Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said in Friday’s press conference that having a selection dilemma is a “nice situation” to be in.
However, Joe Allen and Glenn Whelan are now available for selection, giving Hughes a headache in terms of what team to select to face Burnley.
What did the manager say?
When asked about the dilemma, Hughes said: “It’s a nice situation to be in. I made changes from the team and formation last weekend and the guys were excellent,”
“If I make changes then it will be hard on the ones who drop out.” Said the Welshman, who also said that Allen is back after suspension.
Hughes also said that he will be disappointing people no matter who starts, but there’s a long season ahead for Stoke and that it is “important for players to come in and make an impact.”
How could Stoke shape up?
Stoke changed to an unfamiliar three-at-the-back formation for the trip to Watford, which Hughes claimed it probably took The Hornets aback somewhat.
It’s unclear whether this move was a one-off, to counter Watford’s own 3-4-2-1 system, or whether Hughes plans to change his system long-term.
The switch in shape was also likely affected by Ryan Shawcross missing the game through injury, and he is a doubt once more for the game against Burnley.
Geoff Cameron will also miss the game, meaning Stoke could have the same set of defenders they went to Watford with, so the shape could stay the same.
The midfield battle
Charlie Adam and Giannelli Imbula performed superbly at the heart of midfield against Watford, the latter earning the man of the match award.
With Allen and Whelan now available, one or both or the two that started last week may miss out.
That is also dependant on whether Hughes wants to use Allen as part of the two-man pivot in midfield, or further forward as he has been used so far this season.
Dropping one of the front four of Marko Arnautovic, Jonathan Walters, Xherdan Shaqiri or Mame Biram Diouf would be harsh, as they performed superbly despite none of them scoring.
Whatever lineup Hughes prefers this weekend, Burnley are in for a tough battle.