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Incosistent Stoke hard to decipher

Stoke City FanZoner Tim Ward rues the inconsistency which is making it hard to decipher whether or not the Potters are having a good season.


Those 12 results are Stoke City's Premier League returns so far this season. No consecutive wins, draws or losses. After each defeat, at least a point gained; after each win, at least two points dropped.

The eve of the season kick-off led to many Stoke fans, myself included, dreaming of a very successful season - building on a record points tally and ninth-placed finish achieved in 2013/14 - following some shrewd transfer dealings, including the signing of Bojan.

But so far, it's only the Potters' inconsistency that can be predicted - certainly not the results.

Home defeats to Aston Villa, Leicester City and most recently Burnley have been coupled with away wins at Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Wins against Newcastle and Swansea were scrubbed out by poor showings at Sunderland, and throwing away a two-goal led versus West Ham.

It leaves some fans with an odd feeling. Are we having a good season or not? Our home form is terrible, but our away form is going well. If we lose our next game (away at Liverpool), we can be caught by Villa and Palace; win, and we could be one point away from fourth place.

A key problem for Stoke this term is their inability to break down defensive teams - particularly at home in hose defeats to Villa, Leicester and Burnley.

All three teams came to defend and hit us on breaks or set pieces where possible. This, combined with some poor defending, meant that all nine points on offer left the Britannia Stadium.

That's not to cry about how teams play against us - that's what we did to great effect the much of our first five or six seasons back in the top flight.

But what Stoke City must do, and quickly, is find a way of unlocking teams. Scoring goals has never been our strongest point and so taking chances must improve as well.

Our next five league games are Liverpool (a), Man Utd (a), Arsenal (h), Palace (a) and Chelsea (h). What would be regarded as a good return from those five matches? Six points? Five? One?

The form we are in, it is impossible to predict - a win at Anfield is suddenly possible; beating Arsenal at home has been done before; losing at Palace? Probably. Ditto Old Trafford. We can't beat Chelsea again, can we?

Stoke City should have enough to avoid being dragged into a relegation fight, and I am certain that there are at least three worse teams than the Potters this season.

But Mark Hughes' men must find the key to unlocking teams, while maintaining good form on the road, in order to kick start the pre-season excitement once more.

You can follow Tim on Twitter @timwardwrites - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

Headlines for Stoke City this week

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  • Incosistent Stoke hard to decipher

  • Stoke City FanZoner Tim Ward rues the inconsistency which is making it hard to decipher whether or not the Potters are having a good season.

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