Are Stoke really a tough opponent on a cold winter night?

A trip to the Britannia Stadium has been described as one of the toughest away matches for any team in the Premier League. But is this actually true? The BBC found out.

“They can’t do it on a cold night in Stoke,” the myth sounds, as even Barcelona defender Gerard Pique questioned his team’s ability to triumph at the Britannia in an interview earlier this season.

The 28-year-old played in the Premier League with Manchester United, winning the title in 2008, before moving to the Spanish giants the following summer.

Barcelona are currently top of the Primera Division, but they would struggle during a debut season in England, according to Pique. “I think so, because if you go to Stoke, or other types of teams, then it will be really tough,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

But exactly how accurate is that statement? The BBC went through the results of every midweek Premier League match during winter months over the past 10 seasons, and found out that the Britannia actually isn’t the most terrifying place to play when temperatures are low.

In fact, the Potters played 13 winter night matches in the Premier League since the 2008-2009 season, and visiting teams have gained an average of 0.9 points per game. That means eight teams have done better in this regard, with Manchester United taking the top spot.

Off course, it’s obvious Premier League giants like United, Chelsea and Arsenal are more difficult to beat at home than Stoke, but also Fulham and Swansea have proven to be tougher opponents in winter encounters.

On top, Stoke faced a lower-ranked team on nine of those 13 occasions and beat just one higher-ranked team during that spell (3-2 vs. Fulham in 2010).

To conclude: Stoke’s myth is false…

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