Opposition view: Stoke City
By Ric Turner, Thu 13 September 2012 09:12
Ahead of Saturday's fixture at The Britannia Stadium, we caught up with Bluemoon's own resident Stoke fan Shafter to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
Well, in all honesty another mid-table finish is all I expect at best. Up until the signings of Charlie Adam and Miachael Owen I even feared a relegation battle but I think we'll have enough in the tank now to secure a comfortable finish.
Are you happy with the manager?
Difficult one this to be honest. Although I will always be eternally grateful for what Pulis has done for the club by getting us into the Premier League and keeping us there (something I thought I'd never see, as I started going to games in 1986 when we were on a downwards spiral), I am beginning to detest the tactical tripe that he forces the team to play. I didn't enjoy last season to be honest for one reason only......the style of our play. We actually have players that can play football but he doesn't seem to utilise this and when you pay good money to go to the games you sometimes come away feeling cheated.
Who are you key players?
Shawcross in defence, Etherington and now Adam in midfield and Crouchy is always capable of bagging a few.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
In all honesty yes! Although it was all last minute I think Adam, Edu and even Owen could prove to be good signings.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Errrm.....nope! Although Ryan Shotton is a local lad and got a fair run out last season. One for the future.
You Achilles heel?
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Although if you'd have said Man City player then I'd have to go for Balotelli ;)
What is your perception of City as a club?
You have always been a big club, but now I think you're massive and I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't all to do with money. There seems to be no bounds and to a club like Stoke that is hard to comprehend.
One of my favourite fixtures of years gone by has been Stoke vs Man City. Two very similar clubs in the way of passion and support in the past and I have always respected you more than your annoying neighbours. I still think the Man City fans are grounded though and the F.A. Cup final at Wembley proved that as we all overcame many bridges, got on, and had a top day.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?