Stoke's number 22…
Feature by Dan Buxton
Updated Monday, 21st February 2011
Rich James gives his views on the positive start made by Stoke's number 22…
Stoke’s number 22…
Well he’s bigger than me and you and what an impact our new Norwegian striker has made at the club!
It’s fair to say that John Carew’s early performances in the red and white have really given a boost to the Potter’s front line. Prior to his arrival we had looked a bit toothless in attack and short of goals (and shots) but his busy approach, hold up play and general appetite for the challenge have really endeared the big striker to the Stoke faithful.
Carew’s latest pleasing performance came in this weekend’s very professional dispatching of League One pacesetters, Brighton and Hove Albion. His opening goal really set the tone in a Stoke display that belted out “sorry no upset here lads” and gave our guests from Sussex a lesson in what the Premier League is all about.
Brighton arrived at the Brit with a reputation for being a good footballing side. In truth, despite a small spell of possession when we were already three goals to the good, the gulf in class was massive despite some noises from Sussex prior to the game that we may be taught a “footballing lesson.”
After our fairly routine victory TP spoke in the media about how desperate he was to see us get another tie at home for the quarter-finals. We were therefore all delighted to be the very first team “out of the hat” and be rewarded with a game against West Ham or Burnley at the Brit next month.
Looking at the teams left in the cup we couldn’t really have asked for much more had ITV invited TP and Peter Coates down to Wembley pick the teams out of the velvet bag themselves! That’s not to say that either potential opponent will mean an easy passage to a dream semi-final at the home of football but at the Brit we always look more than capable.
The next few weeks could potentially be a very exciting period in Stoke’s history and after years of heartache we will certainly savour things if we make the most of these games. If we could secure a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League and manage to get to the semi-final of the F.A. Cup all Stokies will be in dreamland.
This Wednesday we make our way to the Emirates for our re-arranged game with Arsenal. They are on the crest of a wave after beating Messi and co last week but I suspect they will also have one eye on next weekend’s League Cup Final, especially after a run of trophy-less seasons.
It is of course the first time we have been down to play them since the unfortunate injury to Aaron Ramsey. I’m sure the Gooner’s have been saving up plenty of stick for our Ryan who I’m confident will handle it just like every other challenge he’s had to face so far in his career.
The sad thing is that despite most people’s view that the injury to Ramsey was just one of those things that happen in a contact sport, the ludicrous comments Arsene Wenger has come out with since the incident will no doubt blind the home fans to the clear fact that the challenge was a fifty-fifty that either player could have been hurt in.
In reality the chances of us getting a result in North London are fairly slim but with lots going on at Arsenal in all four competitions (including a replay against Leyton Orient to squeeze in) you just never know.
If we could somehow get 5 points (or more!) from our next three league games we would then be able to go into our quarter-final game pretty much safe from any lingering fears of relegation and look to make this season one that all Potter’s fans will remember for many, many years to come.
We CAN do it!