Stoke Player – Newcastle So Strong In This Specific Area

Former Newcastle target Erik Pieters has been reflecting on the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle last Saturday,

But if we had taken our chances the game could have been out of sight by halftime.

After the match, Rafa said there were several areas the team can improve in although he was pleased with the performance.

One area we have become very good at is set pieces and for the second game running our winner came from a Jamaal Lascelles header from a perfect Matt Ritchie right-wing corner.

Jamaal Lascelles and players celebrate winning goal

Stoke like Swansea last weekend, employed zonal marking on the set pieces.

So Jamaal had a free run at the ball at the corner and planted the ball past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland via the cross-bar

This is what left-back Erik Pieters said after the game:

“It’s  frustrating.” “Set-pieces are such a big part of modern football.”

“There’s always a chance you can get beaten by a set-piece, and there’s always a chance you can score from them.”

“We have to be honest with ourselves and look at that one today and make sure we don’t concede many more like that.”

“But it wasn’t just the goal, it was how they got the corner, that was sloppy from us as well.”

“And then, of course, we didn’t defend the corner properly either. “We’ve been watching videos of Newcastle and then we concede an identical goal to theirs last week.”

“We had said to each other we know they come like that and set ourselves to be zonal for the set-pieces.”

“We know they’re going to be strong in that area, but still we have to make it as difficult as possible when they come charging in –  and we didn’t.”

“We gave him a free header and you can’t do that.”

“We felt comfortable in the second half and when we scored we thought we could go on and win the game. “

“We had some chances to do that but we didn’t take them and then a set-piece was our downfall and we know how important they are in modern football.”

It would have been a travesty of justice if we hadn’t taken all 3 points on Saturday but that’s what can happen when we miss so many chances in a game.

Surely Rafa’s top priority this January will be to bring in a top striker, and he may have to sell Dwight Gayle in the process.

What do you think?

Comment welcome.

6 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 18, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #1

    I know we are not going to finish 4th, but i also know we will not be relegated, while others complained about the transfer window, i thought we had a decent one, as it is not always about who you get, it’s also about who you keep and who you can get rid of.
    we have quality all over the pitch and on the bench too, yes we need some more players, and i’m sure more will come in Jan.
    until then we can concentrate on getting to 40 points , then it’s all a bonus after that.

    8-13 is where i think we will finish

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 18, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #2

    Still not sure how Stoke keep saying they thought they could win it. Even at 1-1 I never doubted for one second we would go on and beat them.
    Even though Joselu missed some chances, I’m not convinced they were all clear cut. Maybe the one at the start of the second half he should definitely have buried, but the others I think he was just trying a bit too hard to impress against his old team.
    I’m more than happy to see him get a run of games to allow him to settle in properly and see how he can progress.
    So maybe he’s never been prolific, but then maybe he’s never had the trust and belief Rafa is prepared to give him. That might be what it takes to bring the best out of him – belief. I’m certainly not ready to write him off yet.
    Not saying we shouldn’t be looking for an upgrade of course, that has to be the eventual aim, just saying I think he’ll do a job for us. The rest of his game is really good imo, from what we’ve seen of him. He dragged their defence around and won most aerial duels against a team renowned for their heading prowess. Might be worth considering him as the No10 we’ve been missing the way he brings in players around him.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #3

    BobbyBee- From previous article – It’s great to see that most of the players Rafa has bought have gone on and shown their worth, except perhaps Sels, Diame and Lazaar. All the rest have been great buys for us. They all show good attitude and ability. I keep wondering what Rafa could do with a proper War Chest. Just think about it these aren’t even his first choice targets! lol

    We have gone up leaps and bounds with Rafa at the helm. I really wish Ashley would back him up fully either in January or in the summer and we can all have a fruitful and exciting era with Rafa in control of everything for years.

  • cyprus

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #4

    On some recent stuff:

    Agreed. Ritchie has to be our best player, he wouldn’t shame himself in most any team.

    Will the bubble burst? Probably man, but live in the now. We’re fourth, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed looking at the PL table.

    What has changed?

    In back, not much. Why should it? We have the best defense we’ve had for years (ever?) And the subs are just as good. Eg. The two CBs have been outstanding, it would be cruel to replace either.

    I know it’s controversial but Merino is twice the player Shelvey is, at least in terms of first impressions. I won’t get into specifics right now, but the team is better linked and it doesn’t have that soft underbelly.

    I won’t criticise Joselu, all CFs miss those, and that position is about confidence. Imagine what the fans would be saying had that been Mitrovic. Both those people should get equal time. Our next CF should be an Aguero Bellamy. How much can that cost? Come on Rafa, and we don’t need a keeper, man 🙂

  • beermonkey

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #5

    Another week another win and no shelvey in the starting line up

    Joselu we look a lot better as a team with him or mitro in there let’s hope Joselu finds his scoring boots for Brighton

  • Sav

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #6

    Set piece goals may not be for the purists, but every successful team needs them. How many successive well-paid coaches have we had managing the club while we remained terminally incapable of putting a decent corner routine together as Rafa has done?


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