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Prem Report Card: Stoke

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Imbula stars as Stoke end on a high

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Mark Hughes continues to frustrate

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Gianelli Imbula is like Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira - Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri

Gianelli Imbula has been compared to Patrick Vieira by Stoke City teammate Xherdan Shaqiri.

Imbula, who arrived in the January transfer window for a club-record fee of £18.3 million from FC Porto, has made an impressive start to his Stoke career and scored in the 3-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Despite only making two appearances in the Premier League, the 23-year-old has already been likened to Vieira by Shaqiri.

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Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal, as well as winning the World Cup and the European Championship with France. He was voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year six times.

"Gianelli is a young guy, he has a lot to learn but he is a top player," Shaqiri said, as reported by Sky Sports.

"You can compare him to Patrick Vieira, only Gianelli is all left-footed.

Giannelli Imbula
Gianelli Imbula celebrates after scoring his first Stoke goal at Bournemouth.

"He has that ability to play secure passes all match and that is so important in a midfielder. He has an unbelievably good technique and plays that key pass between the lines.

"There is always a little pressure when you move for big money but he is only going to improve here. He makes us better."

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