Stoke vs. Blackburn: Recap and top 3 takeaways
Stoke took the points on Saturday as the beat out Blackburn 1-0. Stoke got on the board early and then displayed their organization and stability on the back end for the rest of the match. While Blackburn did generate a few chances, especially a Barry Douglas shot off the post in the first half, Stoke were quick to stifle any momentum and looked in control.
Only one change for Stoke from the midweek squad – Fletcher came in for McClean. Brown moves over to the left, Ince gets another start.
- Early goal for Stoke – Powell finishes a perfectly placed cross from Fox. First goal for Stoke in 3 matches.
- Rough first half for Brown, a few clear turnovers
- Barry Douglas hits the post on a stinging low shot, best chance for Blackburn
- Stoke’s shape and organization was really impressive. At times you could see Stoke move back into a 4-4-2. Very well structured
- Powell goes down with an injury but comes back on
- Stoke had a chance towards the end of the half which came off an unreal back heel from Fletcher. Powell picked out Tymon on transition but Tymon couldn’t get the shot on target
- Big early clearance from Bursik on a dangerous chance
- 63′ Oakley-Boothe in for Powell, McClean in for Jacob Brown – both subs looked great coming on
- 74′ Vokes in for Fletcher, Thompson in for Ince
- At times Stoke had both wings back for a total of 6 at the back
- Bursik makes a nice save in 90+3
1- The Defense
Stoke City have the best defense in the Championship. At this point, I don’t think that’s a controversial statement to make. On the season, they run a 55% chance of a clean sheet in every Championship match they play. Stats alone don’t justify just how good the defense has been. The structure and spacing is perfect, they handle pressure with poise, and the compete level is great. The fact that they are doing this with young, inexperienced players at the back is even more impressive.
2- Jordan Cousins
Yet again, Jordan Cousins was fantastic for the Potters. He was strong on the ball and distributed extremely well. With Mikel’s imminent return, it will be interesting to see how he can still be worked into the squad, he deserves minutes.
3 – Scoring Options
Though Stoke broke their scoring drought, this match did not answer any of the offensive questions they still have. Tom Ince did not look as good as he did earlier in the week, and Jacob Brown was notably off. As of right not, the only pieces that can be counted on are Powell and Fletcher. If Stoke can find a solution in January, they should will continue to compete for a playoff spot.