Assessing the opposition – THREE Stoke City players NUFC must watch out for on Saturday

Football returns to Tyneside this weekend, with Mark Hughes’ Stoke City looking to deny what would be our third win on the bounce after back to back wins over West Ham and Swansea.

Stoke City look a decent side this season. When leading talisman Marko Arnautovic was sold earlier in the summer they looked a little short up top, but Hughes has since pulled off some impressive signings to really beef up their options all over the pitch.

With this in mind, here’s the three players we will have to watch out for on Sunday:

Xherdan Shaqiri

The Swiss winger, formerly of Bayern Munich, has been nicknamed the ‘Alpine Messi’. He blows hot and cold and has hardly been prolific during his time in the Premier League, but there is little doubting the quality he has in his locker.

Jesus Gamez is likely to continue at left-back, and whilst he put in a superb display at Swansea, Shaqiri is likely to pose a totally different threat. Swansea played very narrow and rarely ran at Gamez, however the diminutive and skilful Shaqiri is likely to have a real go.

Hopefully Gamez – or whoever it is starting at left-back – can show him down the line. Letting him cut in on his left foot could well spell trouble.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

The Cameroonian forward arrived on a free this summer but hasn’t taken long to become a hit with the Stoke faithful, scoring twice in three starts so far this season.

He looks set to lead the line for the visitors tomorrow and will be full of confidence, arriving off the back of a brace against table topping Manchester United last weekend.

He’s tall, has a turn of pace and an eye for goal so will be one for the Lascelles and Clark to keep a close eye on.


The former Real Madrid and PSG winger arrived as a real coup for Mark Hughes’ side and made an immediate at Stoke, scoring the winner on his debut against Arsenal.

Jese has played as a second striker this season, but is likely to play on the left tomorrow, with Choupo-Moting up top. He’s has pace to burn and will provide yet another genuine threat in a dangerous looking front three for the visitors.

Two more to watch our for

Kurt Zouma – The French international centre-back was another coup for Stoke this summer, arriving from Chelsea on a season-long loan deal. A mountain of a man who will provide a real physical test for Joselu and look to be dominant in both boxes.

Jack Butland – We failed to put a goal past him in our two meetings with Stoke two seasons ago and the England international stopper looks in great form so far this season. He won’t be beaten easily.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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