Lou Macari: Why yo-yo effect is here to stay for Stoke City


“I get the impression some Stoke City fans don’t know whether they are coming or going with their players.

Winning well one week, losing badly the next, and so it goes on.

I’m afraid that’s probably how it’s going to be until the end of the season.

The reason Stoke are down there is inconsistency and that isn’t going to disappear overnight.

So stand by for the Yo-Yo effect to continue – and continue driving everyone a little crazy in the process.

Stoke’s win over Cardiff on Saturday was always needed, but even more so when you see almost everyone else around them picking up serious points too.

So they are still only three points clear of the bottom three, but they have jumped two places to demonstrate how they are dragging more teams into the relegation equation.

Wigan are the ones who’ve really put the cat among the pigeons by bridging that gap to those above the relegation zone.

I saw them a couple of weeks ago and thought this wasn’t a team about to wave the white flag and surrender.

Their win on Saturday leaves them unbeaten in six and a big threat to Stoke and Co just above them.

When I look at all the clubs in the relegation mix, Stoke City is still the name that leaps off the page or computer screen as the one you never expected to see down there.

The rest would have pretty much anticipated a tough season and so that makes them battle-hardened for the fight ahead over the next couple of months.

Stoke City players mob Joe Allen after he makes it 2-0 against Cardiff.

There is always one team that seems to drop like a stone and this year it could be Hull, who happen to be Stoke’s next home game.

They weren’t exactly setting the world on fire when they sold their two best players last month and I’m amazed their owners couldn’t foresee the false economy of banking money from sales, but risking the potential catastrophe of dropping another division.

Stoke’s win over Cardiff relieves some pressure as they now shape up for away games at Blackburn and Luton, games that could really shape their season if they lose both or win both.

How those teams at the bottom could do with a striker in the form Scott Hogan is now enjoying.

It seemed like he couldn’t hit the proverbial barn door at Stoke, partly because he wasn’t being given the chance he might argue, but now on loan at Birmingham he’s scored again at the weekend to make it four in five appearances for them.

That makes for painful viewing if you follow Stoke, but they had their reasons for letting him go and there’s always the risk of him getting off to a flyer at his new club.

There could be a multitude of reasons for it and one of them might simply be the fact he hasn’t had to uproot his family life to play at Birmingham and just needed that first goal to get on a bit of a roll.

It’s no good anyone at Stoke crying over spilt milk, you just have to hope he doesn’t come here with Birmingham on Easter Monday and show any kind of scoring form.

I’ve tried to resist talking about VAR, but I can’t.

I’m just hoping that the various fiascos at the weekend will persuade more people to agree with me that VAR should be scrapped – and scrapped right now.

The craziest game of all over the weekend seemed to be at Turf Moor where the poor commentator I was listing to quite understandably started getting the score wrong.

Just to highlight how ludicrous games are becoming, this was the scoring sequence at Turf Moor thanks to VAR…

Burnley 0, Bournemouth 0

Burnley 0, Bournemouth 1

Burnley 0, Bournemouth 0

Burnley 1, Bournemouth 0

Burnley 1, Bournemouth 1

Burnley 1, Bournemouth 0

Burnley 2, Bournemouth 0

Burnley 3, Bournemouth 0

I was at Old Trafford for the Watford game when they had a goal stopped for VAR and not one person among the 75,000 watching knew what the heck was going on.

In the end, it turned out the ball had hit a Watford shoulder a split second before the goal and, despite it being the shoulder, handball was given and their goal disallowed.

Like so many other things like a Champions League that’s not for champions and an FA Cup without replays and played midweek, those running our game are trying to re-invent it.

* FOLLOW LOU ON TWITTER @LouMacari10

The fact that many of these people probably wouldn’t know their right boot from their left makes me even angrier.

They are probably the same people who are trying to squeeze more games into our calendar, while at the same time saying players are tired and have to play too many matches.”





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