For once we’re not talking about Joe Allen. At the KCom Stadium on Saturday, it was Xherdan Shaqiri’s turn to take the plaudits for Stoke City as the Potters move out of the bottom three.
For the second time in as many games, Stoke were rewarded for their continued efforts to get their season back on track.
A Xherdan Shaqiri double was enough to bring the points back to the bet365 Stadium, as back-to-back victories for the first time this season lifted the Potters out of the relegation zone.
Stoke City begin to surge as Hull enter freefall
It was a result that followed a recent trend.
Hull were up against it as many doubted their chances of taking anything from the game.
Stoke on the other hand would have been disappointed with anything other than a win.
The victory helped emphasise Stoke’s resurgence from a poor start to the campaign. Hull though were condemned to a fifth straight league defeat.
Stoke controlled the majority of the opening quarter of an hour as Shaqiri got his range dialled in by whipping in a free kick and slicing wide an early shot.
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Shaqiri came close to supplying Allen with his fifth goal in four games, as his clipped ball just escaped the Welshman’s clutches.
The Swiss international then took centre stage; as he stepped inside a couple of challenges, unleashing a dipping strike from 25 yards.
The former Bayern Munich player lit up the dwindling KCom as he left David Marshall stranded.
Stoke continued to control the rest of the half. Marko Arnautovic looked hungry, as Wilfried Bony was denied his first Stoke goal by a great challenge from Michael Dawson.
Stoke City assert their authority
Stoke began the second half as they ended the first.
Shaqiri found himself scythed down on the edge of the Hull penalty area, and wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to add to his tally.
He picked his spot and looped the ball over the wall, beyond a beaten Marshall.
The ball nestled in the bottom right hand corner of the net, much like his first strike of the game.
Shaqiri was allowed time and space to dictate play as Hull hadn’t learned from their previous mistakes.
Arnautovic and Ryan Shawcross both forced saves from Marshall after being played in by the impressive Swiss.
Allen would have added to the score line had Marshall not been alert to push his half-volley around the post.
Mame Biram Diouf made a late appearance replacing Bony who endured another frustrating afternoon.
Stoke saw out the game comfortably as Hull were unable to fashion any clear cut chances.
The game was marred slightly after the final whistle as Shaqiri appeared to grab the throat of Hull midfielder Sam Clucas.
The cause of the fracas was unknown. Yellow cards were shown to Shaqiri, Allen and Phil Bardsley by referee Kevin Friend after the final whistle.