Stoke City’s 1-1 draw with Barnsley last night may have been overshadowed for all the wrong reasons, but there were a few fantastic performances to take away from the match itself.
A fiery end to the contest at the bet365 Stadium saw Tommy Smith sent off for the home side after the referee adjudged the wing-back to have made a dangerous tackle, and on the the other side of the pitch things soon kicked off on the touchline.
Potters assistant Dean Holden’s hurriedness to get the ball back into play irked Barnsley assistant Joseph Laumann, who was sent off for initiating a fracas and also sent on their marching orders were Holden and fellow Stoke coach Rory Delap.
As for the action on the pitch, Barnsley’s Brad Collins was awarded Man of the Match by Sky Sports after a fantastic performance, but the stand-out for Stoke was Harry Souttar.
Let’s look at the towering Aussie’s stats from last night’s draw and see why he was so good.
As you can see it was a pretty imperious performance from the 22-year-old, who made two stand-out contributions in the match.
Having already made a similar last-ditch challenge in the first half, Souttar denied Victor Adeboyejo what would have been an almost certain goal early in the second half which drew applause from all sides of the bet365 Stadium.
As expected due to his 6 foot 7 inch frame, Souttar won all but one of his aerial duels in the match, cleared the ball four times and made nine interceptions – which equalled his seasonal high tally in a single game after achieving the same figure in the early season 3-1 victory over Swansea.
freshpress-quiz id=”529384″ title=”24 questions about some of Stoke City’s best ever strikers – Can get 100% correct?”]
Not just a threat in the air and on the back foot though, Souttar proved his abilities on the ball once again by completing 85 per cent of his passes, which totalled 80 accurate ones out of 94 and he managed to play seven out of 13 into the final third from his position, showing that he’s a creative threat even as a centre-back.
Out of the three that start in Michael O’Neill’s system, he’s the most likely to bring it out from the back despite his gangly frame, and he managed to complete two dribbles last night – a 100 per cent success rate.
Capped seven times for Australia with six goals to his name for the Socceroos, Souttar is now established on the international stage and performances like he produced for Stoke last night means it’s no surprise that Premier League clubs continue to be linked with his signature.
If he continues to perform like this until January then Stoke could be fielding big bids for the giant defender – something that will definitely be unwanted so soon after losing Collins.