After Sunday’s awful 4-0 loss to Watford, things looked very grim for Stoke City going into Wednesday. On paper, The Potters looked like they could go from ugly to uglier if the team suffered another terrible result. Yet somehow, Stoke City managed to find a way to pull out their best possible scenario at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Every team and every manager will tell you that grabbing all three points is always a team’s goal. However, sometimes just grabbing a point can be a win for a club. Especially when a match is on the road against a top-table team. For Stoke City, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday.
Why a Draw Was a Good Result for Stoke City
Stoke City showed tremendous grit against Burnley in their 1-1 draw. For most of the first and second half, Burnley controlled the match with possession. They were also the more dangerous team going forward in possession as Stoke City only managed to get off six total attempts compared to Burnley’s thirteen.
It appeared that Stoke City was going to eventually concede and then the dam would break with the scoreline. In fact, Stoke City did eventually end up conceding in the second half on a Connor Roberts goal.
This Burnley goal was a moment where Stoke City was caught standing around defensively. Which was part of the team’s mentality/work rate issue against Watford. But instead of getting pushed into a corner after that goal, Stoke City bent and didn’t break.
The Potters stayed strong defensively for the rest of the match and were able to muster just enough offensive chances to tie the game up. That tying goal for Stoke City came late in the match when Tariqe Fosu placed a cross perfectly into the box for substitute Harry Clarke.
From start to finish, a win for Stoke City looked like a longshot. Even a draw itself seemed unreachable. But Stoke City bore down as a team and were able to grind out a draw at Turf Moor. Grabbing a point was the best result Stoke City fans could have hoped for on Wednesday.
Where Stoke City Goes From Here
Listen, it still wasn’t a pretty match by any means for Stoke City. Offensively the team was very toothless again. The club made some similar mistakes in possession that they had made against Watford – most of those mistakes being bad off-ball movement again and being too slow in their passing.
If Stoke City are going to challenge for promotion this year, they’ll have to find a way to be better in those areas and more consistent in possession. No promotion team can expect their defense to defend for 65-70% of the match and expect great results each match.
But very importantly against Burnley, Stoke City showed better fight and a better sense of dealing with adversity. Stoke City’s work rate was much improved defensively and up to the quality of what you expect in the Championship,
Stoke City also put themselves in positions to win the match or to at least take a point against a top team on the road. They’ll need to bring that same mentality to a tough stretch of matches still to come before the World Cup break. Stoke City now head back home to host top-table Sheffield United on Saturday.
Who Stood Out for Stoke City against Burnley?
Wing-back Tariqe Fosu, the jack of all trades:
Fosu was once again everywhere for Stoke City. Fosu showed great defensive work rate down the wings. This was a very important area for Stoke City to defend given their previous match issues out-wide in space.
Fosu also set up the winning goal when he joined the team’s attack late in the match. Fosu received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and delivered a fantastic corner into the box. What was special about his assisting cross was how he stood the ball up perfectly to give Harry Clarke a chance to win it in the air.
Fosu also looked pretty decent on a number of other occasions when finding the ball at his feet out wide.
Defender Harry Clarke, the hero:
Clarke subbed in late and brought a ton of energy as well as the game-tying goal. Clarke was able to rise up over Burnley defenders to find Fosu’s perfect cross and bury the header.
Clarke also drew a foul late in the match that gave Lewis Baker a dangerous free kick around Burnley’s 18-yard box.
Forward Tyrese Campbell, the spark:
Campbell was Stoke City’s best attacker for most of the match. Campbell showed his quickness on and off the ball. If he can stay healthy, he’ll deserve more starts.
Center-back Ben Wilmot, gets a pass:
Wilmot had a wretched game. He gave up the ball numerous times which could have led to goals for Burnley. He also almost headed in an own goal late while defending a corner.
Wilmot deserves a pass, however, as he’s been Stoke City’s most consistent defender going into the match. He’ll hope for a better performance against Sheffield United on Saturday.