A Resounding Win, But Don’t Get Carried Away

Crouch Stevenage

It was pleasing to get our first win of the season on Tuesday.

But the 4-0 victory should not be seen as the end of our struggles. Let’s face it, the opposition were about as handy as the Dog & Duck.

Stevenage offered nothing throughout the 90 minutes and I’d go as far as suggesting it was Stoke’s most comfortable victory of the century.

That said, there were many positives to take from the match, not least the goalscoring exploits of Peter Crouch.

His treble came on the back of a bit of a striking dilemma, with Mame Diouf struggling for form and service in the opening couple of matches. Crouch has surely played his way into the starting line-up for Saturday’s match at Goodison Park, although I do believe a new striker is still a requirement before the transfer window closes.

Of course Everton will provide a much sterner test for Stoke, but if we produce similar deliveries into the box as we did at the Lamex Stadium then Crouch could well follow up Tuesday’s performance with another goal or two.

Joe Allen has started life in a Stoke shirt promisingly. He is a bundle of energy in midfield and supplies delicious deliveries into the box- something Crouch profited from on Tuesday. It felt like some shackles were released on Tuesday, with Allen and Marko Arnautovic both benefiting from the freedom of being encouraged to get the ball into the danger zone.

There was an equally pleasing cameo from Ramadan, who saw plenty of the ball during his half-hour on the pitch. One criticism would be his reluctance to shoot, but hopefully that confidence will come over time.

Whilst there was very little for Stoke’s defence to do- Stevenage managed just five shots compared to Stoke’s 25- the psychological boost of a clean-sheet was very much necessary after conceding four at home to Manchester City and both Geoff Cameron and Marc Muniesa have given Mark Hughes something to think about when he picks his team for Saturday.

On one hand Tuesday was the perfect run-out for Stoke, but a glorified training session is unlikely to prepare us sufficiently to handle the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley this weekend. But, you can only beat what is put in front of you. And Stoke did that and more.

For once, we seemed hungry to drive forward with the ball and whilst the likelihood of us getting hit on the break was decreased against a lesser opposition, Hughes will hopefully take heart from the success that this brought.

Not only was it more successful, it was more exciting for the travelling 854 supporters.

There will be more than 2,000 travelling to Merseyside knowing that it will be far tougher to replicate Tuesday’s success.

But history is on our side when it comes to scoring four goals at Goodison…

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