From Whelan to Whitehead, Wilson to Delap, Etherington edging towards his 32nd birthday and Jermaine Pennant edging towards another driving offence, is Stoke’s midfield the poorest in the division?
Even the average supporter can spot the lack of quality in the centre of the pitch however Tony Pulis still delves into chairman Peter Coates’ back pocket to strengthen attacking options. The signings all seem to accommodate the Delap long throw, which has failed to threaten compared to previous seasons. Is this a sign that teams are now wise to The Potters style or has playing European football took its toll on league performances this campaign?
With Stoke situated in 14th position in the Premier League on 45 points, only a place lower than their 2010/11 total of 46, the more worrying figures are the goals scored considering the strike force is always the main beneficiary during the transfer windows. The Stoke faithful have only witnessed 36 goals this season, the lowest total from all 20 teams and ten of those 36 scored by 6ft 7 Peter Crouch. Blackburn have proved this season regardless of Yakubu scoring 16 goals it just wasn’t enough and find themselves playing Championship football next season. Therefore more goals are surely needed from the men behind Crouch and Walters to support the conversion tally for next term and goal scoring midfielders are another area added to the acquisition list for the men in red and white. The fact Stoke need to improve in their own half of the field is not just midfield as fans cry out for full backs to match the quality in the heart of the defence Huth and Shawcross, however the centre of the park is surely the main priority to gain players who actually impact on the game rather than just fill a gap. The fans expect the team to be improved in the summer and another 6ft plus striker will not suffice.
Many sides cringe at the thought of travelling to the Britannia Stadium however the corresponding fixtures regularly see the home sides clocking up 3 points to the expense of Stoke. Can this pattern of away form continuously be supported by home results? If not I really fear the worst for Stoke.