Stoke continued their recent revival with a hard fought win over Newcastle today, but the game will have been a learning curve for Potters boss Tony Pulis who had to switch back to his old ways after a poor first half.
The Potters boss comes under criticism for his long ball tactics that offend most eyes. But today he opted to leave out long throw king Rory Delap, instead opting to play a side which to its credit opted to play a style that wasn’t as uncompressing as Stokes usual approach.
But the change didn’t work and with Stoke trailing 1-0 at the break it wasn’t long before Pulis opted to revert back to the tactics he knew best. The result saw a complete change in the flow of the game as Delap and fellow substitute Ricardo Fuller set about reversing the deficit. They did exactly that as the visitors came from behind to record an impressive 2-1 win. The result was enough to lift them out of the bottom three, and complete an impressive week.
You have to feel that Pulis wanted to adopt a different style, and not rely so much on the tactics that have been so often slated by the media. But with them quite evidently not working, he deserves praise for accepting that a change was needed, and that his old way was the best way to pick up a much needed result.
But for Newcastle there will be great disappointment that they couldn’t build on their first half lead, and go on to continue what has been a fairly impressive return to life in the Premier League. But I still think they have easily shown enough in their opening few games to suggest that they shouldn’t have a problem come May.
At the moment they are just struggling to make the most out of good spells in games. Look at Stoke today, they had a good spell, scored twice, and took three points. That is the sort of clinical nature that is needed for success in the Premier League. While they do have plenty of Premier League experience, the players in the side who haven’t been there before need to learn this quickly.
This will come though, and as I said I can’t see the Toon getting pulled in to any relegation fight. The same can quite comfortably be said for Stoke who after a slow start are quickly improving. If either of these two sides struggle this season, something will have gone horribly wrong.