Category Archive: Stoke City FC

Stoke City FC News

Sep 23

Álvaro Morata strikes treble for Chelsea in crushing defeat of Stoke

Antonio Conte was his usual animated self on the touchline, pacing up and down and waving his arms around, yet this was one of those afternoons when the Chelsea manager could have put his feet up, sat back and enjoyed the show as the outstanding Álvaro Morata took centre stage with a superb hat-trick, taking his tally to seven goals in as many games and putting to bed that debate about whether the Premier League champions are missing Diego Costa.

It was some performance from Morata, who presumably appreciated Conte’s compliment 24 hours earlier, when the Italian described the club-record signing as the type of person a father would be happy for his daughter to marry. Chelsea fans have already fallen in love with him and were chanting the striker’s name long before this one-sided contest was brought to an end.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/23/stoke-city-chelsea-premier-league-match-report

Sep 16

Jamaal Lascelles heads Newcastle United to win over Stoke City

Punctuated by bouts of driving rain and permeated by a distinctly autumnal chill, it was hardly the ideal afternoon for a convalescent to be outdoors but nonetheless it seemed to do Rafael Benítez a power of good.

A fortnight after undergoing surgery to clear infection from the site of an old hernia repair, Newcastle United’s manager walked gingerly into the dugout but departed with a spring in his step.

Related: Liverpool frustrated by missed chances after Burnley hold on for draw

Related: Steven Davis spoils Roy Hodgson’s big day as Crystal Palace lose again

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/16/newcastle-united-stoke-city-premier-league-match-report

Sep 15

Rafael Benítez: ‘I was talking to the pilot but little by little I was feeling more sick’

• Newcastle manager had to turn down helicopter ride to Swansea
• Rafael Benítez back in the dugout after surgery for Stoke’s visit

Rafael Benítez will be relieved to return to the dugout on Saturday after being forced to watch Newcastle United’s previous game on television at his home in the Wirral.

He is now sufficiently recovered from surgery to clear infection from the site of an old hernia repair to renew a warm acquaintance with Mark Hughes when Stoke City visit St James’ Park.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Related: Newcastle United v Stoke City: match preview

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/15/rafael-benitez-newcastle-stoke-pilot-helicopter

Sep 15

Newcastle United v Stoke City: match preview

Rafael Benítez will be back in the Newcastle dugout after his hernia-related operation. His return means Mark Hughes can expect a warm welcome. José Mourinho may have declined to shake the Stoke manager’s hand last weekend but Benítez is a Hughes fan. “I don’t have any problems with Mark,” he said. “He’s a good manager, doing a great job. There won’t be any problems.” Louise Taylor

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/15/newcastle-united-stoke-city-match-preview

Sep 08

Stoke City v Manchester United: match preview

Ryan Shawcross’s back injury could lead to a debut for Stoke’s new £18m centreback, Kevin Wimmer. Even if the Austrian slots in well, United look to have the attacking power to find holes in the home defence, especially out wide. The probability, therefore, is that if Stoke are to disrupt United’s 100% start, then Jack Butland is going to have to show the form that has convinced many that he should be England’s No1. Paul Doyle

Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/08/stoke-city-manchester-united-match-preview

Aug 27

Peter Crouch goal secures point for Stoke City at West Bromwich Albion

In a game full of sub-plots there was not much of a story in the end as West Bromwich Albion’s hopes of taking maximum points from their opening three top-flight fixtures for only the third time in their history were extinguished by the evergreen Peter Crouch. Leading through Jay Rodriguez’s first Premier League goal for the club since his £12m summer move from Southampton, Albion allowed victory to slip through their fingers when Ahmed Hegazi’s mistake was punished by Crouch.

It was Premier League goal number 104 for Crouch, who had not long come off the substitutes’ bench, and the 36-year-old will not have scored many easier. Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes, who have not always been on the best of terms, shook hands at the final whistle and, in truth, neither manager can have any complaints about the outcome. Although Albion will rue the manner in which they conceded their first goal of the season, Stoke finished stronger and looked the more likely side to pinch a winner.

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/27/west-bromwich-albion-stoke-city-match-report

Aug 27

West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City: Premier League – as it happened

Peter Crouch salvaged a point for Stoke after an error by Ahmed Hegazi, whose West Brom side had taken the lead through Jay Rodriguez

3.24pm BST

All square, then, and it’s a fair result although West Brom will be the ones with all the regret. They were pretty comfortably in control after Rodriguez’s goal but then Hegazi, who was very good in all else that he did, made a horrible error and Crouch popped up to equalise. There were flickers at either end after that, particularly from Choupo-Moting for Stoke, but neither side can really complain at the outcome.

Not as bad as all that in the end, eh? You can keep your Chelsea 2-0 Everton, just supposing a game like that had ever existed. And you can now join Daniel Harris for Liverpool v Arsenal via the link below. Enjoy that, and it’s goodbye from me!

Related: Liverpool v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

3.20pm BST

And now it is, indeed, over.

3.19pm BST

90+3 min: McClean now does well on the left and fizzes a difficult ball in for Rondon, who slices it all the way out for a throw-in. This game is now by some distance the best it’s been, but it’s going to be over in a minute.

