This past Saturday, The Potters broke out of the World Cup break with a draw against Cardiff City. Now a week later, Stoke City will again be attempting to grab points this Saturday as the club travels to take on Bristol City.
In the two clubs last five meetings, Stoke City have won one match, drawn one match, and lost three matches against The Robins — The last time both teams played each other was April of last year, when Stoke City fell 1-0 at Bet365 Stadium.
Three Keys for Stoke City Against Bristol City
Defend Counter Attacks:
Bristol City this season per Whoscored, are tied for the lead in the Championship with 4 goals scored by counter attacks. Furthermore, Stoke City have given up 2 counter attacking goals this season, including a poorly defended counter attack last Saturday against Cardiff City — Which is why the biggest key for Stoke City on Saturday, could be to not get bit by The Robins counter attacks.
For Stoke City, part of defending Bristol City’s counter attacks boils down to transition defense. If The Potters can defend well in transition, they should be able to nip out any Bristol City counter attacks they launch. For The Potters, that means getting back behind the ball quickly when they lose possession.
If they can’t though, Stoke City could be looking at a similar scenario to last week when the club poorly defended a counter from Cardiff and was burned for a goal — A similar scenario to that goal from last week, could spell bad news for The Potters this Saturday if it occurs again.
Be Quicker on the Ball:
Stoke City’s next key to Saturday’s match against Bristol City, is honestly a larger point and a key to this season that the team has struggled with to this point.
The Potters this season have been off and on (mostly off) far too slow on the ball with their passes and decisions. This has led to Stoke City being inefficient in attack at times this season and really limiting what The Potters have been able to achieve in attack,
Bottomline is, for Stoke City on Saturday, they need to be decisive on the ball and make quicker decisions with where the ball is going. If the club can do that, then the team’s attack will stay more fluid and crisp. Plus, it’ll lead to less loss of possession and less dangerous counter attacks in midfield.
Don’t Give Up Any Easy Goals:
Bristol City rank third last in the Championship with shots on target (3.1 on average per match). Meaning, The Robins don’t put the ball on target a ton if you defend correctly against them.
The fact that Bristol City don’t average a good amount of attempts on target, also means that Stoke City can avoid some danger defensively. Now, it doesn’t mean that all danger is gone for Stoke City defensively (Bristol City rank 10th in the league with expected goals), but it does mean that Stoke City could catch some breaks on Saturday if they defend well enough to limit The Robins attempts on target.
Because of those minimal attempts on target, Stoke City will have to make sure that they don’t give The Robins an easy goal — The Potters will have to make sure that they don’t give Bristol City any early holiday gifts with easy conceded goals.
For Stoke City, Saturday’s match mentality should be “make Bristol City beat us with great attempts” — If The Potters can not give up any cheap goals, their quest for three points on Saturday will be much easier.