Martin Keown: How unfancied Stoke can stun Wembley and beat the City rich kids

14 May 2011 01:19
ShareStoke head into the FA Cup final as underdogs but Birmingham's win over Arsenal in the Carling Cup final showed us that being favourites means nothing.

Here is how they can win the Cup for the first time.

PICK ON PABLOStoke will hope Jermaine Pennant can have plenty of success up against Pablo Zabaleta. Tony Pulis will have seen how difficult the left back found life against Aaron Lennon on Tuesday night and will know Pennant can be just as effective on the right wing.

Key man: Jermaine Pennant will be crucial for Stoke as they take on Manchester City

The great thing about Pennant is he is nerveless he won't be affected by the occasion. He can provide the crucial, dangerous crosses for Kenwyne Jones.

RUN AT SLUGGISH JOLEONJoleon Lesscott is a weakness Stoke and Jon Walters in particular can exploit. If he can make runs in the channel between Zabaleta and Lescott, he will cause problems. There is no doubt Kolo Toure would be playing if that was an option and I'm not sure Lescott is fully match fit. He looks a bit sluggish. If Walters can keep him running, there will be trouble.

CHUCK THEM INRory Delap's long throws might be slightly less effective than normal at Wembley because the pitch is so wide. But they will still cause problems and the pressure will be on Joe Hart to command his area. That applies to all set-pieces.

Deadly weapon: Rory Delap's throw-ins remain a potent threat

KEEP CALM, CARRY ONStoke's performance in the semi-final against Bolton when they were also underdogs will givethem confidence they can win. I don't agree with the FA Cup semi-finals being played at Wembleybut Stoke can take advantage of it because the stadium holds good memories for them. They will have to be careful they don't get overawed, though, because it is easy to all start running aroundtrying to do everything because you are playing in a final. You need to trust your team-mates andstay calm.

BUT THEY'LL HAVE TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE.Yaya Toure could be Stoke's biggest problem. He has incredible energy and gallops around,breaking from midfield dangerously. Glenn Whelan and Dean Whitehead will have to get really tight to him and put him under pressure so he doesn't end up dictating the game. They had a good dress rehearsal for this because they played Arsenal last weekend and closed down their midfielders really quickly. It won't be as easy at Wembley, though, because the pitch is so much bigger than at the Britannia Stadium.

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 Explore more:People: Tony Pulis, Dean Whitehead, Kolo Toure, Aaron Lennon Places: Birmingham

Source: Daily_Mail