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20 January 2018 Venue bet365 Stadium Attendance

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Match Previews

PREVIEW: STOKE CITY (A)

17 January 2018

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18th placed Stoke City are Huddersfield Town’s opponents for the 24th instalment of its thirty-eight game Premier League campaign on Saturday 20 January 2018.

David Wagner will take his side to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday in fourteenth place in the Premier League table on 24 points, four clear of Saturday’s opponent Stoke City who occupy the final place in the relegation zone.

THE OPPONENT:

Saturday’s encounter will be the first game in charge for new Stoke City Manager Paul Lambert, replacing former Manager Mark Hughes who was dismissed earlier this month. The former Wolves and Aston Villa Manager had notable spells as a player at Celtic and Borussia Dortmund where he became the first Scottish International to win the European Cup with a non-UK based team in 1997 whilst playing for the latter.

Nicknamed ‘The Potters’ for a rich heritage of pottery in the local Stoke-on-Trent area, the Club were formed in 1863 as the Stoke Ramblers before becoming the modern day Stoke City in 1925. Their major honours include a League Cup win in 1972 and a runners-up place in the 2011 FA Cup; losing 1-0 to a single Yaya Touré strike against Man City.

This season is Stoke’s tenth-consecutive season of Premier League football having first been promoted in the 2007/08 campaign under then Manager Tony Pulis. The Club achieved three consecutive ninth place finishes in the Premier League between the 2013/14 to 2015/2016 seasons and last year finished in thirteenth place.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

As one of the four joint top-scorers for Stoke City this season, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has arguably been one of Stoke City’s standout performers to date. The 28-year-old Cameroonian international joined from German side FC Schalke 04 in the summer and has spent most of his time playing as a forward; although he has also spent time this season playing on the left-wing and as a central attacking midfielder.

Xherdan Shaqiri has been a potent threat for the Potters this season as joint top goal scorer on four goals. With a CV that boasts spells at Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, the Swiss international joined Stoke City in July 2015 for a reported club-record fee of £12million. Shaqiri is a left-footed winger who typically operates on the right, although this season has spent the majority of his time in a central attacking midfield role.

NEW SIGNINGS:

With just over two-weeks of the January Transfer Window already gone, Stoke has introduced two new faces to its ranks.

Moritz Bauer joined The Potters from Rubin Kazan for an undisclosed fee in early January and made his debut in their 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend. The 25-year-old full-back represented his birth country Switzerland at youth level but opted to play for Austria as a full international and already has two full caps to his name.

Stoke’s second piece of business was in the form of Moussa Niakate who joined from Paris FC for an undisclosed fee. The 21-year-old French full-back signed permanently for the Club following a successful trial and was sent off just 39 minutes into his Under-23 debut against Norwich City.

STOKE'S LAST STARTING XI vs MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1):

GK: Jack Butland

LB: Josh Tymon
CB: Bruno Martins Indi
CB: Kurt Zouma
RB: Moritz Bauer

CM: Darren Fletcher
CM: Joe Allen

LM: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
AM: Stephen Ireland
RM: Xherdan Shaqiri

FW: Peter Crouch

TEAM NEWS - STOKE CITY:

Having been a doubt for their last game, Bruno Martins Indi played a full 90 minutes for Stoke City against Manchester United having previously spent time on the sidelines with a calf injury.

Erik Pieters (hamstring) and Ryan Shawcross (calf) were also doubts for their last game and failed to recover in time for their clash at Old Trafford.

Full-back Glen Johnson has a long-term injury to his knee and is unlikely to return in time for Saturday’s clash at the Bet365 Stadium.

TEAM NEWS - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN:

David Wagner will give an update on the availability of his squad at Thursday’s Pre-Match Press Conference. Martin Cranie (ankle), Chris Löwe (foot) and Collin Quaner (hamstring) all missed out on Saturday’s defeat to West Ham United with updates on any potential availability to be given from Town’s Head Coach on Thursday.

Philip Billing (ankle) & Micahel Hefele (achilles) both played an hour for Mark Hudson’s Under-23 side on Sunday as they look to regain match fitness having recovered from their respective injuries.

Jon Gorenc Stanković (knee) and Elias Kachinga (knee) are out for a longer period of time and are unlikely to be back in contention for Saturday’s game.

KIT:

Huddersfield Town will play in its alternative navy and pink kit for the trip to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

TICKETS:

Huddersfield Town has sold its full allocation of 3,100 tickets for the journey to Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday afternoon.

TRAVEL:

Bet365 Stadium
Stanley Matthews Way
Stoke-on-Trent
England
ST4 4EG

Stadium to Stadium Distance: 80miles via M62 & M6 (Approx. 1hr 53min Travel Time)

TRAVEL ISSUES - TRAIN

No trains will be running in and out of Huddersfield this weekend. There will be rail replacement services to Stalybridge, where fans can then change onto a train to Manchester Piccadilly before changing onto a further train to Stoke. Rail travel will be disrupted, and journeys will take a lot of longer than normal. For more information on the rail delays please click HERE.

WEATHER:

The weather on Saturday is expected to start frosty, mostly fine and sunny throughout the day with highs of 5°.

#HTTV:

If you haven’t got a ticket for the game, why not listen to commentary of the game provided by BBC Radio Leeds via HTTV+? To find out more information and some of the great perks an HTTV+ subscription entails CLICK HERE.

