The Stoke View
Next to travel to South London are Stoke City so we had a chat with the guys at Bear Pit TV to find out about their season so far and their thoughts ahead of this match up.
Q. What did you make of last season for Stoke?
Arguably our worst season since getting promoted. Dumped out of the cups by Hull’s reserves and Wolves’ reserves, and scrapped our way to 13th by a final day win away at Southampton, to narrowly avoid our worse points haul ever. But it was the style of football that was the most disappointing, it appeared we reverted to a style similar to that of Tony Pulis, and it was simply unbearable.
Q. What were your hopes for the new season before a ball had been kicked?
That we’d have a new manager. Aside from that some exciting football, an end to all the four goal (or more) thrashings, and a decent cup run. So to have already have had 7-2 and 4-0 defeats and being dumped out of the cup by Bristol City’s reserves is not so good.
Q. Are the fans still behind Mark Hughes or is there a feeling his time at the club is coming to an end?
The support for Hughes from the fan base is at its lowest, and disillusion is running rife. Even some of the people who would describe themselves as Hughes’ biggest fans have been left baffled by actions such as withdrawing Xherdan Shaqiri with twenty minutes to go at Brighton with the score at 2-2. I doubt there are many Stoke fans who can truly picture Hughes being at the helm come the 2018/19 season.
Q. How was the summer transfer window for the club and were all needs addressed in the squad?
Awful, truly truly awful. we spent £25million on two centre backs (and payed a hefty loan fee for Kurt Zouma) and we still have the joint second worst defence in the league. Hughes has clearly decided to switch to a 3-4-3 system, yet the only people who could come close to being described as wing backs at the club are both eighteen years of age, so this was a huge miss. Throw into this our best player moving to West Ham United, most Stokies have already wiped their memory of this window.
Q. Do you expect much business by the club in the January transfer window?
Two players to come in really must be a minimum requirement. At least one wing back, preferably two, for reasons already mentioned. We also desperately need a central midfielder, we currently only really have two who are trusted to come onto the pitch, and could do with an attacking presence from deep.
Q. Explain in no more than 140 characters how the last ten years have been for the football the club.
The best since the 70s. Ten seasons in a row in the Prem. Won 5-0 at Wembley. Been to Europe. The past 18 months haven’t lived up to this.
Q. What do you make of Palace’s current predicament?
It’s strange. Frank de Boer seemed to be a leap too far, especially considering your past few managers. But from the outside it seemed as if he was somewhat unlucky to not get the side scoring. Your side seems a good one and Roy Hodgson is getting plenty out of it currently. Out of the current bunch in the bottom three, I’d think you’re the most likely to stay up.
Q. Name one player from EACH side that you think the opposition should consider a real threat.
For Palace, Xherdan Shaqiri. Arnautovic leaving has seen Shaqiri step into the super star role, and he looks like every oppositions worse nightmare this season. He drops off and appears anywhere on the pitch, and only Manchester City have players with more assists than the Swiss man this season.
For Stoke, Wilfried Zaha. Pacey wingers are something that Stoke fans will never be comfortable seeing our side play. If you caught Monday Night Football then you would have seen how dangerous Izquierdo looked for Brighton against us, and Zaha is considerably better.
Q. Your prediction?
I hate your ground. I have never enjoyed a football match there, and yet for some reason I have a ticket for Saturday’s game! We have been leaky so far this season so expect goals so I reckon it’ll be another 2-2 draw.