3.19pm BST

90+2 min: Sobhi tricks to the byline but Livermore nods his dinked cross away … only into the path of Fletcher, 25 yards out, who senses a fairytale of his very own but sees a harmless first-time shot blocked.

3.16pm BST

90 min: We will have four minutes of stoppage time.

3.15pm BST

89 min: Burke immediately puts in a nice, deep cross for McClean, who drills a volley into the ground and into a defender.

3.14pm BST

88 min: Allen is booked now for a foul on Rodriguez. West Brom will take the respite as Stoke have been crisper and more threatening than at any point in the second half since equalising. And now Burke comes on in place of Rodriguez for his debut. Fairytale imminent?

3.13pm BST

87 min: What a chance for Choupo-Moting! Shaqiri’s cross beats both Nyom and Dawson, who were occupied by Crouch, and the Cameroonian brings the ball down at the far post. He has space to get a shot away, but lashes it wide!

3.11pm BST

85 min: Zouma goes in search of said winner, letting fly again. It’s a good couple of yards wide but interests Foster enough to provoke a dive, and the away fans “ooooh” in such a way that suggests they didn’t have the angle we did.

3.10pm BST

84 min: Rondon is booked for a high foot on Fletcher. Can anyone find a winner? The ante has certainly been upped and you wouldn’t rule it out.

3.09pm BST

83 min: If you want a visual of the equaliser, it reminded me a bit of that famous Koscielny/Szczesny to-do when Arsenal lost to Birmingham in the League Cup final. Stoke have the wind in their sails now and Allen fizzes a cross-shot in from the right that Foster has to repel.

3.07pm BST

82 min: Two goals here, though, eh? Was there ever any doubt?

3.06pm BST

81 min: West Brom will be kicking themselves and Pulis will be fuming. Stoke had offered nothing since going behind and Albion appeared to be getting stronger. One lapse in an otherwise watertight performance, and here we are.

3.05pm BST

That one came from nowhere too! And … ohhhhh … what a mistake by the otherwise immaculate Hegazi! Foster has a relatively simple job of collecting a delivery from the left but Hegazi, for no reason at all, wafts a foot at it and the ball ricochets up away from them both. It leaves Crouch, lurking behind, with the very simplest of headers from three yards. It seems Hegazi didn’t hear Foster’s call – and what an un-West Brom-like error that was.

3.03pm BST

77 min: Shawcross defends that one and Yacob makes a total hash of his subsequent attempt at the spectacular. And moments later …

3.02pm BST

76 min: Rondon, working hard as ever without posing a direct goal threat, scurries down the channel and wins another corner. Crouch wins two consecutive headers to get it out, but McClean drills it back in from range and it deflects out for yet another flag kick.

3.00pm BST

74 min: Not quite, but Rodriguez meets it at the far post and, although the header never looks a great threat, it actually bounces out off the top of the bar. That’s the prompt for James McClean to replace Phillips.

2.59pm BST

73 min: Ooops, Butland has a relatively simple gather as a long pass drifts beyond Phillips but he takes his eye off it and it slips away for a right-sided corner. Will he be made to pay?

2.58pm BST

72 min: In an alternative universe, Chelsea are still two up against Everton.

2.56pm BST

70 min: Barry wins the ball from Shaqiri with the cleanest tackle you will ever see. He then plays a loose pass but, no mistake, he has been very good here. His midfield partner, Morrison, is now replaced by Claudio Yacob, while Stoke bring on the attack-minded Sobhi for Cameron.

2.55pm BST

68 min: Crouch leaps to meet a delivery from Pieters and, even though the ball doesn’t trouble the goal, there may be some small encouragement there.

2.53pm BST

Good to see West Brom are well on their way to the magical forty-point mark. They might be able to drop the intensity in January this year

It is something to aim for.

2.53pm BST

67 min: Headed away by Shawcross – but Albion are seeking blood.

2.52pm BST

66 min: Could have been two – should have been two? Hegazi meets a free-kick six yards out, gets it on target … but Butland flips it over sharply! Another corner.

2.51pm BST

66 min: “This game isn’t boring! It’s one for the purists. Why are we so reliant on goals as a form of stimulation? What about a nice firm pass? Or a well taken throw-in?” quips Dan Osborn. Who was it that said goals are overrated?

2.50pm BST

64 min: It’s going to be a difficult half hour for Stoke now. They’ve dominated the ball here but chances have been few and far between as it is. Crouch might be a necessary means of mixing things up.

2.49pm BST

62 min: Didn’t see that coming, did we? West Brom are just so good at finding a way, even if there are elements of their game that you wouldn’t watch if it was on in your back garden. Peter Crouch immediately comes on for the very quiet Jese.

2.48pm BST

From nothing! It’s great work from the excellent Nyom, who sprints beyond the puffing Shaqiri on the right and whips in a fine cross that goes beyond Rondon and bounces up for Rodriguez, anticipating perfectly, to thud a header beyond Butland!

2.46pm BST

60 min: Choupo-Moting looks for space in a pocket in front of the box but Barry, imperious here, nudges him away.

