Stoke Fan View: 3 ways to stop the end-of-season slide into mediocrity

Rory Watt

Hughes needs to stop neglecting good players such as Imbula and stop with his agenda.

Charlie Adams attempt at of a corner against Burnley was a perfect clip to sum up his and Stokes season. It was bizarre I found, that Hughes chose Adam ahead of Imbula and Afellay. It just doesn’t make sense to me as Adam hasn’t played well in a while and offers nothing defensively but still gets in the team.

Imbula and Afellay have an ability to drive with the ball, take on players and create better chances than Adam does and with Allen and Cameron already in the team they could have a free role in the side to do what they do best. Both players also retain the ball better than Adam as they help control the game, I find to often Adam looks to much for the killer pass.

If Imbula can’t get a run of games I feel as if his time as a Stoke player will be up come the end of the season which would be a huge shame, as the 24 year old is one of the better players in our team in my opinion. If he could work on his defensive side a little bit he could easily replicate what another Frenchman has done in N’zonzi and play for one of Europe’s elite clubs.

Imbula reportedly frustrated with a lack of first team chances.

Don’t continue to play Joe Allen in the ten role.

Allen to me despite having a decent goals tally, has played his better football for the club in a deeper role. The partnership of him and Geoff Cameron actually worked quite well against Chelsea and something I could see working the long term.

However his return to playing behind the striker was highly unsuccessful against Burnley, as he was never close enough to Berahino or Arnautovic to help us out in our attacks. The solution for me would be to play Shaqiri in that role and let him roam and do his thing.

After bizarrely deciding to loan out Bojan leaving us depleted in that area Shaqiri and Allen seem to be our only two options. Shaqiri’s vision, creativity and timing of pass is what would enable him to play this role better than Allen, it would make sense for me to play Allen deeper and play Shaq in the role and see how he combines with Berahino.

Hughes has said Shaqiri is in line for a return to first team action

Play to their weaknesses

Lovren and Klavan yet again showed how vulnerable they are as a pairing as pacy players such as Josh King, Benik Afobe and Jordan Ibe tormented them. With Matip not fully fit, it’s highly possible Stoke will come up against this pairing again.

Berahino, Diouf or even Ngoy would be perfect for a game like this, if either of these players can play off Klavan in particular they can have a lot of joy as the Estonian really struggled and looked out of sorts especially on Kings goal.

A front four of Berahino, Arnautovic, Sobhi and Shaqiri would be a scary sight for any opposition and with the way Liverpool defend these type of players could have a field day if on form. It would be nice to see some goals as well as they have become a rarity for this Stoke team in recent months.

 

 

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