Stoke City are currently being torn apart by Pep's Manchester City, although their current two-goal deficit owes partly to their suspicion towards man-marking Sergio Aguero on set-pieces and the penalty giving proclivities of interpretive dancing's Mike Dean. (That said, Stoke should have had a penalty for a foul on Joe Allen).
Nonetheless, it appears that a windy afternoon in Stoke isn't the challenge it once was. Here's the evidence.
Exhibit A, Stoke midfielder Giannelli Imbula:
Stoke's Giannelli Imbula is wearing gloves. In August. That alone should be a yellow card offence.
— David McDonnell (@DiscoMirror) August 20, 2016
Exhibit B: Stoke aren't lumping the ball long with the wanton prejudice they once did. The man who changed Xavi's name to 'Just A Spanish Joe Allen' took a short corner.
Joe Allen taking short corners for Stoke. He'll soon learn.
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) August 20, 2016
Exhibit C: The weather conditions aren't as fierce as they once were, either. This fan defied the wind to watch his side be tiki-taka'd into submission from up a tree:
Stoke fan in the tree! Best thing ever! #scfc #mcfc #PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/r3xs5zl5Li
— James Anthony (@jamesanthony126) August 20, 2016
From an Irish point of view, Glenn Whelan starts in midfield for Stoke while Shay Given continues in goal int he absence of Jack Butland. Jon Walters is on the bench.
Whelan's staying power at Stoke is remarkable. Consider this list of midfielders that have arrived at the
Britannia Bet365 Stadium since their promotion in 2008:
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