After a demoralising 4-0 loss to Everton, Stoke fans may be beginning to get that sinking feeling, with the club seemingly in danger of ‘doing a Charlton’.
Back in 2006, Alan Curbishley departed the club with the Addicks established as mid-table stalwarts in the Premier League.
In came Iain Dowie, with a series of new signings and the added promise of playing attractive, attacking football in the English top-flight.
What followed was a nightmare as the previously-secure Charlton won just two of their opening 12 games, with Dowie departing and successor Les Reed following quickly behind.
In the end Alan Pardew failed to keep the Londoners up and they’ve never looked likely to make a return since, going as far down as League One before a return to the Championship.
And after parting company with Tony Pulis, the manager that helped Stoke maintain Premier League status for six years, as well as guiding them to an FA Cup final and the last-32 of the Europa League, Potters fans would be forgiven for feeling ever so slightly jittery.
The Staffordshire outfit currently sit 16th in the Premier League standings, just three points off the relegation places and while there has been the occasional positive result, the bright, expansive football promised by new manager Mark Hughes has so far only appeared in brief patches.
Stoke have won just one of their last 10 games in the English top flight, with that solitary win coming over Sunderland, while their only other league victories this term have come against fellow relegation strugglers West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Hughes’ team are currently priced at 5/1 to be relegated from the Premier League this term and while the aforementioned top-flight sides look similarly worthy candidates for the drop, the Potters are facing a nightmare schedule of games over Christmas.
This includes fixtures at the Britannia against Chelsea and Manchester United this December along with trips to Newcastle and Tottenham.
A visit to Hull could prove problematic, while even home games with Cardiff and Aston Villa could be difficult for a team evidently lacking in confidence.
January then begins with home encounters against Liverpool and Everton before a visit to Crystal Palace and newly-appointed boss Pulis, who may just have a wry smile on his face come January 18th at Selhurst Park.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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