2.45pm BST

59 min: Sky have just apologised for technical issues preventing them showing replays but, honestly, there has been nothing in this second half to replay.

2.43pm BST

57 min: And because the floodgates are opening in my mailbox, if nowhere else, this from Adam Timmins:

“You gotta love the fact that the reason Stoke got rid of Pulis was because they ‘wanted to move up to the next level’, and since then have done – to quote Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black – ‘precisely, d**k’.”

2.42pm BST

56 min: Charles Antaki wonders something that I, too, sometimes wonder: “Strip determinism – I wonder if the dullness of the game is caused in any sort of magical-thinking way by the simple dullness of these two sides’ strips? Red stripe on white. Dark blue strip on white. Yes, I know that they’re historical and authentic. But this are also usually the cheapest kits you can buy when trying to equip a park team on a no-budget basis. Perhaps it’s playing on the teams’ minds.”

2.41pm BST

55 min: Laurence from Winchester has bad news for us – “JR has offered to be the hex but ‘ain’t no way there are going to be goals scored’ is in fact a double negative So JR is about as committed to his statement as these teams are to actually scoring in this game.”

2.40pm BST

54 min: Choupo-Moting is harshly penalised when the ball pops up onto his arm after a low Cameron cross, and that little glimmer fades for Stoke.

2.39pm BST

52 min: Rodriguez is booked for a take-it-for-the-team foul on Pieters, who was charging towards the West Brom area. The free kick comes to nothing, so job done.

2.36pm BST

50 min: Phillips’ delivery is decent but Shawcross gets it away, and Phillips is caught offside when the ball is returned to him.

2.36pm BST

49 min: Rodriguez gets into more space down the left but runs into trouble as he nears the box. Fletcher has tracked him and comes away from the ball. West Brom look a bit brighter on the ball in these early stages, with a few more runners. Now they win a corner kick via Brunt …

2.34pm BST

48 min: Shaqiri produces a couple of nice stepovers but can’t outfox the very solid Hegazi, who is in West Brom’s team to stay, I think.

2.33pm BST

47 min: Some early purpose from the Baggies but Cameron snuffs out a Rodriguez sortie, before Rodriguez does similar against Shaqiri at the other end.

2.31pm BST

No changes. No surprises.

2.27pm BST

Still here? The second half is coming up. Echoing the earlier point by JR, I wonder if Oliver Burke will come on later for WBA. Fine talent and a shame it didn’t work out in Leipzig. One of his problems there was his “defensive hard drive” – but presumably it’s been loaded up enough to satisfy Pulis.

2.19pm BST

JR lends us a hand: “This one’s going to end 0-0 isn’t it? You can admit it. Maybe this game needs for someone to confidently say ‘This game will end goalless’ in order to hex themselves and then look foolish when they are proven wrong. I’ll be glad to volunteer. But seriously, ain’t no way there are going to be any goals scored in this game.”

Happy to leave the hexing to someone else after writing this on Friday. Ipswich went on to lose.

2.17pm BST

Pretty much to the letter of what you’d expected, really. West Brom not threatening much beyond set pieces, Stoke having more of the ball but finding it tough to break them down. Zouma’s deflected shot, very well saved by Foster, is as close as we’ve come. Surely there’ll be a clear chance or two after the break. If that doesn’t persuade you to stick with us, nothing will!

2.15pm BST

45 min: Nyom has probably been the best player of this half. He mops up again on West Brom’s right.

2.14pm BST

44 min: Livermore tries to slide Rodriguez down the line but it’s just too far in front of him. West Brom’s threat has increased although that is not saying much at all.

2.13pm BST

43 min: It’s cleared though, and now Choupo-Moting can break. He finds Shaqiri, who quickly spots Jese’s run, but he’s crowded out and skews the ball behind under pressure from – again – Nyom.

2.12pm BST

41 min: West Brom appeal for handball when a Jese shot pings up off Brunt but it never really looked on. Phillips then finds some rare space at the other end but nobody attacks the cross … and then he runs onto a Brunt delivery at the far post, drills it across and Shawcross has to thump the ball behind for a corner. Better.

2.10pm BST

41 min: Hypothetically, what if Chelsea were 2-0 up against Everton thanks to a Morata header?

2.09pm BST

39 min: Rodriguez causes brief interest with a nice ball from the left but Shawcross clears; then Nyom spoons a cross up for Butland to claim. West Brom looking a bit livelier now but they have done nothing with the ball in open play.

2.08pm BST

38 min: Same again, almost – Brunt aims for Dawson round the back stick and Butland is up but can’t claim properly. This time, though, it is deemed that he was fouled.

2.07pm BST

37 min: Dawson wins a corner on the right after Stoke can’t clear a free kick. West Brom haven’t done a lot going forwards since the first few minutes so this is a welcome chance. Brunt again goes fairly deep and Butland can only get a finger to it on the stretch, but Cameron is on hand to help it away from any interested parties. And now Rondon wins a free kick near to the same corner flag …

2.04pm BST

34 min: Superb play from Fletcher sends Jese scampering away down the left but Nyom marshals him really well, holds him up and eventually confuses him into running the ball out of play.

