The Premier League Previews 2010/11, Part 14: Stoke City – Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

“It is a reflection of the financial rewards on offer in modern football that teams have to do what they have to do on the pitch in order to survive and that sometimes what they have to do isn’t that pretty. Stoke City’s promotion into the Premier League just over two years ago was something of surprise in itself and they were, accordingly, widely tipped – the point of unanimity – to drop straight back into the Football League. Two full seasons on, however, they are still there and without having to spend too much of that time worrying that much about getting relegated back. They’re not often that pretty to watch and there are plenty of purists that would like to see them crash and burn, but Stoke City are still in the Premier League, and it is likely that they still will be come the end of this season, too.” (twohundredpercent)

The Premier League Previews 2010/11, Part 15: Sunderland – An Unknown Quantity
“They spent four years bouncing between the Premier League and the Championship, the rubber ball that is Sunderland finally seems to be coming to rest. The question now facing Steve Bruce is how to make the next leap forward and take his team into the top half of the table. The jury, currently, is out on whether he will be able to manage it this season and, for Bruce, this might not be particularly good news. Sunderland’s average attendance crept over the 40,000 barrier last season, and how long the club’s supporters or owners will tolerate lower mid-table finishes is open to question. They have had three since they returned to the Premier League in 2007, and the concern is that stagnation or worse – a return to pitched battles against relegation – may follow if they don’t improve this year.” (twohundredpercent)

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