Stu's Tactical View - Stoke
Stoke City Vs Norwich City
This Saturday will see us travel to the land of the giants and a bruising aerial battle.
After the success of last weekend still lingers we go into this game knowing that if we beat Stoke and Tottenham do us a favour in beating Wigan we are 99% sure of plying our trade in the premiership next season.
No pressure then.
Stoke fans have been on their players and managers back at recent home games so nerves on both sides will be prevalent.
I personally would hope that Norwich will stick to the 4-4-2 formation that got us us the three points last week.
This game would have been tailor made for the recall of John Ruddy. While Bunn has been good in recent weeks and several people have questioned him regarding McCleary`s goal at the weekend, he just doesn`t have the aerial prowess that Ruddy has.
With Stoke and their giant six footers we could have done with Ruddy`s presense, however having played an under 21 game on Friday it appears this has come one week too soon for him.
With the what looks to be a season ending injury to Turner (which is the last thing we needed as he and Bassong have been immense in recent weeks) should mean a start for one of last weeks goal hero`s Ryan Bennett.
Fresh from his FA Charge and club fine we all hope his mind will be firmly on the game and not sulking whether or not if we agree or disagree with the charges regarding free speech. I think what annoys many fans is the fact the keyboard warrior who goes out of their way to just be nasty and vile will walk away scot free. I fully understand and agree in some quarters that he does not only represent himself but the club we support and offering to 'end someone' is only stooping to the level of the gutter where these people reside.
The back line will probably look something like this Martin , Bennett , Bassong , Garrido.
With midfield if he sticks to 4-4-2 it will probably be unchanged with Bennett , Howson , Johnson , Snodgrass.
Leaving the two up top being Holt and Kamara.
With their set pieces and long throws having big men such as Bassong, R.Bennett, Martin, Holt , Kamara are a bonus and very much needed.
I do personally have a feeling that he may revert to the 4-4-1-1 formation dropping out either Holt or Kamara and bringing in Hoolahan.
My worry with that would be losing a six footer and bringing in someone like Hoolahan could be dangerous with the size of the Stoke back line, and the way they tackle and congest the middle of the park he is not going to have time on the ball he craves and would lose us a valuable six footer for set pieces.
Many Stoke fans have been complaining that Tony Pulis no longer plays with two out and out wingers which brought them success in the past and many off their fans believe that this change has resulted in their down turn in fortunes.
Personally if Spurs win and we leave with a draw from the Britannia Stadium I will be a very happy man. A further point ahead of the drop zone and two home games coming up against West Brom and Aston Villa to make sure.
A win and we can all relax and look forward to the close season and ponder on who might be pulling on our beloved yellow and green next season.