Where did it start to go wrong?
The football from a fans perspective on the whole has been pretty grim, no doubt about it. The last 18 months have gone from the transition from ‘Stokealona’ to where we first were when Hughes originally took over. A surprising step backwards considering how good we were before the Liverpool cup semi final, since then the football has been incredibly dull.
One of the main issues during this run is that Hughes has kept reverting to all the players that were originally bought by Pulis and not his own players who he has seemingly got no faith in. Players like Imbula, Bony, Muniesa, Bojan and many more who have now departed seem to be out of his plans. A worrying sign for Coates as his money seems to be going down the drain on these players, especially Imbula in which he forked out a club record fee for.
It would be encouraging for the fans if he started to include these players, who are still at the club and show us his intentions to why he brought them here in the first place. Players like Imbula need to be in the first team and been given a chance to prove doubters and the manager wrong.
Could youth be used to ‘spark’ Hughes’ side?
Stoke after heavily investing in the academy, finally have produced some top quality young players. It’s a fitting tribute to the academy that one of the graduates Thibaud Verlinden has been nominated for the Golden Boy award.
With us having nothing to play for now it would be stupid of Hughes not to include youngsters in the team and let them showcase how good they really are. The only academy player we’ve seen all season is Ngoy and his time in the team seems to have come to a strange end, as he hasn’t got into the squad in the last few weeks.
One of our squads biggest weaknesses is a lack of mobility in the more senior players, something our young players don’t lack as they possess the physical attributes I find to make it work, as a Premier League player. With Swansea coming up at the weekend the last thing they’d want to come against is raw pace, something they don’t have much of in the back four.