Stoke City receives painful recruiting lesson from Brentford
Stoke City gave Brentford a tough game after Jacob Brown’s opener, but in the end it was the quality of Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney that counted in the second half. Here are the talking points from Brentford Community Stadium.
£ 5million gets you what £ 30million doesn’t
There were a few post-game posts, a few social media posts, that said pretty much the same after Ivan Toney beat Stoke City.
The 25-goal striker joined Brentford for a first £ 5million from Peterborough last summer, brought in to replace 25-goal striker Ollie Watkins – went to Aston Villa for £ 28million, after being brought in for £ 1.8million from Exeter to finally succeed 25 -but Neal Maupay – went to Brighton for £ 20million, after being brought in from St Etienne for £ 1.6million.
Stoke spent a lot of time looking for something like those kinds of numbers.
Nathan Jones brought in Sam Vokes for £ 7million in January 2019, but he has scored eight league goals in nearly two and a half seasons.
Gary Rowett spent £ 12.5million on Benik Afobe, who scored eight league goals in his first season and then spent the next two on loan. He spent £ 10million on Tom Ince, who scored nine goals in two and a half seasons before joining Luton on loan.
Both managers were royally backed, but they didn’t just turn out to be signings that didn’t suit the systems they were trying to play, they were huge weights around the club’s neck as they tried to. go forward. They are all under contract for at least one more season.
Michael O’Neill has turned to free agent Steven Fletcher, an ideal striker for his setup – but 33 and he’s only played over 80 minutes in nine games this season.
It’s nothing new but it still stings when you rub your nose in it.
A major problem
That’s 30 league appearances in London and a winless count for Stoke since 2014. It’s amazing to think that Marko Arnautovic, Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam were unused substitutes that day they won at Tottenham. It seems a long time ago.
Stoke now has nine winless losses on the road and those are three straight losses – although against Norwich, fit Barnsley and Brentford and although prior to those three there were nine unbeaten, although only two had been won .
At least they’ve won two and drew their last three at home and have a chance to build on that with a back-to-back match at bet365 against Swansea and Wycombe.
Rhys Norrington-Davies needs to think about it before taking the plunge
Rhys Norrington-Davies had shown enough in the first half that he can be a very useful outlet at left-back – but has also shown enough that he is probably lucky to be on the pitch.
He had received a warning for a foul on Henrik Dalsgaard 10 minutes earlier when he had overtaken Bryan Mbeumo at the dawn of half-time. If he was saved from John Brooks’ book again, he was hooked by O’Neill and replaced by Josh Tymon.
It was a rush of blood to the head when that rush to Huddersfield that brought a red is still all too clear in memory.
He has to be aggressive, but he can’t afford to be a fool.
A curse of wounds
Stoke might have a lot of senior players on his books, but the core group that is quite good is actually quite small.
And this group was crushed by the wounds.
O’Neill’s side have made 33 league appearances this season and just three players – Harry Souttar, Nick Powell and John Obi Mikel – have made 23 or more starts. For context, Brentford has 10.
It looked like the injury list was clearing up before February, but Morgan Fox (hamstrings), Nathan Collins (foot), James McClean (foot) and Sam Clucas (hernia) all joined Tyrese Campbell (knee) in the room. treatment and Fletcher (groin) went missing in Brentford.
It could present players with an unexpected chance to claim a claim and whether or not they take it can shape the summer transfer plans.
Players like Josh Tymon and Tashan Oakley-Boothe must seize this moment while others including Will Forrester, Christian Norton and Kieran Coates – all on the Brentford bench – may sooner or later sniffle.
With 11 players on loan set to return this summer – although hopefully not for long for the most part – and the window to open again, you never really know when an opportunity like this might present itself. again.