Blunt Potters held to bore draw
4th December 19.45
Stoke were held to a goalless draw by Cardiff, a result that leaves both sides hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone. It was a game that Mark Hughes had targeted for maximum points but the game never looked like producing a winner on a freezing night at the Britannia Stadium.
Malky Mackay will definitely be the happier of the two bosses as he takes his point back to Wales and may even feel his team could have pinched all three points from their visit to the Potteries. Despite the Potters dominating possession and territory for long periods it was arguably the visitors who had the better chances to win the game. Once again it was a worrying night in front of goal for the home side who struggled to create any clear cut chances despite being in charge of the game for most periods.
In a first half of very few chances Oussama Assaidi was guilty of wasting Stoke`s best opening, the on loan Liverpool winger really should have done better when latching onto a Arnautovic through ball but couldn`t get a meaningful shot away. Geoff Cameron thought he had given Stoke the lead when he got on the end of a Crouch knockdown to poke home only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside. Replays showed it was a very tight call and the visitors left back could have been playing the USA international onside. The Bluebirds, actually playing in their famous blue kit, went closest to breaking the deadlock when Jordan Mutch brought a fantastic save from Begovic with a free header from a Whittingham corner.
Into the second half and Stoke continued to dominate possession but failed to capitalise on their territorial dominance, the Cardiff boss was left fuming at the referees failure to award Fraizer Campell a penalty when he tangled with Marc Wilson and they nearly stole a crucial three points when teenager forced Asmir Begovic into a full length stop with a 20 yard drive in the final minutes.
A lot of huff and puff from the Potters but once again their failure to provide that cutting edge in the final third will be a real cause for concern and further highlight to Hughes the need to strengthen in forward areas come January. Arnautovic, Crouch, Ireland, Muniesa and N`Zonzi were all guilty of blazing off target when presented with half chances and with 17 shots but only 2 on target it is clear to see why the home side came up short.
The result will be disappointing for Hughes and with a tough prospect of Chelsea at home to come supporters will once again be anxiously looking over their shoulders towards the relegation zone.