Stoke City defensive analysis: Mark Hughes’ team winning important games

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Mark Hughes’ Stoke City are in transition at the moment from the rather direct football played under Tony Pulis, but are still relatively safe in midtable.

Stoke City
League position: 14th (22 points)
Goals conceded: 36 (17th=)
Shots conceded per game: 14.9 (15th)
Percentage of shots conceded from outside box: 47% (8th)

Stoke City are attempting a radical change in playing style this season, replacing Tony Pulis with Mark Hughes, and the Potters’ defensive form has appeared to be in similar transition.

Stoke are one of only two teams to have prevented Manchester City, the Premier League’s most potent attacking side, from scoring, but have otherwise struggled to keep the big teams at bay.

Hughes’ side have conceded five to Liverpool and Newcastle United, four to Everton and three to Arsenal, Manchester United, Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Even when they shut out the opposition, Stoke’s lack of cutting edge in attack can inhibit their success, as no team gains fewer points per game when keeping a clean sheet than the Britannia Stadium outfit.

Fortunately for Hughes, they have secured important wins against the teams around them.

The Potters have beaten Crystal Palace, West Ham, Sunderland and Aston Villa, helping them clear of the relegation battle. They’ve also shocked Chelsea, but Hughes will consider that more of a bonus.

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