Previous
FK Qarabag
St Etienne
0
0
FT
Game Details
Apollon Limassol
FC Zürich
3
2
FT
Game Details
Borussia Monchengladbach
Villarreal
1
1
FT
Game Details
Club Brugge
Torino
0
0
FT
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
HJK Helsinki
2
0
FT
Game Details
Besiktas
Asteras Tripolis
1
1
FT
Game Details
FK Partizan Belgrade
Tottenham Hotspur
0
0
FT
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
FK Astra Giurgiu
5
1
FT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
Celtic
2
2
FT
Game Details
Panathinaikos
Dinamo Moscow
1
2
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Estoril
1
0
FT
Game Details
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Internazionale
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Feyenoord Rotterdam
2
0
LIVE 50'
Game Details
Standard Liege
Rijeka
0
0
LIVE 46'
Game Details
Everton
VfL Wolfsburg
2
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Lille
Krasnodar
0
1
LIVE HT
Game Details
BSC Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava
2
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Napoli
Sparta Prague
1
1
LIVE 48'
Game Details
Rio Ave
Dynamo Kiev
0
2
LIVE 48'
Game Details
Steaua Bucuresti
AaB
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Fiorentina
Guingamp
1
0
LIVE 46'
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Dinamo Minsk
4
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
KSC Lokeren
0
0
LIVE 50'
Game Details
Metalist Kharkiv
Trabzonspor
0
1
LIVE 46'
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Saprissa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Metapan
Herediano
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Boca Juniors
Rosario Central
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Emelec
River Plate
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Racing Club
Argentinos Juniors
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Temperley
Unión de Santa Fe
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Corinthians
Chapecoense AF
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Goiás EC
Atlético MG
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gremio
Santos FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportes Quindío
America Cali
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Cortuluá
Valledupar F.C.
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Next

No recent activity

May 8, 2014

Stoke season one to remember

Stoke fans are no strangers to the ill-informed reporting of their club from much of the established press since their return to the spotlight, so it came as little surprise that those who spent years deriding former manager Tony Pulis would be so quick to attack the fans as they started to do the same towards the end of his tenure in the Potteries.

- Whittaker: Stoke City – Pride of the Midlands

"Be careful what you wish for," they said with a tone that suggested they might actually know what they were talking about. The name of Charlton kept being thrown into the mix as an example of another club who wanted more; "look what happened to them" they would scoff. That the situations were entirely different and the comparisons ridiculous did little to quell the rising tide of support for a manager they so loved to criticise in previous years. That worn-out platitude would be repeated by almost every commentator who probably knew little of what was actually going on as they jumped on the bandwagon of attacking the Stoke supporters who likely did.

Once Pulis and Stoke parted company, and Mark Hughes was instated as manager, the Potters quickly became most newspapers' favoured prediction for a bottom three place. However, what actually transpired was something very different: A Premier League campaign that turned out to be the side's most successful in their history as Hughes transformed the club both on and off the pitch. The task he was set was ambitious for a club the size of Stoke; to take them into regular top-ten contention but do so with a fraction of the money available to Pulis, and in doing so move the club towards of position of self-sustainability.

Nevertheless, he set about his work quietly and brought in a number of signings to help plug some of the gaps in the squad, most notably at left back which saw the arrivals of Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa. In his quiet yet authoritative interviews, he would continually talk about moving the club on, playing up the fans' hopes instead of knocking them down; expectation was no longer a dirty word, it was positively encouraged. What took place on the pitch was a whole new ball game that was alien to fans and players alike. The stands started to erupt with cries to get the ball forward; such was the indoctrination of the previous ways of playing.

It was a slow but sure progression for the side; the manager and players were clearly still learning about one other as they strived to find the balance needed between attack and defence -- between new system and old. Things really started to tick around the time of the January transfer window with the introduction of much needed pace in the shape of Peter Odemwingie. His impact coupled with Jon Walters' suspension and Marko Arnautovic's coming of age in the Premier League meant that Stoke were starting to attack with purpose and winning games not just comfortably, but convincingly.

Added to that winning combination in recent weeks has been Oussama Assaidi, culminating in the dropping of Peter Crouch and a front four lining up against Fulham that had Stoke fans feeling an emotion they haven't for a number of years: Excitement. That front four tore shreds into the Fulham back-line in Stoke’s most complete attacking performance since their promotion: four Hughes signings working in tandem and personifying his positivity in approach. The 4-1 win was the perfect send-off from the most exciting season yet at the Britannia, one which saw more home points than any other before it in this league.

The record breaking doesn't stop there though. Stoke now head into their last game of the season against West Brom on 47 points, their highest ever return from a Premier League season; in 10th position, their highest ever placing. Add to that the fact that they also finish the season as the top side in the Midlands for the first time in their long history and the scale of improvement Hughes has overseen is there for all to see -- or at least it is for those who want to.

Be careful what you wish for indeed.