As Stoke City seal a 2-0 win at the KCOM Stadium against Hull City to make it 100 wins in the Premier League, I’m going to take a look at the difference between todays team and the one from the very first Premier League win for the Potters and some of the best wins along the way.
Stoke City, promoted in 2008, a focal point for media mockery for many years, and now an established Premier League side, have now won an impressive 100 Premier League games and perhaps even more impressively have only had two managers in a time when a manager has a short window to make an impression and cement their employment status. The first win of the 100 Premier League wins came against Aston Villa at the formerly named Britannia Stadium, scoring three goals to out-do the Villains two. If you look at the team compared to the 11 that started in the 100th win against Hull today you’ll see just how far the Potters have come.
Goalkeepers: Thomas Sørensen vs Lee Grant
One of the more underwhelming comparisons comes between the sticks, the Great Dane Sørensen was a Stoke City servant for the club and at the time was undoubtedly a coup signing for the team having amassed so much top flight experience compared to todays number one Lee Grant who before this season had never made a Premier League appearance in his life.
Right back: Andy Griffin vs Phil Bardsley
Two tough no nonsense defenders who, it could be said, were in their prime years when joining Stoke. Perhaps Phil Bardsley could be seen as more versatile and mobile compared to ‘Griff’. But every Stoke fan will tell you that they were grateful for Andy Griffin in the early stages of their first Premier League campaign.
Centre back pairing: Leon Cort and Abdoulaye Faye vs Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi
Whilst Ryan Shawcross was at Stoke City in the early days new signing Abdoulaye Faye, another somewhat coup for the Potters, was preferred to the now captain of the club and Leon Cort a new signing having been on loan at the Britannia the season before was his partner. Compare that to todays pairing of Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi, who has a World Cup third place medal to his name, and the gulf in class is clear. Whilst Stoke fans appreciated Tony Pulis’ solid defense, Mark Hughes pairing is looking more solid by the game.
Left back: Carl Dickinson vs Eric Pieters
Carl Dickinson, now of Notts County, was a real tough tackling, hot headed defender and probably still is, which differs immensely from the more technical ability of Eric Pieters. Of course football has changed and full backs are expected to act as wing backs now which is why we can see such a difference in the Stoke of old and the Stoke of today.
Right midfield: Liam Lawrence vs Xherdan Shaqiri
Both heroes in games against Hull, Liam Lawrence scored the goal that confirmed Stoke City’s Premier League status in 2009 and Shaqiri scored two stunners today against a very different Hull side. Liam Lawrence was a somewhat cult hero at Stoke City and many of the Potters fans will be hoping Shaqiri can achieve as much as Lawrence did.
Central midfield three: Seyi Olofinjana, Rory Delap and Amdy Faye vs Glenn Whelan, Joe Allen and Geoff Cameron
The Welsh Pirlo is the main feature of Stoke City this season and the same could have been said about Rory Delap in the 2008-09 season. His long throw struck fear into opponents and was talked about not just nationally, but internationally. Perhaps a more solid middle three now, who aren’t as technically inept, without sounding rude about the old midfield three who did a great job, the Stoke of today have a much more solid three.
Left midfield/ Secondary striker: Ricardo Fuller vs Marko Arnautovic
Two undoubted fans favourites who were temperamental and moody but when they get the ball are UNBELIEVABLE. The kind of things ‘Arnie’ does with the ball now are very comparable to what Fuller used to. It excites fans and gets them off their seats. It’s mesmerising.
Striker: Dave Kitson vs Wilfried Bony
Two very very very very different strikers, at the time Kitson was Stoke’s record signing and it turned out to be a bad move on both parts. Kitson never really kicked on, and left on loan the next year to his previous club Reading. Wilfried Bony, on loan from Manchester City, brings a wealth of goalscoring experience in the league having impressed for Swansea previously. Stoke fans will hope he differs to Kitson and does kick on, but they are yet to see evidence of it yet, still he is a massive upgrade…
Having looked at that there are a few wins that stand out in a Stoke City fans mind. The 6-1 drubbing of Liverpool at the end of the 2015 season.The 3-2 beating of Arsenal where the Potters were 3-0 up at half time. The 3-2 triumph over Chelsea when Oussama Assaidi scored that thumping effort in the final seconds of the game. Or my personal favourite, the 4-1 win away at Aston Villa, when the Potters really strutted their stuff and ran out comfortable winners.
What Stoke City win stands out in your memory?