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Sat 12th Sep Emirates Stadium

TEAMtalk Your Say

From the Editor:

Welcome to TEAMtalk's Stoke City Your Say forum - the place to be for positive Potters!

Defeat to Liverpool on the opening weekend looked certain to be followed up another reverse on Saturday once Tottenham went 2-0 up, but an excellent second-half comeback is just the sort of kickstart the team needed to hopefully get the season up and running.

The first-half performance at White Hart Lane was poor, with the midfield continuing to feel the absence of Steven N'Zonzi and the goal once again breached far too easily from a set-piece situation.

The midfield issue will hopefully become non existent in time as the likes of Marco van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay settle in at the club, but it really is bordering on negligence that Stoke continue to be so easy to score against from corners and wide free-kicks. When Peter Crouch is on the bench, somebody better in the air than Glenn Whelan is clearly required to defend the near post. Eric Dier did not have to do a great deal to get to Christian Eriksen's delivery first.

The second-half, however, provided plenty of positives, with Stephen Ireland in particular playing a key role in turning the game in Stoke's favour after being introduced just before the hour mark. He certainly helped bring out the best in Marko Arnautovic, who had already been playing well but lacked help, while another substitute, Joselu, deserves a nod for his fantastic turn to win the penalty from which Arnautovic began the comeback.

Ireland got the assist his performance deserved with the cross for Mame Diouf's equaliser - he could even have scored a winner himself - and now deserves to start the next game at Norwich.

It will mean temporarily dropping one of Van Ginkel or Afellay, of course, but these are the sort of big decisions Mark Hughes will now have to make on a weekly basis. With Marc Wilson, Bojan and Peter Odemwingie not in the squad at White Hart Lane, not to mention Xherdan Shaqiri, it will be extremely interesting to see who gets the nod at Carrow Road and, even more so, who remains at the club come the end of the transfer window.

Whatever the answers, I'm certain there are some exciting times ahead...


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