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Stoke City need a mentality change

Monday 11th December 2017

Heading into the final stages in the calendar year, there has been drama aplenty in the Premier League. For Stoke City, it being negative. The Potters have 16 points from as many games, with some fans starting to become restless in what they deem as not good enough.

The Staffordshire based side are currently 15th in the Premier League but Mark Hughes' team has the worst defensive record; already conceding 35 goals, particularly, they are vulnerable when it comes down to playing 'bigger sides'. We know that the clubs nearer the top of the table are hugely capable when it comes to huge wins but recently, they've been enjoying even more success against Stoke.

Results include a 4-0 loss at home to Chelsea, a 7-2 loss away to Manchester City, a 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool and, most recently, a 5-1 drubbing at Wembley against Tottenham. Other poor results include losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace and a 2-1 loss at home to Bournemouth. This is not just a defensive issue, but a mentality. Stoke have had less possession than their opponents in their last seven matches. Even when they beat Swansea at home 2-1 they still saw less of the ball.

This has been a key issue since the season started, and it has been frustrating for many fans. It is now normal to see a Stoke side sit inside their own half when they don't have the ball, coupled with no intensity and urgency in trying to win it back.

One key player for Stoke this season has been Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss international has contributed to nine goals. He has also been instrumental in Stoke's build-up play. If the Potters have a go-to man, Shaqiri is first-choice. Another player that has proven worthy of a mention is Mame Biram Diouf. The Senegal international has four goals and, bizarrely, has been alternated between right-back and striker. Despite the uncertainty of his position, Diouf has proven he can score.

At the moment it doesn't seem like Stoke is in a great predicament despite being three points above relegation. This season may be a tough one as fixtures look to be harder than ever before. Upcoming matches for the Potters include Burnley away, West Ham at home and West Brom at home. Stoke will desperately need points from these three games as West Brom and West Ham are two other teams fighting to steer clear of the relegation zone. If Hughes' side doesn't pick up enough points over these vital Christmas fixtures, it could result in relegation if Stoke aren't careful.

With the games coming thick and fast there are plenty of points up for grabs and Hughes will want to make the most of it. However, if there isn't much urgency coming from the footballers on the pitch, the fans' anger could become louder. Once a manager loses the supporters' trust, it's tough to win their love once again, and the Welshman could find himself jobless in the not too distant future.

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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