Friday, 25 September 2015

Have Stoke City just been unlucky?

Stoke City are not perennial strugglers in the Premier league so it is a little surprising that they are sitting in the bottom three with three points from six games and no win under their belt yet. The Cherries have to try and keep it that way with their visit to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. But have Mark Hughes' side been unlucky or just slightly off of their game?

Bringing in a batch of new players can sometimes work for clubs straight away but with others more time is needed and I believe this is what has happened at Stoke City. They have certainly spent over the summer on the likes of  Xherdan Shaqiri while Ibrahim Afellay was signed from Barcelona. With players like Glen Johnson and Shay Given joining the squad they also have Premier League experience, but the loan signings have perhaps taken away some of the solidity that the side had last year rather than simply increasing the competitiveness of the side. Bojan is certainly a player that looks on top of his game in their side and he will be the player that Eddie Howe is likely to pick out to be especially aware of as his movement is excellent as shown against Leicester City in their last game.

Eddie has some selection ideas to help AFCB to get a result at Stoke City.

Stoke have only conceded five goals so far, but were ahead in games against Leicester and Norwich only to come away with draws. They have made mistakes by letting teams back into games and that is a sign of a shortness of confidence. So hanging on to leads has not been their strong point, while they did well to come back from 2-0 down against Tottenham. 

Mark Hughes may feel his side has been well in games but they have not been dominating. They had just 11 attempts at goal against Leicester and four were on target. The balance is probably not quite right in their team yet and it is may be good fortune for AFCB fans that Eddie Howe may well have come across the right balance to his team from what we saw in the Cherries' last game.

Mark Hughes says he has some players to comeback so he may choose a slightly amended side for the visit of AFCB.

My predicted AFCB XI - unchanged
Boruc (GK), Francis (RD), Cook (CD), Distin (CD), Daniels (LD), Ritchie (RM), Gosling (CM), Surman (CM), Pugh (LM), Tomlin (FW), Wilson (FW) 

Stoke City Home Form

AFCB Away Form

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