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Stoke have a striker capable of matching Jamie Vardy for goals

| 06.04.2016

If the Premier League table was made up of solely home results this season, Stoke would still find themselves in the top half of the standings in ninth spot, taking 24 points from their 16 outings at the Britannia Stadium.

This is despite some statistics highlighting the difficulties that Mark Hughes’ men have in breaking down the opposition in front of their own fans.

The Potters have failed to score five times on home soil and have registered just 91 goal attempts from inside opposing penalty boxes, which is comfortably the worst in the top flight.

Giving the clear difficulties that Stoke have breaking down compact visiting defences, it is somewhat surprising to see that Bojan has found first-team starts difficult to come by this season.

His goal and assist in the latest 2-2 draw with Swansea was his first Britannia start since mid-January, being left out by Hughes in each of the club’s last four home fixtures.

The diminutive Spaniard possesses the ability to make jinking runs in tight areas and his low centre of gravity allows him to turn out of troubling spots. He also has an ability to find space when there is little to utilise.

A lesser-known fact surrounding Bojan is that his goal against Swansea takes his tally for the Premier League season to six and these have come from a minimal total of 31 attempts. This equates to a goals-to-shots ratio of 19.4%, which is identical to regular Leicester hitman Jamie Vardy.

The problem for Hughes is integrating his most lethal goal-getter. Stoke have been fixed in a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of the campaign, with Bojan mostly included in the hole behind a lone striker when selected.

But considering this is clearly not proving effective in maximising Stoke’s attackers at the Britannia, there is certainly a case to be made for the club to switch to a 4-4-2 on their own patch, using Bojan as a partner for a more physical striker to keep the central defenders occupied.

The recent injury to Xherdan Shaqiri would seemingly make such a move easier, with Ibrahim Afellay performing as a narrower, floating wide man next to the strong-dribbling Giannelli Imbula and tenacious Glenn Whelan.

Tottenham, Sunderland and West Ham still have to visit the Britannia this season and if Hughes makes Bojan one of a front pairing in these fixtures, Stoke should at least pose a greater threat in the final third.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.