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Allen earns Stoke victory over winless Sunderland

Joe Allen

Joe Allen opens the Stoke scoring with an eighth-minute header

Joe Allen’s scoring streak continued as he grabbed both goals to hand Stoke their first win of the season at the expense of bottom side Sunderland.

The 26-year-old has now scored four times in the past three league games, having also netted for Wales in the 2-2 draw against Austria last week.

The 5ft 6in midfielder was allowed to get his head to Marko Arnautovic’s cross from the left to give the Potters an eighth-minute lead.

He then added a second just before half-time with an 18-yard strike through a crowd of players.

Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford made a good save to deny Stoke forward Wilfried Bony, who also fired wide with two 18-yard efforts.

Relive the action from the bet365 stadium

Reaction to Saturday’s other Premier League games

Allen excels again

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was happy to sell him this summer, but the signs look good for Joe Allen at his new home. His good form comes at the perfect time for his manager Mark Hughes, whose position has come under scrutiny after a poor start to the season.

Against Sunderland Allen showed a great understanding in midfield with the outstanding Arnautovic, reading the Austrian’s intentions for the opener and timing his run into the area perfectly to beat the Sunderland defenders to a pinpoint cross.

His second came after more poor Black Cats defending. A Ryan Shawcross header from a corner was not adequately cleared by the visitors and the ball arrived at the feet of the Welshman who struck home a carefully-placed low shot.

“Things happen to be falling for me at the moment, so I can’t complain,” Allen told BBC Sport.

Stoke are 18th with six points after the win, level on points with 17th place Middlesbrough.

Desperate times for Sunderland

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Duncan Watmore (left) only managed 15 passes in the match – his fellow attacking midfielder Khazri managed 32

One shot on target was all that the visitors managed at Stoke. That was Wahbi Khazri’s free-kick which was easily saved by Lee Grant.

The Stoke keeper barely got his gloves dirty with Sunderland’s attacking forays often breaking down on the edge of the area.

Tunisian midfielder Khazri was their outstanding performer. He played like a veteran NFL quarterback in a team of rookie wide receivers, with neither striker Jermain Defoe nor Duncan Watmore able to read his play.

Watmore was particularly wasteful. The former Manchester United youth player produced a good run down the right in the first half, which ended with a poor cross. He then charged through the Stoke midfield in the second period but fired horribly wide instead of looking up and finding a team-mate.

The Black Cats have only managed to score six times in the league this season – it is hard to know where the goals will come from.

Man of the match – Marko Arnautovic (Stoke)

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Marko Arnautovic did not score but the statistics show he was the outstanding player for Stoke, producing four shots, three key passes and an assist

The stats you need to know

  • Sunderland are only the second team in top-flight history to fail to win any of their opening eight league games in consecutive seasons (after Bury in 1905-06)
  • Stoke kept their first clean sheet in their past 18 top-flight games
  • Allen has scored in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in his career
  • The Welshman netted his first brace and has now matched his best goal haul for a top-flight season (2011-12)
  • Arnautovic is the first Stoke player to provide an assist in the Premier League this season

Manager reaction

Stoke boss Mark Hughes:

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Stoke City 2-0 Sunderland: We have got our act together – Mark Hughes

“It has certainly been coming – that has been the overwhelming feeling within the camp.

“I think when you take the last four games into account, even against Hull and West Brom when results didn’t quite go to plan, there was a marked improvement in what we produced.

“We continued that at Old Trafford and earned a tremendous point against them, and since then have been itching to get back on the pitch in front of our own supporters.

“We were able to do that today, we played with confidence and I don’t think anybody can argue about the outcome of the game.”

Sunderland boss David Moyes:

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Stoke City 1-0 Sunderland: David Moyes wants ‘all-round improvement’.

“We did some good things but conceded a terrible goal for the first. We played better than we had done in recent games but we had to make sure we got to half-time at 1-0 down.

“We need to get better in all areas. But what I’ve seen in training recently tells me we’re getting there, especially with our work on the ball.

“It was an inexperienced team out there but we’re trying to get them better, we’re working on them.

“When you’ve got supporters like Sunderland you’re always going to be there and be successful and they were outstanding again today.”

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What’s next?

The Black Cats are at West Ham next Saturday (15:00 BST) and Stoke are away at Hull (15:00 BST) who were defeated 6-1 by Bournemouth on Saturday.

Live Text

Match ends, Stoke City 2, Sunderland 0.

Second Half ends, Stoke City 2, Sunderland 0.

Billy Jones (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Billy Jones (Sunderland).

Attempt saved. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.

Attempt blocked. Javier Manquillo (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Victor Anichebe.

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.

Offside, Sunderland. Papy Djilobodji tries a through ball, but Victor Anichebe is caught offside.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Didier Ndong.

Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Muniesa.

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Papy Djilobodji (Sunderland).

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Victor Anichebe (Sunderland).

Substitution, Sunderland. Victor Anichebe replaces Jack Rodwell.

Foul by Glenn Whelan (Stoke City).

Steven Pienaar (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

Javier Manquillo (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

Substitution, Stoke City. Jonathan Walters replaces Wilfried Bony.

Substitution, Stoke City. Marc Muniesa replaces Joe Allen because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Javier Manquillo (Sunderland).

Offside, Stoke City. Charlie Adam tries a through ball, but Marko Arnautovic is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.

Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Phil Bardsley because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt blocked. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Bardsley.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Didier Ndong.

Attempt blocked. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Allen.

Foul by Wilfried Bony (Stoke City).

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37594159