2.03pm BST

33 min: Nyom is heavily involved again, and audibly yelps as Pieters scythes him down after being beaten to the ball. Yellow card for the Stoke man. No real complaints either.

2.02pm BST

32 min: Dangerous Stoke free kick on the right – in theory, anyway, but Shaqiri’s underdone delivery is headed away by Rodriguez, who had conceded it.

2.00pm BST

31 min: Nyom fouls Jese with an outstretched arm across the face, causing a pretty dramatic reaction, which itself prompts anger from the Cameroon international. All are now up and about again.

1.59pm BST

30 min: The tempo has dropped here but it should be said that Stoke – for whom Choupo-Moting heads wide from a Martins Indi cross – look the likelier.

1.57pm BST

28 min: If I told you Chelsea were playing Everton and Cesc Fabregas had just put them one up, would you believe me?

1.56pm BST

26 min: Stoke turn West Brom’s midfield around the the first time, really, and Shaqiri finds Cameron in a good position on the right. His shot lacks any kind of conviction though, and is sidefooted well wide of the near post.

1.55pm BST

25 min: Save by Foster! Zouma carries the ball a long way upfield, looks a little surprised, and then lets fly from 25 yards. It deflects off Barry, spins up in the air and is going to drop into the net before the West Brom ‘keeper reacts well to tip over. The corner results in a rather strange blowing of the whistle that baffles everybody.

1.53pm BST

24 min: Barry again distributes well and finds Rondon, who has dropped off, to feet. Rondon then looks to play in someone running beyond him. But there isn’t anyone running beyond him.

1.52pm BST

23 min: I’m enjoying this game, I genuinely am, but I do think it will be decided by a single goal at best.

1.50pm BST

21 min: I can hear chants of “Tony Pulis, your football is sh*t” from the travelling wags. I think their banter is worse – Stoke wouldn’t be here without him.

1.49pm BST

20 min: Phillips gets to the byline for the first time after receiving a lovely switch from Barry, but crosses into the side netting.

1.48pm BST

18 min: Choupo-Moting engages Nyom, this time on the left of the box, and goes over once more. Again nothing doing although I think the fall was more down to his own contortion in trying to wriggle past the defender.

1.48pm BST

18 min: Engaging stuff so far then, without much in the way of chances really. There’s a bit of dissent at the moment regarding a Stoke throw-in, which is eventually taken without incident after a spot of pointing and shouting.

1.45pm BST

16 min: In the meantime, Stoke scramble to clear a West Brom long throw and then an inviting Nyom cross is gathered by Butland. Somebody could have attacked that.

1.45pm BST

15 min: JR writes – “Of course every Premier League game is available here in the U.S. (though this year NBC has forced us to pay $50 for what last year was free, but I digress) so if, for example, there was another game beside West Brom v Stoke happening I might just be keeping half an eye on that one.

“Most of my attention will be on the Baggies though as they’re my club. Wonder if, when, or how much we’ll see of Oliver Burke.”

1.43pm BST

14 min: Shaqiri is given too much space to cut in on his left foot, but doesn’t make a good connection and is fortunate to win a corner via a deflection. He takes it himself and Zouma, rising with Hegazi, looks for a moment as if he could power it home – but he is distracted just enough by his rival’s jump and loops his header over.

1.42pm BST

12 min: Martins Indi bundles Rondon over and West Brom take the free kick quickly. Their approach has been more about speed and brawn then poise, so far, but it’s making for a fun tussle. The move comes to nothing here, mind you.

1.41pm BST

11 min: Now West Brom’s third corner. It’s been a lively enough start here and the tempo is good. Brunt goes over again, unfurls that left foot … but crosses beyond the back post and out. What a waste. Unusual; his set pieces are usually a huge plus.

1.39pm BST

9 min: Stoke win a corner now, which Shawcross volleys towards goal. It’s stuffed but Martins Indi gets a toe on it, diverting the ball not that far wide of an unguarded far post.

1.38pm BST

8 min: Hegazi leaves Choupo-Moting on the floor. Think he fouled him, but nothing is given. Nothing is given moments later, either, when Choupo-Moting breaks into the box on the right, goes down under Brunt’s challenge – but no penalty! Right decision, should have been booked for a dive.

1.37pm BST

7 min: Any success for Stoke might depend on how long they are able to retain possession with their more technical players. They have a long spell on the ball now, building patiently, and at the end of it Foster has to come out alertly to punch Shaqiri’s cross away from Pieters.

1.35pm BST

5 min: It’s whipped in by Phillips, nicks off someone at the near post, and Martins Indi has to concede another corner on the other side – West Brom’s right. Brunt swings this one in … and Morrison gets a little bit of space at the back post, but he sees it a bit late and glances wide.

1.34pm BST

4 min: Rondon holds off Shawcross – should be a good battle, that – and wins a corner from the centre back …

1.32pm BST

2 min: Butland has to clear ahead of – I think – Barry after some dithering from Pieters. West Brom have started the better, if it means anything yet.

1.31pm BST

1 min: Both sides wearing white stripes and white shorts, which on a sunny day isn’t the most convenient look. For onlookers, anyway.

1.30pm BST

Let’s do this.

1.30pm BST

Don’t be sniffy about West Brom v Stoke. These two hate each other. Could be juicy.

