The Top 5 Conclusions from Stoke City 2-0 Sunderland 15.10.16

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1) Wins and clean sheets and Joe Allens oh my!

It’s been coming. Slowly but surely. But the pressure was on. Failure to win this, the first in a series of eminently winnable games between now and the festive season, would have set the tone for a genuine, no-questions-asked relegation battle. That we have negotiated the hurdle suggests we might be able to aim slightly higher after all. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Manchester United 1-1 Stoke City 02.10.16

1) The comeback starts here

At long last, a result at Old Trafford! How typically Stoke City that our first point away at Manchester United since the week after John Lennon was shot (Lee Chapman’s strike making rather fewer headlines than his namesake) should come not when we’re flying, but at pretty much our lowest Premier League ebb. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Stoke City 1-1 West Brom 24.09.16

1) Hughes blows his mini-redemption

Let’s start with a basic statement of the obvious. This is a draw that feels like a defeat. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City 18.09.16

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1) A tale of two transfer windows

What separates football from other sports is emotion. No other sport sweeps you away, or gets woven so deeply into the fabric of who you are. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Stoke City 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur 10.09.16

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1) Stoke are absolutely where they deserve to be

Rewatching the ‘highlights’ of this debacle, there was a point at which Mark Hughes, exiled in dudgeon to the stands, could be seen blindly poking away at a mobile device, communication with his bench seemingly lost. Damningly, given recent performances, nobody would have noticed the difference. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Everton 1-0 Stoke City 27.08.16

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1) The Crouch gamble was understandable, but didn’t pay off

Different striker, same outcome. Mark Hughes tried something different at Everton in handing Peter Crouch only his fifth league start since August 2015. Yet the underlying problems remain – Stoke simply do not create enough chances for whoever they’re fielding up front. One solitary shot on target at Goodison, and just five altogether from our three league fixtures to date, tells its own sad story. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Stoke City 1-4 Manchester City 20.08.16

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1) A harsh scoreline, but a harsher glare on Stoke’s deficiencies

First of all, this was not a 4-1 game. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Conclusions from Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke City 13.08.16

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1) Gutsy second half masks familiar concerns

In any context, this was a good result. Not just because newly promoted sides on their own patch are a notoriously tricky first opponent, but because Continue reading

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2015/16 Conclusions #5: The honeymoon is over for Mark Hughes

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For all the mitigating circumstances that contributed to our disappointments this season, and despite attaining a respectable position once again, Mark Hughes’ managerial reign at Stoke is under scrutiny for the first time. And with good reason. Continue reading

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2015/16 Conclusions: #4 The purse strings are finally loosened with mixed results

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One of the manager’s best qualities thus far has been his ability to work with a relatively low budget and still take the club to its best league finishes since the 1970s. Continue reading

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