodgate into the mix we have just looked shaky at the back and have conceded 3 or more goals on 4 different occasions this season, and well that just isn't the Stoke way.

The additions have looked to have unsettled the defence and somehow managed to push last years 9-goal player of the season, Robert Huth out of the team, and when Huth has managed to come back into Pulis has persisted in playing him out of position at left or right back which has baffled many a fan.

Take Sunday for example, Tony decided to play Huth at right back, right back Andy Wilkinson at Left back and then the two new additions.

Why didn't Tony play Matthew Upson who has played left back for England at left back and therefore Wilkinson in his natural right back role, with Huth and Woodgate down the centre?

I would just love Tony to go back to basics and revert back to last season's back four.

Well not just the back four, but also the top two, as Crouch just isn't a Stoke striker, Yes he does a lot of running but to be a successful striker at Stoke, you need the ability to create chances for yourself, as, well let's be honest the midfield doesn't create a bucket load of chances for the striker's to thrive on.

Whilst I'm on a rant over squad selection, Tony really needs to change his central midfielder's. The pair that weren't good enough for us in the Championship are therefore definitely not good enough for us in our fourth year in the Premiership.

As I continue to write articles, you will realise that the name of our number 6 is seen by me as an offensive swear word. He is so frustrating as he will control the midfield and the tempo of the match in an Ireland shirt but soon as he wears the famous red and white, the ball becomes a hot potato and his passing becomes woeful. The 'back pass' that led to Bolton's first goal at the weekend is a frightful example.

His midfield partner Rory Delap is another that I think should be given a rest, especially his tedious and somewhat ineffective throw-in's. Like seriously, when was the last time we scored from one. Teams have sussed them out and I think it should now only be used as Plan B.

So after this shake up of personnel, my starting eleven vs Q.P.R would be:

GK- Sorensen

B- Wilko

B- Higgy

B- Shawcross

B- Huth

M- Pennant

M- Etherington

M- Wilson

M- Palacios

T- Jones

T- Walters

I just believe this line-up has more structure to it and more creativity. The main factor behind my selection is that there are no players being put into the 'square pegs, round holes' role.

In an ideal world, Tony would bring in a natural left back and back up winger in January. Players such as Maynor Figueroa and Robert Snodgrass would fit the bill nicely.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Lloyd Reddin
Date:Tuesday November 8 2011
Time: 8:00AM


I must agree that squad rotation is the big issue here. Also, the players are very talented, but not working together well. That takes time unfortunately.
08/11/2011 14:03:00
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