Nick knows. Not this Nick, that Nick.

1.26pm BST

The teams are striding out at the Hawthorns. It’s a beautiful day. Nearly ready …

1.25pm BST

Matt Loten writes: “I have a proposal: how about we all mutually agree, whatever one’s personal stylistic preferences, to appreciate Tony Pulis for preserving the art of defending in an era when many managers treat it with disdain? I fully understand scoring goals is the aim of the game, but keeping them out is just as vital, and watching a well-drilled backline repel the league’s top talents is satisfying in its own right. Klopp, Guardiola and their ilk seem to think that defensive ability is irrelevant if you have stellar forwards, and perhaps Pulis goes too far the other way, but there’s no reason it should be an either/or choice between thrilling forward play and competent defending.”

It’s an interesting point. Will specialist defenders even exist in a decade?

1.18pm BST

Mark Hughes: “Our form’s good at the moment in my view. Beating Arsenal was a continuation of that form, I’m pleased with the level of performance we’re putting in at the moment.”

Tony Pulis: “It’d be absolutely fantastic [to go second] but we have to get through a tough game, a local derby, we have to be right on it and make sure we’re not complacent at all.”

1.06pm BST

“It feels very unnatural to see a Tony Pulis team field only half as many centre-backs (Dawson, Hegazi) as his opponents (Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron, Martins Indi),” points out Doremus Schafer.

By the way, Hegazi has been good so far hasn’t he? Scored the winner against Bournemouth, impressed against Burnley. I watched him at the Africa Cup of Nations in January and his name was seared into my eardrums by Jonathan Wilson, often of this parish, who couldn’t stop raving about him. Wilson was, of course, right.

12.49pm BST

Not to put a dampener on things but I think these two sides are perfect examples of the frustration and ultimate futility that life beneath the Premier League’s top six – plus whatever odd faction of their own Everton are in – and the others involves these days. I tried to explain that, using the context of West Brom, in their pre-season preview a couple of weeks back:

Related: Premier League 2017-18 preview No19: West Bromwich Albion | Nick Ames

12.36pm BST

West Brom: Foster, Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Brunt, Phillips, Livermore, Barry, Morrison, Rodriguez, Rondon. Subs: Yacob, Myhill, McClean, Burke, Chadli, Field, Kane Wilson.

Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron, Martins Indi, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Subs: Johnson, Berahino, Adam, Crouch, Krkic, Sobhi, Grant.

12.26pm BST

This is an MBM of West Brom v Stoke, not Chelsea v Everton. That match isn’t on telly on the UK so it doesn’t actually exist. However, the Darren Fletcher Derby very much does so here we are, on a very bright and perky Sunday lunchtime, for a clash that should tell us plenty about which of these sides is more likely to finish 13th.

That’s not quite fair. West Brom are, as they say, “two for two” and were efficient in 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Burnley. They are making use of quite a kind early run of fixtures and you wouldn’t bet against Tony Pulis, against his old club, pulling off a similar kind of stunt here. They might not have brought in all the players they wanted yet this pre-season, but West Brom and Pulis just keep on finding a way to make it all happen.

10.56am BST

Nick will be here soon enough. Until then, read our match preview:

Related: West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City: match preview

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/27/west-bromwich-albion-v-stoke-city-premier-league-live

Aug 20

Arsène Wenger is right that Arsenal’s season is young but problem is old | Paul Doyle

The Gunners’ manager may yet be vindicated but the defeat at Stoke City underlines he could pay the penalty for relying on players who lack consistency

That did not take long. #WengerOut was trending across social media on Saturday night as Arsenal fans reacted to a familiar event, their team flopping at Stoke City. Arsène Wenger reckons it is too early to wail about the same old failings, however.

“Let’s not go overboard,” Wenger said. “We lost one game. I can understand that [disappointment] but overall I believe there were a lot of positives in the game as well because we created many chances. We had great domination and unfortunately we dropped three points.”

Related: Arsène Wenger criticises Granit Xhaka and referee after defeat at Stoke

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/20/arsene-wenger-arsenal-season-young-problem-old-stoke-city

Aug 19

Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened

Jesé scored the only goal on his debut as Arsenal endured another miserable visit to Stoke

7.43pm BST

And with that, I’m gone. It’s been a blast. Here’s a match report for you. Bye!

Related: Stoke City’s Jesé Rodríguez makes Arsenal pay for lack of cutting edge

Related: Arsène Wenger criticises Granit Xhaka and referee after defeat at Stoke

7.41pm BST

A close-up of a slow motion replay suggests that Lacazette had half a right foot beyond the last defender before scoring his disallowed goal and thus was in fact offside. Just.

7.36pm BST

Stoke succeeded despite themselves there: for most of the game they played an unwisely high defensive line and Arsenal repeatedly chipped the ball over them and into the path of willing runners – though this only allowed Butland and Zouma to showcase their repertoire of chance-denying tackles, blocks and stops. Once Stoke themselves had scored, however, Arsenal took off a defender, brought on another striker and forced the home side back, after which they actually looked considerably more secure.

