Talking Tactics: Setting Stoke City in an attacking approach

In a recent article at All Stoked Up, we discussed the ways Stoke City can play in a more attacking manner to turn draws into wins as Stoke City supporters begin to feel frustrated. In this article, we explore the ways tactically Gary Rowett can change to allow the goals to flow.

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Change the formation into a 4-2-3-1

The 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 simply doesn’t provide goals, yes it allows for defensive stability but at the end of the day, goals win games. Changing the formation into 4-2-3-1 would allow an attacking midfielder perhaps Etebo who possess the energy and skill to really be a threat around the final third but currently, he is a tad too deep in midfield. The 4-3-2-1 would also allow Benik Afobe with more teammates around the penalty area, currently, he looks isolated and often is unable to provide any sustained attacking threat. Lastly, the 4-3-2-1 would allow for Stoke to better control possession with Joe Allen playing as a deep-lying playmaker and potentially with Sam Clucas being the enforcer in the midfield, also the two wingers would be able to be more direct and attack the centre-backs causing more instability for opponents.

Playing Peter Crouch or Saido Berahino up top

With Afobe not really scoring goals, perhaps its time for a switch up top. Rowett’s faith in Afobe is commendable but in management sometimes you need to make the hard calls. Playing Peter Crouch up top would give Stoke a genuine threat in the air but they would lose mobility, playing Berahino would offer pace and genuine goal threat, although aerially they will not be as strong. In addition, Stoke City could play Afobe on the flanks as Belgium did with Lukaku in the World Cup semi-final against Brazil, it could prove to be a tactical masterstroke.

Decisions have to be made, can Gary Rowett make the correct one is the million dollar question.