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The Relegation Rumble: Stoke City

Stoke City are a newly promoted side from the Championship, and they certainly play like one. The operating procedure has been physicality, holding the line at home and hoping for some magic from Rory Delap’s wicked throw-ins. It has worked with a modicum of success. They are sixteenth in the table on 32 points.

Form: Stoke have three wins, three losses and two draws in their past eight matches, though they have won two of their last three. The club will compete at home, but be inept on the road, where they have no wins and three draws the entire season.

Schedule: Stoke have possibly the easiest schedule of any of the relegation candidates. They face only one big four side, Arsenal, with a dead rubber possibility, if the Gunners continue to pull away from Aston Villa. They have benign home matches against Newcastle and Blackburn. West Ham and Wigan don’t strike much fear either. They also have a softer road schedule against West Brom, Fulham and Hull City.

Injuries: Sidibe is the only notable injury, though Stoke have cover for him, such as it is, with Fuller and James Beattie.

Prognosis: Stoke City may be the least talented team with a chance to stay up, but the schedule bodes well for them. If they can win at home, and nick a draw or two on the road, they should be in position to stay in the Premier League.

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  1. James F (Stoke Fan & season ticket holder)

    July 31, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    on posting this comment we have stayed up in a comfortable 12th place, a area teams like tottenham and west ham used to fight for. I feel that even though we don’t play attractive football it works. Going down the brit is the only way to truly believe why we have a great home form and if you think about it we were just 3 wins away from the europa league, if we had sorted out our away form and maybe won those close matches like west ham (h and a) and middlesborough and even chelsea we could’ve took fulhams place but now we can focus on another mid-table finish although im betting we finish between 13-9 if the home record improves

  2. Dave C

    March 30, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I think Stoke will stay up, they’ve got a terrific home form, and people may comment that they don’t play attractive football, but they’ve played to their strengths. West Brom have tried to play attractive football and look where it has got them. Too many people are quick to put down or criticise a newly promoted club. I hope Stoke stay up, but not at the expense of Hull. Us promoted clubs have got to stick together.

  3. Wedgwood (Indonesia)

    March 29, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Hi Ty,

    That’s a fair assessment but is there any need for the comment ‘Stoke City may be the least talented team with a chance to stay up’? I’m guessing your assessment of our team comes from highlights viewing and the odd fully televised match, which surely gives you half a view. Without being able to compare us fully week in week out to any team up to Bolton at present (remember they can all still go down as well as Stoke stay up), I find it difficult to take this comment seriously. It’s much the same with the journos in our national press, very patronising and stuck up but I assume it’s because they’re all bricking it that their ‘expert’ opinions will be shown up for what they are if we stay up.

    Given the criticism we receive week in week out one of the most interesting things to find out this season has been the amount of foreign football fans who have taken a genuine liking to us. Given that English football is considered technically inferior to other nations, and according to the experts Stoke are the anti-thesis of all things good in the sport, it would be interesting to see someone find out why this is the case. For example we’ve had fans across Scandinavia since the 70s, we’re picking up fans in America, we’ve even had hugely complimentary reports from people used to watching Barcelona and even have our own supporters club twinned with Inter Milan!

    It’d be a genuinely interesting story if you could find out why the foriegn interest in a club that according to all the experts (and I use that term very loosely with respect to football journos and pundits, particulary in Britain) should be universally derided!

    One thing I’ll guarantee is that for all supporters the Premier League will miss the support that follow Stoke and the atmosphere we generate. If you want to see teams cut to ribbons go to watch the top four, the money they’ve spent it should happen. Come to watch Stoke it probably wouldn’t. But I’ll wager you’d have the better football experience, being in our crowd and taking on the world for 90 minutes.

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