With Stoke suffering yet another defeat at Birmingham City in the last round of Championship fixtures, Nathan Jones will be hoping for a more positive outcome in their upcoming home game against Bristol City.
Last time out, Jones went with a rather defensive 4-5-1 system, with Lee Gregory leading the line on his own up top, with attacking support provided by messrs McClean, Ince and Clucas, in what was a disappointing display from the Potters despite enjoying the vast majority of possession.
With the upcoming fixture against Bristol City potentially determining Jones’ long term future at the club, we take a look at THREE changes he could make to his starting line up…
Start with two up front
With the Potters playing on home turf, this is the perfect opportunity for Jones to go all out for the victory by playing two strikers from the outset.
Stoke have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the goalscoring department, with the likes of proven Championship goal scorers Gregory, Vokes and Hogan amongst their ranks, surely it is a no brainer to start two of them against a Bristol City side that has been leaking goals so far this season.
Drop Clucas for a striker
With Jones switching to two up front, he will ideally need to drop one of his midfield five, with the most likely of casualties being Sam Clucas, who is the more offensive out of the three players who started in central midfield against Birmingham City.
Bristol City will most likely stick with a four in midfield that they played against Middlesbrough, therefore a midfield two of Etebo, operating in a box to box role, and Allen, in a more deep-lying position, should give the Potters a higher chance of maintaining possession for long periods, as they did against the Blues.
Switch back to a three-man defence
It does not make any sense for Jones to set his team up with a back four, as it goes against the three-at-the-back philosophy that he has looked to ingrain into his charges throughout the early parts of the season.
The best approach for the Bristol City game, would be to restore Bruno Martins Indi to the left side of a back three, as this system would allow the central player in that backline to step into midfield when in possession, creating an overload in the middle against Bristol’s two in central midfield.