Lacklustre Stoke comfortably beaten at Swansea
The Liberty Stadium
19th January 2013
Stoke's shocking away form continued as The Potters succumbed to defeat at the liberty stadium yesterday.
Stoke have now won just one of their last 21 away games, and never looked like threatening their superior opponents.
A first half which saw Stoke count themselves lucky to be level was followed by a dreadful second half as Swansea put 3 goals past Begovic.
Michael Owen did grab a late consolation at the end, but Stoke were never in this game.
Kenwyne Jones was replaced in the starting line up by Peter Crouch up front, a strange decision from Pulis, fuelling speculation the forward could be set to join Swansea in the transfer window after a series of impressive performances.
The threat from Swansea was obvious, yet the Potters let them play their passing game from the very start, and with the outstanding Michu missing the target early on, the signs were ominous.
Ki also went close, firing over the bar with a long range effort, but Stoke responded with a smart one two in the area between Etherington and Adam, with Etherington putting his shot into the side netting.
Angel Rangel then teed up the usually-clinical Michu, but the goal scoring sensation somehow guided his header side from 6 yards out.
And with Stoke still camped in their own half, Swansea had another good chance to take the lead, but De Guzman couldn't connect with a Wayne Routledge cross in a packed penalty area.
The hosts continued their good work from the first half after the break, and were rewarded with Ben Davies' first senior goal after the full back surged past two defenders before calmly finishing beyond Begovic.
Stoke were struggling to get any foothold on the game, and Swansea piled on the misery soon after, with Michu being fouled by Adam just outside the area,De Guzman stepped up and curled a super free kick past Begovic to put the game beyond doubt.
Pulis brought on Jones and Jerome in the effort to get back into the game, and Jerome should have grabbed a goal back but missed from point-blank range.
It was not to be Stoke's day, and Swansea, still pouring forward in search of a 3rd, capped off a horrible day for the Potters late on, with De Guzman rounding off a great individual performance with a clever finish.
Michael Owen's first goal for Stoke came soon after, with a good header from 6 yards out - but that did nothing to lighten the mood as the Stoke players and fans were left with another long journey back from an away match which brought no joy.
So that's 1 win in 21 away games.
With Pulis approaching every game on the road as if its Barcelona away, I'm not sure that stat will improve anytime soon.
This is our 5th season in the premiership, and whilst we are generally positive and extremely successful at home, the away form will never change unless Pulis changes his negative mentality. It was Swansea yesterday, not Real Madrid. Yet we showed no ambition, in fact the only away games we have really gone at teams is at Man United and Chelsea, which makes our constant away day no shows even stranger. Those games proved we have what it takes to be positive and attack teams away from home, yet Pulis still persists with his defensive mentality.
Swansea are a very, very good team. They have real quality and in my opinion are a better team than Stoke, so I'm not annoyed about losing to them, we won't be the last team concede 3 goals there.
However it was the manner of the defeat and the way we are still approaching away games which is really concerning me, there is just no excuse, in the first 2 or 3 years fair enough, but we've built a decent side who should go to the likes of Swansea and stand toe to toe.
I still think we can get top 10 even with Pulis' tactics away from home, but we have to be more positive on our travels, it just isn't good enough and it isn't fair on the loyal away fans who spend their hard-earned money watching Stoke sit back and lie down time and time again.
I've always thought Whitehead would make a good full back, and he seemed quite comfortable in that role, although the whole team(including the defence) was very poor today, Deano did himself no harm, but he really was just the best of a bad bunch.