Owen will do just fine at Stoke
Michael Owen and Stoke City as a match elicited expressions of sheer confusion from waves of football fans when it was first talked about.
September 18th, 2012
On the face of it, it doesn’t make sense. It shouldn’t work. Michael Owen – the instinctive, arguably one-dimensional striker doesn’t really match up against his new team-mates, who have prospered at the club. However, the more that the move is pondered, the more it seems to make sense.
Owen shouldn’t be a player that fits into Tony Pulis’ system or even registers as a potential target for Pulis. There isn’t even an obvious situation of crowbarring him into the current side. There is little in his club career – spells with Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United – that marks him out as the perfect man to profit from the very direct wide play of Jermaine Pennant, Matthew Etherington and/or Michael Kightly.
When compared to the Potters’ top scorers of the last four seasons – Owen evidently lacks a lot physically. Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters, Kenwyne Jones and Ricardo Fuller have all topped the scoring charts for Stoke City in recent years and are all very, very different from the new arrival.
Michael Owen, as an individual, can’t replicate any of those four men. He won’t get in amongst central defenders. He won’t be the root cause of chaos when a high ball is pumped into the area. However, he could prove to be an ideal foil as their striker partner – especially for Peter Crouch.
Crouch and Owen have scored 16 goals in 16 games together for England and it is that international connection that will surely appeal to Pulis. If Owen and Crouch, in their Little and Large tandem, can replicate their fine understanding for the Potters then the deal to take Owen to the Britannia Stadium will prove to be a very good one.
Michael’s signing is a risk; however it must be assumed that Stoke have protected themselves adequately in the deal. The 32 year-old hasn’t featured regularly for any club in over five years. At Manchester United that could have been because of the striking options ahead of him in the squad, but at Newcastle, it was definitely because the England international wasn’t fit to feature.
If, and it is a big if, Stoke City are able to get Michael Owen fit and close to his former self; they’ll have bagged themselves a real gem.