2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Saturday, April 28, 2012



Stoke cleared their heads after last week's snooze in Geordieland,swiftly getting down to business.Ref Foy,too,got off to a flier unjustly booking Dean Whitehead within 3 minutes.

Early on Arsenal looked uncomfortable faced with the high ball.On 10 minutes Matty Etherington swung over a cross from the left,Peter Crouch was there to meet the ball heading into the Arsenal net to the keeper's left for the opener.

We did not have to wait long for a response from the 3rd placed team.They moved the ball around,probing for a weakness in Stoke's defences.Right back Ryan Shotton proved to be that weakness,as he failed to clear a ball into the crowd.From the resultant loose ball Rosicky was put in possession.He moved a little infield before skillfully clipping the ball into the Stoke box where Van Persie stole in to net past Begovic(15 mins).

Both sides had further chances but could not make anything of them.The pattern was pretty much the same for the whole of the second half.With Huth switching to right back and Upson on for Shotton Stoke looked defensively tighter.Late in the half Jon Walters spurned a chance which he would have gobbled up last season,coming onto the ball from the left,but directing the ball outside Arsenal's right hand post.At the end of the game a 'proper' long throw by Delap himself reached the Arsenal six yard box,caused the customary chaos,but unfortunately for us Sagna was on hand to clear.

Honours even,a fair result,but the real highlight of the afternoon was provided by the crowd.We are all used to seeing Arsene Wenger whinging on the touchline.His frequent protests about real or imagined injustices against his team,gesturing towards an official (or indeed no-one in particular) arms outstretched,palms upwards are familiar.

Imagine 24,000 people, all around the ground ,all making the same gestures in unison each time AW protested.As he became more heated (with increasing frequency too) so the Stokie crowd had their fun,gleefully reflecting his mannerisms back to him (his own reserves on the bench were chuckling too!).Thousands stood,arms outstretched,palms upward 'DOING THE WENGER' !!  Brilliant,absolutely brilliant fun!

I suspect he absolutely hates this fixture!

Saturday, April 21, 2012



Newcastle very much in form,Stoke coming to the end of a very long season.Newcastle looking sharp and genuine top four material,Stoke looking leggy,and unlikely to rise above their current position.

The difference according to the manager was that Newcastle took their chances,but Stoke did not.The story is a little more complicated than that.As we have seen on several occasions this season our midfield whilst acceptable is not as creative as it needs to be.For Newcastle Tiote and Cabaye outshone our midfielders,the latter notching two goals.

Up front we did have chances,but our finishing lacked sharpness.Not so Newcastle.Although Demba Ba did not reach the heights he scaled at The Brit,his front partner Cisse continued his fine scoring run.

So never really at the races in this one,still14th in the table,still with a target of 50 points.reaching that total is beginning to look problematic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012



One slick move from the home side in the first half was the difference between Stoke taking all three points and the one that they actually got.Throughout the game Stoke looked the stronger team,against a poor Villa outfit.overall the game was mediocre.

Weimann netted for Villa in the 32nd minute. He played a one two with Stephen Ireland on the left, then clipped skillfully over the helpless dive of Begovic  from 20 yards out, the ball dipping into the far corner of the net.

From then on Stoke were mostly in the ascendancy.We had to wait until 71 minutes for that to be translated into goals.Jermaine Pennant, on as sub, collided with Gardner,to earn a freekick from Ref Mike Dean.Pennant crossed the ball into the goalmouth from the left. Huth met the ball,heading powerfully into the net from close range for his second goal in 48 hours.

Monday, April 09, 2012



We didn't get off to the best of starts,with Wolves looking the sharper team. Particularly they put together dangerous thrusts down both flanks with Kightly and Jarvis probing. Begovic's area was not threatened seriously until the 26th minute, when Wolves were gifted the lead . Kightly was allowed to advance towards the Stoke area from the right.His flicked cross was missed by Dave Edwards.This mislead Asmir Begovic, and to his embarassment the ball carried on into the net.

Stoke started to come into the game with Wolves defensive frailty becoming apparent. Eight minutes before half-time Matthew Etherington,s free-kick was only half-cleared. Ryan Shawcross chested the ball to Robert Huth to hammer for a close-range finish through keeper Hennessey's legs.

On 61 minutes Jermaine Pennant was fouled on the right.He took the freekick curving the ball over the Wolves defence to Crouch to the left.His fine header looped over the keeper into the top corner of the net.A fine finish for the winner,41 points,and safety for another season.