What’s The Matter With … Tony Pulis’ Stoke City?
Stoke City may be about as popular as the Tory front bench but, while the latter continues to batter weaker opposition into submission, cracks have started to appear in the Potters’ ruthlessness at the worst possible time.
Tony Pulis’ men have now gone six games without a victory and have won just once in their previous 13 Premier League matches – a run that’s seen them pick up just five points since the turn of the year and slip to within three points of the relegation zone.
So what’s been the cause of this dire run of form?
Michael Butler in the Guardian points the finger at their current lack of widemen and their inability to get balls into the box from the flanks.
It was painfully obvious against Aston Villa that playing the likes of Ryan Shotton out wide is not the way to cause problems, with Villa easily dealing with the long straight balls lumped up to the increasingly forlorn Kenwyne Jones.
Jones is another problem and, more specifically, Jones’ lack of goals is a problem.
The Trinidad and Tobago forward is currently Pulis’ first-choice forward but his inability to find the net consistently is a real issue. Obviously a lack of decent service doesn’t help matters, but a man who has reached double goal figures just once in five full Premier League seasons is hardly likely to create something out of nothing.
Whilst these problems have only been apparent in recent months there is one massive issue that’s hindered them all season – their away form.
Stoke have won just once on the road in the league this term and have the worst away attack in the division, averaging less than one goal per-game.
With away games against fellow strugglers Sunderland and QPR coming up and home games against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, backing Stoke to get relegated at 7/1 could lead to a very decent pay out.
What do Stoke need to do to regain their former consistency? Let us know what you think below…
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.