Sunday 21 October 2018

Focus on Stoke manager Mark Hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes saw his struggling team achieve a welcome win
Stoke manager Mark Hughes saw his struggling team achieve a welcome win

Pressure on Stoke manager Mark Hughes eased a little with a 3-1 home victory against West Brom.

Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Ramadan Sobhi were on the scoresheet as Stoke won for just the second time in nine Premier League matches.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how Hughes fared at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Team selection

Hughes made three changes to the team that started last weekend's 3-0 home defeat to West Ham. One was enforced with Erik Pieters injured so 18-year-old Tom Edwards came in for his full home debut at right-back. Kurt Zouma was fit again so he was recalled in central defence, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was also brought back into the attack.

Ramadan Sobhi and Mame Diouf were the other players to come out of the team and both began on the bench alongside teenager Harry Souttar, who was a surprise inclusion in the squad.

Tactics

Central defender Kevin Wimmer was used as a makeshift left-back in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Geoff Cameron as a holding midfielder and Joe Allen in the number 10 role behind Peter Crouch. While Wimmer was hardly a marauding presence down the left, he was solid in defence and that was his primary job.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Allen and Choupo-Moting kept West Brom's midfielders and defenders busy with their movement while Crouch was able to hold up play or flick the ball on for one of the attacking trio to try to latch on to. It did not work perfectly, but it worked well enough.

Reception

Stoke emerged from the tunnel at the beginning of the game to a rousing reception from their supporters. Hughes waved as he made his way down the touchline towards the dugouts and his gesture was returned by the home fans. However, in the stand opposite there was a 'Hughes Out' banner which was clearly visible. Allen's early goal helped relieve the potential for tension and enabled Stoke - and most probably Hughes - to relax a little.

Performance

It was not a match high on quality but Stoke showed they can dig in and get results when they need to, which bodes well because they will need to do so again as this win does not mean they are out of danger. A heavy reliance on 36-year-old Crouch might be a cause for concern but Hughes will hope Allen can now rediscover his best form.

Press Association

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