Saturday’s victory at Southampton symbols more than just three points. It’s the first time this season that Stoke have been able to follow up a good result with another win.
There have been one or two decent results earlier on in the season but they were usually followed by a defeat, however beating Chelsea followed by winning at St Mary’s provides a huge boost to the club.
There are plenty of other positives that come with it, including four away games without conceding, one away defeat all season, which came at the Emirates, and five wins in the last seven games.
Opinions now are certainly different to the opening weeks of the season after one win in six, and now things are looking up. Hughes’ side at the moment is providing a great mix of flair players and your old school individuals who can do the nitty-gritty parts that others don’t necessarily want to do.
A forward three of Bojan, Arnautovic and Shaqiri is something Potters fans could never see happening, but the likes of Glenn Whelan, who sits in front of the back four and breaks up play, are just as important.
Erik Pieters is another one who gets on with his job week in, week out and is a guaranteed to produce a seven out of ten performance every week, one of several unsung heroes whilst the big names take the plaudits.
Huge credit must go to Ryan Shawcross, a player who has been overlooked by most for years. Since his return from a back injury, Stoke have kept clean sheets in all three Premier League games, and only a 94th minute Remy goal against Chelsea in the cup prevented it from being four in four.
He’s a centre-half who reminds you of one from the olden days; not afraid to get stuck in and throws himself in front of everything. Whether it’s the club he plays for or not is debatable, but England really are missing a trick by continually ignoring him, as are some of the top clubs who could be better at the back.
The way things are going at the moment, Stoke certainly shouldn’t fear anybody, especially at home, which is good considering the next two games at the Brit are against Manchester City and Manchester United,
The frightening thing is that despite having a strong starting XI, names such as Odemwingie, Ireland, Sidwell, Joselu, Crouch, Muniesa, Bardsley, Wilson and Afellay are struggling for game time, and some even to make the squad!
Next up is a trip to Sunderland, a place where Stoke have struggled since promotion, with the only win coming in a cup tie last season. There has been some embarrassing performances at the Stadium of Light over recent years, and there’s no doubt Sam Allardyce will attempt to frustrate the Potters and continue the poor record.
Playing away more than suits the type of players the club has though, especially considering the pace and quality on the counter attack. There has been wins at Villa, Swansea and, of course, Southampton already this season, and there’s no reason why a fourth Premier League away win can’t come with a professional performance on Saturday.