Another good win at Crystal Palace keeps our run going. It was nice to have a convincing score line reflect our performance and in the end, it was a very jovial train home, and in no way, shape or form could it be described as “Dry” either.
This form does present us with some decisions to make. 30 points on the board by Christmas means the “magical” 40 points target is now just 4 games away, but let’s be honest, who wouldn’t fancy another round of gallivanting ‘round Benfica and such places again? A productive January may well help to make that a reality. One thing is for sure, if we can be mid 30 points by New Year’s Day, then surely a good crack at the FA cup is on the cards?
If you were asked to match a loathsome individual with an equally loathsome club, then Mark Hughes and Stoke City would take some beating. The fact that he could score spectacular volleys should not mask the fact that he was a snidey, cunt. As a manager/coach his best work probably came when he was Wales’s coach and almost guided them to Euro 2004 qualification. Stoke have historically been horrible, and anyone who ever visited their old ground, will have a tale to tell.
Having dispensed with Tony Pulis at the end of last season, Hughes was appointed having flopped, badly at QPR. He quickly snaffled Erik Pieters from PSV Eindhoven for £2 million and Werder Bremen’s Marko Amautovic followed for £3 million. Stephen Ireland, Oussama Assaidi and Mark Muneisa rounded off the summer in-take for Hughes.
They arrive at SJP, sitting in 10th position, on 21 points but only 5 of them have came away from The Britannia Stadium. A 1-0 win at West Ham back in August is their only away, league win to date. They’ve drawn at Swansea (3-3) and Hull (0-0) but lost at Everton (4-0), Liverpool (1-0), Arsenal (3-1), Fulham (1-0) and Man Utd (3-2). Peter Crouch is their leading scorer with 5 goals, ex mackem, Kenwyne Jones has 4.
Matthew Etherington and Robert Huth are their injury concerns. They’re free from suspensions.
Recently, away from home, they’ve opted for a flat back 4 where Shawcross is instructed to assault anything that moves, whilst Geoff Cameron is utilised as a marauding full back. They have 2 protecting the back 4 in Whelan and N’Zonzi, neither of who should be playing above Sunday morning league standard, ahead of that they have an attacking 3, which contains Walters, who is actually underrated, possibly due to him looking about 3 stone over weight, their sole striker is Crouch at the moment and we know all about him and his threat.
Cheick Tiote picked up his 5th booking of the season so misses this fixture, whilst Sissoko remains 1 yellow card away from a suspension.
Again, fitness permitting, I don’t see any changes to the back 4.
The manager does have a decision to make about who replaces Tiote. There is no like for like replacement at the club, Bigirimana was supposed to be, but he has regressed since last season. So it’s likely to be about which one of Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi or Cisse comes in. I think he’ll go with Shola Ameobi, personally.
Ryan Taylor – Knee – out for the season
Cheick Tiote – 1 game
Possible Team (4-4-2)
1.Krul: 2. Debuchy, 5. Nesta, 6. Coloccini, 3. Santon: 7. Sissoko, 4. Anita, 8. Cabaye. 11. Gouffran. 10. Shola Ameobi, 9. Remy:
Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Gutierrez, Obertan, Cisse, Ben Arfa
Referee: Martin Atkinson
History vs The Potters at SJP
1984/85 won 2-1 Upon returning to the First Division, United had made a great start but the wheels had started to come off with a run of just 1 league win in 9 games. With Peter Beardsley missing, it was left to Chris Waddle and a John Anderson penalty to earn us the 3 points. Attendance, 21,564.
1989/90 won 3-0 Having fallen out of the top flight, we were looking to return at the first attempt, under Jim Smith. We were trying to reel in either Sheffield United or Leeds United but we’d suffered a couple of bad results at Bradford and Blackburn. We did go on a fine run from the end of March winning 6 off the bounce, that run meant we were looking good for at least a play off spot. Mick Quinn was on fire and scored again here, whilst Benny Kristensen notched 2. Attendance, 26,179.
2008/09 drew 2-2 With Joe Kinnear now at the helm most people knew where we were heading. This day, we managed to blow a 2 goal lead in spectacular fashion. Michael Owen had swept us into a 2-0 lead with 2 close range finishes but Stoke hit back and snatched an equaliser in stoppage time. Attendance, 47,422. This might have been higher had some Stoke supporters not got lost, ended up in Wrekenton and seen the hiding Mags took at Victoria Ground for the 4-0 league cup game, levelled up.
2010/11 lost 1-2 Having returned to the Premier League straight away, we were still trying to adapt and experiencing a mixture of results and when Kevin Nolan scored from the spot, it looked like being another win. However, with Jones causing us no end of problems you could sense a goal was coming. It duly arrived, however, worse was to come. With James Perch experiencing a torrid start to the campaign, he rocketed a flying header past Krul for an OG and the Potters claimed the points. Attendance, 41,915.
Peerch’s OG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OVHBfBc-H0
2011/12 won 3-0 With the season drawing to a conclusion we were still in with a mathematical shout for a top 4 finish. Stoke were dismantled within an hour. Yohan Cabaye with 2 and the then goal machine, Papiss Cisse adding another to his tally. Attendance, 52,162
Cabaye’s second goal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhYAQbn84Gs
Cisse’s goal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uucjvstiavw after 5 minutes
2012/13 won 2-1 Sandwiched in between 2 Europa ties with Anzhi, we faced Stoke at SJP. United had fallen behind to a Walters penalty but recovered with a Cabaye free kick and Cisse’s late winner. Attendance, 50,703
The Oatcake http://oatcakefanzine.proboards.com/
It’s definitely better when I predict we’ll fuck up, as we seem to win. So, 0-1
If he’s fit, Etherington. Crouch is always a handful as is Jones. Walters is decent too.