It was wildly frustrating stuff from Arsenal, and for all their dominance – 77% possession, apparently – they actually created few clear chances. Had a very marginal offside decision gone the other way and Lacazette’s apparent equaliser stood, or a much clearer first-half penalty been awarded, it might have ended very differently.

7.25pm BST

“Arsenal have too many technical, gifted players in the XI. They need a couple of players with steel,” says Steven Gerrard on BT Sport.

7.24pm BST

90+6 mins: Butland boots the free-kick upfield, and the referee blows his whistle!

7.23pm BST

90+5 mins: Arsenal swing the ball in; it’s headed away to Oxlade-Chamberlain. 94 minutes and 55 seconds have been played. He assesses his options and then passes to Mustafi, who is very clearly offside. And that should be that.

7.22pm BST

90+4 mins: A fine cross from Monreal finds Giroud, who does excellently to get in front of the defender but heads wide!

7.21pm BST

90+3 mins: Oxlade-Chamberlain, who for my money has had a fine game, chips the ball to the back post. Giroud is waiting there and does his job, nodding it down. And nobody – nobody – is in the six-yard box to profit.

7.18pm BST

90+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be about five minutes.

7.17pm BST

89 mins: Perhaps the recovery wasn’t so miraculous: Pieters has gone off, and Martins Indi is on.

7.16pm BST

88 mins: For 80 minutes Arsenal looked on the verge of scoring. For the last eight, though, they’ve looked clueless and desperate and, now Stoke’s defence is sitting so deep the ball can’t be chipped over them, totally devoid of ideas.

@Simon_Burnton never mind the stokers on the steps, what’s Arthur Fowler doing there with his trademark flat cap on?Pauline won’t be happy!

7.14pm BST

87 mins: Pieters stayed down, and then required lengthy treatment, after which he appears to miraculously recover.

7.13pm BST

85 mins: It wasn’t a penalty, but it was a free-kick and probably a booking.

7.12pm BST

84 mins: Mustafi fouls Pieters on the very edge of the Arsenal penalty area. Is it a free-kick or a penalty? The crowd holds its collective breath. And then keeps holding it. And then realise the referee has waved play on, and bay in fury.

7.10pm BST

82 mins: Despite the substitutions, Arsenal seem far from invigorated. Indeed, these have probably been Stoke’s most comfortable five minutes of the match.

7.08pm BST

81 mins: Great photograph, this – check out the Stoke fans on the steps.

7.06pm BST

78 mins: A double substitution for Arsenal. The disappointing Lacazette goes off along with Xhaka, while Walcott and Iwobi join the fray.

7.04pm BST

76 mins: Arsenal are battering on the door here, but then they have been for most of the match. Here’s that offside decision in full – not “a mile onside”, but Lacazette does look level:

Horrendous decision. Lacazette is a mile onside.

1-0 ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/hS3eCn7rpE

7.01pm BST

72 mins: Arsenal score – and it’s disallowed! A backheel flick from the edge of the area diverts the ball to Lacazette, who lashes in. The flag is raised, but it looked extremely close.

6.59pm BST

71 mins: Jesé’s day is done – his lack of match fitness having become apparent, Sobhi comes on to replace him.

6.58pm BST

70 mins: It’s raining chances for Arsenal! In the latest torrent, Shawcross flies into Lacazette to deny an obvious chance, Fletcher gets in the way of an Özil shot, and the German curls another effort wide.

6.55pm BST

68 mins: Another chip into the Stoke area, and Ramsey controls this one beautifully, juggles it a bit and then shoots into a defender.

6.54pm BST

67 mins: Arsenal miss another! Giroud’s first touch is to nudge the ball into the run of Welbeck, bursting into the area, but he takes a touch too many before scuffing a shot into Butland’s face.

6.53pm BST

66 mins: Arsenal make a substitution, taking off a defender (Kolasinac) and bringing on a regular match-rescuer (Giroud).

6.51pm BST

63 mins: And again! Fletcher’s shot from range is deflected and loops to Choupo-Moting, running into the area, but his shot from an acute angle is saved by Cech. And Peter Malik proposes another Jesé-themed song. “Very nice chap, by the way, that Joshua Kadison, met him once,” he adds. Name-dropper.

6.49pm BST

62 mins: And Stoke nearly score on the break! Pieters carries the ball down the left, picks out Berahino with his cross, and the ball bounces towards the corner of goal only for Cech to divert it wide!

6.48pm BST

60 mins: And another one! Mustafi’s low pass into the area finds Ramsey, whose first-time left-foot shot goes straight at Butland.

6.47pm BST

59 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Özil play the ball into the area and Welbeck rises unmarked, but he completely misses his header and shoulders it over the bar!

6.45pm BST

58 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Diouf snoozes, Bellerin has a free run into the area and gets the ball, but Butland saves his low shot and then, at the second attempt, holds it.

6.44pm BST

57 mins: Another lovely cross to the back post from Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Butland steals this one off Welbeck’s forehead.

6.44pm BST

55 mins: Another last-ditch sliding tackle from Zouma stops Bellerin crom crossing, at the expense of a corner. This is unaccountably played short, but worked swiftly to the other flank where Oxlade-Chamberlain plays a lovely ball to the far post, from which nothing comes.

