Stoke City vs. Norwich City: Recap & Reaction

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Alex Neil manager of Stoke City reacts during the Sky Bet Championship between Stoke City and Rotherham United at Bet365 Stadium on October 18, 2022 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Alex Neil manager of Stoke City reacts during the Sky Bet Championship between Stoke City and Rotherham United at Bet365 Stadium on October 18, 2022 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

It’s becoming a theme as of late for Stoke City. That theme being The Potters dropping points consistently. For the third straight game, Stoke City found themselves walking away from a match with not a single point to help them on the Championship table.

On Saturday at Carrow Road, Stoke City continued their own late October Halloween horror story by losing to Norwich City 3-1. Saturday’s latest loss now marks three straight losses for The Potters and puts the club at 19th on the table with 19 points. Stoke City now sit just two points above relegation position Coventry City.

Next up for Stoke City, they’ll travel to Wigan on Wednesday and then host Birmingham next Saturday to wrap up the week.

Not Enough Quality In Attack from Stoke City Against Norwich City

If there’s any positives from Stoke City’s loss to Norwich City, it’s that the team finally scored and the club once again dominated spurts of the match. But as we’ve said before, in the Championship there’s no such thing as moral victories.

The Potters on Saturday were just not good enough again. Even though the team controlled more of the possession (57% overall), it was The Canaries who really showed their quality in the match. Of the sixteen shots Norwich City had, 9 of those attempts made it on target.

That, compared to Stoke City’s four attempts on target from their seventeen shots, perfectly paints the picture of how The Potters have been performing. In recent matches the issue for Stoke City has been their poor shot selections and shot decisions.

Against Norwich City, Stoke City did a little bit better at finding higher xG (expected goals) attempts. But the issue on Saturday was more of the variety of individual players not performing. On many occasions, Stoke City had unmarked headers far post but failed to put those attempts on target.

After not scoring in back to back matches, Stoke City did finally score on Saturday as Liam Delap found Nick Powell in the box. But that goal came late in the match when the game had already been decided

Overall it was another lackluster performance from Stoke City in attack. What will make things even worse for certain in the loss, is that Teemu Pukki of Norwich City regularly created his own space and created ultra creative opportunities for The Canaries.

This is something Stoke City have struggled with this season. Again, The Potters didn’t have one or two players who could break through for the club in possession.

Defensively Stoke City Come Up Short Against Canaries

Defensively for Stoke City, things weren’t much better than in attack. In fact, compared to recent losses, Saturday’s match may have been a low point for The Potters in defense. Not only did they concede four goals, but at moments the club looked slow and unknowing out of possession.

All three of Norwich’s goals were set up through creative passing and individual efforts at good runs or being in good positions off the ball. So a credit to The Canaries to show that quality. But it must be said that Stoke City have to cut down those creative moments defensively.

Whether it be failing to switch on and mark an opposing player far post, or even keeping up a high work-rate defensively, Stoke City did not perform well enough at Carrow Road on Saturday. Stoke City will have to tighten some things up in the back end of their formation over the next couple of weeks.

Who Stood Out for Stoke City Against Norwich City?

Josef Bursik, kept the match from getting uglier:

Bursik should not be blamed for any of the three goals that went in Saturday. In fact, Bursik was a standout for Stoke City. If not for Bursik, Norwich City may have scored five or even six goals.

On a handful of occasions, and even leading up to conceded goals, Bursik made some great saves throughout the match. Bursik should continue to be The Potters number one goalkeeper.

Liam Delap, needs to start again:

Delap came on late in the match and immediately made an impact for Stoke City. Delap’s best moment late in the match came when he took on defenders in the 18-yard box, dribbling down the right side, and then pulling a pass back to Nick Powell.

It was a small sample size for Delap, but Delap continues as of late to be one of Stoke City’s best goal creating players. Alex Neil would be wise to give Delap some more starts moving forward again.

Important Mentions, Dwight Gayle, Phil Jagielka, and Tariqe Fosu:

Dwight Gayle continues to start and continues not to score. Gayle faced some bad luck early in the season as he probably should have had some goals next to his name in the stat column. But overall as of late, Gayle hasn’t done much to deserve goals.

If Stoke City are going to start winning games again, Gayle will need to come alive as the team’s big summer transfer.

Phil Jagielka has been really solid in recent weeks. So Jagielka shouldn’t be permanently benched. But Jagielka looked slower in Saturday’s match and that the rigors of Championship life are catching up to the 40 year old. It might be time for Jagielka to get a breather in recent weeks.

Tariqe Fosu wasn’t perfect on Saturday, but Fosu did his best to create chances. On at least a couple of occasions, Fosu found teammates far post with crosses. Fosu also came up with some bad luck as he should have won a penalty in the second half. Overall, it was a decent outing for Fosu.