Stoke City – A difficult game ahead

By Anthony Thomas

After an excellent result for Cardiff on Saturday away to Southampton, we turn our focus on Stoke at home this Saturday.

Stoke have a relatively poor away record with 2 wins, 4 draws and 11 defeats, goals for 15, against 33.

Elsewhere, I wrote about catalyst games, such as the dreadful 0-4 defeat to Hull, providing a catalyst for some very good performances in Cardiff’s next five games. Last season, it was the 5-4 defeat to Charlton that led to Malky Mackay utilising a much more defensive team ethic resulting in an excellent run which took Cardiff away from the chasing pack at the top of the Championship.

Back to Stoke and they had two away results at the end of December, 5-1 to Newcastle who were very much in form at that time, followed by another heavy defeat 3-0 to Spurs.

Looking at results and away performances since those two defeats and you will see a totally different style of play (and results) from Stoke.

January saw them have three consecutive 1-0 defeats (including an FA Cup game against Chelsea).

February they drew 2-2 at Southampton, followed by another 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

March was improved further with 1-1 draw against Norwich and an impressive 1-4 win at Aston Villa, though Villa are in poor form themselves and have the third worst home record in the Barclays Premier League.

However, Stoke’s most recent away trip resulted in them being outplayed and losing 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

This defeat being their only loss in seven games, a run which has seen them gain an incredible five wins and one draw.

Sixteen points from 21 is impressive for most teams in this league and Cardiff City will find Stoke a very difficult team to beat and a different defensive proposition than Southampton.

Stoke will do their homework and have learned how to frustrate Cardiff after looking at the footage of their poor home defeat against Crystal Palace.

A draw for Cardiff would not be a terrible result and likely move them one point closer to safety.

Cardiff will need to have learned from the mistakes against Palace and play with more patience, intelligence, resilience whilst keeping a strong defensive shape from their midfield and defence.

For Cardiff, the defeat against Palace, a bad day at the office for all concerned, may yet turn out to be the catalyst for them to have a strong run in to the end of their season.