Better from the Potters but still room for improvement
Stoke started the opening exchanges of this cagey affair looking nervy before growing into the game, and going into the match-up with a single point and rooted to the foot of the table, it is easy to understand why. They were however up against a Baggies side happy to sit deep away from home and take their chances on the counter and from set-pieces, but even though the Potters saw the majority of the ball and enjoyed more shots overall, but they only mustered two on target and even with Xherdan Shaqiri returning from injury, their lack of attacking threat is an area which must be improved upon.
Shaqiri and his wing partner Marko Arnautovic gradually grew into the game, but with Joe Allen in the number ten role behind lone striker Wilfried Bony, the Ivorian was still isolated and it seems that there is a missing link in midfield which can finally get the best out of the Manchester City loan signing.
Bony was hauled off on the hour mark for Peter Crouch, and the hold-up play from the former Tottenham, Liverpool and Portsmouth man re-ignited the hosts’ attacking tempo, which eventually culminated in Jonny Evans’ error with Joe Allen waiting to pounce for what seemed like the winner.
It was the Welshman’s first goal away from Anfield for the first time since May 2014, when he netted at Selhurst Park in a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace. Palace produced a remarkable comeback to kill off Liverpool’s title hopes and deny Allen that night, and another two points slipped away from the Welshman here. More coincidentally, Palace were actually managed by current Albion boss Tony Pulis at that time.
The goal will give both Allen and Stoke City confidence going into future games but they need more in attack if they are to kill off teams and see games through. Crouch’s performance after coming on however may give Mark Hughes a positive selection headache for future games but solving the Bony conundrum and how to provide the man they brought in to score goals with the necessary service will be vital in Stoke’s survival quest.