Have Stoke City finally found their flow this season?

Although Mark Hughes’ current Potters outfit have been far from convincing so far this term, Stoke City nonetheless looked rather impressive last time out in their thrilling home victory against Manchester City.


It was a game in which the Britannia faithful finally began to witness some truly meaningful cohesion among the attacking outlets within their side, as each of Bojan, Marko Arnautovic, Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shaqiri successfully turned on the goods in real style this weekend.


However, with the Potters arguably going down as the Premier League’s most unpredictable side at the moment – how long can the recent positivity in and around the Britannia continue to flourish?


Have Mark Hughes’ determined side finally found their flow for the 2015/16 campaign, or will Stoke City remain consistently unreliable throughout the course of the current season?


Well, although this particular Stoke outfit have in-fact remained characteristically strong at the back at times this term, on other occasions they have been somewhat vulnerable and short of strong defensive organisation. The Potters have equally faltered when it comes to scoring goals across spells of 2015/16 – but as was certainly witnessed last time out against Manchester City – sometimes Mark Hughes’ attackers have looked pretty dangerous to say the very least.


All of which would seemingly point towards the unmistakable sense of transition currently taking place at the Britannia Stadium. The club is no longer defined by the less than attractive efforts of Tony Pulis, Mark Hughes currently plays host to a number of ex-Champions League winning stars among his first choice starting XI – and whilst Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day of course – this team has definitely developed a great deal in recent seasons.  


However, as a number of Pulis-style players nonetheless remain prevalent at the club, Stoke City are a far shot off completely reinventing their overall image. When the likes of Bojan and Shaqiri seem unable to pull the strings from their designated area of the pitch every now and then – which is something that is simply bound to happen over the course of an entire season – plan B usually involves reverting back to Stoke’s previous, and albeit slightly notorious, style of play.


Yes, there is nothing wrong with such a notion in the cold light of day – and no great team becomes that way overnight – but on occasion this season, Stoke City have ultimately been defending out several important matches without placing enough priority on their attacking duties. The scoreless away draw with Newcastle United earlier on this season goes down as the perfect example of such an approach.


So then, although the Potters most definitely seem to be heading in the right direction at the minute, the 2015/16 season has evidently come too soon for Mark Hughes’ side to successfully evolve into a whole new outfit altogether. Stoke City subsequently still have work to do in discovering their true potential as a collective unit, as they often prove frustratingly boring yet conversely entertaining in equal measure. In other words, you just never seem to know what you’re going to get from the Potters this season…


Even if Mark Hughes has indeed sacrificed a little defensive reliability in an attempt to take his side’s overall footballing approach to the next level this term, the Britannia faithful must remain loyal to their side and distinctly patient when the going gets rough. Although Stoke certainly dominated against Manuel Pellegrini’s star-studded outfit last time out, the tough times could easily return quicker than some fans may currently be expecting…


Therefore, despite the more than impressive performance from the plucky Potters this weekend, Stoke City are still enduring a clear transitional phase at their club, with each set of potential results becoming harder and harder to predict with every passing week.


Mark Hughes nonetheless deserves a certain level of praise for raising his side’s expectations in the transfer market this summer, and embarking on the 2015/16 campaign with a fresher set of footballing ideals in mind.  

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