Stoke City started the season on a high note with the dazzling performances from their exquisite front three leaving pundits and fans alike in awe of their dexterity.
Stoke City fans flirted with the idea of playing Continental football next season as talk of Europa League and possibly even Champions League football started going around the Britannia Stadium mid-way into the season. At that point in time, it was clear that Mark Hughes’ new philosophy was paying off in more ways than one.
One major shortcoming of Hughes’ new and exciting style of play is the fact that it hinges greatly on the performances of Stoke’s attacking triumvirate. So it means that abysmal showings from Stoke’s attacking outlets will, in turn, affect the team as a whole.
At the moment, It’s almost like Stoke City have lost their drive as they’re being utterly dominated on the pitch these days as seen in their recent losses against Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester City.
The whirlpool of inconsistency in which Stoke City lies is quite demeaning on all fronts for a club of their calibre as they’ve struggled to produce the sort of performances that would see them rank amongst the best in the Premier.
There’s no doubt about the fact that Stoke are a good side, but it’s quite evident that they could be something more than just an average footballing team.
Right now they’re just that mid-table side that top teams expect to have a hard time against knowing fully well that Stoke can triumph over any team on their day.
But the general ideology surrounding Stoke’s ability is most definitely misconceived as they possess quite a few solid players in their ranks as well as an experienced manager who had an illustrious career with some of the biggest names in Premier League.
Most would argue that Stoke’s recent dip in form is as a result of fatigue and mental weariness on the part of the players.
Although those are some important factors which are contributing to Stoke’s current predicament, their biggest problem is one which has plagued them right from the start of the season, and that issue is none other than inconsistency.
Stoke’s inconsistency can be attributed to many things, but the most important one is their tactical approach.
Stoke’s main objective on the pitch has been to get the ball forward to their flamboyant players and hope that they produce the goods.
In most cases when Stoke are being outplayed, the frustration from their players always seems to manifest itself quite easily which in turn paves the way for their players to find their way into the referee’s book.
Mark Hughes needs to formulate some new game plans to help his team manage match situations with a tad more expertise as there’s more to football than just going route one all the time.
What does Stoke need to do to get back on track ahead of next season?
Mark Hughes needs to be active in the summer transfer window in a bid to bring in some fresh legs who would inject the much needed pace and trickery in the middle of the park for Stoke.
Stoke also need to work on some new routines to make their style of play more dynamic and unpredictable as more teams will come back stronger next season especially the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, and they’ll be keen on making their way back to the top of the pile.
Stoke have a good thing going for them; it’s easy to fathom the abundance of talent in their ranks, but they need to work on the tactical aspect of their game to have a shot of qualifying for continental football next season.