Opposing View: Stoke City
How has the season panned out compared to what you were expecting?
I was expecting a top half finish, and by some miracle it looks like we could actually get it. At Christmas my expectations did change, and i thought we could challenge for a top 8 finish, but since the turn of the year we have been woeful but have seemed to stem the tide just before we perished.
Why have you struggled more this season than any of your other seasons in the Premier League?
We haven't actually done much different than other seasons. We are in similar position to where we have been every season we've been in the league. The only difference this season is the fact that we have had a rotten turn of the year, before Christmas, we went 11 games unbeaten and were sitting handsomely in the league but then all our woeful performances came in one long chunk, where normally we have dished them out evenly over the season, this combined with the woeful football on display, the clubs fans have started to voice their concerns on TP's reign.
Where do you stand on Tony Pulis' position next season?
Tony Pulis has done a marvellous job for us, but I think it's time he moved on. He can leave the club with his head held high and in a considerably better position than when he took over the job. His football is not very aesthetic and yeah he won't get you relegated, he's Mr. 40 points, but for the club to progress, I think he needs to move on. Fans play their hard earned money, and no one really complained when it was working, but more and more teams are sussing us out. His style and attitude away from home is terrible, and when he describes games such as Man Utd, Man City, etc. as 'bonus games' it just doesn't give out the right aura to the players.
Who will be the key man for you on Monday?
Crouch has hit a little of bit of form in the last two fixtures, but our main men in this game, especially with it being away will be Steven N'Zonzi, who on his day could walk into any team in the world, but we haven't seen this enough since the turn of year, he is another player that has recently hit some form though, and he will be crucial in the midfield battle. Charlie Adam will be our most creative player, and if he is given the time and space, he will punish you.
One Stoke player you'd drive to his next club?
A few weeks ago, I would have said Ryan Shotton, but since moving back to his more familiar right back role, he has performed extremely well. I would have to say Glenn Whelan, I just don't like the player, and keeps other people who could do a better role out of the team.
One Sunderland player you would poach?
I was hoping Stoke took a chance on either Adam Johnson or Steven Fletcher in the summer, but we didn't and you took them both. I think I would prefer Fletcher as he is such a natural goalscorer, something we really lack.
This is going be a tight encounter, and all depends on how you recover from your defeat against Villa, if you come out and still have your heads down, we could snatch a 1-0 victory, but I think it's going to a 0-0 draw.
Cheers Lloyd! Click here to see how I answered Lloyd's questions.