Stoke’s fantasy fever
At a time of the year when every Premier League manager is looking over their squad; going through each position and player with a fine-toothed comb to figure out where they can strengthen, the Stoke City players are following suit. The Potters will all be keeping an eye on the transfer activity of their rivals to help give them an edge in their own Fantasy Football League.
January 10th, 2013
Stoke players including Peter Crouch, Asmir Begovic, Kenwyne Jones, Jermaine Pennant and Glenn Whelan have all signed up to the Premier League’s Fantasy Football game and are competing against each other.
Peter Crouch leads the way in the Stoke City league thanks to a selfless decision he made a number of weeks ago. After losing a couple of teeth in a collision with Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini, Crouch made the big call to remove himself from his team as well as Carlos Tevez, and bring in Demba Ba and Jermain Defoe as forwards. The decision, along with that to give Manchester United’s Robin van Persie the captain’s armband, has seen Crouch rocket into first place.
The league is also noticeable for the number of Stoke players that have picked Ryan Shawcross in their team, the select few that have themselves (including Kenwyne Jones who benefitted from a spree of goals over Christmas) and a couple of “choice” team names to put it lightly.
In the actual transfer window, Stoke are likely to one of the quieter teams in the transfer window. Tony Pulis rarely makes signings for the sake of bringing in new players, and he won’t be at all worried about their league position. Stoke has kept more clean sheets in the league than any other team; and boasts a defensive record that is among the best in Europe’s best leagues.
Of course, as shown by the double swoop for Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios in a previous winter window, the club rarely let opportunities to improve pass them by.
For now, matters at the Britannia Stadium remain quiet. They have been linked with very few players in the opening 10 days of the window; with the only sustained rumour being that linking Kenwyne Jones with a move to Swansea to replace the supposedly-departing Danny Graham.
All through December, Tony Pulis was adamant to insist that he had to ship a few players out of the club before new signings could be made and that looks to be the case. Of course, he also bemoaned the spending power of Manchester City when he faced the champions in the league; all the while forgetting that he forked out something close to £20 million on Messrs Crouch and Palacios when the deal was done.
The Welshman has always tried to downplay his moves in the transfer market and so far this January, he is doing that rather well. Thankfully for Stoke fans, there is little need to be clambering for Pulis to whip out the chequebook. The club look set for another comfortable finish in the Premier League, and could even push further into the top half.
Unless the 10 clubs below Stoke all strengthen dramatically, Tony Pulis will feel rather confident of another fine finish in the Premier League – and Peter Crouch won’t have to do too much fiddling with his winning team either.