There are in my eyes two options that we could combat the Stoke team, it will be a very tough game between the two sides and I’m sure Alan Pardew and his as yet unbeaten in the league warriors will want to continue marching forward.
Now the first option that I am going to suggest would involve a 4-5-1 formation. This way we would have an extra midfielder in order to deal with some of Stoke’s more tricky customers.
That formation would consist of:
Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Danny Guthrie, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez and Demba Ba
Now as you can see I have included Tiote in that lineup as I think if he was passed fit for the game, Stoke may find it hard to get past him. Now if that wasn’t the case could we include Ben Arfa into the five-man midfield? That could be a possibility as that would allow him to advance down the wings and join in on the attacks.
I feel that Santon should be handed his Premier League debut, I like Simpson but some of his performances this season have not been up to par and I think Ryan Taylor has managed to nab the left-back slot for the foreseeable future. This formation would still allow Obertan and Jonas to push forward and their pace may be an attribute that could see us succeed against Stoke.
Now the other option is to stick with the formation we have seen in recent games, my only concern is that it might be hard for us to actually gain anything if we used that formation as we were so exposed when we last played them at the Britannia stadium.
Tiote would stay in my lineup if he is passed fully fit, the Ivorian adds something different to our side and we certainly do seem to miss him. However if he is not passed fit then that would allow Guthrie to come into the side and take on a more attacking midfield role. That would then seen Cabaye revert to defensive midfield, a job which I feel he is capable of.
Based on how we were left so bare when we last played the Potters, I think it would make sense for us to play a more defensive formation. That way we would be harder to break down and effectively combat the players who attack. Of course there would be limits to this formation but it would certainly stop the floodgates being opened on us, like last time.
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