6.40pm BST

52 mins: Diouf and Welbeck race towards a loose ball near the byline, shoulder contacts shoulder, and Diouf bounces about 20 yards to the right. Spectacularly weak defending, but he gets away with it: Welbeck passes to Bellerin, who tries yet another ball over the defence back to Welbeck, who a) can’t reach it, and b) is offside.

6.37pm BST

50 mins: “One-nil to the rugby team!” sings the home crowd.

Related: No charges against Arsène Wenger for Stoke ‘rugby tactics’ complaint

6.35pm BST

The home side take the lead two minutes after the break! Jesé picks up the ball on halfway, drives into the Arsenal half, passes to Berahino, who shuffles about, executes a few lollipops and slides it back to the Spaniard, who hits it across goal first-time from 12 yards, and it rolls inside the far post.

6.33pm BST

46 mins: Stoke get the second half under way, and very quickly translate possession into an Arsenal throw-in.

6.33pm BST

The players trot back out ahead of the second half. Surely there are goals in this game, but how many, and when?

6.20pm BST

Arsenal are totally Arsenalling this game, playing some very nice stuff around, and indeed into, the penalty area, but without a cutting edge. Stoke are wildly inferior, but Jesé and that Shawcross chance give them reason to be optimistic anyway.

6.18pm BST

45+2 mins: Arsenal lift the ball into the penalty area yet again, and Ramsey runs goalwards while Butland runs out in a race to beat him to it. Butland wins, and what’s more the referee gives him a free kick for no apparent reason.

6.16pm BST

45+1 mins: Into stoppage time, of which there will be two minutes. It starts with Fletcher pumping a free-kick from halfway into the penalty area, but Cech comes out to punch. Soon after Fletcher floats the ball into the area from deep again, and this time Cech catches.

6.15pm BST

44 mins: Lacazette has been extremely quiet. Stoke have done a very good job on him, which will be a positive for them to cling to when they reflect on how unconvincing their defending of everything else has been.

6.11pm BST

40 mins: Diouf robs Bellerin on the edge of the area and launches into a semi-comic, semi-awesome dribble into Arsenal’s half. Eventually he loses the ball to Monreal’s well-timed sliding tackle, stays down for no reason, and the home fans boo until Arsenal kick it out of play.

6.09pm BST

39 mins: Arsenal have had 71% of possession so far. That’s seventy-one.

6.07pm BST

37 mins: This is both a match that Arsenal are dominating with almost embarrassing ease, and one that Stoke really should be winning.

6.03pm BST

33 mins: Arsenal work the ball very well around the penalty area, Özil dances about a bit before finding Bellerin, and from 18 yards he skews his shot way wide, and also quite a bit high. Meanwhile, there’s always this:

6.01pm BST

31 mins: Great chance for Stoke! A long throw is headed clear but falls to Choupo-Moting, whose cross finds Shawcross in space, 10 yards out. He gets plenty of power on his header, but nowhere near enough accuracy!

5.59pm BST

29 mins: Replays show that Bellerin was fouled by Diouf in the penalty area in the 20th minute. It looked so clear at the time that I assumed it was my eyes, rather than my referee, that had failed me.

5.58pm BST

28 mins: Arsenal win a free-kick 30 yards out. Oxlade-Chamberlain curls it into the box, beyond the far post and into the run of Ramsey, whose shot hits Butland in the chest. This, meanwhile, is a good call:

@Simon_Burnton Surely the canonical song about someone whose name is a bit like Jesé must be https://t.co/GFemXIzv6H

5.54pm BST

25 mins: Shaqiri has gone off, and Saido Berahino has replaced him.

5.54pm BST

24 mins: It looks worryingly like Shaqiri’s day might be over – he’s on the floor, pointing at his left leg, and Mark Hughes seems to be discussing tactical rearrangements with his assistant.

5.52pm BST

21 mins: A chance on the break for Stoke! Jesé runs from halfway, benefits from a couple of handy rebounds off defenders and picks out Choupo-Moting, whose attempted finish was bizarrely casual. The ball loops into Cech’s arms. Very good work again from Jesé there, though.

5.50pm BST

20 mins: And another chipped through-ball, this time to Bellerin, who is taken out by Diouf. The referee gives a corner.

5.50pm BST

19 mins: Save! Another chipped ball over Stoke’s defence – an issue the home team need to sort out sharpish – this one to Welbeck, whose shot when well placed is saved by Butland.

5.48pm BST

18 mins: Now Stoke attack, but when Shaqiri is picked out in the penalty area he uses his right arm to control the ball, and the referee spots it.

5.47pm BST

17 mins: Now the ball is chipped over the defence to Ramsey, who is shoulder-barged by Diouf at the vital moment and, already falling, slides a low cross straight to Butland.

5.44pm BST

14 mins: Arsenal are repeatedly slicing and dicing the home defence now, but remain a good final ball away from a breakthrough. A few passes ping around the box and end with Bellerin bursting into it, but his low cross is to nobody in particular, and is cleared.

5.41pm BST

11 mins: Arsenal win a corner, which is headed clear, but Ramsey scoops it back in, it’s headed back across goal and Pieters gets in front of Welbeck, who was trying to turn it goalwards at the near post.

