It’s been a long time coming, but has Stoke City’s attack finally found it’s rhythm? With the usual suspects beginning to reappear, is Wilfried Bony guilty of not pulling his weight?
Stoke City have seemingly started to find their feet. The last three games have shown the promise we all knew was there, just waiting to be uncovered.
Marko Arnautovic appears to be getting back to his fearless ways, while Xherdan Shaqiri showed us again on Saturday why he should never be underestimated.
Joe Allen has found a new lease of life in a more advanced position. Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi are starting to gel at the back. Lee Grant is enjoying a good bit of form and a run in between the sticks.
So all is well, right? Well, not quite…
One player who had undoubtedly suffered frustration and a string of sub-par performances is Wilfried Bony.
Why isn’t Wilfried Bony bringing his Swansea form to the party?
It was a deadline day move that excited many.
Not only were Stoke City fans eager to see the Ivorian in the red and white, but many fans of other clubs were also quite keen to see Bony playing regular football again.
His form at Swansea City before his move – and thus inevitable drop in playing time – was brilliant. Bony was scoring for fun at times.
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Scoring 26 goals in 54 games was impressive in a mid-table Swansea City side.
Compare that to six goals in 36 games at the Etihad and the numbers speak for themselves.
A move away from the Manchester City bench and the shadow of Sergio Aguero was what Bony needed. Stoke were more than happy to secure his services for the season.
So why hasn’t he instantly gelled with his new colleagues? Surely for Bony, being the forward line focal point, he should feel right at home?
Confidence. Being second, if not third choice (due to the emergence of Kelechi Iheanacho) at a club that were eager to have you does no favours.
Bony must have known that there was little to no chance of knocking Aguero off of his perch but I’m sure he expected more time on the pitch.
Will he reach his Liberty heights?
Most of us in the Stoke City circle expected big things of Bony. We didn’t expect him to come in and win us the league, but I don’t think anyone could foresee a return of zero goals in six matches.
Not even Bony, himself.
It was clear that after one or two chances were missed in the opening two or three games that frustration was growing as his confidence went the other way.
Bony wanted to start with a bang at the bet365 Stadium, and it hasn’t quite happened for him yet.
It seems clear that Mark Hughes has told Bony not to panic too much about his drought, as the goals will come.
His confidence and demeanour around the pitch has improved in the last few games, and he looks eager to perform again.
His link up play has been much improved, and he’s more focused on the team scoring goals rather than himself.
Despite not yet coming up trumps, Hughes has kept faith in the Ivory Coast international, and continues to start him.
Bony needs to continue to not let the pressure get to him, to continue to have efforts on goal when he can and I firmly believe the goals will come for him.
A front four of Allen, Shaqiri, Arnautovic and Bony – all firing, all on form. That’s got a nice ring to it.