As Stoke City’s momentum continues to build, we take a look at three main points from the win over Swansea City on Monday.
It was a promising October for Stoke City. Now five games unbeaten, Stoke have only conceded three goals in the last five league games. A much improved defence is key to the turn around, as we delve into the finer details of Monday night.
Wilfried Bony has found his shooting boots
It took him a while. Bony was growing more frustrated by the week as his drought continued.
On Monday night, however, Bony netted his first goals for the Potters. A strike in each half getting his tally off the mark – after going his first six matches without scoring.
Mark Hughes has done well to deflect the criticism that was coming the Ivorian’s way. The upturn in performances from the team as a whole has taken his lack of goals out of the limelight.
The manager has clearly shown faith in the on-loan forward. Two well-taken goals – a true poachers-style finish and a well-placed header – have surely now got Bony smelling blood.
If Stoke are to continue their push up the table, Bony will need to use Monday night as a platform to kick on.
Joe Allen unplayable, at times
The Welshman’s rich run of form shows no signs of stopping – or even slowing.
Allen, rather remarkably given his recent involvement, registered only his first assists of the campaign on Monday. The midfielder provided Bony with both goals.
In what was another dominating performance in the number 10 role, Allen was pulling strings all over the frontline.
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A third assist was in the offing, had Marko Arnautovic’s effort not come back off the post.
Allen, though, will be tasked with making the attack tick on his own at the weekend. Stoke look set to be without Arnautovic, who serves a one-match ban, and Xherdan Shaqiri who limped off in the first half on Monday.
Back-four on the same page
Being a defender at Stoke City at the beginning of the season was not a desired job.
Leaking goals and being pulled around all over the place, teams were eager to face the Potters backline.
In recent matches however, Stoke have tightened things up. Hughes’ men have conceded only three goals in the past five matches.
This is compared to the first five games, where Stoke let in 14. A huge turnaround.
Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi finally look to have a grip of things at the back, but must remember to do the basics right.
Phil Bardsley was beaten to a header by Wayne Routledge of all people, after Gylfi Sigurdsson was allowed to dig out a cross.
A poor goal to concede, which on another night may have cost the club dear.
Nonetheless, Monday night proved Stoke City are well and truly back, as the Potters look to continue this fine run at an out-of-sorts West Ham United on Saturday.