Stoke City was held to a 0-0 draw against a resolute Middlesbrough side, while it ended 0-0, there were certainly point to take away from the clash from a Stoke City supporter perspective.
Jack Butland is clearly the MVP in this Stoke City side.
Jack Butland once again came up trumps for Stoke City as he denied Jonny Howson from close range and Jordon Hugill in a one on one situation. Clearly, Butland is the lynchpin in Stoke’s hope for promotion, as the defense still looks a tad shaky against a Middlesbrough team renowned for its defense but certainly not its attack.
Stoke City lack quality in the final third.
Stoke City had chances to win the game but they simply squandered them, that will not do if Stoke City are to push for promotion in this season, the likes of Berahino and Ince must help take the load off a not scoring Benik Afobe. Also, there was a dearth of chances crafted from intricate passing, while I’m not asking Stoke City to play like Manchester City but the fact their best chances came from Tom Edwards’s crosses doesn’t bode well for the future.
Gary Rowett will go for the win
In the past, Stoke City managers have been a tad conservative and not really going for the win, while I’m not saying some good-old pragmatism is bad, there needs to be a certain belief that your side can compete against the best teams and Gary Rowett certainly symbolized that. Instead, of his usual 4-4-1-1 or 4-1-4-1 formations, he went for a 4-3-3 because he knew that Middlesbrough wasn’t going to be bringing an attacking approach to the game but also he knew how much a win would win for Stoke City’s promotion bid, so kudos to Rowett for attempting to win the game.
Another match gone, and the future certainly looks bright for Stoke City supporters.