HomeOTHEREPLGood, but not good enough? | Stoke City

Good, but not good enough? | Stoke City

Before Stoke dive back in Europa League action tonight, let’s take a look back at Newcastle’s visit to the Britannia, and a look forward to their trip to the Reebok Stadium to face out of form Bolton.

Despite the disappointing scoreline, Stoke managed to impress in terms of the statistics. They out did Newcastle in almost every area of the park, looked solid overall – but as is almost always the case, the better Stoke play on paper, the worse the scoreline turns out.

The bar graph shows Stoke’s dominance in very simple terms. They dominated possession, something which they have only done once so far this season, againstNorwich, and were typically superior in terms of both possession duels and aerial duels. Stoke even managed a much higher pass completion rate, crossing accuracy, while both teams managed 3 shots on target – Stoke with 3 out of 9, the Magpies with 3 out of 8.

Some other assorted stats above, primarily showing more Stoke dominance in defensive situations. However, Newcastle were able to make more than double the number of successful tackles, which is surprising considering how well Stoke performed in the other statistical areas.

Perhaps the most surprising stat of the game was the fact that both teams had 100% success rates on throw ins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Congratualtions. In the end though, it was a superb individual performance from Demba Ba, whose hat-trick ensured Newcastle’s undefeated record in the EPL, sending them 3rd in the table, ahead of more ‘fashionable’ sides Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal andLiverpool.

This weekend, it’sBoltonat the Reebok.Boltoncurrently lie bottom, losing their 5 home games this season so far, and only picking up 6 points from 10 games. Last season,Boltonwon this fixture 2-1 with the goals coming from Klasnic and Lee, while Delap got Stokes odd one in three.Boltondominated possession 59.4% to 40.6%, had double the number of shots on target and made 287 accurate passes to Stokes 176 (Completion rates of 65% and 59% respectively). In defence,Boltonagain looked stronger than Stoke, winning more tackles (15-10), more possession duels (68-60) and more aerial duels (33-25).

Despite Bolton’s easy win last season, it’s hard to predict anything but a Stoke win on current form. Stoke looked to have made the appropriate signings during the summer to allow them to deal with both domestic and European competition, whileBoltoncan’t seem able to find any form this season. Bolton’s only chance will come if Stokes ever changing backline fails to click, which with the rate of change in front of Begovic, you would have to consider a possibility. Despite that, I’ll go for a 2-0 away win.

Impassioned Scottish football fan, more precisely Rangers and Peterhead... The Stoke City writer around here... Although i'm more of a Fulham man. @ICG90 on twitter.
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