Players to watch for Stoke City vs Barnsley: #3 Jordan Thompson
Jordan Thompson deserves some praise for his play this season. After joining the Potters from Blackpool last January, the midfielder has been in and out of the lineup and has had to compete with a number of veteran players and younger players for minutes. With two straight starts for Stoke, it’s clear that his play has been favorable for Michael O’Neill which says a lot since he has come in to replace veteran John Obi Mikel.
Watching Thompson play, he’s a very decisive distributor. He’s not afraid to move play forward quickly which helps keep defenders honest. He is also a willing defender and has better pace than other midfielders for Stoke, mainly Mikel and Allen. Finally, though I don’t think it’s the best part of his game, he does have some set piece ability, though I think Clucas is a much better player in that department.
Going into Wednesday’s matchup, Thompson should have earned himself another start. It’s clear that the Allen and Thompson combination has worked better than Allen and Mikel so it will be interesting to see if O’Neill keeps the pair together or instead looks to get Mikel, Cousins, and Clucas involved. Having just won two in a row with this combo I would predict that we see them again. Not only did Thompson look good, but Allen was noticeably better and had a memorable cross for Powell’s late goal. Possibly the biggest part of Stoke’s ability to go on a late season run is for better overall midfield play so consistent starts for in-form players should be a priority. We should be hoping to see Thompson in the starting XI on Wednesday.