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Match Reports

REPORT: STOKE CITY 2-0 HTAFC

20 January 2018

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Paul Lambert began his tenure in charge of Stoke City with a victory at Town’s expense.

Both goals arrived in the second period, as Joe Allen and Mame Biram Diouf netted to cap a disappointing afternoon in Staffordshire.

A bitter January day in the Potteries brought with it three changes from the last outing against West Ham United. Florent Hadergjonaj (opening appearance of 2018) and Steve Mounié were preferred ahead of Tommy Smith and Laurent Depoitre, with the final change occurring in the form of Alex Pritchard earning his first Huddersfield Town start after replacing Joe Lolley (hamstring). Collin Quaner returned to the squad having previously missed out through injury, and was named amongst the replacements a year to the day since joining the Club from Union Berlin.

Town entered the Bet365 Stadium to an atmosphere at fever pitch, stemmed from the occasion of newly-appointed City boss Paul Lambert taking charge of his opening match on home soil.

Mathias Zanka recovered well early on as a lapse in concentration whilst playing down the line to Hadergjonaj was sharply intercepted by Mame Biram Diouf, who Lambert had selected to lead the line for the Red and Whites. Zanka covered well to clear, whilst also initiating an attack down the right at the second time of asking which ended in Jack Butland smothering a deflected cross which had been destined for Steve Mounié in the centre.

As expected, the hosts started with a sense of intent and urgency whilst hunting an early goal to settle any nerves; home skipper Ryan Shawcross- one half of a Stoke central defensive partnership which had the potential to cause many problems from set-pieces from a considerable height advantage- headed over at the far-post from Joe Allen’s deep corner having physically jostled his way into space.

Both sides were trying their luck down the flanks. Alex Pritchard and Florent Hadergjonaj linked up well down Town’s right to conjure up a teasing cross which no navy shirt could latch on to, before new home addition Moritz Bauer signalled his offensive intentions down Stoke’s right but found a determined Christopher Schindler in the way to halt the progress.

Schindler resumed his usual duties of resilience by firmly blocking Diouf’s goal-bound shot after Erik Pieters had produced a low cut-back initiated from a quick dart in-behind Hadergjonaj.

Half-chances aside, the affair’s quality had been lacking. Although both teams were looking to execute manoeuvres through wides areas, creativity with the ball was a rarity. Nonetheless, Florent Hadergjonaj managed to work a decent amount of room to deliver on having rounded Pieters, and the lonely figure of Steve Mounié at the near post would eventually fire agonisingly wide of the target.

To an extent, Town had nullified the buoyant atmosphere which had amalgamised the City faithful prior to kick-off, but despite remaining relatively solid defensively, David Wagner’s Terriers struggled to advance up the pitch to play in the final third. Full debutant Pritchard accompanied with the duo of Tom Ince and Rajiv van La Parra were finding it particularly difficult to set the wheels in motion. Still, the contest was evenly poised and firmly in the balance as the interval approached.

As proceedings looked to have been petering out to a half-time stalemate, Swiss International Xherdan Shaqiri thought he’d worked an opening with Jonas Lössl substantially off his line. Instead, Town’s Danish custodian managed to claw away the resulting chip, and vitally kept the score level at the break.

Shaqiri’s acrobatic over-head kick found the net off the bar, but the linesman’s flag came to a relieving rescue.

That one didn’t count; but the next certainly did.

Town were caught napping, and Maxim Choupo-Moting exploited space in-behind Florent Hadergjonaj. The Cameroonian surged to the by-line before squaring across the face, and although no Stoke player could force an attempt, Joe Allen arrived perfectly at the back post to tuck home and hand the Potters the advantage.

By now the atmosphere had really been ramped up a notch, and the home side continued to apply pressure and could well have doubled that lead just minutes later. Shaqiri’s mazy run concluded with the winger shooting low and hard to which Jonas Lössl pulled off a tremendously agile reflex save.

Stoke poured forward, this time Choupo-Moting looked to add to his assist by heading in a second from Moritz Bauer’s cross, but Shaqiri’s wide companion failed to adequately get over the ball in order to at least draw a now very busy Lössl out into another crucial denial.

The pressure would pay off, as Mame Diouf made it two.

A defence-splitting pass was culturally flicked on past a deceived Christopher Schindler, and Diouf finished off the post having been one-on-one with Lössl.

With Laurent Depoitre now on the field alongside Steve Mounié, yet another counter-attack saw Paul Lambert’s rejuvenated Potters nearly grab a third.

Substitute Peter Crouch simply played in Shaqiri down the right, and with acres of grass to explore, the latter eventually picked out Choupo-Moting who blasted a volley way off target. The hopes of an unlikely comeback were diminished by the second, as Town’s attentions now turn to an Emirates FA Cup tie with Birmingham City.

TOWN (4-2-3-1): Jonas Lössl; Scott Malone, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Florent Hadergjonaj; Jonathan Hogg (c) (Laurent Depoitre, 79’), Aaron Mooy; Tom Ince (Collin Quaner, 56’), Alex Pritchard (Abdelhamid Sabiri, 60’), Rajiv van La Parra; Steve Mounié

UNUSED SUBS: Joel Coleman, Terence Kongolo, Tommy Smith, Danny Williams

REFEREE: Michael Oliver

ATTENDANCE: 29, 785 (3,156 Town)

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