Before the weekend, Stoke had endured a rough patch to their season, losing their last five on the bounce has seen them slide down the table and eliminated from both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup.
With the Stoke strikers failing to step up to the plate, a change is imminent for Mark Hughes’ side and out-of-favoured Peter Crouch could just be the man to turn City’s goal-scoring woes around.
Although City were victorious 3-1 over strugglers Bournemouth on Saturday, it was a month to the day where they last scored a league goal and their forwards still failed to pose a major threat throughout the match.
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For someone of Crouch’s calibre, it has come as a surprise that the forward has only made six league appearances for the Potters, despite suffering a lengthy injury layoff at the start of December. Nonetheless, Stoke sit ninth in the league table and are in dire need of a proven top-flight goal scorer to boost their hopes of a Europa League spot and Crouch certainly fits the bill.
His ability to sit back, provide balls into the wingers and latch on to the end of crosses is what fans adore about his game play. Alongside this, his size means he can beat almost any defender in the air so linking up with the wide-men is key, something that has proven more difficult for the likes of fellow strikers Jonathan Walters and Joselu.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic are essential figures on the flanks for Stoke, making darting runs, beating full-backs and bolstering City’s attacking threat. However, their fans will want to see more balls being pinged into the box because it has been a missing factor in Hughes’ regime of late due to lacking a main target.
In Crouch, Stoke possess an all-round typical forward. One who can head or strike the ball and find space in and around the box. His net-rippling volley against Manchester City back in 2012 shows his unpredictable capability and how he pops up anywhere on the pitch.
His athleticism is a well-known factor of his calibre, netting a fair few over-head kicks in his career. Although he lacks the fancy footwork demonstrated by most Premier League front-men week in, week out, his link up play, height and the ability to do the unpredictable is what divides him from the rest.
There’s no disputing the talent possessed by Crouch’s fellow strikers at the Britannia; however, their recent goal tally is poor meaning a change is needed in the final third.
At 35-years-old, the forward has plenty of experience in playing top flight football along with representing his country at the top level; he can still become a key aspect in the Stoke side. Approaching the final stages of his career, there’s no doubt the former Tottenham hero will want to bow out on a high and not an outcast at a side in dire need for his help.
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