Hull City 0 Stoke City 0: Three talking points
Hull City 0 Stoke City 0: Three talking points as the Tigers and the Potters share the spoints
Stoke’s away form
It is not difficult to see where Stoke’s hopes of staying up lie. With only one win away this season and two on the road last season, Mark Hughes will be keen to address this problem. Today’s point is a positive but Hughes’ men must show more desire to make things happen in these types of games. On too many occasions at the KC Stadium, Stoke simply kicked the ball forward in mere hope of finding a team-mate. At the Britannia this has been shown to work with the constant support of the wingers but away from home more intelligence is needed. The key to the goals is sure to lie with target man Peter Crouch who was not involved until late on today. In the first half the striker was little more than an onlooker. On the road it is imperative that the likes of Oussama Assaidi and Marko Arnautovic make the extra effort to support their striker because when they have done they make things happen. If this trio can stamp their place in the side and form a partnership with Crouch then the side are sure to remain in England’s top flight.
Arnautovic inconsistent again
A number of the team were nowhere to be seen today including Steven Nzonzi, Glenn Whelan and the inconsistent Arnautovic. The latter, in spite of his quality, has constantly frustrated Stoke fans since arriving at the Britannia Stadium. It is clear he has the quality as has been shown at times but there are just too many mediocre performances as we saw today. His only input on the game was a cross which was unfortunate not to find anyone but after that he lost the ball cheaply which could have cost his side and also showed too much hesitance as he tried to play in Assaidi. Even during his time at Werder Bremen, the Austrian forward was know to be inconsistent and has previously been criticised by Jose Mourinho for his attitude despite the Chelsea manager acknowledging the player’s talent. He is one of Austria’s best players and as Stoke fans know he can make their team tick and produce brilliance. The player can relaunch his career under Hughes but too many performances like today must be eradicated from his game in order to stamp his authority in England.
Figueroa’s attacking presence
Today was another fine attacking performance from full-back Maynor Figueroa. Steve Bruce knows what he will get with the Honduran after previously working with him at Wigan. It was burst after burst down the left flank from Figueroa who constantly caused Stoke problems and he was unlucky not to have an assist to his name. After charging along the wing, he delivered a fine cross to Ahmed Elmohamady who was brilliantly denied by Asmir Begovic. Moments later the defender gambled and pinched the ball from Arnautovic to keep the pressure on the visitors and lead another attack for his side. However, he almost cost Bruce’s side when he lost out to Arnautovic but was luckily not punished. Bruce knows his player may struggle at times on the defensive side of the game but is prepared to take that gamble to get the attacking prowess that Figueroa offered today. As we have saw he is also capable of striking the ball and gives Bruce an option in dangerous set-piece positions. He had a chance in the first half from 30 yards but struggled to evade the wall. Though time and time again Figueroa showed his persistence – even after losing possession – and is a great asset for Hull as they look to sustain their Premier League status.