Football

Stoke City: The transformation from top to bottom

Hughes wants his Potters players to play football. (©GettyImages)
Hughes wants his Potters players to play football. (©GettyImages).

When Mark Hughes took over from Tony Pulis he announced he was going to transform the face of Stoke City from top to bottom.

He promised that the tactics at the Britannia Stadium were going to change: They were no longer going to be long ball Stoke.

So far Stoke's start to the season has been a solid one, having picked up seven points from five games - including a 0-0 draw with Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium. The positive early start for Stoke could signal a successful reign for Hughes.

Hughes insists he wants to change the tactics at Stoke City and force his team to pass the ball instead of opting for the long ball tactic that Stoke know so well. The Potters have been well known for their tactics such as the long throw-ins, long balls and crosses; it is going to be difficult for them to start to play the ball, however Hughes appears to be the right man for the job.

Although Stoke have at times started to play the ball if a game is not going their way, they are likely to return to what they know best, panic and aim for the big men up field.

Making few signings this summer does suggest that Hughes sees Stoke's transformation as a project not an overnight change; however this summer Hughes did bring in a few fresh faces to kick start the new era at Stoke.

Erik Pieters was brought in at left-back from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, there was certainly room for a left-back at Stoke City and was probably the first position that needed attending to.

Then Oussama Assaidi was brought in on loan for the season from Liverpool, to add flair to the team and add options to the Stoke ranks. Then on deadline day Stephen Ireland arrived at the Britannia Stadium after struggling to keep his place in the team at Aston Villa.

He also came in on loan, and if his time at Manchester City is anything to go by, he will inject some exciting passing play in to Stoke City.

Arguably Stoke's biggest signing of the summer Marko Arnautovic the right sided winger, who joined from German giants Werder Bremen whom last season had a disappointing campaign and resorted to a summer rebuild.

Arnautovic, 24, could be the bargain of the summer if his attitude problem is put to bed. Many of his previous coaches have had problems dealing with his attitude however if his attitude can be straightened out, then he may be able to convey his power, crossing and shooting ability and unleash them on the Premier League.

If Stoke decide to play the 4-3-3 formation that has been used at times this season; Arnautovic would play out on the right wing where he feels most comfortable and would be able to continue to play dangerous balls in to the box and maybe find the net himself.

This may not be enough players for Stoke to inherit passing tactics so early, but this is a step in the right direction. Stoke need a lot of work to find themselves where they want to be but Mark Hughes clearly has the right intentions.

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Topics:
Stoke City
Football
Premier League

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