5.40pm BST

9 mins: Another Arsenal attack: Welbeck runs down the left and plays infield to Bellerin, who plays infield to Ramsey, but a defender arrives at pace to reach the ball first and clear it to safety.

5.37pm BST

8 mins: Bellerin gets into the penalty area and tries to reach the byline, but Zouma’s sliding tackle nips the ball off his toes.

5.36pm BST

6 mins: Stoke have controlled the opening exchanges. Fletcher tries a long pass over the home defence for Choupo-Moting, but it bounces out of play.

5.33pm BST

3 mins: Good work from Jesé! Fletcher carries the ball forward and passes to the Spaniard, whose skill buys him some space in the penalty area, but Cech races off his line to get in the way of his shot!

5.32pm BST

3 mins: Stoke’s fans are noisily booing Aaron Ramsey’s every touch. Those guys really know how to bear a grudge.

5.30pm BST

1 min: Peeeep! They’re off!

5.30pm BST

Jesé has very aggressive stubble, don’t you think? It’s very short, but very attention-grabbing, like a facial Jimmy Krankie.

5.26pm BST

The players are in the tunnel! Scratch that, they’re already leaving it!

5.18pm BST

Mark Hughes talks:

We had a difficult start to last season, the fixtures were difficult like they are this year. But we’re in good shape, I think we’ve had a decent pre-season, played OK last weekend without getting any reward. If we can build on that performance then we’ll be fine.

[On Jesé] I thought it was more important just to get him exposed to the Premier League as soon as possible. It was a good opportunity, against elite opposition. That’s what he’s used to, so I think he’ll really enjoy the game today.

5.15pm BST

“Is there any news about why Holding isn’t featuring anywhere?” wonders Charles Antaki. “He seems too nice a young man to have been taken out and shot just for his part in last week’s three-goal defensive farrago.” There is no news, and Wenger wasn’t asked, he’s just been dumped. Aaron Ramsey comes into the starting XI, along with Shkodran Mustafi.

5.08pm BST

Arsène Wenger talks to the folk at BT Sport:

Leicester was a difficult game and they’re a side that will push on again this season in the Premier League. Let’s continue to win and focus on the quality of our game.

Stoke are always dangerous. Every Premier League away game is any way difficult. We came here last year at the end of the Championship and won. At least we got that out of the way because we didn’t win here for a while.

4.37pm BST

So there’s a debut for Jesé. Here’s my favourite song about someone whose name is a bit like Jesé:

4.35pm BST

The teams are in! And these are those teams!

Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron, Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters, Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Subs: Martins Indi, Johnson, Berahino, Crouch, Krkic, Sobhi, Grant.
Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Mertesacker, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Coquelin, Elneny.
Referee: Andre Marriner.

#SCFC Starting XI v @Arsenal: Butland; Zouma, Shawcross, Cameron; Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters; Shaqiri, Jese; Choupo-Moting. pic.twitter.com/xo6K9GVp4N

Two changes for our first @premierleague away game of 2017/18#SCFCvAFC pic.twitter.com/cixTW8AVNd

11.53am BST

Hello world!

Stoke’s biggest home crowd for some 29 years – “When our fans get behind the team, there’s no more intimidating place,” says Mark Hughes, hopefully – will savour the latest instalment in a series of matches that have famously featured horrible injury, less horrible but still painful injury, rancour, fury and rather mean taunting. “I don’t know why they boo me so much,” sobbed Arsène Wenger of the Stoke fans; “Stick your fingers in your ear if you don’t want to hear it,” countered Hughes.

Related: Per Mertesacker: ‘Some fans want a selfie but sometimes I want to say: Let’s just shake hands’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/19/stoke-city-v-arsenal-premier-league-live

Aug 18

Mark Hughes insists Stoke City are regenerated and fans’ gloom is misplaced | Paul Doyle

Upbeat manager is confident the club has spent shrewdly but he remains among bookies’ favourites to be sacked early this season as he prepares for Arsenal

Arsenal used to totter to Stoke City as if venturing down a dark alley but last season they enjoyed a walk in the park. May’s 4-1 victory for the Londoners was their first at the Bet365 Stadium for six years and seemed to carry a particularly symbolic importance, confirming that Stoke had lost an essential part of their identity – the ability to unsettle aristocrats. As Stoke’s players trudged around the pitch in a half-empty stadium after their last home match of a drab campaign, it all seemed ominous for Mark Hughes.

A sense of foreboding persists. The sales this summer of Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters in particular were a wrench even if age has taken a toll on them: with their warrior spirits they embodied much of what Stoke fans have admired since Tony Pulis took the club stomping back into the top flight nine years ago. The locals appreciate skill, too, and were aghast in July when their most reliable trickster, Marko Arnautovic, also departed. The Austrian agitated for a move to West Ham United and added insult to the loss by suggesting it was because Stoke were stagnating.

Related: Stoke City v Arsenal: match preview

Related: Stoke sign PSG’s Jesé Rodríguez on loan as Joselu departs for Newcastle

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/18/mark-hughes-stoke-city-fans-gloom-arsenal

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