Owen’s goals could see Stoke climb into the Premier League’s top half
Crouch the ideal strike partner to suit Owen's re-styled game
Michael Owen’s arrival at Stoke has, aside from quashing romantic notions of a return to Liverpool, the potential to propel the Potters to their highest Premier League finish to date.
Ladbrokes have Tony Pulis’ men priced at 5/2 to finish in the top half of the table and Stoke have the perfect partner lined up for the former Manchester United man in Peter Crouch.
The big question with regards to Owen’s success at the Britannia will boil down to fitness but, if he can steer clear of any series knocks, goals will surely follow.
Even if the pace he relied on in his youth has expired, Owen still has the predatory instincts required to find the back of the net in the top division, as proved through his three goals from three United starts last term.
Stoke’s attacking game notoriously revolves around asking defenders as many aerial questions as possible and getting the ball in the box as quickly as possible. With Crouch being the handful that he is forever winning knock-downs, Owen will have scraps aplenty to feed off.
On top of this acquisition, Stoke have also made a steady start to the new campaign.
They may not have got off the mark yet in terms of wins but, after three games they remain unbeaten having played two away, as well as comfortably holding Arsenal to a goalless draw at home.
Stoke just missed out on a top ten spot in 2009/10 when they finished 11th. They started that year by collecting four points from three games, yet their top scorer in the league was wide man Matthew Etherington, who registered a meagre five.
So if they can replicate anything akin to their form that year, with the added ingredient of Owen’s goals, it seems entirely plausible that when May rolls around again, the Potters are sitting in the upper echelon of the England’s top division.
A 14th-place finish last time around should not have any bearing on this campaign either. Stoke were juggling the Europa League with their three domestic cup commitments on a threadbare squad and it definitely took its toll towards the end of the season.
But, with that not being the case this year, their sole focus will be the league and a big improvement can be expected on their behalf, which would render 5/2 a profitable prospect for those willing to stick their necks on the line at this early stage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.