The yellow card totting-up procedure has claimed another Stoke City key player. Can the Potters handle things without the Welshman?
In this day and age, it’s rather common to see a suspension due to gathering yellow cards. After all, you only need five to miss a game.
Marko Arnautovic found that out as he missed the 1-1 draw at West Ham, after being booked in the win over Swansea.
Allen’s booking during the defeat to Bournemouth means he will miss the trip to Watford this weekend.
Why is Allen such a loss?
We are all very much aware of the obvious impact Allen has had on the team in recent months.
Despite pulling the majority of the attacking strings, Allen is a not only an important individual, but a key component of the effectiveness of the forward line.
Arnautovic’s suspension came at the wrong time for Stoke City fans.
After taking some time to gel, the front four of Arnautovic, Allen, Xherdan Shaqiri and Wilfried Bony finally appeared to be firing.
The run of form helped contribute to three consecutive wins, and the disruption to the rhythm was there for all to see as the Potters ground out a point at the London Stadium.
All of a sudden, Shaqiri’s injury and Arnautovic’s suspension looked to be pivotal.
With half of the bonding attacking force missing, Allen struggled to dictate the play as much he was used to.
Do Stoke City have adequate cover?
The main worry for the manager and the fans is that it’s yet another game that the four-piece attack won’t feature together.
In fact, the last time all four were on the pitch, was in the comfortable 2-0 win away at Hull. There was no doubt that the chemistry was building.
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The disruption that causes is often hard to see on the surface.
Of course with Allen missing, Hughes needs entrust another with the responsibility. So who gets the nod?
The obvious choice will be Bojan Krkic, who of course missed a penalty during the game with Bournemouth on Saturday.
Prior to Allen’s arrival, Bojan was often given the task of sitting in behind the lone striker, and has filled the role well in the past.
Hornets capable of providing a sting
The absence of Allen isn’t ideal at any time, but ahead of a trip to an in-form, solid Watford side is less so.
Whoever deputises for Allen must be able to fill the shoes quickly. Watford are playing well, and are capable of keeping clean sheets and being tough to break down.
The more games that go by without the first-choice attacking four being available, the longer fans must wait to see the front-line in full flow.