With Saido lacking match fitness this seems like an ideal time to keep him in the side as we play in what is basically a free game against Chelsea. He worked incredibly hard for his teammates on Wednesday night and almost got on the score sheet if it wasn’t for a sensational block.
It also came across that he was gelling with the other senior players well, this can only be a good thing in terms of his future and what next season can become. If he gets as much game time in now as possible, it can only help us for next year as our start striker becomes aware of how his teammates play.
Starting Crouch will be too easy for the Chelsea back three I feel, as with a complete lack of pace, they will be able to mark Crouch out of the game. Against Chelsea you need someone who is more nimble and willing to run in behind and make space for his teammates, Berahino can do this.
Play Shaqiri in behind the striker
Despite Joe Allen doing ok in the number ten role, I feel as if it would serve us better if we played Shaqiri in there instead. With Shaqiri he offers us more creativity in terms of vision and more intelligent movement.
Also, another benefit of this is that we’d be more athletic in the middle which could help us combat the likes of Kante and Fabregas and enable us to not get overrun. We need that dynamism to able us to get up and down the pitch and with a midfield two of Cameron and Allen.
Whelan and Adam I feel would be too slow to deal with what Chelsea have to offer and the defensive side from those two is sometimes not up to scratch. Take the Spurs game for example where they were both really overrun in the first half, it was certainly one of the most one-sided midfield battles I’ve ever seen. This can’t happen against Chelsea as if we allow the ball to get to Costa easily the game will be out of reach before we know it.
Get the ball to Ramadan as quickly as possible
Ramadan in recent weeks has been instrumental. A key reason to our recent upturn, his skill and energy is really raising spirits again in the Potteries. With him on such fine form, it would be wise for him to get as many touches as possible as playing against Moses gives him a chance to get in good attacking positions.
Against Man City in truth he was our main threat and often troubled fullback Sagna with mesmeric bits of skill, I’m hoping that he will able to do the same on Saturday but this time with an end product and help us win the game.
Ramadan will also be key for this game as his willingness to defend is similar to that of his attacking and allows us to be more solid at the back.