Don't write Owen off yet, he's still got a lot to offer the club
WHAT'S YOUR TEAM?
Cris Wood: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Upson; Kightly, Adam, Nzonzi, Etherington; Crouch, Jerome.
Nick Proffitt: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron; Walters, Nzonzi, Adam, Kightly; Crouch, Jerome.
Martin Convey: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington; Adam;
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Adam Hindhaugh: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron; Walters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington; Adam; Crouch.
WHAT'S YOUR PREDICTION?
CW: 0-0 or 1-1.
NP: Stoke win 1-0.
MC: Stoke win 2-1.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
CW: The recent poll that put the Michael Owen signing as the worst of the season so far was correct.
It was starting to become embarrassing for the Potters. For what he's done so far, Stoke should have given his wages to the Douglas Macmillan and left him cleaning out his horses and doing Match of the Day 2.
Let's hope he's turned the corner now he's come through 70 minutes of Stoke's behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston on Tuesday.
Anyway, another clean sheet and it's shades of the 1989 George Graham Arsenal side.
A few more shots per game would be nice, but if you can keep a clean sheet then you can always nick any game. So a few more 'one nil to the Stoke City' and we could be poking our noses at the top four.
I'm expecting a tough, tight, ugly game today.
NP: Some fans seem to have completely given up on Michael Owen already. There is still over half the season to play and I believe Owen can get some vital goals for us and help Stoke finish in the top half of the table.
When I went to Chelsea away earlier on in the season, Owen came on with 63 minutes gone in the game, he looked a class-act and nearly helped us claim a deserved point or even a win.
He linked up with our players very well and seemed to give the team another level of confidence.
He is supposedly back to match fitness now so I hope we can benefit from his future appearances and he can create some memorable moments for the team and fans.
MC: 'Contact' seems to be a word that has become a staple of every TV commentator and pundit. I'm sure this is an invention of the last five years.
Every week on Match of the Day the wise old talking heads all nod in agreement that such and such an incident was a penalty because 'there was contact'. This is now seen as an acceptable reason for a penalty to be given!
What are they talking about? Surely, football is a contact sport and therefore not all contact is foul play.
This kind of logic will continue to develop – I heard one pundit saying this week that Cazorla's dive last Saturday was acceptable because he was anticipating contact.
Another bright spark said that refs should give fouls if a player has to take evasive action to avoid contact – even if no contact is made.
Am I living in same universe as in the Tom Cruise film 'Minority Report' where people are arrested for crimes before they even commit them?
I'm worried that football has lost the blood and thunder appeal of a game between 22 men where physical bravery and mental courage are qualities to be admired – and instead become the entertainment option of choice for the chattering classes.
AH: The artist's impression of what the future Britannia Stadium will look like has prompted much debate and speculation.
It begs the question why the corners were not completed in 1997?
As the design of the stadium was based on that of the Riverside and Pride Park, it is surprising that increasing the capacity by around 1,800 supporters was not part of the original plans.
Having said that, filling the corner in would be a welcome move.
The stadium will look more slick and complete and it will enhance the atmosphere.
The next question would be: What happens to the away supporters? There have been calls for the supporters to be moved from behind the goal, or at least away from the tunnel.
However, I guess moving them into the corner would now be harder in terms of segregation, resulting in a lot of empty seats needed for the netting.
I am not a fan of players entering the field of play from a corner tunnel position, but with the location of the changing rooms, I presume that moving the tunnel into a more central position would pose too much of an issue.
With the permanent erection of a TV studio in the Boothen End corner and the giant screen being moved into the same position, this would mean the possibility of more corners being filled in is greatly reduced.