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Is Mark Hughes under threat at Stoke City?

Wednesday 25th October 2017
With the recent news of Ronald Koeman's sacking at Everton, there are a number of other Premier League managers who could be facing the axe quite soon. West Ham United's Slaven Bilic has been given a two-match ultimatum, while Mark Hughes is also under pressure at Stoke City.

Only nine games into the season and teams are already feeling the pressures of Premier League life. Mark Hughes is a manager who is currently not producing results where needed after Stoke City's 2-1 loss at home against Bournemouth last weekend. The Potters only have eight points from nine games and picked up just three points from their previous five matches.
Despite the current poor run of results, they did draw with Manchester United. They even beat Arsenal in the opening stages of the season. But since then, it hasn't all gone to plan. One result that sticks out is a recent 7-2 humiliating defeat against a classy Manchester City side at the Etihad Stadium.

Stoke are scoring goals but they don't have that security of a 15+ goal scorer. Defensively the Staffordshire-based side has been below par. Some pundits will say they have a poor defensive record. Injuries have plagued the side though, which has been the main worry.

Ryan Shawcross has suffered from back problems, leading him to miss matches. While summer signing, Kevin Wimmer has only appeared four times due to injury problems. Subbed off against Man City, youngster, Tom Edwards' Premier League debut didn't last long. The final notable injury is Bruno Martins Indi. Missing three games already the Stoke defender is out with a groin problem.

There have been numerous problems for Stoke this season. Fans have been criticizing Mark Hughes' managing style. Some say there is a lack of urgency in their game plan, which doesn't heed well when watching as a spectator. In the recent 2-1 loss against Bournemouth, Stoke started out with their new 3-4-3 formation and changed to a 4-4-2. Changing the system caught Bournemouth out and the Potters actually started to play better.

If there was something Mark Hughes would learn from that defeat it would be to utilize the 4-4-2 or change formation throughout the game to catch opponents off guard. Hoping that his side gets back to full strength, Hughes is desperate for the next win. This weekend his side will travel to Watford. Preparing for this upcoming fixture will be key.
Hughes has been in charge at Stoke City since 2013. Taking over the role from Tony Pulis the Welshman is now in his fifth year. There is no denying that Hughes knows the club inside-out by now. However, if results don't start to pick up the Stoke boss' position will definitely be under review.

Club Chairman Peter Coates was stated saying "We have winnable games coming up which we need to win. We need to get back to winning". This is a veiled threat that if Stoke City do not find results in their upcoming games then their owner will be thinking about Hughes' future.

The next four fixtures for Stoke are all attainable for points. Those games include Watford away, Leicester at home, Brighton away and Crystal Palace away. If Stoke doesn't produce from any of these games then there could be some serious consequences the man at the helm.

The question is, will Mark Hughes be the next manager sacked in the Premier League this season? He is currently the fourth favourite in the Sack Race at odds of 7/1.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.


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