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Stoke City - Opposition Views


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Robo10, scfctilidie, malvernstokie, leicspotter, eieieio, Binndy, and dexter97 from Oatcake Fanzine as well as Shawn from Potters-Online were kind enough enough to answer a few questions ahead of our match against Stoke on Saturday. Here is what they had to say:

-First, how long have you been a potters fan?
Robo10- First match when I was 5 (in 1979!) and a season ticket holder ever since
leicspotter- 50 plus years, don't look old enough do I?
dexter97- Since before I can remember. Stokie by birth. That's the way it tends to work around here.
Binndy- since the 1970s
-You are currently sitting comfortably in 10th place. What have you made of your season, mid way through? And where do you think you can improve?
malvernstokie- Much as expected so far. We had a tough fixture list at the start of season and did better than I thought we might, but to balance things out we have failed to finish teams off a bit and 10th is about right.
scfctilidie- Defensively impressive but need to score more. A lot of draws as a result of not putting chances away could be turned into wins.
Shawn- Were doing well, our defence is rock solid, in my opinion we have the best keeper in the league and the midfield is far more creative this season than it ever has been during our time in the top flight. To improve we need to score more goals and create more chances, if we can get a consistent 15-20 goal a season striker we are a top 8 team.
eieieio- We promised much early on and played brilliantly in some tough fixtures. Since then an injury to Marc Wilson has resulted in playing a few players out of position and a slight dip in performances. This has slightly been mitigated by a resurgent Kenwyne Jones and some brilliant heart shown in our Christmas fixtures - leaving us treading water in mid-table.
-How do you rate your chance of getting a European place this season?
malvernstokie- Somewhere between poor and just possible
Shawn- I loved our European adventure last season and would love to do it again, but it defiantly affected our league performances last season. I think another couple of seasons of steady building and we will be ready to have a good crack at getting into Europe again.
dexter97- Slim. Would prefer another FA Cup final.
Binndy- Fair
-Who has been your best player this season and who should we look out for?
Shawn- For me it's been Stephen N'Zonzi, the guys been a revelation since he arrived, calm, composed and very rarely miss-places a pass. Honorable mentions to our ever consistent back 2 of Huth and Shawcross and Begovic between the sticks.
leicspotter- Central defensive pair have been immense, as has Jon Walters. Steven N'zonzi looking good too.
eieieio- Nzonzi. Look out for Geoff Cameron, playing slightly out of position he has shown himself to be a good ball winner with great fitness and good positional sense (typical Pulis player ). Won't set the world on fire but he will make some good tackles/blocks/interceptions (fingers crossed).
Binndy- stoke city are a team,so no individual praise. Each player is giving their best.
-With the winter market currently open, what business do you think your club should be doing?
Shawn- We need a left back, but we have needed a left back for the last 5 years ! Also think we need some competition for the wingers and if possible a striker as Mr Owen isn't what we need ! Also think we will see a few leave this window, Palacios, possibly Jerome or Jones and maybe even Crouch if Floppy Chops comes knocking from QPR !
leicspotter- We need full backs and probably replacement wide players
dexter97- A winger and a full back would do for now.
Binndy- Loan a couple of attacking players to try for an Europa place.
-Chelsea were quick to sign Ba at the start of this window, how do you rate him?
malvernstokie- We had first dibs on him, but he failed a medical. He's good, can we have him back now.
scfctilidie- Devastated that he came so close to signing and didnt, has been immense for west ham and newcastle since and its good to see him doing well.
Shawn- No doubt he's a quality player, if we had signed him when we had the chance I very much doubt we would have him now anyway. His knackered knee could see his career over in a split second and I suppose it's a risk we were not willing to take.
dexter97- Very highly, although it appears he comes with a bit of baggage. Watch-out for the exploding knee.
-If you could have one player from Chelsea at Stoke, who would it be and why?
scfctilidie- Ashley Cole, hes on a free and we need a full back!
Shawn- Juan Mata for me, super creative and knows where the onion bag is !
leicspotter- I like Torres
eieieio- Ivanovic. Would fit right into the system. Can play CB or FB. Although we need attacking play if we keep on building the back we'll be a force in the PL for a long time to come.
-The fixture at Stamford Bridge earlier this season was a very close contest that was only won by a late goal from Ashley Cole. What did you make of that match and do you expect a close match this time around?
malvernstokie- I was disappointed, we were losing concentration at that time and I thought we were good for the draw. This time round I wouldn't be surprised if it was a draw again.
Robo10- Felt we played very well and deserved a draw - I expect us to win tomorrow (honest!) or minimum draw
Shawn- One our best away performances for a while, we were unlucky not to come away with a point, we always keep it tight at the Brit, we very rarely get over run at home
Binndy- If stoke city can keep up the concentration , stoke city should finish the match with a win or a draw
-What formation and lineup is Pulis likely to put out tomorrow?
malvernstokie- See our last team sheet, things don't change too much
Robo10- 4-5-1 - hope he sticks to the 4411 that seems to win us games, but he will revert to defensive cover tomorrow with Walters out wide. Alas.
Shawn- Think Tone will go 4-5-1 tomorrow to try and nullify your midfield threat,
Kightly N'Zonzi Whelan, Adam, Walters
dexter97- 4-4-1-1, same as always. Probably:
Cameron - Shawcross - Huth - Wilkinson
Kightly - Whelan - Nzonzi - Etherington
-Finally, please predict the result.
scfctilidie- Stoke 1-1 Chelsea
Shawn- Tight game with the odd goal in it im going for a 1-0 home win
eieieio- Heart: Stoke 2-1 Chelsea
Head: Stoke 0-0 Chelsea
Binndy- 1-1 0r 1-0 , 0-1.
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Well done Choulo - another good showing :)

Seem like a decent bunch of lads from Stoke - some good answers - I particularly love the 'We're a team part' - no individual praise... I like Pullis as a Manager, he's down to earth and says what he wants a bit like Holloway :)

If they want Torres - come get him - I'd swap him for Walters today :)

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