Stoke City vs. Coventry City Recap

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Jamie Allen of Coventry City scores their team's first goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Stoke City and Coventry City at Bet365 Stadium on October 22, 2022 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Jamie Allen of Coventry City scores their team's first goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Stoke City and Coventry City at Bet365 Stadium on October 22, 2022 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images) /

It was Deja vu for Stoke City on Saturday against Coventry City. Similar to Tuesday’s loss against Rotherham, The Potters controlled large parts of the match. But also like the Rotherham loss, Stoke City were again held goalless and again had defensive lapses when it mattered most.

Coming off of two wins against Sheffield United and Preston, the sky seemed to be the limit for Stoke City going into late October. But now, after losing to Coventry 2-0, Stoke City’s stock this season has come crashing down and then some.

Stoke City, now on the back of two straight losses, find themselves near the bottom of the table in 17th with 19 points. The Potters also find themselves after their loss to Coventry, just three points ahead of The Sky Blues for the final relegation spot on the table.

Stoke City Lacking Quality

The Potters, like on Tuesday, mostly controlled the match to the tune of 65% possession overall. At halftime, Stoke City were even up to 68% of the possession in the match.

Stoke City also led with more attempts in the match with 11 to Coventry’s 8. But Stoke City, for the second straight game, failed to score a goal. So where do The Potters go from here? Who’s to blame? Should Alex Neil make wholesale changes against Norwich City next time out?

The latter of those questions will be answered over the next week or so as Stoke City have a little more time to prepare for next Saturday’s match. However, the thing that is clear coming out of Saturday’s loss is that Stoke City just haven’t been good enough.

Whether it be the team’s attack or defense, The Potters haven’t shown enough quality as of late to win matches or even draw matches. If this type of play continues from The Potters, they’ll find themselves fighting to say in the Championship instead of challenging for promotion.

Stoke City Struggle Yet Again to Breakthrough and Defend

Defensively, Stoke City have had way too many lapses in their last two games when it counted most. Even when you’re in a controlling position, you have to always be ready to defend against counterattacks, which the team failed to do against Coventry City.

Both of Coventry’s goals on Saturday came in moments where Stoke City were hit on the counterattack and failed to get back behind the ball in transition. Coventry’s first goal came from Jamie Allen after he was played in behind Stoke’s backline with an excellent through ball. Coventry’s second goal would come later on another counterattack when Gustavo Hamer dribbled past Ben Wilmot/Josh Laurent to bend a shot perfectly into Stoke’s goal.

Both instances simply weren’t good enough from Stoke City with defending counterattacks. You have to be awake at all times defensively. Which is something Stoke City seemed to have a problem with again, just like against Rotherham.

The Potters have been lulled into a false sense of safety over the past week and then have allowed opposing teams to pounce to score goals. The same can be said with Stoke City’s attack.

In attack, Stoke City should have enough quality players to break through with goals. Yet again they were held off the scoresheet completely. A lot of these issues could root from the team’s seemingly predictable attack at times.

The team’s attack also needs to show more quality – whether it be Stoke’s passing, Stoke’s attempts at goal, or Stoke’s decision-making needing to be quicker and better.

The bottom line, Stoke City have to find a way to score more goals. Even with the team’s defensive lapses, you can’t win matches if you don’t score. Plus, you won’t even be able to draw matches as keeping a clean sheet consistent is a tough task for any English club.

Who stood out for Stoke City against Coventry City?

Ben Wilmot, poor positioning:

Wilmot has been one of Stoke’s most consistent defenders this season. He even had some solid moments against Coventry. But overall, Wilmot had a disastrous day on Saturday.

On Coventry’s first goal, Wilmot was caught in poor positioning as he stepped up into midfield to make a challenge. This allowed Coventry to play a great through ball into the space vacated by Wilmot and break Stoke City’s backline.

Then later in the match on Coventry’s second goal, Wilmot allowed Gustavo Hamer to run right at him and into Stoke City’s 18-yard box. Wilmot piled on the mistake by standing flat-footed with poor positioning and allowing Hamer to dribble right past him to bend a shot into the far corner of the net.

Josh Laurent, sleepwalking:

Laurent is another Stoke City player who had a letdown game on Saturday. Laurent first seemed to be asleep early on in the match when he had issues showing into space with Stoke City’s build-up. Laurent seemed to be moving in quicksand early on when trying to elude Coventry defenders.

Later on, he made a series of defensive miscues. Including, Coventry’s second goal when Laurent failed to help Wilmot defensively. On that play, Laurent also took up poor positioning and failed to make a good challenge on the ball at Hamer’s feet.

Honorary Mentions, Tariqe Fosu, Tyrese Campbell, Dwight Gayle, Jacob Brown, and Nick Powell:

Just like on Tuesday, we’ll group all of Stoke’s forwards (leaving Delap out as he was subbed in late in the match).

Again, Stoke City looked like they were up to the task of scoring goals early and often on Saturday. But again Stoke City’s front line failed to generate real chances and actual goals. This is on the team’s forwards, who in recent matches have had the courtesy of playing three or four forwards at a time in matches.

The team’s lack of goals can fall on the entire starting XI, but at the end of the day, it’s really on the team’s forwards who need to be better at scoring goals.